NEWRA Claims Winthrop Square Development Violates Shadow Law

By Phil Orlandella

A letter commenting on the development of 115 Winthrop Square as proposed by Millennium Partners, in response to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) has been sent to the BPDA highlighting many issues and concerns relating to the proposed project.

NEWRA at their January 12 monthly meeting voted to join other neighborhood organizations that have similar problems with the proposed development.

The letter composed by NEWRA’s Chairman of Zoning, Licensing and Construction noted two major aspects of the design of the building, apart from issues regarding its height and improprieties of the BPDA’s requests for proposals, which called for submissions which violate existing law.

Brogna said he has “Expressed his concern at public meetings with Millennium Partners about possible canonizing efforts of squeezing a building of the proposed height and massing into the site.” He also noted the “Height of the podium continues to be a concern.”

The BPDA’s request for proposal and knowledge the existence of the 25-year-old shadow Law, which protects Boston Common and the Public Garden from shadows caused by high-rise construction at this site.

The letter claims, BPDA blithely ignored the restrictions of the shadow Law, and requested proposals for a tower up to 775 feet high, which would cast shadows in violation of the law.

The dilemma faced by the Legislature is a large number, perhaps a majority, of persons and groups from Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the North End and other downtown Boston neighborhoods, oppose any proposal to exempt this development site from the shadow law. Some people say this would be a bad move, thus set a president for future development.

            NEWRA requests that the size of the project be reduced so that what is built does not violate the shadow law.