Council Votes 10-3 to Change Shadow Law

By Phil Orlandella

The Massachusetts Shadow Law appears to be on its way off the books as Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh plans to make it go away for the development of Winthrop Square Garage, a $1 billion project.

He was recently joined by the Boston City Council with a 10-3 vote to remove the Shadow Law making way for the Boston Planning and Development Agency to work with Millennium Partners to develop the site into offices and luxury units.

Development of the project would generate $102 million upfront and $50 million as units are sold.

Several neighborhood groups vigorously oppose the change because the new structure would cast a shadow on the Boston Common and Public Garden.

The Shadow Law was put in place 27 years ago to prevent this kind of massive development from casting shadows on public places.

State Representative Jay Livingstone reportedly will not sponsor the bill that affects his own backyard in order to bring it before the legislature. The change affects his district.

State Senator Joseph Boncore has stated he will not support or oppose the change of the law at this time. His district is directly affected by the change.

City Council President Michele Wu along with Councilors Tito Jackson and Josh Zakim voted against the plan. However, other Councilors feel the plan was too important to pass up.

District One Councilor Sal LaMattina, who is not seeking reelection, told the Herald, “I will sell my soul if it helps poor families live in decent housing.” He voted to support the change.

            At this time, there is no knowledge if the Legislature will support a petition to change the law that will make the Winthrop Square project a reality.