Posted inGovernment, Housing, Opinion

Want to protect the historic character of Massachusetts cities and towns? Take away their power.

IT’S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to propose almost any change at the local level in Massachusetts—a new apartment building, a corner-store zoning variance, even a bicycle lane—without setting off yelps of protest. Though these complaints come in many varieties, a perennial and familiar one is the fear any such change will corrode the “historic character” of the place in […]

Posted inTransportation

New Bedford says MBTA is shortchanging the city

THE BOSTON GLOBE reported on Sunday that New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell could derail the long-awaited South Coast Rail project by threatening to file a lawsuit challenging the legality of an MBTA eminent domain taking of five pieces of property in the city. According to the Globe, New Bedford officials even sent a draft legal complaint […]

Posted inGovernment

Wu dialed back search for fire commissioner

WHEN BOSTON Mayor Michelle Wu went looking for a new police commissioner, the search was extensive. She assembled a five-member search committee headed by former Supreme Judicial Court justice Geraldine Hines. The panel spent three months talking to community leaders, holding listening sessions with the public, and conducting a multilingual survey of Boston residents. The city […]

Posted inGovernment, Opinion

Zoning variances are out of control in Boston

ALMOST NOTHING in Boston is built without a zoning variance.  Yet few of the thousands of individual variances granted annually satisfy the relevant legal standard. There is perhaps no area of law where practice departs from legal doctrine more than zoning variances.  Casebooks and court decisions frequently note that they are intended to be granted […]