Ed Glaeser just penned an op-ed in The Boston Globe entitled “Fix BRA; don’t break it.”
With all the campaign talk about the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s problems, it is sometimes easy to forget what it does well, and all that it has accomplished for the benefit of the City, its businesses and residents. Sometimes, a scalpel is preferable to an axe!
Glaeser’s short list of do’s and don’ts are right on target:
- Above all, don’t make it harder to build.
- Don’t imitate other cities blindly.
- Don’t give neighborhoods a veto.
- Don’t create an agency that has too many objectives.
- Don’t make a fetish of agency independence.
- Do increase independent oversight.
- Do set up clear rules.
Mayor-elect Walsh is very fortunate to be coming into office with a healthy business environment. Projects under construction or permitted and ready to go and are at an all-time high. The key is to maintain predictability and keep this momentum going. By working with developers and the community leaders that have valid concerns about growth in all of the neighborhoods, reasonable changes can be made to the permitting process.
The goals of that discussion should be to provide permitting rules that are transparent, consistent, timely, and predictable. We have a great City and we all benefit from thoughtful, well planned growth.