Pier 5 Association Makes a Splash

At the Head of Boston Harbor

Pier 5 Association is returning the Boston Naval Yard Historic Pier 5 Park to the Public. Imagine a climate resilient inclusive waterfront. Pier 5 Park offers significant healthful public equity and compliments other efforts to preserve a climate resilient Boston Harbor.

History Honored

  • Pier 5 played a variety of strategic roles from Colonial times thru WWII.
  • Collaboration for a global solution.
  • Preservation of Boston’s Sea Based Community Heritage including
  • Veterans, Gold Star Families
  • Women Rights History
  • Civic Recognised National Park (Tourism Asset).
  • Specially Designated Place
  • Re-establish view and vista Easements. Secure unobstructed views protection

Economic Legacy

Pier 5 is a place of historic value and global interest. It is central to historic economic arteries of Boston’s tourism market

  • Freedom Trail
  • Bunker Hill
  • Harbor Walk
  • Maritime Municipal Operations (Ferry, Taxi)
  • Shipping Lane (Commerce Vessels)
  • Visual Asset Management

Pubilc

  • Recreational and 60% of Head of the Harbor is Private use for Marinas and Commerce
  • Private Marinas

Environment

  • Social needs of Charlestown Community
  • Public Open Space Recreation
  • Public Waterfront Access Recreation
  • Community: Socio-economic Equity
  • Community: Socio-ecological Equity
  • Heat Island Reports
  • Sealife
  • Birds
  • Coral
  • Shellfish/Crustaceans
  • Heat Island Effect

Preliminary Studies

  1. Environmental Impact Study (Issues of toxic waste removal)
  2. Transportation & Traffic Impact Study
  3. Tourism Economic Study
  4. Park vs Private Public Equity Value
  5. Climate Resilience: Boston is in Retrograde
  6. LOMR of Flagship affect Pier 5.

Our Team

  • Your Neighbors and Friends with over 200 years of local residency combined.
  • We represent over 3,200 Petition Supporters
  • Access to Harbor and Water for community
  • Join us and Help make Pier 5 Park Public Again.
  • Online Petition at Change.org

Waterfront Law Preserves Public Access to – Chapter 91

Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 91 – Preserves Public Access Waterfront

  • Chapter 91 codifies the public trust doctrine.  
  • Chapter 91 protects the public’s rights and waterfront access. 
  • All land under Pier 5 is public land.
  • Flowed Tidelands for Water Dependent Use
  • Courageous Sailing full operations protection
  • Charlestown Ferry docking station.
  • Water dependent uses are the focus.

PROMISE V. THE PLAN

Insert Visual Easements four image page

Promise

  • The Boston Redevelopment Authority- plans to develop Pier 5 as Affordable Housing
  • 3 RFPs (request for proposal) for Pier 5 from 2019 are still pending.
  • DEP- Dept of Environmental Protection (in charge of preserving public rights to waterfront) has been found to have violated the law in the creation of the MHP (Municipal Harbor Plans) in a lawsuit by Harbor Towers residents and the Conservation Law Foundation challenging MHP. Case is on appeal.
  • DEP is now trying to add the Illegal MHPs into the DEP regulations to fix this problem. The regulation changes are pending.
  • Charlestown MHP is from 1991 and expired in 1996 which BPDA denies.
  • Using a Waterfront Activation Plan from 2007 for Charlestown which  is probably illegal but would have to be subject of a lawsuit.

Our issues with BPDA plan

  • No parameters for any developments of  Pier 5
  • Current zoning height 55 ft plus mechanicals plus 5 feet for FEMA zone
  • Ch. 91 requirements –Water Dependent Uses Required
  • MHP – Coastal Development Overlay, etc. blockage of waterfront
  • Coastal Zone Management or Federal Navigation Servitude
  • Fire, Police, Traffic, Parking etc..
  • Conflicts with the Flagship Wharf c.91 licensing. 
  • Toxic Waste Release if Pier 5 disturbed
  • Flooding and Climate change
  • Structural Damage to surrounding Buildings

BPDA Vision- “Imagine Boston 2030”? 

Image from Boardwalk of viewshed Nitzan did.

“Green Area” at the Head of the Harbor for Public Uses
– This huge mural was hung at the BRA entrance for years –

The Community ideas

  • Marine life education and research
  • Historical exhibits, art presentations… 
  • Cafe, pop-ups, fresh air venues
  • Underwater viewing: Ecology, Technology 
  • Complete Public Access and Views

Insert Image

OTHER CITIES HAVE DONE IT WHY CAN’T WE

RESULTS—NOTHING

  • NYC and Philadelphia piers are iconic models
  • Lots of other examples
  • History with BPDA
  • 2015 Director Brian Golden meeting Golden Promise  to welcome the opening of Pier 5 as an public park 

“An activated waterfront is anchored by varied types of open spaces, featuring cultural resources and year-round programming and connecting people with the natural, cultural, and economic history of the region.“ 

Source: Imagine Boston 2030 | Boston.gov

PIER 5 NOW

Insert Image of I Beam wrapping

  • No repairs done from 1975 to present
  • 43 years since first evaluation (April 15, 1987)
  • BPDA ONLY solutions –Build or Bulldoze 
  • Pier 5 unique fireproof construction 
  • Steel pilings different from typical wood pilings
  • Need creative approaches
  • Unique challenge

POSSIBLE OPTIONS

Examples (partial list)

Accomplishments

Our community collaborative for socio-ecological justice includes

  • Feasibility Visions of Pier 5
  • Strategic plan
  • Thousands of Boston Redevelopment Authority Documents Reviewed
  • Thousands of Petition Signatures
  • Community Events & Engagements
  • Pier 5 Fence Public Children Decorated
  • Fight Disinformation (Bullying from Developers on Several occasions including physical threat)
  • Several Independent Engineering Firm Engagements

Insert image of waterfront with three parts circled in colors. Rosemary made?

Please help Keep Pier 5 Public

Many hands make light work

  • Sign the Petition at Change.Org 
  • Donate to our efforts—Can we count on you?
  • Engage with us and Volunteer
  • Advocate and call your councilor, legislator, governor 
  • Invite Our Community to Pier 5 to share Our Vision
  • Save Pier 5 for future for generations
  • Explore Options for Making Our Vision a Reality
  • Multiply $$$$$, people and support 

This meeting request – BPDA adherence to the community promise

“The Charlestown Navy Yard Waterfront Activation Network Plan The 2007 plan’s overarching goal is to: 

  • enhance the Navy Yard’s waterfront with uses that are appealing to both local residents and workers, as well as visitors. 
  • The plan seeks to fulfill the promise made upon decommissioning to make this site of national significance open and welcoming to all. 

while doing so in a way that is compatible with the needs of those who have chosen to live and work in the Navy Yard

Strategies from the 2007 plan include: 

  • the creation of year-round public destinations
  • improved access, wayfinding, and signage; and 
  • increased water-dependent uses such as sailing facilities, marinas, and water transit facilities.”

Source: http://www.bostonplans.org/neighborhoods/charlestown/navy-yard-master-plan-implementation

Child’s Engineering Study is Insufficient

A second technical opinion with a detailed analysis of the risks and benefits of competing alternative restoration approaches is necessary

Anticipate an Economic Relief package with earmarks for  infrastructure repair

A public solution to include further detailed engineering & design work, with restoration approaches that address environmental risks, shoreline resiliency, and best community interest – will require prompt action

Incorporate and seek 501(c)3 status

CLF Protecting Boston Harbor, The People’s Harbor

Boston Harbor belongs to all of us, not just to the wealthy. Once one of the dirtiest harbors in the country, Boston Harbor is today a national jewel.
But now it faces new risks. 

Please Add your name to help us maintain public access and promote climate resiliency for the People’s Harbor. 

Protecting Boston Harbor, The People’s Harbor

With private development threatening to wall off the harbor to all but the wealthy.
With climate change endangering public health and safety.
We must step up to protect Boston Harbor again. 

CLF in Action The public’s right to access Boston Harbor and waterfront land is enshrined in the Public Waterfront Act, also known as Chapter 91. But in recent years, private developers and their political allies have ignored the commitments required under the law, putting the waterfront at risk of becoming an exclusive enclave for the wealthy. At the same time, they have neglected to make new buildings resilient in the face of rising waters and extreme weather caused by climate change. 

CLF is committed to protecting Boston Harbor – the People’s Harbor ­– from these threats. We are moving forward a vision in which the public’s right to access the harbor is secure and new developments advance public safety with climate-prepared structures. This vision not only benefits Boston, but can become a model for Massachusetts, New England, and beyond. But there’s more work to be done in the courts, in City Hall, and in the halls of the State House. We need friends and supporters to stand with us. Please join our fight by signing our pledge to protect the People’s Harbor today and check out our toolkit for other ways that you can get involved.

Waterfront Access as a Public Asset = Social Justice

May 20, 2021

To Our Community, City and State Leaders,

Social justice needs were being met even during the 1970s Economic Recession.

One of the only jobs in 1970s Boston was the Modernization Program for Public Housing in Charlestown – Phase 1; The goal was to re-establish these, then 30 year old, 1100 units as a substantial residential environment. Phase 1 was to renovate all of the bathrooms and kitchens; later phases were to be recreation areas, landscaping and community facilities. Ecodesign, Inc., my then fledgling architectural firm and an early Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), was awarded Phase 1.

This complicated job required us to work closely with the resident-elected, fully-empowered Task Force, do detailed site surveys, catalogue intolerable conditions of each unit, determine the common needs and design economical solutions to these problems. For example, in the 1970s Boston Housing projects the bathrooms did not have showers. As a solution, we designed a fixture easily installed in tub corners — filling this need was greatly appreciated by the residents who called it “Shower Tower Power” (in true 60s style)!

Another Housing need was, and still is, recreation and open space. Some of the Boston housing projects had some open space, some even had trees. When surveying Bunker Hill Housing, I remember the sense that the sea was so near by, but the U. S. Navy Yard waterfront was not available to the public in the early 1970s. Today, there is still the need for open space, but TODAY there is a unique opportunity for all the public to have real open space access to the Charlestown Waterfront at the Head of the Boston Harbor- Pier 5.

The recent Superior Court decision on the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) lawsuit has brought to light how illegal approvals of the Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP) process (and in Charlestown the manipulation of an obsolete and expired Navy Yard MHP) was used by the BRA/BPDA to block the promise of Chapter 91 and the Big Dig to “provide public access to the sea”.

With public access blocked, these improper BRA/BPDA planning techniques were then used to give that waterfront access, instead, to powerful developers for access to only a very few residents. After public waterfront advocates have battled for a quarter century and the City of Boston has endured the Big Dig, this CLF decision now offers a chance to reclaim this Waterfront Assess Public Asset for all the People! 

The social justice of the need for true open space for all has never been more clear than during this time of Pandemics. Waterfront activities such as that offered to the children of Boston by the world-renown Courageous Sailing Center should not be curtailed by continuing improper development of the waterfront. Rather than being impeded, outdoor learning and open space education opportunities should be expanded and maximized for many children. Such waterfront sites should not be made residences for only a few affluent or well-connected people. Legitimate, usable open space for education and recreation programs must not be “scraps of left over land” or “unreachable pretend gardens” or other Trojan Horse offerings.

COVID has made us acutely aware of the need for recreational open space. High levels of asthma in Charlestown residents makes us value the greenspace to breathe clean air. Numerous studies prove inadequate greenspace is a social and environmental injustice that burdens affordable housing residents.

In Boston, 20% of all housing units are income-restricted. The Report from the City of Boston on Income-Restricted Housing (2019) shows that of Housing Units that are Income-restricted, the neighborhoods with the highest percentage include Charlestown at 3rd highest with 25% (and growing exponentially). Of Rental Only Properties, where Boston has 27% of all rental units being income-restricted, Charlestown has 42% income restricted. That includes Bunker Hill Housing where the BPDA is now trying to remove 340 beautiful mature trees from their open space. Charlestown, perhaps more than any other Boston Harbor area, needs and deserves the Public Asset that is Waterfront Access.

We also need Climate Justice with responsible solutions to achieve resilient open space, environmental education and the chance to enjoy the Harbor now cleaned by our taxes. We need to demand access to unique historic sites like the Head of Boston Harbor at Pier 5 — a special place of rare original harbor edge of the Charlestown Peninsula where Paul Revere started his ride, Bunker/Breeds Hill battle was fought, 1800s cannons were set, WWI and WWII ships were readied, the gateway to our Harbor …but where the BPDA now conspires to take this public amenity for privatized development.

“Waterfront Access is a Public Asset”. Charlestown/Boston public and the residents of all Boston Public Housing deserve clear, equitable access to the worth of the waterfront —their right granted by the MA Public Waterfront Act, by the ancient Chapter 91 law and by the Promise of the Big Dig.

We need our Leaders to use their power to return the Public Asset that is Access to Our Waterfront!

Please understand what is at by Privatization. Learn more at Pier5.org
Sherrie S. Cutler, A.I.A. sscutler@ECODESIGN.com 970-948-8822 

Recent Waterfront Request for Proposal

Wasted RFP
It is good the BPDA is taking a close look at all options. The most recent Public Private Project proposals for Pier 5 revisited ancient houseboats. They would over 200′ long, 50′ tall of open waterfront. Rob the public of the entire historic Pier 5. Half of the water-sheet between Pier 5 and Pier 4 would would be lost.

The final exploratory RFP is done. The public has spoken. The last structural evaluation (date) Based on outdated structural assessments with a with scope for building versus open public space. The report was made by a regular contractor of the BPDA. outlines many measures and maintenance the pier would need and were never implemented.

Harbor-View impact showing 30′ elevation. Proposals are 55′.

Tidal Wetlands, the Value of Pier 5

Why city dwelling fisherman come daily to this location on foot and bicycle carrying buckets and rods to fish the waters near the pier. It has teaming with marine life for many years now?

Pier 5 steel piles themselves form a unique and dense human constructed intertidal zone reef structure that is nourishing marine life throughout the harbor.

Pier 5 in the Charlestown Navy Yard is different from most of the waterfront piers. It was re-constructed during the heroic war effort in World war II to bear the weight of ships placed on its surface. Rather than using creosote laden preserved and toxic piles, it was constructed with concrete and steel with piles placed at high density.

Pier 5 extension and rebuilding during WWII

It served its industrial purpose for the war effort and for an additional 30 years until Richard Nixon ordered the Boston Naval Shipyard to be closed. For 50 years following those steel piles have created a dense intertidal wetland zone, the harbor waters have been cleaned, and sediments have settled over and capped the industrial waste that has 35 feet below the low tide line on the harbor floor below.

-Christopher Nicodemus

State Issues Draft Waterfront Development Regulations

May 14, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – As a result of a lawsuit won by Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Massachusetts officials have released new draft regulations concerning waterfront development. The rules propose to retroactively codify the state’s seventeen municipal harbor plans in an effort to correct legal deficiencies in the program uncovered by CLF’s lawsuit.

“These regulations impact everyone in Massachusetts,” said Peter Shelley, Senior Counsel at CLF.  “The State can’t just rubber-stamp its way out of this problem and ignore the tidelands development principles it broke. The public needs to be involved in every step of this process and officials must offer more than just two public meetings. Access to the waterfront is enshrined in Massachusetts law and it must stay that way.”

CLF’s recent lawsuit challenged Boston’s Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan after state officials ignored decades-old rules governing public waterfront access in approving Boston’s plan. A judge ruled in favor of CLF in April.

CLF experts are available for further comment.
Photo: The view from the Boston Harborwalk near the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Jerry Monkman

Nahant Town Progress

We are not alone.

Community Preservation Act Funds would be great for Pier 5.

The Nahantan case is a complex situation…as is Pier 5. They fought a well regarded mission , just as we oppose affordable housing for the few to deny the public use. There are other solutions. In this case, Salem has an abandoned incinerator site that is more suitable than a prominent Nahant ocean point in a residential community with no amenities to support this proposed facility.

Success is possible.
Be inspired!

State Issues Draft Waterfront Development Regulations

May 14, 2021 (BOSTON, MA) – As a result of a lawsuit won by Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Massachusetts officials have released new draft regulations concerning waterfront development. The rules propose to retroactively codify the state’s seventeen municipal harbor plans in an effort to correct legal deficiencies in the program uncovered by CLF’s lawsuit.

“These regulations impact everyone in Massachusetts,” said Peter Shelley, Senior Counsel at CLF.  “The State can’t just rubber-stamp its way out of this problem and ignore the tidelands development principles it broke. The public needs to be involved in every step of this process and officials must offer more than just two public meetings. Access to the waterfront is enshrined in Massachusetts law and it must stay that way.”

CLF’s recent lawsuit challenged Boston’s Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan after state officials ignored decades-old rules governing public waterfront access in approving Boston’s plan. A judge ruled in favor of CLF in April.

CLF experts are available for further comment.
Photo: The view from the Boston Harborwalk near the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Jerry Monkman