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Downtown Boston master zoning plan to prioritize transit, affordable housing, open space

Public hearings could start this fall, with the final plan coming in 2020

Mariusz Lopusiewicz/Shutterstock

The Boston Planning & Development Agency has launched an approximately two-year initiative to devise a new master zoning plan for downtown Boston that will emphasize public space, affordable housing, and transportation.

The effort—for which some preservationists, business owners, and affordable housing activists have advocated for years—is an acknowledgement that a lot has changed in downtown Boston since the last comprehensive plan for the area 30 years ago.

It’s increasingly mixed-use, rather than mostly office and retail, as the Globe’s Tim Logan points out. Residential development in particular has spiked downtown in recent years. And the city wants a master zoning plan going forward that reflects this increasingly 24-7 nature.

The BPDA is currently seeking consultants to design the plan, and wants to host public meetings in the fall of 2018. The final plan would come in early 2020. Stay tuned.