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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT PROTECTING SUNLIGHT AND PROMOTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE CITY OF BOSTON.

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Subsection (b) of section 2 of chapter 362 of the acts of 1990 is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 7 and 8, the words “, subject to the one acre exclusion set forth in the second sentence of subsection (c)”.
     SECTION 2.  Subsection (c) of said section 2 of said chapter 362 is hereby amended by striking out the second sentence. 
     SECTION 3.  Said section 2 of said chapter 362 is hereby further amended by inserting after subsection (c) the following subsection:-
     (d)  Any structure located on property owned by the city of Boston on January 1, 2016, and located west of Federal street, south of Franklin street, east of Devonshire street and north of the intersection of High street and Summer street, which casts a new shadow upon the Boston Common in the city of Boston for not more than 2 hours after the later of 7:00 A.M. or the first hour after sunrise.
     SECTION 4.  Subsection (b) of section 2 of chapter 384 of the acts of 1992 is hereby amended by striking out, in line 4, the word “or”.
     SECTION 5.  Said section 2 of said chapter 384 is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 19, the word “Garden.” and inserting in place thereof the following words:-  Garden; or
     (d)  Any structure located on property owned by the city of Boston on January 1, 2016, and located west of Federal street, south of Franklin street, east of Devonshire street and north of the intersection of High street and Summer street, which casts a new shadow upon the Public Garden in the city of Boston for not more than 45 minutes after the later of 7:00 A.M. or the first hour after sunrise.
     SECTION 6.  As used in this section and section 7 the following words shall have the following meanings:
     “Article 48”, article 48 of the Boston zoning code as it existed on March 31, 2017.
     “New shadow”, the casting of a shadow at any time on an area that is not cast in shadow at such time by a structure that exists or for which a building permit or local zoning entitlements through the Boston zoning board of appeal or zoning commission of the city of Boston have been granted on the date upon which application is made to the permit granting authority for a proposed structure and which would not be cast in shadow by a structure conforming to as-of-right height limits allowed by the Boston zoning code as in force on March 31, 2017; provided, however, that “new shadow” shall not include a de minimis shadow cast by an antenna, fence, flagpole, sign or other similar structure.
     “Permit granting authority,” the Boston zoning board of appeal, the zoning commission of the city of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Boston Planning and Development Agency or other public body authorized to grant permits or approvals pursuant to chapter 121A or chapter 121B of the General Laws, chapter 665 of the acts of 1956 or the Boston zoning code; provided, however, that “permit granting authority” shall not include the inspectional services department of the city of Boston or a body or department succeeding in the duties of it.
     “Copley square park,” the land in the city of Boston bounded by Boylston street, Clarendon street, St. James avenue and Dartmouth street and under the care, custody, management and control of the parks and recreation commission of the city of Boston, excluding land occupied by Trinity Church in the city of Boston.
     “Structure,” a structure, as defined in the state building code, which is: (i) intended to be permanent; and (ii) not located within the boundaries of Copley square park.
     SECTION 7.  Notwithstanding chapter 121A or chapter 121B of the General Laws, chapter 665 of the acts of 1956 or any other general or special law to the contrary, a permit granting authority shall not take an action that would authorize the construction of a structure within the Stuart Street District established by article 48 that would cast a new shadow for more than 2 hours from 8:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M., inclusive, on any day from March 21 to October 21, inclusive, in any calendar year on any area of Copley square park; provided, however, that this section shall not apply to actions authorizing a structure that has received local zoning entitlements through the Boston zoning board of appeal or by virtue of being included in a development plan or planned development area master plan within the Stuart Street District, as approved not later than March 31, 2017, by the zoning commission of the city of Boston in accordance with said chapter 665, as such board of appeal relief or development plan may thereafter be amended; provided further, that such an amendment shall not permit construction of a structure that would cast additional new shadow for more than 2 hours as aforesaid.
     SECTION 8.  The Boston Redevelopment Authority or the Boston Planning and Development Agency shall conduct a planning initiative for the downtown area of the city of Boston for an area including, but not limited to, the Midtown Cultural District established by article 38 of the Boston zoning code and that area of the city known as the financial district.  The initiative shall be conducted in partnership with the community to examine the preservation, enhancement and growth of the downtown area of the city of Boston in order to balance growth with livability while respecting the importance of sunlight, walkability and a dynamic mix of uses. The initiative shall culminate in a report that shall include, but shall not be limited to, recommendations concerning: (i) development guidelines to facilitate predictable and appropriate development and community benefits; (ii) balancing area enhancement with the needs of existing residents, businesses and property owners; (iii) historic preservation; (iv) impacts of development on the environment, open space and the public realm, specifically including shadow impacts; and (v) adaptability to the risks associated with climate change. The planning initiative shall commence not later than 6 months after the effective date of this act and the Boston Redevelopment Authority or the Boston Planning and Development Agency shall publish the report on the planning initiative not later than 3 years after the effective date of this act.
     SECTION 9.  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, July 28, 2017