On Monday, September 13th, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)’s Board approved regulations to establish a Coastal Flood Resilience Overlay District (CFROD) to ensure that certain new or substantially renovated buildings in the city’s most flood-prone neighborhoods can withstand risings seas and storm surges. The CFROD, also referred to as Article 25A, would apply the BPDA’s Coastal Flood Resilience Guidelines for projects subject to Article 80 Large and Small Project Review. In terms of process next steps, it is expected that at the October 13, 2021, Boston Zoning Commission hearing, the BPDA Director will petition the Commission to adopt Article 25A and the overlay district map and the approval will ultimately be granted.
Based upon feedback from A Better City, other stakeholders, and the public, Article 25A was updated and a revised version posted on August 23, 2021. The updated markup showed that consideration had been given to A Better City’s comments about below grade parking and modeling data clarification. A Better City submitted comments on the draft Coastal Flood Resilience Overlay District on February 12, 2021, to make the following recommendations:
As part of the 2016 Climate Ready Boston plan, Climate Ready Boston directed the BPDA to develop a set of design guidelines and a zoning overlay district to promote coastal flood resilience in vulnerable areas of the City. In 2019, the BPDA developed Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines for new construction and building retrofits, aimed at assisting property owners in understanding their vulnerability to current and future flood events while providing a best practices toolkit for flood resistant design measures. The Design Guidelines were adopted by the BPDA on September 12, 2019.
Since then, the BPDA has been developing a Coastal Flood Resilience Zoning Overlay District, Article 25A, as part of the Boston Zoning Code. The Zoning Overlay and zoning map relates to areas of the City anticipated to be inundated by a major storm event (known as a 1% chance of flood event) in 2070 with 40-inches of sea level rise, which is within the usable life of most buildings currently undergoing BPDA review. The 40-inch inundation area is already integrated into the BPDA Zoning Viewer and represents flood extents and flood levels as the Sea Level Rise Base Flood Elevations (“SLR-BFE”).
The flood extents and elevations have been modeled through the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model, which has been used by the City and Commonwealth of Massachusetts to evaluate future flood risks. Within the Zoning Overlay there are new definitions and standards for building dimensions and uses to facilitate flood resilient design for new projects and building retrofits. Specific provisions include:
The Design Guidelines will be administered with the Zoning Overlay through Resilience Review which will become a component of the Article 80 development review process.
For further information, please contact Yve Torrie.