Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu. (Kevin Coleman/WBZ NewsRadio)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu announced Monday her campaign to abolish the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).
“We can’t afford to maintain a complicated system that only the most privileged and powerful can navigate,” Wu said in a statement.
Wu said that she wants to create a system that she believes would be "equitable, sustainable, and founded on civic engagement." She said that the current "development process is built on special approvals and driven by influence."
According to Wu, the city of Boston is in the middle of a "development boom," but structural inequality in the city has made it so not everyone is able to benefit from.
"Instead of delivering the resources to address our most urgent challenges, Boston's development process is making our problems worse," Wu wrote in her proposal. "We're more and more anxious about rising home prices and rents, frustrated daily by increasing awful commutes, and scared about the flooding and extreme heat that intensify every season."
Wu is set to lead a public discussion of her report on Monday night at 5 p.m.
WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker spoke to Wu about her push to abolish the BPDA, and that she believes Boston's outdated zoning code has created problems.
Wu told WBZ NewsRadio the zoning code for the city dates back to 1964.
"That was around the time that Boston had its last city-wide master-plan that really matched the with the rules, the zoning laws," she said. "Because it is so outdated, our zoning code is functionally obsolete and there are no rules about what can be built where."
According to Wu, this creates a long process of negotiations with the community where some can receive special approval.
"That really creates a system that's driven by influence and relationships," Wu said. "We are missing out because it is a costly, unpredictable, inconsistent process right now that is really not meeting the needs of community members or the long term interests of the city."
Listen to the full conversation: