Mayor Walsh Institutes New Standards At Boston Zoning Board

BOSTON (State House News Service) — The Walsh administration on Monday made changes to the standards that govern the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, with Mayor Martin Walsh saying the new requirements are stricter than those outlined in state ethics laws.

Walsh also announced he plans to file legislation to change the board's membership "to ensure that it is reflective of our neighborhoods and their concerns." That proposal would need Beacon Hill approval to take effect.

In addition to technological changes to make the board more accessible to the public, the changes outlined in an executive order signed by Walsh affect conflict of interest, financial and ethical disclosures for board members and certain applicants who come before the board seeking development project approvals.

The order bans board members from participating in any project in which they have an interest or bans members from having any subsequent business dealings with any project on which they voted. Each board member would also be required to submit annual statements of financial interest and undergo comprehensive ethics training, according to the order.

The order, which follows a bribery case that damaged the board's reputation, also calls for a new ombudsperson to notify the public of their rights during and outside board meetings and to guide residents or appellants through an appeal.

by Michael P. Norton, State House News Service

WBZ NewsRadio's Kevin Coleman (@KevinColemanWBZ) reports

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