In a recent letter (May 25), Craig A. Pendleton argued that waterfront zoning protecting fishermen would cut off development – the economic engine of the city. I disagree. The economic engine of the city has never been tied to just fishermen. It’s tied to schools, public services, a variety of housing types and neighborhoods, honest government and a wide array of development activities.

Forty years ago, the West End and the Old Port spurred growth; then it was Congress Street; then a burst of peninsula housing; then office blocks in and around Monument Square. Today, it’s hotels, small businesses, Munjoy Hill’s renaissance, India Street and Bayside – all fueled by the factors noted above and corralled by zoning that was at times too accommodating.

The waterfront zoning that’s needed today ought not pit any of the development activities noted against fishermen. Ninety-seven percent of the city’s land area is open to the types of development that have facilitated 40 years of growth. The portion of the city with immediate water access (land and pier areas) constitutes less than 3 percent of the city’s total land.

On this narrow base of land-pier area, we must allow water-dependent uses to have precedence. Sprague, Cianchette, Vessel Services, Eimskip, cruise boats, ferry services, tugboats, island delivery, ship repair and support facilities and fishermen all must find a place. These (in the aggregate) are an essential part of the economic engine of the city. None of these activities can exist on Congress Street or Monument Square. They must be on the waterfront.

In short, water-dependent uses must have the zoning protections they need to survive. If we would keep the city’s economic engine going, zoning must steer nonwater-dependent uses off scarce waterfront land – they already have access to 97 percent of the city.

Orlando E. Delogu


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