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Old 09-26-2008, 04:23 AM   #1
12345
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Height Limits

Reaching lower heights?
Effort to protect Logan airspace could shorten new buildings

The Massachusetts Port Authority, moving to protect Logan International Airport from encroaching development, is adopting new height guidelines that could restrict the size of a future casino in East Boston as well as buildings in the financial district and along the Fort Point Channel in South Boston.

The guidelines establish a circle of protected airspace around Logan that is critical to maintaining flight paths and airport operations. Massport officials said any proposed development that exceeds the guidelines could be forced to cut its height.

"Our intent is to protect our airspace," said Flavio Leo, director of aviation planning for Massport, which runs Logan. "We're in a position where we need to maintain the airport's efficiency and safety over the long run."

The Federal Aviation Administration makes the final determination on the allowable height of buildings, but officials there said Massport's guidelines would inform their reviews and ensure the accuracy of decision-making.

The guidelines, unveiled this week, could have a significant impact on future development. A map of the height restrictions shows that buildings on the site of Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston must be kept between 125 to 250 feet - about 12 to 25 stories - potentially limiting attempts to build a high-rise casino or another large development.

An executive at Suffolk Downs said the track is reviewing the guidelines. "We are confident that we can continue to work cooperatively on potential future development of our property, especially development that will create much-needed jobs," said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs.

The restrictions could also limit the scale of development on a 16-acre parcel known as the postal annex along the Fort Point Channel, where the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle is weighing the possible dimensions of a mixed-use project.

Massport officials said the maximum height on the property would be between 290 and 325 feet, significantly less than the 400 feet allowed for development of a new glass office tower over nearby South Station. A spokesman for Jones Lang LaSalle said the restrictions will not affect the firm's plans.

"The postal project is 100 percent on firm ground," said the spokesman, Steve Steinberg.

Also affected would be future proposals for towers along the Massachusetts Turnpike between South Boston and the Back Bay, although existing proposals such as the $800 million Columbus Center project would not be affected, because it has already been permitted.

"We know this may affect a few sites, but overall it's consistent with our thinking about where height ought to be accommodated," said John Palmieri, executive director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city's planning arm. "Obviously, the issues surrounding safety are compelling and we think we can work within this framework." The guidelines would make Logan the third US airport to develop comprehensive height limits, along with Miami and Phoenix. Logan is just three miles from downtown Boston, putting it closer to a city center than almost any other major US airport.

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Graphic Restrictions on the height of development around Boston
The primary goal of the guidelines is to ensure pilots have clear flight paths that eliminate the need for excessive maneuvering. Such maneuvering becomes untenable in low visibility conditions and can force airlines or controllers to switch runways, thus creating travel delays and reducing the efficiency of airport operations.

The guidelines are based on the hypothetical flight paths of planes that encounter difficulties taking off and landing at Logan. To create the height limits, Massport officials mapped the flight paths of planes that either lost one engine while taking off or had to abort a landing amid difficult weather conditions. Those scenarios would cause the planes to fly lower, necessitating that Massport protect airspace where they can safely navigate among buildings.

Airport officials said they are most concerned about protecting airspace over the waterfront in South Boston, where guidelines were first developed several years ago due to concerns raised by the FAA. Planes flying through the corridor have less room to maneuver because of the Federal Reserve Bank and other towers in the financial district.

Construction of a new tower would force Massport to change flight procedures for the use of runway 27, a move that could restrict takeoffs and landings during difficult weather conditions. No current developments exceed the height limits, but officials said they will monitor new proposals.

"That's that area that has had the most diminution of airspace flexibility," said Lowell Richards, chief development officer for Massport. "If the airlines or the FAA choose to use different runways, it could affect on-time performance as well as noise impacts in the city."

While creation of the guidelines represents a more concerted effort to restrict development, real estate professionals welcomed Massport's efforts as a way to eliminate confusion in the review process.

Currently, federal regulators review the height of buildings on a case by case basis, meaning developers have no precise knowledge about the limits on construction until they seek a formal review. In the spring, businessman Steve Belkin and city officials were told by the FAA that a plan for a 1,000-foot tower at Winthrop Square in downtown would obstruct flight traffic, adding to myriad complications facing the ambitious proposal. An FAA official said Belkin, whose tower would be limited to about 700 feet under Massport's guidelines, has not since asked for a formal review.

"This enables developers to do proper planning, because they know the restrictions going into it," said David Begelfer, chief executive of the Massachusetts office of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

"Before, you might already have money committed to acquisition or permitting, only to find out that you have a height problem."

http://www.boston.com/business/artic...eights/?page=2
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:30 AM   #2
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Re: Height Limits

It's always so nice to read nonsense first thing in the morning.

The Columbus Center wouldn't be affected, because it's already been permitted. But, if you try to build directly next to it, you will have to be shorter to protect our planes. Oh not to mention, right next door is an 800 foot tower, but we can dodge that. You may only be 400'.

Since when is the South Station tower 400'? Last time I checked this fella was well over 600' to take over as number 3 in the city.

Did I fall asleep for a lot longer than one night last night?

I'm no flight path engineer, or whatever these feebs claim to be. But, limiting the height of a new development to be significantly lower than the existing structure adjacent to it, will do nothing to protect flight paths, or planes, or whatever. This will only deter future growth, and therefore our local economy is further stifled.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:30 AM   #3
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Re: Height Limits

A graphic image that came along with it

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Old 09-26-2008, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: Height Limits

"Since when is the South Station tower 400'? Last time I checked this fella was well over 600' to take over as number 3 in the city."

I can only speculate that they are referring to Russia Wharf, not the SST.
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Old 09-26-2008, 02:45 PM   #5
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Re: Height Limits

This fucking city is ridiclious. It is no way we are going to see anyting higher than The JHT ever. Damn with all of these zoning and now flight resrictions developers are just going to go to New York. If I was a developer I would never build here. It is no way we are ever going to have a world class skyline.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:30 PM   #6
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Re: Height Limits

Man I hear you. When I am walking down Newbury St, eating in the North End, or biking through the Fenway all I can think is how much this city sucks cause it doesn't have giant towers.

If you want Boston to be New York or Hong Kong, move to New York or Hong Kong.

From the Aquarium/Tower thread:

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Originally Posted by Meadowhawk View Post
This is an interesting topic, that of tall buildings and the esteem they bring to a city. Do tall buildings really benefit Boston? Boston is a great city, and has always been a great city without tall buildings, much like Florence or Athens today. Unfortunately much of Boston's great architecture has been destroyed or burned down in its history and none of it consisted of tall buildings. Boston is a great city because of its colonial history, its maritime history, as well as the hundreds of thousands of European immigrants that came here and shaped the city. Boston is famous for the Brahmin society that were influenced on their grand tours of Europe and returned to lay the foundations of Back Bay and our present great cultural institutions. I think its great that Boston has some tall buildings, but I firmly believe that if we never get another one, it doesn't mean Boston is any less great than it was before it ever had one.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:43 PM   #7
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Re: Height Limits

don't forget Chicago...he can move to Chicago

though I agree the flight pattern height restrictions are a nuissance but a plethora of skyscrapers is not the answer for Boston
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:10 PM   #8
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Re: Height Limits

In most of downtown you can build 700', and many areas higher. The problem is that in Boston there are many neighborhoods that are gonna bitch when you propose something that tall.
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:38 PM   #9
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Re: Height Limits

*goes to search facebook for groups about the demolition of logan airport*
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:56 PM   #10
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Re: Height Limits

I like Boston mostly as it is. But I do dislike allowing Logan to dictate downtown heights. They are an airport, for goodness sake. They serve the city, not the other way around.

Now, am I willing to be reasonable, and negotiate this ? Sure.
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: Height Limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen View Post
Man I hear you. When I am walking down Newbury St, eating in the North End, or biking through the Fenway all I can think is how much this city sucks cause it doesn't have giant towers.
The moderator has spoken. All hail the moderator!
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:40 PM   #12
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Re: Height Limits

I suppose the aviation association (forget the correct name) has a say on how high buildings should be because you don't want planes crashing into buildings that are built too high in it's path of flight, however, it is a nuissance to see this city that I was born and raised in denied world class architecture that could possibly make our city as one of the cities with one of the most spectacular skylines. Lets face it, as much as we adore the good ol' landmark that it the Pru, it is very much an outdated tower, and aside from the John Hancock Tower's (JHT) sleek exterior, The only two big buildings we have is The Pru and JHT, and how sad is that? Major cities' claim to fame (among other things) are their eye-catching buildings, their skyline. Why should this great city of Boston be denied that? Maybe Logan should relocate so that we can build up, and jazz up the skyline!!!!
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:05 PM   #13
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Re: Height Limits

This is actually a plus; while the height limits may be too strict, it finally codifies the height limits for the area, instead of it being in a case-by-case basis. Probably would shave one year off of permitting, unless if Boston's bureaucracy then spends one year doing nothing (not like they do anything during "permitting"). This is just the first plan, the limits probably will be relaxed somewhat.
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Old 09-26-2008, 10:12 PM   #14
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Re: Height Limits

What's with the sudden influx of skyline devotees? If you knew anything about Boston and great cities in general you would know that skylines do not make great cities better, they make lousy cities appear better(Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Miami, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, etc.). I appreciate tall buildings as much as anyone else, but the alleged direct correlation between height and quality architecture is absurd. To say Boston is being denied anything is ridiculous, it's being spared it as far as I'm concerned. It's the Federal Aviation Authority by the way, not some hobbyist association as you make it out to be.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:26 PM   #15
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Re: Height Limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmp1284 View Post
What's with the sudden influx of skyline devotees? If you knew anything about Boston and great cities in general you would know that skylines do not make great cities better, they make lousy cities appear better(Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Miami, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, etc.).
Well said!
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Old 09-27-2008, 02:45 AM   #16
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Re: Height Limits

Relax! It's possible to have great cities AND tall buildings in the same locale.
As of now, this is not a directive; it's a proposal. It can (and should) be amended.
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:43 AM   #17
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Re: Height Limits

Bulldoze Logan Airport. Its a sucky airport to begin with, irrespective of the affect it has on building heights. And yes, I could get by without having an airport 5 minutes from downtown - its an abberation. In practically every other citiy, the airport is a good distance from downtown.

I know its a pipe dream though...
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:04 AM   #18
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Re: Height Limits

Guys, relax. These are not serious height limits - the financial district can still grow substantially in height. And I love that Logan is so close to the city; JFK is a nightmare.
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:04 AM   #19
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Re: Height Limits

Boston with height
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:14 AM   #20
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Re: Height Limits

^^Lol, I have to say even with the distortion, it looks pretty cool. Reminds me of Frankfurt or something.
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