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Mayor Wu Nominates 10 To Fill Expired Zoning Board Of Appeals Seats

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced her plan to remake the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.

Wu released a 10-person list of new appointees Monday, part of her bigger plan to gain more influence over real estate development in the city, the Boston Business Journal reports. The ZBA is predominantly overseen by appointees of former mayor and current U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Among the 10 nominees, Wu is reappointing three current members including Colliers Executive Vice President Jeanne Pinado, Studio Luz Architects principal Hansy Better Barraza and Tufts Medicine Senior Director Sherry Dong.

“This outstanding slate of community members will play a key role in Boston’s growth as we work to build more housing and address the regional affordability crisis, support equitable and resilient neighborhoods, and shift to planning-led development,” Wu said in a press release.

The ZBA grants approvals to developers and property owners that have plans to build anything outside of the city's zoning code. The ZBA has 14 members: seven primary and seven alternates. All but one of the board's members have expired terms, according to the board's website.

Wu also plans to push for other fundamental changes to the ZBA, including adding seats to the board that will push for particular focus on urban planning and climate change. The current ZBA has faced some controversy in the past couple of years leading Wu to campaign for changes to the board. 

In January 2020, a former Boston Planning & Development Agency employee was sentenced to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to a bribery charge, according to the BBJ

The ZBA has also faced backlash from the public over some of its rejections on residential developments. Most notably, the board rejected a mixed-use development in Roslindale Square that would have made at least 13 of its 31 apartments income-restricted.