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How to apply for a parking freeze permit

Last updated:

Whether you apply for a new or modified parking freeze permit, it’s the same process.

Step
1

Is your project in a parking freeze zone?

Projects that fall within a parking freeze zone may require approval by the Air Pollution Control Commission (the Commission). You can enter your address on our online map to check if you are in a parking freeze zone.

If you have any additional questions about the need for a parking freeze application, contact the Commission.

Step
2

Do you need to apply in Downtown (Boston Proper)?

Projects that include residential parking only do NOT need to apply for a Downtown parking freeze permit or exemption certification. A residential project that includes any employee or staff parking must apply for an exemption certification.

For all other projects you MUST apply for a Downtown parking freeze permit or exemption certification. This includes permit modifications.

All projects located within the Downtown Parking Freeze Zone are encouraged to contact the Commission. For any project with residential parking only, you may request that the Commission grant you a letter of exclusion, certifying that the project is excluded from the Commission's jurisdiction.

Step
3

Do you need to apply in South Boston?

There are three zones covered by the South Boston Parking Freeze area:

  • the Piers zone
  • the Commercial and Industrial zone, and
  • the Residential zone.

You do NOT need to apply for a South Boston parking freeze permit if:

  • you want to create a parking facility that is reserved for building residents and the ratio of parking spaces to housing units is one-to-one (1:1) or less,
  • you want to create new residential parking spaces in the residential zone and the spaces are for a residence in that zone, or
  • you want to create new commercial parking spaces in the residential zone, and the spaces are for a business in that zone.

For all other projects, you MUST apply for a South Boston parking freeze permit. This includes permit modifications.

Step
4

Do you need to apply in East Boston?

There are no spaces available in the East Boston parking freeze bank. The Commission is not accepting applications for new parking freeze permits in East Boston.

Step
5

DO YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR A PERMIT MODIFICATION?

For a parking freeze permit modification, please contact APCC@boston.gov. A modification constitutes any of the following:

  • changes to the overall number of parking spaces,
  • changes in the use of the parking spaces,
  • changes in the layout of the facility,
  • changes in the ingress or egress of the facility, or
  • changes in the ownership of the facility.
Step
1

Fill out your application

The Air Pollution Control Commission's Parking Freeze Permit application is now available online. To submit a parking freeze permit application, complete the online application form and upload the necessary supporting documents (see below or consult our online filing guide).

If you are unable to access the online application form, download and fill out the application form (pdf) and return it via email to APCC@boston.gov, along with your supporting project documents.

If a section of the application doesn't apply, write “N/A.” Do not leave sections blank.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AS YOU COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION:

1. General Application Information

Parcel ID number:

The Parcel ID number is assigned to the land by the Assessing Department. You can find this number on your most recent property tax return or on the Assessing Department's tax parcel viewer.

2. Parking Facility Information

Maximum Parking Ratios:

For any building project larger than 50,000 square feet, consult the Boston Transportation Department’s maximum parking ratio guidelines. Determine the maximum amount of parking recommended based on your project's square footage and proposed uses.

Bike Parking Guidelines:

Consult Boston’s official bike parking guidelines (pdf) for a complete list of requirements. Learn more about Boston's bike rack program.

Electric Vehicle Readiness Policy:

The current electric vehicle readiness policy (pdf) requires that 25% of parking spaces be equipped with EV chargers and 100% of remaining spaces be “EV-ready”, or equivalent, to the maximum extent practicable. 

 

 

Step
2

Compile your project documents

In addition to your completed application, we will also need the following documents:

1. Written Proof of Ownership

Written proof that you are the owner of record or have written approval from the owner of record to file the application. We will accept the following documents:

a. a copy of last year's bill from the Assessing Department;

b. a statement from the owner; or

c. another written document proving ownership or authorization.

2. Site Plan

A site plan for the proposed facility and a locus map, as well as any other documents necessary to completely describe the proposed work. Plans must show:

a. the location of the proposed parking and the surrounding area;

b. layout and number of parking spaces in the facility;

c. entry and exit locations;

d. total square footage of the parking area;

e. location, type, and amount of electric vehicle parking; and

f. the location and amount of bicycle parking and bicycle facilities.

3. Statement of Need

A “Statement of Need” that includes a general description of the facility and the parking needs of the project, local entities, and patrons that the proposed facility will serve. Please include any written support (letters, etc.) that you wish to supply in support of this statement.

4. Application Fee

A check or money order made payable to the City of Boston, Air Pollution Control Commission. A $20 fee per parking space is applied to all locations across the Downtown Boston, South Boston, and East Boston Parking Freeze Zones.

a. NOTE: The application fee must be received by the application deadline in order for the item to be considered at the upcoming Commission hearing.

5. Abutters List

All abutters within 300 feet of the project property line must be notified. Abutter notices must be sent in both English and the second-most commonly spoken language or languages in the neighborhood or neighborhoods where the project is proposed. Notices shall also include Babel notice cards for additional translation and language access services.

a. An abutter is the owner of a property within 300 feet of the proposed parking facility. You can contact the City's Assessing Department or use the City's Abutter Mailing List Generator to obtain a list of abutters.

b. Our staff will provide template abutter and newspaper notices in English and the second most spoken language. The proponent shall be responsible for translating the project description.

           i. NOTE: Some neighborhoods do not have a second most spoken language. In this case, you will only be responsible for sending out the English version of the abutter notice.

c. The Babel notice card can be downloaded online.

Step
3

Submit your application

If submitting a PDF application, email your application and documents to APCC@boston.gov.

In addition to submitting the application via the online form or via email, please mail one hard copy of the application materials with the application fee payment to:

Air Pollution Control Commission, Environment Department

1 City Hall Square, Room 709

Boston, MA 02201

NOTE: Other Applicable Reviews

If you are working in a historic district or on a designated landmark, you should consult with the appropriate historic or architectural commission. If you are working in the floodplain or within 100 feet of a wetland, you should consult with the Conservation Commission. Visit boston.gov/landmarks and boston.gov/conservation before starting any work.

Step
1

Staff will contact you

The Commission reviews all received applications in regularly scheduled public hearings. Once we receive your application, we will:

  • Review the application and notify you of any missing or incomplete materials,
  • Notify you of the date of your hearing,
  • Share a hearing preparation timeline and Joint Staff Report template to complete, 
  • Share a draft permit or exemption certification for review (standard permit conditions are available for review in this Google Drive folder).

The Commission will only consider applications that are submitted by the filing deadline. If you miss the deadline, you will have to wait until the following public hearing.

Step
2

Notify abutters and the general public

  • You will need to publish a public notice in a major or local newspaper 14–21 days before your hearing date.
  • You will also need to notify any abutters of your application 14–21 days before your hearing date.

Our staff will provide newspaper and abutter notices about 28 days before your hearing date. Abutter notices must be sent in both English and the second-most commonly spoken language(s) in the neighborhood of the proposed project. Proponents are responsible for translating the project description; staff will highlight the text to be translated for your convenience. 

NOTE: Some neighborhoods do not have a second most spoken language. In this case, you will only be responsible for sending out the English version of the abutter notice.

Step
3

Prepare your presentation materials

The Commission holds monthly (or, at minimum, quarterly) hearings to review applications. We post hearing information on our Commission page. A detailed hearing notice is posted on the City's public notices page 10 days before the hearing.

Before the hearing, you will need to share any digital slides you may wish to present during the hearing (Powerpoint or Google Slides; PDF will not be accepted). If you wish to use a presentation, please submit it to APCC@boston.gov by 12 p.m. two days before the hearing.

Step
4

Attend the hearing

All APCC hearings will be held virtually until at least March 31, 2025, in accordance with Chapter 2 of the Acts of 2023. Staff will provide the Zoom meeting link and access information. Hearing information will also be available in the hearing agenda posted on the City's public notices page.

At the hearing, you or a representative should be prepared to present your application to the Commission. The Chair will introduce the application, then invite you to provide a brief overview of the project. Please limit your presentation to 10 minutes. After your presentation, Commissioners may ask you questions and ask for staff comments. After Commissioner questions, members of the public will be invited to submit their comments.

Following the discussion, the Chair will ask for a motion. If a motion is brought and seconded, the Commission will vote. If the Commission votes to approve the permit, our staff will finalize the permit after the meeting. If any conditions were amended, staff will make permit modifications as instructed before finalizing the permit.

Applications and fees

application fee

Please include a check or money order made payable to the City of Boston, Air Pollution Control Commission. The fee is $20 per parking space for any facility applying for a new or modified parking freeze permit, or exemption certification.

ANNUAL RENEWALS

All permits and exemption certifications are required to be renewed on July 1, 2021, and annually every July 1 thereafter, for a fee of $20 per space. The renewal requirement applies to all facilities located in the freezes in:

  • Downtown Boston
  • South Boston, and
  • East Boston.
VIOLATIONS AND FEES
  • If you don’t follow the Parking Freeze regulations, or violate the terms of your permit, you may get a violation and fine.
  • We consider each day that you violate the permit or regulations as a separate violation.
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