Whether you apply for a new or modified parking freeze permit, it’s the same process.
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 webmap to check if you are in a parking freeze zone.
Who needs to apply in Downtown
You do NOT need to apply for a Downtown parking freeze permit or exemption certification if your project includes residential parking only. If a residential project includes any employee or staff parking, you must apply for an exemption certification.
For all other projects you MUST apply for a Downtown parking freeze permit or exemption certification.
All projects located within the Downtown Parking Freeze Zone are encouraged to contact the Commission. For any project with residential parking only, the Commission will grant you a letter of exclusion, certifying that the project is excluded from the Commission's jurisdiction.
Who needs 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.
You can contact the Commission if you are still unsure.
Who needs 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.
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.
Fill out your application
NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we must receive your application via email by the deadline. You must also mail a hard copy of your application and your application fee payment. We will accept applications but will not issue any permits before receiving payment.
If a section of the application doesn't apply, be sure to write “N/A.”Please note:
- We will need the Parcel ID number 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.
- The Commission's current electric vehicle readiness policy (pdf) requires that 25 percent of parking spaces be equipped with EV chargers and 100 percent of remaining spaces be “EV-ready”, or equivalent, to the maximum extent practicable. You may download an interactive EV requirement equivalence calculator (xlsx). For additional electric vehicle resources, visit Recharge Boston.
- Consult the official bike guidelines for bicycle parking requirements. Learn more about Boston's bike rack program.
- Consult the maximum parking ratio guidelines for any project that is over 50,000 square feet and understand the maximum amount of parking recommended based on your project's square footage and proposed uses.
Compile your project documents
In addition to your application, we will also need the following documents:
- 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 copy of last year's bill from the Assessing Department
- a statement from the owner, or
- another written document proving ownership or authorization.
- A site plan for the proposed facility and a locus map. We also need any other documents necessary to completely describe the proposed work. Plans must show:
- the location of the proposed parking and the surrounding area
- layout and number of spaces
- entry and exit locations
- total square footage of the parking area, location, type, and amount of electric vehicle parking, and
- the location and amount of bicycle parking and bicycle facilities.
- A “Statement of Need” that details why you need the parking spots and how they will serve your patrons. This should include a general description of the facility and parking needs. Please include any supporting items like letters from neighborhood associations or local businesses.
- 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. NOTE: Due to COVID-19, we will accept an application but will not issue a permit until payment has been received and processed.
- An 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.
- 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 Map to obtain a list of abutters.
- NOTE: 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.
- The Babel notice card can be downloaded online.
Submit your application
You can email your application and documents to APCC@boston.gov.
After you have submitted the application 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: Due to COVID-19, we are requiring that all applications be submitted online. We will accept application but will not issue a permit until we have received the hard copy of application and payment of the application fee.
We will get in touch
The Commission reviews all received applications in regularly scheduled public hearings. Once we receive your application, we will notify you of the date of your hearing. You will also receive a hearing timeline and Joint Staff Report template to complete. Staff will also share a draft permit or exemption certification for review.
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.Please bear in mind that:
- 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.
Out 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 or languages in the neighborhood or neighborhoods abutting the proposed project. Proponents are responsible for translating the project description; staff will highlight the text to be translated for your convenience.
Get ready for the hearing
The Commission holds quarterly hearings to review applications. We post hearing information on our Commission page. Detailed hearing information will appear 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, Google Slides, or other). If you wish to use a presentation, please make sure to send it to APCC@boston.gov by 12 p.m. two days before the hearing.
Attend the hearing
Staff will provide information on hearing location and access. Hearing information will also be available in the hearing agenda posted on our 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 public 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
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.
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.
- 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 a separate violation.