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Development approval near public parks and parkways

Any construction or alteration within 100 feet of a park or parkway requires the approval of the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission prior to the issuance of building permits.

The review under Municipal Code Section 7-4.11 (the "100' rule") generally focuses on projects adjacent to:

  • public parks and parkways owned by the City, state, or federal government
  • open space that is protected by a conservation or deed restrictions, and
  • property protected under Article 97 of the Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Projects near certain parkways in the City also need to follow the height and setbacks created in Municipal Ordinance Sections 7-4.10, 7-4.12, and 7-4.13.

Need to know

Before you can get building permits, the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission will need to approve your project. The Commission typically reviews projects after all other federal, state, and City agencies, including:

  • the Boston Planning & Development Agency
  • the Zoning Board of Appeal
  • the Landmarks Commission, and
  • the Conservation Commission.

Small renovations and additions may be approved administratively.  This approval typically takes about two weeks after all plans and information have been received. Applications are due by the first Friday of each month in order to be considered at that month’s public hearing.

How do I know if my property requires the review of the Parks Commission?

Submit an application

You can complete and submit our online form to start the review process:

Online application

Parks Commission hearings are typically held on the last Monday of the month.  Please submit your application by the first Friday of the month to be considered for the agenda.
Paper applications

You can also download the Parks Commission Design Review application form. Email your application to or drop it off:

Boston Parks and Recreation Commission
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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