About the BRA
In 1957, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) was established by Boston City Council and the Massachusetts Legislature. The BRA assumed the development powers previously held by the Boston Housing Authority and expanded them beyond public housing. In 1960, the City Planning Board was abolished and its powers were transferred to the BRA.
The BRA's statutory authority was set forth in the Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 121B, section 4 in 1957 and Chapter 652, section 12 in 1960. Its broad development authorities include the power to buy and sell property, the power to acquire property through eminent domain, and the power to grant tax concession (under MGL chapter 121A) to encourage commercial and residential development.
The BRA's responsibilities include:
- Reviewing proposed development projects that require zoning relief, are subject to development review, are proposed to be located on publicly-owned land or in Urban Renewal areas, or that receive public subsidy.
- Making recommendations on major construction and redevelopment
- Activity to the city's Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeal.
- Drafting and recommending new zoning measures and serving as staff to the City's Zoning Commission.
- Drafting master plans that address the city's needs for infrastructure, downtown and community economic development, and that include design guidelines and development controls.
- Acquiring, selling and leasing real estate to achieve economic redevelopment and to promote public policy objectives, such as encouraging growth industries and appropriate land use policies.
- Issuing revenue bonds and notes, which do not constitute indebtedness of the city, to finance projects.
- Owning and operating three industrial parks.
- Providing financing and loan programs for businesses, as well as technical assistance and other business services.
- Providing job training, placement, and support services.