Article 19 Questions


I am seeking clarity about the two sites at 37A and 2B. I understand that these are sites that could be developed and are part of a subgroup of sites that includes the Children’s building and parking garage, and that these sites were included in the parking study.

The Planning Board presentation said developing the other 2 sites were deferred by Children’s.

Question 1: would another company who wanted to use one of those sites for an office building be able to, or does Children’s have some sort of claim to those 2 undeveloped sites.

Although Boston Children’s does not have any immediate plans to develop 37A Street or 2B Street, it will be the owner of those sites.  Accordingly, no other companies would have the ability to use those sites.

Question 2: for the zoning amendment that we are asked to approve, does it have any particular impact on those 2 sites as compared to the rest of the "NE business center district."

The zoning amendment would allow a Pediatric Medical Facility on 37A Street or 2B Street if a special permit amendment is approved by the Planning Board and payments are made to the Town under the Agreement Regarding Payments in Lieu of Taxes and the Host Community Agreement.

Q: I heard the Children’s Hospital will have a helicopter pad for landings on their facility. Is this true?

A: No, the Children’s Hospital facility will not have landing pad and there will be no helicopters.

What is the current assessment? 

The property that Boston Children’s Hospital is purchasing is currently part of a larger parcel. The parcel has not yet been divided and does not have an assessment.

Will Children’s buy the land before issuance of the building permit which triggers the PILOT payment?


If not, is there an agreement on an interim assessed value?

BCH will acquire the property prior to the issuance of a building permit. In the interim, the property is fully taxable.

Questions for the Proponent

What is the rationale for requiring the uses to be owned/controlled by a Pediatric Hospital?

The proponent feels it is appropriate for the zoning amendment to reflect the nature of the use that Boston Children’s Hospital would like to operate within the New England Business Center (an ambulatory medical center for pediatric patients that will be owned/controlled by a Pediatric Hospital).  Additionally, the use is intended to be complimentary to (not in conflict with) the other medical uses operated by Beth Israel Deaconess Needham Hospital within the Medical Services Overlay District.

Why should a facility with the sole use of “professional, business or administrative office” (item ii under the definition) be permitted as a medical facility?

A Pediatric Medical Facility will contain complementary medical uses, including administrative office space, and the definition is intended to capture all of these uses.  Professional, business or other administrative offices within the definition of Pediatric Medical Facility must be owned, operated or managed directly by a Pediatric Hospital.  We also note that “professional, business or administrative office” is already allowed as-of-right within the New England Business Center Zoning District but such offices need not be owned, operated or managed directly by a Pediatric Hospital.

I would welcome comment by the Planning Board or Select on the above as well.

                The Planning Board concurs with the response of the proponent.

Questions for the Planning Board

I understand the proponents’ rationale for the parking provision of one space per 290 square feet of floor area. Would the planning board support a reduction in the parking requirement on either of the following bases: 

Reduction to one space per 300 square feet of floor area for consistency with round numbers used for other types of facilities (e.g., 300 square feet for offices).

Further reduction (such as to 350 square feet) for the purpose of not requiring more parking than the market requires and allowing the special permit process to dictate higher levels, including the 290 square foot level for the current proposed facility.

 The Planning Board would not support a reduction in the required parking standard for a Pediatric Medical Facility of one space per 290 square feet of floor area.  The parking standard for this use was developed based on a review of benchmark ratios of similar healthcare facilities, comparable satellite pediatric facilities that Boston Children’s Hospital operates at other eastern Massachusetts locations, including Brookline, Waltham and Peabody, and the Institute of Transportation Engineer’s (ITE) Parking Generation Manual, 5th Edition land use code matrix associated with Boston Children’s Hospital’s development program.

That said, Needham’s Zoning By-law under Section does provide for a reduction by special permit in the required number of parking spaces for a particular land use, where it can be demonstrated by an applicant that a particular use, owing to special circumstances, does not warrant the number of parking spaces required. In such cases, the Planning Board in granting the special permit, may require monitoring of the as-built parking program to assure that the parking provided meets the needs of the facility. Further, if a deficiency is observed, the Planning Board can require that the parking accommodation be increased to meet the observed need.  This process, we believe, provides the Town with assurance that the parking provided will be adequate to serve a stated use while at the same time providing flexibility to the applicant.

It was never explicitly stated — are the PILOT and Host Community agreements in force for as long as Boston Children’s Hospital is at that location or is there a fixed termination date?

The PILOT Agreement and the Host Community Agreement do not have a termination date. Both agreements will remain in effect for as long as BCH (or any successor or subsidiary of BCH) operates a Pediatric Medical Facility at this site.

Based on Ms. McKnight’s excellent video presentation, it is clear the Planning Board is comfortable with the proponents’ off-street parking needs analysis, which was performed by VHB and clarified by Beta, and which was based on review of local and national peer institutions. The resulting proposed required minimum parking amount (3.45 spaces per 1000 square feet) is less than half of the requirement set forth in the Needham Zoning By-laws for Medical Services Building or Medical Clinic within the Medical Overlay District (7 spaces per 1000 square feet) [Section 3.6.7of Zoning By-Laws]. Can the Board explain how the building uses within the proposed project will differ enough from the building uses envisioned for the town’s Medical Services Buildings and Medical Clinics to support 50% less required parking? 

Thank you for your question.  The same question (whether the parking requirements set forth in Section 3.6.7 of the Zoning Bylaw would be the appropriate standard for a Pediatric Medical Facility) was raised by BETA Group, Inc. (“BETA”) in connection with their peer review of the proposed parking standard on behalf of the Town. Based on the analysis prepared by VHB (the traffic engineers for Children’s) and our review of the Bylaw, we do not believe that Section 3.6.7 is appropriate for the following reasons:

•           Section 3.6.7 sets forth off-street parking requirements for hospitals, health care facilities, medical clinics, and medical services in the Medical Overlay District within the Chestnut Street Business District. These standards are meant to apply to the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and these requirements do not apply to any uses within the New England Business Center Zoning District, which is the zoning district within which a Pediatric Medical Facility would be allowed.

•           Section 3.6.7.a applies when a site contains only a Medical Services Building or Medical Clinic.  A Pediatric Medical Facility is neither a Medical Services Building or a Medical Clinic.  While some portion of a Pediatric Medical Facility will contain uses similar to a Medical Services Building or Medical Clinic, it will be a completely different use comprised of multiple complementary medical uses.

•           Section 3.6.7.c sets forth off-street parking requirements for a site containing a Hospital or a combination of Hospital with a Medical Service Building, Medical Clinic, and/or Health Care Facility. This does not apply because a Pediatric Medical Facility is not a Hospital, in whole or in part.  A Pediatric Medical Facility will not have an emergency department, overnight beds or inpatient services.  Accordingly, Section 3.6.7.c.1 does not apply to a Pediatric Medical Facility.

A Pediatric Medical Facility Use is a new use proposed on behalf of Boston Children’s Hospital that reflects the multi-disciplinary and complementary medical uses that will occur in the facility.  The proposed use does not exist currently in the Needham Bylaw and, therefore, an appropriate parking ratio does not currently exist in the Bylaw.  While the ratios in Section 3.6.7 of the Zoning Bylaw do relate to medical uses, these uses are completely different than the use proposed and are not applicable within the New England Business Center.  Given the absence of an appropriate parking ratio within the Bylaw, the zoning amendment proposes a parking requirement tailored to the proposed use, which was developed based on benchmark data, analyses of actual parking demand and usage from multiple facilities with similar mixes of uses.

After reviewing the above information and other information provided by VHB and Children’s, BETA concluded, on behalf of the Town, that the proposed parking standard is acceptable.