After years of planning and discussion, development on the site of the Riverside T station parking lot is officially on the docket. Tonight (7:00 at City Hall) is probably the most significant Land Use committee public hearing since the failed Stop & Shop effort many moons ago. The Board of Aldermen will now have 90 days to decide whether to permit the MBTA and its chosen developer to build office space, residences, retail, and parking garages where now sits a surface parking lot. Documents related to the proposal are on the city web site.

The good news: there has been lots of public process and lots of opportunity to provide feedback on the developers different iterations. The bad news, if you’re not a fan of the proposal: the developers plans are pretty well set. If history is any guide, there won’t be significant changes to the design during the special permit process.

The city and the developer could make a change that would radically transform the site — for the good: require that any parking on the site be provided on the same terms to any comers. If there’s free parking for building tenants, free parking for anyone. If there’s a monthly rate for building tenants, that monthly rate for anyone.

My TAB op-ed on the proposal.