Donald W. Wiest is a founding partner of Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C. He focuses his practice on complex zoning and related permitting work.
He served from 2001 to 2006 as the Land Use Counsel to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (“BRA”). In that capacity, he advised the BRA on a wide range of zoning and other land-use matters, including the permitting of nearly all large-scale projects involving complex zoning (such as PDAs, Urban Renewal Areas, and Institutional Master Plans); drafting new zoning governing significant areas of the city; given numerous presentations on development-related land-use issues at community meetings and public hearings; and interpreting and drafting amendments to the Boston Zoning Code in a wide range of contexts. He worked closely on these matters with public officials throughout city and state government, private developers, and neighborhood groups and other public advocates. Mr. Wiest started his legal career at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago and then at Hale & Dorr’s Boston Office.
Recent Representative Matters:
Catamount Management, Fenway Neighborhood, Boston
Represented client on the permitting of a new 9-story, 45-unit residential condominium project in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.
ADD, Inc., Fort Point District, Boston
Represented architectural firm on permitting of new Boston headquarters, including establishment of a planned development area development plan for rehabilitation and expansion of historic warehouse structure.
Madison Properties, South Boston Seaport, Boston
Permitting counsel on the development of the Congress Street Hotel, a 500-room, 535,000 square foot hotel proposed for the “sausage parcel” opposite the Boston Convention & Exposition Center in the South Boston Waterfront.
Boston Redevelopment Authority, Boston
By contract as BRA Special Counsel after leaving the agency, Mr. Wiest drafted new zoning for an approximately 47-acre development site within an 89-acre planning area located on the South Boston side of the Fort Point Channel. This rezoning authorized up to 5.9 million square feet of mixed-use development at the site, to be accompanied by approximately 10 acres of new rights-of-way extending the limited existing street grid through adjacent large, undivided tracts of industrial land, and 7 acres of interconnected open space designed to link the heart of this district to the waterfront. This rezoning process included working with BRA planning, zoning, and economic development staff, as well as area stakeholders, to implement a vision for the site’s future and translate the results of a multi-year planning study into new, permanent zoning.
Key Matters as BRA Land Use Counsel:
Russia Wharf, Financial District, Boston
Reviewed and negotiated special-purpose zoning approving an approximately 861,000 square foot project involving the redevelopment and expansion of the Russia Wharf site alongside Boston’s Fort Point Channel into a 395-foot, 31-story, mixed-use tower located atop restored historic structures. Permitting issues successfully resolved included avoiding potential litigation against the project by an abutting property, rezoning the immediate area to permit establishment of PDAs at this and neighboring sites, and obtaining a PDA designation for the project.
Columbus Center, Back Bay/South End, Boston
Reviewed and negotiated new zoning authorizing an approximately 1.3 million square foot, primarily residential development on four Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (“MTA”) and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Air Rights parcels and adjacent land, incorporating proposed buildings of 35, 11, and 7 stories, and including up to 493 residential units, a hotel, commercial, retail, service, and restaurant uses on the ground floor, and parking facilities.
Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Longwood Medical Area, Boston
Reviewed and negotiated zoning provisions of five-year Institutional Master Plan, which included a new 10-story, 350,000 square foot clinical care facility, the Cardiovascular Center, at 70 Francis Street, featuring publicly-oriented facilities on the first and second floors and three below-grade levels of parking. The IMP also approved the Brigham Green enhancement and parking project and façade improvements to the Amory Building, as well as open space, pedestrian, and transportation improvements.
Fenway Neighborhood District Article, Boston Zoning Code Article 66
Drafted an entirely new neighborhood zoning article for the Fenway Neighborhood District, Article 66 of the Boston Zoning Code, as the culmination of a four-year planning and zoning study process. In particular the article rezoned Boylston Street to provide incentives for the total redevelopment of an automobile-oriented thoroughfare containing multiple surface parking lots into a pedestrian-oriented urban village with wide sidewalks, ground-floor retail and similar uses, and extensive new market-rate and affordable housing. The redevelopment of this street, consistent with the goals of this zoning, is currently underway.
Chestnut Hill Waterworks Rezoning, Brighton, Boston
Following 15 years of futile efforts to secure funding to restore the Boston Landmark Low Service and High Service Pumping Station buildings at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, this 8-acre site was rezoned to permit new development tailored to fund the adaptive reuse of these buildings without threatening the integrity of the overall site. Upon approval, this rezoning faced a small but determined group of opponents who brought a legal challenge seeking to overturn it. Negotiations with opponents and their counsel produced a highly favorable settlement permitting development to go forward.
Professional Activities and Honors:
- President, Boston Public Market Association
- Advisory Board Member, Franklin Park Woodlands Association
- Each year from 2008 through 2017, Don has been named one of the top lawyers in New England in the Land Use/Zoning category by Super Lawyers, a joint publication of Boston Magazine and Law & Politics. The Super Lawyers comprise the top 5% of lawyers in the state.
- Mr. Wiest is on the Working Group revising the Business Sector Guidelines for the Back Bay Architectural District.
Bar and Court Admissions:
Mr. Wiest is admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1995
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1991 (magna cum laude)