BOSTON-The city has promised to more equitably distribute the millions of dollars generated by the development of the waterfront here. This comes nearly three years after an agreement was reached that gave South Boston the majority of those benefits.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino did not return calls by press time but he is quoted as saying that he had originally brokered the agreement with South Boston to help that community preserve its identity and because he wanted its support for his plans to develop the waterfront, especially the convention center. The deal came to light this past spring when it was reported that South Boston, through the South Boston Betterment Trust, could get as much as $65 million from the agreement.

Menino had promised the Betterment Trust the majority of payments that developers are required to give to the city’s linkage program to benefit the community. Developers are required to give these payments to compensate for the disruption caused by their development. In exchange, South Boston’s elected officials would support the development of the waterfront.

Housing officials from other neighborhoods sued in Federal court, especially since it was believed that South Boston officials were not going to support equal opportunity housing for outsiders or minorities. The mayor settled the case last month and Menino nullified the agreement on Nov. 16. The city has since promise to distribute the funds more evenly. The money is significant as real estate in the Boston area has exploded in recent years.

Many city groups that benefit the poor, which would have been excluded under the original agreement, are now banding together to have a say in the design of the waterfront. Meanwhile, officials from South Boston and the Betterment Trust are suing the city to force it to abide by the original agreement.

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