Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to sell a piece of land. It's a piece of land the city happens to own and, in Boston's white-hot real estate market, probably quite valuable; and it's one of the last valuable, city-owned parcels that's relatively undeveloped.

And at a Boston City Council hearing Thursday, the Walsh administration made its case that selling these parcels to private developers is in the city's best interest, and that the city's redevelopment authority, the BPDA, four of whose five members are appointed by the mayor, is the best agency to oversee the process.

But that argument met opposition -- chiefly from City Councilor Michelle Wu, who sponsored the Council hearing and who challenged the Walsh administration and BPDA officials to answer why the process should be turned over, now, to them; whether the best use of this parcel of public land is, in fact, to sell it; and to what extent public input was being taken into account.

BPDA Planning Director Sara Myerson responded that a "great framework" for public input was already in place -- the Walsh Administration's Imagine 2030 plan for climate change readiness.

Wu, unsatisfied that the broadly-focused climate plan amounted to public input for this narrower question of the sale of city land, asked when the last public input meeting had been held with regard to that plan.

"2017," Myerson answered.

(Related questions by Wu solicited the news that the BPDA had already sought and obtained permission from the Walsh administration to issue a "Request for Information" on proposals for the parcels in question.)

Representatives of the Charles Water Rivershed Association, focusing on the city's daunting task of preparing itself for rising sea levels and increased flooding as a result of climate change, argued that one of the best uses for the land might be not to develop it at all, but instead to return it to what it was some two hundred years ago: a wetlands, that could potentially mitigate future flooding.

Community activists for low- and middle-income Boston residents expressed interest in that idea, noting that surrounding areas that might be hit hardest by those environmental impacts are some of Boston's lower-income and majority-minority neighborhoods -- and that putting the fate of the area in private hands could work against the interest of their constituents.

"We strongly believe that if we just allow developers to put in bids without going through a public process," said Lisa Owens of the community activist group City Life / Vida Urbana, "the city just opens itself to inadvertently driving displacement."

Boston Chief of Streets Chris Osgood told Council members that the sale of the land would produce needed revenue.

Councilor Wu, however, questioned what the sale of one parcel of land had to do with the city's overall budget and whether the Walsh administration's plan wasn't short-sighted.

"Publicly owned land is not owned by any individual person or any elected official or any company, it's owned by the people, the current and future residents of Boston," Wu told administration representatives. "So in my mind the question has got to be, are we getting the full ten year, fifty year, hundred year value out of this?"