FPRA opposes New Street rezoning petition (Evolve site)

The following letter was sent on 15 August 2018:

Dear Cambridge Ordinance Committee, Planning Board and City Councilors,

We have learned that the New Street building currently occupied by Evolve Fitness has been optioned by a developer who has submitted a rezoning petition for this area and wants to turn the site into an oversized storage facility.

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance (FPRA), representing the neighbors and neighborhoods abutting New Street, adamantly oppose the approval of the rezoning petition. We understand that ALL of the immediate abutters and neighbors oppose the rezoning petition and lend our collective voice to express our opposition to this rezoning petition as well.

While we appreciate that the proposed building will be relatively “green” in terms of energy use (but not green open space design), we support the efforts and recommendation of the Envision process and the recommendation that this parcel be developed into a more high-value space (e.g., affordable housing) and be used in a way that will further enhance and connect the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Evolve building is one of the few places where everyone in the Fresh Pond area can come together to gather as a community. We need many more areas like this one and not yet another storage facility—the second within walking distance of Fresh Pond.

Further, a storage facility would additionally burden the lack of connectivity that already exists for those of us who use and love Danehy Park. The city has made major investments to make New Street pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, purchased the railroad right-of-way that runs parallel to New Street for a multi-use path, and overall strengthened connections between the Fresh Pond and Alewife neighborhoods. The proposed rezoning and storage use would be completely incompatible with the vision that has spurred these investments.

Thank you in advance for not approving a rezoning petition that would pave the way to losing space that currently houses a welcome community amenity and replacing it with yet another storage facility that would dominate the neighborhood and foreclose multiple opportunities of public benefit.

Sincerely yours,

Ann Sweeney

on behalf of the Fresh Pond Residents’ Alliance (FPRA)

87 Lake View Ave., Cambridge