Plans to convert the former Tokyo restaurant on Fresh Pond Parkway to an auto repair garage were scuttled when the Board of Zoning Appeal denied the necessary special permit. The BZA voted unanimously to deny the applicant’s request for a change of use permit at its November 19th hearing. The future of the site is again up in the air. Continue reading
Some 300 members of the public, including many from Cambridge and Belmont, attended a “Community Presentation and Feedback” session held on May 21 by Oaktree Development regarding their proposal to develop a site in east Arlington bordering Rte. 2 owned by the Mugar family (across Rte. 2 from the “Belmont Uplands”). Continue reading
This week Boston.com continued its coverage of the development boom around the Alewife area, this time focusing on the potential risks of building in the floodplain in advance of the long-awaited findings of the city’s Climate Change Vulnerability Study (to be presented on February 12 at 6 pm at MIT Tang E51).
Also this week the Cambridge Chronicle ran a guest editorial by FPRA President Jan Devereux on the debate over hiring a city ombudsman as a resource to help level the playing field for residents to evaluate and respond to large development proposals. There is now a policy order on the City Council agenda on Monday, January 26, to reconsider this idea.
The proposed 93-unit development at 75 New Street will have its fourth hearing before the Cambridge Planning Board tonight (Tuesday, November 25) at 8 p.m.. The FPRA sent these comments to the Board and other city staff for their consideration:
To the Chair and Members of the Planning Board:
We write on behalf of the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance to offer our comments on the most recent proposal for 75 New Street (“Park 75”). We appreciate the good-faith efforts by the proponents (AdodeZ and Acorn Holdings) to address residents’ and the Board’s concerns. While there is no question that the design has improved since the project was first proposed last February, we feel the overarching concerns about scale, massing and mixed use, as well as questions about traffic and environmental impact, remain unaddressed and that further design changes are needed to satisfy the requirements and the intent of the ordinance. We offer the following recommendations for consideration: Continue reading
Many locals mourned the loss of F.X. Masse Hardware Co. when the family-owned store, a neighborhood institution since 1888, closed in October 2013. Now, just a year later, the goodwill the Masse family accrued over 125 years in the trade is being tested with plans to develop their two corner lots at the busy intersection of Walden and Sherman Street into a total of 32 apartments. Area residents, many of them loyal Masse’s customers, are upset about third-generation owner David Masse’s plan to convert the former store into a 6-unit building, and to construct a new 26-unit building on the parking lot across the street. Continue reading
The Planning Board will hold its fourth hearing on the proposed 93-unit development at 75 New Street on Tuesday, September 16 at 7 pm. The FPRA submitted these comments on the project. If you support our position let the Planning Board know by attending the hearing or emailing the Board via CDD staff member Liza Paden (firstname.lastname@example.org). Continue reading
In the rush to transform the former industrial area along New Street into a residential neighborhood, there has been a troubling lack of discussion about what kind of industry historically took place there, and an unfortunate lack of public awareness about the types and amounts of hazardous waste those prior uses have left behind.
Just days before the Cambridge Planning Board’s July 22 public hearing on a proposal to construct a 93-unit apartment building on the industrial parcel at 75 New Street, we learned that the site contains dangerously high levels of heavy metals (lead and barium), toxins (arsenic), petroleum byproducts (TPH), and known carcinogens (at least three hydrocarbons, including benzo[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, and benzo[b]fluoranthene). We learned this not from the developer (AbodeZ Acorn New Street LLC) or the City, but from a “Notice of Release Form” filed with the Mass Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) on June 4th. The July 22nd public hearing was the third on this project (the first was in early March), and the subject of the site being a brownfields has never been mentioned. Not once. Continue reading
East Cambridge is at the opposite end of town from Fresh Pond (yet only 4 miles away), but the future of the Sullivan Courthouse should concern residents of all neighborhoods — as should the future of Concord-Alewife area. Neighborhoods are not islands, though we may actually become islands if over-development along the Mystic River floodway continues unchecked. We are all connected. We are all stakeholders in the planning process. We must overcome our natural tendency to pay attention only when the threat is in our own backyard. Continue reading