BZA Denies Special Permit for Auto Repair at Tokyo

IMG_0104Plans 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

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Zoning Board hearing on Tokyo Project

Tokyo_August2015
UPDATE: The hearing was postponed until October 22nd. We are talking with the owner about some improvements to the design and landscaping.
On Thursday, August 27th at 7:45pm October 22nd at 7:00 pm the Board of Zoning Appeal will hear the request for a special permit and variances that would enable the former Tokyo restaurant (at 307 Fresh Pond Parkway) to be used as an extension of the auto repair garage next door.
Below are links to the most recent elevations, which have been revised to address some of our suggestions for design improvements. We are waiting for a revised landscaping plan, as one of our greatest concerns is how the parking lot facing Vassal Lane will be screened from the heavily traveled route between Fresh Pond and the Tobin School.

Continue reading

Large development in East Arlington near Alewife draws public opposition, fans fears of flooding

May 21 meeting (photo by Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands)

May 21 meeting (photo by Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands)

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

Recent Press Coverage of FPRA Concerns

Fawcett St after a heavy rain last summer

Fawcett St after a heavy rain last summer

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).

Read the most recent Boston.com full story.*

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.

Watch this video first, then read the Chronicle editorial here.

* The first story in the Alewife series is here.

75 New Street: Comments to the Cambridge Planning Board (11/25/14)

NewStfromDanehyThe 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

Plan for 26 Units on Former Masse’s Lot Stuns Neighbors

Masse's Hardware store to be redeveloped

Masse’s Hardware store to be redeveloped

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

88 CPD Post Mortem

The dotted line shows the scale of the original proposal (9-10 stories vs. 6-7)

The dotted line shows the scale of the original proposal (9-10 stories vs. 6-7)

As reported today in the Cambridge Chronicle, the Planning Board approved the McKinnon Company’s 254-unit residential development at 88 CambridgePark Drive last night — pending the resolution of one sticking point before the final decision is recorded (no later than November 21). Continue reading