Fresh Pond RA meeting on Sept. 21, 7:00pm

Our first fall Fresh Pond Residents Alliance Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 21st, 7-9 PM, in the Tobin School Auditorium197 Vassal Lane.

Come hear updates about big developments and planning in the Fresh Pond/Alewife Area, discuss related issues with the rest of our community:

The developers of 211 Concord Turnpike (Gateway Inn/Lanes & Games site) will give a brief presentation with a Q&A and discussion.

We will review developments in the Fresh Pond/Alewife Area – recently constructed and in various stages of proposal and permitting.

There will be updates on progress on transportation and climate change resiliency in our area and the Envision Alewife group (part of the city’s master planning process).

We look forward to seeing you! All are welcome!

Join us for FPRA Meeting on June 7th at 6:30

The developer of 605 Concord Avenue (the former Bank of America building) has asked for a meeting with the community and members of the FPRA in order to gather feedback on their latest plans for the project. Phil Terzis of Acorn (the developer) has reserved the auditorium at the Tobin School on Tuesday, June 7th at 6:30 pm. The main agenda item is a review of Acorn’s latest design, with a question & answer session to follow the presentation.

At the same meeting, Mike Stanley will also give a short presentation on his Transit X project. This is an innovative attempt to solve a number of major transportation problems currently faced by the Fresh Pond-Alewife region and other, similarly dense urban areas. The effort proposes the development and construction of an automated transit network with high-capacity and low visual impact using personal pods running on an elevated track. More information on the concept is available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/transitx-carbon-free-mass-transit#/ and at http://www.transitx.com/.

If time allows, we would also like to use this opportunity to update the community on the current status of a number of other pending efforts, including:

o   HURON A: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2010%2falewifesewerseparationproject

o   HURON B: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2012%2falewifesewerseparationprojecthuronb

o   CONCORD AVENUE: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2013%2falewifesewerseparationconcordavenueneighborhood

o   NEW STREET: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2014%2fnewstreetstreetscapeimprovements

Finally (also if time allows), we may also take the opportunity to consider what might come next for our area:

Note that this will be our final meeting prior to the Summer break. We look forward to a lively and constructive discussion. Thank you for your continuing support of our efforts.

Message to the FPRA from Doug Brown, VP.

Join us for Meeting on Dec. 16th

Fawcett Street site of proposed development

Fawcett Street site of proposed development

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Tobin School at 197 Vassal Lane, Cambridge.

A development team will present preliminary plans for a 50-unit condo project at 95 Fawcett St. The site is currently a warehouse building located across the street from Phase II of the Atmark apartments, where the street curves. The developer is seeking resident feedback before applying for special permits.

Also on the agenda are an update on the Cambridge segment of the Watertown Greenway multi-use path, connecting Concord Ave./Fresh Pond to the Arsenal Mall Area (see draft plans) and a brief discussion of endorsing Green Cambridge’s 2030 Goals for Environmental Sustainability.

Minutes of FPRA Summer Meeting

Nearing completion on Cambridgepark Dr: The Fuse apartments (244 units)

Nearing completion on Cambridgepark Dr: The Fuse apartments (244 units)

Minutes of our last meeting are attached here: FPRA Meeting minutes 7-22-15

Our next public meeting will be on Thursday, October 1st at 7 pm at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane).
The agenda includes (so far):
1. Presentation by CDD staff on a draft urban agriculture ordinance (they are seeking residents’ input)
2. Discussion of a petition on accessory use housing (details to come when petition is filed on 9/21).
3. Continuation of the discussion of the Tokyo project (conversion to auto repair) prior to BZA hearing on 10/22
We expect to hear soon when the Alewife master plan study will officially begin and how community input will be solicited.

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

Citywide Plan to Focus on Alewife Area First

Suggested Study area. the area of impact extends well beyond the map's borders, making residents of adjacent areas stakeholders in the study process.

Suggested Alewife Study area. The area of impact extends well beyond the map’s borders, making residents of adjacent areas stakeholders in the study process.

The citywide master planning process is now underway. The first step in the 3-year process is an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) for a scope of services and deliverables from the to-be-named planning consultant. The Community Development Department, which is overseeing the plan, released a draft RFQ and invited the community to send comments by May 8.

Here are comments the FPRA officers submitted. Our comments address the Alewife Study, which has been promised as an early phase/first area of focus of the citywide plan. The final RFQ will be issued the week of May 25. According to the city’s timeline, a consultant will be selected by the end of the summer, and the planning process will begin in September 2015. Read on and stay tuned!  Continue reading

FPRA Meeting on April 14 at 7 pm

Construction continues on the 244-unit at 165 CambridgePark Dr.

Construction continues on the 244-unit building at 165 CambridgePark Dr.

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:00 pm at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane, Cambridge). We will share updates on various development and planning projects in our area. All welcome.

Boston Globe Covers Alewife Development “Boom” (More to the Story)

389 units were constructed  on Fawcett St

389 units were constructed on Fawcett St

On Monday The Boston Globe ran a story on the Alewife development “boom” that highlighted the success of the Fresh Pond Residents Alliance in lobbying for more holistic and inclusive growth planning. The article sparked a robust online discussion, attracting over 110 comments and driving traffic (the good kind!) to the Globe’s website. Given the space constraints of a daily newspaper, this week’s 993-word story could only scratch the surface of a complex set of transit, infrastructure, environmental, and housing policy challenges. Globe editors, please take note: Development in Cambridge is clearly a topic of great interest to your readers, and the story merits continued and more in-depth coverage in 2015.

In the meantime, I’d like to like to use the luxury of the Internet’s boundless space to expand upon some of the thorny issues the article raised: 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

What’s on the Council Agenda? (9/22)

All aboard for Alewife!

All aboard for Alewife!

Items of note on tomorrow’s City Council meeting agenda:

Policy Order #5 Asks the CDD to undertake a study of “emerging business types” in order to update the zoning ordinance to reflect more home-based businesses.

This is a good step, given that technology has changed greatly since the early 1960s when the table of uses was written. More home-based businesses (and co-working spaces) could help reduce people’s commutes.

Policy Order #6 Seeks to require earlier community outreach by developers of large projects to neighborhood organizations and residents. The CDD and the Planning Board are asked to begin testing strategies to create new policies and procedures for soliciting more community engagement and input prior to hearings.

We support the intent of this order, but would like to see residents involved in developing the procedures, rather than leaving it to CDD and the PB to determine what’s most effective. We also wonder about the status of the study committee proposed in an earlier order that was supposed to be looking at Planning Board procedures — wouldn’t this have been a key item on the study’s committee’s agenda?

Policy Order #7 Asks the City Manager and staff to look into the feasibility of conducting series of walks in the Alewife area to prepare the councillors for their roundtable meetings with the Planning Board in Dec and January.

This likely came about because Vice Mayor Benzan said at the last Council meeting that he hasn’t had too much chance to visit the Alewife area and would like the Council to get on a trolley bus to tour the area.

Also a report on the council’s transportation committee hearing held in June at Tobin has been posted for the official record. 

Complete list of policy orders.

You can email your opinions to council@cambridgema.gov (cc dlopez@cambridgema.gov) or call 617-349-4280 on Monday morning to sign up to speak. The meeting begins at 5:30 and will be held at CRLS in the Henrietta Alves meeting room where the School Committee meets (entrance on Broadway).