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Requests about serious concerns with a large development
by O'Neill Properties for
the Frontage Road Office/R&D Center at the Belmont uplands
letter to Cambridge Conservation Commission

Friends of Alewife Reservation
BOX 161
1770 Mass Ave.


March 10, 2003
Mr. Albe Simanes, Chair
Cambridge Conservation Commission
364 Hampshire Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Re: Silver Maple Upland Forest
Dear Mr. Simanes,

As a follow-up to our presentation to your committee on February 10, and also in response to your letter concerning the above development of February 27, 2003 and the March 3, 2003 hearing in front of the Cambridge Health & Environment Committee, the Save our Forest Committee (Forest Committee), a task force of the Friends of Alewife Reservation, wishes to submit this set of revised requests.

These requests as you know are in connection with our serious concerns with a large development by O'Neill Properties of Pennsylvania for the Frontage Road Office/R&D Center at the Belmont uplands. We feel that there will be significant impacts on both the City of Cambridge and the Mystic River watershed area, as outlined in our presentations at the above-noted public hearings.

  1. Work with the Forest Committee to carry out a multi-disciplinary watershed management effort which would address the overall planning issues for the Alewife watershed, based on regional watershed planning tools such as those developed by the Maryland Center for Watershed Protection. This effort aims to develop a watershed baseline, encompassing a thorough understanding of the natural resources capacity of the watershed, and then develop a management plan to suit. We understand that environmental consultants Horsley & Witten are prepared to aid us in developing these management tools. We aim to invite the participation of specialists, city officials, planning boards, citizens and citizens' groups, and local property owners.
  2. As part of the effort, send a letter to Douglas Foy, Chief of Commonwealth Development, requesting his help in participating in such a regional workshop/forum…which could be an effective model for other public/private collaborative ventures around the State.
  3. Assist the Forest Committee in identifying provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act regarding water quality, wetland delineation, tree absorption and respiration, wildlife habitat, etc. to bolster the efforts we are now making with engineers from Wentworth Institute and other environmental specialists in accurately characterizing the forest.
Thank you and the Commission members for your kind assistance in this important matter.

Very truly yours,
David Hobbie, Attorney

Committee: Sue Bass, James Graves, Jennifer Griffith, Bryan Hamlin, Mark Kirk, Ed Koenig, Ernest Kirwan, Ellen Mass, Susan Watson, Peter Alden, Bruce Jacobs, John Moot, Elizabeth Grady