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Unusual hearing to re-examine the Silver Maple forest case from Belmont
March 4th, 2003

Notice of Health and Environmental committee Meeting.
March 4th, Cambridge City Council, Sullivan Chamber, 5:30
"Please be advised that Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, Chair of the Health and Environment Committee, has scheduled a public meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 at 5:30 pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the water and sewer connections for the Silver Maple Forest site development at Alewife and other related matters."

Dear friends to the region's natural environment,

An unusual Hearing to re-examine the Silver Maple forest case from Belmont has arisen in Cambridge, the downstream community.

We are asking that you write a letter in support of reassessing the need to preserve this vital green forest land from development.Its destruction will impact on this municipality.

Please refer to environmental protection from smart growth principles that the present governor and his environmental administration are emphasizing.

If you have your own specific concern, please send them in to Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis

1) Redevelop rather than develop on pristine silver maple forest land

2)Governors across the country are encouraging building on where sites have already been developed and on brown fields. A hundred yards away is pervious surface for redevelopment

3) Refer to recent Council order requesting that the forest be preserved and flooding be considered by City Manager's office: Order 24,7/29/02 "Ordered: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Conservation Commission and the appropriate Belmont offices to request that all efforts be made to preserve this forest and protect Cambridge from the floodwaters that removal of the forest would bring to North Cambridge; and be it further. Ordered: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter."

4)Let nature alone, and let wildlife and forests have their place.

5)Use urban sites, not greenfields for development sites.

6)Put the development where people are, in areas that are filled in, not in a unique natural forest, which has been shown to be very rare in an urban landscape.

7) Consider impacts and deprivation for future generations

8) Consider global warming, light, noise, heat and traffic pollution and obstruction for a large office park.

FAX letter to:
Henrietta Davis- Vice Mayor
Office of City Clerk
To Health and Environmental Committee
FAX number: 617 349-4629

Letter to Conservation Commission from Save our Forest:

Letter as a Microsoft Word file

Friends of Alewife Reservation
BOX 161
1770 Mass Ave.

February 27 ,2003
Mr. Albe Simanes, Chair
Cambridge Conservation Commission
364 Hampshire Street
Cambridge, MA 02139

Re: Silver Maple Upland Forest
Dear Mr. Simanes,

The Save our Forest Committee (Forest Committee), a task force of the Friends of Alewife Reservation, wishes to bring to your attention our serious concern 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 presentation to the Commission on 2/10/2003.

The O’Neill project would remove 7.7 acres of the silver maple forest, an urban wild unique in the Greater Boston area, destroying a key part of the Alewife ecosystem. The upland forest, which contains some trees over 100 years old, balances the lowland areas, creating a year-round habitat for a wide variety of birds and mammals.

There is no question that the Alewife area has suffered from minimal local and regional planning - until the recent MDC Alewife Master Plan study and, as a result, has had extensive traffic and flooding problems, affecting people in all surrounding communities. This lack of cooperation between the public and private sectors must be acknowledged and corrected. At the conclusion of our meeting with your Committee, we were asked to suggest actions that the Commission could take in response to the above concerns; they are as follows;

1) Support the Forest Committee effort to organize a multi-disciplinary workshop/forum which would address the overall planning issues for the Alewife area, based on Smart Growth principles. The forum would include representatives from Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge; the real estate development groups; interested state agencies - the MWRA, DEP and others, funding institutions 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