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Draft Environmental Impact Report - Belmont Office/R&D Building
Response from Mary L. White - May 2003

May 8, 2003

Ms. Ellen Roy Herzfelder, Secretary
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
MEPA Unit, Attn: Laura Rome, EOEA No. 12376R
251 Causeway Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Belmont Office/R&D Building - EOEA #12376R
Draft Environmental Impact Report

Dear Secretary Herzfelder:

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Belmont Office/R&D Building project. The DEIR indicates that the Belmont Office/R&D Building is a proposed 245,000 square foot (SF), four story, office or research and development building with an approximate footprint of 66,108 SF. It also includes a three level parking structure with 658 spaces, 32 spaces beneath the building and surface parking with 103 spaces. Approximately 4.4 acres of impervious area (roof, parking garage, and driveways) will be constructed. An FEIR should be required to address the following comments:

1. How specifically will the proponent monitor the goal of enhancing significant upland habitat and enhancement of public recreation over time?

2. The City of Cambridge is currently conducting a public planning process for business development in the Concord Ave./ Alewife area. Could a creative transfer of development rights be given to the Town of Belmont for allowing a sustainable development in an already developed area such as this Concord Ave. area, for open space saved in the watershed of the Alewife Reservation?

3. Management of sanding operations and spring sweeping appears to be an existing problem on Frontage and Acorn Park Drive. I have witnessed a landscape company blowing the sand off the roadways into the wetland areas. The proponent should commit to implementing Best Management Practices in this area by ensuring sand will be picked up and removed from the area.

4. The proponent did not conduct an independent habitat evaluation and did not methodically address impacts to specific species and mitigation for those impacts. There is no evidence of the qualifications of a wildlife biologist hired by the proponent. This project should be consistent with wildlife habitat guidelines being developed by Division of Fish and Wildlife and U Mass. and DEP, Mike Stroman and Nancy Reed. The proponent should map the ranges of the wildlife necessary to sustain existing populations regarding food, shelter, migratory needs, over wintering, and breeding areas. The issues concerning shading to wildlife, and canopy removal was not addressed.

Vegetative alteration can affect changes in light, heat, noise, humidity, soil temperature and changing chemical composition of soil. Proponent should demonstrate that isolated and cumulative impacts would not result in detectable decreases in wildlife abundance and diversity. What is the significance for the region if this habitat is developed or altered? Silver Maple forests of this age, within close proximity to the city are a unique treasure and should be preserved.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me at (617) 868-7591.


Mary L. White
175 Harvey St. #9
Cambridge, MA 02140