Uplands Hearing - Health and Environment Committee (Cambridge)
Henrietta Davis - Vice Mayor
December 17, 2003
Notes by Ellen Mass
DPW - Chief City Engineer future sewer hook-ups in Cambridge
There has been no contact. Any action would be taken with Conservation Commission.
No need to take action. DPW is presently not officially involved. Report from City Manager notes that if asked Cambridge would be most concerned and not amenable to more activations.
President - Friends of Alewife Reservation
The Hearing comes on the heels of the governor's statement of importance of curbing urban sprawl today, and putting new development very close to public transportation. Since the proposal is far from any transportation (half mile), any plan to uproot thousands of trees, is not viable in terms of the "smart growth" definition. Meeting regionally is critical to the whole future of the region. Thanks to the Master Plan and thanks to the City of Cambridge for recognizing the area, the Friends and the critical buffer of the Uplands forest.
Audubon author of National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England and internationally renowned naturalist.
President of the Nuttall Society at Harvard University
The silver maple forest is the last one in the Boston Basin. Travesty in the face of development that the National Bald Eagle forages and possibly roosts in the area. In terms of its regional value, it is a huge resource, although 15 acres is small, but its proximity to the Reservation makes it an invaluable ecosystem.
Designer-architect AIA, open space proponent
Almost no amenities in the developers' plans. Demonstrates clear intrusion by both developments into the buffer and wetlands areas. Far from public transportation, and all trees would go because of the need to level the ground. Can't market the building at all. When the Conservation Commission enforces setbacks, it will be too expensive to build. A conservation restriction might be a good avenue to pursue. The R&D building would also require clear cutting.
Forty years of state and corporate experience in wetlands and forestry.
Chuck is an advocate for preservation of the forest and has given workshops to DEP and many other agencies. Board of Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.
Property values should be determined by virtue of uniqueness of the area in relation to fragmentation and urban sprawl in the larger region. Wildlife values and nature of the forest type, shape of forest is rectangular, and thus more valuable. Highly viable for wintering species. The Master Plan around Little River is highly significant. The property is part of a larger network, noting the bald eagle in the area. Rare to have the forest adjacent to other open space with important habitat patches connected. Need to advocate against urban sprawl.
Belmont resident and high level employee on Acorn Park Dr. by forest at the old AD Little complex. Involved in the area for many years, attending most of the meetings.
Although there is lack of communication among the groups, if we approach this on a regular and consistent fashion such as the Hearing, we will manage to sit down with people in Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge on this as a regional issue.
Member of Climate Action.
Refers to the Climate Protection Act. In Act Plan, section 6, in the land use and vegetation section says work to preserve natural green space in this vicinity of Cambridge. What makes Cambridge more livable - reduce density. Concord-Alewife plan study includes plans to increase access to Reservation. Resources for Cambridge. Flooding - one more additional piece of impervious area - impact on Little River. Proposal does not show this concern. Transferable development rights in North Cambridge might be considered.
Environmental Minister, Congregational Church in Somerville
This is a place to fall in love with. The churches and synagogues should get involved and protect this area. A regional approach is a good idea.
Long time advocate for the Reservation.
Our only 10 acres woodland. How can we consider allowing this natural resource to be destroyed?
State representative from Belmont Arlington and Northwest area of Cambridge
Commercial plan in MEPA review. Residential proposal requires a Notice of Project Change. Cambridge should look again at its role and its regional role. Reservation pressured with more buildings around it .More pressures will come about from development to both communities. Conservation land to all citizens. Regular meetings on flooding have helped considerably. Good solutions, and how do we get there?
Professor and Project Director of Natural Sciences at Lesley University
Silver maple forest as a unique ecosystem services. By virtue of its hydrology, composition, the Reservation, and irreversible effects from removal of the forest. Keystone species are there, and offer a specific mosaic. The evidence is anecdotal. Just see and know. Best understood in intelligible ways. Regional significance stands out in this site. Its shape and connections are what stand out through habitat and wildlife. Relatively migrant bird populations, but many wintering and roosting birds as well. A natural jewel in a densely crowded urban environment.
Vice President - Belmont citizen Forum.
Supports the Vice-Mayor's Motion with a great deal of regional cooperation.
Volunteer naturalist for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Docent for FAR
Amazing resources. Always tension between development and nature. But this is an area that needs protection. Environmental education is key. The Master Plan is welcome and very worthwhile. Silver maple should remain woodlands. To the credit of Cambridge it has made a stand here. Very worthwhile to have the coyote dens as they control rodents for people.
Vice-Chair of Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods
General vicinity zoning problems and flooding were noted, and history of area was laid out with owners and land turn-over, and uncertain future for the area. Possibilities expand for open space and for preservation in the area in terms of the economy and in terms of stake holders potential.
Executive Director of Mystic River Watershed Association
Information of water quality on site. Asks Cambridge to ask for no development on the site. Smart Growth is not development here. Clearly a regulation issue here. Tri Community flooding group is doing well. Excellent communication with the group. Great opportunities. Terrific model. How do we more forward?
We should have revenue goals. There can be regional efforts: MyRWA, Metropolitan Area Planning Council. MyRWA has been talking to Doug Foy, EOEA and others to try and find a way to preserve.
That the municipalities be brought together to find a solution to the Uplands and the regional problems.
Requested an addition to the motion that it be expanded to regional participation so as to reflect what the participants have requested.
Friends of Alewife Reservation