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Cambridge Discovery Park, EOEA #13312
Environmental Notification Form
Elsie C. Fiore, August 22, 2004

Elsie C. Fiore
58 Mott Street
Arlington, MA 02474

August 22, 2004

Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
251 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02114

Attention: Nick Zavolas, MEPA Unit

Re: Cambridge Discovery Park, Cambridge, MA
EOEA #13312
Environmental Notification Form

Dear Secretary Herzfelder:

I am a member of the East Arlington Good Neighbor Committee, Coalition for Alewife and the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA). I also am an elected Town Meeting Member (Prec. 2) in Arlington and former member and Chairman of the Arlington Conservation Commission.

Although I work with and share goals with the above groups, this letter is being written by me as an individual who has been a resident at 58 Mott Street in Arlington, within the Alewife Watershed and within sight of the Bulfinch Project area, for 55 years--a citizen activist who has taken part in reviewing and discussing most of the projects that have been presented in the Alewife section of the Watershed since 1952.

I have listened over the years to one developer's representative after another, including representatives for Mass Highway, trying to assure the residents that none of the work they (the developers) are proposing will have any adverse impact on the surrounding neighborhood. It happens on occasion that a member of a given developer's team will seemingly be switching sides, depending on which role he or she is being asked to represent - developmental or environmental.

I do not pretend to be a technical expert in construction or road planning. However, I do understand both of these concepts, and by observation over the years, I have noted that developers who have built in this area in recent years suffer from increased flooding and major traffic problems, two issues that cannot be ignored. In addition, it is hard to overlook water rising in basements; inundating playing fields; or floating sewage into neighborhoods and onto lawns.

I embrace the concerns expressed by responders to the ENF in the above matter. I may not agree with some of what they see as positive. However, at this time I submit the following:

  1. I am opposed to a Phase One waiver for the Bulfinch project. Six conditions need to be met to receive this waiver and I do not believe they can be met. The proposed Astrophysical building is planned for a section of the property that has not been developed before. Much of the paving now in place was done very recently and, in my opinion, does not constitute "previously developed" property. It does not replace any building that is being removed, as the proponent would have you believe.
  2. The evaluation of this part of the project should be included in a properly written DEIR and FEIR. Mistakes that are made by allowing it to be constructed "by waiver," cannot be corrected. As was learned in the construction of the MBTA station and garage, permanent damage occurs to wetlands that are impacted by heavy construction vehicles and by the stockpiling of materials and demolition debris. To my knowledge, this issue has not been addressed.
  3. As buildings rise closer and closer to the wildlife habitat of the Alewife Reservation, the only urban wild for miles around, the nesting spots and flight path of birds become compromised.
  4. Because of the new flood levels that are being presented by FEMA, developers are being warned that they need to take these new levels into account. If a building needs to be higher to compensate for flood dangers, the surrounding neighborhood will suffer from shadows caused by obtrusive development as well as increased heat in the summer because of the blocking of cooling winds.

Respectfully submitted,

Elsie C. Fiore
cc: Robert Schlager, Bulfinch Prop.
Ann Paulson, State Representative Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge
Nancy Hammett, Director MyRWA
Diane Mahon, Chairman, Arlington Board of Selectmen
Cori Beckwith, Arlington Conservation Commission
Jennifer Wright, Cambridge Conservation Commission