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Boston Sierra Club asks for Careful Consideration in Development Planning at the Alewife Reservation

September 10, 2004

Douglas Foy
Secretary, Office for Commonwealth Development
100 Cambridge Street-Suite 101
0 Boston, MA 02114

Re: Belmont Uplands and Discovery Park Developments

Dear Secretary Foy:

The Sierra Club supports efforts to protect natural habitat and ecosystems in the Discovery Park and Belmont Uplands areas.

The Sierra Club applauds the Town of Belmont for the steps it has taken to preserve the Uplands -- namely, the appointment of an Uplands Advisory Committee and the effort to find an alternate site for development.

The Uplands is fifteen acres that should be preserved for its ecological significance as a watershed and wildlife habitat and for its educational and recreational value. The Uplands is home to a large and diverse population of birds and mammals that has been well-documented elsewhere. It supports a rare silver maple forest. It is a watershed for an area that has increasing water containment and flooding problems. Certainly another location can be found to suit the owner's development needs.

The Sierra Club supports the 12-month moratorium requested by the Town of Belmont's Uplands Advisory Committee. This moratorium offers the opportunity for all parties to stand back from the table and re-think options and opportunities. During this period, Phase 1 of the Discovery Park development to house the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory will occur.

The Discovery Park developer has incorporated the reduction of impermeable surface area and wetlands restoration into Phase 1 of the project. As we understand the plans, two subsequent phases should achieve a "complete restoration of Little River area in advance of what will be required by zoning."

The need for a full storm-water assessment that examines existing conditions and proposes improvements should not be overlooked. A comprehensive storm-water plan that is consistent and coordinated with the DCR's Master Plan is a critical aspect of this development.

The Sierra Club appreciates the opportunity to comment on developments at Belmont Uplands and Discovery Park.


Deborah Holt
Member, Greater Boston Group Executive Committee

Cc: Cambridge Conservation Commission
City of Cambridge- Community Development
Friends of Alewife Reservation
Uplands Advisory Committee-Belmont Town Hall
Fred Paulsen

100 Boylston St. Suite 760 Boston MA 02116 tel: 617.423.5775 fax: 617.423.5858