Alewife Neighbors, Inc. > projects > south_alewife > 11-MAY-2006 How should Alewife area be developed?

The following column appeared in the May 11, 2006 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle

How should Alewife area be developed?

By Sarah Andrews/ Chronicle Staff
Thursday, May 11, 2006

A series of meetings on the 4-year-old Concord Alewife Rezoning Petition kicked off this month.

The petition is currently under review by the City Council's Ordinance Committee and a public hearing will be held on June 14. Two other committee meetings will be held before this hearing on May 17 and May 31.

Currently, plans envision allowing for higher density development and taller buildings near the Alewife T station and the Fresh Pond Mall. Zoning laws for height and density closer to the Cambridge Highlands will be decreased.

Under the current plan, more residential development is envisioned. The rezoning would be conducted by transferring zoning rights from parcel to parcel. This requires a special permit for parcels both receiving and donating development rights.

Susan Glazer, the deputy director of the Community Development Department, said this is the third time the petition has been before the City Council and that public participation in the hearings has been somewhat lower in this round.

Some neighbors, however, recently submitted their concerns about the petition to the Planning Board.

Bob Simha, who sent a letter on April 20, wrote that many neighbors were concerned with how further restrictions on development in some parcels will effect business owners. He also questioned whether the Alewife Brook Parkway, Route 2 and Concord Avenue will be able to handle additional traffic.

Simha suggested capping the amount of density that can be transferred, strengthening the flood plain zoning, as flooding is a problem in the area, and developing a traffic plan, which includes asking the MBTA to reroute two bus routes along Concord Avenue, among other things.

The meeting on May 17 and May 31 will be held in the Sullivan Chambers at City Hall, both beginning at 5:30 p.m. Because the meetings are working session, public comment will not be allowed, according to Glazer.

Public testimony will be taken on June 14. That meeting will be held in the Ackerman Room in City Hall at 5:30 p.m.