Monday, November 21, 2011

Large housing project announced south of Alewife

Cambridge Day is reporting a 429 unit complex announced as “The Residences at Fresh Pond. Their report may be read at:

I attended two Cambridge Conservation Commission discussions on this project.

The construction impacts Belmont perhaps half a mile to the west and Arlington perhaps half a mile to the north plus traffic coming in on Route 2. Route 2 is the northern of the two major east-west superhighways in Massachusetts. The Route 2 super highway ends just north (above) of the area in the Cambridge Day photo, just north of Alewife station.

The Cambridge Day report provides excellent details although its photo does not go far enough south. If the project is in the photo, it is at the very bottom. The photo shows the massive Alewife Red Line station with a portion of the Alewife reservation which is being destroyed by Cambridge and the Department of Conservation and Reservations. A whole bunch of lies and a key fake “protective” group are helping that destruction.

The project in question in the Cambridge Day report is south of the railroad tracks / below the railroad tracks in the photo. The massive parking lot directly above the tracks is but a tiny portion of the massive parking area which should be used for flood storage rather than destroying the Alewife reservation and then “discovering” that the destruction will not provide the needed flood storage.

I do not know the exact zoning history of the particular project in the Cambridge Day report. I do know about the very recent upzoning that impacts the area of the project.

The game was “transfer of development rights,” a variation of the beggar your neighbor politics which is one of many dirty tricks normal in Cambridge politics. They have a predictable script. “Beggar your neighbor” is one of the standard tactics in the script.

I lived in Cambridge to the west of the project area for nearly two years, the Cambridge Highlands neighborhood.

Between the north south highway (Alewife Brook Parkway / Route 16) is a low density industrial area. The key lie in the zoning change was that development would be transferred from the area near where I lived to the area near Route 16. The secret behind the lie was that the resulting zoning density near my former home was set at a density which simply and clearly will not be allowed by Cambridge. The zoning density in the “protected area” was way below even the density allowed in my residential neighborhood, after the games / development transfer is played.

Thus massive development is encouraged to go in in that portion of the industrial area in toward Route 16 while the portion toward Cambridge Highlands is “protected.”

When the area next to Route 16 is filled in, the powers that will look at the area which was “protected” in that zoning change with shock. Totally unacceptable to have such small industrial buildings next to their massive new buildings. They will have to correct that.

And they would not get the increase in density of the zoning near Route 16 if they did the upzoning in an honest manner.

So a massive industrial area gets a massive upzoning in two steps. Very similar to the total destruction of the publicly owned and irreplaceable Alewife reservation in two steps with bizarre claims of “protection.”

Yet another lie from the City of Cambridge.