Alewife Study Group > government > Dec. 1999, City Council Environmental Subcommittee Search 

Coalition for Alewife's proposed City Council resolution
on MDC's continued permission to use
parkland at Arthur D. Little as a private parking lot

Submitted on Thurs., Dec. 16, 5:30 p.m.
to the City Council Environmental Sub-Committee
(Councilors Kathy Born and Henrietta Davis; scheduled and chaired by Councillor Kathleen Born.)
at a meeting to discuss decision by MDC to extend permission for Arthur D. Little and/or new owners of ADL property to use parkland / wetland for a parking lot.

The Committee will review this proposed resolution, modify it as they see fit, and submit it to the City Council for approval no earlier than Jan. 10, 2000.


The proposed resolution:

WHEREAS: The Alewife Reservation is a thing of beauty, a unique and irreplaceable resource to the citizens of Cambridge and to the wildlife within it; and

WHEREAS: Urban wilds, of which the Alewife Reservation is one, are rare enough to be of widely visible importance beyond even the strong interests of Cambridge citizens; and

WHEREAS: The Commissioners of the Metropolitan District Commission have on the record granted O'Neill Properties, the present owner of the Acorn Park Development, the exclusive use of a portion of the eastern end of the Alewife Reservation for a private, open air, hardtop automobile parking lot; and

WHEREAS: Article 97 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sets out the conditions both for acquiring and for disposing of park lands, to wit: "Lands and easements taken or acquired for such purposes shall not be used for other purposes or otherwise disposed of except by laws enacted by a two thirds vote, taken by yeas and nays, of each branch of the general court;" and

WHEREAS: By public testimony the State Representatives and Senators from Cambridge impressed upon the Commissioners of the MDC that no such action has been taken by the General Court; and

WHEREAS: Despite said testimony of these members of the General Court did the Commissioners of the MDC nevertheless grant said exclusive use of the Alewife Reservation for a private parking lot; and

WHEREAS: The Executive Office of Environmental Affairs' "EOEA ARTICLE 97 LAND DISPOSITION POLICY" of February 19, 1998, enumerates six conditions for land disposition and a ten step procedure subsequently then to observe; and

WHEREAS: The Commissioners of the MDC did neither establish said conditions nor follow said procedure in granting the exclusive use of the Alewife Reservation for a private parking lot; and

WHEREAS: Citizens of Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont, united by civic purpose, did in substantial numbers attend hearings called by the Commissioners of the MDC and expressed unmistakably their knowledge of, and opposition to, the use of the Alewife Reservation as a private parking lot yet without avail; now therefore be it

ORDERED: That the City Council of the City of Cambridge opposes and is hereby on record as opposing both the manner and the outcome of the actions taken by the Commissioners of the MDC in this matter; and be it further

ORDERED: That the City Council of the City of Cambridge concludes that a matter of Constitutional law, its interpretation, and its application is unavoidably raised with respect to the use of the Alewife Reservation as a private parking lot; and be it further

ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to forward a copy of this order to the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to express on behalf of the citizens of Cambridge the serious and precedential issues in the matter of the Alewife Reservation and to request that the Attorney General take the matter of the Alewife Reservation under review posthaste.



Contact the Alewife Study Group, North Cambridge Massachusetts, by email at information@alewife.org