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Notes from September 16 1999 decision meeting (by Aram Hollman, a member of the Alewife Study Group)
Meeting of the MDC Commissioners to make their final decision
on Alewife Reservation land rented by Arthur D. Little for parking
Thursday, Sept. 16, at 9 AM., at MDC headquarters, 20 Somerset St., Boston.
The MDC commissioners, at their Thursday Sept. 16, 1999 meeting, voted to renew the Arthur D. Little parking lot permit by unanimous vote, with 4 out of 5 commissioners present. Discussion commenced at 9:05 AM. After limited public input, reluctantly heard by commissioners with little interest in hearing it, the vote was taken at about 9:45 AM.
Commissioner Balfour originally planned for no public input at all, and reluctantly allowed "an additional 20 minutes for questions" only after strenuous protest by attendees. Only a few were answered, mostly by MDC Legal Counsel Thomas Gray, and only minimally.
State Reps. Anne Paulsen (Belmont-Arlington) and Alice Wolfe (Cambridge) appeared again (they appeared at the Tu. 9/14 hearing). They again opposed the issuance of the permit, arguing that it violated Article 97 of the Mass. State Constitution, which requires two-thirds votes by both the House and the Senate to lease public land. They advocated for Senator Thomas Birmingham's proposal, made by letter to the MDC the day before, expressing his concern over the process, requesting a delay in the issuance of the permit, and proposing that the MDC develop a Master Plan for the area. Realize that their words were falling on deaf ears, they also suggested a number of conditions to be added to the permit.
Julia Bowdoin of the Cambridge Conservation Commission read a statement stating that the City of Cambridge opposed the permit, that the asphalt should be removed, and that the parking lot should revert to being floodplain. Richard Cleary, Michael Brandon (after securing unneeded, after-the-fact permission to tape-record the proceedings), and Stanislaw Horowitz all voiced a variety of objections to the process, opposed the issuance of the permit, requested better planning for the area, and suggested various conditions to be added to the permit. Aram Hollman, who had earlier insisted that the three commissioners absent from Tuesday's hearing be accorded the pleasure of hearing public input now, was not permitted to speak on substantive issues prior to the vote.
After the hearing concluded, MDC Counsel Thomas Gray met for over an hour with a group which included Rep. Paulsen, Mary Lou Shields, Michael Brandon, Stuart Sanders (?), Aram Hollman, and Julie Bowdoin. Counsel Gray made clear that although the permit process had been put on a fast track, the permit itself had not yet been drafted, that he would be drafting it, and that he'd certainly consider suggested additional conditions.
Contact the Alewife Study Group, North Cambridge Massachusetts, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org