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Mugar Development in East Arlington
As you may know, the David Mugar family is proposing to build two large office towers (each 80 feet tall with a 150,000 sq. ft. footprint) with 1,145 parking spaces on the 17 acre site they own in East Arlington (this property is bounded by Route 2, Thorndike Field and the neighborhoods in the vicinity of Mott, Parker, Burch, Edith, and Margaret Streets and Dorothy Road). The developer plans to pave over approximately 12 acres of the property for the buildings and parking lot. This land, now undeveloped and covered with trees and several acres of actual wetlands, serves as an important "sponge" soaking up water when it rains. After this area is paved over, flooding is likely to increase in our neighborhood. This development will affect not only the immediate area around it, but also areas downstream along the Alewife Brook by increasing runoff into the brook. The proposed development will have significant negative impacts to the Town of Arlington:
Traffic: The developer estimates that traffic on Route 2, which is already severely congested will increase by 3,100 vehicle trips per day. Lake Street is also severely congested and will likely see increased traffic as well.
Flooding: As discussed above, flooding in East Arlington and downstream homes will likely increase in frequency and intensity after the trees on the property are gone and most of the site is paved over.
Loss of Open Space: Arlington's last large undeveloped property, home to numerous animals, birds and other wildlife, will be lost forever.
Decreased Property Values: The proposed development does not fit in with the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Therefore, the value of surrounding homes will be negatively affected.
The developer of the Mugar site has already filed an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) with the state. In this ENF the developer indicates that the Town of Arlington supports this development and therefore, their application should be put on the fast track, eliminating the opportunity for public comment. Without adequate public feedback NOW, the state may let the developer go straight to a final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), without additional studies or public comment. Individual citizens have until October 9, 2000 to respond to the points in the ENF and to request that the state require a full EIR that includes additional opportunities for public comment.
There are several problems we noted in the ENR filed for the Mugar site. For instance, the traffic study was performed in July and concludes that delays on Lake street are minimal! The developer relies on a FEMA 100-year flood map developed in 1982 to identify areas affected by flooding. However, significant development has occurred in the Alewife floodplain since then and flooding in East Arlington now occurs well beyond the area indicated on this outdated map.
What You Can Do - If you are interested in ensuring that the development on the Mugar site is fully assessed for its impact on traffic, flooding, noise, compatibility with the neighborhood and town, etc. please do the following two things:
Call Mike Hall at Rizzo Associates at 508-903-2038 to request a copy of the ENF for the Mugar Site. Your call will let the developer know that citizens are very concerned about the outcome for the site.
Write to the EOEA before October 9 and request that the full Environmental Impact Report process be adhered to, including a draft report and an opportunity for additional public comment. Request that a public meeting be held in Arlington and in the evening so concerned citizens can attend. Also provide your comments on issues such as traffic and flooding. Send your letter to:
Robert Durand, Secretary
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
251 Causeway Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Attn: MEPA Office, Laura Rome, EOEA File #12307
Make sure to reference EOEA File #12307. If possible, please send a copy of your letter to:
Arlington Town Hall
Arlington, MA 02474
Chair, East Arlington Good Neighbor Committee
25 Lafayette Street
Arlington, MA 02474
It is important that as many people as possible comment on the ENF. Without public input, complete studies may not be required and we will have very little input about what happens at the site. If you have any questions, please call Carol Kowalski at 643-2406, George Laite at 646-5080, or Elsie Fiore at 648-0077
(Information provided by The East Arlington Good Neighbor Committee,
which is not affiliated with the Alewife Study Group)