Alewife Study Group > government > May 15 and 16 2000, Cambridge Conservation Commission and Planning Board Search 

Yoder Petition to downzone
Alewife Reservation area

Cambridge Conservation Commission endorsement of Yoder Petition

May 16, 2000

Cambridge Planning Board
238 Broadway
Cambridge, MA. 02139

Subject: Yoder, et al Petition

Dear Members of the Planning Board:

Please accept this letter from the Cambridge Conservation Commission in support of the petition submitted to the Planning Board by Ralph Yoder, The Commission reviewed the petition at a public meeting on May 15, 2000 and was unanimous in its support of the petition's main goals. The Commission believes that appropriate down-zoning can help protect the future of the Alewife Reservation and much of Cambridge's remaining natural floodplain, wetlands, and wildlife habitat.

As you know, the Conservation Commission is charged with implementation and enforcement of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (M.G. L. ch.131, s.40). This law and its regulations seek to prevent any loss or alteration of wetland resource areas, including the 100-year floodplain. The area subject to the Yoder Petition borders the Little River and contains an abundance of natural riverfront habitat, wetlands and floodplain, the likes of which exist nowhere else in Cambridge. Consequently, this area is of singular importance to the Conservation Commission, and it is our position that additional large-scale development in this sensitive environment should be avoided to the greatest extent possible.

Additionally, the area subject to the petition contains and abuts the MDC's Alewife Reservation, a public open space of unique natural character in our densely developed city. This land deserves careful planning. The Commission looks forward to a Master Plan being developed for it in the near future. Until then, the Yoder Petition offers the opportunity to protect a significant piece of the Reservation as open space at a time when open space commands a high premium in Cambridge.

In conclusion, the Conservation Commission believes that the area subject to the Yoder Petition is currently zoned for more development than is environmentally appropriate. We urge you to support the goals of this downzoning proposal.


Julia M. Bowdoin

Future City Council meetings

The City Council meets three times in June (the fifth, twelfth and nineteenth) and once in July (July 31) and they must have two different readings before voting.

If the city wide provisions are left in, 6 votes will be needed to pass the Yoder downzoning. Without those provisions, 7 will be needed.

Many things can happen between now and the vote. Supporters of this petition will want to lobby city councillors to ensure passage.

Contact the Alewife Study Group, North Cambridge Massachusetts, by email at