Alewife Study Group > W. R. Grace site > community feedback > Feb. 1997, buffer zone Search 

W. R. Grace site buffer zone / moratorium petition

On October 28, 1996, the Cambridge City Council enacted a temporary 400-foot buffer zone for a six month period along Whittemore Avenue which would serve to protect abutting residential areas from development at the WR Grace parcel. Over 300 North Cambridge residents signed a petition requesting that the City of Cambridge's current zoning code be permanently amended to require that a 400 foot buffer zone be required for any parcel in the City with the zoning designation of "Industry C" adjacent to a Residence A or B zoning district.

On November 4, 1996, City Council passed an order calling for a 12 month temporary moratorium effective until November 1, 1997, which would limit any development at the W. R. Grace parcel to 40,000 s.f. The temporary moratorium serves to protect the neighborhood during the period when the City's Ordinance Committee and Planning Board, hopefully working in conjunction with the community, examine options for permanent zoning on the site.

Concerned that the November 4, 1996 City Council order was not enough,. a number of North Cambridge residents signed onto a Zoning Petition by Joel Nogic et al, to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance by creating a new Section 3.13-Industry C and Planned Unit Development in IC Distrcits Temporary Building Moratorium. This petition seeks to extend the 12 month moratorium to February 1, 1998 and would restrict the granting of a building permit only for work to be done within the existing footprint of existing structures at the W.R. Grace parcel. Passage of this zoning petition would ensure that options for permanent zoning for the W. R. Grace parcel could be explored thoughtfully.

The Cambridge Planning Board will be entertaining public comment on this proposal on February 18th at 7:30 at 57 Inman Street, 3rd floor, Cambridge.

A hearing has also been scheduled before the City Council's Committee on Ordinances on February 19th, 6:30 pm in the Sullivan Chamber, City Hall.

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