Alewife Study Group > wetlands and flooding > community feedback > Feb. 14 2000, Conservation Commission Search 

Oaktree Development
and the Cambridge Conservation Commission

Feb. 14 2000 meeting notes
by a member of the Alewife Study Group

(This page created Feb. 18 2000)

The Conservation Commission held a hearing this past Monday on the Oaktree proposal (Just to remind people, this is a 311 unit luxury apartment tower on CambridgePark Drive with suggested rentals for 2 beds at $2400, it is located entirely within the Alewife floodplain and, if built, would be the largest privately owned structure ever built in this portion of Alewife.)

The consultant hired by the Conservation Commission confirmed the feeling of many Commission members that the current development plan could not be approved as it did not meet the incremental flood storage requirements of the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations nor did it meet the requirement of an "unrestricted hydraulic connection" to the rest of the floodplain. So for now the underground flood storage tanks do not appear to be an acceptable solution on this site and the consultant confirmed that there is no other precedent for this type of flood storage on other sites as well.

The consultant outlined a scenario under which the Commission could approve the project without the need for any flood storage whatsoever. When the developers first began to consider the project they had asked that the present owners demolish the buildings that were then on the site. If the Commission were to consider the site as if those buildings still existed then they could conclude that the new project is no worse for the floodplain than those existing buildings were. The Commissioners seemed very interested in this approach and suggested that Oaktree refile their Notice with that in mind.

The Commission had earlier insisted that only the existing conditions be considered. It should also be noted that the developers had demolished these buildings illegally without applying for a permit from the Conservation Commission and could well suffer no consequences for this act. When questioned on this point the Chair suggested that the punishment could be to require Oaktree to provide flood storage when they don't have to at all.

Next hearing date is unknown.


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