As you are well aware, the City has been focused on planning in the Alewife area through both the Envision Cambridge Alewife Working Group and the Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience (CCPR) Alewife Focus Group. The reports from both groups are expected soon, with the CCPR Alewife Plan draft recently released for public comments. As you are also aware, the Alewife area was chosen as the pilot focus area for both groups because of the complexity of flooding, traffic and mobility issues, future health implications of an urban heat island hotspot, potential for development, and high concentration of vulnerable populations.
Meanwhile, development in the area has continued through the process, potentially undermining the goals of the planning efforts. The most recent City Development Log of large projects shows over one Hancock Tower’s worth of development has been approved (Building permit, Special Permit, or submitted As of Right plans) for the immediate Alewife area. Of that, 1.3 million square feet of development was newly approved since the two Alewife groups have been meeting. The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance and the North Cambridge Stabilization Committee have been approached by developers regarding more large projects on the near horizon.
We the undersigned strongly encourage the City Council to take actions to pause the development briefly until the two Alewife Plans are finalized and released, which should be in the coming months, in order for the permitting and review process to consider the results of these efforts.