The Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands is raising funds to support the efforts of the residents of East Arlington who have filed suit to prevent the construction of Thorndike Place, a 124-unit, four-floor rental building in close proximity to documented wetlands.
Development of Arlington’s Floodplain is a recipe for disaster. Help us stop Oaktree Development, LLC and conserve the Mugar Wetlands for future generations.
The Town of Arlington’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has been conducting final public review hearings of the comprehensive permit application submitted by Oaktree Development for the proposed 176 unit Thorndike Place to be located along Dorothy Road.
Oaktree Development LLC of Cambridge propose Thorndike Place, as the wetlands are referred to in their application, to consist of 6 two-family townhouses along Dorothy Road and 207 rental units in a 4-story building with underground parking set farther back from the road. The development would also include parking above ground. It is to be built on about 6.7 acres of the 17.7-acre parcel of land, of which only 1.5 acres are not in the FEMA floodplain. There will be parking for 300+ cars in the wetland site owned by the Mugar family. You can view the full application on the town website. Oaktree/Greenline LLC is the development manager on behalf of Arlington Land Realty LLC, a company managed by Peter Mugar.
This woods abuts Dorothy, Edith, and Burch Streets in East Arlington. All cars going to the site will have to travel on Lake Street. The proposed development is larger than the Arlington Symmes Hospital development (186 units) and similar in size to Vox on 2 in Cambridge (former Faces Nightclub).
Oaktree Development is using 40B laws to bypass Arlington permitting and zoning requirements and to fast track this project to approval.
Oaktree Development’s project is inconsistent with Arlington’s 2015 Master Plan – the same Master Plan that strongly advocates for more affordable housing. For decades the Town of Arlington has been very clear that the Mugar site is not suitable for large-scale development. In 2000 and 2001 Arlington Town Meeting voted to support the conservation of this site.
THIS WILL BRING MANY PROBLEMS
- Increased flooding
- Increased traffic congestion on Lake Street, the side streets in East Arlington and on the ramps off and onto Route 2
- Increased costs to Arlington
The site consists of 17 acres. All but 1.5 of these acres are in the FEMA flood zone. The developer proposes building on seven of these acres, including 5.5 acres in the floodplain.
- Floodplains act as a sponge for nearby groundwater and storm water. If this “sponge” is paved over, the floodplain will no longer serve this essential purpose, and the water will flood into East Arlington neighborhoods.
- Thorndike Field complex, one of Arlington’s largest soccer and lacrosse fields, abuts the site and currently has high surface and groundwater. The proposed development will increase water levels and reduce the number of days the field can be used.
- Residents living between Lake Street and Route 2 and between Mass. Ave. and Route 2 know that groundwater flow and absorption is already a big problem. However, Oaktree Development states, “groundwater is not our purview.”
All cars exiting and entering the proposed development will arrive via Lake Street, and will travel on narrow neighborhood roads.
Lake Street already has severe traffic backup. At peak commute times now, it can take 35 minutes to exit Route 2 and get to Mass. Ave.
- Hundreds of families already drive, park and walk through this neighborhood to get to Thorndike Field for fall and spring athletic events.
- Adding 300+ cars/day to the neighborhood will increase congestion and travel times and create safety concerns.
INCREASED COSTS TO ARLINGTON
We believe that the increasing the capacity of water and sewer lines to accommodate the needs for 219 additional residential units will be at town expense. These are just preliminary thoughts and we will be analyzing the true costs of the project to the Town as there are more details of the project. Stay tuned.
DEGRADATION OF WILDLIFE HABITAT
This 17-acre wetlands is habitat to a variety of birds and other animals, including turkey, foxes, and deer. Multi-story buildings and the activity of 500+ people on this site would eliminate one of the few remaining natural areas in Arlington.