March 2021 – Mugar Update #3
On Tuesday, March 30, starting at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Board of Appeals will continue its hearing on the Comprehensive Permit for Thorndike Place, located on the Mugar land in East Arlington. This hearing may be the last opportunity for public input. Please plan to attend.
The Select Board and the ZBA have recently written to MassHousing to question the “substantial changes” that the Applicant (Arlington Land Realty LLC/Oaktree Development) has made since the project was originally deemed “eligible” in 2015. These changes include the removal of 12 townhouses on Dorothy Road that were compatible with the neighborhood and offered an ownership option. The current four-story structure and site plan fail to meet many of the criteria that were in fact highlighted as reasons for the original site approval.
Nevertheless, MassHousing has declined to consider the Town’s concerns and instead declared the Applicant’s changes to be “not substantial.” Thus, the hearing must be continued on the project as currently proposed: a single massive building of 172 units fronting directly on Dorothy Road.
Raising another significant concern, the Town Manager in a recent letter to the ZBA addressed the status of the approximately 12 acres of the site that the Applicant proposes to transfer to the Town or another entity for “conservation” as part of the project. He laid out numerous conditions that must be met by the Applicant before any transfer could occur and that should be part of the ZBA’s final decision, which is expected to be made in April.
To register for the hearing via Zoom, visit the ZBA agenda page on the Town website. The 3/30/21 online agenda has links to current plans and documents. Please send your comments and concerns about this proposed project to the Zoning Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arlington Land Trust continues to advocate for the permanent protection of the Mugar parcel as conservation land. The site is subject to regular and significant flooding, and is a critical stormwater buffer for the surrounding and downstream neighborhoods of East Arlington.