November 2023 – Mugar Update
Since the Land Trust’s previous e-newsletter in September, the Conservation Commission has begun its public hearing on the proposed Thorndike Place 40B development project in East Arlington. The Land Trust continues to support efforts to gather accurate and comprehensive information about the complex environmental challenges on the site.
Con Com Hearing on Thorndike Place
The next Conservation Commission meeting on Thursday, November 16, will include a continuation of the public hearing on the proposed Thorndike Place housing project on the Mugar land. The meeting begins at 7 pm via Zoom, but the Thorndike Place hearing is set to begin around 8:30 pm. It will provide an update on the peer review process, as described below.
In September the Con Com received a Notice of Intent (NOI) from Arlington Land Realty, LLC, the owner/developer of the site, under the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (WPA). The NOI proposes work within the FEMA 100-Year Floodplain / Bordering Land Subject to Flooding (BLSF), as well as within the Buffer Zone to Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVW). Mitigation measures are proposed to compensate for the impacts to these resources.
The public hearing on the NOI began on September 21 and has been continued while the Con Com solicits peer review consultants to supplement their own analysis of two specific portions of the NOI. The first is a review of the Stormwater Report and Management Plan associated with the Thorndike Place development to determine whether it complies with the Massachusetts Stormwater Standards. The second is a review of the Thorndike Place Planting Plan for compliance with the performance standards for restoration work in designated zones and whether the plan will enhance wildlife habitat conditions.
In the meantime, the Land Trust has retained Scott Horsley, a hydrologist with more than 30 years of experience in evaluating water resources projects, to review the NOI and other documents relating to stormwater management. He has submitted his findings to the Con Com, and his report will be posted on the Thorndike Place web page along with other related materials. The NOI hearings will be continued at future Con Com meetings when the peer review process is completed.
We will continue to provide updates about these important hearings that are part of the long-running 40B development proposal for the Mugar land. Thank you for your interest and support.
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.