Wicked Local Somerville
December 8, 2016
A recent decision from the state’s highest court ended the Friends of The Middlesex Fells Reservation’s (“Friends”) battle to compel state environmental review of a housing and office proposal planned for Stoneham’s Woodland Road.
Despite the recent Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) action, the Friends will continue their longstanding efforts to press developers to reduce the scale of the Langwood Commons Development proposal. The developers, Fellsway Development LLC and Langwood Commons LLC, intend to build 310 residential units and 225,000 square feet of office space on the site of the defunct Boston Regional Medical Center. The approximately 30-acre private parcel is surrounded by the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a 2,575-acre state forest.
On Nov. 30, the SJC denied an Application for Further Appellate Review filed by the Friends and other project opponents, ending their quest for a full hearing on the potential harm an expected 4,500 additional daily car trips would cause the Reservation’s parkways.
Until 2013, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) had insisted that high volumes of additional daily traffic trips would require the parkways to be “excessively altered.” In 2013, DCR reversed course and cleared the way for the developers to commence construction without evaluating an alternative scale project that would not generate as much traffic.