New England Development Woes in Belmont MA

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From Belmont Citizen Herald:

Town comments on Uplands
By Melody Hanatani/ Staff Writer
Thursday, February 23, 2006

"The Zoning Board of Appeals has received many pages of comments from town departments and committees regarding the proposed Belmont Uplands housing development.

The deadline to submit comments was Feb. 9, and according to Jay Szklut, the town's planning and economic development manager, the ZBA received responses from 11 departments and boards.

The comments were made available last Wednesday night, during the ZBA's second hearing with O'Neill Properties.

O'Neill is seeking a comprehensive permit to build its proposed 299-unit rental housing development known as The Residences at Acorn Park, abutting the Alewife Reservation.

In the interest of time, Szklut gave the board a brief summary of the concerns from the Uplands Advisory Committee, Board of Health, Housing Trust, Historical District Commission, Fire Department, Office of Community Development, Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Conservation Commission, School Department, and Sustainable Belmont.

A lot of the concerns were related to flooding, the size of the project, and the number of affordable units."

Full text:

From Belmont Citizen Herald:

McLaughlin: Consider pragmatic solutions for Uplands
By Walter McLaughlin/ Guest Column
Thursday, March 2, 2006

"Brian O'Neill is not my favorite developer. In my opinion, he only wants to make money and doesn't care about the town of Belmont. However, he is well financed, has staying power, and employs a stable of highly competent experts. He will comply with all of the requirements of Chapter 40B and eventually get a comprehensive permit from the state's Housing Appeals Committee to build a large apartment complex of up to 300 units at the Uplands, despite anything the town of Belmont does to stop him - short of taking the property by eminent domain."

Full text for a limited time:

From Belmont Citizen Herald:

Letter: Paving paradise to put up a 40B?

Thursday, February 9, 2006

ONLY this excerpt available:
"The 40B apartment complex for the Belmont Uplands proposed by O'Neill Properties is at a critical stage. Located just off Route 2, a mile from the Alewife MBTA station, the O'Neill parcel includes a rare, 15-acre silver maple forest. If approved by the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals, O'Neill's plan... "

From Belmont Citizen Herald:
Column: Listen to silver maple forest
By Virginia Fuller/ Guest Column
Thursday, February 9, 2006

ONLY this excerpt available:
"In a perfect world, Brian O'Neill deeds the Uplands to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, as Darrell King suggests in his Guest Perspective [Jan. 26]. It's a generous gesture, giving the wealthy Mr. O'Neill a nice tax break while giving Belmont the open space that most people seem to agree... "

Find it here:

From Belmont Citizen Herald:

Column: Speak out for regional forest
By Friends of Alewife Reservation
Thursday, January 5, 2006

Excerpt: "The Belmont Uplands' silver maple forest provides a beautiful border for Cambridge, Arlington and Belmont. It stands tall and healthy and alive with diverse natural resources. Its birds, animals and tree canopy directly benefit Belmont's eastern residents. After years of zoning changes, the owner-developer,... "

Find it here in full:

See Town of Belmont, MA website:

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