Thursday, September 06, 2007

Comments Due for Harvard's Science Complex and MEPA Waiver

There are two upcoming public comment periods ending for Harvard's proposed Allston science complex. Brighton residents are encouraged to send comments, since many, if not all, of these issues also impact us. We will be facing similar issues with Boston College's upcoming institutional master plan (IMP).

Harvard's MEPA Waiver

Public comments are due Friday, September 7, to MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act Office) for Harvard's proposed waiver of an environmental review of their proposed science complex. Harvard refused to grant an extension to the period of public comment.

Allston neighbors have made it clear that they do not want MEPA to grant a waiver to Harvard to avoid a full environmental of their science complex project. They want a full environmental review.

Some issues that they want addressed:
  1. The Science Complex must be accompanied by significant public realm improvements to improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  2. Implement alternative means of access to the construction site to reduce the environmental impact on the North Allston community and reduce the neighborhood-wide transportation impact of the project.
  3. A neighborhood-wide rodent control program is needed.
  4. Independent, dedicated enforcement officers are needed to ensure that environmental damage is minimized.
  5. Harvard should be required to approach “mitigation” with a broad and generous approach.
The Editorial Page of the Allston/Brighton TAB wrote about Harvard's waiver request:
"Currently, an uncomfortable level of distrust exists between the university and many Allston residents, and any attempt by the Harvard to bypass normal review processes is likely to exacerbate that distrust. Even if the net environmental impact of the science [complex] is ultimately not negative, this is a matter of relationships, perhaps above all else. The project should be as thoroughly reviewed as possible by the public and all relevant agencies."
Send comments to:

Secretary Ian A. Bowles
EOEA, Attn: MEPA Office
Briony Angus, EOEA No. 14069
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston MA 02114

Harvard's Science Complex

Public comments are due Monday, September 10, to the BRA on the Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR) for Harvard's proposed science complex. Harvard refused to grant an extension to the period of public comment.

Our Allston neighbors insist that "the BRA should not waive further review of the Science Complex at the September BRA Board meeting. Harvard should be required to submit a Final Project Impact Report" so that various issues, like these, can be resolved:
  1. A construction mitigation plan is needed to preserve our quality of life, and protect us from noise, dust, vibration, air pollution, and traffic congestion, and safeguard our investment in our homes.
  2. A multi-million dollar community benefits agreement is appropriate for the massive scope of Harvard's plans. Harvard's desire to conduct a survey and propose specific benefits after the Science Complex is fully approved is unacceptable. Appropriate community benefits could be:
    • Funds for a new community-based foundation that will distribute benefits to local programs and organizations
    • Construction and funding of a university-assisted community school that would function a center for the entire community, providing a focal point for education, social services, recreation and activities for students, their parents and the community as a whole
  3. A modified design of the Science Complex is needed consistent with the principles of the North Allston Strategic Framework
    • Buildings along Western Ave should be no more than 5 stories tall
    • This project must help revitalize our neighborhood and reverse the trend caused by Harvard's purchasing and mothballing of so many buildings in North Allston and North Brighton. Retail, restaurants, exhibition space, and other ground floor public uses must be emphasized.
Much more information is at

Comments should be sent to:

Gerald Autler
Boston Redevelopment Authority
City Hall, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02201-1007

Please also send your comments to

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