On February 3, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) issued an Adequacy Determination that disapproves the 990 American Legion (aka Crane Ledge Woods) development proposal as currently designed. This is a first good step, and it means that there is a high bar that the developer needs to meet to win approval of the project.
However, this is a conditional decision that sets out the requirements the developer, Lincoln Property Company, must meet in order for the BPDA to approve this project. As a conditional disapproval, the developer now has the option of significantly modifying the proposal to address the issues spelled out in the disapproval. The BPDA and Mayor Wu would then evaluate the modified project. The BPDA could then approve, approve with listed conditions, or again disapprove.
The BPDA’s disapproval is based on several key items, including significant loss of urban tree canopy; inadequate evaluation of site topography; required blasting; and impacts on flooding, air quality, heat island effect, neighborhood connectivity, environmental justice issues, accessibility, community sentiment, and numerous questions around traffic, circulation, parking, and alternative transit modes.
The BPDA analysis confirms that any development of this urban woodland site would have harmful impacts on our Environmental Justice neighborhoods which cannot be mitigated.
Below is a link to the Adequacy Determination document, which includes detailed reasoning, conditions, and all the public comments. City departments’ comments made reference to the concerns voiced by residents, who overwhelmingly are in support of conservation of the woods. They also reflect the City’s goals toward environmental and public health equity and a planning process informed by the community.
BCEC is grateful to the many members of the Crane Ledge Woods Coalition who have been working tirelessly to save and preserve Crane Ledge Woods and for whom full conservation is the goal. The CLW Coalition strongly supports “creation of needed housing—and especially affordable housing, including home ownership—with such housing directed to suitable locations near public transit hubs on already paved over land. NOT through destruction of urban woodland in Environmental Justice neighborhoods.” The Coalition believes that “full conservation through a willing seller agreement is the best possible, ‘win-win’ outcome for Crane Ledge Woods.”