FOLQ’s Lake Development Position
Dear Friends and Supporters,
On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, Cabot, Cabot and Forbes filed a site plan and application for a mixed-use residential development at 200 Quannapowitt Parkway (the old American Mutual building) with the Zoning Board of Appeals. Included in that filing is a letter stating that amendments will soon be added that incorporate important elements for lake protection, negotiated with FOLQ. We want our members and supporters to have updated information as the development application proceeds.
As you know, our organization has been engaged in discussion for over two years with developers regarding commercial and residential uses of the property. We have been listening, proposing zoning changes, and incorporating the ideas and concerns of many community members into those discussions. During that time, we mainly stood opposed and challenged the original proposed size and expected negative impacts on the lake area. However, the Friends of Lake Quannapowitt Board of Directors no longer oppose this development. We have determined that broad opposition is simply not possible in the face of the legal rights of the developer, which are based on the existing zoning laws passed by our town. It is in this context that FOLQ began trying to work constructively with Cabot, Cabot and Forbes to limit negative impacts on the lake and also to achieve some important benefits. We have agreed in principle with CC&F to support their site design in exchange for the important limits and improvements listed here and to be incorporated into their approval application.
The anticipated contractually binding agreement between FOLQ and CC&F requires:
• Reasonable building heights by limiting the height of all lakeside buildings to 3 stories and limiting a rear building and garage to 4 stories.
• A $1.3 million contribution to the Town Engineering Department planned efforts in improving lake water quality.
• The conveyance to the Town of Wakefield of wetland and parkland areas providing permanent protection and preservation.
• Maximum feasible setback that limits lakeshore encroachment and adds public greenspace
• A clear boundary between town and private property created on newly acquired town land with a new additional well landscaped path maintained by the property owner in perpetuity for transit thru the park.
• Providing lake users near-by parking space and access to the lakeside park area.
In summary, the rights of property owners and the overwhelming pressure for multi-family residential development on communities are real. Many hours of difficult discussion convinced us that owner property rights would overcome our efforts of opposition. As lake advocates, and given these realities, we felt we needed to address our core organizational values in negotiations and focus on factors that most directly affect Lake Quannapowitt‘s environment and public use. We determined we could not speak to many of the issues raised by this development such as traffic, school enrollment, and tax revenue. These will be more appropriately addressed by a town-wide discussion during the upcoming permit process at the Zoning Board of Appeals.
FOLQ views this agreement as precedent setting between a developer and concerned citizens within our town and hope to see it carry forward as an example to possible future lakeside development. We believe it is critical that any development close to the lake be thoughtfully integrated into the lake environment and achieve protections and improvements for the area.
We recognize the progress with this important lake development issue is rooted in the strong expressions of support by our members and supporters. We thank you.
Board of Directors, Friends of Lake Quannapowitt