Part of the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association of Roslindale, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts

Local wetlands ordinance signed into law

posted Dec 24, 2019, 6:49 AM by Deb Beatty Mel

Thanks to the elected officials, community activists, and city and agency employees who brought the city's local wetlands ordinance over the finish line yesterday.

ordinance signing speakers

ordinance signing attendees

city councilor michelle wu

mayor marty walsh

many supporters in attendance

City Council passes local wetlands ordinance; Mayor Walsh to sign it in Roslindale Dec. 23

posted Dec 19, 2019, 5:47 PM by Deb Beatty Mel   [ updated Dec 19, 2019, 5:47 PM ]

On December 11, Boston City Council passed an important ordinance designed to protect local wetlands while promoting climate change adaptation. This represents a major step forward in helping to preserve spaces like the Roslindale Wetlands that provide protection from the effects of climate change.

Please join Mayor Marty Walsh and your neighbors right here in Roslindale for the signing of this important citywide legislation:

Monday, December 23, 2:30 p.m.
At the end of Hazelmere Road (nearest house: 43 Hazelmere), Roslindale
Bring a friend! Bring the kids!

The ordinance, introduced by Councilors Michelle Wu and Matt O’Malley, is designed to balance the protection of critical resource areas with providing flexibility for the implementation of climate resilience measures. It expands the jurisdiction of the Boston Conservation Commission in recognition of the fact that climate change will increase the amount of land in the City that is at risk of flooding.

Facebook event

Wetlands Cleanup Set for May 11

posted May 3, 2019, 5:19 PM by Deb Beatty Mel

The City of Boston's Environment Department and Parks and Recreation Department are organizing a cleanup at the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild on Saturday, May 11, 9:00-12:00. Volunteers are needed to help with trail maintenance, removal of invasive plants, and trash pickup. 

We will gather at 9:00 at the Selwyn Street entrance (use 40 Selwyn for GPS purposes). The Boston Parks and Recreation Department will help us identify and remove the invasive species that are affecting the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. We will also help remove obstacles from the trail, such as fallen branches. The cleanup is being organized by Greenovate Boston. 

Please remember to bring:
1. Water
2. Jacket
3. A hat
4. Sunglasses
5. Bug Spray
6. Close-toed shoes
7. Long pants or sweatpants
8. Tools and gloves, if you have them.

This is also a chance to get acquainted with the Wetlands so you can come back later  and explore on your own.


At City and State Levels, Proposed Legislation Would Protect Wetlands

posted Feb 1, 2019, 5:11 PM by Deb Beatty Mel

On January 28, Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu and District City Councilor Matt O’Malley refiled an ordinance aimed at strengthening the City’s ability to fight climate change and reasonably regulate development. The Local Wetlands Protection Ordinance would empower the Boston Conservation Commission to require green infrastructure with new development, including protections for urban wetlands, which are an important natural resource to manage flooding and reduce urban heat island effect. The Roslindale Wetlands Task Force is one of a coalition of groups supporting the ordinance. Read more about the ordinance

At the same time, the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force also worked with Rep. Nika Elugardo to file a bill (H.3642) that would amend state environmental law to allow local conservation commissions to study the effects of climate change and environmental justice if they so wish. Conservation commissions are the stewards of natural resources, and this enabling language opens the door for local communities to act. Conservation commissions would be empowered to "include in its conservation plan an analysis of climate change effects and also may evaluate environmental justice and climate justice elements of climate change, including effects of extreme weather and flooding within areas subject to protection. A conservation commission may adopt guidelines and policies for environmental justice and climate change."

We will keep the community informed as these legislative initiatives move forward.

City Council Holds Hearing on Wetlands Protection

posted Aug 22, 2018, 4:02 AM by Deb Beatty Mel

On August 8, the Boston City Council held a hearing on a potential new wetlands protection ordinance. The Roslindale Wetlands Task Force and the Friends of Allandale Woods submitted a joint letter in support (attached below). The letter includes specific recommendations for the ordinance:

  1. Establishment of robust ecosystem and flood protection mechanisms by, for example, defining permitted and forbidden uses within the 100-foot wetland buffer zone, and, where applicable, stream and vernal pool buffer zones.
  2. Provision for mandatory filing of initial project plans—where applicable—to the Conservation Commission for staff, proponent, and public comment to the Commission; allowance for Commission or staff advisory submissions to other City reviewing departments such as BPDA, Parks and Inspectional Services/Zoning Board of Appeal.
  3. Related to item 2 above, establishment of a standard sustainability checklist and clear “roadmap” so that relevant components of proposed projects that include local wetlands legislation jurisdiction are considered at the earliest feasible stage of review.
  4. City process transparency via up-to-date, one-stop project information posting online.
In opening the hearing, Councilor Matt O’Malley mentioned growing up near the Roslindale Wetlands and his appreciation for the area. We are grateful to Councilors O’Malley, Michelle Wu, and Tim McCarthy for their attention and assistance.

The entire hearing is available on YouTube. In addition to Councilor O’Malley’s opening remarks, you can see the Friends of Allandale Woods statement by Tony LaCasse beginning at 1:19:08.

city council hearing

The joint letter from Roslindale Wetlands and Friends of Allandale is attached.

Next Steps in Dialogue with Parcel Owners

posted Jul 1, 2018, 4:19 AM by Deb Beatty Mel

Following the May meeting at City Hall with the owners of 104-108 Walter Street, we received an email from their attorney indicating a purchase price of $1.75 million for the site. The Roslindale Wetlands Task Force responded this week by sending the letter below, indicating that the next step is an appraisal of the property. Purchasing the parcel from the current owners would mean that it would remain conservation land permanently. We now await the owners' response. 


We are writing in reply to the proposed terms of sale provided June 18, 2018 by your clients for the Walter Street site:

$1.75 Million Purchase Price; 10 Days to accept Offer in writing;
10 Days from signing Offer to provide proof of funds and execute a purchase & sale agreement; 30 Days from that to close.

The Task Force thanks you and your client for this response to our original suggestion at the May 16, 2018 meeting and in the subsequent May 21, 2018 letter: an up to 6 month “hold” period during which there could be an independent valuation followed by possible negotiation of price and other terms of sale.

The Walter St. site is a prime candidate for conservation, in that it includes wetlands and wooded uplands and borders an existing City conservation area. The site provides local flood protection benefits together with public enjoyment and natural habitat values. Conservation rather than development would also not add to the already existing peak hour traffic volumes and speeding along Walter St, especially as site entrance and exit is at a blind curve. For these reasons, wide, long-standing neighborhood interest exists in the future of the Walter St. property. 

The Task Force intends to make a bona fide offer to your client. To do so we must first complete an independent evaluation of fair value. We have taken specific steps to that end, having identified companies that specialize in appraisal of land for conservation purposes and sent them background information and a proposed scope of work. 

We are ready to proceed and request agreement from your client of a defined time for taking necessary next steps including, for example, permission to access the property with reasonable notice for the purpose of evaluation. As during the past month we have completed the initial steps indicated, an up to 5 month period is requested at this point. 

We recognize that an owner is free to proceed with development proposals for their property. At Walter St. – a site with great conservation potential and wide, longstanding neighborhood interest - we believe that a time-limited effort to reach agreement on a fair value purchase-and-sale is preferable to a City review process which is time-consuming for all involved and uncertain in final result.

Thank you to your client for considering this cooperative approach and we look forward to their response.

Very Truly,
Roslindale Wetlands Task Force

City Hall Meeting Outcomes

posted May 21, 2018, 5:10 PM by Deb Beatty Mel   [ updated May 21, 2018, 5:26 PM ]

On May 16, four representatives of the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force met at City Hall with property owners Brendan and Greg Feeney and Michael Ahern. The gathering was facilitated by City Councilor Tim McCarthy and his chief of staff, Lee Blasi.

The Task Force requested that the owners hold off for six months from any further actions to advance the project with the city so that potential alternatives can be explored to preserve the land as green space. The owners indicated that they would consider our request to hold.

As a follow-up to the meeting, the Task Force presented the signed petitions to the owners, which includes more than 1,100 signatures from our online petition as well as pen-and-ink signatures from abutters and nearby residents. We also presented a composite map that overlays a 2005 wetlands delineation with the most recent development proposal (below).

Full letter to the owners is attached as a PDF and also available via Dropbox.

wetlands composite map

April and May Cleanups Scheduled

posted Apr 18, 2018, 4:55 PM by Deb Beatty Mel

Help us clean out invasive plants and trash and tune up the perimeter trail. We have four cleanups scheduled over the coming weeks:

  • Saturday, April 21, 2:00-4:30 pm at 44 Selwyn
  • Sunday, April 29, 9:30 - noon at 44 Selwyn
  • Saturday, May 5, 2:00-4:30 at 43 Hazelmere
  • Saturday, May 12, 2:00-4:30pm at 43 Hazelmere
We are teaming up with Boston Cares for these days of service. Get outside, explore the wetlands, and help improve the neighborhood. Youth volunteers are welcome!

Can You Help Us Gather Signatures?

posted Mar 25, 2018, 3:02 PM by Deb Beatty Mel   [ updated Mar 25, 2018, 3:05 PM ]

The Roslindale Wetlands Task Force has been canvassing the neighborhood to distribute information and gather signatures on the petition against the proposed condominium complex at 104-108 Walter Street. We invite interested neighbors to help in this campaign at whatever level they are able and with which they are comfortable.
The online petition regarding 104-108 Walter Street has 1,076 signatures as of this writing. Many of you have already signed it electronically. It has been a striking success and had a real impact. But we believe the fight is only beginning. We think that hundreds of “hard copy” signatures from neighbors along the wetlands perimeter and nearby streets would significantly strengthen the community’s hand in its opposition to the developer’s proposal. Friends and even currently uncommitted people in city government have told us we are right to think that.
There are several ways you can help while fixing your time contribution at the level that works for you.  For example:

  1. Email us to tell us you wish to sign the paper version of the petition. Please include your address. We will arrange to get your signature at your home. With each of these four options, it will be easier to arrange If you include your telephone number in addition to your address.
  2. Email us to say you will try to secure however many signatures of friends, adult family members, or residents of your street as you choose. Each signature helps, so there is no minimum figure. With options 2-4 we will arrange to deliver a blank petition or petitions to you.
  3. Email us to say you will canvass for signatures on your entire street.  If you would like to do more than that street, specify those you have in mind. 
  4. Email us to join Task Force canvassers for a scheduled session covering local streets.

We realize that not everyone is in a position to work against the proposed development in this particular way. Others may only have been waiting to be asked. We thank everyone for whatever support they do provide. All of it is important.

Recent rainstorm demonstrates wetlands' importance

posted Mar 3, 2018, 12:06 PM by Deb Beatty Mel

During yesterday's rain-soaked nor'easter, a steady flow of water could be seen down Primrose Street heading straight for the low-lying Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild, where the wetlands could do what they do best: serve as a holding area for all that water until it can be absorbed into the ground. 

Far from being an exceptional circumstance, this situation occurs regularly. Similar conditions were observed after heavy rains in 2010 and after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


This Boston Water and Sewer map shows the contours of the area as well as the BWSC stormwater management infrastructure installed beneath the driveway of 104 Walter Street.

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