Walter Street Development Threat Revived
Developers have proposed a building project at 104-108 Walter Street in 2018 that is virtually identical to the project opposed by the community in 2005. Citing the same objections, neighbors have launched an online petition to urge the city to deny the developers permission to build and to maintain the area as protected open space. A detailed view of the area as it exists today is shown below from a Boston Water & Sewer Commission map.
Threat of Development on Morrison "Street" Persists
In August of 2005, new development was proposed for a landlocked parcel in the wetlands, at 29 Morrison "Street" (a "paper street" laid out on maps but never built). Approximately 60 letters were sent by neighbors to the City expressing opposition to the construction of a single family house, which would entail paving a portion of Morrison Street and disrupting the wetland.
The issue remains unresolved as the current owner, a Connecticut man, has filed a lawsuit against the former owner, claiming that he was given deceptive information about the parcel's readiness for development. Several local news stories have chronicled the possibility of development on this parcel, which would disturb the wetland. See our links page for past news coverage.
Compromise Reached on Harvard Botany Lab
The construction of a 43,000 Arboretum laboratory is proceeding, but half of the land where it is located will be preserved as open space at least until the year 2882. The compromise was reached in June 2007 after years of negotiations between the community and the university. Although many neighbors wanted the entire parcel to be preserved as open space, the guarantee of a buffer zone between residences and Centre Street institutions was a reasonable compromise. The land in question, owned by Harvard, is bordered by Centre, Weld, and Walter Streets and the rear of Hebrew Senior Life.
Commercial Day Care Proposal Denied
A proposal to establish a commercial day care center in a former residence was defeated in April 2007. Not only would the proposed business have been within 100 feet of conservation land, but would also have introduced commercial activity to a residential area.
104 Walter Development Threat Defused
Under an October 2005 agreement negotiated by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with the owners of a two-acre (84,000 square feet) private parcel located behind 104 Walter Street, the rear portion of the property (47,477 square feet, or 1.09 acres) is being deeded to the City for preservation as open space. Any future development of the rump private portion is precluded due to its sharply reduced size, lack of frontage, and contiguousness to the deeded section that is now conservation land.
Before the Mayor’s announcement, the development initiative for this parcel had been by far the gravest threat to the integrity of the larger wetlands of which it is a part. That threat was the spur to widespread community alarm and formation of the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force in 2003, which in turn led to scrutiny of the other 8½ acres of the wetlands and concern over the over two dozen quasi-abandoned smaller parcels situated there. There followed the successful and continuing parallel campaign to get these small, mainly tax-foreclosed parcels under City Conservation Commission control. But the fate of the wetlands always largely hinged on the fate of the two-acre superparcel behind 104 Walter Street, and the now eclipsed plan to build a paved street and a five-structure, 10-unit condominium complex on its eastern edge. The neighborhood’s opposition rested on issues of open space, species and habitat preservation, stormwater management, red flags vis a vis the building code, and foreseeable traffic hazards.