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Tata Hall IMPNF-PNF Comments With Attachment

Tata Hall IMPNF-PNF Comments With Attachment

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Published by: harrymattison on Jun 21, 2011
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06/21/2011

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 June 20, 2011Michael F. GlavinDeputy Director for Institutional DevelopmentBoston Redevelopment AuthorityBoston City HallBoston, MA 02201
 Re: Tata Hall 
Dear Mr. Galvin:Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) has reviewed the Institutional Master PlanNotification Form / Project Notification Form (IMPNF / IMP) for the Fourth Amendment to theHarvard University Allston Campus IMP for the above mentioned project submitted by HarvardUniversity (Harvard) and offers the following comments to assist the Boston RedevelopmentAuthority (BRA) with the project review.The fact that this project is being proposed under an amendment to the IMP submitted byHarvard in 1997 is problematic to start with. Not only has Harvard’s vision for its IMP evolvedconsiderably from what it was in 1997, the City and the neighborhood residents, amongst otherstakeholders, have also since undertaken several years of comprehensive planning that hasembraced more system-wide thinking for the development of North Allston. We therefore urgeHarvard and the BRA to ensure that this project encompasses the overarching goals for publicaccess and environmental sustainability established by the larger planning framework and goesbeyond the site specific scope for its infrastructure design.As shown in Fig.1, a concept sketch developed by CRWA in 2007 as part of its master planrecommendations to Harvard (http://www.crwa.org/projects/ESUD/AllstonScienceHandout.pdf ),the site for Tata Hall, by virtue of its location, is critical not only for providing improved publicaccess through the campus to the River but also for improving the health of the River itself.Given the exacerbated flooding occurring in the neighborhood, following even minor rain eventsand poor water quality in the River in close proximity to the outfall draining the site, the designof the site should take into consideration the entire engineered sub-watershed. In addition toexploring opportunities for off-line stormwater treatment and storage via a constructed wetlandsystem, as part of the site landscape design and engineering, a variety of green infrastructureretrofits need to be incorporated in the design of the Project to address stormwater runoff quality,quantity and peak flow attenuation. At a minimum the project should comply with the TotalMaximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Nutrients in the Lower Charles River Basin and PathogenTMDL for the Charles River Watershed. It is therefore critical that stormwater managementdesign for the project be undertaken at the sub-watershed level and the calculations
 
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accompanying the design be documented explicitly in the Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR).As part of making a successful greenway connection from the neighborhood to the Charles Riverand its parklands, such as that shown in Fig. 1, Harvard should improve access to and thecondition of the parkland adjoining the River and the existing River crossings at the Weeksfootbridge and Western Avenue. River and park access has been consistently identified as a highpriority for the neighborhood, and has appeared as a regional need in various park and regionalMaster Plans. These improvements should be a part of mitigating the impacts of building onthis last remaining piece of open space on this section of the River. In addition to the above, theheight and the massing of Tata Hall need to be articulated so as to prevent the gradual“canyonization” of the River occurring with buildings like One Western Ave.Finally, given the renewed activity in both development and planning underway, the Chair andthe Co-Chairs of the Harvard Allston Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) have requested thatSecretary Sullivan re-convene the CAC. A copy of their letter is attached. CRWA hopes thatthe BRA will coordinate closely with the MEPA office as it scopes the DPIR for Tata Hall.
Fig.
 
1
 
Concept 
 
sketch
 
 for 
 
Greenway 
 
connection
 
 from
 
the
 
residential 
 
neighborhood 
 
to
 
the
 
Charles
 
River 
 
along
 
a
 
historic
 
stream
 
corridor 
 
overlaid 
 
with
 
existing
 
storm
 
drain
 
network 
 
underground 
 
 
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We appreciates the opportunity to comment on this Project through the Article 80 review processand look forward to working with the BRA and Harvard as the planning and design evolve.Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.Sincerely,Pallavi Kalia MandeUrban Restoration SpecialistEncl.cc: Will Donham, Harvard UniversityEdward M. Lambert Jr., Department of Conservation and RecreationHarvard Allston Task Force

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