Letter: Large Buildings at Cushing Village A Detriment to Town's Character
Cushing Square and the issue of urbanization.
To the editor:
Urbanization is not revitalization for the town of Belmont. When our town's elected representatives voted in good faith for the Overlay District By-Law, our vision was never that Cushing Square would become a Porter Square. We are a residential community adapting to the changing needs of our Town by using appropriate space for a residential/commercial project that enhances our economic base and our quality of life.
For the last five years we have been dealing with the developer's vision for large urban structures that are diametrically opposed to the heart and soul of the Belmont community. At its June 25 meeting, the Planning Board directed the developer to come to the next hearing with plans inclusive of a building on the CVS site [at Common and Belmont streets] primarily of three stories with a minor fourth story element to accommodate the transition in grade, and a building with step backs and a setback line in alignment with the houses on the south side of Horne Road. The developer did not follow these directives.
As neighbors, we were actually hopeful after the June 25 meeting that the ongoing issues of height, size and mass could be resolved. We have lived with the continuing degradation of the property slated for development as talks have gone back and forth in this matter for many years.
Belmont residents, particularly those living in the vicinity of Cushing Square, want to see a project that revitalizes the Square and increases our tax base. The Overlay District By-Law does not allow for overly large buildings that would urbanize the Square to the detriment of the residential character of our Town. This has been clear from Day One, when the By-Law was being formulated and passed by Town Meeting.
We have compromised considerably from what was initially envisioned to be the appropriate size of a village-type development consistent with the provisions of the By-Law. We respect the Planning Board process and we appreciate that the Planning Board continues to employ a balanced approach as it works towards a resolution that will benefit the town for many years to come.
Cushing Square Neighborhood Association