CC&F project seen helping with Lake cleanup

Jun 10, 2021 by

Published in the June 10, 2021 edition.

By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD — The $1.3 million that Cabot Cabot & Forbes has pledged to provide to the town for Lake improvement projects will go a long way toward accomplishing that goal, Town Engineer Bill Renault told the Zoning Board of Appeals last night.

CC&F is seeking Special Permits from the ZBA that would allow the real estate development giant to construct 485 apartments in three buildings at 200-400 Quannapowitt Parkway, the former site of American Mutual and later Comverse. If the project is ultimately approved, CC&F has agreed to provide $1.3 million towards an engineering project to help clean up the Lake.

In addition, the Friends of Lake Quannapowitt has confirmed that it supports the proposed CC&F project based on the firm’s commitment to improving the Lake and surrounding areas.

Renault’s Engineering Department has developed plans that would consolidate and treat the storm water entering Lake Quannapowitt from 18 separate outfalls along Main Street. He has been applying for grants to help fund the estimated $3.25 million project and he anticipates that some town funds will be required as well. But the $1.3 million from CC&F “would cover a lot of the shortfall,” in funding for the project, he said.

Treating storm water via the watershed approach proposed by Renault would remove 51-79 percent of the phosphorous and an even higher percentage of the nitrogen entering the Lake, the Town Engineer said. Phosphorous and nitrogen are two of the primary nutrients that fuel the cyanobacteria blooms that are responsible for annually turning the Lake a deep green hue.

The 18 outfalls along the Main Street side of the Lake make up the bulk of the 24 locations that the town is looking at for storm water treatment measures. A new bioretention area has already been created at Gertrude Spaulding Park and anther one is in the works at Veterans Field.

Renault told the ZBA that he has looked at CC&F’s proposed stormwater treatment plans for the 200-400 Quannapowitt Parkway site and said that he agrees with CC&F’s calculations as to the improvement it would provide in cleaning up storm water entering the Lake. He has requested that CC&F expand its stormwater treatment plan to include the full length of Quannapowitt Parkway. He said that CC&F’s design team has been receptive to that request.

While the storm water treatment projects would be a “potentially huge improvement” in the Lake’s water quality, Renault cautioned that it would only affect what enters the Lake going forward. He could not rule out a possible future need to remove sediment that has built up due to years of untreated runoff.

But he stressed the need to improve the water going into the Lake first, before considering dredging out what’s already there.

Newly elected Friends of Lake Quannapowitt President Margaret Coppe also appeared at last night’s ZBA meeting. She read the following letter from the FOLQ board of directors explaining why they support CC&F’s proposed development.

“This letter is submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals to provide information regarding the request by Cabot, Cabot and Forbes for a Special Permit for 200 Quannapowitt Parkway. For the past year, the Friends of Lake Quannapowitt Board of Directors worked with CC&F on a Memorandum of Understanding addressing our concerns with the development. We have recently signed a MOU with CC&F that we hope you will give full consideration to as you hear and determine their request for permitting. A copy of the MOU will be made available to you upon request.

 “The MOU addresses the key issues that our organization has concerning the development plan at 200-400 Quannapowitt Parkway. We realize that our concerns are likely the ZBA’s as well and that certainly your other concerns extend well beyond the scope of this memo.

“The FOLQ Board of Directors supports the project because of the willingness of CC&F to make important adjustments to the development plan including limiting building height, addressing on-site conservation, adding Lake water quality protections, expanding and improving the adjacent park area for lakeside visitors, and ceding to the town permanent control of parklands and wetlands now in private ownership. CC&F has agreed to long-term maintenance of public park areas adjacent to its property. In addition, CC&F is committed to contributing significant funding for the construction of off-site storm water runoff mitigation systems to achieve EPA-directed Lake water quality improvements, a long-time goal of our organization and the Town.

“We believe CC&F to be a developer who has the capacity and willingness to enter into a constructive relationship with the Town of Wakefield, resulting in the most positive plan within present zoning requirements. With all considerations, we feel that this plan will be in the public’s best interest by protecting wetlands, improving parklands, and by making a significant start in the long-term improvement of Lake Quannapowitt water quality desired by the community and required by government compliance regulations.

“Our endorsement of the CC&F plan is focused on specific Lake-related elements that are part of our mission. We did not venture into many other issues that are of vital interest to the town. We have faith that the ZBA, with citizen input, will result in optimal decisions in those areas.

“If there are any questions or additional information helpful for the ZBA’s proceedings, please let us know and we would be happy to respond. 

“Thank you for your considerable efforts on behalf of the citizens of Wakefield.”

The letter is signed by the FOLQ Board of Directors.

There was no other public testimony at last night’s hearing.

The ZBA continued the hearing until the board’s June 23 meeting, when the focus will be on the economic impact of the proposed CC&F development.

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