Update on Webster Park CPA Aquisition of Forte
This month will finally witness the culmination
of a long process, the acquisition of the 1.1-acre property at 76
Webster Park in West Newton, directly adjacent to the Dolan
Pond Conservation Area. A so-called "21E" environmental
survey was completed recently and the final report was delivered
on Monday, November 17. The closing on the property will take place
by the end of November.
Bill Shaevel of the law firm, Shaevel and Krems, has volunteered
his services on behalf of the Conservators and has been working
with all the parties involved: the Forte family, the Newton Housing
Authority, Habitat for Humanity, and the city's legal department.
conservation restriction has been drawn up on the property and will
wend its way through the approval process. Under the agreement,
it is expected that, at the closing, the city will provide the funds
to the Conservators and they will be signed over to the estate of
Irene Forte. The Forte family's patience with the process is most
Habitat for Humanity will most likely be conveyed the approximately
15,000 square foot housing portion of the lot to build an additional
duplex unit which will be styled compatibly with the existing historic
house. The original house will be conveyed by Habitat to the NHA
as part of a condo agreement. Before that, there will be a hearing
for a special permit, since there are a total of three units, one
more than the two allowed by right.
Habitat has consulted with David Galler, a member of the Historic
Commission, on the appearance of the new units and there is agreement
on window styles. A new type of clapboard, Hardie Board, which holds
up well, is being proposed for the exterior. The pro bono Habitat
architect, Norberto Leon of the firm Stephian Bradley, has just
come up with a design footprint for the new units with driveway
and parking, which the Conservators will be reviewing. The boundaries
for the housing portion will be put on the plan by the city surveyor
and a subdivision into two lots will be pursued.
One of the main arguments in favor of the city's acquisition of
the property at 76 Webster Park was that it preserved the biological
diversity of the area, providing upland habitat different from the
predominant red maple swamp-a different variety of trees, plants,
and creatures. Losing this to development would have affected the
health of the entire conservation area. In addition, the new conservation
land allows observation into areas otherwise difficult to access.
The open space portion of the property will eventually be conveyed
to the Conservation Commission as an adjunct to Dolan Pond.
Recently, the NCSC's Teen Reach Program (in West Newton) donated
the proceeds from a dance they held to Habitat for Humanity for
this particular project and teens from the program will be volunteering
when the Habitat build takes place next year.
on this subject