On November 6, 2019, three Newton voters, including Boston College President William P. Leahy, S.J., filed an open meetings lawsuit against the Newton Community Preservation Committee. The plaintiffs asked the court to prohibit the CPC from holding the November 12th meeting at which the CPC was scheduled to vote on Mayor Ruthanne Fuller’s proposal to buy 17 acres of Webster Woods from Boston College.
However, the court refused to grant the requested injunction, and the CPC meeting was held as planned. The CPC voted to recommend that the City Council authorize an eminent domain taking of the land, to be funded with CPA-backed bonds.
In their court filing, the plaintiffs made this statement:
The University has plans in progress and anticipates future development of the entire HPP [Hammond Pond Parkway] Property. [emphasis added]
Boston College’s precise plans for the woods are not known. But the likely scale of development on the land can be seen in this plan that was prepared for Temple Mishkan Tefila a number of years ago. Note that the developed area between Bare Pond and the former temple building is on the site of “the knoll”, a hilly, wooded outcrop that is part of the City’s proposed eminent domain taking. The knoll would have to be dynamited to make way for this construction. This development plan would have required blasting to level the western portion of the site, which is also quite hilly.