Thumbs up and down for Harvard

Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down (Aug. 31) - Allston/Brighton TAB

The TAB gets it right on this - Harvard has certainly earned their Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down.

Thumbs Up:
More green practices. There are many aspects of Harvard’s expansion into Allston that are frightening for residents. That’s why we’re happy to learn of at least one thing that’s unequivocally positive — Harvard’s attempt to create an environmentally friendly building. Green features are something every major project in the city needs to consider and at least attempt to implement.

Thumbs Down:
Harvard. We’re disappointed to hear of Harvard’s request for a waiver to begin construction on its proposed Western Avenue science center before a complete Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act review has been done.
It may be, as Harvard’s attorney Doug Husid said, that the science center project could qualify for a waiver because it has insignificant environmental impacts, ample infrastructure and is separate from other parts of the project.
But that’s not really the point.
Currently, an uncomfortable level of distrust exists between the university and many Allston residents, and any attempt by the Harvard to bypass normal review processes is likely to exacerbate that distrust. Even if the net environmental impact of the science center is ultimately not negative, this is a matter of relationships, perhaps above all else. The project should be as thoroughly reviewed as possible by the public and all relevant agencies.
A reminder: The deadline to submit comments to MEPA is Friday, Sept. 7. The deadline to submit comments to the BRA on the Draft Project Impact Report is Sept. 10. It’s not a lot of time, but we’d like to urge everyone to get their voices heard.

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