Photo: A protest at the site of the Belmont Uplands in November 2014.
After years of legal battles and delays, the Office of Community Development has issued a building permit today, Friday, March 6, allowing construction to begin on a $70 million, 299-unit apartment complex in the Belmont Uplands section of Belmont.
“Please be aware that today a building permit was issued for foundation work at the Belmont Uplands site,” wrote Glenn Clancy, the Community Development director in an e-mail memo to town officials and selected residents.
“AP Cambridge Partners has fulfilled all requirements under the Zoning Board of Appeals Comprehensive Permit and the Massachusetts State Building Code necessary to secure a building permit,” noted Clancy of the site that borders the Cambridge town line and is part of the Alewife Brook Reservation.
Pennsylvania-based O’Neill Development has long planned to build hundreds of market-rate and subsidized apartments under the state’s Chapter 40B law which allows developers to bypass local zoning requirements if a municipality’s housing stock is less than 10 percent affordable.
The project has for years been stalled by a series of legal actions, notably by the Belmont Conservation Commission and the Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands after the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection gave its OK for the development to proceed.
In addition, a sprawling apartment complex has been seen by the town as having a detrimental impact on the school district with hundreds of additional students entering a system bursting at the seams with higher enrollment.
Development of one sort or another has been proposed for the site since the late 1990s which included a commercial building.
More to come in the Belmontonian.