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Preserve nature, Mugar site neighbor urges

Silvia Dominguez of Thorndike Street, in East Arlington, a Precinct 4 Town Meeting member, submitted this letter to the editor.

Mugar site, Google EarthMugar: Most of it is the triangular tract west of Thorndike Field. / Google Earth

I strongly object to the development of the Mugar property. I live in this neighborhood and object to the destruction of this natural and wondrous ecosystem that protects our homes, reduces flooding and gives our children a place to see nature and wonder.

This property is 17 acres of woods, water and ecosystem that we value having here. It’s a gem, a place of ecodiversity that positively affects our neural pathways when we are near, calming and nurturing us. It is a gem to us, also, because these areas are disappearing. Most of these areas have been destroyed without recognizing the tremendous value and purpose they serve until now.

The worst part of this development is the excuse that it is in the name of affordable housing.

Although I am an affordable-housing supporter, I don’t want developers using the 40B law to destroy the scant amount of remaining natural habitat while primarily building luxury housing with just the minimum number of affordable units in the name of affordable housing.

And, income and wealth inequality here as well as nationally, are now so pronounced, with escalating disparity between wages and housing costs, that most people can barely afford their housing. We need to separate the goal of creating affordable housing at the expense of the environment putting profits and developers first. Building any housing should not come at the cost of wetlands destruction or other environmental degradation. In reality, all housing needs to be affordable. And we all lose when we don’t have access to nature that allows us to calm down, breathe and be nourished.

I want to remind you that climate change is here, and further destruction of natural barriers that help curtail climate damage should be reinforced and protected. I am not persuaded by prevailing arguments that have historically resulted in the loss of natural environments, leaving us in the dire situation we are in. I don't believe we can both build a large development on this property and protect the environment safely, we have two centuries of destruction that support my thinking.

We all need nature to calm and nourish us. Save the Mugar Wetlands.

July 3, 2020: Arlington Land Trust letter to ZBA
Nov. 15, 2018: Sides at Mugar hearing dispute affordable-housing data

This letter to the editor was published Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

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