Quincy CPA Helps Protect the Neponset River Estuary

Community advocacy - and the Community Preservation Act - successfully preserve critical open space in Quincy.

Image from Patriot Ledger

This week, the Quincy City Council unanimously approved the appropriation of Community Preservation funds to purchase two parcels of land and preserve them as open space. See Patriot Ledger article.

One, a parcel at 0 Harriet Avenue, is in an area of critical environmental concern in the Neponset River Estuary. In February, City Councilor Ian Cain, organized a community meeting to discuss the planned development of the parcel by Boston Property Ventures. The proposal included 65 condo units and 10 townhouses in an area adjacent to the salt marshes of the estuary.

The Neponset River Watershed Association had significant concerns including:

  • The property is located in an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Inappropriate development and inadequate treatment of polluted runoff are significant threats to important resources in the area (for example, salt marshes).
  • It also lies within the flood zone. Heavy storms that flood the area are becoming more frequent and more severe as the climate changes. Community members identified storm flooding as a current problem in the neighborhood, and it can be expected to become worse over time.
  • The project was proposed within an environmental justice community. This densely populated neighborhood is already overburdened by development and we must make sure the few environmental resources in the area are preserved.
  • The Sea Change Bostoninitiative, which is analyzing climate change impacts to the Greater Boston Area, estimates the entire parcel will be underwater by 2050 and that storm surges could begin to reach well into the neighborhood by then.

NepRWA coordinated with the Montclair/Wollaston Neighborhood Association, led by President James Coughlin, to oppose the project, and supported Councilor Cain’s proposal that Quincy explore purchasing the property immediately.

After the necessary evaluation, Mayor Koch applied for Community Preservation funds to purchase the property (as well as the former Beachcomber property on Quincy Shore Drive) to preserve as open space. The funds were approved, and just this week were appropriated to fund the purchase.

This is a huge win for Quincy, and we hope both purchases can be completed soon. Preserving the Harriet Ave property will increase that community’s resilience to climate change and provide recreational opportunities for an environmental justice community. (The parcel has long been eyed as a potential extension of the Quincy Riverwalk.) It’s also another example of how crucial Community Preservation Act adoption can be for cities and towns that need resources to protect open space.

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