Alewife’s Silver Maple Forest: Growth And Conflict

In part two of a focus series on growth in Massachusetts, WGBH explores how the need for housing can conflict with the benefits and desire to protect and preserve natural spaces. This 12-minute Greater Boston video (scroll down in the print story) focuses on the 298-unit apartment complex that would be built in Belmont on property owned privately by O’Neill Properties, but that is situated in a deeply wooded and wild area know as the Silver Maple Forest. Senator Brownsberger, appearing in this story, has long worked to preserve the forest. However, 2008 legislation to aquire the property and make it part of the Alewife Brook Reservation was vetod by the Governor as his administration goals to expand affordable housing took precidence. Such conflicts are occuring in other areas and there is a need to examine how development through smart growth can be sensitive to environmental impacts.