We are asking the Cambridge Historical Commission Historical Society for a formal landmarking process to protect the entire property currently at risk. We ask that no certificate of appropriateness be issued until the design conforms to the intent of the restrictions set forth in the memo of understanding. We are asking Massachusetts Historical Commission to uphold the limitations in the Preservations Easement Agreement and consider suggesting alterations to the design that maintain the prominence of the historical building on its site, protect and enhance the green space on the site, complement and preserve the views along Mass Ave and Beech. BACKGROUND: In 1987, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the St. James church signed a Preservation Restriction Agreement that affects what it--or any future owner of the property--can do on the site. In 2004, the city of Cambridge completed a landmark study but declined to grant landmark status because the protections that the state offered were deemed sufficient at the time. In 2005, in lieu of landmarking, St. James signed a binding memo of understanding with the CHC so as to get funds from both historical commissions for restoration of the bell tower in the church building. As an example of key issues, the Cambridge Historic Commission and neighbors raise these concerns: The proposed buildings dominate the church. The development significanly encroaches on the Kinghts Garden destroying mature trees, plantings and quite green space. The design is too close to the Mass Ave and Beech street sidewalks, thus affecting the vistas of the historical properties. Views of the historic firehouse would be negatively affected by the large new building. The character of Beech Street âï¿½ï¿½ a historic street, would be altered by the new proposal. Kingdom Hall would be crowded by the new driveway, which also remove the historic stone and wrought iron fence on Beech.
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