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Middlesex Fells Case Goes Before Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Court appeal seeks to protect the Middlesex Fells Reservation.

Acting on behalf of Friends of the Fells and the City of Medford on May 5, attorney Barry Fogel presented an argument on appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) asking for reversal of the lower court’s decision not to hear the case for continued environmental review for the proposed development project at the former hospital site across from Spot Pond.

At issue was whether the lower court judge erred in finding that the court did not have jurisdiction over our challenge to the Environmental Secretary’s Advisory Opinion that would end the environmental review process for joint review of the redevelopment and the plans to alter the historic Fells Parkways on account of the redevelopment’s new traffic.

In his presentation attorney Fogel stated that our appeal is no different than several other cases in which the SJC had ruled that the lower court did have jurisdiction to hear the case and to rule on the merits of the challenge.

The time for a decision by the SJC is mid-to-late August. The possibilities include the SJC upholding the lower court’s decision, which would allow the 10-year environmental review process to end.  

The SJC could send the case back to the Superior Court for it to make rulings on the issues of law or facts. Or, the SJC could rule on the case itself and determine whether environmental review must be resumed under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).

The Friends of the Fells is appreciative of the diligence attorney Fogel and the law firm of Keegan Werlin has applied to this matter, which is of great importance to the future status of the Fells Reservation. 

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Andrea May 28, 2011 at 10:01 PM
We appreciate the diligence of the Friends of the Fells in protecting the area near the Fells. The road that links the Fells to Medford is stunning, and the area deserves protection. It's a shame, but developers can get engineers to say just about anything, including that the generated traffic falls ever-so-slightly short of the MEPA review threshold.
dan May 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Many so call environmental organization will get scientist to say just about anything, also. It wasn’t that long ago that environmentalist would not include scientist with conflicting evidence to participate in debates on Global Warming.
Jocko Conlon June 03, 2011 at 09:52 PM
The reason many choose to live in this area,is the beauty of nature,that surrounds us. If it continues to be "developed",well,irony is the word.
Myron Dittmer July 01, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Good luck, Mike! I hope it goes our way!

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