March 3, 2007
Patrick bill would help project that had employed 2 aides
By Associated Press
A bill filed by Governor Deval Patrick to speed construction on former tidelands would help a large Cambridge project for which two of his key aides worked before joining the administration.
The bill is designed to reverse a recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling that could require extensive review of permits for developments on landlocked, filled tidelands that do not abut the water.
The SJC ruling was prompted by a lawsuit filed by activists in Cambridge opposed to a new residential and commercial development called NorthPoint. They said the project should be required to have some public amenities because it is being built on filled tidelands.
“In all other tidelands across the state, we now have the right as citizens to expect that if they are to be developed, they are to be developed in the public’s interest with public benefit,” said Richard Clarey, of the Association of Cambridge Neighborhoods. “Deval is taking that away.”
Clarey and other activists are even more upset because Daniel O'Connell, Patrick’s new housing and development secretary, helped lead the NorthPoint team before joining the administration. The project’s former lead attorney, Greg Bialecki, is now a top aide to Patrick involved in real estate permitting.
Both have recused themselves from any dealings related to the project, the administration said.