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Eastern Cambridge Planning Study (ECAPS)

Eastern Cambridge Planning Study report cover

In 1999-2001, a planning effort was undertaken by a committee of residents, representatives of institutions and businesses, and City staff working with a team of planning consultants to create a vision for future development in the eastern portion of Cambridge. The study area included parts of Kendall Square, the North Point area near Lechmere, the East Cambridge residential neighborhood and parts of the Wellington-Harrington and Area Four neighborhoods.

The planning process resulted in goals for future economic development, housing, transportation, urban design and open space in those areas, and led to a rezoning of certain districts (adopted by the City Council in 2001) and the establishment of a set of urban design guidelines to inform future project review.

While the Eastern Cambridge Planning Study (ECaPS) was completed in 2001, it is relevant to the more recent Kendall Square/Central Square Study (K2C2). In many ways, the K2C2 study provides an updated planning vision for portions of the ECaPS area.

On June 18, 2001 the Planning Board submitted the Eastern Cambridge Rezoning Petition to the City Council. This petition derived from the zoning proposals developed by the Committee and forwarded to the Planning Board in April 2001. Zoning changes based on these recommendations were adopted in October 2001. For the final zoning language as passed by the City Council, please refer to the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance.

A comprehensive planning study of Eastern Cambridge, conducted during an 18-month development moratorium and completed in 2001, created a vision for the study area, addressed concerns about the impacts of excessive development, and identified strategies to realize the vision. The study area was bounded by Windsor Street on the west, the Cambridge/Somerville boundary on the north, the Charles River, O'Brien Highway, Cambridge Street, and First Street on the east and Main Street on the south.

To guide this planning process, the City Manager appointed an eighteen-member committee including neighborhood residents, representatives of Eastern Cambridge businesses and institutions, and City staff. This committee worked closely with a team of professional planning consultants led by Goody, Clancy & Associates to address a variety of planning concerns. Issues addressed included urban design, open space, land use, zoning, transportation, economic development and employment.

The report of the Eastern Cambridge Planning Study, issued in October 2001, is a collaborative effort of the Eastern Cambridge Planning Study Committee, City staff, and the consultant team. The report includes the Eastern Cambridge Planning Study Committee’s zoning and non-zoning recommendations for the Study Area, as well as visions for specific focus areas: North Point, the Volpe Center area, the transition areas, and the residential neighborhoods. The Report serves as a reference for developers, property owners, and the Planning Board to guide future development in the eastern part of the City.

The zoning recommendations the Committee forwarded to the Planning Board in April 2001 serve as the basis for the Eastern Cambridge Rezoning adopted by the City Council in October 2001. The resulting zoning changes are incorporated into the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance. Also adopted by the Council are the Eastern Cambridge Design Guidelines, which provide information about the desired character of future development in this area and will be referenced by the Planning Board when reviewing future projects within the study area.



For more information please contact Iram Farooq at 617/349-4606 or ifarooq@cambridgema.gov.