The school will start cutting down trees the week of September 18. Despite the court's ruling that the DEP should asseses the land, the school is pushing forward with it's plans.
Zoning board of Appeals Aug 21, 2023
Appeal to the PB decision filed on 6/26 by 100+ Belmont residents was discussed
Public comments by about 20 Belmont residents decrying the insanity of the planning board process and urging for reconsideration
School lawyer argued against the standing of the appelants and that one cannot appeal a stormwater permit, only a building permit
ZBA voted to deny the appeal, citing essentially the school lawyer's arguments
Video is here https://belmontmedia.org/ZBA
Zoning board July 7, 2023
First meeting on BHS scheduled for Aug 21 at 7pm
Planning Board May 16
Agenda items include discussion of Developmental Impact Report by-law by Ralph Jones
Discussion of Open Meeting Law violation complaint
Meeting at 7pm, zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88025342855
Planning Board May 2
Matt Lowrie has resigned from the Planning Board.
Jeff Birenbaum elected new chair, Carol Berberian as vice chair. Karl Haglund to resign as of May 16.
Planning Board meeting April 18
Conditions for decision include
b) Work shall not begin within 100 feet of the currently identified wetland buffer zone, until the pending appeal of the Belmont Conservation Committee's denial of iurisdiction has been finally resolved in a manner where the Proiect continues to remain outside the wetland buffer zone.
h) Before East Campus Parking is opened, the School will implement the cross-walk describedin its March 21, 2023 submission. The School will be responsible for securing whatever rights and permits are needed for that work. To the extent that the work is nottimely authorized after being requested by the School, by whatever parties or authorities may havejurisdiction, this condition will be void.
Decision is approved https://www.belmont-ma.gov/planning-board/files/23-04-dspr-decision-final
Motion was made and seconded, but Jeff Birenbaum was no discussion was allowed.
Planning Board meting March 21
School offers to add crosswalk across Park Ave, based on 2019 rotary plans. Details unclear
Lowrie calls for a vote to end public hearing. Vote is seconded by Donham. Lowrie, Donham and Haglund vote yes, Birenbaum abstains, Berberian votes no.
Next meeting is April 11, where final vote will be taken.
Planning board meeting March 14
Stormwater and traffic were discussed
A number of residents expressed concern about safety
on the Village Hill Road/Prospect Ave intersection
Proposals to add a crosswalk and sidewalk on Park Ave, move entrance off Park farther south, or require right turn only were discussed.
School refuses to make any modifications.
Jeff Birenbaum calls for motion to make the school consider changes, Lowrie objects because he wants to finish.
Jeff Birenbaum makes a motion to restart the proceedings. Lowrie refuses to consider it so he can "get to the end" and step down. March 14.
Select Board Meeting March 6 at 7pm
Select Board said they consulted Town Counsel about firing Lowrie, but it is not possible.
No public comments were taken, but two citizens spoke up anyway protesting Lowrie.
Planning board meeting Feb 28, 2023
Stormwater was discussed, with no public comment
Birenbaum and others asked for reduction in parking and more details.
Lowrie argued with Birenbaum and refused to ask for any modifications, citing Dover
Public comments by a number of residents were heard
Birenbaum asking for due diligence and Lowrie objecting in defense of the school. Watch until the end. Feb 28.
Lowrie asking about and guessing Birenbaum's vote. Feb 28.
Lowrie's typical response to public comments. Feb 28
Lowrie's response to questions about the Belmont Hill School's environmental record. Jan 10.
Deer are the number one killers.
A public records request revealed this email from Lowrie to the Belmont Hill School's consultant on Dec 9. The private letter details what Lowrie would want to see to approve the proposal at the very beginning of the review process. The school later negotiated these very items with 3 abutters. The abutters did not know what Lowrie had asked the school.
Although the request as put in on Jan 12, due Jan 30, the results were provided ten days late, on Feb 9, three days after the agreement between the abutters and school was signed.
In the Nov 5 meeting, Matt Lowrie discusses how he met independently with the Belmont Hill School and helped them improve their presentation. He also admitted to coordinating with the school on how the future Planning Board meetings should proceed. He did not want to discuss this schedule they came up with ("our draft" 0:29, in his words) in the public meeting for fear it would reveal his opinion on approval and he might get sanctioned by the attorney general 2:05.
No correspondence with the town or school regarding the meeting referenced in this clip was included in the result of the public records request.
2/27/23 Letter to the editor, Belmontian by the Belmont High School Climate Club
Planning board meeting Feb 21, 2023
Traffic report was discussed, as was the peer-review of the report
Article in the Boston Globe by John Hilliard published 2/14/23
Planning board meeting Feb 14, 2023
Eric Kramer from Reed-Hilderbrand (landscape architects) spoke about the landscaping
Jeff Birenbaum pressed to get an inventory of the trees that will be cut down. Lowrie said they don't need to, because of Dover, and can cut down whatever trees they want
3 public comments were taken.
Ordering a Developmental Impact Report was not discussed. A wildlife survey was not discussed. No additional peer reviews were discussed.
Planning board meeting Feb 7, 2023
New case number assigned. Although the proceedings were formally restarted, Lowrie effectively continued where they let off. This is an open-meeting law violation: they must start over for the new case number.
School agreed to remove gasoline fuel tanks. But will keep a 180 gallon diesel tank in the maintenence building.
Fence moved closer to parking lot
3 abutters signed an agreement so that school would make these changes. Two of them spoke at the meeting in support of the revised plans.
Lowrie defended peer review over developmental impact report
Birenbaum called again for more assessment of environmental impact.
A number of citizens were able to speak.
Lowrie rudely ignoring and cutting off Birenbaum.
Belmont Hill School being misleading about Fuel Tanks. Rosemary Burke calling them out on it. Feb 7.
School revised their plans on Feb 6, 2023
Removed the proposed outdoor above ground fuel storage tanks
Moved the fence by the parking lot instead of at the edge of the property
Maintenance building rotated and moved back 10 feet
School has also updated their website with weak responses to many of our objections https://www.belmonthill.org/east-campus-project
Planning board meeting Jan 10
Lowrie allowed public comment
Matthew Schwartz discussed the justification for parking, showing that the need is at most 63 spaces while the request is for 147.
Judith Feinlieb, Laura Vecchione, and others also spoke
Planning board meeting Dec 20
Lowrie discusses challenges for on-street parking
Town Council George Hall discusses Dover Amendment issues
No public comments were allowed
Planning board meeting Dec 6:
Recording is here https://belmontmedia.org/watch/planning-board-12062022
Lowrie discussed development Impact Report, timeline of construction, and Dover amendment were discussed.
School explained that they are short 29 spaces if all 277 (approx 135 staff + 142 students) park simultaneously on campus. With the Arlinton lot they currently have 21 spaces extra.
Wes Austin (an abutter) presented comparison of parking needs to other comparable schools
Justin Roe (an abutter) discussed problems with the maintenance facility and discussed problems with the trucks they plan to park there
Belmont hill school already has more parking per student than any of its peer schools
Planning board meeting Nov 15:
Recording is here https://www.belmontmedia.org/watch/planning-board-11152022
School presented plans again.
No modifications yet in response to community
No public comments allowed.
Schedule given for future planning board meetings
Nov 15: Blogging belmont guest post by Don Hafner. https://www.bloggingbelmont.com/2022/11/opinion-belmont-hill-school-lot-turns-back-progress-on-environment/
Nov 11: Belmontian interviews Tanya Austin http://belmontonian.com/news/qa-residents-standing-firm-opposing-belmont-hill-schools-parking-proposal-as-project-comes-before-planning-board-video/
Nov 12: Letters with 1000 Belmont resident signatures were sent to the Select Board and the Belmont Hill School.
We have a facebook group Keep Belmont Wild please join!
Nov 9: Judith Feinlieb wrote about the Belmont Hill School in her"If I may" blog https://jfeinleibifimay.com/?p=1202
On Nov 8, Head of School Greg Schneider rolled out their new website defending the project and sent a letter to the school community. Our response to the letter is here
On Nov 7, during the Select Board meeting
Two citizens spoke up during public comments requesting that the Select Board hold a Public Forum to address concerns of Belmont citizens.
Candidates for the Planning Board were interviewed. Selectman Adam Dash asked every candidate if they had a conflict of interest on the Belmont Hill School project.
Nov 1 Planning Board meeting
The proposal was not considered.
Matt Lowrie chair of the Planning Board indicated in the last 5 minutes that he was working with the school to improve their presentation.
Oct 31: Tanya Austin wrote an article in the Belmont Citizen's Forum https://www.belmontcitizensforum.org/2022/10/31/letters-to-the-editor-belmont-hill-plans-bike-trails
June 20: Justin Roe wrote an article in the Belmont Citizen's Forum https://www.belmontcitizensforum.org/2022/06/20/belmont-hill-school-plans-to-pave-woodlands/