State Rules For B.C. On Fields

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has ruled in favor of Boston College in the University's appeal of a Newton Conservation Commission decision regarding the proposed construction of soccer fields on the Newton Campus.

In a letter issued this week, James Sprague, section chief of the DEP's Wetland and Waterways Program, said that the project is exempt from the state's Rivers Protection Act, which would have required any field to be located at least 200 feet away from nearby Edmonds Brook. A portion of one of two proposed soccer fields would be located within that 200-foot buffer zone.

Sprague upheld the University's position that the project is exempt from the law because it was subject to a completed state review prior to 1996.

"We're gratified that Boston College, which has abided assiduously by the Conservation Commission's rules and regulations, has been vindicated in its position," said Associate Vice President for State and Community Relations Paul White. "We've always approached these fields in an environmentally responsible and respectful manner, and we will continue to do so."

In July, the Newton Conservation Commission voted to deny Boston College an exemption from the Rivers Act regulations. University representatives had worked closely with neighbors in the area and formulated a mutually agreeable plan that included a number of mitigation measures.

While the matter was on appeal with the DEP, the University began construction of a portion of the project which falls outside of the buffer zone.

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