Being a Good Steward

I enjoy reading the Brookline Beacon for keeping up-to-date on happenings in Town. A recent entry talks about the next 40B project in Town at 21 Crowninshield Rd.  I don’t have a dog in the fight other then hoping folks will be good stewards of Brookline. Topic of this article – stewardship. Or rather, lack of it.

The threat of this development is propelling neighbors to push for a Local Historic District. There is Article 11 “Proposed Article to Establish a Crowninshield Local Historic District” on the 2015 Brookline Town Meeting warrant.

The only thing I’ll add is a comparison of the before and after. Because that kind of thing is pretty easy to do now. And particularly striking in this case.

Lot Now

Let’s look at the what the lot looks like now, borrowing this photo from the Brookline Beacon.

The stark black and white of this photo is perfect to capture the mood of the denuded, barren lot that now is at corner. Note you can see the building behind the house in the foreground. This is taken towards the Commonwealth Ave end of the street, looking back into Brookline.


Lot Back Then

And to contrast it with some before photos – to the Intertubes!

The large online map providers, i.e. Google with StreetView and Microsoft/Bing Maps, all spend a mind-boggling amount of effort driving trucks around with cameras for street views. And, yes, even  flying planes around to capture interesting ariel views.

Do the large providers have any good images of that lot from some time before the denuding of the lot? Naturally.

Bing ariel view does show the trees but they are not in full bloom.

Ariel view of 21 Crowninshield Rd in Brookline

Ariel view of 21 Crowninshield Rd in Brookline

We strike pay dirt when we go check out e.g. Google StreetView. Note they even captured the trees in full bloom, showing you just how well screened the lot used to be from the Brighton side. The contrast to the black-and-white, stark, barren, de-nuded plot above could not be more clear.


Straight on view of 21 Crowninshield with trees in full bloom.


View from Boston side towards Brighton showing screening of trees.


View towards Commonwealth Ave Brighton/Boston showing the screening.


To have just cut down a fully mature set of plantings and then ask for permission to build a new building? I hereby award the new owners / property developers a “Poor Tree Stewardship” award.

It is this kind of thing that drives neighborhoods to figure out how to prevent this kind of exploitive development.

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