A superior court judge has ruled in favor of Northeastern University regarding plans to expand the university’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts.
Tuesday’s ruling hit the town of Nahant and the nonprofit Nahant Preservation Trust. The Nahant Preservation Trust has put him in a three-year legal battle to block the expansion of his research and to join the university’s estate through eminent domain.
According to the judge’s ruling, the property was not designated for preservation because the town disputed it.
“Northeastern University does not offer the top of Murphy Bunker and the lands east of it in East Point, Nahant, Massachusetts, to the public as an ecological reserve and for passive recreation, and the general public does not. Nor has it accepted.” Court Judge Jeffrey Karp wrote in the summary judgment filed on Tuesday:
Northeastern maintains a marine science center on a coastal property it acquired in 1966 and has submitted plans to expand its environmental and sustainability research capabilities at the site. The university has agreed to put a conservation limit in place to permanently prevent future development of approximately eight acres of existing open space on the Nahant campus.
Instead, last May, the town voted to acquire about 12 acres of open space from the northeast through eminent domain. The move came despite an offer by the university to put about 90% of the vacant land sought by the selection committee under protective restrictions at no cost to the town.
The Superior Court’s ruling brings Northeastern one step closer in its longstanding efforts to expand its marine centers and advance environmental research, with a particular focus on coastal sustainability.
“Progress. The court has clearly shut down one of the erroneous approaches to stop Northeastern at all costs,” said Ken Colangelo, a Nahant resident and former member of the town’s finance committee. said. “Unfortunately, the town still has a legacy of litigation, rising sea levels and elderly people struggling for housing.”
The Nahant Board of Selectmen estimates it will cost the town $4.5 million to obtain eminent domain to acquire the plots on which the expansion is planned. However, university officials estimate that the cost of the proposed acquisition would be significantly higher. A separate case in Superior Court in which Northeastern challenges the validity of its land acquisition and its valuation is also pending before Judge Karp.
The eight acres of open space preserved are located east of Murphy Bunker, which houses some of the university’s marine science laboratories. Under conservation restrictions, the university was forced to relinquish existing development rights in the area east of Murphy Bunker. Northeastern will also undertake extensive remediation programs to eliminate invasive species and restore the area’s native biodiversity. The open space adjoins Henry Cabot Lodge Park, owned by the town of Nahant.
The university has offered to grant the town of Nahant an easement to ensure continued access to Canoe Beach from the adjacent municipal parking lot. Conservation restrictions and access easing will take effect after the University’s Marine Science Center expansion is completed.
Northeastern acquired Nahant’s former East Point Military Reserve in 1966 after the town of Nahant refused to purchase approximately 21 acres of land from the US Department of Defense. At the time, the abandoned fort and surrounding areas were stripped of vegetation and remained barren.
Since building a research center on a former military installation, the university has improved the environmental conditions of the site and, among other activities, conducted ecological research that benefits coastal areas such as Nahant.
As coastal communities face increasingly complex environmental threats, the Marine Science Center is an active partner in developing solutions to increase the sustainability and resilience of these communities.
Researchers in northeastern Nahant to study flood risk from man-made river changes, develop mussel robots to understand impacts of rising ocean temperatures, and monitor plastic waste that has flowed into the ocean I have found an innovative way to
The facility is also home to Ocean Genome Legacy, a repository of over 25,000 marine DNA and tissue samples built to preserve the genetic information of potentially extinct species.
Northeastern now plans to expand its Nahant facility to provide researchers with cutting-edge tools and increase the impact of this critically important research.
In addition to planned conservation restrictions and an easement for canoe beach access, Northeastern has previously worked to mitigate the impact that a Marine Science Center expansion project might have on the town’s infrastructure, and the town’s water and sewage systems. provided the town with a multimillion-dollar financial package to help restore the Assist with the town’s operational and capital budget needs.
The package includes tuition scholarships for Nahant residents to attend Northeastern, funding for arts and music programs in the town’s primary schools, and local elementary and high school students participating in the center’s Academy of Coastal and Marine Sciences summer program. Scholarships to attend, paid internships at marine science centers are also included. Free public lectures and films for students and residents of Nahant.
In addition, the university will fund research programs to help the town develop innovative solutions to combat climate change-related threats such as storm surges and rising sea levels.
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