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CAMBRIDGE, MA-A proposal to rezone the eastern part of the city was approved with the emphasis on limiting commercial development and encouraging residential development in this area–especially in the North Point section.

The petition to rezone East Cambridge was filed over a year and a half ago as part of a comprehensive plan to rezone the entire city. At the time, the Cambridge City Council imposed an 18-month moratorium on development in the East Cambridge area, which ended in July. The East Cambridge Planning Study was established to evaluate options in this area. ECaPS became a yearlong planning process for the area and was conducted by planners Goody, Clancy & Associates and a committee of 19 Cambridge citizens, planners, city officials and development interests.

According to Lisa Stuardi, director of government and community affairs at the Chamber of Commerce in Cambridge, the final form of EcaPS, which incorporates amendments by the city’s planning board and the city council’s ordinance committee, is now in effect. One provision of the ordinance requires developers to provide public amenities such as parks and affordable housing in exchange for an increase in the size of a commercial development,. Also, as part of the new zoning, buildings must be lower near residential neighborhoods and a new public park is to be built in the area.

Stuardi tells GlobeSt.com that the rezoning is designed to encourage residential development. Nowhere is that more evident than in the North Point section of this part of the city, essentially a 55-acre industrial wasteland that the city wanted to see turned into a housing district. Guilford Transportation Industries and Spaulding & Slye/Colliers own 45 acres here and wanted to develop a mixed-use office and residential development. Guilford had reportedly requested that commercial development be as high as 50%–which it received–because it would have to fund the relocation of an MBTA station. But the new zoning ordinance stipulates that the project must include middle-income housing and the development of a new high school sports facility.

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