State DEP Orders Gateway Mall to Build Bike Path

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered the owners of the Gateway Mall, DDR Corp. of Ohio, to end its resistance and build a bike path within eight months connecting Encore Boston Harbor to the end of its property near Sweetser Circle.

The letter, signed by the DEP’s Ben Lynch who is the section chief for Waterways Licenses, cited numerous ways in which DDRC is out of compliance with its long-standing Chapter 91 Waterways license, including with the bike path and conditions of the permit that were never completed.

“With eight months of this (letter), DDRC Gateway LLC shall construct and open for public use a ‘bicycle path varying in width from eight to 10 feet connecting to the Mystic River Reservation and its property boundary with the Boston and Maine Railroad…,” read the letter. “Or, within 30 days of this (letter), DDRC Gateway LLC shall submit to the Department a fully executed Memorandum of Agreement with Encore Boston LLC containing timeline commitments and agreements for access and construction as necessary to ensure completion and opening for public use said path within eight months of this (letter).”

DDRC did not respond to numerous e-mails for comment from their home office in Ohio.

The matter has been a thorn in the side of the City and Encore Boston Harbor as they have tried to connect a critical part of the Northern Strand Community Path from the Village area of Everett to the waterfront by Encore – and beyond, perhaps on a proposed multi-million dollar bicycle/pedestrian bridge over the Mystic River.

In the letter – as well as in a previous letter from the Conservation Law Foundation last spring – there were details of Encore trying to get access from DDRC to build the path – a path that DDRC is supposed to build via its commitment in the Chapter 91 license.

Another key failure cited in the DEP letter was DDRC’s failure to ever submit a final Landscaping Plan. The DEP ordered them to submit that document within 21 days.

Other deficiencies cited that must be corrected within 30 days were:

•the failure to ever construct a lookout platform and lighting within the DCR Park.

•failure to submit for approval a final copy of the Easement and Maintenance Agreement between DDRC and the DCR, which were required within 30 days and six months of the 2001 agreement.

•failure to set aside 40 parking spots for patrons of the Gateway Park. There are only 39 designated now.

•failure to construct all authorized structures within five years of the date of issuance of the 2001 License.

“The Department is requiring the cooperation of DDRC Gateway LLC to resolve these matters as soon as possible,” read the letter.

In legal terms, the DEP letter is known as a Notice of Non-Compliance (NON).

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