June 28, 2011
Attendance: Andrea Howley, Pamela Bender, Michael Reiskind, Jesse Abair, Karley Ausiello, David Baron, Red Burrows, Dave Demerjian, Francesca Fordiani, Ben Knappmiller, Orion Kriegman, Steven Laferriere, Peggy O’Connor, Emily Wheelwright, Jesse White, Jay Zoldak.
Other Attendees: Ara Reyes, Gretchen Van Ness, Marianna Bucina Roca, Alejandro Vermeulen, John Sullivan, Robert Ingalls, Richard Heath, Oliver De Leon, Sandee Storey, Larry Cronin, Paula McNichols (Brookside Community Health Center), Kieran Fitzgibbon, John McLoughlin, Olu Ibrahim (Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez’ office), Jullieanne Doherty (Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services), Chris Helms (Jamaica Plain Patch), Dave Taber (Jamaica Plain Gazette).
Called to Order at 7:11pm at the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain by Andrea Howley.
1. Introductions: Members of the JPNC introduced themselves. Three of the Ombudspersons were also in attendance and they also introduced themselves.
- There will be a Casey Overpass Open House and Public Meeting on Wednesday, June 29 at 6:00pm at the English High School.
- The second JP Shopping Spree will be from July 6 – July 10 in all the Main Street districts.
- First Thursday festivities will be on Thursday, July 7 from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
- The annual Neighbors Night Out celebration will be on Friday, July 29 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at the Egleston YMCA, 3134 Washington Street.
- There will be a Casey Overpass Open House and Public Meeting on Wednesday, August 3 at 6:00pm at the English High School.
3. Neighborhood Input:
Presentation on the Open Meeting Law: Ben Knappmiller and Dave Demerjian gave a presentation on the state’s Open meeting law and how it might pertain to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council. They concentrated on the definition of a “public body” and the regulations on what is generally considered a “public body” . They both agreed that the JPNC does not seem to fall within the definition definition of a “public body”, and does not have to comply with all the regulations. Since the JPNC is trying to keep to the spirit of the Open Meeting rules, they summarized some areas where the Council is doing more than the rules, and some areas where the Council does less: The JPNC distributes its minutes at the next meeting and on-line, which is not a requirement. It does try to alert as many as possible of all its meetings and committee meetings, but the regulation asks that notification be a physical posting on a bulletin board at a location open 24-hours-a-day. The rules also ask for agenda items to be posted in advance of all committee meetings and minutes be available of all committee meetings. The rules also do not permit votes by secret ballot, or deliberation by electronic means.
There was discussion about whether the JPNC should post at the E-13 Police Station, which is always open. Pamela Bender thought the JP libraries and Curtis Hall would be better locations for residents to be informed. There was also discussion on whether the summaries of committee recommendations in the monthly JPNC minutes are sufficient to meet the committee minutes requirement. There was a question of whether the JPNC should go to the Attorney General to ask for an opinion of whether the JPNC is subject to the Open Meeting Law. Can we find out if anyone has already asked the Attorney General’s Office?
The minutes from the previous (May 31, 2011) JPNC meeting were then handed out. Karley Ausiello said that she had attended the May meeting. Motion by Red Burrows to approve the minutes from the May 2011 meeting with the corrected attendance. Seconded by Jay Zoldak. Passed 15-0-1.
5. Committee Reports:
Elections Committee –Red Burrows reported on Bi-Annual JP Neighborhood Council Election (on Saturday, September 24). He said that the master nomination packet is complete, except for the cover sheet and sign-in sheets. He asked for donations for printing costs for the 100 nomination packets and 100 election handbooks, as well as 1000 ballots and 1000 envelopes. There was a recommendation to solicit the three Main Streets and Red Sun Press and Schell Printing. Also, more volunteers are still needed, and we need a location to count the ballots. Red Burrows reminded members of the proposed timeline for the 2011 election, which was voted on last month:
- 7/8/11- Election packets with instructions to be distributed.
- 8/5/11- Deadline for signed nomination papers to be submitted.
- 8/15/11- Deadline for Ombuds Board to certify the signatures.
- 8/18/11- Deadline for JPNC Chair to advise candidates of their nomination status. Appeal period on signatures begins.
- 8/25/11- Appeal period on signatures ends and ballot drawing occurs for order of ballot
- 9/24/11- Election from 10am to 7pm.
Motion by Dave Baron to re-approve the election timeline. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 16-0-0. Andrea Howley reaffirmed that it was very important that volunteers be recruited to man the polling locations and to keep an eye on the ballot boxes during the election day. The Committee will also develop a flyer to encourage candidates to run.
Zoning Committee – David Baron reported that the Zoning Committee had one meeting this month – on June 16 at which five matters were considered. One matter went before the Executive Committee: 15-17 Pershing Road, a request by Richard Asch to extend living space into an attic and erect two dormers. This issue had been presented to the Jamaica Pond Association. They voted “not to oppose”. The Executive Committee recommended approval. No JPNC action is needed.
The following three matters were considered together:
- 126 Day Street, 7 Mark Street, 2 Mark Street; requests by Manuel Duran to extend living space from first floor units into the basements. All basements open directly to the outside. The basement full bath at 2 Mark Street would be converted to a half-bath. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. In order to improve enforcement that the basements not become separate units, Michael Reiskind asked that a proviso be added that the landlord not refuse admittance to an Inspectional Services Department inspector. Dave Baron accepted the proviso.
- 3293-3297 Washington Street; request by Brookside Community Health Center (CHC) to reconfigure the parking area to create an additional 15 spaces over two parcels. This change is not related to any new programs at Brookside and all spaces will be used by Brookside employees. Both supporters and some abutting neighbors had reservations about the plan. Paula McNichols, executive director of Brookside CHC, said that the proposal could improve abutting streets by relieving the parking strain during the day. She also said that some trees in the area, mostly along Ackley Place, have already been cut down because they were diseased The Zoning Committee recommended approval. Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of the four petitions (3293-3297 Washington Street, 126 Day Street, 7 Mark Street, 2 Mark Street). Seconded by Steven Laferriere. Passed 16-0-0.
The Zoning Committee will next meet on Thursday, July 7 and Thursday, July 21 at Farnsworth House at 7:00pm.
Public Service Committee – Ben Knappmiller reported that the Public Service Committee met on June 7 at the Agassiz School. The Committee continued the discussion on how to help remove the billboards in the neighborhood, and the new Jamaicaway crossing built at Eliot Street. They also discussed the dangerous intersection at Amory and Boylston Streets. Michael Reiskind said there has been an application for a common victualler (CV) license in Woodbourne at Los Bendecidos Pizza & Restaurant at 264 Hyde Park Avenue. The restaurant has been operating for five years without a CV license. Their City Hall hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, June 29. Motion by Red Burrows to ask the Licensing Board for a deferral of the decision on the application of Los Bendecidos Pizza & Restaurant at 264 Hyde Park Avenue. Seconded by Michael Reiskind. Passed 16-0-0.
The next meeting of the Public Service Committee will be Tuesday, July 5 at the Bethel AME Church (Wachusett and Walk Hill Streets) at 7:00pm.
Parks & Open Space Committee (POSC) – Jay Zoldak reported that the Committee discussed the park possibilities at the Casey Overpass project.
- The next park clean-up will be on Saturday, July 23. Meet at 9:00am at Mozart Playground.
- Jay Zoldak asked that Ara Reyes of 36 Mozart Street, become a member of the Parks & Open Space Committee. She said that she has lived in Jamaica Plain for 25 years, and used to volunteer on the Mayor’s Youth Corps. She recently returned to JP, bought a house, and wants to become more involved. “Usually newer residents do not feel they can affect their community.” Motion by Jay Zoldak to approve Ara Reyes as a community member of the POSC. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 16-0-0.
The next meeting of the POSC will be Tuesday, July 19 at 6:30pm at JP Licks.
Housing & Development Committee (H&DC) – Steve Laferriere submitted a draft letter for approval. The letter is to Transit Realty Associates, the real estate arm of the MBTA, about Forest Hills Parcel U and reminding them of their commitment to the neighborhood Use and Design Guidelines that came out of the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative. Motion by Pamela Bender to send the letter about Parcel U only and with all cc’s written separately. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 16-0-0.The next meeting of the H&DC will be Tuesday, July 19 at 7:00pm at the Bowditch School.
Ad-Hoc Whole Foods Committee – Steve Laferriere submitted the final report of the Committee, the result of lots of work: nine meetings, each at least two hours long. Steve Laferriere thanked his Committee members for their hard work, and thanks were also offered by Andrea Howley and David Baron. The report will be posted on the JPNC website. Steve Laferriere said that the recommendations fall into six categories and the JPNC should decide over the next few meetings what it should do with the recommendations, especially those to Whole Foods. Whole Foods is trying to open at the end of October or in November. It is unclear whether they will need zoning or licensing approvals. Motion by Steve Laferriere to have a special JPNC meeting about the Whole Foods report and recommendations on July 12 at 7:00pm at the First Baptist Church. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani Motion passed 15-0-1.
Ad-Hoc Outreach/Communications Committee – No report.
Jackson CAC – Red Burrows reported that the Boston Redevelopment Authority has approved the Indoor Active Recreation Center along Columbus Avenue in Jackson Square. There will be no July meeting, the next meeting of the Jackson CAC will be on Tuesday, August 9 at 6:30pm at Amory Apartments.
Centre/South Corridor CAC – No report.
CPCAY – Pamela Bender reported on the City Council hearing on the Arborway Yard held on Monday, June 13. There is a strong push to go for federal funding for the project, as an earmark for the Arborway Yard.
Casey Overpass Working Advisory Group (WAG) – No report until after the June public meeting on June 29.
7. New/Old Business:
- Jullieanne Doherty alerted everyone about the missing JP mom, Amber Devoe, who has been missing since June 21.
- Michael Reiskind said that there have been some personnel changes at the Boston Transportation Department which has slowed response to community requests for traffic & parking changes at numerous locations. There was a request to invite someone from the Boston Transportation Department to a Public Service Committee meeting.
Motion by Steven Laferriere to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Dave Baron. Passed 14-0-0. Meeting was adjourned at 9:05pm.
The next meeting of the full JPNC will be on Tuesday, July 26 at 7:00pm at First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain.
The next meeting of the JPNC Executive Committee will be on Thursday, July 21 at 7:30am at Ula Café.
(Minutes submitted by Michael Reiskind)