March 29, 2011
Attendance: Andrea Howley, Pamela Bender, Michael Reiskind, Jesse Abair, Karley Ausiello, Steven Backman, David Baron, Red Burrows, Dave Demerjian, Francesca Fordiani, Orion Kriegman, Steven Laferriere,
Emily Wheelwright, Jesse White, Jay Zoldak.
Other Attendees: Tom Kieffer (So. JP Health Center), Merilin Castillo (So. JP Health Center), Yasmin Pereyra (Board of Summer Search), Loie Hayes (Boston Climate Action Network), Ray Soohoo, Michael Halle, Rosa Nin, Brian Squadrille, Elizabeth Giardino, Breton Hornblower, Belle Hornblower, Brian Harkins, Mariana Bucina Ruga, Shai Gilad, John Sullivan, Kate-Marie Roycroft (Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez’ office), Fernando Mercedes (Councillor Matt O’Malley’s office), Patrick Rosso (Boston Bulletin), Chris Helms (Jamaica Plain Patch), Dave Taber (Jamaica Plain
Called to Order at 7:10pm at First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain by Andrea Howley.
1. Introductions: Members of the JPNC introduced themselves.
- Donations are needed to match a state grant for Arborway and Jamaicaway tree pruning project. $2,000 has been raised out of $10,000 needed. Please contact Arborway Coalition’s Sarah Freeman: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The monthly MBTA Board meeting will be on Wednesday, April 6 at 1:00pm at the State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza. This is another critical meeting for the funding for the Arborway Yard.
- There will be a Casey Overpass Open House and Public Meeting on Wednesday, April 6 at 6:00pm at the Agassiz School. Hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).
- The annual JP Spring Clean-Up/Boston Shines will be on Saturday, April 30 from 9:00am to 1:00pm.
- The “JP Shopping Spree” will be take place on Saturday, April 16 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. There will be a shoppers passport available which can be stamped at any of the participating establishments, and six stamps will allow a passport to be entered in a raffle.
3. Neighborhood Input:- Presentation on the JP Youth Health Equity Report – Tom Kieffer of the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center distributed copies of the JP Youth Health Equity Report. The cover has the teeny bottle. The report says that food accessibility is an important issue and can be shown to dramatize that there are “Two Jamaica Plains”. The teeny bottle is one identifier of the disparity between groups in the neighborhood. While personal factors affect one’s health enormously, it is overall factors, so called “social determinants”, that affect a person’s health even more. The Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center has been trying to improve the community’s health by working on these overall factors. Some recent successes are a February 2010 campaign of legislative lobbying to increase funding for youth jobs in fiscal 2011. Also, they helped develop a video to try to get a sex education curriculum in the Boston Public Schools. - Presentation on Summer Search Boston – Yasmin Pereyra, from the Board of Summer Search, and Merilin Castillo, from the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, said that Summer Search Boston is a JP-based leadership development program for high school sophomores and juniors. Its goal is to find resilient low-income students, give them weekly mentoring, and get them into college preparatory classes. The students also go on two summer trips together. It is a way for students to break the cycle of poverty in their families. The program aims to give every youth a sense of hope and the feeling that they have a place. Dave Baron asked about the type of jobs they find for the young people. Meaningful jobs are the goal – they have recently worked with City Feed and Supply on an innovative job-creation program using gift cards. People can look in the JP Gazette under “Mentoring” if they want to help out. - Presentation from CoolJP – Loie Hayes, from the Boston Climate Action Network, gave a presentation on how to reduce Jamaica Plain’s carbon footprint and how to sign up for energy audits. They are looking for the 25% of JP households that will lead by reducing their carbon footprint by 25%. They hope to have people grow from a personal change to community/local changes and then a statewide change. They are recruiting “green block” leaders for a pilot project in Hyde Square (Sheridan, Cranston, Termine Streets) to reduce their energy consumption. Early results show up to $4,000/year in savings (-16% in electricity, -29% in gas). Their next area will be on Gayhead Street - in order to increase their Latino outreach. Steve Backman asked who does the energy audits. Next Step Living does the residential energy assessments, but it is being handed off to a local Chinatown group. Michael Halle asked about more efficient street lights and rainwater gardens.
4. Minutes: The minutes from the previous (February 22, 2011) JPNC meeting were then handed out. There was a change in the Jackson CAC section of the minutes: The public meeting on February 22 was organized by Urban Edge to discuss the indoor active recreation facility/skating rink. Motion by Red Burrows to approve the minutes
from the February 2011 meeting with the one amendment. Seconded by Jesse White. Passed 9-0-6.
5. Committee Reports:Parks & Open Space Committee (POSC) — Jay Zoldak reported that there is a request to make a new park at a vacant lot at 3 Woodlawn Street in Forest Hills. - The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will soon start the new pedestrian crossing of Jamaicaway at Eliot Street, but the other two crossings at Kelley Circle and Parkman Drive are still awaiting funding. - The POSC will participate in the 2011 Spring Clean-Up/Boston Shines by cleaning several tot lots in the neighborhood on Saturday, April 30. The next meeting of the POSC will be Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30pm at JP Licks. Housing & Development Committee (H&DC) — Steve Laferriere reported that there was an update on the Healthy Housing (HH) Guidelines discussed at the last meeting. Also, there was a report given about the Arborway Yard. The Committee also discussed the role of the HH Guidelines in the potential development of the Daughters of St. Paul property in Jamaica Hills. He also reported that the commercial guidelines for the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative are on hold. The next meeting of the H&DC will be Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30pm at the Bowditch School.
Ad-Hoc Outreach/Communications Committee — Dave Demerjian said that there has been a huge amount of interest and postings on the JPNC website related to the Whole Foods issue. Ben Knappmiller and he could use some help in reposting all the comments to the JPNC members, and in advertising all meetings. There was a question whether the Healthy Housing Guidelines and other resolutions can go on to the website.
Ad-Hoc Youth/Violence Committee — Francesca Fordiani reported that the Committee met on Thursday, March 10 at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (SJPHC) with Tom Kieffer and Yasmin Pereyra. They discussed nest steps and new ideas for this important initiative.
The next meeting of the Committee will be Wednesday, April 6 at 7:00pm at the SJPHC Health Promotion Center at 10B Green Street.
Zoning Committee — David Baron reported that the Zoning Committee had three meetings this month – on March 3 and March 24, as well as a special joint meeting on March 14 with the Roxbury Neighborhood Council’s (RNC) Zoning Committee to discuss the Jackson Square Indoor Active Recreation Center. Two matters went before the Executive Committee: 21 Seaverns Avenue, a request to change a 2-family dwelling plus group home to a 4-family plus group home. This is a big change and had three community meetings. There was still opposition to the four-family. After lengthy negotiations facilitated by Jullieanne Doherty of the Mayor’s Office and Valerie Frias of Councillor Matt O’Malley’s office, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was agreed on that calls for a three-family and no group home providing there is no expansion of living space into the basement. No JPNC action is needed.
301 Chestnut Avenue, a review of changes to dormers under NDOD (Neighborhood Design Overlay District) guidelines. Most attending spoke in favor, because this is a blighted property which will be improved. They have changed some plans and scheme B was recommended, with one dormer to be examined for snow removal concerns.
No JPNC action is needed. There are four additional matters before the JPNC:
- Jackson Square Indoor Active Recreation Center; request by Urban Edge and others, to erect an indoor ice rink and multi-use artificial turf baseball and soccer facility with a commissary and skate rental office. This location along Columbus Avenue is in Jackson Square in Roxbury, and there was a joint meeting with the RNC’s Zoning Committee to discuss this issue. The Roxbury Neighborhood Council’s Zoning Committee voted to recommend approval of the variances for recreation center and rear setback. The JPNC Zoning Committee recommended approval. Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of this petition. Seconded by Jay Zoldak. Passed 15-0-0.
- 378-380 Centre Street (corner Sheridan Street); request by Eric Ciampa, tenant, acting as agent for the landlord John Meehan, to allow take-out. This is a new 14-seat pizza restaurant, Slice O Pie, which opened recently. The previous tenant, La Pupusa Guanaca, had been approved for take-out, but with a proviso that it remain with that tenant. The only request is to move the take-out previously allowed to the new tenant. Hyde Jackson Square Square Main Street and residents were very supportive of this application. The Zoning Committee recommended approval, with the proviso that the take-out remain with the present business.
- 33 Bickford Street; request by Associated Early Care and Education (AECE), Inc., acting as agent for the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), to erect a brand new one-and-a-half story building for childcare and educational uses on the site of the old Martha Eliot Health Center. This location is in the Bromley-Heath development. AECE is currently operating a much smaller day care facility in a basement in an adjoining building. They propose to move to the new building, as well as add an outdoor classroom garden and an adult day care facility. There were extensive variances required. The parking and drop-off issues would be addressed by an agreement with Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation (TMC), which attended and was very supportive of this application. The users would mostly be Bromley-Heath families. The Zoning Committee recommended approval.
- 12 Billings Lane; a review of a new single-family dwelling (Katherine and Stan Lantsman) under NDOD guidelines. This is a 15, 687 sq. ft. now vacant lot in the new Jamaica Hills NDOD. It is a new dwelling that falls within zoning , and the Jamaica Hills Association voted to support. The Zoning Committee had no comments under NDOD.
Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of these three petitions (378 Centre, 33 Bickford, 12 Billings). Seconded by Jay Zoldak. Passed 14-0-1.
The Zoning Committee will next meet on Thursday, April 7 and Thursday, April 21 at Farnsworth House.
Public Service Committee — Michael Reiskind reported that the Public Service Committee met on March 1 at the J.F.Kennedy School at which two licensing issues were considered. The first was a petition from the Blue Nile Restaurant at 389 Centre Street for a new Ethiopian Restaurant with beer & wine, and also a request for an entertainment license for recorded music only. The second request was from The Haven at 2 Perkins Street to add cordials to their existing beer & wine license. Both issues were considered and passed by the Executive Committee after the special JPNC meeting on March 8.
The next meeting of the Public Service Committee will be Tuesday, April 5 at the Agassiz School. On the agenda will be four licensing issues: a petition from Church Square SRO LLC at 35 Creighton Street for a lodging house license; a request from City Feed and Supply at 672 Centre Street for a beer & wine package store license; a request from JP Seafood Café at 730 Centre Street for an expansion of its common victualler beer & wine license into 734 Centre Street, to add a service bar and a bar for patrons, to change the manager to Phil Paik, to add a seasonal outdoor patio for 15 seats, and to add cordials to its existing beer & wine license; and a request from Millenium Restaurant and Grill at 3094 Washington Street for a common victualler License with Efre Moreta as manager, and also a petition for an entertainment license for recorded music & TV only.Jackson CAC — Red Burrows reported that the CAC met to discuss the indoor active recreation facility/skating rink, as well as new designs for the project. The next meeting of the Jackson CAC will be on Wednesday, April 13 at Amory Apartments. Centre/South Corridor CAC — Michael Reiskind reported t hat the Boston Redevelopment Authority said the next meeting of the Centre/South Corridor Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is planned for mid-April. Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) — Pam Bender reported that a lot of community folks went to the monthly MBTA Board meeting on March 2 at the State Transportation Building. Michael Reiskind represented the JPNC. The Board seemed not inclined to recommend the $220 Million funding for the Arborway Yard. Dave Baron asked whether these spring meetings were the last chance for funding. At the monthly CPCAY meeting on March 10, the Committee agreed stop meeting monthly and instead to meet in a smaller working group to develop different strategies to obtain funding. Election Committee — Red Burrows reported that the Election Committee did not meet as planned on March 22. A second ombudsperson has been chosen, Colleen Keller, to work with Sandee Storey. The next Election Committee meeting will be sometime in April at the Dogwood Café. (April 14 was subsequently chosen.) Ad-Hoc Whole Foods Committee — Steve Laferriere distributed a letter proposing to set out the mandate of the newly-formed Ad-Hoc Whole Foods Committee. The letter included three points: 1 – to build off the community input to come up with a list of concerns about the future of the property and their solutions, 2 – to create a common vision for commercial development in Jamaica Plain with guidelines for future development and a process for community input, 3 – to follow up on the February resolution meeting and explore alternative uses of the property. Dave Baron distributed an amendment to the three points. There were no substantive changes to points 1 and 3, and folks liked the addition of point 4 with the words “any necessary” added: “To plan, organize, and implement any necessary meetings between Whole Foods representatives and the JPNC, including open community meetings.” Discussion mainly centered on the proposed changes to point 2. Dave Baron thought the JPNC and the limited human resources of the Ad-Hoc Committee could not achieve a vision for JP and commercial guidelines in a timely manner, so he proposed instead that: 2 – the JPNC generate a report with community concerns and benefits for a Whole Foods Market at 415 Centre Street as well as other scenarios, with a prioritized list of responses. The report would be due at the May 2011 JPNC meeting. It was generally well received, but Karley Ausiello thought that the new point 2 was still too much for the JPNC to do. Dave Baron was confident it could be achieved.
There was some discussion about point 3. Jesse Abair thought that exploring alternative uses was not good, but most agreed to keep it. Jay Zoldak agreed with the issue, but thought it should be stricken because it was contained in language already in points 1 and 2. Dave Baron thought that point 3 language was still needed and should be kept in. Motion by Steve Laferriere to accept the letter on the mandate of the Ad-Hoc Whole Foods Committee with the new language substituted for points 1, 2, 3, and 4. Seconded by Steve Backman. Passed 8-6-1. There was discussion on selection of the ten neighborhood members of the Committee, as well as the five JPNC members. It was agreed that active participation was most important. The Council discussed whether to use a lottery process or to select
folks to balance known interested groups.
7. New/Old Business: No new business.
Motion by Dave Baron to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Steve Backman. Passed 15-0-0. Meeting was adjourned at 9:17pm.
The next meeting of the full JPNC will be on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:00pm.
The next meeting of the JPNC Executive Committee will be on Thursday, April 21 at 8:00am at Ula Café.
(Minutes submitted by Michael Reiskind)