JPNC Meeting Minutes – November 24, 2009
Attendance: Andrea Howley, Pamela Bender, Michael Reiskind, Jesse Abair, Karley Ausiello, Steven Backman, Red Burrows, Dave Demerjian, Francesca Fordiani, Jeremy Harold, Ben Knappmiller, Steven Laferriere, Edith Murnane, Daniel Perez, Emily Wheelwright.
Elected at Meeting: David Baron, Jay Zoldak.
Other Attendees: Joseph Porcelli (Neighbors for Neighbors), Ruby Baloria (Think Outside the Bottle), Samantha Roy (Office of State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez), Melina Muñoz (Office of State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz),
Anna Sylvester (Office of City Councillor John Tobin), David Johnson (JP Citizen), David Taber (JP Gazette).
Called to Order at 7:07pm at Curtis Hall by Andrea Howley.
1. Introductions –
- Members of the JPNC introduced themselves.
2. Minutes –
- The minutes from the previous (October 27, 2009) JPNC meeting were handed out. Motion by Red Burrows to approve the minutes from the October 2009 meeting. Seconded by Steven Backman. Passed 13-0-2 (late).
3. Announcements –
- There were no announcements.
4. Elections for Open Seats –
- Election for Open Seats in Area A: There are three vacancies in Area A, and two nominations had been made before this meeting – Jay Zoldak of 25 Kenney Street and Peggy O’Connor of 33 Round Hill Street. Jay Zoldak spoke on behalf of his nomination. He said that he has lived in Jamaica Plain for twenty years and has seen many changes in the neighborhood. He graduated in mathematics from MIT and works in the information technology field in Kendall Square. He has been attending the Parks & Open Space Committee and hopes to participate more in neighborhood affairs. Michael Reiskind then distributed the resumé of Peggy O’Connor who was nominated at the previous meeting. There were no additional nominations. Motion by Red Burrows to elect Jay Zoldak and Peggy O’Connor by acclamation. Seconded by Jeremy Harold. Motion passed 14-0-1 (late). Steve Backman will notify Peggy O’Connor that she was elected.
- Election for Open Seat in Area B: There is one vacancy in Area B, and one nomination had been made before this meeting – David Baron of 3 Glenvale Terrace. Dave Baron spoke on behalf of his nomination. He said that he has lived in jamaica Plain twelve years and was on the JPNC from 2007-2009. He had been chair of the Zoning Committee and the Ad-Hoc By-Laws Committee. He is a lawyer in private practice specializing in real estate and litigation. There were no other nominations. Motion by Red Burrows to elect David Baron by acclamation. Seconded by Steve Laferriere. Motion passed 14-0-1.
- Jay Zoldak and David Baron took their seats as JPNC members.
5. Old/New Business –
- Joseph Porcelli made a presentation about Neighbors for Neighbors (NFN) and how it might help the JPNC: Neighbors for Neighbors is an online community of residents (neighborsforneighbors.org) which has 1,580 members in Jamaica Plain. He thinks the JPNC should have presence on NFN, which could include a way to post meeting dates, recruit volunteers, and poll public opinion on issues. It is a free resource which would not replace a JPNC website. There could be a JPNC profile on NFN that would allow a posting of the JPNC website address. In response to a question by Pam Bender about how easy might it be to post quickly changing information such as the move of the polling place during the recent rainy election, Mr. Porcelli said that one can add a blogpost quickly on NFN. Dave Demerjian said that some committees already have groups on NFN and there is also a Facebook group for JP to post on. Motion by Steve Backman that the Ad-Hoc Website Committee take as an additional task creating a NFN profile and coordinating with Joe Porcelli. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 16-0-1(late).
- Ruby Baloria made a presentation for Think Outside the Bottle, a nonprofit campaign to stop state spending on bottled water and reinvest in local public water supply systems. They started with mayors, and are now moving to governors. They successfully got Governor Patterson of New York to reduce spending on bottled water. In Massachusetts, the state spends about $700,000 on bottled and delivered waters. There will be a press conference with a white paper report on December 8 which will discuss savings and benefits. Ms. Baloria distributed a draft letter to Governor Patrick and a flyer with talking points about the program. She asked that the JPNC join with other groups in support of the letter. Dave Baron asked whether the request is to directly move money to infrastructure, not on pamphlets or studies regarding bottled water. Ms. Baloria said yes. Other member questions were about what kind of infrastructure improvements are being advocated, whether there could be a tax subsidy for home filtration systems, the health benefits that could result in drinking more water because it’s cheaper, and the problem of the “last mile’ of old water piping in Massachusetts. Motion by David Baron to endorse the letter. Seconded by Dave Demerjian. Friendly amendment by Dave Demerjian to support the proposed pledge: To cut down and eventually stop all state spending on bottled water (bottles and bubblers) and transfer the funds to improve public water infrastructure. Amendment seconded by Karley Ausiello and accepted by David Baron. Passed 15-0-2 (1 late).
- Red Burrows asked the JPNC to elect a chair of an Ad-Hoc Elections Committee now rather than right before the next election in 2011. Steve Backman asked that the Council concentrate on more pressing issues and bring it up in three months. Andrea Howley asked whether we should leave the 2011 election in September. Dave Baron said that the election rules called for a debriefing between the Executive Committee and ombudsmen from last election. Red Burrows said that we should give ourselves at least a year for a good jump on coordinating the election. Dave Demerjian asked what are some of the problems and responsibilities? Andrea Howley said that the biggest problem is volunteers and locations (which is limited by volunteers). Jeremy Harold asked whether we could be on the same day as general election day. Red Burrows said that there is too much going on and we don’t want to confuse voters with two elections. Motion by Pam Bender to have the Executive Committee contact Colleen Keller to do a debriefing on the 2009 election and report to the JPNC no later than the February 2010 JPNC meeting. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 16-0-1 (late).
- Andrea Howley spoke about the traditional Holiday Party. It is usually held at a local eatery right after the December meeting. It costs $5-$10/person with a cash bar.
6. Committee Reports –
- Jackson Square Community Advisory Committee(CAC) – Red Burrows reported that the CAC met on November 5 and Kelly Rink supporters want to change the location to the Ritchie and Columbus corner, and to make it a rink and community center as opposed to just a rink. The community center is important to them. The new Article 80 notice with project changes will go out in December, and community meetings will be held in January 2010. Red Burrows passed out a picture of the new plans for the site. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 1 at 6:00pm.
- Housing & Development Committee(H&DC) – Pamela Bender reported that the Committee met on Tuesday, November 17. They invited guests who spoke about their experience in enforcing Healthy Housing Guidelines in Dorchester: Marvin Martin, executive director of Greater Four Corners Action Coalition and John Mahoney, executive director of Southwest Boston Community Development Corp. The Committee learned a great deal about the issue. The H&DC meets on the third Tuesday of the month. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 15 at 6:30pm at the Bowditch School.
- Parks & Open Space Committee(POSC) — Andrea Howley reported the following issues were heard at the POSC on November 17: 1) Fundraising for the Franklin Park Zoo using Zoodoption kits. 2) The last cleanup of the season was on November 21. It went well, even though there was a hypodermic syringe found during the cleanup. This was the first needle found in two years. 3) The annual JP tree lightings will be on Saturday, December 5: 11:00am at the Monument, 1:30pm in Hyde Square. (These times were eventually changed.) The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 15 at 6:30pm at June Bug Café.
- Public Service Committee — Michael Reiskind reported that the Public Service Committee meeting was held on November 10 at Curtis Hall. On the agenda was a petition of Ten Tables for a change in its beer & wine license at 597 Centre Street. They are asking for three changes: 1) a doubling in size from 300 sq. ft to 600 sq. ft. by taking over the adjacent storefront now used by New Leaf Flores. The florist is being paid to move over one storefront to 601 Centre Street, 2) adding bar for patrons, 3) changing classification to beer, wine and cordials. They have met with the JP Business & Professional Association and Jamaica Pond Association. The immediate abutters at 9-11 Pond Street had concerns, which have been addressed successfully with a written agreement. Motion by Michael Reiskind to recommend that the changes be approved. Seconded by Red Burrows. Edith Murnane asked how many seats will be added. There will be 15 new seats, maximum, depending on Building Department review. There will also be a fully handicapped bathroom added. Passed 17-0-0. The committee also worked on trying to save the 48 Bus route. There has been a meeting, with state Rep. Liz Malia chairing, trying to get some money to privatize the Route 48 bus. Francesca Fordiani asked about ridership – and whether riders will find a privatized bus more expensive without a monthly pass. The next Public Service Committee meeting will be on Tuesday, December 1 at 7:00pm at Curtis Hall.
- Zoning Committee – There were four requests looked at by the Zoning Committee at their meetings on November 5 and November 19. 1) 20 Amory Avenue’s request for wireless equipment and a roof antenna has already been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeal, and 63R Mozart was not on the table. 2) 66 Boylston Street; request by Kerry Jordan & David Evan Aaronoff to construct a rear deck and door on the third floor. The immediate neighbor approved. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. 3) 81 Moss Hill Road; request to construct front and rear shed dormers. The Jamaica Hills Association voted not to oppose. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. 4) 28 Paul Gore Street; request to create off-street parking for 2 vehicles. This is a genuine hardship. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. 5) 24 Evergreen Street; request to remove roof over third floor stairs and erect a dormer. This is a safety issue – need to provide adequate headroom and remove the spiral staircase. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. Motion by Dave Baron to approve all four items from the Zoning committee. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 17-0-0. Motion by Red Burrows to add Jesse Abair to the members of the Zoning Committee. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Motion passed 17-0-0. The next Zoning Committee meetings will be on Thursday, December 3 at Farnsworth House at 7:00pm and Thursday, December 17 at Curtis Hall at 7:00pm.
- Ad-Hoc Website Committee – Report was given by Ben Knappmiller and Emily Wheelwright. They reminded people to contact Emily Wheelwright by December 1 if they want to change any of their biographies. Otherwise this information will go up on January 1. The new website should be functioning by January 1 with links to local businesses and photographs by local photographers. In addition to bios and links, the site will have information on the JPNC and its committees, the biennial election process and a map of the Areas. David Baron asked committee members to read Articles 2 and 6 of the Bylaws to make sure that the main mission of the JPNC comes out clearly. Red Burrows wanted to make sure that JPNC members’ contact information is available, with their Area prominently displayed. Some members felt uncomfortable with contact information and wanted it discussed more. Andrea Howley said perhaps we could have a JPNC logo. Steve Backman said that it can be considered for the next phase of development. It was agreed that jpnc.org was a good address for the site. The next Ad-Hoc Website Committee meeting will be on December 7 at 6:00pm.
- Committees were reminded to finalize their lists of members and have them ready by the February 2010 JPNC meeting.
The next meeting of the full JPNC will be on Tuesday, December 29.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:43pm.
(Minutes submitted by Ben Knappmiller and Michael Reiskind)