September 28, 2010
Attendance: Andrea Howley, Pamela Bender, Jesse Abair, Karley Ausiello, Steven Backman, Red Burrows, Francesca Fordiani, Ben Knappmiller, Steven Laferriere, Stephen Lussier, Edith Murnane, Jesse White, Jay Zoldak.
Other Attendees: Sarah Freeman, Darren Swin (Affordable Housing Coalition/Vote No on 2 Committee), Joe Walsh (Renew Boston), Colleen Keller (Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services).
Called to Order at 7:05pm at First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain by Andrea Howley.
- Members of the JPNC introduce themselves
- There will be a Boston Local Food Festival on Saturday, October 2 from 11:00am to 5:00pm at the Boston Waterfront at Fort Point Channel.
- Fugitive Safe Surrender will begin on Wednesday, October 6 and run through Saturday, October 9 at Jubilee Christian Church, 1500 Blue Hill Avenue. The hours are from 9:00am to 4:00pm. This is a program allowing nonviolent fugitives to come for processing. There are no religious requirements for this program, but it is not for child support offenders.
- There will be a meeting on Emerald Necklace Crosswalk and Pathway Treatment Guidelines on Thursday, October 7 at 6:30pm at Wheelock College, 150 Riverway. This is a partnership program of the Department of Conservation & Recreation and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
- A followup on the Bicycling Safety Summit will be held on Wednesday, September 29 at the Boston Redevelopment Authority boardroom.
- There will be a Fall Forest Festival at Franklin Park on Saturday, October 2 from 10am to 4pm.
- The Boston Public Library Fall Speakers Series will feature authors speaking about their books. It will be at the main branch at Copley Square from October to December.
- There will be a meeting with Transportation Commissioner Tom Tinlin next Tuesday, October 5 at 7pm at 8 Bardwell Street regarding plans for the Centre/South Street Corridor proposals for Monument Square. The discussion will be on rerouting traffic, etc. It is mostly for abutters but the Commissioner wanted to meet with a larger group.
3. Neighborhood input
- Massachusetts Chapter 40B Affordable Housing Referendum: Darren Swin, of the Vote No on 2 Campaign, said that the present Chapter 40B law encourages 10% of city housing to be affordable. 40B allows a mechanism for developers to ease through the zoning process. It doesn’t require 10% housing be affordable just a mechanism for affordable units to be built. If a city or town is below the 10% level, it allows a comprehensive permit for developers provided they sell 20-25% of their units at an affordable rate. It is used by both community developers and private developers.
- The November 2 election will have a ballot question which attempts to overthrow the present 40B. If one wants to keep affordable housing, the appropriate way to vote is NO. The wording is tricky. Opponents of 40B present themselves as affordable housing advocates but have no plan to replace it. Mr. Swin did not have a complete text of the ballot question available.
- Jesse Adair said that Chapter 40B is the only mechanism for forcing affordable housing on suburbs and without that the burden will fall solely on the cities to build affordable housing. Steve Backman’s father was in the state legislature at the time it was originally passed and he offered to discuss it with anyone who has questions.
- Renew Boston: Joe Walsh of the City of Boston Environmental & Energy Services Department spoke about a new service from the City in partnership with NSTAR and National Grid to provide qualifying Bostonians with no-cost home energy efficiency improvements. Residents with incomes between 60% and 120% of the state median income can qualify for an energy audit every twelve months. They use an infrared camera. Renters are welcome and encouraged to participate, provided the residence is no larger than 4 units. The building is eligible if a majority or plurality of units in the building are eligible. Contact (617) 635-SAVE Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm or renewboston.org.
- The program became possible when three novel things occurred: A pilot at the statewide level was created to promote community wide initiatives, a partnership was created between the City and the energy companies, and a $1.8 million grant to fund the program came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG).
- In response to questions, Mr. Walsh said that a deep assessment of the home is done, and there only needs to be a ten-degree difference between the inside and outside for the improvements to be effective. Even though landlords are limited up to four units, there is a different program at City Hall for over four units as well.
4. New/old business
- Recognition was given to Edith Murnane, a JPNC member who is resigning because she has been appointed by the Mayor as the first Food Policy Director for the City of Boston. She will working on better access to fresh foods, food security,hunger alleviation and urban agriculture. She supports getting sugar-sweetened beverages out of city property (such as City Hall, City hall Plaza, etc.)
- She is looking for grants over the next 24 months for a Culinary Institute for Boston Public Schools – to produce fresher food in 47 schools and to act as a satellite program for healthy food in the schools.
- There will be a Mobile Food Vending Workshop on Wednesday, September 29 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm at Bella Luna Restaurant & Milky Way Lounge at 284 Amory Street. This is a less expensive way of getting into a small business.
- Election Committee: Red Burrows had previously suggested that it get started a year in advance of the next election. The Committee should discuss with ombudspeople from the last election to see what went wrong and what went right. Its main goal should be to get the vote out for the next JPNC election in 2011.
- With Edith’s resignation, there is an opening in Area B. Since we have an Area B person (Jesse White) covering Area A, she asked for the following: Motion by Andrea Howley to move Jesse White to Area B and open up the vacancy as an Area A seat. Seconded by Pam Bender. There was a discussion as to whether that is plausible. Passed 9-1-1(2 absent). The Area A opening was announced.
5. Committee reports
- Public Service Committee — Karley Ausiello reported that the Public Service Committee meeting was held on August 17 at 7:00pm at Bethel AME Church’s St. Andrews campus. On the agenda was the request for a 7-Day Common Victualler All Alcohol Beverage license for CMC Angel, Inc., doing business as “Tonic”, at 3698 Washington Street (the former Griffin’s Tavern), with a 2:00am closing hour, with Croan McCormack as manager.
- In addition, there was a request for an entertainment license for recorded music only. The major issue was the hours of operation, but he stressed it was going to be a restaurant, with a desire to be like the Franklin Café. Mr. McCormack promised to coordinate services and trash pickup with his business neighbors.
- The residents seemed excited. The Committee recommended approval at the meeting. Because of scheduling of the alcohol licensing at City Hall, the request has already been sent to the JPNC Executive Committee for consideration by the Licensing Board of the City of Boston.
- Colleen Keller added that there were no available liquor licenses, so the application was denied without prejudice at the Licensing Board, but it can reapply.
- There were continued discussions about the billboards initiative.
- Motion by Ben Knappmiller to appoint Karley Ausiello as Vice-chair of the Public Service Committee. Second by Red Burrows. Passed 11-0-0 (2 absent). The next meeting of the Public Service Committee is Tuesday, October 5.
- Housing & Development Committee (H&DC) – Steve Laferriere reported that the MBTA is looking for 80% Federal funding for the Arborway Yard development. The smaller and more efficient the bus yard, the more space will be given back to community for mixed use development.
- The Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) is interested in engaging with the community and moving forward. Perhaps they can come to the JPNC in November.
- There was a special meeting to consider the housing questions on 1540 Columbus Avenue, part of the Jackson Square development.
- There will be a Walkable Communities Workshop and they are looking for cosponsors. The H&DC discussed cosponsoring and perhaps the Neighborhood Council would be interested as well.
- The H&DC voted to urge people to vote NO on Question 2 at the November 2 state election.
- The H&DC passed inclusionary and Healthy Housing Guidelines. Andrea Howley congratulated the Housing and Development Committee for the Healthy Housing Guidelines. The community is getting really good response and communication with developers.
- The next scheduled meeting of the H&DC will be on Tuesday, October 19 at the Bowditch School.
- Zoning Committee – Red Burrows reported that there were Zoning Committee meetings on July 29, September 2, and September 16. There will be one more meeting in September on the 30th. Nine issues have already come to the JPNC Executive Committee for approval.
- 345-345R Centre Street; request by José Yanes for a call center. There are two businesses and two residences on these parcels. The Committee needed confirmation that two residences existed. Two stores had been there operating legally but needed to be on the radar of the city, and zoning gave an approval for the business to operate with the proviso that the use remains with the current business owner – when the business leaves they have to come before the Zoning Committee again for approval. Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval with the proviso. Seconded by Ben Knappmiller. Passed 11-0-0 (2 absent).
- The October 14 meeting of the Zoning Committee will consider 461 Walnut Avenue.
- Parks & Open Space Committee (POSC) – Andrea Howley congratulated the Committee for closing off Parkman Drive with cleanup and party. Jay Zoldak was proud event was so successful. The next park cleanup will be on November 6. Meet at 8:30am at Curtis Hall.
- Andrea Howley said that fundraising to keep the Park Rangers horses will start up again shortly – contact Sarah Freeman.
- The next meeting of the POSC will be Tuesday, October 19 at 6:30pm at JP Licks.
- Ad-Hoc Outreach/Communications Committee – Ben Knappmiller reported that the Website and Facebook updates are continuing.
- The Committee is looking for help with website translation.
- Jackson CAC – Red Burrows reported that nothing happened at the CAC. The meeting was canceled and there are no meetings scheduled. The election is causing delays.
The next meeting of the full JPNC will be on Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00pm at the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain.
The next meeting of the JPNC Executive Committee will be on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30am at Ula Café.
(Minutes submitted by Ben Knappmiller and Michael Reiskind)