September 27, 2011
Attendance: Andrea Howley, Michael Reiskind, Karley Ausiello, David Baron, Red Burrows, Benjamin Day,
Oliver De Leon, Francesca Fordiani, Ara Reyes, Martha Rodriguez, Ken Sazama, Hyun Shin, Jesse White,
Jeffrey Wiesner, Joseph Wight.
Other Attendees: Pamela Bender, Orion Kriegman, Steven Laferriere, Sandee Storey, Helen Matthews, Courtney Snegroff, Arlene Rothman, Laura Foner, Cooper Renfro, Andrea Cherez, Councillor Matt O’Malley, Valerie Frias (Councillor Matt O’Malley’s Office), Olu Ibrahim (Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez’ office), Jullieanne Doherty (Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services), Matt Rocheleau (Boston Globe), Chris Helms (Jamaica Plain Patch), and Rebeca Oliveira (JP Gazette).
Called to Order at 7:10pm at Rogerson House by Andrea Howley.
1. Introductions: Members of the JPNC introduced themselves.
- The Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) will be meeting on Thursday, September 29 at 7:00pm at the State Laboratories, 305 South Street.
- RAD Classes (Rape Aggression Defense) start on October 3 at 6:00pm at So. JP Health Center at 10 Green Street.
- There will be a grand opening of 270 Centre Street project (near Jackson Square) on October 6 at 3:00pm.
- The annual BAA Half Marathon takes place along the Emerald Necklace on Sunday, October 9 from 8:30am to 11:00am .
- The annual Artists’ Ball fundraiser for JP Centre/South Main Streets will on Saturday, October 15 starting at 8:00pm at Eliot Hall, 7A Eliot Street.
- The third JP Shopping Spree, titled the JP Grazing Spree, will be from October 17 to November 17.
- BPL Jamaica Plain Branch Centennial events will culminate with all day activities on Saturday, October 22.
- The Jamaica Pond Lantern Parades will be on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23 starting ar 6:00pm.
- “Pie in the Sky” Thanksgiving bake sale, which helps fund Community Servings meals and nutrition programs for the critically ill,
- will be in October through Thanksgiving. Sign up at www.pieinthesky.org to buy or help sell pies.
3. JPNC Business:
- Report on the 2011 Election: Sandee Storey, chair of the Ombuds Board for the Election, gave a report on the recent biennial election of September 24. She said there was lots od work done by the Elections Committee and volunteers, especially on Sunday, September 25 during the vote counting – lots of volunteers, so counting was done in less than three hours. She thanked the rest of the Ombuds Board by name: Kim Alleyne, Larry Cronin, Colleen Keller, and Pat Landry. Ms. Storey also thanked NAICOB (the North American Indian Center of Boston) where the counting took place. Red Burrows thanked all who worked during the election, especially those who worked past their allotted shifts to help the large number of voters who turned out. He also thanked the Ombuds Board and the organizations which sent volunteers: the JP Neighborhood Development Corporation (JP NDC), and the offices of City Councillor Felix Arroyo and State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez. The Bowditch School and the JP NDC lent tables and chairs. The problems that came up were related to a lack of publicity, trouble moving extra ballots between polls, and identifying voters by area. Motion by Red Burrows to accept the voting results and to allow the Ombuds Board to destroy the ballots and envelopes. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 10-0-3(3 late). Red Burrows volunteered to restart an Elections Committee for the 2013 election in about one year.
- Transition for new members: The new members of the Council gave a broader introduction and said what they thought are the most important issues facing the JPNC and the community. Issues that came up were Whole Foods and gentrification, ways of getting involved in the community, how to be a welcoming community for new residents, safety, parks, how to encourage activism, affordable housing. One member said that they joined the JPNC after going through the Zoning Committee community process for an application. Michael Reiskind said that he will try to schedule some orientation workshops for new members.
The minutes from the July 26, 2011 JPNC meeting were then handed out. Motion by Red Burrows to approve the minutes from the July 2011 meeting. Seconded by Dave Baron. Passed 8-0-7. The minutes from the previous (August 30, 2011) JPNC meeting will be available in October.
5. Committee Reports:
Because of the time limit on use of the room, Committee Reports were limited to necessary business.
Andrea Howley recognized past members Pam Bender, Orion Kriegman and Steven Laferriere in the audience.
- Ad-Hoc Whole Foods negotiating group — Steven Laferriere reported that the Whole Foods negotiating group has met with Whole Foods. Whole Foods, while not agreeing to a written Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), has agreed to do a lot. They have appointed a special Community Liaison, Jennifer Litz in the Jamaica Plain store only. Karley Ausiello said that the Community Liaison encouraged different community groups to contact her directly. They promised an extensive transparent community process to access their existing community benefits. They have regular “Grant Days” where 5% is given back to a community group. They also have quarterly meeting with residents to gain feedback. They promised that the Jamaica Plain meetings will be bilingual. Whole Foods is willing to have job fairs in their parking lot in order to hire locally. They usually have a high percentage of local workers. They have already reached out strongly to the former Hi-Lo workers. The company could not guarantee hiring local youth for all jobs in the store, because there are safety restrictions for workers under eighteen working in the kitchens and around knives. A written list of requests will be sent before the store opening, and Whole Foods is confident they will meet most of the community requests. Concerns about traffic and parking, relayed to Whole Foods by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, have already been addressed. there was a question from the audience about whether Whole Foods would give any money specifically for affordable housing. They said no.
- Housing & Development Committee (H&DC) — Steven Laferriere reported that at their last meeting the Housing & Development Committee talked about the new development at 75 Amory Avenue. Inclusionary zoning, healthy housing guidelines, and affordability were the main issues. They also considered the new development at Burnett and Washington Streets. He reported that the Forest Hills MBTA parcels which went out for bid this summer have not received any bids. The H&DC also talked about the Arborway Yard project.
- Burnett/Washington/McBride Advisory Group — The initial community discussions on the Burnett/Washington/ McBride project seem to be wrapping up. The scoping session and public meeting have not been scheduled yet, so the public comment period will probably have to be extended past October 20. The main community request is that the corner building at McBride and Washington Street be a mixed use building. Right now the design is too suburban-looking and is oriented too much toward auto use.
- Zoning Committee -- David Baron reported that the Zoning Committee had two meetings this month – on September 1 and on September 15 at which five matters were considered. Three matters came up at the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) before today and so had to go before the Executive Committee: 68 Boynton Street, a request by Eve Belfer-Ahearn to build a three-story addition onto an existing single-family residence to create a three-family dwelling. The applicant has come to the Zoning Committee three times. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. The Executive Committee recommended approval. After gaining JPNC approval, the applicant has had to withdraw at the ZBA for technical reasons. 28 Paul Gore Street, a request by Anna Villegas to create off-street parking for one vehicle. The applicant has decided to withdraw the request. 36 Mozart Street, a request by Arazeliz Reyes and Dally Reyes to extend living space from first floor unit into the basement. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. The Executive Committee recommended approval. No JPNC actions are needed. In addition, 178 Heath Street, which was requesting a variance to build a one-storey addition will be withdrawn at the ZBA. The community thought that the proposal was too big and too close to adjoining buildings. 3815 Washington Street, a request by WCI Corp. to install a drive-through window at a new bank branch (for Commonwealth Cooperative Bank). The Zoning Committee recommended approval. Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of the petition at 3815 Washington Street. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 12-0-3. The next meetings of the Zoning Committee will be on Thursday, October 13 and Thursday, October 27 at Farnsworth House at 7:00pm.
- Parks & Open Space Committee (POSC) -- No report.
- CPCAY (Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard) -- The MBTA has applied for a federal grant to help build the permanent Arborway Yard project. The federal grant will have to be matched by the MBTA. Michael Reiskind will be the interim liaison from the JPNC to the CPCAY.
- Casey Overpass Working Advisory Group (WAG) -- Michael Reiskind reported that the main before he group sill be whether a bridge or at-grade solution will replace the present aging Casey Overpass. The decision will be made by the group some time in November.
- Ad-Hoc Outreach/Communications Committee — Passwords to access the JPNC website have been passed on to the new Council.
- Public Service Committee — Michael Reiskind reported that the Public Service Committee met on September 6 at the Cheverus School. The Committee considered the application for a transfer of the ownership of the 7-day all-alcohol retail package store license of Camilo Liquors, Inc. at 280 Centre Street in Jackson Square. The business is being transferred from husband, José Fernandez, to wife, Yara Fernandez for technical reasons related to another package store in Brockton. The operations will not change at all. Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of the transfer at 280 Centre Street. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 15-0-0. The next meeting will consider the request of Streetcar Wine & Beer at 488 Centre Street. The next meeting of the Public Service Committee will be on Tuesday, October 4 at Rogerson House at 7:00pm.
- Centre/South Corridor CAC — No activity by the City.
- Jackson CAC -- No report.
6. New/Old Business:
- Orion Kriegman announced that there will be a planning meeting for a second annual Neighborhood Forum in 2012. The planning meeting will be in Building B at The Brewery on Tuesday, October 4 at 6:00pm. For more information, call Orion at (857) 928-4066.
- Andrea Howley brought up the idea of a donation to the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain for hosting the JPNC for the last year. Ara Reyes said that there might be a chance to obtain a small grant for the church through her employer, the Plumbers and Gas Fitters Local Union #12. The Church has to make a formal request for the grant.
- Andrea Howley announced that Brian Squadrille, newly elected JPNC member from Area A, has to resign because his work schedule has been changed. Therefore there are now two vacancies in Area A and three vacancies in Area B.
- The openings will be kept open for two months, with voting by the JPNC to fill the vacancies at the November 2011 meeting.
- Arlene Rothman from Prince Street said that an issue that has been bothering her is the loud sirens from emergency vehicles.
- Motion to adjourn the meeting. Meeting was adjourned at 8:42pm.
The next meeting of the full JPNC will be on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:00pm.
The next meeting of the JPNC Executive Committee will be on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7:30am at Ula Café.
(Minutes submitted by Michael Reiskind)