October 25, 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, Jeffrey Wiesner,
Other Attendees: Helen Matthews, Cooper Renfro, Jake Glickel (Renew Boston), Nika Elugardo (Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’ office), Jullieanne Doherty (Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services), Chris Helms (Jamaica Plain
Patch), and David Taber (JP Gazette).
Called to Order at 7:08pm at Farnsworth House by Andrea Howley.
1. Introductions: Members of the JPNC introduced themselves.
- The JP Grazing Spree will be from October 17 to November 17.
- There will be a free tour of Arnold Arboretum’s Weld Hill Research Building on Wednesday, October 26 at 4:30pm
- The annual Octoberfest ¡Fiesta! fundraiser at The Brewery will be on Wednesday, October 26 at 6:00pm
- The annual Costume Dog Parade will be on Saturday, October 29 starting at First Baptist Church at 12:30pm.
- The Franklin Park Forest Fall Festival will be on Saturday, October 29 starting at 1:00pm.
- The Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) will be meeting on Thursday, November 3 at 7:00pm at the State Laboratories, 305 South Street.
- Tuesday, November 8 is Election Day. Voting will be from 7:00am to 8:00pm.
- The annual Taste of JP will be on Thursday, November 17 at 6:30pm at Cedars Hall, 61 Rockwood Street
- Curtis Hall will have its Re-Opening Celebration on Saturday, November 19 at 11:00am.
- There will be a MassDOT Casey Overpass Open House and Public Meeting on Monday, November 21 at 6:00pm at the State Laboratories, 305 South Street.
3. Neighborhood Input:
- Renew Boston: Jake Glickel of the City of Boston Environmental & Energy Services Department spoke about Renew Boston, a service to provide qualifying middle-income Bostonians with no-cost home energy assessment and energy improvements. (Low-income families can apply to a program run by ABCD.) Contact (617) 635-SAVE weekdays from 9am to 6pm or www.renewboston.org. The program started about a year ago, and already 4,000 assessments and 6,000 weatherizations have been done in Boston. Residents need to sign up by December 31, 2011 for an assessment and then are eligible for weatherization. Renters can participate provided the residential building is no larger than 4 units. The building is eligible if a majority of units in the building are eligible. The assessments are done by the state program MassSave, which then certifies a contractor. In Boston, they use Next Step Living. The assessors do not report code violations in the home, and it does not matter if owners are overdue on their utility bills. There is also a component of the program that allows for rebates up to $2,800 to go solar .
4. Minutes: The minutes from the August 30, 2011 JPNC meeting were then handed out. Motion by Red Burrows to approve the minutes from the August 2011 meeting. Seconded by Michael Reiskind. Passed 10-0-2 (2 late). The minutes from the September 27, 2011 JPNC meeting were then handed out. Motion by Red Burrows to approve the minutes from the September 2011 meeting. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 11-0-1 (2 late).
5. Committee Reports:
- Zoning Committee — David Baron reported that the Zoning Committee are now scheduling meetings for the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, October 13 and October 27. On October 13, three matters were considered. One matter came up at the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) before today and so had to go before the Executive Committee: 321 So. Huntington Avenue, a request by the condominium association, Huntington Hill West Condominium Trust, to enclose the front porches and renovate. The Zoning Committee recommended approval. The Executive Committee recommended approval. No JPNC action is needed.
- 12 Chilcott Place, a request by Craig Pearson to confirm occupancy as a two-family residence and remove an existing barn and shed and replace it with a two-storey addition to the house. The addition will be less close to the side and rear yard lines than the barn. The Zoning Committee recommended approval.
- 176-178 Hyde Park Avenue, a request by Hyde Park Place Condominium Association to create a six-car parking lot with a curb cut. The lot was approved in 2007, but the zoning relief has lapsed, because the condominium association did not take action on the curb cut. The Zoning Committee recommended approval.
Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of the two petitions at 12 Chilcott Place and 176-178 Hyde Park Avenue. Seconded by Karley Ausiello. Passed 13-0-1.
- 1550 Columbus Avenue Recreation Center; request by Urban Edge and others, to erect an indoor ice rink and multi-use artificial turf facility with commissary and skate rental office. There was a joint meeting with the RNC’s Zoning Committee to discuss this issue in March 2011. The BRA is requiring one additional variance for screening and buffering on the rear of the property. This was the side where the Zoning Committee and JPNC had approved a variance in March. No further action is needed as the issues are the same. Motion by Dave Baron to recommend approval of the petition at 1550 Columbus Avenue. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 14-0-0.
The next meetings of the Zoning Committee will be on Thursday, October 27, Thursday, November 10 and Thursday, November 24 at Farnsworth House at 7:00pm.
- Public Service Committee — Michael Reiskind reported that the Public Service Committee met on October 4 at Rogerson House. The Committee considered the application of Streetcar Wine & Beer at 488 Centre Street for a new beer & wine package store license with Michael Dupuy as manager. The main issue has been the location of the proposed store directly across the street from the Curley School. Mr. Dupuy said that the store would be a small boutique wine store, with some beers, and not have any junk food, convenience goods or anything that would have kids come into the store. He said that he has ten years experience in retail and wholesale wine sales. He has appeared at the Business Association, Main Streets and twice at the Jamaica Pond Association (JPA). All support the application. Motion by Michael Reiskind to recommend approval of the application of Ferment LLC, doing business as “Streetcar Wine & Beer”, at 488 Centre Street for a new beer & wine package store license with Michael Dupuy as manager with the hours of 11am to 10pm. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 9-3-2. Ara Reyes had been at the first JPA meeting and was worried about the closeness of the school and its attraction to students. After discussion, there was a motion by Ara Reyes to suggest to the proposed owner of Streetcar Wine & Beer that he open at 3pm on weekdays when the Curley School is in session. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 8-3-3.
The next meeting of the Public Service Committee will be on Tuesday, December 6 at Curtis Hall at 7:00pm.
- Parks & Open Space Committee (POSC) — Red Burrows reported that the Committee met and discussed pedestrian safety in getting to Jamaica Pond Park. The Committee recommended the following resolution on the anniversary of the death of Georgina Tyman, who was killed by accident in a crosswalk on the Arborway: “In honor of Georgina Tyman, a pedestrian who died on October 30, 2001, the JPNC recommits to traffic calming and public safety on the parkways in her memory.” Motion by Red Burrows to recommend approval of the Georgina Tyman resolution. Seconded by Ken Sazama. Passed 14-0-0.
The next meeting of the Parks & Open Space Committee will be on Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30pm at JP Licks.
- Housing & Development Committee (H&DC) – The Housing & Development Committee also meets on the third Tuesday of the month. Francesca Fordiani reported that at their October 18 meeting the H&DC had a small attendance and talked about development around Forest Hills overall, as opposed to proposed Arborway Yard and Casey Overpass changes. A new chair is needed for the Committee.
The next meeting of the Housing & Development Committee will be on Tuesday, November 15 at 7:00pm at the Bowditch School, 82 Green Street.
- Ad-Hoc Elections Committee — Red Burrows, chair of the Elections Committee, handed out a report recommending changes based on the election of September 24. Most of them are minor, but some may require changes in the bylaws: 1) to accept the Shattuck Shelter residents as voters in JPNC elections, 2) consider moving the Area C polling location away from Forest Hills station. Dave Baron did not think that a full bylaws committee is needed to consider the proposed changes, just a small working group of one or two people to write up changes and recommendations. Motion by Dave Baron to have Dave Baron write up draft language for proposed bylaw changes based on the report submitted by the Elections Committee. Seconded by Red Burrows. Passed 14-0-0. Motion by Red Burrows to dissolve the Ad-Hoc Elections Committee. Seconded by Francesca Fordiani. Passed 14-0-0.
- Ad-Hoc Outreach/Communications Committee — Michael Reiskind reported that passwords to access the JPNC website have been passed on to the new Council. We need volunteers to reconstitute the Committee to continually refresh the page with up-to-date information and current meetings, as well as updating the JPNC members listing and updating the minutes. Four members (Ben Day, Joseph Wight, Hyun Shin, and Ken Sazama) volunteered to help.
- Jackson CAC — Red Burrows reported that the first phase of the project, 225 Centre Street, will have a high goal of minority hires. They are negotiating with the unions now and will start digging in December. The CAC discussed how to get people into apprenticeships. One idea is to have a recruiting booth on site. They are working with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, and Plumbers and Gas Fitters.
- Centre/South Corridor Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) — No activity by the City. No report.
- CPCAY (Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard) — Michael Reiskind reported that the MBTA’s application for a major federal grant to construct the permanent facility was not successful.
- Casey Overpass Working Advisory Group (WAG) — Michael Reiskind reported that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) decision on whether a bridge or at-grade solution will replace the Casey Overpass will be made in December. The main traffic study of the area was just released on October 20. Nika Elugardo from Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’ office reported that she was at tonight’s WAG meeting at which the matrix of decision making, called Methods of Evaluation (MOE), were the main point of discussion. The MOEs are on the MassDOT website.
- Burnett/Washington/McBride Advisory Group — Steven Laferriere is still the JPNC representative on this group. Francesca Fordiani reported that he came to the Housing Committee and reported that there is no additional news.
- Ad-Hoc Whole Foods negotiating group — There was extensive discussion on keeping the Ad-Hoc Whole Foods negotiating group. Should the JPNC take charge of the Whole Foods issue? Is Whole Foods going to ask for zoning relief or a business license in front of the JPNC? Oliver De Leon wanted to reaffirm the Council’s position and work with Whole Foods to mitigate the impacts, especially because of the imminent opening of the store. Karley Ausiello thought the JPNC should help community groups meet with Whole Foods’ special Community Liaison, Jennifer Litz. Hyun Shin thought that Whole Foods was making a real effort to hire locally. Dave Baron thought that the JPNC still has negotiating strength with Whole Foods. Motion by Ara Reyes to keep Whole Foods negotiating group until after Whole Foods opens and to support local community groups meeting with Whole Foods. Motion by Ben Day to keep seeking a Good Neighbor agreement with Whole Foods. Neither of these motions were seconded and were not voted. Motion by Ara Reyes keep an active Whole Foods negotiating group to continue working on Whole Foods issues. Seconded by Red Burrows. Withdrawn. Motion by Red Burrows to broaden the scope of the Whole Foods negotiating group to deal with all Whole Foods issues, to include community groups who want to deal
with Whole Foods, and to broaden the membership. Seconded by Oliver De Leon. Passed 13-1-0.
6. New/Old Business:
- For the next elections in 2012 and 2013, there will be change in the State Representative and City Councillor districts that will affect Jamaica Plain. The City Council is expected to vote in March 2012 on the City changes. The JPNC should write a letter on the matter.
- In response to Andrea Howley’s idea of a donation to the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain for hosting the JPNC for the last year, Ara Reyes has obtained a $250 grant from the Plumbers and Gasfitters Local 12.
- JPNC Open Seats: There are now two vacancies in Area A and three vacancies in Area B on the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council. The election to fill the vacancies will be at the November meeting. Folks can be nominated before and at the November meeting. Cooper Renfro, of 60 Union Avenue, nominated himself for a seat in Area B. He said he worked as a non-profit professional, helping low-income residents. He has been in the Master Urban Gardener program of Boston Natural Areas Fund in Mattapan and is interested in the Parks and Open Space Committee. He also lives across from English High School playing fields. He is also interested in the Zoning Committee, especially the area of Washington Street.
- Street violence seems to be on the rise and the JPNC should reconvene its Ad-Hoc Youth Violence Committee. Francesca Fordiani, Hyun Shin, Jeffrey Wiesner, Ken Sazama, and Karley Ausiello volunteered. Nika Elugardo said that the Egleston Square Crime watch has restarted.
- Election of new officers: Michael Reiskind took over as Chair. Nominated for Chair of the JP Neighborhood Council for one year were Andrea Howley and Ben Day. Ben Day promised to work on larger issues in the community, represent the whole JPNC, and not let personal positions interfere with his chairing. In response to a question, he said he has lived in Jamaica Plain six years, and is a member of advocacy groups including JP Progressives. Andrea Howley emphasized her ability to work as a facilitator, and to encourage diverse groups to use the JPNC as a central forum for neighborhood presentations. She is a lifelong resident of Jamaica Plain, and is a member of the Jamaica Hills Association, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a Beth Israel board, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and Friends of the JP Library. Ben Day was elected in a secret ballot.
- Ben Day took over as Chair. Nominated for Vice-Chair of the JP Neighborhood Council for one year were Michael Reiskind and Red Burrows. Michael Reiskind emphasized his commitment to neighborhood process, and his work on many different issues in the whole community. He is a 39-year resident of Jamaica Plain. Red Burrows accentuated his work on the Zoning Committee, and his ability to negotiate between groups. Red Burrows was elected in a secret ballot.
- Nominated for Secretary/Treasurer of the JP Neighborhood Council for one year were Michael Reiskind and Francesca Fordiani. Michael Reiskind withdrew his nomination. Francesca Fordiani was elected by acclamation as Secretary/Treasurer of the JPNC.
Motion by Red Burrows to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Hyun Shin. Passed 14-0-0. Meeting was adjourned at 9:36pm.
The next meeting of the full JPNC will be on Tuesday, November 29 at 7:00pm.
The next meeting of the JPNC Executive Committee is to be determined. (Subsequently chosen was Tuesday, November 22 at 7:00pm at Doyle’s Café.)
(Minutes submitted by Michael Reiskind)