Cambridge City Council meeting - June 9, 2014 - AGENDA
CITY MANAGER’S AGENDA
1. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-35, regarding a report on the condition of the parking lot and fence at the corner of Cherry and School Streets.
2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-05, regarding a report on the feasibility of allowing Cambridge residents and visitors to pay parking violations instantly via cell phone application.
3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of Mary K. DeCourcey as a Constable With Power for a term of three years, effective the first day of January, 2014.
4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to an order authorizing the City Manager to transfer appropriations of available balances prior to the close of books for FY13-14.
5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $38,051.88 from the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) to the Grant Fund Police Salary and Wages account which is a reimbursement for officers who participated in the Rapid UASI exercise on May 2-4, 2014.
6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $567,000 from Free Cash to the General Fund Fire Other Ordinary Maintenance account to replace 205 sets of firefighter bunker gear.
7. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $163,900 from the General Fund Fire Salary and Wages account to the General Fund Fire Other Ordinary Maintenance account to cover the cost to outfit 16 new firefighters with personal protective equipment, uniforms, and related medical evaluations.
8. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of donations received by the Peace Commission in the amount of $396 to the Grant Fund Peace Commission Other Ordinary Maintenance account received in support of the annual Peace and Justice Awards Dinner and will be used to offset the cost of the dinner.
9. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a grant from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for $42,136 to the Grant Fund Community Development Salaries and Wages account which will be used to cover a portion of the salaries of existing housing planners and support staff related to the administration of the HOME Program.
10. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the HOME Program for $621,254 to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditures account to provide funds to create new affordable housing ($504,466) and to provide funding to local Community Housing Development Organizations ($116,788) for program delivery costs required under HOME regulations.
11. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $607,778 to the Public Investment Fund Community Development Extraordinary Expenditures account derived from the following sources: MIT $191,000; Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant $157,278; EF Education $101,000; Biogen $93,000 and Biomed Realty $65,500 and will be used to pay for the purchase of four Hubway bike share stations, holding 10 bikes at each station.
12. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of 21 Proof Training donations in the amount of $3,500 to the Grant Fund Human Service Programs Other Ordinary Maintenance account which will be used to support a contract for the 21 Proof trainer.
13. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a grant from City Sprouts in the amount of $6,105 to the Grant Fund Human Service Programs Other Ordinary Maintenance account which will be used by Cambridge Youth Programs staff will help develop the STEM curriculum and implement the program at 2 sites during the summer of 2014.
14. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $3,613,470 to the Grant Fund Human Service Programs Salary and Wages account ($124,442), to the Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($3,488,028), and to the Travel and Training account ($1,000) awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the McKinney-Vento/HEARTH Act; the Continuum of Care Program funds will be contracted with homeless services providers and cover the costs related to serving homeless persons in Cambridge as well as be used to cover grant administrative costs.
15. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a $2,000 donation from the Alexander W. Kemp Foundation received for the Alexander W. Kemp playground at the Cambridge Common to the Grant Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance and will be used for maintenance and upkeep of the playground.
16. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of energy efficiency rebate revenues from NSTAR for $177,962.42 to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account related to building control system upgrades in the Haggerty and Baldwin Schools and energy efficiencies installed at the Alice K. Wolf Center and will be used for additional energy efficiency studies and projects in other City buildings.
17. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $75,000 from the General Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account to the General Fund Extraordinary Expenditures account to purchase a sidewalk tractor for use in snow clearing operations.
18. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $36,325.36 funded from the Massachusetts Emergency Law Enforcement Grant Program (administered by the City of Boston) and $13,866.65 from the City of Boston in Mutual Aid to the Grant Fund Police Salary and Wages account which is a reimbursement for overtime costs associated with the Marathon Bombing on Apr 15, 2013 and the week that followed that were not reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
19. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the transfer of $7,500 from the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department Salary and Wages account to the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department Travel and Training account (judgment and damages) to cover medical services and/or prescription reimbursement costs for Traffic and parking personnel injured in performance of their duties.
20. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-13, regarding a report on putting information on traffic enforcement, accidents and parking tickets online in a format that would allow electronic data analysis by the general public.
June 9, 2014
To the Honorable, the City Council:
In response to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-13, regarding a report on putting information on traffic enforcement, accidents and parking tickets online in a format that would allow electronic data analysis by the general public, please be advised of the following:
On June 4, the City launched its new open data site (http://data.cambridgema.gov). This web based tool will be ever evolving; current datasets will be updated with new information on a regular basis, new data sets will be published as they come available, and datasets requested by the public will be reviewed and made available when feasible.
Currently, the open data site contains a number of data sets related to traffic enforcement, accidents and parking tickets. The Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department and the Cambridge Police Department will be releasing additional datasets during the summer, including a traffic accident data set.
The City is committed to using technology to increase accessibility to and transparency of information owned by the City. Providing information on our new platform is one means through which we can foster engagement and collaboration with our citizenry. Making our data available in easy to find and usable formats can create meaningful opportunities for the public to help solve complex challenges. The City also recognizes our obligation to protect private and confidential information, to ensure public safety and security, and to conduct City operations in an efficient and effective manner.
Very truly yours, Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
21. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $21,793.19 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the Grant Fund Public Works Salary and Wages account which is a reimbursement for protecting public health, safety and property during Hurricane Irene in late August 2011
22. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $506,807.86 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the Grant Fund Police Salary and Wages account ($22,118.21), to the Grant Fund Police Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($5,556.37), to the Grant Fund Public Works Salary and Wages account ($119,212.55), to the Grant Fund Public Works Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($344,274.65), to the Grant Fund Electrical Salary and Wages account (9,115.30) and to the Grant Fund Electrical Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($6,530.78) which is a reimbursement for protecting public health, safety and property during the blizzard of February 2013.
23. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-18, regarding the Foundry Building.
June 9, 2014
To the Honorable, the City Council:
In response to Awaiting Report Item Number 14-18 regarding report on determining the legal and regulatory process to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, companies in the private sector and/or donors that are willing to partner with the City to achieve the desired development objectives at the Foundry Buidling, I am pleased to provide you the following update:
Currently, the City is continuing to identify principles regarding programming, financing and operations for the Foundry building redevelopment through community input, discussions among city staff, and other engaged parties, as well as work with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA) to explore strategies for collaboration. A community meeting regarding the Foundry building is tentatively scheduled for June 24th, 2014. The City has committed to using $6 million to proceed with initial capital improvements to the building to address code and accessibility requirements, sprinkler and plumbing system updates, and walls and insulation updates.
PROJECT PHASES AND TIMELINE
Based on similar examples, the complete redevelopment process for the Foundry building will likely include five basic phases:
1. Acquisition and Due Diligence (2012-2013)
2. Predevelopment Phase (current, 2014)
3. Transaction Phase (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
4. Redevelopment Phase (2015 - 2016)
5. Operational Phase (2016 forward)
1. Acquisition and Due Diligence Phase (2012-2013)
The City acquired the Foundry building in connection with a zoning amendment sought by Alexandria Real Estate in 2009. The zoning amendment included a provision that at least 10,000 square feet of the building's Gross Floor Area will be dedicated to educational, cultural, or institutional uses as listed in Article 4, Section 4.33 Table of Use Regulations of the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance.
Since that time, there have been several public forums including multiple discussions regarding the potential redevelopment of the property into a multi-purpose community center with a particular focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) activities, visual and performing arts space, workforce development opportunities, and incubator space for emerging companies.
The March 3, 2014 report on the Foundry Building, submitted by the City Manager to City Council, summarizes due diligence activities that have occurred since the acquisition of the building, including a Reuse Study conducted HMFH (2013), community outreach, initial legal review and fiscal impact analyses. Five different implementation approaches were discussed along with relative advantages and disadvantages. Based on this analysis and discussion, it is the intention of the City to retain ownership of the building. Per the March 3rd report, there are also notable advantages to approach #2 (City works with the CRA to redevelop the property) including a two-step negotiated transaction and more flexibility with procurement processes, as further described below.
2. Predevelopment Phase (current, 2014)
The Cambridge City Council Policy Order adopted on March 17, 2014 requested that the City Manager appropriate up to $6 million to facilitate necessary capital improvements to the Foundry building as well as to determine the legal and regulatory process necessary to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA). The City and the CRA signed a Letter of Agreement on April 14, 2014 (attached) stating that the two parties will continue to explore scenarios for collaboration.
The City Manager's office is also working with staff from the Law Department, Finance Department, Assessing Department, Community Development Department, and the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority to develop a community engagement process, and explore governance and development models to implement the project.
There will be several opportunities over the next few months for additional community input and discussion regarding the Foundry building, including a planned community meeting on Tuesday June 24th, 2014, as well as other public forums:
- June 24, 2014 - community meeting, Multicultural Arts Center
- July 23, 2014 - CRA monthly meeting, 6th Street Police Station
- Neighborhood association monthly meeting(s), to be scheduled (East Cambridge Planning Team and/or Neighborhood Association of East Cambridge)
- September 2014 - community meeting, to be scheduled
These meetings will help refine the development framework, guiding principles, and overall building mission and goals that will become the basis for a redevelopment Request for Proposals (RFP) and building lease.
Development Objectives and Building Programming
In determining the development objectives and building programming for the Foundry, the City will also identify nearby STEAM related programs and projects, including workforce development, teen programs, performing and visual arts, and entrepreneurial development; and also research comparable projects, both locally and nationally, for additional guidance on planning for the Foundry redevelopment and operation.
Governance and Management Strategies
During this phase, the City will also research using the possibility of using a CRA Demonstration Project which may allow the CRA to utilize the tools available to urban redevelopment agencies as set forth in M.G.L. Chapter 121B Section 46(f). An informational meeting with the State Department of Housing and Community Development is being scheduled for mid-June.
Options are being explored to set up the necessary governing body(s) and transactional structure, in order to consider and protect the long term financial interests of both the City and the CRA, as well as provide oversight that ensures the mission and criteria set forth in any lease agreements continue to be realized.
Development and Finance Strategies
The City and CRA are exploring and testing the implications of different development options which look comprehensively at the interrelationship of program (tenant types), the development entity, the operating entity, and the sources and uses of funds in both the development and operational phases. The CRA has engaged HR&A, a real estate advisory firm, to test different financial implications of the development models, which will help inform a potential RFP for redeveloping and leasing the building and the criteria for evaluating proposals.
3. Transaction Phase (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
Community Engagement (September 2014)
It is anticipated that the City and the CRA will continue to engage the community at this phase in order to review the draft Demonstration Plan and draft Request for Information/Request for Proposal materials, especially regarding the building mission, principles, program parameters, and evaluation criteria.
Demonstration Plan (September - November 2014)
If it is decided to move forward with a Demonstration Plan, the CRA will prepare and submit a Demonstration Plan, which incorporates community and City input, for City Council approval.
CRA Agreement (September 2014)
Based on the research and discussions in the Predevelopment Phase, the City and the CRA would enter into a more formal agreement to advance the project into development.
Building Lease and Redevelopment Request for Information/Request for Proposal (RFI/RFP) (November 2014 - March 2015)
The CRA would then initiate a two-step process to solicit information from interested private and non-profit organizations, and would then manage a process with the City to narrow the list before issuing a more detailed request for proposals. Based on the evaluation criteria, including program concept and financial abilities, an entity would be selected to sub-lease and redevelop the building.
4. Redevelopment Phase (2015-2016)
While no final decisions have been made as to how the building will ultimately be redeveloped, it is anticipated that during this phase, the entity that is selected to redevelop the Foundry building will begin finalizing the design, incorporating and refining the program concept and secure the project financing and move the project construction forward.
This entity would continue to engage and inform the CRA, the City, the community, and any oversight bodies to ensure that the project remains consistent with the project mission and principles and the tenets of the Demonstration Plan.
5. Operational Phase (2016 forward)
No final decisions have been made regarding the future operation of the building however, it's assumed that the redeveloping entity of the Foundry building would be expected to manage all aspects of building operations including maintenance and repairs, debt repayment if any, and sub-leasing and/or the designation of operators to manage programs within the building. An oversight body would likely continue to be involved in ensuring that the building and its operation stay true to the mission and principles. Financing the operational phase may involve a wide variety of sources such as market and below-market rents, memberships, event sales, usage fees, fund-raising, and/or other grants that could subsidize operations.
Very truly yours, Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
[April 2014 letter of agreement from Cambridge Redevelopment Authority]
ON THE TABLE
1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Cambridge Arts Council to determine the types of spaces that are most needed within the local arts community with the view of using the Foundry to fill those needs and to allocate appropriate funds to make appropriate upgrades for the purpose of creating a community arts center. (Order Amended by Substitution.) Order Number Ten of Jan 27, 2014 Placed on Table on motion of Mayor Maher on Jan 27, 2014.
2. An application was received from Ting-hsu Chen requesting permission to widen the existing curb cut at the premises numbered 14 Soden Street; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Historical Commission and Public Works. No response has been received from the neighborhood association. Applications and Petitions Number Six of Feb 24, 2014 Placed on Table on motion of Councillor Simmons on Feb 24, 2014.
3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Nov 22, 2013 to conduct a public hearing on an amendment to the Municipal Code by adding a new Chapter 8.68 entitled "Concussion Prevention and Management in Youth Activities at City Facilities." The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Dec 23, 2013.
4. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor David P. Maher, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Dec 19, 2013 to conduct a public hearing on an amendment to the Municipal Code in Chapter 8.67 entitled relating to Plastic Bag Reduction. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Feb 24, 2014.
5. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Mar 26, 2014 to discuss the re-filed zoning petition by the City Council originally filed by Christopher H. Lutz, et al requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge by rezoning an area on the northern border of Richdale Avenue from Upland Road to Walden Street from its C1-A designation to residential C-1. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Apr 21, 2014. Planning Board Hearing held Mar 18, 2014. Petition expires June 24, 2014.
APPLICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. An application was received from 7 Humboldt St LLC requesting permission to modify the curb cut at the premises numbered 7 Humboldt Street; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Historical Commission and Public Works. Response has been received from the neighborhood association.
1. A communication was received from Alison Field-Juma, 363 Concord Avenue transmitting support for Policy Order #6 of June 2, 2014.
2. A communication was received from Don Giller, 177 Pemberton Street regarding Policy Order #6 of June 2, 2014.
3. A communication was received from Peggy Fox-Warren, 46 Fresh Pond Place regarding public financing of elections.
4. A communication was received from Nicolai Cauchy, 387 Huron Avenue transmitting support for Order #6 of June 2, 2014.
5. A communication was received from Arthur Strang transmitting support for Policy Order #6 of June 2, 2014.
6. A communication was received from Carol O'Hare, 172 Magazine Street transmitting support for Policy Order #3 of June 2, 2014.
7. A communication was received from Ellen Mass, Friends of Alewife Reservation, 186 Alewife Brook Parkway regarding purchasing parking space for throughway to T.
8. A communication was received from Hazel Arnett transmitting support for Clean Cambridge Green Cambridge.
9. A communication was received from Daniel Nichols, 28 Inman Street regarding public financing of elections.
10. A communication was received from Susan Earle, 335A Harvard Street regarding public financing of elections.
11. A communication was received from Martha Older transmitting support for Policy Order #1 of June 2, 2014.
12. A communication was received from Martha Older regarding limited equity home ownership options.
13. A communication was received from Paul Steven Stone, 219 Harvard Street transmitting support for Master Plan Policy Order.
14. A communication was received from Jane Thompson regarding public financing of elections.
15. A communication was received from Crystal Leslie, 202 Lakeview Avenue transmitting support for Policy Order #6 of June 2, 2014.
16. A communication was received from Rhoda Fantasia, 93 Third Street transmitting twenty-five signed letters regarding the Special Permit application 288 coming before the Planning Board in July.
17. A communication was received from Peter Valentine, 37 Brookline Street regarding slavery.
18. A communication was received from Martha Older transmitting congratulations and thank you for passing Policy Order #1 of June 2, 2014.
19. A communication was received from Emily Dexter, 9 Fenno Street transmitting thanks to Professor Blum for writing a book about Cambridge's Youth and CRLS.
20. A communication was received from Mark Jaquith, ECPT Board Member and Chair of the Foundry Committee transmitting the ECPT Foundry Recommendations.
21. A communication was received from Sarah Kennedy, Director of Government Affairs, Chamber of Commerce regarding the restriction of single serving PET plastic bottles and the expansion of the bottle bill and its effect on recycling.
1. Happy Birthday wishes to Alice Cohen. Councillor McGovern
2. Happy Birthday wishes to Bethany Versoy. Councillor McGovern
3. Happy Birthday wishes to Elaine O'Reilly. Councillor McGovern
4. Happy Birthday wishes to Angela Peri. Councillor McGovern
5. Happy Birthday wishes to Corina Hall. Councillor McGovern
6. Happy Birthday wishes to Guy Stacey. Councillor McGovern
7. Happy Birthday wishes to Paula McCarthy. Councillor McGovern
8. Happy Birthday wishes to State Representative Jay Livingstone. Councillor McGovern
9. Happy Birthday wishes to Samuel Harp. Councillor McGovern
10. Happy Birthday wishes to Raymond Ausrotas. Councillor McGovern
11. Happy Birthday wishes to Sachiko Rhodes. Councillor McGovern
12. Happy Birthday wishes to Senator Sal DiDomenico. Councillor McGovern
13. Happy Birthday wishes to Senator Elizabeth Warren. Councillor McGovern
14. Happy Birthday wishes to Victoria Harris. Councillor McGovern
15. Happy Birthday wishes to Douglas Thomas. Councillor McGovern
16. Happy Birthday wishes to Thomas Rodes. Councillor McGovern
17. Happy Birthday wishes to William Mayes. Councillor McGovern
18. Congratulations to the Asian American Civic Association on the occasion of its 2014 Annual Gala and thanks for their 47 years of service to the community. Councillor Cheung
19. Congratulations to Reverend Scott Campbell for his years of service at the Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church. Councillor Carlone
20. Retirement of Claire Koen from the School Department. Councillor Simmons
21. Congratulations to the Cambridge High School Extension Program graduating class of 2014. Vice Mayor Benzan
22. Congratulations to the volunteer health activists that will be operating a mobile drop-in center and health space for homeless youth in Harvard Square. Vice Mayor Benzan
23. Congratulations to Soul Custody on the occasion of their album debut. Vice Mayor Benzan
24. Congratulations to the City Links participants on their successful completion of the program for the 2013-2014 school year. Vice Mayor Benzan
25. Urge residents to be participate in the 47th Annual Massachusetts Puerto Rican Parade which will take place in Boston on July 27, 2014. Vice Mayor Benzan
26. Happy Birthday wishes to Kathryn Eason Saunders. Vice Mayor Benzan
27. Congratulations to Marc Saunders for earning his Masters in Education from Cambridge College. Vice Mayor Benzan
28. Congratulations to CYCLE Kids on ten years of community service. Councillor McGovern and Vice Mayor Benzan
29. Resolution on the death of Joseph L. Hansis Sr. Mayor Maher
30. Congratulations to Breakthrough Greater Boston for being selected as one of 100 local nonprofits in the Cummings Foundation's $100K for 100 program. Councillor Cheung
31. Congratulations to Sharalike on being selected to compete at this year's Boston TechJam. Councillor Cheung
32. Congratulations to Barnadette Leahy on the occasion of her retirement from Saint Peter School. Mayor Maher
33. Congratulations to Patricia Westcott on the occasion of her retirement from the Saint Peter School. Mayor Maher
34. Urge Cambridge residents to be cognizant of the Annual Dance for World Community Festival on June 13-15, 2014 in Harvard Square. Councillor Cheung
35. Happy Birthday wishes to Lawrence Adkins. Vice Mayor Benzan
36. Happy Birthday wishes to Donna H. Claudio. Vice Mayor Benzan
37. Congratulations to the Charles Boateng, Danielle Heims-Waldron, Katherine Yearwood, Nana Serebour and Maedot Kassa on their completion of the Kimbrough Scholars Project. Vice Mayor Benzan
38. Thanks to Matt Damon for his generous donation to the Kimbrough Scholars Project. Vice Mayor Benzan
39. Congratulations to Sarepta Therapeutics on the grand opening of their new headquarters at 215 First Street. Councillor Cheung
40. Congratulations to Kate Thomas for receiving the Cambridge GLBT Commission's Recognition Award for 2014. Mayor Maher
41. Congratulations to the LGBT Aging Project for receiving the Cambridge GLBT Commission's Organizational Award for 2014. Mayor Maher
42. Congratulations to the Cambridge Rindge and Latin Class of 2014. Vice Mayor Benzan
43. Resolution on the death of Reverend Albin F. Janiunas. Councillor Toomey
44. Resolution on the death of Kelly Marie Foote. Councillor Toomey
45. Happy 72nd Birthday wishes to Bob Marshall. Councillor Simmons
46. Resolution on the death of Maddalena "Maddy" (Leone) Leccese. Councillor Toomey
47. Happy Birthday wishes to Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. Mayor Maher, Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Mazen, Councillor McGovern and Councillor Simmons
1. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to invite Professor Lawrence Blum to be a member of the city's new Citizen Committee on Civic Unity in addition to the distribution of his book about racism to all City departments that provide services to Cambridge youth and young adults. Councillor Kelley
Tabled - Kelley
2. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council on the status of the Cambridge Street Underpass as it relates to bike safety, to include surface repair, striping of bike and travel lanes and lighting within the Underpass so that cyclists can both be better seen by drivers and can better see road hazards. Councillor Kelley
3. That the City Manager is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a draft ordinance that will limit the sale of single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter or less in the City of Cambridge. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Simmons, Councillor Mazen and Vice Mayor Benzan
4. That the City Manager is requested to confer with relevant City staff about the feasibility of implementing a truck ban on
the Garden Street to Huron Avenue section of Concord Avenue and on the possibility of implementing traffic calming to reduce speeds of all vehicles on this section of Concord Avenue. Councillor Kelley
Amended; Charter Right - Toomey
5. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the IT department to publicize HEET's map of natural gas leaks by making it available via the city website, and other city communications and to work with the Department of Public Works to notify NSTAR of the worst leaks detected by HEET and schedule repairs of those leaks as soon as possible. Councillor Mazen
6. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments as to what measures will be taken in the coming months to improve public safety and directly address the inappropriate solicitations, public drinking, loitering, fights, drug use and drug transactions happening in Central Square. Vice Mayor Benzan
7. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department to determine the
feasibility legality and, if feasible, the institution of instituting a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage ordinance for the City of Cambridge, with special provisions for small businesses. Councillor Mazen, Councillor McGovern, Councillor Cheung
Amended; Charter Right - Maher
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public meeting held on Apr 9, 2014 to discuss safety and access issues at the Alewife T Station.
2. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, for a public meeting held on Apr 16, 2014 To discuss public safety in public buildings including the possibility of positioning a police officer at City Hall.
3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan and Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on May 20, 2014 to discuss the refiled Chun zoning petition requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge in the entire district currently zoned Residence B located in the Cambridge Highlands neighborhood, situated north of Concord Avenue, south of and adjacent to the municipal boundary with the Town of Belmont by deleting the designation Residence B and substituting therefore a designation of Residence A-2.
Referred to Petition
Mon, June 9
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, June 10
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on a petition by the Planning Board to amend the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance Article 12.000 Planned Unit Development procedures. The three parts of the proposed zoning amendment would clarify the procedures for amending a PUD special permit and create an option for some amendments to require one public hearing (under current zoning, an amendment may be granted with no required public hearing or two required public hearings). It would modify the time within which a permitee must begin construction on a PUD project from one year to two years. And it would clarify that all owners of land within a PUD are subject to the requirements set forth in the special permit, even if ownership of land is separated after the PUD is granted, but that the special permit may assign specific rights and obligations to different components within a Development Parcel. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, June 11
3:00pm The Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public meeting to explore the way forward for a shared use with a rail and trail path along the Grand Junction Corridor. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, June 16
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, June 18
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss revisions to the Cambridge Municipal Code Section 9.04.050(A) Defacing public property of Chapter 9.04 entitled "Offenses Against Property." (Sullivan Chamber)
Thurs, June 19
6:00pm The Transportation and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public meeting to address the traffic, transportation and access to transit issues in the Fresh Pond/Concord Avenue/Alewife area with a view toward understanding the impact of recent development trends in the area. (Tobin School Auditorium, 197 Vassal Lane)
Mon, June 23
5:30pm Roundtable/Working Meeting for the purpose of receiving an update on the City's Climate Mitigation and Preparedness Planning. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Tues, June 24
3:00pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code entitled "Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance." (344 Broadway, 2nd Fl Conference)
Mon, June 30
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Wed, July 2
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on the Timothy R. Flaherty, et al. zoning petition requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge to expand the Medical Marijuana Overlay District, MMD-1 to encompass 61 Mooney Street. This hearing to be televised. (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Mon, July 28
5:30pm Special City Council Meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Mon, Sept 8
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Mon, Sept 15
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Mon, Sept 22
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Mon, Sept 29
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room, 459 Broadway)
Mon, Oct 6
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 20
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 27
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1 June 9, 2014
WHEREAS: Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of our city and our municipal institutions; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge should be a model for anti-racist civic youth and adult education; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge is creating a new Citizen Committee on Civic Unity; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge is fortunate to have citizen who are scholars who write about our city's most important issues; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the Mayor send a letter of appreciation to Professor Lawrence Blum, Cambridge resident, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education and philosophy professor at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and parent of three Cambridge Public School alumni, for his groundbreaking book about the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School: High Schools, Race, and America's Future: What Students Can Teach Us About Morality, Diversity, and Community; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and is requested to distribute, to the heads of all major city departments that provide services to Cambridge youth and young adults, copies of Professor Blum's book as well as his essay, "Five Things High School Students Should Know About Race," published in the Harvard Education Letter, Nov/Dec 2012; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to invite Professor Blum to be a member of the city's new Citizen Committee on Civic Unity.
O-2 June 9, 2014
WHEREAS: The Cambridge Street Underpass has bike lanes leading into it from the adjacent surface streets which encourage cyclists to believe that that underpass can, and should, be safely used as opposed to passing through the plaza overhead with its multiple pedestrian routes and other uses; and
WHEREAS: Upon approaching the underpass, at a point where cyclists are no longer able to chose a different route given the underpass' walls, the striping for the bike lane fades, the street surface becomes rough and pitted to the point of becoming disturbingly uneven for cyclists, the light fades so that cyclists cannot see road hazards easily and are not as visible to drivers and the ability of cyclists to maneuver around hazards becomes dramatically constrained due to the walls and curbing associated with the underpass; now be it therefore
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on the status of the Cambridge Street Underpass as it relates to bike safety, to include surface repair, striping of bike and travel lanes and lighting within the Underpass so that cyclists can both be better seen by drivers and can better see road hazards.
O-3 June 9, 2014
VICE MAYOR BENZAN
WHEREAS: One of the expressed goals of the Cambridge City Council is to "promote a healthy community and environment to advance Cambridge as a leader in public health and environmental sustainability"; and
WHEREAS: For decades, the City of Cambridge has led the charge in empowering its residents, workers and visitors to engage in behaviors that are sustainable, healthy and environmentally-conscious; and
WHEREAS: Last May, the City of Cambridge joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University as a signatory on the historic Cambridge Community Compact for a Sustainable Future, the first compact of its kind that will engage partners in a collaborative community effort to address global environmental changes, including climate change; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge strives to lead by example by engaging in a variety of initiatives aimed at improving the sustainability of municipal operations, including making improvements to the energy performance of municipal buildings, emphasizing a fuel efficient vehicle fleet, expanding the use of renewable energy, calling for state divestment from fossil fuels, and developing new city initiatives to assist residents in leading more sustainable and healthful lives; and
WHEREAS: Throughout the last year, citizens across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have called on the legislature to pass an Updated Bottle Bill to decrease litter and increase recycling by expanding our container deposit system to include drinks such as non-carbonated beverages, water, iced tea, juice and sports drinks; and
WHEREAS: More than 400 million of these "new age" drinks are now consumed in Massachusetts each year and, with less than a 20% recycle rate on these beverages, millions of our tax dollars are spent managing them as litter or waste; and
WHEREAS: The cost to manage these discarded containers is currently the responsibility of municipalities through collection of public waste receptacles and household trash and recycling programs; and
WHEREAS: Another way that the City of Cambridge can serve as a model for other communities to promote sustainability and act in accordance with the spirit of the Updated Bottle Bill would be to reduce the use of disposable single serving bottled drinking water, which causes significant and unnecessary harm to our environment; and
WHEREAS: According to a study by the Pacific Institute, making bottles to meet America's demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year or to power 190,000 homes; and
WHEREAS: Furthermore, beverage containers account for 20 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from landfilling a ton of solid waste and replacing the wasted products with new products made from virgin materials. According to the National Association for PET Container Resources, PET bottles never break down, unlike other materials; and
WHEREAS: Another municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has seen great successes by restricting the sale of bottled water and has created additional infrastructure for public drinking fountains; and
WHEREAS: By limiting the sale of non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter or less, the City of Cambridge can lead by example to promote sustainable living practices; now therefore be it
ORDERED; That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to instruct the City Solicitor to prepare a draft ordinance that will limit the sale of single-serving PET bottles of 1 liter or less in the City of Cambridge; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to develop a taskforce to provide clear guidelines for this ordinance including a timeline, exemptions for emergencies, a clear enforcement process, an education program for small businesses, and the expansion of alternative water sources, including public drinking fountains; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.
O-4 June 9, 2014 Amended; Charter Right - Toomey
WHEREAS: Concord Avenue from Garden Street to Huron Avenue is a very narrow street that carries a significant amount of large truck traffic as trucks head into and out of Cambridge from Route 2; and
WHEREAS: The narrowness of the street and associated sidewalk results in adjacent buildings being close to the street and shaking when trucks go by; and
WHEREAS: The narrowness of the street and associated sidewalk results in pedestrians on the sidewalk and cyclists on the street being crowded by large trucks that also use the street; and
WHEREAS: The straight sight lines and incline at the junction of Concord Avenue and Craigie Street tend to result in higher speeds as vehicles head towards Huron Avenue, with the increased foundation-damaging vibrations that greater speeds create; and
WHEREAS: Traffic calming techniques and truck bans have both been employed on other City streets to minimize the damage caused and danger posed by large trucks and buses moving swiftly down residential streets; now be it therefore
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with relevant City staff about the feasibility of implementing a truck ban on
this section of Concord Avenue and on the possibility of implementing traffic calming to reduce speeds of all vehicles on this section of Concord Avenue; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on these issues.
O-5 June 9, 2014
WHEREAS: Natural gas is sent to businesses and homes in Cambridge through an infrastructure of underground pipes; and
WHEREAS: In areas serviced by NSTAR (such as Cambridge), 17% of these natural gas pipes under the street are made of cast iron and are 60 to 120 years old (according to an NSTAR report on natural gas infrastructure); and
WHEREAS: Cast iron buried in damp ground for decades will rust to become extremely brittle and corroded thus becoming much more likely to shatter during frost heaves or roadwork; and
WHEREAS: Natural gas leaks are potentially explosive as was seen this spring in Dorchester (where 12 people were hurt) and Harlem (where 7 people were killed); and
WHEREAS: Natural gas before it is burnt is a greenhouse gas 34 times more damaging then CO2; and
WHEREAS: The amount of gas leaked per year in Cambridge is estimated to be equivalent in terms of greenhouse gasses to the annual average emissions of over 10,000 passenger cars (or 28% of all the cars registered in Cambridge); and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge has climate change reduction goals it wishes to meet; and
WHEREAS: The cost of the gas leaked is passed onto residents (estimated cost to Cambridge rate payers is $350,000 per year based on leakage detected in Boston); and
WHEREAS: NSTAR maps gas leaks regularly, but does not share this information with the public or the city; and
WHEREAS: Natural gas leaks in the ground suffocate tree roots causing damage to city trees (the city of Brookline is suing the National Grid for $1 million for damage to that city's trees); and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge has a 10-year old regulation (the SPOF Program) to incentivize NSTAR to repair all pipes under the street in phase with street repair; and
WHEREAS: HEET, a local nonprofit, is mapping the current natural gas leaks this summer in Cambridge using a high precision natural gas analyzer to create an online map of the leaks; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the IT department to publicize HEET's map of natural gas leaks by making it available via the city website, and other city communications; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Department of Public Works to notify NSTAR of the worst leaks detected by HEET and schedule repairs of those leaks as soon as possible; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Department of Public Works to notify NSTAR of the worst leaks detected by HEET and schedule repairs of those leaks as soon as possible, in order to promote the effectiveness of its SPOF program as a model for other communities in the Commonwealth and the world; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.
O-6 June 9, 2014
VICE MAYOR BENZAN
WHEREAS: In the past decade, the City of Cambridge has devoted substantial resources to making Central Square a safe and welcoming place for all, including children and families; and
WHEREAS: The recent arrival of warm and pleasant weather after a long, harsh winter has been accompanied by an increase in inappropriate solicitations, public drinking, loitering, fights, drug use and drug transactions in and around Central Square; and
WHEREAS: Residents are expressing warranted safety and public health concerns about Central Square; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate City departments as to what measures will be taken in the coming months to improve public safety and directly address the inappropriate solicitations, public drinking, loitering, fights, drug use and drug transactions happening in Central Square, and report back to the City Council at the City Council meeting on June 30, 2014.
O-7 June 9, 2014 Amended; Charter Right - Maher
WHEREAS: The living wage for a family of two adults and one child in the City of Cambridge is $20.99 per hour; and
WHEREAS: If minimum wage were pegged with productivity in the American economy over the past 40 years, the minimum wage would have risen to $20.72 per hour in 2012; and
WHEREAS: The recent statewide minimum wage increase in Massachusetts will only raise wages to a meager $11 an hour by July 1st 2016, far below the living wage; and
WHEREAS: Low-income households are likely to spend more of their paychecks, increasing demand for goods and stimulating the local economy; and
WHEREAS: Businesses facing higher overhead due to wage increases recoup those losses through higher economic multipliers and increased spending; and
WHEREAS: The over-representation of women and people of color in low-wage industries serves to widen the gender and race income gap, and an increase in the minimum wage will work to combat this inequality; and
WHEREAS: Other municipalities such as Seattle, San Francisco, and Santa Fe have increased the minimum wage above state and federal mandates; and
WHEREAS: Despite fears, when San Francisco increased minimum wage by 26% and Santa Fe by 65% above their respective state minimums, studies concluded that there was no discernable effect on employment in the two cities; and
WHEREAS: While a minimum wage ordinance may be particularly taxing for small businesses, special provisions can be added for small or struggling businesses in terms of roll out and implementation; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Law Department to determine the
feasibility legality and, if feasible, the institution of instituting a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage ordinance for the City of Cambridge, with special provisions for small businesses; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to set up any community discussions necessary to explore the wage increase publicly, with business stakeholders in mind; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter; and be it further
ORDERED: That this matter and the report of the City Manager be referred to the Economic Development & University Relations Committee for a hearing.
TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
Public Safety Committee
Purpose: To discuss safety and access issues at the Alewife T Station.
Date and Time: Apr 9, 2014 at 4:03pm.
Location: Ackermann Room.
Councillor Kelley, Chair; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Simmons; Councillor Cheung; Owen O'Riordan, Public Works Commissioner; Katherine Watkins, Supervising Engineer, Public Works Department; Susanne Rasmussen, Director of Environment and Transportation Planning, Community Development Department; Robert Haas, Police Commissioner; Jack Albert, Deputy Superintendent of Police; Mike Connolly; and Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk.
Lieutenant Kenneth Berg, Transit Police; Eric LeGuelaff, Design and Construction, MBTA; Cynthia E. Leonard, MBTA; Alex Lovejoy, MBTA; John Hawkinson; Jason Stonehouse; and Ron Miller.
Councillor Kelley opened the meeting and stated the purpose. Mr. Hawkinson informed Councillor Kelley that he was recording the meeting. A quorum was present for the meeting.
Councillor Kelley had a PowerPoint Presentation about conditions at Alewife (ATTACHMENT A). The meeting would cover flooding, snow and ice clearance, lighting, loitering, bike and pedestrian conflicts and security camera issues. The major problem is drainage. The area is dominated by water and there is a swale.
Councillor Kelley stated that cyclists use this area. The path has mud and gunk when it snows and rains. The area from fence to fence is 35 feet from the little bridge to the head house. There is a steady stream of people that use the path, including cyclists, and it is not clear who is supposed to be where on the path. He stated that when this area is covered by ice there is a danger for slip and fall accidents. There were discussions about ridding the area of phragmites, a wetland invasive plant species that might be keeping water from draining the path area. There are drainage issues now as well as a swale further towards the MBTA headhouse and the water backs up to the WR Grace property over the path. The drainage is clearly not working properly at times and this area is dangerous and impassable at times.
The traffic in the area is pedestrians and cyclists and on a narrow path with a variety of intersections there is plenty of opportunity for conflicts. There are eight different directions on the path. The traffic pattern is confusing. There are bike and pedestrian traffic conflicts. Cyclists are travelling fast and the pedestrians are checking their texts. Signage indicates that bikes yield to pedestrians.
There are cameras by and on the field house. Councillor Kelley stated that he has received complaints about people hanging out at the bleachers drinking and making noise.
Councillor Kelley asked if the lighting design change indicates that there is a change in the responsibility and maintenance for the lights. There is police patrols and presence in this area.
Councillor Kelley asked who would be responsible for what he is hoping to learn today. This property is owned by WR Grace. DEP and the Conservation Commission have regulatory authority for the wetlands and contamination-related land use restrictions in this area. This is a complicated issue to resolve. Pumps have been recently used to eliminate the water, but cannot be used all the time. He asked who pays for the costs associated with the issues of flooding. There are a variety of regulations including wetlands, ADA, legal and licensing issues with the adjacent property. Independent of the flooding issues there are ongoing maintenance and staffing issues regarding safety. Who clears the snow, including ice by the fieldhouse where it is shady, monitors the loitering, bike and pedestrian conflict issues, who owns the lighting and how is maintenance done, who monitors the cameras and are the MBTA cameras monitored. Does the walking patrol cover the Alewife area? He wanted to learn who will do what and when including the City, MBTA, DEP and WR Grace.
Public Works Commissioner O'Riordan spoke about the flooding. This is a complicated area for such a small place and the flooding seems to have gotten worse recently. He informed the committee that Ms. Watkins has been discussing this area with various parties to find short and long term solutions.
Ms. Watkins stated that she has met with representatives from the MBTA, DEP, Conservation Commission and WR Grace to discuss the following issues which have worsened. There are maintenance issues. The Conservation Commission has stated that there is a prohibition to fill in the flood plain because this prevents water distribution. The fenced in area is WR Grace property and the MBTA has an easement and their activity and use limitation (AUL) for soil below six inches deep must be followed so it is not possible just to dig a drainage ditch. There has been success with the removal of water via pump but it is not clear how responsive that will be long-term. Ms. Watkins distributed a document outlining the Russell Field Pathway (ATTACHMENT B). Mr. Leguelaff stated that the short term solution is the removal of the water. He did not know the timeline when this will happen. The long term solution is to build up the path. Ms. Watkins stated that the City's role will be to hire a consultant team to look at issues comprehensively and check existing drains for blockages and so forth. The construction may be on the WR Grace and MBTA property. The MBTA easement is between the fences. WR Grace owns the path and the property but the MBTA is responsible for its maintenance. The cost of the work is the responsibility of the MBTA. The design is being done by the city with work to be done by the MBTA, with all hopefully being in agreement with the final plan. Ms. Watkins further stated that the WR Grace, the MBTA and the city are working on the solution. WR Grace will regrade and reseed the area even though it is the responsibility of the MBTA.
Councillor Carlone asked if the asphalt has sunk. Commissioner O'Riordan stated that the asphalt has not sunk. The low point is in the flood plain and the area is flat. The pre-existing drainage is being reviewed. Alewife is low and the water moves slowly. The water stays in the ditch for a long time. There is no positive movement of the water to the swale.
Councillor Kelley asked what does not have to be approved by the Conservation Commission. Commissioner O'Riordan stated that if the water flow is being elevated or impacted at the site the Conservation Commission approval is needed. Ms. Watkins stated that the regrading and reseeding is a maintenance issue and does not require a Conservation Commission permit but will not resolve the water issues. A permit is necessary to move water. An engineer consultant will be involved in the maintenance issues to clean out the grate and swale.
Ms. Watkins informed the committee that the RFP was done today. It will take a month to get a contractor and the final design will be available in four months. Councillor Kelley stated that the RFP was going to the consultant today. The consultant works on the design for three months and then comes up with a solution for the drainage and the AUL issues. Then a contract will be issued, with oversight by Grace. Ms. Watkins stated that if there is a structural issue the conversation may be longer and additional design work might be needed. Councillor Kelley added that the solution may be simple or complex. Ms. Watkins stated that it could be a two tiered solution.
Commissioner O'Riordan suggested that the MBTA speak about the solution and the timeline. Mr. Leguelaff spoke about the scope of work with different options. This may not take a long time to a biddable solution. The plans take three months to get a contractor on board. Commissioner O'Riordan commented that it is a minimum of three months for the bid process which means that work will not commence for at least seven months.
Councillor Kelley stated that this may be a complicated solution, like installing a bridge. Mr. Leguelaff spoke about a culvert. Commissioner O'Riordan stated that the details need to be reviewed but doubted that things would be so complicated as to require more time.
Councillor Cheung commented that this is getting more complicated. He asked if there is a temporary solution such as adding wooden boards over the water. Commissioner O'Riordan stated that this may prohibit emergency vehicles accessing this area. The one hundred year flood plain issues must be taken into consideration. Ms. Watkins informed the committee that this is a critical point needed by the Fire Department. Deputy Superintendent Albert added that the Police Department uses this area every day. Ms. Watkins stated that this area must be fully accessible. Councillor Kelley stated that there should be an easy solution, but he is not hearing this and there is no temporary solution.
Ms. Watkins commented that the phragmites and the maintenance activities for this area will be discussed with the Conservation Commission. The Phragmites will be and on-going discussion. Commissioner O'Riordan stated that there may be a return to a pre-2008 situation. No construction will occur. The design cost ranges between $40,000 and $50,000. Mr. Leguelaff stated that the MBTA is committed; the cost needs to be known before it can be allocated. Ms. Watkins stated that the City is working with WR Grace on the drainage connection. The City is working on the design in an effort to get the work started. Councillor Kelley asked if the MBTA would pay for the maintenance for the WR Grace work. Ms. Watkins stated that WR Grace does not want the MBTA working on their property. WR Grace has been cooperative working on this, but could change its mind. Mr. Leguelaff stated that the MBTA has an easement and can maintain the easement area. The structure will be in the right of way. The MBTA would install a sign at the head house with information to contact the MBTA at (617) 222-3200.
Regarding the lighting Ms. Watkins stated that there are two different areas that were reported that the lights were not working. The Electrical Department repaired the lighting. Two lights were on MBTA property. She informed the committee that the curved lights belong to the City; the straight lights are MBTA. The Electrical Department has a contact with the MBTA. If a complaint about the lighting is received the Electrical Department will transfer the complaint to the MBTA.
Regarding the ice at the field house, the Public Works Department clears Linear Park and Human Services clears the space in the field.
Deputy Superintendent Albert stated that relating to loitering during the winter there were no complaints, but this will change in the warmer weather. A report on the Alewife MBTA Area Crime Review from Jan 1, 2012 through Apr 1, 2104 was distributed (ATTACHMENT C). The Bicycle and Motorcycle officers will be deployed in this area as well as the walking patrols. As the complaints are received by the Police they are addressed. The Cambridge Police works with the Transit Police. Councillor Kelley asked if residents should call the Police if there is a complaint. Deputy Superintendent Albert requested that complaints be reported as soon as possible either by phone or text message. Commissioner Haas added text messages are live calls. Texts to mycpd go to the duty chief and then to the Emergency Communication Center. Councillor Kelley commented that he gets complaints from residents that they have called and the Police and there is no response.
Regarding the bike and pedestrian conflict Ms. Rasmussen stated that the centerline and the arrow help the traffic on the City's land. The head house has a dotted line. There is a need to guide people in and out of the area. Mr. Leguelaff stated the MBTA's easement is in this area. Councillor Kelley suggested that the MBTA install big arrows on their property. Mr. Leguelaff stated that he would take the message back to Engineering and Maintenance to add arrows and a stripe. Mr. Leguelaff commented that the MBTA is not in the business of pedestrian paths. Mr. Miller spoke about the difficulty of way finding in this area. Ms. Rasmussen stated that this area could be observed to find a way to resolve the conflict. Mr. Stonehouse suggested a sign that located the way to Davis Square and Russell Field.
Ms. Rasmussen stated that she will look to see if additional signage could help with way finding.
Mr. Miller commented that flooding on the pathway has caused the footpath breakage. Commissioner O'Riordan stated that the breakage is lateral and is not due to subsidence. Councillor Kelley stated that the bridge part over the culvert by the headhouse needs to be revisited to minimize bike/pedestrian conflicts. Mr. Miller stated that the water is coming along the pathway from Russell Field. He asked if the City have liability or responsibility to fix it. Commissioner O'Riordan responded in the negative; it is the natural topography of the area that dictates who has responsibility. The phragmites are trapping the water before going to Gerry's Pond.
The issue of security cameras was discussed. There are two sets of cameras in the area. Lieutenant Berg stated that the MBTA cameras do record, but they are not monitored. Commissioner Haas stated that the School Department cameras are on the head house. He did not know where the images are stored.
Councillor Kelley stated that he would hold another meeting on this issue when the contracting process has progressed to a significant point.
Commissioner O'Riordan stated that flooding work would begin in about seven months in the fall. There may be a need for a more aggressive pumping schedule in the upcoming winter. There is no way to put up a temporary structure. Mr. Miller asked if anything could be done to clean the muck on the side. Ms. Watkins responded that WR Grace will have the area cleaned and sodden. She urged contacting the MBTA if there is a problem in the area. Councillor Kelley stated that if he receives feedback that nothing is being done after the general MBTA phone number is called a different and more direct telephone number will be needed.
At this time Councillor Kelley submitted the following communications to be made part of the record:
Communication from Josh Walker, 184 Harvey Street, asking why a footbridge cannot be an option (ATTACHMENT D).
Communication from Sue Donaldson, 187 Harvey Street, suggested a temporary metal bridge, similar to those used around construction, placed to the side of the path so that emergency vehicles could still use the road (ATTACHMENT E).
Communication from Genevieve Tocci transmitting her interest in a solution for the path between the Russell Field area and the entrance to the Alewife T station (ATTACHMENT F).
Communication from Geoffrey Swift, 48 Jackson Street, regarding the deplorable state of the pathway from the Russell Field Complex to the Alewife T Station. (ATTACHMENT G).
Communication from Janet Snedeker transmitting a picture of the flooding on the path at Alewife (ATTACHMENT H).
On motion of Councillor Kelley the meeting adjourned at 5:24pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair
Committee Report #2
Public Safety Committee
Purpose: To discuss public safety in public buildings including the possibility of positioning a police officer at City Hall.
Date and Time: Apr 16, 2014 at 2:10pm
Location: Ackermann Room
Councillor Kelley, Chair; Councillor Cheung; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Simmons; Police Commissioner Robert Haas; Superintendent of Police Steve Williams; Susan Flannery, Director of the Library; Paula Snow, Acting Emergency Communications Director; Ellen Semonoff, Assistant City Manager for Human Services; Susan Pacheco, Director, Council on Aging; and Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk.
Gary Mello, 324 Franklin Street; and John Hawkinson, 2 Clinton Street.
This meeting was called due to an order by Councillor Simmons on Feb 24, 2014 (ATTACHMENT A). A response has been received based on the Policy Order (ATTACHMENT B). The response indicates that this would be a significant staffing issue.
Councillor Kelley asked what a public building is really. He had a PowerPoint presentation (ATTACHMENT C). The City Hall, City Hall Annex, Lombardi, Senior Centers, Libraries, Schools and Youth Centers are public buildings. Schools are their own organization. The security is dependent on the City. CRLS has its own security officers but are also directly supported by CPD. Housing Authority properties and colleges have public space. Most colleges have their own security personnel. Post offices are public. Not all buildings are the same. There are many buildings that the public may view as public buildings. He spoke about access and users that are different. There are six branch libraries and one Main Library. Uses such as bathroom uses may differ. What is safety and what areas are patrolled? Do cameras count as safety? There is a camera at the Treasurer's Office at City Hall. Police Commissioner's officer is patrolled somewhat simply by being in the Public Safety Building. The School Department has cameras but some might now work and what they cover is limited. What are we protecting: people from assault and injury; real property from fire and vandalism, personal property? Meetings at City Hall get contentious and the police show up.
Essentially, Public Safety is about more than the Police. Police may intimidate people and there is no consensus on cameras.
Councillor Cheung asked Councillor Kelley if this was discussed with Councillor Simmons. Councillor Kelley stated that Councillor Simmons said she sometimes felt uncomfortable when meeting with constituents in rooms at City Hall. Commissioner Haas stated that the number of visits to City Hall made by the police far exceeds service calls and that there is often an officer in the building simply doing routine work. Staff has a responsibility to report issues. When the police are called with a complaint the police will come fairly quickly. When the police are alerted about issues they are resolved. Councillor Cheung asked if there is a compromise to address Councillor Simmons needs and insure the safety of City Hall staff such as installing panic buttons. Commissioner Haas stated that there have been instances where there was an issue and the police presence was purposely kept low. Councillor Cheung asked if the calendars of City Councillor members should be shared with Police. Councillor Kelley there is not a history of issues that arise. The most tense meetings are the Planning Board meetings at Broadway. Could Community Development Department call police if there is an issue of safety? Councillor Kelley asked Ms. Flannery what is done at library. Ms. Flannery responded that a progressive discipline is used at the library. A zero tolerance for bad behavior is enforced. The Homeless Outreach Team is called in for assistance. No trespass notices are issued for all library locations. Central and Main are the heaviest volume. There are panic alarms at all locations. These can be used without people knowing that are being used.
Ms. Pacheco stated that Senior Center has the same process as the library on disciplinary and trespass notices. There are panic buttons at the Senior Center, but they are not silent. Ms. Flannery stated that the library panic buttons are silent. There are police call boxes at the lower levels of the library. Councillor Cheung asked if there is a possibility to have a panic button. Ms. Flannery commented that the panic buttons can be small enough to be in one's pocket.
Superintendent Williams stated that in the Finance Department the staff was instructed about de-escalating situations. Police suggest having a "code word" that encourages staff to call police. Councillor Cheung stated that the clientele that the City Council meets with are among the most desperate. Commissioner Haas stated that alarms put into the meeting room run the risk of being set off by accident.
Councillor Kelley spoke about discussions with people full of anxiety rather than violence. At the CHA buildings the residents and people with disability, feel uncomfortable. Commissioner Haas works with tenants at CHA to resolve the issue. Officers do in depth follow up. The longer a situation goes on the more volatile it can become. Ms. Flannery stated that the book "Gift of Fear" is given to all employees.
Councillor Cheung wanted panic fobs or button provided. Commissioner Haas stated that the police do not know where you are in the building when the alarms are set off if they are mobile and it is important for them to be situated where they will not be accidentally activated if they are stationary.
Councillor Kelley asked Councillor Simmons how her concerns could be addressed.
Councillor Simmons stated that she does office hours by appointment. On three separate occasions a constituent got in her face and she does not have the strength to fight this off. The Green Room, Sophie or Ackermann are not safe places to be alone. She stated that some women at City Hall do not feel safe. The Police Station used to be in the general area, but it is not now. The City Council does not have a suite where they are all working together. She does not want to stop doing constituency hours, but does not want to put herself in harm's way. She understands that money and staffing is a concern. She suggested an auxiliary police. Women need to feel safe in City Hall. Councillor Simmons stated that City Hall is a more public building. People are more apt to come to City Hall, they view it, rightly or wrongly, as the center of any problems they might have with government and increasingly people seem to be in a fragile mental state even if they are just coming in to use the bathroom. Councillor Cheung agreed with Councillor Simmons. Security is important at all buildings. Councillor Simmons stated that the issue is what can be done. Someone with a uniform makes people more careful about how they conduct themselves. Even just having a big man around can alter someone's behavior.
Commissioner Haas stated that the notion of a panic alarm is good, but it needs to have a place it goes back to. He asked if these are people that catch you by surprise. A police officer would not be in a meeting with you. If you feel uncomfortable it would be helpful to use a panic button. There should be a person at the front to direct people such as a greeter and if it is a person of concern the front person would be able to call the police. Councillor Cheung stated that Somerville has a greeter, but this is not what is being discussed.
Councillor Carlone stated that Councillor Simmons should use the office in Council Office. He would gladly move to the Sophie Room so that Councillor Simmons could have a meeting. Commissioner Haas stated that there could be multi location for the panic device to go off. Councillor Simmons stated that this is not her preferred solution. She does not want to feel unsafe while doing her work. Councillor Cheung stated that his concern is that if you are in a room how do notify the police of a situation. He wants the best solution. Councillor Simmons asked what other cities and towns do to keep their employees safe. She wants to feel safe in this building. Councillor Cheung commented that he had a stalker staking his house. His wife had to call the police to enter her home. Councillor Simmons asked again what other cities and towns do. Commissioner Haas stated that Boston has security and that most surrounding cities and towns do not have police officers stationed at City Hall.
Ms. Pacheco stated that at the Senior Center meetings are held in private office with persons at different levels of mental health. You need to be aware of who you are meeting with and then have an emergency preparedness plan. She suggested instruction from the police on the best techniques to use. Staff training is critical, a sort of mental health 101, and there is a code word staff uses in problematic situations. Perhaps she will ask CPD to review their set up. Commissioner Haas stated that if someone is making you uncomfortable, call the police. Councillor Carlone suggested keeping the door open in the City Council office until you feel comfortable. Your Aide should be there for meetings with new people. Ms. Flannery suggested a technique that you leave to get another person that many help the individual.
Councillor Simmons stated that everyone needs training on how to handle these situations. It is not about her, it is about mostly women who face particular threats that men generally do not. She wants to feel safe while she is doing her job. There should be a safety plan. If she cannot have a police officer, then what are the safety practices, what do other communities do?
Councillor Kelley stated that he is uncomfortable having a permanent police officer at City Hall. He suggested non-police, non-uniformed officers if any sort of permanent security presence is needed. He likes the idea of a greeter. A safety assessment should be done. Councillor Simmons recommended that a safety assessment be done. What is the reason that auxiliary officer cannot be used. Commissioner Haas stated that it is a scheduling issue; they have jobs. It is not a reliable solution; they are volunteers. Commissioner Haas suggested mental health first aid training. This will teach how to de-escalate or control a situation.
Councillor Cheung stated that at the least the Ackermann, Sophie and Green rooms should have panic buttons. He supported this.
Councillor Carlone asked is there any substations. Commissioner Haas responded in the negative. There are reporting station centers at Jefferson Park housing, Smith Place and in Harvard Square. City Hall has the highest police presence.
Councillor Simmons stated without having a police officer she would support a panic button.
Councillor Kelley stated that the school has a non-police security patrol and assigned police officers. If anyone feels unsafe in City buildings this needs to be addressed but he is unlikely to support the permanent stationing of a police officer at City Hall.
Ms. Semonoff stated that in many buildings they are dealing with public who are agitated or have mental health issues. She stated that at the Multiservice Center the layout of the area is that the back of the staff member is to the door which was not good planning. In the lower level a half-door was installed. Her staff has found that the mental health first aid training is helpful. She stated that when a call is made to the police they respond extreme quickly.
Councillor Kelley asked how one has a follow up discussion on safety assessment. Commissioner Haas stated that there are police officers who are trained in environmental safety. The police staff can do the training. Mental Health first aid is critical and the physical security checks of buildings can be done. Councillor Kelley question how long take it would take to do the assessment. Commissioner Haas responded that the assessment will take about a half a day. Superintendent Williams stated that the matter will be taken care of. Councillor Cheung stated again that he wanted the panic buttons or fob for the Ackermann, Green and Sophie rooms. Commissioner Haas stated that this will be part of the safety assessment.
Ms. Semonoff stated that Alexander Donovan, a Violence Prevention Coordinator at the Cambridge Health Alliance can conduct training on mental health first aid which can be as intensive as an 8 hour course. Ms. Flannery stated that there was no safety assessment of the library and senior center done. She commented that she has spent years going to safety workshops. Commissioner Haas commented that there are small subgroups of people who are of concern and focusing on them more effectively may help as part of a global effort. Every CPD officer has been trained and the Department has officers who can also conduct training. Ms. Flannery stated that the Psychiatric Department at the Cambridge Hospital and the Police Department have been amazing helpful. Councillor Carlone commented that there may be need for multiple rounds of training.
Councillor Kelley opened the meeting to public comment at 3:30pm.
John Hawkinson spoke about underutilized staff resources - what is the mechanism to engage the staff people and do people know what their respective roles are in various situations. Commissioner Haas stated that the introduction of someone into the meeting defuses the situation.
Gary Mello stated that he picks up his child from the school bus directly across from City Hall because he feels uncomfortable. He stated that Councillor Simmons wanted a police officer stationed in City Hall because she felt uncomfortable. He stated that the businesses and others all feel uncomfortable in Central Square and they cannot ask for a police detail. He wanted to talk about causes and not problems or the solution to problems. The City Council's duty is to address the problems of Central Square overall. He asked what Councillor Simmons thoughts were when she voted against a previous order to restrict the sale of nips in Central Square. Who are the beneficiaries when the City Council votes to fund more drug programs? The job of the City Council is to address the safety of the City for all, not just City Hall.
Councillor Carlone stated having a greeter makes sense from a community service point of view. He stated that studies done on community satisfaction show having a person responsible makes a huge difference; even if the person is not used it is a sense of security. Ms. Flannery stated that the biggest challenge for a greeter in City Hall would be that there are two entrances.
Councillor Kelley thanked all attendees.
On motion of Councillor Kelley the meeting adjourned at 3:37pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair
Committee Report #3
Purpose: To discuss the refiled Chun zoning petition requesting the City Council to amend the Zoning Map of the City of Cambridge in the entire district currently zoned Residence B located in the Cambridge Highlands neighborhood, situated north of Concord Avenue, south of and adjacent to the municipal boundary with the Town of Belmont by deleting the designation Residence B and substituting therefore a designation of Residence A-2.
Date and Time: May 20, 2014 at 3:06pm.
Location: Sullivan Chamber.
Vice Mayor Benzan, Co-Chair; Councillor Carlone, Co-Chair; Councillor Cheung; Councillor Mazen; Councillor McGovern; Mayor Maher; Jeff Roberts, Land Use and Zoning Project Planner, Community Development Department (CDD); Stuart Dash, Director of Community Planning, CDD; and Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk.
Ann Tennis, 71 Griswold Street; John Chun, 48 Loomis Street; Ann George, 1 Normandy Avenue; Ann Sobolowski, Posternak Blankstein and Lund LLP, representing Mr. Gray; N. Jordalen, 73 Blanchard Road; Patrick Reilly, 75 Griswold Street; John Hawkinson, 2 Clinton Street; and Patricia Amoroso.
Councillor Carlone opened the meeting and stated the purpose. He stated that this meeting will be televised and recorded by audio and visual devises. The petitioners will be heard first, then the City staff will present, Jeff Roberts will discuss his findings and the discussions from the Planning Board. The meeting will be opened to comments and questions by the City Council and then public comment.
The petitioners, Ann Tennis and John Chun, gave an overview of the Highlands area.
Ann Tennis, a petitioner, stated that Cambridge Highlands is a seven street, quiet, residential neighborhood with a unique geographical location. The Highlands is bordered by Blanchard Road and Concord Avenue, Blair Pond, Alewife Reservation and the Alewife Industrial area. (The latter includes a transfer station.) An additional 1,000 residential units are planned for the adjacent area.
The Highlands is made up of 250 multi-ethnic working class families that make up the body of the Cambridge Highlands Neighborhood Association. The majority of the neighborhood are second and third generation. The association's goal has always been to maintain the old neighborhoods ambience - neighbor knowing, helping and protecting each other. It has been the resolve of the association to work hand in hand with the City, Community Development and other abutting neighborhood associations, towns and developers striving to protect the neighborhood from being engulfed by large highways and high rise buildings while still allowing appropriate development. Their reputation has been to work with development, not against it.
Things in the neighborhood are changing greatly. A large condo unit was built at the rotary a few years ago. There is now a 61-unit development at the site of the old gas station at the rotary and 400 units on Fawcett Street and an additional 200-300 units on Route 2. All of this traffic will be dropped off at the rotary and the Highlands will be cut off from Cambridge proper. Most homes in the Highlands consist of one and two family homes built over eighty years ago. Because some of the homes are small and cannot accommodate the families of today some plan to do tear them down and/or expand the existing homes into larger single or two family homes. This is an advantage to the neighborhood charm and allows for growing families with children to put roots in the Highlands.
There are also developers who do not care about our neighborhood, families and children and only care about making a profit. A developer purchased the old Adley Trucking site and built commercial condos on the old dump. They opened the dead-end street off of Loomis Street and built seven homes. He is renting these homes rather than selling them. He promised to build a berm to buffer the industrial condos from the new homes. There has never been a berm and the street was never opened to the industrial area. There have been disagreements about moving the Jersey barriers so trucks use a small neighborhood street. The City intervened to have the barriers put back. This developer has made the lives of the residents in this neighborhood miserable.
A beautiful family home was torn down and four new condos were built. One of the occupants of one of the condos had 5 cars and the total cars for the four units were eleven cars. The turnover of condos is around every three years. The developers do not care about our neighborhood; they want to come into the neighborhood, tear down and build multi-family townhouses. They leave the neighborhood with houses that do not fit more cars and more traffic. Cambridge Highlands cares about the neighborhood and wants to protect itself and work with the City. The neighborhood is not adverse to development only the type.
John Chun, the petitioner, summarized the key points of his petition:
1. The petition is trying to preserve the character of the neighborhood which is single and two family houses, tree lined streets and yards green spaces.
2. The petition is trying to protect the neighborhood from overdevelopment by limiting the amount of townhouses.
3. The petition is trying to protect the dead-end streets with over populations
4. The recent townhouse development on Loomis Street has brought more traffic and fast cars.
5. The seven units of townhouses at the end of Loomis Street have little green space, lots of asphalt, Jersey barriers and concrete blocks.
6. Specific neighbors or developers are not being targeted. Developers, who are willing to preserve the character of the neighborhood, are welcome.
7. The petition asks for an overlay on top of current zoning by adding restrictions to townhouses.
Mr. Chun stated that that the primary intent is to preserve the character of the existing neighborhood. Traffic and other conditions are byproducts of the overdevelopment that the association is trying to prevent.
Councillor Carlone stated that the Mr. Roberts and Mr. Dash from Community Development would present their work on the petition and possible recommendations.
Mr. Dash stated that he has been looking at this for a while with the residents. Hopefully there are ideas to move this forward. Mr. Roberts would explain this.
Mr. Roberts stated that this is the third filing of this petition. It has been reviewed by the Planning Board on a few different occasions. The City Council received a recommendation from the Planning Board on this petition from the last filing. There is a level of agreement among the Planning Board on the primary issue raised by the petitioners. It is a unique neighborhood and a modestly scaled one and two family homes area. The Planning Board heard concerns from residents about the impact to change the zoning to Residence A-2 District, which is meant for exclusively single family homes on large lots. This change would significantly impact on existing homeowners. He distributed a memo distributed to the Planning Board the last time they heard this petition (ATTACHMENT A).
He stated that the information in the memo contains a map that gives an overview of neighborhood character. It is primarily single and two family residences. There are five parcels in the neighborhood that were previously developed containing three to seven units. The seven-unit parcel is the parcel at the end of Loomis Street.
There are 3 parcels on the map, in red, that are sized to allow townhouse development under the current Residence B regulations. Two are single-family lots and if redeveloped the zoning would allow a 3 unit townhouse development. The one large vacant parcel at the end of Loomis Street that is a concern because of the cut through traffic from the industrial neighborhood that abuts from the east.
In looking over the information and proposing some alternatives on how the Planning Board could address the issues on page two of the memo, there is a table that outlines some general options. He explained the option alternatives.
Option 1 is the most extreme change, the change to Residence A-2, would prevent any future townhouse development but would also make many existing parcels in the neighborhood non-conforming, including single and two family properties.
Option 2 would retain the Residence B zone, but would include a special provision that would prohibit townhouse development from this neighborhood as a residential use. This would not have the same impact on single and two family homes and it would make the existing 5 lots that have townhouse development be non-conforming by use. This is a type of non-conformity, which could cause complications to a property or homeowner if they were to make changes to the property in the future. Any future development such as the lots in red, townhouse development would not be allowed. By making the change to not allow townhouse development it would still allow the opportunity for the same number of development units on the lot, but with a different configuration.
Option 3 is a slight change in the allowed lot area size for dwelling units just for this neighborhood. Residence B zoning district is unique in Cambridge. It has a provision in place that is an incentive for keeping lot sizes at 5,000 square feet and this is done by saying that lots bigger than 5,000 square feet additional lot area is needed before an additional unit can be built. In the Residence B district a 5,000 square foot lot allows two units. In order to build three units you need 9,000 square feet of lot area. In order to build four units you need 1,300 square feet of lot area. This suggests to simply bumping up the additional amount of lot area you need for additional units. This proposed change would mean that there could still be two units on a 5,000 square feet lot, but if you wanted to build three units you would need 10,000 square feet of lot area and for four units 15,000 square feet of lot area.
Option 4 dealt more directly with the question of insuring putting controls in place that would help new development fit more closely to the established neighborhood character. This is a design review provision currently in Residence B. If there is a townhouse development of six units or more it requires a review and approval by the Planning Board to look at the site design, open space, parking and these types of issues. In this district as a special area a provision could be put in place so that any development 3 units or move would require design review. The advantage of this provision is that for site specific issues such as cut through traffic could be addressed through design review procedure.
Mr. Roberts stated that the Planning Board recommended Option 4. He stated that the Mayor had submitted a letter that the committee explore Option 2 and to bump up the lot area per dwelling unit for lots greater than 5,000 square feet.
Councillor Carlone asked Mr. Roberts if the option could be a combination of the last two. Mr. Roberts responded in the affirmative. He stated that any of the options except Option 1 could be done in combination. Councillor Carlone stated that the unit count would be reduced with Option 3 and design review would tie it all together that works for the neighborhood with Option 4. Mr. Roberts stated that the implementation would be by a special overlay district created on the map and any specific provision that the City Council wanted to apply to the district would be written into the overlay district and the Residence B would control in all other aspects.
Councillor Carlone opened the meeting to the City Council for questions or comments.
Councillor Mazen questioned the options before us and stated that he has a preference. The Residence B prohibits townhouse development but he does not know if it would meet the needs of the neighborhood and ease of implementation it stands out to be singularly more elegant. He does not know if it fits in with practical use.
Councillor Carlone stated that the neighborhood has a unique size, character and definition. They are requesting a density in spirit with the neighborhood, which is fine and there is a traffic situation from the industrial area that will not be resolved by dealing only with Residence B and townhouses. It seemed to make sense that this be a combination of 2 options that would eliminate the cross traffic. Using two options makes sense but then the question is how do you maintain scale and be reasonable from a development point of view with the number of units. A midpoint is always sought that allow neighborhood character be maintained and not negate development. There are neighborhoods in Cambridge that are dense but because the character is maintained and cars are not dominating it work and feels like a neighborhood. Councillor Carlone stated that Mayor Maher favors option 3, which is modifying the size of the land needed for the construction of the third unit. The bottom two options may address this the most. An overlay allows more oversight and embellishes the Residence B. It gives more clarity in the way it should be utilized. Mr. Dash stated that Option 3 allows for additional units. With Option 1 there is concern that not allowing townhouses places a burden on people already in townhouse. The belief that if the neighborhood could accomplish what it was seeking without placing a burden on the people in townhouses that this was preferable.
Vice Mayor Benzan asked the petitioners what are their thoughts on the four options. He asked does merging Option 3 and 4 make sense. Mr. Chun stated that the change to Residence A-2 was too restrictive; this was not wanted for the entire neighborhood. He wants to preserve the number of units that can be built in the neighborhood. He stated that the preference was Option 2. Option 3 is the compromise, which increases the size of the lot per unit for townhouses built in the neighborhood. Ms. Tennis favored the combination of Option 3 and 4. Vice Mayor Benzan suggested that Community Development draft language that merges Options 3 and 4.
Councillor Carlone stated that the discussion is not focused on Option 3 and 4. He further stated that design review deals with the character of the neighborhood and also with the traffic issue from the industrial area.
Mayor Maher stated that the neighborhood has a unique character and that most of the homes are single and two family homes. Residence A-2 was not felt that it was the right option. Option 3 addresses the concern but it does not stop the development of single and two family homes in the area. He suggested to hold the matter in committee and requested that Community Development Department develop language to be reviewed by the Ordinance Committee and the Planning Board. If this is forwarded to the City Council the Planning Board will see the revised language. This change would be a good move forward. Lot sizes would limit the development to two units for one large parcel, which is at the end of Loomis Street. Where there is already townhouse development it would result in the number of units going down.
Councillor Cheung asked what you are asking Community Development to come back with. Mayor Maher stated that the four options do not contain the language changes. The City Council would need to see the exact language proposed.
Councillor Cheung stated that he toured the site and the neighborhood. He is adverse to use a hammer to fix specific developers. The site that was objected was a specific developer who was doing something out of character and was not consistent with the community. He stated that more review is needed and option 4 needs makes sense. If this was frozen in time in 1940 it would be a farm. Currently there is a mixed income and backgrounds of people who live in this area. If you fix the area it will only be wealth people that will be able to live here. If we try to freeze in time it becomes so valuable that only the wealthy can live here. He stated that greater flexibility needs to be retained. If the townhouse were done properly this would not before us. He stated we need to fix this problem. He spoke about unintended consequences. Fixing the problem is done by review process and not with a hammer on strict numbers.
Councillor Mazen spoke about philosophical difference. Building more townhouses does not produce lower cost units. The cost per bedroom does not go down when more units are built. We need to address moderate incomes solutions. Cambridge has a terminal density. Some small thousands of number of units coming up in the next years and the character is the primary function for the neighborhoods.
Mayor Maher suggested this is a feather rather than a hammer to the problem. This will result in a large 9,000 square foot lot with two 2,200 square foot family sized units on a lot rather than three 1,500 square foot lots. This is promoting family housing in a neighborhood it can absorb family style living. This is not taking away people's rights to their property. It is taking a neighborhood that is single and two family homes and preserving this neighborhood. No one wants to see Cambridge Highlands turned into an enclave of small townhouse developments. It is not overly burdensome to have a lot built in character of neighborhood.
Councillor Cheung stated that he is in favor of protecting the neighborhood. He spoke about prejudice against townhouses. He stated that prohibiting townhouses is keeping people like him out of the neighborhood. The value of the houses in this area will go up in the next 10 year. He stated that the option called for design review is taking a feather to the problem. He stated that the underlying problem is bad developers. By changing the entire zoning we are losing the character of the neighborhood.
Vice Mayor Benzan moved to keep the matter in committee as proposed by Mayor Maher with Community Development coming back with draft language for Option 3 and 4.
Councillor Carlone stated that a two family side by side is a townhouse. He stated that townhouses can be beautiful structures. The question is the character of a small neighborhood. A townhouse would be more expensive to buy. He is sensitive to keeping the character of the neighborhood.
Councillor Carlone opened the meeting to public comment at 3:49pm.
Ann Tennis spoke about one developer. There are 5 townhouses that were done by 5 different developers. A person purchased the property on Loomis Street and brought in a builder and that builder took advantage of buying the Adley Trucking Company.
Ann George, 1 Normandy Avenue, represented Carmela Schipani, the homeowner at 3 Normandy Avenue. She stated that this is the third time this petition has been filed. The Residence A-2 zoning is not appropriate. She asked when the Highlands Association has their meetings. She has not been invited to the meetings. She stated that the traffic issue has not been addressed by enforcing the traffic regulations. She opposed Option 3 because some lots would be non-conforming. When the Residence A-2 was proposed she pointed out to the Ordinance Committee that 64% of the properties would be non-conforming. If this causes financial implications then it should not be done. Regarding Option 4, if the goal is that townhouses be reviewed, it is preferable to Option 3. She was opposed to Option 3 because of non-conformance and the financial implications that would arise.
Ann Sobolowski, represented the property owner who built townhouses on Loomis Street, stated opposition to Option 3 because lots and existing structures would be non-conforming. These structures were created in accordance with the zoning based on the lot area per dwelling unit. In the past these structures exist and the flexibility can be found in the review process in Option 4.
Patrick Reilly, 75 Griswold Street, stated that the neighborhood is unique. This is not to try to turn this into a unique enclave. He purchased a house in the neighborhood, after being a renter in the neighborhood. Many of houses are small homes and are single story family homes. Two family homes are in the area of 2,800 square feet. The set back and the green space are valued. He wants this to be a desirable place to live in the future. To restrain population density growth is realistic. This is the only street that does not require resident parking in the city. He expressed concerns about lots become non-conforming. The proposal is not trying to prevent modest renovations of homes; it is to prevent building additional structures and increasing the population.
Councillor Carlone asked what does the non-conformance in Option 3 and 4 mean for additions and modification. Mr. Roberts stated that he did look at the impact of the additional increase in the lot area for dwelling units over 2 units and what the change would affect the existing multi-unit townhouses. Some will not have any change. Out of the five maybe three or four would become one unit over the allowed number of dwelling units. The Griswold and Concord Avenue site has five units and only four units would be allowed. This would be non-conforming by lot area per dwelling unit. He hesitated to characterize anything about changes. Changes need to be analyzed on the specifics. He stated that some changes that do not affect the number of units may be allowed. Councillor Carlone asked is it only townhouses that would be nonconforming and not the single and two family structures. Mr. Roberts stated that the proposed changes would only affect lots greater than 5,000 square feet and have more than two units. Existing non-conforming lots would continue to be non-conforming. Mr. Dash stated that the biggest change would be lots greater than 9000 square feet, which would have a status change. There are a small number of these lots. Condos and townhouses are restricted as to what can be done.
Mr. Reilly asked Mr. Roberts what are potential scenarios if adjacent lots were combined and built on. Mr. Roberts stated that Residence B zoning district has a unique provision that lot area per dwelling unit requirements where a lot of 5,000 square feet requires 2,500 square feet of lot area per dwelling unit and allows 2 units on the lot and for additional units there is a scaling up of the amount of lot area required. This discourages the consolidation of lots. The more land you assemble the fewer units could be built.
Patricia Amoroso, owner of 34, 40 Loomis Street, favored the combination of Option 3 and 4 would be an acceptable solution for most of the neighborhood. Her family owns 32 and 36 Loomis Street and she is representing them. This is the best scenario for the neighborhood.
On motion of Councillor Cheung public comment closed at 4:06pm.
Councillor Cheung stated that he wanted information from Community Development and the Assessors' assessment of the entire district about the cost of new townhouse construction. He wanted the assessed value of all properties, new townhouses and condos in the Cambridge Highlands. He feels that denying townhouses keeps people like himself and his wife out of the neighborhood. His wife would have loved to buy a single family house but a townhouse was what they could afford. He stated that he wanted to see this data on the assessed values of the homes and condos in this area. It would be helpful for him to see this data. Councillor Carlone stated that new construction is more expensive. Most of Cambridge allows townhouse. It is just this area that has requested protection from townhouses.
Mr. Dash stated that Option 3 and 4 do not prohibit townhouse and would slightly limit townhouses.
At this time Vice Mayor Benzan moved to keep the matter in committee awaiting language from the Community Development Department and the Planning Board. The motion carried on a voice vote of six members.
On motion of Councillor Carlone the hearing adjourned at 4:10pm.
For the Committee,
Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan, Co-Chair
Councillor Dennis Carlone, Co-Chair
AWAITING REPORT LIST
14-05. Report from the City Manager: See Mgr #2
RE: report on the feasibility of allowing Cambridge residents and visitors to pay parking violations instantly via cell phone application.
Councillor Cheung 02/10/14 (O-2)
14-13. Report from the City Manager: See Mgr #20
RE: report on putting information on traffic enforcement, accidents and parking tickets online in a format that would allow electronic data analysis by the general public.
Councillor Kelley 03/17/14 (O-9)
14-15. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on ways for cyclists to use public bike parking for short, medium and long term bike storage to alleviate the problem of abandoned bikes clogging bike parking facilities as well as appropriate public space in which cyclists can lock their bikes. Referred back for additional information by Councillor Kelley on Apr 7, 2014.
Councillor Kelley 03/17/14 (O-12)
14-18. Report from the City Manager: See Mgr #23
RE: report on determining the legal and regulatory process necessary to collaborate with the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, companies in the private sector and/or local universities, and/or donors that are willing to partner with the City to achieve the desired development objectives at the Foundry Building.
Vice Mayor Benzan, Councillor Mazen, Councillor Carlone & Councillor Toomey 03/17/14 (O-16)
14-19. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on producing an updated report of the Concord-Alewife Plan.
Councillor Cheung 03/24/14 (O-4)
14-21. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the implementation of a city-wide job fair exclusively for Cambridge residents.
Vice Mayor Benzan 03/24/14 (O-8)
14-23. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of acquiring web-based financial visualization software for local governments where financial and budget data is modeled and presented in a visual user-friendly and interactive manner.
Councillor Cheung 04/07/14 (O-2)
14-26. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on pedestrian and vehicle safety improvements at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Cardinal Medeiros Avenue.
Councillor Toomey 04/07/14 (O-12)
14-27. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on revising the location of Hubway stations in residential areas.
Councillor Simmons 04/28/14 (O-1)
14-28. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on creating a master list of all residential building managers citywide.
Councillor Simmons 04/28/14 (O-4)
14-29. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on what options exist for dedicated office space for members of the City Council.
Councillor Simmons, Councillor Cheung & Councillor Carlone 04/28/14 (O-5)
14-30. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on if additional measures can be taken to make the crossing safety at Cambridge and Sciarappa Streets. Referred back by Councillor Toomey on 6/2/2014 for updated report.
Councillor Toomey 04/28/14 (O-6)
14-31. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of installing a bus shelter on Cambridge Street in front of Millers River Senior apartments.
Councillor Toomey 04/28/14 (O-8)
14-32. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of establishing an information hotline that residents can call to learn about and be connected to the social service providers in their neighborhoods.
Councillor Simmons 04/28/14 (O-10)
14-33. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on potential for continued upgrades and improvements to bus shelters across the City.
Councillor Carlone 04/28/14 (O-13)
14-35. Report from the City Manager: See Mgr #1
RE: report on the condition of the parking lot and fence at the corner of Cherry and School Streets.
Vice Mayor Benzan 04/28/14 (O-19)
14-36. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of offering resident an online option to complete the City's annual census.
Councillor Cheung 04/28/14 (O-27)
14-37. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of painting green all designed bicycle lanes on all major streets.
Councillor Cheung 04/28/14 (O-28)
14-38. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on establishing a Safe Routes to School program.
Councillor McGovern & Councillor Mazen 05/05/14 (O-3)
14-39. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on allocating an additional $140,000 annually to Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services.
Councillor Simmons, Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor Carlone 05/05/14 (O-7)
14-40. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on improving traffic congestion at the intersection of Upland Road and Massachusetts Avenue.
Councillor McGovern 05/19/14 (O-1)
14-41. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of push cart vendors and local artists both at Carl Barron Plaza and similar places in Central Square.
Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor Cheung 05/19/14 (O-2)
14-42. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on relocating the Planning Board hearing on the Sullivan Courthouse redevelopment from the Citywide Senior Center to the East Cambridge neighborhood.
Councillor Carlone 05/19/14 (O-4)
14-43. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the status of relocating the Department of Public Works.
Councillor Toomey 05/19/14 (O-15)
14-44. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on appropriating funds to hire a consultant to address problem-solving and planning issues that need to be resolved before the design process of the Grand Junction Path can begin and include money in the FY2016 budget for design funds.
Councillor Cheung 05/19/14 (O-17)
14-45. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how to modify the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance with changes to the following: fees for bags, elimination of paper bags from the ordinance, elimination of the thickness of the plastic bag in the ordinance, increasing the timeframe for implementation of the ordinance and inclusion of compostable bags in the ordinance.
Councillor Cheung 05/19/14 (O-20)
14-46. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on conducting an analysis and assessment of the position of Aide to the City Council.
Councillor Toomey 05/19/14 (O-21)
14-47. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on ensuring that only in cases where immigration agents have a criminal warrant, or Cambridge officials have a legitimate law enforcement purpose not related to immigration, will Cambridge Police comply with federal ICE detainer requests to hold persons solely for immigration purposes.
Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor Cheung 06/02/14 (O-1)
14-48. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the establishment of a Central Square Action Team that will be charged with recommending and helping implement strategies that will help Central Square capitalize on and enhance its designation as a Cultural District.
Councillor Simmons 06/02/14 (O-2)
14-49. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on establishing a Clean Cambridge Green Cambridge campaign.
Councillor McGovern 06/02/14 (O-3)
14-50. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on an update on the City's composting pilot program.
Councillor Toomey 06/02/14 (O-4)
14-51. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the potential for creating a program to enable bilingual high school students to learn language interpretation skills and to practice those skills at community meetings and events throughout the City.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen, Councillor McGovern & Councillor Cheung 06/02/14 (O-5)
14-52. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report back by at the Special City Council meeting on July 28 with recommendations for improving the design of New Street for both pedestrians and vehicles.
Councillor McGovern, Councillor Carlone & Mayor Maher 06/02/14 (O-6)
14-53. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on working with local banks to ensure financing opportunities are available for residents wishing to purchase shares in limited equity cooperative housing and research and explore options for expanding the limited equity cooperative housing stock within Cambridge.
Councillor Mazen 06/02/14 (O-8)
14-54. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of installing a large screen at a central location to project a number of World Cup matches and the feasibility of granting special permits to food trucks and other food vendors during the games.
Vice Mayor Benzan & Councillor McGovern 06/02/14 (O-9)
14-55. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the condition of the Cambridge Brand, Inc. parking lot located at 28 Columbia Street (corner Bishop Allen Dr. and Columbia Street).
Vice Mayor Benzan 06/02/14 (O-11)