Cambridge City Council meeting - September 12, 2016 - AGENDA
CITY MANAGER'S AGENDA
1. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the notification of approval of the Kendall Square Foundry Development Partners as the development entity for the Foundry.
Referred to Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee - Cheung
2. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a State 911 Department PSAP Leadership Scholarship Program for $10,000 to the Emergency Communications Salary and Wages account $4,678.01 and to the Travel and Training account $5,321.99. This scholarship was awarded to Frederick Hart for participation in the 2016 Communication Center Management Program, to be used as a reimbursement for all eligible expenses related to participating in the program.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
3. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of from the State 911 Department Support and Incentive Grant for $301,330 to the Grant Fund Emergency Communications Salaries and Wages account ($230,000) and to the Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($71,330), to be used to support three Emergency Communications dispatch positions, training of Emergency Communications Center personnel, fees, and annual maintenance costs of dispatch-related software.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
4. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of of a State 911 Department Training Grant and EMD / Regulatory Compliance grant for $58,597 to the Grant Fund Emergency Communications Department Salary and Wages account ($41,169.75), the Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($707.25) and to the Travel and Training account ($16,720), to be used to support Emergency Communications dispatch training of Emergency Communications Center personnel, fees, and annual maintenance costs of dispatch-related software.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
5. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of Addendum #1 to the Fair Housing Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for $10,000 to the Grant Fund Human Rights Other Ordinary Maintenance Account. The original distribution for FY16 was $42,800 to be used to cover the costs of a HUD Partnership funded Outreach Materials pertaining to housing discrimination and lead paint poisoning.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
6. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments of the following persons as a members of the Commission on Immigrant Rights & Citizenship, effective Sept 1, 2016: Leslie DiTrani, Sana Ghafoor, Alejandro Heredia-Santoyo, Karin Lin, Marcio Macedo, Roxana Maldonado-Garcia, Swati Sawant, Jennifer Sparks, Merline Sylvain-Williams, Melanie Torres, and Yarlennys Villaman
Placed on File
Sept 12, 2016
To the Honorable, the City Council:
I am hereby transmitting notification of the following appointments to the Commission on Immigrant Rights & Citizenship, effective Sept 1, 2016:
Leslie DiTrani - Ms. DiTrani is a 20+ year resident of Cambridge and has practiced Immigration Law in Boston and Cambridge for more than 20 years. Her practice focuses on business and complex family immigration law matters. She has served on the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) New England Chapter for five years, as Chapter Chair from 2011-2012, and continues to co-chair AILA New England’s annual immigration law conference. She has developed close and cooperative relationships with local officials charged with implementing and enforcing immigration laws. She has volunteered for the Community Learning Center (CLC), leading immigration clinics for students, and has served on CLC’s board. She has served as a board member for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), has written extensively and is a frequent speaker on Immigration Law issues. Ms. DiTrani will serve a term of three years.
Sana Ghafoor - Dr. Ghafoor is a naturalized U.S. citizen, born in India. She is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Tufts Medical Center, a clinical faculty member in Neurology at Mt. Auburn Hospital and a Clinical Fellow with Pfizer Pharmaceutical in Cambridge. Her personal experience as an immigrant informs her interest in providing mentorship and support to new immigrants trying to negotiate the challenges of orienting to a new culture. She was instrumental in coordinating the June 2016 Iftar event held at City Hall to celebrate Ramadan. Dr. Ghafoor will serve a term of one year.
Alejandro Heredia-Santoyo - Mr. Heredia-Santoyo is a 10+ year resident of Cambridge and an Immigration Law Attorney who has been practicing since 2013, following a Massachusetts Superior Court clerkship and an internship at Greater Boston Legal Services, the latter while attending Northeastern University School of Law. An immigrant from Mexico, Mr. Heredia-Santoyo has worked as a laborer, student and Little League coach in Cambridge and is motivated to give back to the immigrant families in Cambridge. Mr. Heredia-Sontoyo will serve a term of three years.
Karin Lin - Ms. Lin, a native-born daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, attended MIT, obtaining her BS in Physics in 1995, and returned to Cambridge with her family in 2009, after obtaining her PhD in Physics from UC/Berkeley. She works in Cambridge with the Boston New Sanctuary Movement, an inter-faith coalition for immigrant justice, and with Beyond Borders, a program of the First Parish Church in Cambridge, where she organizes immigration-related educational events. She has provided chaplaincy services to immigrants in detention at the Suffolk County House of Correction through the Spiritual Caregivers Program’s Refugee Immigration Ministry. A mother of school-age children and a skilled technologist, Ms. Lin brings years of dedicated service to the metro-Cambridge immigrant community. Ms. Lin will serve a term of one year.
Marcio Macedo - Mr. Macedo is a Brazilian immigrant who moved to Cambridge in 2001 and became a US citizen in 2010. A parent of two children in Cambridge Public Schools, Mr. Macedo worked to save the Ola Program at the King Open School and on the Innovation Agenda for Cambridge Public Schools. He served on the King Open School Council from 2013-2015. Mr. Macedo works as a technology executive, working in video-conferencing and robotics. He wants to work with CIRC to extend the feeling of welcome to immigrants that he has experienced as a resident of Cambridge. Mr. Macedo will serve a term of two years.
Roxana Maldonado-Garcia - Ms. Maldonado-Garcia, an immigrant from El Salvador, is an eleven year resident of Cambridge, where she attended Cambridge Public Schools and graduated in 2015 from CRLS. She currently attends Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC). She won a City of Cambridge Scholarship, a President’s Scholarship from BHCC and a Cambridge Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. She has worked through the Just-A-Start Program as an intern developing safe and age-appropriate activities and events for children and through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program as a counselor for children’s activities. Ms. Maldonado-Garcia, who is currently part of Cambridge’s College Success Initiative, is well aware of the challenges facing immigrant children and young adults as they endeavor to make their way through the higher education process in the US. She wants to share the welcome and support that she has experienced as a Cambridge resident with other immigrants to the City. Ms. Maldonaldo-Garcia will serve a term of two years.
Swati Sawant - Ms. Sawant, an immigrant from India, has a law degree from Mumbai University and an LLM in International Protection of Human Rights from American University in Washington, DC. Ms. Sawant works as a volunteer immigration attorney through Cambridge Legal Services and Counseling Center and the Irish International Immigration Center, in Boston, where she works on a range of legal issues for immigrants. She works virtually as the Program Director for the International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR), based in Washington, DC, an organization that addresses legal issues for low-income families in Mumbai’s slums. Ms. Sawant hopes to bring her international human rights perspective to the work of the CIRC. Ms. Sawant will serve a term of one year.
Jennifer Sparks - Dr. Sparks is a Family Medicine Physician who practices at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, a primary care practice serving Lawrence’s immigrant communities. She hopes to bring to the CIRC her insights into the physical and psycho-social aspects of adjustment to life as an immigrant in the US. She also hopes to address the language challenges faced by non-English speakers as they navigate local health care systems and local government services. She has worked as a volunteer medical educator in Kenya, Nicaragua, Nepal, Mongolia and Israel. In addition to her medical work, Dr. Sparks volunteers with Big Brothers and Big Sisters and is a Member of the Board of Advisors to the Home for Little Wanderers. Dr. Sparks will serve a term of two years.
Merline Sylvain-Williams - Ms. Sylvain-Williams, a long-time resident of Cambridge, is a Haitian-born naturalized US citizen. A parent to three children who attend Cambridge Public Schools, Ms. Sylvain-Williams has worked for the City of Cambridge for eleven years, most recently with the Baby University program of the Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP). She previously worked as a Literacy Ambassador with DHSP’s Agenda for Children and as a Family Support Outreach staffer for the Center for Families. She is currently a Board member and Vice-President of the Friends of the Center for Families and has served as a Committee Member for Partners in Health’s Walk for Haiti Committee. Ms. Sylvain-Williams’ knowledge of DHSP’s immigrant-supporting services will be a helpful resource to the CIRC membership. Ms. Sylvain-Williams will serve a term of three years.
Melanie Torres - Ms. Torres currently works as Program Manager for Project Citizenship, an organization that works with community partners throughout New England, evaluating and building their capacity in citizenship legal service programs. Her work with Project Citizenship involves planning and implementing large scale citizenship workshops, including coordinating outreach, collaborating with local partners, and recruitment and training of volunteers. This role includes grant management, bookkeeping, fundraising, case management and database management. Prior to her work with Project Citizenship, Ms. Torres was on-site Manager for Chelsea Community Schools, implementing new adult basic education (ABE) and recreation programs, while coordinating assessment of the 140+ annual programs. In this role she also coordinated recruitment and training of tutor volunteers and designed social media outreach to increase program participation. Ms. Torres will serve a term of two years.
Yarlennys Villaman - Ms. Villaman, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, works as an Administrative Coordinator for Community Legal Services and Counseling Center (CLSACC), a Cambridge-based non-profit dedicated to providing free legal aid and counseling services to low-income people and immigrants. Prior to her work with CLSACC, Ms. Villaman worked for the City of Cambridge’s Assessing Department as a Clerical Aide and as an intern for the South Worcester Neighborhood Improvement Center and the City of Worcester Mayor’s Office. She received her BA from College of the Holy Cross and is working on her Master’s in Public Administration at Suffolk University. She is co-founder of Lazos Al Futuro, a leadership program for youth from the Dominican Republic. Ms. Villaman will serve a term of three years.
Under the CIRC Ordinance, §2.123.020, initial membership is by appointment to staggered terms of one year (3 members), two years (4 members) and 3 years (4 members).
Very truly yours, Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
7. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointments of the following persons as a members of the Cambridge Public Art Commission for a term of three years: Judy Ann Goldman and Cecily Miller
Placed on File
Sept 12, 2016
To the Honorable, the City Council:
I am hereby transmitting notification of the following appointments to the Cambridge Public Art Commission for a term of three years, effective Sept 1, 2016:
Judy Ann Goldman
Ms. Goldman is a 40+ year resident of Cambridge and a lifelong arts professional. Ms. Goldman has been an independent curator, full time art dealer and is currently a certified appraiser of fine art properties with a specialization in modern and contemporary American works. Ms. Goldman has served on local arts organizations including: the Boston Center for the Arts, the Photographic Resource Center, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Cambridge Arts Council and the Society for Photographic Education.
Ms. Miller is a Cambridge resident and has extensive experience developing and managing programs that connects audiences with contemporary art. As Executive Director of the Somerville Arts Council, Ms. Miller managed two public art competitions for the City of Somerville. Ms. Miller also oversaw many temporary art initiatives, exhibitions, festivals, and educational programs, including the Mystic River Mural Project. Currently, Ms. Miller works as an arts consultant with a focus on bringing artists into community settings to create works that are engaging and meaningful for diverse audiences and will be working in the next year with the Town of Arlington to guide a public art initiative in East Arlington.
Very truly yours, Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
8. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the final Landmark Designation Report for the Ivory Sands House at 145 Elm Street and the Cambridge Historical Commission's recommendation.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
9. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the Planning Board to adopt, with modifications, the Healthy Pharms, Inc. Zoning Petition.
Referred to Committee Report #3
10. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of the Civic Education Grant for $123,021 funded by the Massachusetts Department of Education, Adult and Community Learning Services to the Grant Fund Human Services Salary and Wages account ($116,945), to the Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($5,826), and to the Travel and Training account ($250), to be used to cover a portion of the staff salaries, the purchase of related educational and office supplies, as well as conference expenses for staff to attend in state conferences.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
11. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of the Agenda for Children’s Talk and Read grant in the amount of $3,189 received from the Cambridge Public Health Department to the Grant Fund Human Services Salary and Wages account ($1,149) and to the Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($2,040), to be used to staff salary costs and workshop supplies for outreach worker parenting workshops.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
12. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $8,615 from the Cambridge Public Health Commission, Agenda for Children to the Grant Fund Human Services Other Ordinary Maintenance account, to be used to provide Community Playgroups, Drop-In Playgroups, Provider Groups and support of Family Fun Day.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
13. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of the Temporary Emergency Shelter grant received from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in the amount of $318,041.67 to the Grant Fund Human Services Other Ordinary Maintenance account, to be used to operate the YWCA family shelter from July 1, 2016 through Feb 28, 2017, including the provision of case management for six homeless families at a time as referred by the DHCD.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
14. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance grant funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in the amount of $94,347.60 to the Grant Fund Human Services Salary and Wages account ($84,922.60), to the Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($6,925), and to the Travel and Training account ($2,500), to be used for costs related to the Carey Men’s Transitional Program operated by the Multi-Service Center.
Adopted 8-0-1 (Maher ABSENT)
15. Transmitting Communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of $400,000 from MassDOT’s new Complete Streets Program to the Public Investment Fund Public Works Extraordinary Expenditures account to be used to fund sidewalks, paving, bike lanes and bike parking on Mass Ave. between Linnaean Street and Upland Road; and sidewalks and bike parking on Lawn Street.
Adopted 7-0-2 (Cheung, Toomey ABSENT)
16. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following person as a full member of the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals for a term of 5 years, effective Aug 29, 2016: Andrea Hickey
Placed on File
Sept 12, 2016
To the Honorable, the City Council:
I am hereby transmitting notification of the appointment of the following person as a full member of the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals for a term of 5 years, effective Aug 29, 2016:
Ms. Hickey is an attorney and has served as an Associate Member of the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals since 2012 and now will fill the role as a Full Member.
Very truly yours, Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
17. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as members of the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities for a term of three years, effective Sept 12, 2016: Katie Ashwill Allen, Stelios Gragoudas, Mike Langlois, Luis Loya and Julie Miller
Placed on File
Sept 12, 2016
To the Honorable, the City Council:
I am hereby transmitting notification of the appointment of the following persons as a member of the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities for a term of three years, effective Sept 12, 2016:
Katie Ashwill Allen
Katie is well known to CCPD, having worked here over 3 years, first as a graduate school intern, later as a volunteer. Her focus at CCPD has been primarily on physical accessibility, ranging from storefront access to sidewalks and curb cuts. Katie possesses a number of other excellent skills, including strong communication abilities, both written and verbal, and a broad knowledge of social justice matters.
Stelios is an expert in various topics related to inclusion, particularly youth with disabilities who are making the transition from high school to adult programs. He served on the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization, Outdoor Explorations.
Mike is a clinical social worker who lives and works in Cambridge. He has extensive experience working with children & youth with disabilities as well as seniors. He has served on several boards and commissions, including the Commonwealth’s Commission on LGBT Youth.
Luis has both personal experience with disabilities, having grown up with a sibling with a disability, and has professional experience with disability issues, including accessibility and universal design. He displays a keen understanding of the psychosocial aspects of disability, and how these intersect with broader social justice issues.
Julie's mother was a special education teacher. Julie grew up with an older sister who is deaf, and is fluent in American sign language. Her mother was a special education teacher. Julie displays excellent communication skills, and expressed enthusiasm for a broad range of disability issues. Currently working in the MIT Age Lab, she has experience both as a practitioner and as a researcher.
Very truly yours, Richard C. Rossi, City Manager
18. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to early voting sites.
Placed on File
19. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-67, regarding a report on the Classification of Commercial Land Use and Recommendations study.
Placed on File
20. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-13, regarding a report on studying the benefits of a wellbeing index and plan for how it might be incorporated into various City planning processes.
Placed on File
21. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to leaf blowers.
Placed on File
22. A communication transmitting additional information from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a request from Port Landing Landlord, LLC (“PLL”), for an aerial license for one structural canopy to be constructed over a portion of the public sidewalk at 131 Harvard Street, which originally appeared as City Manager's Agenda #35 of Aug 1, 2016.
Adopted 7-0-2 (Cheung, Toomey ABSENT)
1. An application was received from the Boston Ballet, 19 Clarendon Street, Boston, requesting permission to hang twenty-three temporary banners on electrical poles in Harvard Square. These banners will promote the Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker. The temporary banners will be hung from Nov 17 to Jan 3, 2017. Approval has been received from the Electrical Department. [Charter Right exercised by Mayor Simmons on Aug 1, 2016.]
Tabled - Toomey
2. An application was received from Pill Hardware, requesting permission for a display of merchandise in front of the premises numbered 743 Massachusetts Avenue. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Devereux on Aug 1, 2016.]
Placed on File under Rule 20 (no action taken)
3. An application was received from Wheelings Brattle, LLC, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 13 Brattle Street. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Devereux on Aug 1, 2016.]
Referred to Applications & Petitions #12
4. An application was received from The Davis Companies, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 35 Smith Place; 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. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Devereux on Aug 1, 2016.]
ON THE TABLE
5. An application was received from Capital One, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 24 JFK Street. [Placed On The Table on a motion of Councillor Cheung on Jan 25, 2016.]
Referred to Applications & Petitions #13
6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to coordinate with the Clerk’s Office and the appropriate departments to implement within three months an electronic public comment display in the Sullivan Chamber, listing the speaker’s name and affiliation as well as a timer. [Placed On The Table as Amended by Councillor Mazen on Jan 25, 2016.]
7. An application was received from CareWell Urgent Care, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 601 Concord Avenue. [Tabled on a motion by Councillor Devereux on Apr 25, 2016.]
8. An application was received from Esmeralda, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 54 Church Street. [Tabled on a motion by Councillor Devereux on Apr 25, 2016.]
9. The City Manager is requested to confer with the appropriate departments to organize regular suppers on the second Saturday of each month, starting on the 13th of August, with free food for the Cambridge community in open public spaces throughout the various Cambridge neighborhoods. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Mazen on June 20, 2016. Tabled on a motion by Councillor Mazen on June 27, 2016.]
10. A proposed amendment to the Ordinance entitled "Zoning Ordinance of the City of Cambridge" as amended by the Planning Board recommendation to expand the requirements of the North Massachusetts Avenue Sub-district (Section 20.110) applicable generally within the portions of the Massachusetts Avenue Overlay District (MAOD) zoned Business A-2 (BA-2). The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Aug 15, 2016. Planning Board hearing was held June 21, 2016. Petition expires Sept 20, 2016.
Ordained 8-0-1 (Cheung ABSENT), Ordinance #1385
APPLICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. An application was received from Agenda for Children Literacy Initiative requesting permission for a temporary banner across Massachusetts Avenue at City Hall announcing the 20th Family Literacy Fun Day at City Hall on Sat, Nov 5th from 10:30am to 2:30pm.
2. An application was received from Axiom, requesting permission for a projecting sign at the premises numbered 159 First Street. Approval has been received from Inspectional Services, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department and abutters.
Charter Right - Devereux
3. An application was received from The Davis Companies, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 75 Moulton 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.
4. An application was received from Fran Burns, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 307 Broadway; 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.
5. An application was received from LOOKS, requesting permission for a projecting sign at the premises numbered 2 Arrow Street. Approval has been received from Inspectional Services, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department and Historical Commission.
6. An application was received from US-Parcel A, LLC/Jeff Hirsch, requesting permission for new curb cuts and closing the existing curb cuts at the premises numbered 139 First 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.
7. An application was received from US-Parcel B, LLC/Jeff Hirsch, requesting permission for new curb cuts and the closing of existing curb cuts at the premises numbered 18 Hurley 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.
8. An application was received from US-Parcel D, LLC/Jeff Hirsch, requesting permission for new curb cuts and the closing of existing curb cuts at the premises numbered 85 First 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.
9. An application was received from Oggi Pizza & Sandwiches, requesting permission for a projecting sign at the premises numbered 30 Dunster Street. Approval has been received from Inspectional Services, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department and abutter.
10. An application was received from Lamplighter Brewing Co, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 284 Broadway.
Referred to City Manager With Power
11. An application was received from Santouka Cambridge, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 1 Bow Street.
Referred to City Manager With Power
12. An application was received for re-submission from Wheelings Brattle, LLC, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 13 Brattle Street. Charter Right was exercised by Councillor Devereux on Aug 1, 2016.
Referred to City Manager With Power
13. An application was received for re-submission from Capital One, requesting permission for a sandwich board sign in front of the premises numbered 24 JFK Street, along with a letter requesting an explanation as to why the permit was tabled and still not approved. Placed on the Table on a motion of Councillor Cheung on Jan 25, 2016.
Referred to City Manager With Power
1. A communication was received from Lewis and Frances Klunk, regarding light pollution in East Cambridge-Zinc.
2. A communication was received from Victoria Ruff, 30 Sciarappa Street, keep the Zinc rooftop light show off.
3. A communication was received from Mark P. Rogers, Rogers Properties Group, 390 Cambridge Street, turn the Zinc roof top light on.
4. A communication was received from Marilyn Wellons, 651 Green Street, regarding the Zinc variance request.
5. A communication was received from Seth Diamond, 126 Gore Street, keep the Zinc rooftop light show off.
6. A communication was received from Greg Heidelberger, 188 Prospect Street, regarding public safety in Inman Square.
7. A communication was received from Jane Hull, regarding Airbnb regulations.
8. A communication was received from Wayne J. Griffin, President, Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Inc., transmitting thanks for recognizing their involvement on the Martin Luther King Jr. School project, now considered one of the most energy efficient schools I the country.
9. A communication was received from Hasson J. Rashid, regarding the Homeless Trust Fund pending. 10. A communication was received from Harvey A. Silverglate, Attorney-At-Law, 607 Franklin Street, regarding end-of-life issues.
11. A communication was received from Ellen Kolton, 30 Center Street, Watertown, encouraging the City Council to adopt the Aid in Dying Resolution.
12. A communication was received from Marion Smiley, Brandeis University, transmitting support for the Aid-in-Dying.
13. A communication was received from Cristin A. McMurray, MD, 11 Montgomery Street, regarding the Right to Die legislation proposed.
14. A communication was received from Joan Magretta, 63 Highland Avenue, urging to support the aid in dying resolution.
15. Two communications were received from Carol O'Hare, 172 Magazine Street, regarding the Harvard Square Conservation District's effectiveness and Axiom Signs at 159 First Street.
16. A communication was received from Ian Klepetar, 32 Elm Street, regarding the current parking policy.
17. A communication was received from Marilee Meyer, 10 Dana Street, regarding the Conservation District status report.
18. A communication was received from Hasson Rashid, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, regarding the Foundry Building and homelessness.
19. A communication was received from Roger Kligler, MD, 3 Fowlers Lane, Falmouth, support of the Non-binding Resolution on Aid-in-Dying.
20. A communication was received from Jo M. Solet, regarding the response to the Leaf Blower Report.
21. A communication was received from Virginia Coleman, 2 Berkeley Place, transmitting comments on Leaf Blower Report.
22. A communication was received from Louise B. Popkin, 9 Cliff Street, in support of the Non-binding Resolution on Aid-in-Dying.
23. A communication was received from Michael Charney, regarding teaching the Dutch Reach.
24. A communication was received from Costanza Eggers, Porter Road, in support of Harvard Square Policy Order #18.
25. A communication was received from Nate Fillmore, 13 Marcella Street, regarding reducing speed limit, in support of MBTA workers, investigate how to lower speed limits, increasing residential parking permit fee and making Western Ave. 2-way bike lane.
26. A communication was received from Alice Howard, 147 Sherman Street, to support the resolution on compassionate aid-in-dying.
1. Resolution on the death of Mark Lyons. Councillor Maher
2. Resolution on the death of Alice Rose O'Regan Ciani DeGuglielmo. Councillor Maher
3. Resolution on the death of Helen "Ginger" (Walsh) LeGros. Councillor Maher
4. Resolution on the death of Steven Solberg. Councillor Maher
5. Resolution on the death of James Anthony Paddock. Councillor Maher
6. Congratulations to Bon Me for putting all of their employees on a path to earn $15 an hour. Councillor Devereux
7. Resolution on the death of Frank Wuest. Councillor Maher
8. Resolution on the death of Joseph D. Fitzmaurice. Councillor Maher
9. Resolution on the death of Frank M. DelVecchio. Councillor Maher
10. Congratulations to the students, faculty and staff on the 25th Anniversary of The Dance Complex. Vice Mayor McGovern
11. Congratulations to Rozann Kraus on founding The Dance Complex 25 years ago. Vice Mayor McGovern
12. Congratulations to the Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Auto Workers and all other students who will benefit from the National Labor Relations Board ruling regarding employee status and right to form or join a union with collective bargaining rights to negotiate their pay, benefits, and workload. Councillor Devereux
13. Resolution on the death of Buoy Lin Fong Lee. Councillor Cheung
14. Resolution on the death of Agnes Darlington. Mayor Simmons
15. Resolution on the death of Peter W. McDavitt. Councillor Maher
16. Resolution on the death of Mary E. Farley. Councillor Maher
17. Resolution on the death of Dr. Ruth Hubbard. Councillor Devereux
18. Resolution on the death of John J. "Jack" McGlynn. Councillor Toomey
19. Resolution on the death of Carl L. Ewing, Sr. Mayor Simmons
20. Commending the National Asian Women’s Association of Massachusetts for its work developing the next generation of Asian American activists. Councillor Cheung
21. Resolution on the death of Lillian Materazzo. Councillor Maher
22. Resolution on the death of Gloria Elizabeth Payne Battle. Mayor Simmons
1. That the City Council go on record calling on the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass an Act affirming a terminally ill patient’s right to compassionate aid in dying. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Carlone
2. That the Executive Assistant to the City Council confer with the Dedication Committee to consider the request from Councillor Toomey to add Jurina Vellucci’s name to the bench in Vellucci Park. Councillor Toomey
3. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the appropriate personnel to determine what measures the City may take to reimburse the $25 filing fee for those individuals who have successfully contested their civil traffic tickets issued in Cambridge in court. Mayor Simmons
4. That the City Manager is requested to deem all residential zones as “Safety Zones” and lower speed limits to 20 MPH and to lower the speed limit in all office and business zones to 25 MPH. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Toomey
Adopted as Amended
5. That the City Council go on record supporting the Coalition of Immokalee Worker’s boycott of Wendy’s and urges residents to support the boycott of the region’s Wendy’s locations until they agree to pay workers fairly and treat their workers with dignity as outlined in the Fair Food Program. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Mazen, Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern
6. That the City Council stands in solidarity with the Young Elected Officials Network and the Local Progress organizations in speaking out against the hateful and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has plagued the 2016 election season. Councillor Cheung, Councillor Mazen
7. That the City Council go on record supporting the working families and individuals at the MBTA and opposing Governor Baker and the MBTA’s plan for laying off necessary low wage workers. Councillor Toomey
8. That the City Manager is requested to work with the appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of creating a temporary jobs program geared toward Cambridge’s homeless population and/or determine the feasibility of awarding homeless with priority in the City’s 9-week temporary jobs program. Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Mazen
9. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Department of Public Works regarding the feasibility of installing a raised crosswalk on the corner of Allston Street and Andrew Street. Vice Mayor McGovern
10. That the City Manager is requested to consult with 22-CityView, the Information Technology Department, and any other City departments to speedily resolve the audio and visual issues in the Sullivan Chamber. Councillor Devereux, Mayor Simmons, Councillor Carlone, Councillor Mazen
11. Reappointment of James Monagle as City Auditor. Mayor Simmons
12. Reappointment of Donna P. Lopez as City Clerk. Mayor Simmons
13. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Department of Public Works to engage in a maintenance program to ensure that the entire exterior of City Hall, including the area comprised by Dorothy "Dottie" Doyle Way, is beautified and maintained. Mayor Simmons
14. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor and other relevant City departments and report back to the City Council concrete next steps on how to go about lowering our speed limits as well as the timeline for these actions. Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Mazen
15. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of the Cambridge Public Library to determine what measures can be taken to accommodate library users during the Boudreau branch library renovation. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Maher
16. That the City Council Health and Environment Committee be and hereby is requested to review the possibility of implementing a system for restaurants to publicly display grades or scores based on the results of sanitary inspections. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Cheung
17. That the City Manager is requested to consult with the Traffic and Parking Department and all other appropriate City Departments to report back to the City Council on recommendations to gradually increase the parking permit fee and consider other improvements to the program to help fund the city’s budget towards reducing vehicle miles traveled and promoting alternative forms of transportation. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen
Referred to Transportation and Public Utilities Committee - Mayor Simmons
18. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Historical Commission to produce a new status report that reviews the Harvard Square Conservation District’s effectiveness since 2005, and that considers whether new zoning regulations may be necessary to fulfill the community’s goals. Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone
19. Zoning Changes for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Carlone
Adopted (Kelley - NO)
20. That the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee be and hereby is requested to hold a hearing to discuss how City staff review use of bike infrastructure to determine what works, what does not work and what could be improved and to specifically discuss the possibility of making the Western Avenue cycle track a two-direction bike facility. Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Maher
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a report from Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair of the Health and Environment Committee for a public hearing held on June 30, 2016 to discuss the Georgetown Energy Prize competition.
Report Accepted, Placed On File
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 hearing held on July 27, 2016 to hear from public safety officials on training equipment, response and communication policies pertaining to demonstrations, protests, memorials and similar actions involving large numbers of people in public space, ranging from CRLS student walkouts to Black Lives Matter memorials to the “let out” time of bars to Pokémon Go chasing and similar internet-driven meetups.
Report Accepted, Placed On File
3. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Dennis J. Carlone and Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Aug 31, 2016 on a zoning petition by Healthy Pharms, Inc., to amend Section 20.700 Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts by creating an additional Medical Marijuana Overlay District (MMD-4). The new MMD-4 District would be coterminous with the Business B and Office 3 Districts that are within the Harvard Square Overlay District. The petition would also establish as criteria specific to the MMD-4 District that permissible dispensaries must be retail only (with no cultivation), must be set back from the sidewalk by a minimum of 15 feet and be appropriately shielded from public view, must be less than 10,000 square feet in size, are preferably located in areas with access to pedestrian and public transportation, and may be 250 feet, instead of the standard 500 feet, distant from a school, daycare center, preschool or afterschool facility or any facility in which children commonly congregate, or closer only if it is determined by the Planning Board to be sufficiently buffered such that users will not be adversely impacted by the operation of the dispensary.
Report Accepted, Placed On File, Passed to 2nd Reading as Amended
4. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Leland Cheung Co-Chair of the Ordinance Committee, for a public hearing held on Aug 23, 2016 to discuss a zoning petition by the City Council to amend Article 22.000 by creating a new Section 22.80 entitled Urban Agriculture to establish zoning regulations for the operation and establishment of urban Agriculture activities and also to provide framework for the siting, upkeep, and any modification of Urban Agriculture activity that address public safety and minimizes impacts on residents in the City of Cambridge.
Report Accepted, Placed On File
5. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Aug 15, 2016 to continue the public discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and the Affordable Housing Trusts’ recommendations to the City Council.
Report Accepted, Placed On File
6. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair of the Housing Committee, Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Co-Chair of the Housing Committee, for a joint public hearing held on Aug 3, 2016 to discuss the operations and prevalence of short-term rental units in Cambridge, and further develop the information and opinions gathered during the initial hearing on July 19, 2016.
Report Accepted, Placed On File
COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICERS
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk transmitting a copy of a letter from Hanne Rush, Assistant Attorney General, Division of Open Government, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Attorney General, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA, regarding the resolution of an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by John Hawkinson on May 4, 2016.
Placed On File
Mon, Sept 12
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Sept 14
5:30pm The Public Safety Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the evolving technologies with which the public and municipality interact regarding public works issues and emergency events. The Committee will examine the use of technologies such as Commonwealth Connect and RapidSOS compared to traditional communications to better understand how the City uses these programs, what residents should expect when interacting with the City through the programs, and how they can effectively serve the public good. (Ackermann Room)
Thurs, Sept 15
3:00pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss a proposed amendment to the Municipal Code in Title 6 entitled “Animals” by adding a new Chapter 6.20 entitled “Restrictions on the Sale of Animals in Pet Shops.” (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Sept 19
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Thurs, Sept 22
3:00pm The Ordinance committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the zoning petition filed by Jane W. Heatley, President of the William Noyes Webster Foundation, Inc. to amend Section 20.700, Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts by extending the district. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Sept 26
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
6:30pm The City Council will conduct a public hearing to discuss the property tax rate classification. (Sullivan Chamber)
Wed, Oct 5
5:30pm The Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on the refiled petition to amend the Zoning Map in the Riverside Neighborhood from the existing Residence C-1 to Residence C within the area bounded by Franklin Street, River Street and Putnam Avenue. The most significant changes would be that the allowed Floor Area Ratio would decrease from 0.75 to 0.60, the required lot area per dwelling unit would increase from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet, and the open space requirement would increase from 30% to 36% of a lot. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 17
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Tues, Oct 18
5:30pm Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 24
5:30pm City Council Roundtable/Working Meeting topic to be determined. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Oct 31
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 7
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 14
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 21
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Nov 28
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 5
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 12
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Dec 19
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 9
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 23
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Jan 30
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 6
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 13
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
Mon, Feb 27
5:30pm City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
WHEREAS: All people are, by nature, free and independent and have inalienable rights; and
WHEREAS: Advances in science and technology have created medical interventions that often prolong the dying process and increase suffering; and
WHEREAS: “Aid in dying” describes a medical practice defined by established standards of care, which enables a mentally competent, terminally ill adult to obtain a prescription for medication, which the patient may choose to self-administer, in the face of unbearable suffering to advance the time of an approaching death; and
WHEREAS: Absent the availability of aid in dying, patients and loved ones in Massachusetts have become so desperate to relieve suffering caused by terminal illness that they turn to violent means; and
WHEREAS: Many find comfort and peace of mind in having access to options at the end of life, including aid in dying, even if they do not exercise those options; and
WHEREAS: 68% of Cambridge voters voted in favor of the 2012 Ballot Initiative authorizing aid in dying; and
WHEREAS: A 2014 public opinion poll by Purple Strategies found 70% of Massachusetts registered voters agree with the statement that the decision of a terminally ill patient to end their own life should be a private decision between the patient, their family, their faith, and their own doctor; and
WHEREAS: Five states – Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, and California – now affirmatively authorize the medical practice of aid in dying, enabling terminally ill, mentally competent adult residents to receive a prescription for life-ending medication from their doctor; and
WHEREAS: Aid in dying is only available to those terminally ill, mentally competent adults who have a prognosis of six months or fewer to live, as determined by their doctor and confirmed by a second medical doctor; and
WHEREAS: Aid in dying is only available to those terminally ill, mentally competent adults who are determined to not be suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder causing impaired judgement, as determined by a mental health counselor; and
WHEREAS: According to the Disabilities Rights Legal Center, aid in dying poses no threat to persons with disabilities; and
WHEREAS: Nineteen years of transparent reporting and study of aid in dying practice in Oregon demonstrates the utility and safety of the practice in upholding a patient’s right to self-determination; and
WHEREAS: Many people find significant relief in the legal right and medical means of control in bringing an end to the suffering caused by their terminal illness and only a small minority of the patients who request a prescription for life-ending oral medication actually receive and use it; and
WHEREAS: Well respected health and medical organizations recognize aid in dying as a legitimate, necessary end-of-life option for eligible adults facing an imminent death from a terminal illness, including the American Public Health Association, The American Medical Women’s Association, The American Medical Student Association, The American Academy of Legal Medicine, The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association; now therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record respecting the diversity of perspectives on end of life decisions, supporting equal protection within the diversity of perspectives on end of life decisions, and recognizing the practice of aid in dying as a desirable medical option for many terminally ill, mentally competent adults; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record calling on the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass an Act affirming a terminally ill patient’s right to compassionate aid in dying; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to the State Representatives and State Senators who represent the City of Cambridge on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-2 Sept 12, 2016
ORDERED: That the Executive Assistant to the City Council confer with the Dedication Committee to consider the request from Councillor Toomey to add Jurina Vellucci’s name to the bench in Vellucci Park; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward this order to the Dedication Committee for their review and approval.
O-3 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: In Massachusetts, those who have been charged with a civil traffic violation can request a hearing to contest their ticket, and these individuals are charged a nonrefundable $25 filing fee by the RMV to initiate the process; and
WHEREAS: In the cases of minor infractions, such as when a bicyclist has been charged with a traffic violation, the cost of the RMV’s filing fee to contest a ticket may exceed the actual cost of the ticket itself, and the fee is not refunded even in those cases where a magistrate declares that an individual has not violated the law; and
WHEREAS: The fact that an individual is forced to pay $25 simply to contest a ticket they have been issued, and the fact that this fee is non-refundable regardless of whether or not a person has successfully contested their ticket, seems designed to discourage people from contesting their tickets, and it appears to be punitive even to those who have broken no laws; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record urging the State Legislature to review its policies in how fees for contesting civil traffic violations are handled, with the view toward establishing refunds of these fees to those who have been found to be “not responsible;” and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to consult with the appropriate personnel to determine what measures the City may take to reimburse the $25 filing fee for those individuals who have successfully contested their civil traffic tickets issued in Cambridge in court, and to report back to the City Council in a timely manner; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward suitably engrossed copies of this order to the Cambridge Delegation to the State Legislature on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-4 Sept 12, 2016 Amended
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge has an obligation to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors; and
WHEREAS: The Legislature passed and the Governor signed H4565, giving cities the authority to lower speed limits to 25 MPH in “thickly settled” or business zones; and
WHEREAS: H4565 also gives cities the ability to create “Safety Zones” with a 20 MPH speed limit; and
WHEREAS: Boston is exploring lowering its speed limits to 20 MPH; and
WHEREAS: The City Council has fielded numerous requests to lower the speed limit in residential neighborhoods; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to deem all residential zones as “Safety Zones” and lower speed limits to 20 MPH; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to lower the speed limit in all office and business zones to 25 MPH; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct appropriate staff to request DCR to include residential streets along Fresh Pond Parkway and to post and enforce the 25 MPH speed limit.
O-5 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
WHEREAS: The City Council has a record of strongly supporting human rights and fair labor practices; and
WHEREAS: The City Council has strongly opposed wage theft, racial discrimination, and threatening work environments; and
WHEREAS: Multi-billion dollar companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Taco Bell, Stop and Shop, Walmart, Subway, and Whole Foods have all signed on to the Fair Food Program; and
WHEREAS: The Fair Food Program guarantees farmworkers the dignity they deserve in the workplace as well as high wages; and
WHEREAS: Wendy’s has refused to sign onto the Fair Food Program proposed by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW); now therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record supporting CIW’s boycott of Wendy’s, and urges that Cambridge residents to support the boycott of the region’s Wendy’s locations, until they agree to pay workers fairly and treat their workers with dignity as outlined in the Fair Food Program; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to send a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution to CIW and Wendy’s corporate headquarters on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-6 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: There has been a sharp rise in xenophobic, hateful, and racist rhetoric towards American Muslims across the country this election season; and
WHEREAS: This rhetoric is antithetical to the values of the City of Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: American Muslims play an integral role in our society; and
WHEREAS: The City Council has consistently stood against racism, xenophobia, and bigotry; and
WHEREAS: The Young Elected Officials Network and Local Progress are conducting a campaign against anti-Muslim rhetoric; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council stands in solidarity with the aforementioned organizations in speaking out against the hateful and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has plagued the 2016 election season.
O-7 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: On Sept 1, 2016, Governor Baker plans to lay off one-third of the MBTA cleaning working force that works hard to ensure riders have a pleasant and cleanly experience on the MBTA; and
WHEREAS: Approximately 90-100 workers are at risk of losing their jobs and those that remain will be tasked with unrealistic workloads to compensate the loss of staff; and
WHEREAS: These workers are a vital part of our system and community; and
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record supporting the working families and individuals at the MBTA and opposing Governor Baker and the MBTA’s plan for laying off necessary low wage workers; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to forward suitably engrossed copies of this resolution to Governor Baker and the MBTA on behalf of the entire City Council.
O-8 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
WHEREAS: The Cambridge City Council and City Administration is very much concerned with the challenges faced by those struggling with homelessness in our community; and
WHEREAS: Pathways to employment, job training and income are often difficult for those struggling with homelessness; and
WHEREAS: This year, the There’s a Better Way Plan, implemented in Albuquerque has helped homeless earn income and gain work experience through daily employment by beautifying the City; and
WHEREAS: The There’s a Better Way Plan has distributed a total of 932 day jobs, clearing 69,601 pounds of litter from 196 city blocks, and connected more than 100 people to permanent employment; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge must focus on long term solutions to homelessness, such as transitional and affordable housing; job training; mental health, substance abuse care, and hunger, but not lose sight of the immediate need to empower homeless populations by providing the opportunity to earn money, access permanent employment, and participate in the improvement of our community; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the appropriate City departments to determine the feasibility of creating a temporary jobs program geared toward Cambridge’s homeless population and/or determine the feasibility of awarding homeless with priority in the City’s 9 week temporary jobs program; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter in a timely manner.
O-9 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department and the Department of Public Works regarding the feasibility of installing a raised crosswalk on the corner of Allston Street and Andrew Street.
O-10 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: The City Council is concerned that despite a significant investment in new technology and many months of technical adjustments, there continues to be problems with the microphones in the Sullivan Chamber and audio problems for those watching City Council meetings on television on 22-CityView and online through the Open Meeting Portal; and
WHEREAS: Residents have reported that when watching on television, regardless of whether the City Council is meeting in the Sullivan Chamber or another location, such as the School Committee room, there is often no audio; and
WHEREAS: When watching the meetings online through the Open Meeting Portal, the sound is often distorted or not working at all, and the video can at times cut out; and
WHEREAS: The City Council understands that 22-CityView is aware of these problems and has been trying to resolve them, but residents continue to have difficultly when watching City Council meetings remotely; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to consult with 22-CityView, the Information Technology Department, and any other City departments to speedily resolve this issue and report back to the City Council what specifically can be done to remedy these audio-visual problems in a more timely manner.
O-11 Sept 12, 2016
ORDERED: That the City Council re-appoint James Monagle as City Auditor for a term beginning June 1, 2016 and expiring on May 31, 2019.
O-12 Sept 12, 2016
ORDERED: That the City Council re-appoint Donna P. Lopez as City Clerk for a term beginning June 1, 2016 and expiring on May 31, 2019.
O-13 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: The City takes pains to ensure that the front and sides of City Hall are well-manicured and maintained throughout the year, in such a way as is befitting for the building that symbolizes and is the heart of the municipal government; and
WHEREAS: This building maintenance has not historically extended to the lawn and general area behind City Hall, where there are currently patches of grass intermixed with clumps of overturned dirt, trash, and an overall sense of general uncleanliness; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Department of Public Works to engage in a maintenance program to ensure that the entire exterior of City Hall, including the area comprised by Dorothy "Dottie" Doyle Way, is beautified and maintained.
O-14 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
WHEREAS: The Municipal Modernization Bill recently received approval from the Massachusetts Legislature and the Governor’s Office; and
WHEREAS: This marks the first major overhaul of municipal related laws in 50 years and will streamline complicated bureaucratic procedures, update old regulations, and gives city and town officials more flexibility to govern themselves, including setting their own speed limits; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge is considered a “thickly settled” community, and as such, the general speed limit is defined as 30 miles per hour on the many Cambridge streets where no speed limit is posted; and
WHEREAS: The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has compiled a “Driving Speed Fatality Risk Chart” that shows a 45% risk of fatality to pedestrians and cyclists in accidents involving an automobile that is traveling in the 30 to 35 miles per hour range, as compared to a 5% risk of fatality when automobiles are travelling in the 20 to 25 miles per hour range; and
WHEREAS: As a body, the City Council unanimously adopted the goals set forth by Vision Zero, which includes working towards the elimination of transportation fatalities and severe injuries; and
WHEREAS: The City Council has made pedestrian and bicycle safety as well as the reduction of automobile traffic of highest priority, and the lowering of speed limits plays an important role in these efforts; and
WHEREAS: The Municipal Modernization Law allows the City of Cambridge to lower “thickly settled” street speed limits to between 20 to 25 miles per hour; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the City Solicitor and other relevant City departments and report back to the City Council concrete next steps on how to go about lowering our speed limits as well as the timeline for these actions.
O-15 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the City Council that the Boudreau branch library on Concord Avenue will be closed for renovations from mid-September through mid-November; and
WHEREAS: Residents in Neighborhoods 9 and 10 rely on the Boudreau branch for convenient access to library materials; and
WHEREAS: Boudreau patrons have asked whether the hours and days of operation at the Collins branch on Aberdeen Avenue or the O’Neill Branch on Rindge Avenue can be expanded during the renovation to provide users more flexibility; and
WHEREAS: Residents have asked whether the book return box outside the Boudreau branch can remain in use during the renovation so that they can more easily return library materials obtained at other locations; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of the Cambridge Public Library to determine what measures can be taken to accommodate library users during the Boudreau branch library renovation.
O-16 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge works to protect against the spread of food-borne illness by inspecting local restaurants every six months; and
WHEREAS: In August 2016, the Boston City Council approved a proposal to start issuing letter grades to restaurants to publicly rate their overall cleanliness and food safety practices; and
WHEREAS: Overseen by Boston's Inspectional Services Department, Boston restaurants will receive an A, B, or C grade based on the number and severity of sanitary violations found during regular inspections; and
WHEREAS: Each restaurant will start with 100 points, with points being deducted on a scale for each violation based on the severity of the violation; and
WHEREAS: Grades will be routinely posted on the Boston ISD website; for the first year of the program, the grades can be voluntarily posted in windows, but within one year the grades must be posted in the restaurant’s window, and there is a penalty of $300 per day of noncompliance; and
WHEREAS: Other cities have implemented similar programs, including New York, Los Angeles, and Newton, MA; and
WHEREAS: Newton, MA’s program requires that a numeric score be posted inside the establishment, and city officials found that since the program began, restaurants were cleaner overall and were improving their practices to protect against food-borne illnesses; and
WHEREAS: A similar program could be implemented in Cambridge based on the sanitary violation data that is already publicly available online through the City's Open Data Portal; and
WHEREAS: Cambridge restaurants that have few violations and thus higher grades would gain a competitive advantage by having their rating clearly displayed; and
WHEREAS: Consumers who come to rely on this information in Boston, Newton and elsewhere may reasonably expect to see it posted in Cambridge food establishments as well; and
WHEREAS: The general public would be better informed about the city’s inspection routines and the cleanliness of the restaurant; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council Health and Environment Committee be and hereby is requested to review the possibility of implementing a system for restaurants to publicly display grades or scores based on the results of sanitary inspections.
O-17 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge has an interest in promoting healthier and cleaner forms of transportation, such as walking, biking, and public transportation; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge actively promotes such options when feasible to reduce vehicle miles traveled while alleviating traffic congestion and emissions; and
WHEREAS: The fee structure for resident parking permits is outlined in Municipal Code Chapter 10.12; and
WHEREAS: The fee for resident parking permits was raised in 2011 from $8 to $20 with a built in raise to $25 in 2013, where the rate currently stands; and
WHEREAS: The fee is waived for senior citizens and persons with disabilities; and
WHEREAS: The Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance, Municipal Code 10.17, directs all fees collected by resident parking permits towards efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled by encouraging walking, biking, public transportation, and other alternatives; and
WHEREAS: Despite a population increase, the number of parking permits issued has declined in the past decade as residents are opting for using alternative forms of transportation; and
WHEREAS: As the number of parking permits issued declines, the fees collected from their sale also decline, providing less funding for the critical vehicle trip reduction efforts; and
WHEREAS: Despite the decrease in parking permits issued, single-occupancy vehicle use must be further reduced and alternative forms of transportation promoted to continue to alleviate traffic congestion and harmful emissions; and
WHEREAS: A gradual increase in parking permit fees over time to maintain or increase the city’s budget towards reducing driving and parking would help provide funding towards the city’s goals of reducing single-occupancy vehicle use while promoting healthier and cleaner forms of transportation; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to consult with the Traffic and Parking Department and all other appropriate City Departments to report back to the City Council on recommendations to gradually increase the parking permit fee and consider other improvements to the program to help fund the city’s budget towards reducing vehicle miles traveled and promoting alternative forms of transportation.
O-18 Sept 12, 2016
WHEREAS: On Dec 18, 2000, following a period of intense public concern about the redevelopment of the Read Block in Harvard Square and the displacement of longtime retail and commercial tenants like The Tasty, the City Council unanimously approved the creation of the Harvard Square Neighborhood Conservation District; and
WHEREAS: The order required the Cambridge Historical Commission to submit a status report and hold a public hearing after the first five years on the effectiveness of the District in meeting its overarching goal of balancing the rights of property owners, retailers’ needs for flexibility, and the community’s interest in preserving the character and livability of Harvard Square; and
WHEREAS: The Historical Commission issued a District Five-Year Status Report on Dec 12, 2005, which concluded that the District guidelines had been an effective regulatory tool, and further recommended that all neighborhood conservation districts be studied for their activity and effectiveness every five years; and
WHEREAS: No status report on the Harvard Square Neighborhood Conservation District has been issued since the initial report in 2005; and
WHEREAS: Now, eleven years later, Harvard Square is again facing intense development pressure as sharply rising rents and property values continue to displace commercial tenants, erode the vitality and diversity of the neighborhood’s retail activity, and threaten its historic character and unique sense of place; and
WHEREAS: While much of the city’s planning energy has been focused on Kendall Square, Central Square and Alewife, Harvard Square has not undergone a recent planning study to address some of the challenges that are beyond the authority of a neighborhood conservation district, such as preserving neighborhood-serving retail, small storefronts, and independent businesses that are essential to maintaining the unique sense of place that makes Harvard Square attractive and valuable beyond its historic bricks and mortar; and
WHEREAS: Envision Cambridge is a three-year citywide planning process that began earlier this year and a citywide action plan is not expected to be released until the end of 2018; and
WHEREAS: Immediate action is needed to meet the pressing challenges of preserving the economic vitality and viability of historic Harvard Square; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Historical Commission to produce a new status report that reviews the Harvard Square Conservation District’s effectiveness since 2005, and that considers whether new zoning regulations may be necessary to fulfill the community’s goals; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Historical Commission, the Community Development Department, Envision Cambridge, and report back as soon as possible with recommendations for producing an expedited action plan to preserve and restore Harvard Square’s economic diversity, livability and vitality.
O-19 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
WHEREAS: The City Council has seen a number of individual petitions seeking zoning changes in order to establish medical marijuana dispensaries; and
WHEREAS: It has become apparent that the current MMD zones do not allow sufficient flexibility in locating medical marijuana dispensaries; and
WHEREAS: The Council has expressed interest in re-examining the current zones; therefore be it
ORDERED: That the following attachment and amendments to the Zoning Map and Ordinance be referred to the Planning Board and Ordinance Committee for hearing and report:
• Delete the existing Section 20.700 – Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts.
• Create a new Section 11.800 – Medical Marijuana
• List Registered Marijuana Dispensary within Section 4.35 of the Table of Use Regulations, allowed only by Planning Board Special Permit within Business A, Business B, Business B-1, Business B-2, Business C, Industry A-1, Industry B-1 and Industry B-2 districts.
11.800 MEDICAL MARIJUANA
11.801 Statement of Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide for the limited establishment of Registered Marijuana Dispensaries as they are authorized pursuant to state regulations set forth at 105 CMR 725.000, Implementation of an Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana.
11.802 Applicability of Regulations. Registered Marijuana Dispensaries shall be allowed only by Planning Board Special Permit within the Business A, Business B, Business B-1, Business B-2, Business C, Industry A-1, Industry B-1 and Industry B-2 districts. No Registered Marijuana Dispensaries shall be allowed within 1,500 square feet of another Registered Marijuana Dispensary.
11.803.1 Use. Notwithstanding the use limitations of the base zoning district or any overlay zoning district, a Registered Marijuana Dispensary shall be allowed upon the granting of a special permit by the Planning Board, subject to the requirements set forth in this Section.
11.803.2 Registration. All permitted Registered Marijuana Dispensaries shall be properly registered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health pursuant to 105 CMR 725.100 and shall comply with all applicable state and local public health regulations and all other applicable state and local laws, rules and regulations at all times. No Building Permit or Certificate of Occupancy shall be issued for a Registered Marijuana Dispensary that is not properly registered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
11.803.3 Limitation of Approval. A special permit authorizing the establishment of a Registered Marijuana Dispensary shall be valid only for the registered entity to which the special permit was issued, and only for the site on which the Registered Marijuana Dispensary has been authorized by special permit. If the registration for a Registered Marijuana Dispensary has not been renewed or has been revoked, transferred to another controlling entity, or relocated to a different site, a new special permit shall be required prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.
11.803.4 Building. A Registered Marijuana Dispensary shall be located only in a permanent building and not within any mobile facility. All sales shall be conducted either within the building or by home deliveries to qualified clients pursuant to applicable state and local regulations.
11.803.5 Dimensional Requirements. Except where it is explicitly stated otherwise in this Section 11.800, a Registered Marijuana Dispensary shall conform to the dimensional requirements applicable to non-residential uses within the base and overlay zoning districts.
11.803.6 Parking and Loading. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Article 6.000 of this Ordinance, the required number of parking and bicycle parking (both long-term and short term) spaces and the required number of loading bays for a Registered Marijuana Dispensary shall be determined by the Planning Board based on the transportation analysis and other information related to operational and security plans provided by the applicant. Except as set forth above, all parking, bicycle parking and loading facilities shall conform to the requirements set forth in Article 6.000.
11.803.7 Signage. All signage shall conform to the requirements of Article 7.000 of this Ordinance. The Planning Board may impose additional restrictions on signage as appropriate to mitigate any aesthetic impacts.
11.804 Application Requirements. An application to the Planning Board shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
(a) Description of Activities: A narrative providing information about the type and scale of all activities that will take place on the proposed site, including but not limited to cultivating and processing of marijuana or marijuana infused products (MIPs), on-site sales, off-site deliveries, distribution of educational materials, and other programs or activities.
(b) Service Area: A map and narrative describing the area proposed to be served by the Registered Marijuana Dispensary and the anticipated number of clients that will be served within that area. This description shall indicate where any other Registered Marijuana Dispensaries exist or have been proposed within the expected service area.
(c) Transportation Analysis: A quantitative analysis, prepared by a qualified transportation specialist acceptable to the Planning Board, modeling the expected origin and frequency of client and employee trips to the site, the expected modes of transportation used by clients and employees, and the frequency and scale of deliveries to and from the site.
(d) Context Map: A map depicting all properties and land uses within a one thousand foot (1,000’) radius (minimum) of the project site, whether such uses are located in Cambridge or within surrounding communities, including but not limited to all educational uses, daycare, preschool and afterschool programs.
(e) Site Plan: A plan or plans depicting all proposed development on the property, including the dimensions of the building, the layout of automobile and bicycle parking, the location of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular points of access and egress, the location and design of all loading, refuse and service facilities, the location, type and direction of all outdoor lighting on the site, and any landscape design.
(f) Building Elevations and Signage: Architectural drawings of all exterior building facades and all proposed signage, specifying materials and colors to be used. Perspective drawings and illustrations of the site from public ways and abutting properties are recommended but not required.
(g) Registration Materials: Copies of registration materials issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and any materials submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the purpose of seeking registration, to confirm that all information provided to the Planning Board is consistent with the information provided to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
11.805 Special Permit Criteria. In granting a special permit for a Registered Marijuana Dispensary, in addition to the general criteria for issuance of a special permit as set forth in Section 10.43 of this Ordinance, the Planning Board shall find that the following criteria are met:
(a) The Registered Marijuana Dispensary is located to serve an area that currently does not have reasonable access to medical marijuana, or if it is proposed to serve an area that is already served by other Registered Marijuana Dispensaries, it has been established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that supplemental service is needed.
(b) The site is located at least five hundred feet distant from a school, daycare center, preschool or afterschool facility or any facility in which children commonly congregate, or if not located at such a distance, it is determined by the Planning Board to be sufficiently buffered from such facilities such that its users will not be adversely impacted by the operation of the Registered Marijuana Dispensary.
(c) The site is designed such that it provides convenient, safe and secure access and egress for clients and employees arriving to and leaving from the site using all modes of transportation, including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and public transportation users.
(d) Traffic generated by client trips, employee trips, and deliveries to and from the Registered Marijuana Dispensary shall not create a substantial adverse impact on nearby residential uses.
(e) Loading, refuse and service areas are designed to be secure and shielded from abutting uses.
(f) The building and site have been designed to be compatible with other buildings in the area and to mitigate any negative aesthetic impacts that might result from required security measures and restrictions on visibility into the building’s interior.
O-20 Sept 12, 2016
VICE MAYOR MCGOVERN
WHEREAS: Cambridge has put a lot of effort into expanding its bike infrastructure through increasing the number of cycle-tracks and bike lanes in the City; and
WHEREAS: The use of these facilities does not always reflect what was hoped for in their design as runners, walkers, motorists and wrong-way cyclists use the facilities in the manner that most seems reasonable to them at the time; and
WHEREAS: Simply installing or painting signage does not adequately constrain improper usage; and
WHEREAS: Some facilities, such as the Western Avenue cycle-track, may experience enough improper usage to question whether use restrictions are actually reasonably given perceptions about the functionality about the design, especially when it comes to wrong-way cycling; now be it therefore
ORDERED: That the Transportation and Public Utilities Committee be and hereby is requested to hold a hearing to discuss how City staff review the use of bike infrastructure to determine what works, what does not work and what could be improved and to specifically discuss the possibility of making the Western Avenue cycle track a two-direction bike facility.
TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
The Health and Environment Committee held a public hearing on June 30, 2016 at 3:30pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the Georgetown Energy Prize competition. Cambridge is in the competition. The prize is $50 million. There are 10 finalists that will be announced in January 2017 and the winner will be announced in June 2017.
Present at the hearing were Councillor Devereux, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Toomey; Mayor Simmons; Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development Department; Susanne Rasmussen, Director, Environmental and Transportation Planning, CDD; Meghan Shaw, Director, Cambridge Energy Alliance; Nikhil Nadkarni, Energy Planner, CDD; Seth Felegard and Jessica Nahigian, CDD Interns; Julie Lynch, Project Manager, Municipal Facilities Improvement Plan, Public Works; Ini Tomeu, Public Information Officer; Nora Bent; and City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.
Also present were Quinton Zondervan, President, Green Cambridge; Deborah Ruhe, Executive Director, Just-A-Start; Linda Kaboolian, 23 Highland Street; Raminta Holden, 17 Holmes Street; Harold Nahigian, 23 Highland Street; and John Hawkinson, 2 Clinton St.
Councillor Devereux convened the hearing and explained the purpose. She stated that the hearing is being privately recorded. An agenda for the hearing was distributed (ATTACHMENT A). Ms. Rasmussen introduced the staff as requested by Councillor Devereux.
A PowerPoint Presentation was given and is attached as (ATTACHMENT B).
Nikhil Nadkarni, Energy Planner, CDD, gave an overview of the competition as contained in pages 3-6 of the PowerPoint presentation. The competition is a two-year energy-efficiency challenge for small and medium sized cities. Cambridge is competing against 50 other cities. The focus is on evaluating residential and municipal energy use. Energy reduction is the goal of Net Zero. The pie chart outlined the sectors for energy reduction. He spoke about the initiatives that Cambridge is taking to compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize such as community engagement and multifamily programs (pages 8-9 of the presentation).
Jessica Nahigian of CDD explained the volunteer-led community outreach, the programs in schools and the other youth engagement programs (pages 10-12 of the presentation).
Councillor Devereux asked about the success of the block captains and asked if city staff have worked with charter and independent schools as well. Ms. Shaw stated that the focus is on the district public schools. There was an effort to encourage independent/charter schools to participate in the “e” inc. program. She spoke about initiative offered to schools by Eversource.
Meghan Shaw of the Cambridge Energy Alliance explained the direct community outreach efforts, Cambridge Energy Alliance’s direct communications and advertising, and outreach to affordable housing and underrepresented residents to ensure that all residents get the message about their role in the competition and understand that the Sunny Cambridge Program was launched in conjunction with the Georgetown Energy competition.
Councillor Carlone noted that this is an opportunity to teach residents about these issues and to get the word out. He asked how the savings are measured. Ms. Shaw stated that Eversource is partnering with us and that residential buildings are being reported to Eversource. The municipal bill numbers were reported to Georgetown University. Councillor Carlone asked Ms. Shaw if she had a sense what the other 50 cities are doing. Ms. Shaw responded that some of the communities are doing the same things as Cambridge. The Energy Disclosure Ordinance came out before the competition. She stated that the school principals are acknowledging the success of the e inc. program. Councillor Carlone stated that the energy savings are beneficial. Ms. Shaw stated that this a way for Georgetown University to raise their own name as well. There may be other prizes available to runner-up cities, but the $5 million is only prize publicly offered as of now. She added that participating in the competition is not just about the money; it is about connecting the dots and to bring more people into the work that will continue even after the competition has concluded. Councillor Devereux commented that money is being spent to save money. She stated that the prize is urging communities to save or reduce energy.
Ms. Rasmussen explained that some of the communities have municipal energy companies. Eversource can only stay within their framework and cannot get involved.
Nikhil Nadkarni spoke about the challenges with engagement (see pages 19-21 of the presentation). He stated that it takes a lot of time to sign people up. People get energy assessments but do not always follow up. He spoke about the need to get renters involved.
Jessica Nahigian spoke about the successes. With the LED street light conversion there has been a 70% reduction in electrical use. She spoke about the study of the Municipal Buildings. There were assessments for forty-three municipal buildings. She discussed the students involved in the “e” inc., ACE and Glocal programs. For the Building Energy Disclosure Ordinance, 95% have reported.
Ms. Shaw spoke on the strategies being used, including the Eversource agreement, multifamily programs, the opportunities to identify areas of sustainability and energy education and to align utilities with the greenhouse gas reduction goals. Ms. Shaw stated that she has learned a lot throughout this process and that the city’s energy efficiency efforts have been amplified.
Quinton Zondervan, Green Cambridge President, sits on the steering committee of Georgetown Prize. He stated that he has personally tried to make his house more energy efficient. By going solar, he has reduced his home’s energy use by 50%. He stated that he is also a block captain. He tabled at the May Fair event but did not find it to be very successful. It is hard to get the public’s attention to sign up for an energy assessment. New England solar was launched in 2015 and will canvas the public about their programs. The rain barrel program has been in existence for 4 years and it saves water. The main issue is funding; it is expensive for people to do an upgrade. The solar programs pays back in 5-7 years. The payback for the heat pump program is unclear. There are challenges to be worked out on this. He commented on when air conditioners should be replaced.
Councillor Devereux opened the hearing to public comment at 4:35pm.
Deborah Ruhe, Executive Director of Just-A-Start, stated she owns a two-family house. She spoke about her experience with the energy assessment and upgrading her home. She will be adding solar later this year. She spoke about what should be done with the $5 million prize. She suggested that city staff provide assistance to residents as they navigate through the process of making their homes more energy-efficient. She stated that Just-A-Start has a home improvement program that requires a home energy assessment.
John Hawkinson, 2 Clinton St., asked about the measurement of use per capita verses per bill. He asked how the City is doing in the competition so far compared to the other 50 cities.
Ms. Shaw responded that it is hard to track how Cambridge is doing versus the other 50 communities. The raw data was downloaded from Eversource and there were serious anomalies in the data reported to Georgetown. It is hard when the data is being partly given to energy companies.
At 4:41pm Councillor Devereux closed public comment.
Councillor Devereux asked if the outdoor lighting ordinance is qualitative. Ms. Shaw responded that the biggest users of outdoor lighting are big buildings and they are not part of the prize.
Councillor Carlone stated that all of the efforts are part of the package, including the initiatives and education components. He stated that benefits will be realized in initiatives and education.
Councillor Carlone asked about a timeline. Ms. Shaw stated that it is a two-year project. She spoke about replicating measures from the program for the future. The streetlight LED conversion is a one-time energy saving measure. There are many moving parts and all areas are being worked on.
Seth Felegard stated that the goal of Georgetown Energy prize was to save money and to create a model for continued energy savings. Councillor Devereux asked if the data will be shared with all participating communities after the competition ends. Mr. Felegard responded that at the conclusion of the competition, a final report is required. Councillor Devereux asked if there is any help that the City Council could provide in the next six months.
Ms. Rasmussen stated that there are two issues. Firstly, it would be helpful if the Council could keep energy efficiency in the forefront. Secondly, it would be helpful if Councillors could push the message out to residents that there are programs available to residents.
Councillor Devereux thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 4:51pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Jan Devereux, Chair
Committee Report #2
The Public Safety Committee held a public hearing on July 27, 2016, beginning at 5:51pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to hear from public safety officials on training equipment, response and communication policies pertaining to demonstrations, protests, memorials and similar actions involving large numbers of people in public space, ranging from CRLS student walkouts to Black Lives Matter memorials to the “let out” time of bars to Pokémon Go chasing and similar internet-driven meetups.
Present at the hearing were Councillor Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee; Councillor Mazen; Vice Mayor McGovern; Mayor Simmons; Councillor Carlone; Councillor Devereux; Richard C. Rossi, City Manager; Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager; Christopher Burke, Police Commissioner; Joseph Wilson, Superintendent of Police; Christine Elow, Deputy Superintendent of Police; Steven Ahearn, Deputy Superintendent of Police; Brian Corr, Executive Director, Peace Commission; and Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk.
Also present were Debby Irving, 32 Cushing Street; Nancy Ryan, 4 Ashburton Place; Naomi Dausa, 39 Dana Street; Jamila Bradley, 12 Ransom Road; Susan Yanow, 221 Norfolk Street; Marcus Hazelwood, 223 Concord Turnpike; Madison Thompson, 21 Tremlett Street, Dorchester; Antonio Ochoa, 33A Bay Street; Gerald Bergman, 82 Elm Street; Maryann Colella, 14 Laurel Street; Carolyn Fuller, 12 Douglass Street; Susan Holman; Paul Hoover; Cathy Hoffman, 67 Pleasant Street; Ella Bartholomew, 14 Cottage Street; Bill McAvinney, 12 Douglass Street; Polly Attwood, 175 Richdale Avenue; Melissa Bartholomew, 14 Cottage Street; Robert Winters, 366 Broadway; Gregio and Monica Leon, 16 High Street; James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place; Megan Bloomberg, 83 Fifth Street; Allie Kovner; Richard Goldberg, 170 Harvard Street; Siobhan Landry, 33A Bay Street; Linda Jenkins, 189 Charles Street; Sherri Tucker, 854 Mass. Avenue; Jude Glaubman, 154 Auburn Street; Peggy Barnes Lenart, 115 Fayerweather Street; Eva Martin Blythe, Cambridge YWCA; Shelley Rieman, 201 Franklin Street; Abe Lateiner, 286 Windsor Street; Anna Leslie, 53 Howard Street; and Bethany Tesar.
Councillor Kelley convened the hearing and stated the purpose. He stated that the hearing was being privately recorded. He stated that Black Lives Matter is the major driver for this conversation, together with police issues. He stated that there would be a discussion by the Police on public concerns. Then Black Lives Matter, discussion with city staff and then public comment. He stated that public comment will be 3 minutes and then he will address the highlights.
Mayor Simmons thanked Councillor Kelley for having this hearing. It is an important opportunity to have a discussion to keep Cambridge a healthy, safe city. She met with the clergy today and they wanted to be included in any further hearings on this matter to participate. First Holiness has been doing walks with police in The Port. Cambridge can be proactive rather than reactive. She submitted a communication (ATTACHMENT A).
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that he is angry and sad about the violence in this country. It is disturbing to see African American and Police being in the violence. Cambridge has race and class issue as any other communities. Cambridge is different from other communities because we self-inspect and the police are willing to be part of the community. He stated that he is not afraid in the City if the police are behind him. He stated that there is a lot of fear in this country. He spoke about all listening and respecting each other perspectives. He spoke about the community having a respectful conversation and he hopes this is a step in this process.
Councillor Mazen noted that this is an important conversation about how we gather and about our intentions. He spoke about safety, visibility and back up. He spoke about dealing the specifics and not forgetting them for the bigger issues. He noted that this particular conversation was sparked by a specific event and vehicle but also reflects bigger issues.
Commissioner Burke commented that the past three weeks the police have fielded questions about all the issues of violence. He spoke about the Tank, also known as the “Bearcat,” a multipurpose rescue vehicle that was used and deployed at the Black Lives Matters rally. He will discuss what equipment the Police Department has and does not have, CPD staffing and training and specifics about the 10 July incident response. He spoke on the training provided on fair and impartial policing done by Deputy Super intent Elow. He spoke about the memo sent July 9th regarding various CPD training programs on the teenage brain, implicit violence, informed care and so forth. He spoke about how Cambridge Police is different from other department. He noted that the excess force complaints are low for the Cambridge Police Department and about diverse work force in the Police Department. He stated that Cambridge is ranked one of the most diverse; 44 officers speak 13 languages. The City's goal is to strengthen the language diversity in the department. The police participate in 100 specific neighborhood and regional committees, reflecting a lot of involvement in local and regional activities. Community Outreach is a high-level outreach service. He explained the Safety Net Collaborate and the other collaborative efforts with various departments by the Police Department that have helped significantly drop youth involvement in the judicial system. He stated that the multipurpose vehicle is not a tank; it looks a bit like one because it is armored. It does not have any weapons or a turret; it is multi-purpose rescue vehicle and has been on display at Danehy Park Day. It was explained how it would be used for threats for hazardous environments, not on patrol, and was acquired in September 2014. He stated that the police and the Fire Department receive training on hazardous materials. He explained that the bearcat used in the Orlando, Florida nightclub shooting helped people to escape to a safer situation and it is generally used to move people in and out of hazardous environments. This is equipment used for defensive situation. There is a battery ram attachment on the side of the machine, thermal imaging (which can find people in the dark), four wheel drive, rescue equipment and high clearance and is used by such people as President Obama, Vice President Biden and the Dalai Lama as part of their protection package during their visits to Cambridge. This vehicle used during significant snowstorms, the Boston Marathon, River fest and conveyances for doctors and nurses who could not get to hospitals or to their homes during bad snowstorm and at the Black Lives Matter rally.
Commissioner Burke stated that for the July 10 event to tailor the police response it would have been helpful to have more information about the Black Lives Matter rally ahead of time, which has been the case in the past. It was a Sunday and CPD did not know how to staff their response appropriately, somewhat mindful of overtime expenses. The police played a part to keep marchers and motorists safe. Bike officers are used also. There was a three-tiered police response for the July 10th rally. He was there in plain clothes and three other officers were on site in uniform, engaging with the protesters, explaining who they were and what CPD does. There was no communication between the police and the rally organizers before the rally. He stated that the July 7, 2016 rally in Dallas was a peaceful rally that ended in bloodshed. He explained that the equipment was stationed away from the Black Lives Matter event. He noted that time is critical in an aggressive situation so officers and equipment had to be staged in a reasonably local, though not overly intrusive, location. The goal was to provide a safe space for the rally. It was important for people to express their first amendment rights. He stated that the police were interacting and engaging with people at the rally and telling people who we are. He stated that 25 AR 15 rifles were obtained from the federal government and certification was required. These weapons were returned 2 years ago when CPD bought its own rifles. He spoke about militarization of police departments. Police when on duty are shot at with military equipment, vests and helmets of military caliber, and thus look military, are used for defensive purpose to keep personnel safe. He stated that 88 lives were saved by direct intervention from police officers; four were infants. He stated that the department does not advertise this and this is the most rewarding experience. He spoke about the decline of the overall crime in Cambridge for the 5th year in a row. The department’s demographics reflects the diversity of the City and that integration with the community is key.
Councillor Kelley stated that understanding the importance of the police training is important to the discussion.
Deputy Superintendent Elow stated that the police are working hard and committed to doing better. In 2009 procedural justice and legitimacy policy was developed as well as de-escalation training after a problematic high-profile arrest that CPD did not want to define the Department. There is more engagement focus versus enforcement. She stated that crisis intervention training is being done in the Police Department. The department has worked with youth and there is 70% reduction with youth in criminal justice system. She spoke about integration, mental health efforts, and the special investigation unit’s focus on overdose victims’ wellbeing rather than enforcement, working with community and connecting people to services and diverting them from the justice system. All CPD officers are trained in mental health first aid.
Stephanie Guirand wanted to open the communication to the most needed. She understands Cambridge is different from other places.
Deedee Delgado stated that she wanted to correct the record. She explained that she wanted to speak about the Black Lives Matter rally and that she was referred to Brian Corr and that he was acting as a liaison for the police department. He asked what the intention of the rally was. She stated that the newspapers stated that they were protesting. People walked 2 by 2. She stated that her conversation with Brian Corr was unpleasant and went poorly. The murders in LA and Dallas were brought up but not the senseless deaths of black individuals. We never heard from CPD about police shooting civilians and Black Lives Matter is willing to have a conversation that is happening in Somerville about the Banner at City Hall. She stated that national issues are not the same for Cambridge. She spoke about the high profile case. Cambridge does working with Boston police on things like Central Square safety and bar closings but Boston is in violation of law for field investigation report and the ACLU has raised concerns about BPD’s practices. She spoke about officers ticketing each incidents. She spoke about the demographics that is lost between the ages of 18-35. If the police say that they are well trained it is a closed statement and is not open to improvement. This is a one sided presentation on police work. Mental health and racial issues personnel should not be working in this environment. It bothers her that police departments will not speak out against other police department’s egregious actions.
Abe Lateiner stated that there are two different conversations here. Everyone agrees that Cambridge Police Department does a better job. The problem is if we are as good as it get what does this say about the institution of the police - it does not address equity. Police began as slave patrols and there has never been a break from this. Cambridge is no different from the rest of the country. Cambridge's anti-blackness is different; it is gentrification and he is a gentrifier, tracking in schools and so forth. He is looking at the institution of policing. He stated that the rally was to grieve the unjust murders of blacks and that a Bearcat had not place there. He stated that he feels the fear for the police department but policing is an invention, they are needed but are they needed as police officers. We will not move forward if we continue such an institution. He added that the Police Department does a great job, but the institution does not let the department do the best. He stated that there is data to show racial disparity in the institution.
Ms. Guirand commented that more policing in a community does not make the community safer, more resources do. There is less police in West Cambridge because there are more resources. The goal moving forward should be to decrease policing and increase resources. There have been incidents in the Port the goal should not be to police the community but to provide more resources in the hands for Cambridge projects. She spoke about challenges for the city. How do we get 18-35 year olds to graduate? The police playing basketball is great but their job is to criminalize and to arrest people. In 2009, the event where a black Harvard professor was arrested breaking into his house, would a white professor be arrested. How do we justify putting more police offices in situations where they are going to arrest people? She spoke about keeping the criminalization down. How do we get jobs, get people to graduate and buy homes and get scholarships for people who live in the projects? She spoke about the wealthy population who do not care for Cambridge. She stated that she wanted people who were born and raised in Cambridge to remain in Cambridge and to divert the resources to those who need it. She stated that body cameras will not solve the problem, will make things worse, perpetuating the cycle of crime. Policing is the problem, creating a world where young black men look like criminals and are treated as such. She stated that she has no issue with police, but her brothers and male friends do have issues. People who do not have jobs are criminalized. She encouraged the City to put forth resources for a summit for those aged 18-35 in an effort to support them.
Ms. Delgado asked about the military vehicle that was used in snow rescue. She asked if the city purchased this vehicle and was it shared and available to Boston when Kyzr Willis went missing for 7 hours. Commissioner Burke responded that Boston has their own equipment. Councillor Kelley explained that this was grant funded by homeland security and approved by the City Council. Ms. Delgado asked who made the decision to purchase equipment from homeland security. Councillor Kelley explained where the grant funding comes from and comes through homeland security. The City got a grant for a rescue vehicle that was from UAC and questions were asked by the City Council about the grant. Ms. Delgado expressed her concern with the July 10th incident and the deployment of this vehicle where militarily uniformed officers were deployed when there was a band and poets. If another rally were held for Black Lives Matter would you reconsidered deploying this vehicle. Commissioner Burke stated that there was a conversation with Brian Corr and the organizers so that plans could be made. He would be happy to have a conversation with the organizers. In contrast there will be a Black Lives Matter rally this weekend, their route is understood and appropriate staff was scaled back to meet their needs. If there is communication with police there are plans made regarding traffic and creating a safe environment. Ms. Delgado commented that Brian Corr should not be a peace officer because she had a 13-minute call with Brian about this rally. She wanted to know whom she should contact in the future. Deputy Superintendent Elow stated that she is the contact person.
Ms. Guirand spoke about why people cannot attend the rally. She asked if the police cannot attend or not be in uniform or stay at a safe space away. Commissioner Burke stated that Jill Rhone was his friend and a police officer and as a police officer, if he were not welcome to the event he would be hurt. He wanted to open the lines of communication and work with all.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that this has to be the first of other conversations. The more people can get together to talk, the better. He spoke about the interpretation of what the vehicle looks like to them. The community needs to know the policy and the decision-making policy of when and where deployment of personnel or equipment is made. This equipment and CDP staff are deployed at other events like the Dance Party in Central Square. This would be helpful to him. How do you balance the responsibility of the police to keep the community safe without creating an environment of hostility or fear? What is the process for the rally? Ms. Delgado stated that Black Lives Matter does not believe in permitting so they would not apply for a permit for their events.
Vice Mayor McGovern asked City Manager Rossi what is process. Mr. Rossi stated that in general, the City supports group that want to speak out and have their say but as a City the public’s safety is the major concern and there may be tension between the two issues. He stated that this was not the case in this instance. The issue is about the safety of the City and to keep the general order in the City. These decisions are not made lightly. Cambridge allows groups to speak out. He stated that these are uneasy times. Officers need to be available if someone wants to disrupt the rally or if the traffic is an issue.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that there should be connection with the organizers and police so that there is communication. The issues Ms. Guirand raised about schools and housing are often discussed at the City Council meetings and are on the Council’s agenda. He invited public to participate in the City Council meetings on Mondays.
Councillor Mazen stated that he was moved by the observations, ideas and solutions for displacement around housing. He spoke about the police being viewed in a different light, “serve and reach” rather than “protect and serve,” and it will take ground troops on all side: police, policy, civilians and a lot more resources. Deputy Superintendent Elow stated that there are caseworkers that are connecting people to services versus alternatives to arrest and CPD coordinates with other agencies on a one case/one caseworker basis. Councillor Mazen stated that the community issue and needs are greater than deployment or resources.
Councillor Devereux stated that the media explains that police are doing a different job in 2016. She stated that there are services at the Department of Human Services but CPD seems to be doing some of those tasks. The Police are changing and evolving and there are city departments that have programs.
Councillor Carlone stated that all in attendance care about this. All want to work to resolve the issues. The appearance of the vehicle he did not understand but does now. It is the elected officials that public should be upset with. He spoke about the budgeting that the City Council can help with.
Councillor Kelley opened public comment at 7:26pm.
Nancy Ryan, 3 Ashburton Place, presented ACLU report on the militarization of police and how dangerous this is (ATTACHMENT B). It has recommendations that the police should use when deploying equipment or personnel in a gathering such as that that took place on July 10, 2016. She stated that there is a gun problem in this country, the City and in the police department if there are AR 15 rifles in our police force. In LA, the police were beating people. She spoke about the location of the tank and the fact that it is all the same area to the residents. She stated that this was a chilling optical effect; it was destructive and destroyed the good feeling. Black Lives Matter members are called terrorist.
Naomi Dausa wondered why vehicle was in the neighborhood so she asked Commissioner. She felt there is a significant lack of communication and that CPD was figuring things out via Facebook. She stated that optics do matter. She stated that it was helpful to her to have police presence so that that she could ask. She stated that the Bearcat reinforced various positions of fear.
Susan Yanow stated that she has lived in Cambridge for 35 years and has never seen police come out in militarized gear and most of the attendees at the rally were white. The presence of police intimidates regardless of the color of one’s skin. She commended the police for the community policing work but stated that the trust was violated with the protective SWAT gear. She urged the police to think about the optics; it does matter.
Gerald Bergman stated that he protested when ranking police officers went to the Middle East to be trained. He stated that concerning the Gates arrest, then City Manager Healy suggested that the police did the right thing and that the defense with investigation has to change. He stated that he is afraid of the militarization of the police. If the police are afraid, this needs to be discussed because it is causing fear in the community. He stated that $50 million is spent on the police budget and $1 million is spent on equipment. We should talk more about those expenditures like we do with participatory budgeting.
Cathy Hoffman commented do Black Lives Matter is the question. It was raised in context; young and old black men were killed or left to die without medical attention and killed with no retribution. American was built on the wealth and slavery and changed by Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow as contrasted with the “super enfranchisement” of white people. She stated that the disenfranchised were labeled as dangerous. This rally was planned with poetry and praise for grief. This stereotype was fed. Work needs to be done. She submitted her comments (ATTACHMENT C).
James Williamson spoke of the irony of the police coming to a Black Lives Matter events and need for the presence of the swat team to protect police because of an incident in Dallas. This aspect needs to be addressed. He spoke about the cost of the tank and it was unknown. He spoke about pictures taken of police officers- are they really okay with that? He spoke about developing a model for community policing; it is unclear who is to do what. He stated that there is a potential conflict with Police Review Board as a liaison for the police. He would submit text for the record about police performance (ATTACHMENT D).
Richard Goldberg, a 35 resident, spoke about attending the Black Lives Matter rally. He stated that when he saw the presence of the police as a white person he felt threatened. How would a black person feel? He wanted the police not be defensive. He suggested looking at how the next Black Lives Matter rally can be better. This tank was a deficit; do not do this again.
Linda Jenkins asked about the time to tabulate the time taken by men to use progressive stack. The bearcat vehicle had a battering ram and 10 soldiers emerged. She hoped that there would be public conversation about homeland security or any other agency giving money to the City. Should would not want her five-year old grandson equating the police with the military.
Sherry Tucker explained to the Chair that clapping is a way to support what others are say. Mental health services are not given enough resources. She spoke about CHA eliminating its mental health emergency room. This is part of the way that the people are not being taken care of in the community. In 1970, she saw police marching down the street with tear gas; it was terrifying and it was terrifying at the rally. This was over action and she does not want the police militarized.
Eva Blythe, Executive Director, YWCA thanked the Black Lives Matter for this dialogue which cannot end today. She spoke about perception. She walked up Bishop Allen Drive on the day of the rally and when she saw the bearcat vehicle, she was afraid. She was looking for snipers and feeling like she was in danger because she associates that vehicle with fear. This was not the intention of the rally. She has raised three black men who were recipients of “the conversation” about how they would be treated and subjected differently than others in this population no matter what. In addition, black women are now being subjected to the same treatment. She stated that we want people not pushed out because of not being able to afford to stay in Cambridge. We cannot not continue this dialogue about making Cambridge a better place.
Peggy Barns Lenart stated that optics matters and stated that she was glad this discussion is happening. Safety is in one’s own hearts and minds. She wanted the continued demilitarizing of the community and more money for grass roots. She spoke about self-policing efforts. Maybe jump on board Somerville’s Black Lives Matter discussion and put our own sign up. She stated Yes Black Lives Matter and when Black Lives Matters all lives matter.
Councillor Kelley closed public comment at 8:00pm.
Ms. Delgado stated that we should not have to say all lives matter and that Black Lives Matter. Somerville is saying that they are afraid of Black Lives Matter. She wanted the conversation mobilized and was told nothing can be hung on Cambridge City Hall. There will be a peaceful rally tomorrow in Somerville. Ms. Guirand stated that Black Lives Matter is against violence. She further stated that Jill Rhone Park is also dedicated to two black men she knew. All are invited to rally.
A Rindge student spoke about community policing and how it works. This summer has seen conversation about community policing. She stated kids know the difference between a community police officer and a police officer assigned to a neighborhood.
Vice Mayor McGovern thanked all for attending and there will be more conversation that will lead to a better place.
Councillor Kelley added that this is the start of the conversation that has taken in the past. He wanted suggestions about how to move forward with this conversation. He spoke about people feeling marginalized by clapping that might make them unwilling to participate publically.
Ms. Guirand volunteered to plan a summit for young people.
Councillor Kelley stated that he would discuss with the Mayor about how to move this forward.
Councillor Kelley thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 8:08pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair
Committee Report #3
The Ordinance Committee, comprised of the entire membership of the City Council, held a public hearing on Aug 31, 2016 beginning at 3:04pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to conduct a public hearing on a zoning petition by Healthy Pharms, Inc., to amend Section 20.700 Medical Marijuana Overlay Districts by creating an additional Medical Marijuana Overlay District (MMD-4). The new MMD-4 District would be coterminous with the Business B and Office 3 Districts that are within the Harvard Square Overlay District. The petition would also establish as criteria specific to the MMD-4 District that permissible dispensaries must be retail only (with no cultivation), must be set back from the sidewalk by a minimum of 15 feet and be appropriately shielded from public view, must be less than 10,000 square feet in size, are preferably located in areas with access to pedestrian and public transportation, and may be 250 feet, instead of the standard 500 feet, distant from a school, daycare center, preschool or afterschool facility or any facility in which children commonly congregate, or closer only if it is determined by the Planning Board to be sufficiently buffered such that users will not be adversely impacted by the operation of the dispensary.
Present at the hearing were Councillor Carlone and Councillor Cheung, Co-Chairs of the Committee; Councillor Devereux; Councillor Mazen; Vice Mayor McGovern; Mayor Simmons; Arthur Goldberg, Deputy City Solicitor; Stuart Dash, Director, Community Planning, Community Development Department (CDD); Swaathi Joseph, Assistant Planner, CDD; and Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk.
Also present were Nathaniel Averill, Healthy Pharms, 30 Victor Street; Paul Overgaag, 22 Milton Street, Somerville; Nicole Snow, 190 Bridge Street, Salem; Valerio Romano, Attorney for the petitioner, 109 State Street, Boston; Denise Jillson, Executive Director, Harvard Square Business Association; and John Hawkinson, 2 Clinton St.
Councillor Cheung convened the hearing and explained the purpose. He stated that the hearing is being audio and video recorded. He outlined the format of the hearing.
At this time Councillor Cheung requested that the petitioner to come forward.
A presentation was given by Attorney Romano on behalf of the petitioners (ATTACHMENT A). Attorney Romano stated that he is also the Compliance Officer for Healthy Pharms, Attorney Romano stated that a lot of work has gone into this program.
Mr. Paul Overgaag, 22 Milton Street, Somerville stated that he is a business owner in Harvard Square and that he owns 10 Eliot and 98 Winthrop Street. He informed the committee that he has a liquor and restaurant license with the City. Mr. Overgaag stated that he was one of the 188 initial applicants for a Medical Marijuana dispensary. He stated that he was awarded a provisional certificate from the state. He stated that he is currently building a 40,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility in Georgetown and anticipates planting seeds and that the dispensary will be open in March 2017.
Nat Averill, stated that his background is in pharmaceutical manufacturing. He stated that he has been on the design start-up team and he has managed three large facilities. He gave an overview of additional members on the Healthy Pharms team.
Attorney Romano stated that Healthy Pharms has a citizen petition for a map and text zoning change. He spoke about the production of medical cannabis and that it is more like biotech and is more than growing and selling cannabis. This is about producing consistent quality medicine for patients. He stated that the process is more complex than it was in the past. Mr. Overgaag has an organic farm, the Red House Farm, which provides food to his restaurant. He spoke about the experience and the intersection of the team for opening an RMD in the Commonwealth. He spoke about the collection of data for the dispensing of medical marijuana and which strains and dosage of cannabis is effective. He stated that the data collection can be monumental for the roll out of the medical marijuana program in this country. Attorney Romano stated that the zoning petition is only for dispensing medical marijuana. Healthy Pharms was approved in the 2013-2014 application process. Twelve groups were approved by the state and Healthy Pharms was one. The application process was opened again in 2015 and Healthy Pharms submitted another application and now in the third phase of the process. He stated that Heathy Pharms would like to submit a citing profile to the State with a letter of support or non-opposition if the zoning is approved. He noted that 79% of the voters in Cambridge voted in support of medical marijuana in 2012 in Massachusetts. He explained that Harvard Square will provide more dispensing opportunities to more patients than any other location in the Commonwealth, with the exception of downtown Boston. He stated that the Winthrop Street location will offer better patient access and will help more patients. He spoke about the benefits to Cambridge to locate the dispensary in Harvard Sq. Healthy Pharms, as a partner, will give back to the community by hiring locally, giving to local charities and paying property taxes. Healthy Pharms will provide consistent and quality medicine to their patients. He noted that the cornerstone of the program is to help people.
He stated that only the existing Red House door on Winthrop Street will change. He explained that the dispensary would be in the back of The Red House and the restaurant and patio will remain. The Red House is set back nineteen feet from the street and will only take ten feet of frontage of the restaurant/street scape. This is an ideal location to house a medical marijuana dispensary. He informed the committee that Massachusetts has strict signage rules. There will be professional staff. There is no change to the current patio. He had a sketch of the floor plan. The patient access will be in the back of building. The dispensary and the patient access will be in the back of the dining room in the hallway. The front character of the streetscape will not be changed. He spoke about the regulation regarding the location of a RMD proximity to schools or other facility where children congregate. He stated that Lutheran Universal Church has a Sunday school located 300 feet from the facility. He had a meeting with the church officials and they provided a letter of non- opposition to the citing of the RMD. The Lutheran Church had no opposition to the Healthy Pharms petition. He spoke about the 500 feet regulation which is arbitrary as noted by the Planning Board. He gave examples where the 500 feet requirement has been eliminated. Attorney Romano stated that the analysis used for this petition is hybrid and stems from a memo from Community Development and the recommendation of the Planning Board. He spoke about the zoning factors including allowed uses, public safety, and the buffer from sensitive uses issue. He stated that Planning Board recommendation stated that 250 feet reduction is appropriate. The Planning Board suggested elimination of the language regarding access to public transportation from the petition because all of Harvard Square has access.
Attorney Romano spoke about the urban character and how to mitigate any negative effect. He stated that the Planning Board recommendation suggested eliminating the set back from the petition. He noted that the petitioner does not object to this elimination. He stated that the Special Permit factors for RMD's were reviewed by the Planning Board and all can be addressed in the special permit process and not through zoning. He spoke about the proposed MMD-4 map. He stated that the Harvard Square Business Association supported this petition. He stated that a super majority of the association supported the location of a medical marijuana in Harvard Square. In conclusion Attorney Romano requested that the Ordinance Committee refer the petition to the full City Council for adoption.
Councillor Mazen asked the petitioner about how the corporate structure works; how do investors get paid back. Attorney Romano stated that this is a Chapter 180 non-profit under Massachusetts law, but the IRS has denied 501C3 status to medical marijuana dispensaries because it is a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance. He stated that there is no equity in non-profit. He stated that in this instance it is promissory notes for people who loan money. He stated that Healthy Pharms has funded this with their own money.
Councillor Mazen stated that this is a life style and medicinal incentive benefit.
Councillor Carlone asked about the front room in the restaurant that does not have tables; has it become an office. Mr. Overgaag stated that this needs to be approved by ISD for a special use. The intent is to enter the front from the left side of the fireplace from the bar and the code requires it be 30 inches and the code does not allow a reduction for the egress. He explained that a variance is required. Councillor Carlone encouraged keeping an active restaurant front. He asked how the exterior is being overseen. Attorney Romano spoke about the security regulations required by the state. He stated that the site is limited to where cameras can be located, but the site will cameras around the exterior and will have a security agent watching the site and keeping it safe. Councillor Carlone asked what the projected operational hours are. Attorney Romano stated that this is subjected by the Planning Board. It is easier to expand hours and more difficult to contract. The intent is to be open seven days a week.
Councillor Devereux asked how the back space can accommodate the security that is needed for the patients. She asked how many employees will work in the building. Attorney Romano explained that multi patients can be in the space at the same time. He spoke about the security check in at entry and then patients will be moved to a seating area. He stated that the Healthy Pharms will work with the Planning Board about the lay out. Mr. Overgaag responded that there will be three cash register employees; three sales consultant; one security manager for a total of eight employees for each of the three shifts. Mr. Averill stated that office space will be used from upstairs. Councillor Devereux stated that the area seems tight to her.
At this time Councillor Cheung requested City staff to come forward.
Stuart Dash and Swaathi Joseph from CDD came forward. Mr. Dash stated that the Planning Board recommendation is before the Ordinance Committee (ATTACHMENT B). Ms. Joseph summarized the points of the Planning Board meeting. The Planning Board was in support of the petition. In section 20.705.2 regarding the fifteen feet set back the Planning Board was not in support because Harvard Square has a built character and this will be a limiting factor. In section D of 20.705.2 access to public transportation the Planning Board felt that there is no need to repeat this because of the transportation in Harvard Square. She further stated that the Planning Board suggested considering a city-wide proposal for medical marijuana districts in response to the state changes that no longer limits the number of dispensaries allowed.
Councillor Carlone stated that the Planning Board report is well written. He stated that this location and proposal make sense. He questioned how many MMD should be located in Cambridge. He stated that the City Council needs a report because these dispensaries are being done one at a time without an overall policy. He stated that there is a need for dispensaries in commercial and industrial areas. He stated that the analysis is good on the issues.
Councillor Devereux asked if CDD considered the proximity to open space. She stated that Winthrop Park is across the street. Mr. Dash stated that the map attached mapped out proximity to parks, schools, parks with water play and buffers. She spoke about the inability to control people lingering within 100 feet. Mr. Dash stated that Winthrop Park does not have a park, tot lot or a water feature.
At this time Councillor Cheung read into the record the statement received by Councillor Kelley (ATTACHMENT C).
Councillor Cheung stated that he agreed with the Planning Board recommendation regarding the set back and the transportation issue. He spoke about a motion to amend based on the Planning Board recommendation. He spoke about keeping the restaurant frontage of the Red House and he is pleased that this part of the site remains a restaurant in Harvard Square. He stated that a few petitions have been received on medical marijuana in the City. He stated that there are reputable non-profits that have been created to recoup their investment and there are some that are not reputable. He still wanted the petitions for medical marijuana dispensaries to come before the City Council to ensure that the petitioners are reputable. He wants the City Council to be the intermediary for the City. This petitioner is engaged and involved in the City and this is the type of partner the City wants. He did want an overarching framework developed for medical marijuana dispensaries in the City, but did not want it taken out of the purview of the City Council.
Councillor Devereux asked if an area was rezoned in an area where this is allowed how the City Council will be involved. The City Council has not yet approved an applicant for a RMD in the area zoned for this use. Councillor Cheung stated that if this is zoned where a RMD is allowed this would take it out of the hands of the City Council. He spoke about a city-wide zoning for this use. He did not want to hold up this applicant.
Councillor Devereux stated that a registered non-profit would not be able to sell medical marijuana in the same location as recreational marijuana. Attorney Romano responded that here there is a special permit process. He explained that in Framingham there is no special permit process. He stated that if one gets a letter of support they can go apply for a building permit. He explained that Healthy Pharms special permit will state that it is for the medical use of marijuana. He stated that a non-profit cannot sell recreational marijuana. The use of the special permit will be for a registered medical marijuana dispensary.
Councillor Carlone stated that this is based on the assumption that it would be easy to sell legal marijuana or would you be precluded to sell recreational marijuana. An entity would be favored to sell medical marijuana with a similar track record. Attorney Romano stated that this will not be an easy process because there will be a cannabis control commission. At this time because it requires a special permit for medical marijuana
At 4:00pm Councillor Cheung opened the meeting to public comment.
Nicole Snow, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance the group that passed question three in 2012 and implements the program that the patients wished to be served by. She recorded support for the petition that expands access in Cambridge. She attended the Planning Board hearing and had patients speak about access issues. She stated that there is zero impact to the community and the building for the location in Harvard Square. She stated that patients do not need to identify themselves and their privacy is being maintained in this location.
No one else appeared.
Public comment was closed at 4:04pm on motion by Vice Mayor McGovern.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that he fully supported medical marijuana dispensaries in the City. The City Council needs to develop a better system to site these facilities.
Councillor Cheung wanted more discussions for potential petitions on the siting of medical marijuana dispensaries around the City. He liked the direct control and insight of these facilities coming into the City.
Councillor Carlone asked about the legality about future ownership and changes, how is this handled by the State. Attorney Romano stated that the RMD registration is not transferrable in the State.
Councillor Cheung asked about the fee of the host community. He stated that the consensus of the City Council was asking that fees be directed to those who need the medicine. The focus was for access for low income residents rather than going back to the City because health insurance does not cover this service. We need to do this before passage. Attorney Romano stated those in need will have access to needed medicine and will not be denied because of financial hardship. Those in need will not be turned away.
Vice Mayor McGovern moved the petition be referred to the full City Council with a favorable recommendation.
The motion carried on a voice vote of five members.
Councillor Cheung thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 4:12pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair
Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chair
Committee Report #4
The Ordinance Committee, comprised of the entire membership of the City Council, held a public hearing on Tues, Aug 23, 2016 beginning at 3:14pm in the Sullivan Chamber. This hearing was originally scheduled as a joint public hearing between the Ordinance Committee and the Health & Environment Committee but due to lack of quorum for the Health & Environment Committee, said hearing was solely conducted by the Ordinance Committee.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss a zoning petition by the City Council to amend Article 22.000 by creating a new Section 22.80 entitled Urban Agriculture to establish zoning regulations for the operation and establishment of urban Agriculture activities and also to provide framework for the siting, upkeep, and any modification of Urban Agriculture activity that address public safety and minimizes impacts on residents in the City of Cambridge.
Present at the hearing were Councillor Leland Cheung, Councillor Dennis Carlone, Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, Councillor Jan Devereux, Vice Mayor Marc McGovern, Stuart Dash, Director of Community Planning, Liza Paden, Land Use and Zoning Project Planner, Ellen Kokinda, Assistant Planner, Community Development Department (CDD), Claude Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer, Sam Lipson, Director of Environmental Health, Kari Sasportas, Environmental Health Specialist, Cambridge Public Health Department, Vali Buland, First Assistant City Solicitor, and Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk.
Also present were Dawna Carrette, Mel Gadd, Peter McCarthy, Susan and Bob Filene, Michael Higgins, Sandra Fairbank, George Mocray, Brian Sherman, Nita Sembrowich, Jeff Murray and Gabriel Prado.
Councillor Cheung convened the hearing and gave an overview of the agenda for the hearing (Attachment A). He stated that this is a continuation of work that began last term when he chaired the Health & Environment Committee looking at urban agriculture and how Cambridge is following the footsteps of Boston, Somerville and others in terms of thinking of how to allow residents to do urban agriculture and to start to look at some of the complexities such as freight farms. He stated that Councillor Devereux is continuing this work. He noted that since there has been a lot of thought and ongoing meetings within CDD around urban agriculture, it would be beneficial to check in with what the City of Cambridge is working on regarding urban agriculture.
Stuart Dash stated that there is an unusual combination for discussion today. He stated that the petition before the committee is a petition submitted by Councillor Cheung that reflects some of the discussion that has been taking place about bringing urban agriculture fully into Cambridge. (Attachment B). He said that petition dated June 27, 2016 structures the ordinance in a way similar to Boston and Somerville with looking at a size of operation for farms, provides the definitions that would be required to provide for urban agriculture and provides for the use of design guidelines for structures that are necessary for such operation. He said that the City of Cambridge has been actively working putting together a similar ordinance but structured quite a bit differently. They are working with the Department of Public Health and a few other City departments to talk best on how to bring in the varied elements of urban agriculture into the city in a way that works out for the safety for residents, best use of stakeholders and for the comfortable and reasonable regulation of the operations that are necessary for each of these elements. He asked Ms. Kokinda to structure the work that has been done up to this point and then handing off to Kari from the Cambridge Department of Public Health to give an update on the work they have been doing.
Ellen Kokinda and Kari Sasportas gave an overview of a PowerPoint presentation (Attachment C). She stated that the committee also has materials regarding the draft Cambridge Public Health Regulations for Beekeeping (Attachment D) and the draft Cambridge Public Health Department for the Keeping of Hens (Attachment E).
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that regarding the Bee Ordinance, he is very pleased that this will be an ongoing process with more opportunities to participate in this discussion. He said that some people who he spoke with were adamant that there is little research to suggest that honey bees pass diseases onto humans. He said that they felt that the proper information was not passed along to the public. He stated that many people who keep bees in Cambridge are not people who are trying to make their livelihood on making honey. He said that although he knows that there is a need for some sort of permitting, he is worried that it will deter people from wanting to do this. He stated that his understanding is that Boston, San Francisco and other larger cities that have Beekeeping Ordinances do not have a permitting process and certainly not one that looks like this. He stated that he looks forward to further conversation in this regard. Ms. Sasportas responded that honey bees are not known to transmit diseases directly. She said the concern would be vectors that transmit disease, namely mosquitoes. She said that honey bees do require fresh water daily and they are aiming to prevent the standing water situation that would serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could transmit diseases. She said that as it relates to the permitting, some of the points that they heard from people surrounded bee stings and allergies to bee stings so they want to be mindful of that from a public health perspective. Vice Mayor McGovern stated that language is important so when the language suggests that bees can transmit disease to humans it is important to clean up the language. He said that in terms of the permitting piece, we want to ensure that we are putting oversight in place but added that the educational piece is important as well. He stated that he would like to create some information that the beekeeper can give out to abutters and neighbors because there are a lot of misconceptions about bees. He said that this will ease some of the concerns of the neighbors. He stated that this has taken a long time and he receives calls from people who say that a neighbor complained about their hives and now they are getting threatened with a $300 fine. He said that while this is being figured out, he would like to think about some kind of stay to be put in place while this is being fleshed out. He said he does not want people threatened with $300.00 per day fines until this is figured out.
Councillor Devereux stated that she applauds the work of the Task Force. She stated that philosophically she is behind this but in thinking about the many different types of e-mails she receives as a City Councillor, it is hard to have the City inspecting hen houses and bee hives. She stated that she thinks about the issues that will result in e-mails to the City Council. She said that she is a little more inclined to take the time that the Task Force and staff feel is appropriate to get this right. She said that notice to abutters with an application is required and since lots tend to be small, do you consider abutters of abutters also as being worthy of notice. She stated that the value to a permitting process is that it connotes that it is an important responsibility. As it relates to fines, she asked if $25 for a first offense is comparable to other cities and towns. She said that she feels that this amount is low. She asked how we arrived at those fines. She stated that it is great that the Cambridge Department of Public Health is the permitting, enforcement and inspection agency for this and she questioned if there is staff or would a new person need to be hired. Councillor Devereux stated that she wants to ensure that appropriate resources are available. Ms. Sasportas responded that in terms of fines, the fee structure is spelled out by State statute and cannot be changed. She noted that in terms of notice to abutters, any time there is a plan review for a public health regulation, there is the opportunity for the public to voice concerns. Ms. Kokinda explained that part of the work that is being done with the best practices because not everything is considered a regulation and you will not necessarily see all the nuances. Councillor Devereux stated that a broader net for notice would be beneficial.
Councillor Carlone stated that he appreciates the overview of the City’s effort in looking at all the issues. He said that clearly the new school building on Putnam Avenue has an outdoor garden. He asked if they looked at minimum yard sizes or are beginning to think about how to say where you should and should not do it. He asked what is the thinking as far as residential zones. Could it be any zone as long as the rules are followed or does it have to be a certain square foot residential site? He asked how other places determine this? Ms. Kokinda stated that what makes this complex is that for every use or activity there is a different way that you can thing about it. She said that one would think about chickens very differently than one would about beekeeping or freight farm. She stated that as there is a draft for the public to review, they want to have those intentions, understanding and rationale for how we think about Cambridge. She stated that regarding other cities and policies, Boston is very commercial focused while Somerville is more residential. She noted that Cambridge has a mix. She stated that this is a question that comes up for every topic identified. Councillor Carlone said that this could be the most complex zoning in the city.
Councillor Cheung stated that he shares concerns about getting it right. He stated that there will always be commentary about suggested changes. He stated that he started this process two years ago and it has been more than four years since Somerville put in place their ordinance. He stated that Somerville and Boston have great models and he would rather get something going. He asserted that he is eager to put something in place and then revise as necessary. He stated that this is a complex issue with many nuances. He stated that that he is not married to any of the language or structure of the draft ordinance that he submitted, stating that he would like community feedback on that. He stated that the clock is running.
Councillor Carlone noted that while he agrees with Councillor Cheung, he would like to know what districts are allowed and what is the point in which they are not allowed. He stated that it is different than anything else in the city. He added that it is not as complex in regards to basic principles and overview.
Councillor Cheung stated that the zoning map is a puzzle and stated that he would like areas where we are confident that they will be successful although there will be some boundary condition.
Councillor Devereux asked if it is possible to look at the issues of hens, bees and plants independently.
Mr. Dash replied that the Task Force expects to have the fuller package together. He stated that his expectation is that this will be before the City Council sometime around the first of the new year.
Public Comment began at 4:03pm.
Dawna Carrette, Small Property Owners Association, stated that there are concerns about people using roofs for these purposes and the liability around that. She stated that roof decks are very expensive. She spoke of the potential fatality of someone falling from the roof. She stressed that height safety must be taken very seriously. She said that Boston had an uptick in lead in compost. She stated that she does not know how people can test compost to see if it going to be good for growing food. She stated that she is recovering from a bee sting and she is concerned about the bees. She said that a lot of people have Epi Pens and she is concerned about that. She noted that another concern is the smell of manure attracting rodents.
Mel Gadd, long time beekeeper, stated that he runs a major beekeeping program out of Drumlin Farm. He stated that it would be nice if something could get done by the first of the year. He advised that the start of the beekeeping season is really March and April. He stated that there is a need for education about bees. He stated that there is an educational component that needs to take place.
Peter McCarthy, owner of Evoo Restaurant in Kendall Square. Said that he would love to see more community gardens. He stated that they are supportive at the restaurant. He said that they have a rooftop garden that they utilize for herbs and would love this done so people in the community can take part in this program and then sell to restaurants such as his.
George Mokray, 218 Franklin Street, stated that he has spent time with people working on Food Solutions New England. He stated that there are regional, state and local plans for food in the future. He stated that he does not see rabbits, vermiculture and insect growing for food, and permaculture in relationship to urban heat island effects. He stated that he does an occasional list on city agriculture and there are an amazing number of developments that are happening around city agriculture around the world.
Jeff Murray stated that he has been a beekeeper in Cambridge for over 40 years. He said that he has specializes in observation hives. He explained that he currently has two hives in Boston Schools right inside the classroom year round. He said that he also has one at the Boston Nature Center and one at Wheelock College. He explained that the yearly death rate for bee stings is 52. He said that the chance is 1 in 6 million of dying from bee sting. He said that bees are not aggressive animals. He said that they provide us with pollination of many of the foods that we eat. He mentioned that bees are wild animals so the idea that you will have a beehive for your garden is not realistic. He mentioned that many cities have opened up to urban agriculture such as Paris and London and said that Cambridge should become a world-class city in this vein.
Gabriel Prado stated that his understanding relating to outdoor agriculture as a business model within a city is inefficient if you are doing it in terms of commercial yield. He noticed that there is a big emphasis on outdoor agriculture within Cambridge and asked if there is any consideration for indoor agriculture as a means to extend the grow season and a more efficient use of fresh water and removing the need of herbicides and pesticides. He asked how the issue of lead levels, contaminated soil and the inefficient of fresh water would be addressed. He asked if the emphasis would be more on personal consumption or selling to local vendors.
George Mokray stated that he wonders about the relationship between biotech and food. He stated that Cambridge has become a center for interest in soil carbon sequestration to ameliorate or reverse climate change. He said that there are things that can be done to take carbon out of the air.
Public comment closed at 4:21pm on the motion of Councillor Carlone.
Councillor Devereux stated that she recently visited a rooftop garden in Kendall Square. She asked if we are thinking about how to create incentives with developers who are essentially creating new land on the roof of new buildings which could create new farm to table rooftop gardens. She asked how Somerville handles multi-family housing as it relates to working through who the owner of a property is. Mr. Dash responded that they put in some incentives for rooftop gardens but more in the green roof vein. He stated that this hasn’t been discussed as part of this process. Kari Sasportas stated that in terms of multi-family units, the Public Health permitting regulations are written that the owners will be the applicant. She explained that if an applicant is not the property owner, they would need landlord’s signature for approval. She added that if a tenant moves, the Public Health Department must be notified with a contingency plan in place for removal to prevent abandonment.
Councillor Carlone stated that new apartment buildings have a requirement for open space and there are alternatives of how we look at open space. He said that one of those requirements can/should be a community garden for residents or maybe the neighborhood. As it relates to the carbon issue, he said that we all know that we want to get carbon out of the air and that is exactly what some of this will do. He said the more gardening with crops in particular, the better. He stated that Hillary Clinton suggested that restaurants in New York get their vegetables from upstate NY where the farmers were having a difficult time selling their wares. He said that this started a revival in farming in upstate NY. He stated that some language could be suggested in the zoning which could be the second or third phase of planning when discussing open space.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that notifying abutters is different than getting permission from abutters. He said that this is just notification, not asking for permission. Ellen Kokinda answered in the affirmative.
Councillor Cheung asked if it is feasible to get the draft this year. Mr. Dash responded that it could be possible but it depends on other zoning that CDD is working on. Councillor Cheung stated that even if it is rolled out incrementally, he would rather get this before the City Council sooner rather than later with the anticipation that revisions will need to be made. Mr. Dash commented that this is a reasonable notion.
Councillor Chung made the motion that the matter remain in committee. The motion passed on a voice vote.
Councillor Cheung thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 4:31pm.
For the Committee,
Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Co-Chair
Councillor Leland Cheung, Co-Chair
Committee Report #5
The Housing Committee held a public hearing on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 beginning at 5:30pm in the Sullivan Chamber to continue the public discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and the Affordable Housing Trusts’ recommendations to the City Council.
Present at the hearing were Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair; Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Co-Chair; Councillor David Maher; Councillor Dennis Carlone; Councillor Nadeem Mazen; Lisa Peterson, Deputy City Manager; Chris Cotter, Housing Director; Jeff Roberts, Project Planner, Community Development Department; Nancy Glowa, City Solicitor; Vali Buland, First Assistant City Solicitor; Neal Alpert, Chief of Staff to Mayor Simmons; and Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk.
Also present were Susan Schlesinger, Cheryl-Ann Pizza-Zeoli, Peter Daly and Florrie Darwin, members of the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust; Sarah Kennedy, Director of Government Affairs, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce; Jon Trementozzi; Margo Sulmont; Alexandra Lee; Robin Lapidus, Executive Director, Central Square Business Association; Tom Martignetti; Tom O’Brien; Tom Sullivan; Anthony Galluccio; David Hall; Bill Kane; Jack Englert; Elaine DeRosa; Amy Witherbee; George F. Welch Jr.; Robert Winters; Lee Farris; Patrick Barrett; Reid Joseph; David Hall; Joe McGuire; Rich McKinnon; Sarah Gallop, Co-director Office of Government and Community Relations, MIT; and Sherry Tucker.
Mayor Simmons convened the hearing and read a prepared opening statement. (Attachment A)
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that in terms of process, it is the Committee’s intent to move something out of the Housing Committee at the Aug 30, 2016 meeting which will then go to the Ordinance Committee for another series of meetings. He said that the final decision will not happen Aug 30, 2016. He stated that he looks forward to the discussion.
Sarah Kennedy, Director of Government Affairs, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, introduced Jon Trementozzi and Margo Sulmont. She stated that the Chamber represents a wide variety of business types including land owners and developers. She stated that they will present to the Committee three valuable case studies that have been compiled from conversations with stakeholders, landowners and developers. She explained that this peer review and developer perspective was important to conduct an analysis of the Rosen Report commissioned by the City. She said that this gave the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, The Central Square Business Association and the Kendall Square Association the opportunity to offer this contingency of their memberships a meaningful avenue with which to weigh in on the policy proposals. They want the Inclusionary Housing Program to be successful and therefore continued dialogue with the City Council and the Community Development Department should be productive. She stated that they want to ensure that the analysis and communications are fully informed. She introduced Mr. Jon Trementozzi.
Mr. Trementozzi, Land Wise, stated that Land Wise is a real estate advisory firm based in Massachusetts. He stated that Land Wise works with projects related to planning, development and land use economics. He said that they work with a broad cross-section of client types such as cities, counties, non-profits, higher ed developers and land owners. They have been reviewing the Inclusionary Housing policy, the study performed by Rosen and trying to get a sense of how they think the policy will play out over time. He gave an overview of the Cambridge Inclusionary Housing Study Peer Review + Developer Perspective. (Attachment B). He stated that it is their recommendation that the IHP percentage to a maximum of 15% Cambridge wide and revisit on a regular basis to adjust up or down to reflect market conditions with additional recommendations of grandfathering residential projects that have begun the permitting process, phasing in of IHP requirement, development of additional offsets to allow more projects to tap into the density bonus program and working with developers to draft a three-bedroom unit requirement with offsets.
Councillor Carlone stated that if he understands this analysis correctly, the Return on Equity Comparison chart states that a 4-5 story building is the most profitable housing construction. Mr. Trementozzi answered in the affirmative. Councillor Carlone stated that this tells him that it should be something we are encouraging if we want to keep costs down and neighborhoods want development that is more in scale.
Regarding Historical Land Sale Transactions, Councillor Carlone asked if each dot represents one project? Mr. Trementozzi answered in the affirmative. He said that it is a small sample size but the committee will hear from others that this bears out what people are experiencing in the market.
Councillor Carlone asked Mr. Trementozzi if he agrees that zoning dictates land value which is something that the City controls. Mr. Trementozzi answered in the affirmative. Mr. Trementozzi stated that they did not make any assumptions about changing the zoning and kept that consistent with the Rosen Report.
Mayor Simmons then invited members of the Community Development Department for their input. Chris Cotter stated that at the last Housing Committee meeting there was discussion about taking the Affordable Housing Trust’s recommendations and beginning to think about a petition to advance some of those into zoning. The Committee asked CDD to put together some ideas and notes on those recommendations in a more simplified form than the lengthy AHT recommendations. He stated that a memo dated Aug 11, 2016 responds to what CDD heard as desired next steps. (Attachment C). He stated that this is designed to give the Housing Committee a good framework in which to look at the different components of the changes that have been discussed. Mr. Cotter gave an overview of the Memorandum.
Mayor Simmons then invited the members of the Affordable Housing Trust for their input. Susan Schlesinger thanked the Committee for moving the process forward. She stated that the AHT strongly support the recommendations and resolution to some of the issues that Mr. Cotter discussed. She stated that she is hopeful about being able to have the flexibility to look at 20% of square footage rather than 20% of units. They recognize that that will result in fewer affordable units but they feel that the 2 and 3-bedroom family size units are critical to the community and it is worth the tradeoff. They are working to figure out exactly how that tradeoff will work. She stated that everyone has been talking about the importance of 2-3 bedroom units and within the constraints of an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, she feels that is the first real concrete thing that can help move that goal forward.
Peter Daly stated that new some recommendations deal with vacant buildings. He said that although there are not a lot of those in Cambridge, when we do have them they should be covered by this ordinance. He stated that the AHT understands from the Law Department that that this is a legitimate conclusion. Regarding the data received from the Rosen Report, he said that it is probably about one-year-old. He said that since that time we can all agree that the housing market has increased significantly, both in rentals and sales. He stated that if the report was done using today’s data, it would be higher than the 20%. He stated that 20% is the right number.
Cheryl-Ann Pizza-Zeoli said that the set-aside percentage has not been increased since the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance was enacted in 1998. She said that since 1990, the number of households in the 50%-80% income range has declined by 49%. She stated that this why we are here today.
In conclusion, Ms. Schlesinger stated that the AHT wants to see this move forward as quickly as possible. She stated that there has been great and detailed discussion and she is happy to hear that this will move forward to ordinance form. She offered the assistance of the AHT.
Public comment at 6:22pm.
Alexandra Lee, Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association, read from a prepared statement. (Attachment D)
Robin Lapidus, Executive Director, Central Square Business Association, stated that the CSBA is supportive of the topic as it relates to creating housing and especially affordable housing in Central Square, Cambridge and the region. She stated that the CSBA feels strongly that the Land Wise proposal outlines many of their concerns about creating housing, particularly affordable and 3-bedroom units and family housing in Central Square. She stated that Central Square has not seen any significant housing since the mid-2000s. She said that an inordinate amount of time was spent putting together the C2 Report which really is about unlocking the potential in Central Square and creating housing. She said that the C2 Committee recommended that new zoning include strong incentives for developers to create affordable housing for middle-income households and that new housing continue to comply with the City’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance which requires inclusion of units that are affordable to low and moderate income households.
Tony Martignetti advised caution and thoughtfulness in the drafting of the proposed housing ordinance. He stated that since 1975, his brother and his partner have been pleased to be part of the Cambridge community. He stated that over the last 42 years they have owned and operated Faces, the Cambridge Gateway Inn and Lanes and Games. He said that they have taken great financial risks and worked hard to serve the customers and the community. He said that three years ago, he came to a basic agreement with Criterion Development Partners and signing a final agreement in February of 2016. They feel that the agreement would transition the property to a higher and better use. He said that they partnered with Criterion Development Partners who have shown that they are willing to work with the City in order to produce a successful project with attention to all needs. He stated that it would be most satisfying to exit that the years of hard work and faith in the future would be realized by a successful project that would be economically viable and serve the needs of the community.
Tom O’Brien, The HYM Investment Group, stated that he wants the Committee to understand that he has been a developer of market rate housing and has also served as a government official as the Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in the 1990s. He also served as a Board Member of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency. He stated that from a professional perspective, the creation of housing has been a significant part of his life’s work. He said that the Committee has done a lot of work on the issue. He stated that he is anxious thinking about the potential increase up to 20%. He stated that 2020 is a large building recently completed at Northpoint. He stated that the building is a 355 unit building that was completed in the summer of 2015. He said that they are in the midst of trying to conduct the lease up building. He said that it has been successful but not a smashing success. He said that if they run the math, if the affordable unit requirement on the building had been up from 11.5% to 20%, the math would not work in the investment climate of today. He stated that he does not believe that the building could be invested in and that the building could be developed. He said that the key thing when considering the ordinance is to understand the implication that 19% of 0 is potentially 0. He added that they have developed a number of buildings in Boston and are about to begin another 700 units of housing in Boston in a number of projects. He said that between 2010 and 2014, the Greater Boston region added 67,000 new households but in that same period of time, only 15,000 new units of housing were added. He said that only about 22% of those households that were formed were satisfied with new units of housing. He said that this is the problem. He stated that the region has to recognize that there are a variety of forces that have pushed this issue upon us. He said that the bottom line is that we are not building enough housing at all levels.
Tom Sullivan, President of the Development Division, DivcoWest, thanked the Committee for its work. He thanked Councillor Carlone for his observation that zoning creates land value. He stated that similarly, zoning can destroy or eliminate land value and that is the central point that is his issue. He stated that they bought North Point one year ago and the ownership entity is DivcoWest with major investors. He stated that their investors are two teachers’ pension funds. They are long-term owners with the focus of creating long-term success and value in the property from both an investment and community standpoint. He said that they have designed a great public realm. He stated that their objective is to build North Point as rapidly as possible. He stated a neutrally constructed working relationship is essential. He stated that regarding the impact of the proposed change on North Point were it to take effect immediately, he said that North Point is a mixed-use project. This means that to make it work there must be the ability to build all the uses.
Anthony Galluccio stated that he was part of the City Council when the Community Development Department recommended the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. He stated that it is the pipeline for new units. He stated that the City just acquired a piece of land on Concord Avenue for $10 million dollars and the Rosen numbers with respect to land cost and cost do not work. He stated that there are a lot of land owners who purchased land under the assumption of 11.5% and have to make a decision as to what the use of that land will be. He stated that this is about the evaluation that a landowner has as to whether to continue an existing use or among the choice of uses or to do nothing. He stated that he would like to see how many 3 bedrooms the current ordinance has created. He would also like to see the prototype unit that people are waiting for. He stated that a better range of income needs to be captured. He stated that he supports changing the ordinance but he wants to ensure that we don’t look back and say that we lost the potential of 4,000 or 5,000 units which he believes is possible based on the increase.
Bill Kane, BioMed Realty, stated that he would like to lend the perspective from the commercial operator viewpoint. He said that BioMed owns 19 million square feet inside Cambridge. He stated that what is important to understand is that we are at a historic point in time with respect to where Kendall Square and Cambridge is realizing his place in the global research community. He stated that members of the commercial operating community believe that it is important to maintain a balanced community. He said they are supporting of a vibrant housing stock. He said that they are concerned about the amount of careful consideration placed on competing uses. He asked for more time to spent to ensure that there is an equitable amount of value placed on each use.
Jack Englert, Criterion Development Partners, stated that Criterion is small development company. He stated that since 2008 he has focused on the West Cambridge area. He stated that he was responsible for building the Von on 2 project. He stated that at 11.5%, he had chance in competing for those units. He stated that they do deal with institutional investors and they have a bottom line return that they look for and they try to meet that return by figuring out land price, construction cost, and the rents. He stated that the investors’ returns are fixed because of the risk associated with residential development. He stated that construction prices are rising and it is a struggle. He stated that land prices are the last piece of the equation. He stated that in six deals that he has underwritten in West Cambridge, not one would have happened if the affordable housing were greater than 11.5%.
Elaine DeRosa, CEOC, stated that in her 28 years as Director of CEOC, the issues that we are talking about tonight have only gotten worse. She stated that there are always “what ifs.” She stated that without subsidies, people are still paying 40-50% of their income for housing. She said that Massachusetts is one of the top five states in the country with income inequality. She urged the committee to go forward on the 20%. She stated that they have endless numbers of growing families who are trying to live in 1-2 room apartments when they really need 3 or 4. She stated that it is our responsibility to move forward. She stated that we have been at the mercy of the housing market for many years. She stated that people want to stay in Cambridge because of the diversity and schools. She thanked the committee for its dedication.
Robert Winters stated that he is not a developer and does not represent a developer. He stated that he was present in 1997 when Inclusionary Zoning was proposed and in 1998 when it was passed. He stated that the basic logic was simple. He stated that he does not know what the right percentage is. He stated that he does know that zoning changes requires a 2/3 vote. He stated that politically it is probably simple to get a 2/3 majority vote to support increasing the amount of affordable housing. He said that he cannot imagine there will be a 2/3 majority vote to lower the rate in 5 years if there is a stall in housing. He asked if there is any legal way to index these requirements to some kind of indicator so that things could float or as the market changes they could come down a little bit. He asked the Committee to look into this idea.
Lee Farris, 269 Norfolk Street, stated that whatever is done with Inclusionary Zoning will be a major factor in who will be the families that are living in Cambridge. She stated that it would be better if we tried ways to get some of our inclusionary housing up to 25%. She stated that looking at market triggers might be a way to go. She stated that you can raise the linkage fee higher and you can pass zoning that prioritizes or requires housing in some areas. She encouraged that the inclusionary housing study be aligned with the linkage study which will be done every three years. She stated her support for the 3-bedroom approach of CDD and the proposal on requiring major rehab of empty buildings to trigger an inclusionary permit. She stated that as it relates to parking, the community has the opportunity to set the parameters. She provided the Committee with additional housing and affordable housing ideas. (Attachment E)
Reid Joseph, WestBrook Partners, expressed his concern of the increase to 20% as it will significantly impact the feasibility of his development at 55 Wheeler Street.
David Hall, Hanover Company, stated that the Hanover Company is a national developer of multi-family apartments. They have a substantial presence in Boston. He stated that their number of units in Cambridge is the biggest single city in the country within the company, second only to Houston. They have enjoyed the working relationship with CDD and the City. He stated that he fully supports the inclusion of affordable housing. He noted that his company is in process of 3 projects in Cambridge on Cambridge Park Drive. He stated that they total 865 apartment homes. He said that under this scenario, none of those would have been built with the current land price that they paid. He said that at least of the three projects would not have worked even with a substantial land discount.
Joe McGuire, Alexandria, told of his experience on Binney Street which is 1.7 million square foot development in which 220,000 square feet is housing. He stated that they completed their first housing development by last September and in the course of the current year sold the building. He said the building was sold for financial reasons because the returns on the housing are less than what their returns are in the rest of the portfolio. He said that there is a disincentive to own housing long-term. He stated that for 270 Third Street, it cost approximately $50 million to develop that site and it sold for less money than it would have sold had it not been for the cap rate. He said that essentially the building paid for itself but there was no profit and they did it for the respect of the community and to give back for the zoning that they received.
Sherry Tucker stated her support for the comments of Lee Farris. She stated that she is a low-income senior and long-term resident of Cambridge. She said that once there are restrictions, the land prices may go down and land won’t be so expensive. She stated that if we are giving a developer a big profit, the land prices will go up to make up for that. She stated that land prices might rise a little less slowly if we had more restrictions.
Public Comment closed at 7:10pm.
Councillor Mazen asked Mr. Trementozzi that when new housing is being built today, how must is it going for per bed. Mr. Trementozzi responded the larger prototypes were in the range of $4.25 per square foot to $4.75 per square foot. Councillor Mazen asked for the cost per month of a family of 4 living in a three-bedroom unit. Mr. Trementozzi stated that for a $1,000 square foot unit, the price goes down a little bit depending on the size of the unit. It could be anywhere in the $3,500 to $4,000 roughly. Councillor Mazen stated that what he found was that it could be even more than that, that the cost per bed could be $1,500 - $2,500 per bed per month. Mr. Trementozzi stated that all the models they build use a weighted average across the whole project and it is the same numbers that the Rosen Report used and it is based on market comps. Councillor Mazen stated that his finding is that people in the renting public are spending 2/3 of their income on rent in Cambridge. Mr. Trementozzi stated that all the statistics in the Rosen Report about people who are cost strained, they believe those numbers are accurate and they did not change any of those numbers. Councillor Mazen stated that he does not know a single person who is not paying 50% - 66% of their income and that should be part of the conversation and for that reason, he does not understand how market rate housing is considered increased supply because the demand is always for much less expensive housing. He said that it is not affecting the supply demand curve appreciably and for that reason we are mitigating the increase in rents by building more supply and it is always not working.
Mr. Trementozzi stated that in terms of talking with people, one could come up with examples of people who are paying 50% but you could also find people who are paying less. He said that the issue of supply and demand and what would it take to create enough supply to impact the market was not studied.
Councillor Mazen stated that we need large scale federal intervention to do a good job of this. He said that we need funding, infrastructure funding and the candidates are beginning to talk about it. He stated that we will get there on housing one day and it is reasonable to push them along in the various municipalities in the state and country. He said that we have to talk about the residents and the voters and their interest in not just a certain volume of affordable housing but a certain proportionality. He said the 20% is meaningful because we are not just trying to make the most affordable housing, we are trying to make this a culturally rich, socioeconomically diverse, racially diverse city. He said that he does not believe that anyone is willing to back down saying that there is a hiccup and let’s back off the 15%. He said that would be morally infeasible.
Councillor Maher thanked the presenters. He said that the City Council has stood behind affordable housing for a very long time. He stated that we have to thank the development community because of the success of this program. He noted that he was elected in 1999 just after this zoning passed and for many years they were waiting to see what was going to happen because the market was very different and not many units were being built. He said that it took a number of years and then it exploded. He stated that when Mr. Trementozzi mentioned the $4.25 to $4.75 figure, the result is that the older housing stock in the city are more in the range of $2.00 or $2.50 and that is where you are seeing the decision made. He said that there are many people that cannot afford to live in a luxury unit and if we didn’t have those units, they would be taking the housing stock that is now considered to be affordable at $2.00-$2.50 per square foot. He stated that there is a little bit of play with that. He added that as it relates to the balance between wood framed 5-story and the steel framed 20-story building and the costs associated with that. He stated that perhaps knowing the cost differential in building steel vs. wood framed structure is something that we should look at in the development of the ordinance. He stated that maybe it is not once size fits all. He stated that the idea of PUDs that have been developed over a number of years, and that there have been extraordinary costs that have gone through the PUDs. He noted that he thinks that everyone knows and expects that the number is going up but we want some certainty and some reassurance that the decision is the right one and we will not negatively impact future housing development in the city. He said that his hope is that we can listen and look at this in critical way. He stated that in a rush to get to a good spot we must not place in jeopardy the future development and continued development and advancement of housing units.
Councillor Carlone stated that some of the themes that the committee is hearing is that by raising the percentage, the land values will go down. He stated that he isn’t sure that is a bad thing. He said that he bought his condo in 1976 for $35,000 and he put $30,000 into it and they sold it. He said that it is worth $660,000 and nothing has changed. He stated that his children cannot afford to live in Cambridge. He stated that something has to change. He stated that some of the City Council has been saying that we have to look at lab and office. He stated that many of the developers who spoke they did PUDs. He said that when you go through a PUD you gain greater value, that is what you are paying for. He stated that when a PUD is done, clearly the office/lab portion will offset the cost of housing. He stated that zoning loves exact numbers but listening to the comments, one could make an argument that a housing project is different than a PUD housing/lab office project. He stated that other cities have 20% ordinances and they are ongoing programs. He said that zoning must be modified and he also thinks that in mixed use districts perhaps you have to build a percentage on a site. Councillor Carlone said that the memo from the Community Development Department is very good but added that he would like to talk about existing buildings and the degree to which they are renovated. He stated that we have to find more premium units rather than view. He stated that on density bonus, it is all in the design of the building.
Chris Cotter clarified that when talking about the input from developers, they are really looking at the financial impact of changes that they could then look at from an urban design perspective to understand what is the impact on design and understand that piece but first to understand how much is meaningful.
Councillor Carlone stated the necessity for urban design analysis of three project types and where the negatives are and how to achieve the additional bulk in a way that builds a better city.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that his goal is to maximize the number of affordable units in the city. He said that some think to maximize means raising the percentage to 50%. He said that this would yield no units being built. He stated that sometimes 20% of something is better than 25% of nothing. He stated that it is important for people to think about is the idea of the profits. He said that some people look at a lot of the people in the room and say that the developers make twenty times more than themselves. He noted that this is about whether a project can be financed. He said it is important to find the sweet spot. He stated that he would like to see from the development community some things that they need to see in order to make this work. He stated that he wants people to work with the city in the sense of what it would take to get to 20% but do it in a way that will not break the developers’ financial picture where they end up building nothing. He asked CDD to respond to the report in some ways. He stated that there are questions about the methodology and the numbers that need to be addressed. We may reach some common ground. He asked the difference between the developers’ recommendations and the 15% and the consultants at 20%. He asked what are some of the things that we can do to incentivize residential over lab if raised to 20%. He stated that he would like the city to get to 20% but he is not unwilling to work with the development community to figure out how to make that work. He said that Cambridge is changing and the people coming into work in the city are not candy workers, etc. He said employees are being paid better salaries. He stated that if we don’t supply more housing, the working class families will be outpriced.
Mayor Simmons stated that another meeting of the Housing Committee has been scheduled for Sept 8, 2016 at 2:30pm. She stated that she would like the Housing Committee to work towards a September deadline in which to forward the issue to the Ordinance Committee. She thanked Ms. Kennedy and Land Wise for their presentation. She noted that she was disappointed that the materials were received today. She said that the City should have an annual affordable housing review to the City Council. She stated that as it relates to grandfathering, she did not get the strong sense of what this meant in the proposal. She said that it was different in the City’s proposal. She stated that she does not believe that the phase-in was well-developed. She stated that while she appreciates the recommendations, she would like them to be teased out a bit more. Mayor Simmons stated that she likes the amount of 20%.
Mayor Simmons stated that it is important to be clear to CDD what the Committee is asking of them. Councillor Carlone stated that the Ordinance Committee process will be a place where details can be ironed out. Mr. Cotter said that it will take a little while to take recommendations from the Committee and put them into a petition. He said that it would be helpful to know where the Committee is on a number of points before the drafting process is undertaken in order to help them more quickly turn around the petition.
Councillor Maher suggested that CDD meet with the City Council over the next few weeks to really flesh through what folks are thinking and be prepared for the next meeting. He said that predictability is very important. He stated that the phasing is a big issue. He does not believe that six months is a proper phase-in period. He said that when we are able to address some of the issues, we will get more buy-in.
Mayor Simmons stated that she needs Land Wise to fill in the blanks. She said that she does not believe the development and land owner community and the City are that far apart. She said that if grandfathering is something that the development community is serious about, they need to fill in the blanks. She said that this issue has been before the committee for a long time. She said that they are trying to figure out how to get to the best common good.
Mr. Trementozzi responded that they do acknowledge that there could be more detail with the additional recommendations and they will place a premium on providing more details as soon as possible.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that given the discussion, as opposed to CDD spending 2 weeks writing an ordinance, he would rather CDD sit with City Councillors but he would rather CDD with the Chamber of Commerce so that they can come back to the committee with what it will take to get to 20%. He would look to CDD to provide guidance to the committee after meeting with the Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Simmons stated that she wants to be sure that CDD is clear about what the committee is asking for.
Cheryl-Ann Pizza-Zeoli stated that she is not clear on where the Committee stands on the specific proposals that CDD and the AHT have brought forward. She said that there are no specifics in the Land Wise Report. She said that the developers have been asked to present concrete ideas around how to achieve a 30% density bonus. She said that the AHT is open to hearing about it but it has to be concrete. She said that this report is saying that we don’t like the Rosen Report which was very thorough and complete. She said that the study received today does not provide any detail. She stated that CDD has been very specific and she said that it would be helpful for the City Council to bring forth their wish list.
Mayor Simmons stated that she is not sure if the City Council has been clear to CDD what it wants. She said that it is hard if CDD does not know what the City Council wants. She said that the City Council is not where it should be. The City Council needs to be clear in what it is proposing.
Sarah Kennedy stated that in terms of the purpose of this presentation, the purpose was not for them to come to the table with a very specific list of offsets that would make 20% doable. She said that they wanted to bring very specific input and experience from the development community in the form of case studies to illustrate the challenges that landowners and developer are experiencing.
Ms. Schlesinger stated that she thinks that it would be helpful is to have the City Council look at the CDD recommendations and that AHT recommendations that before the Committee now. She asked if it is good to have flexibility to Vice Mayor McGovern stated that he has been clear that the committee wants specifics on how to make the Rosen Report work. He said that this will not go on forever and having asked for those more specific recommendations on how to make 20% work and not having seen them, at some point the City Council will move ahead with or without those recommendations. He said he would rather see them so that a more informed decision can be made. He said that at some point, if they are not presented they will move forward and take a vote.
Sarah Kennedy stated that in part of illustrating some deals that might not happen, that is illustrating an example where they are saying that this may not happen so what are the collaborative ideas that could get us beyond those.
Susan Schlesinger stated that she thinks it would be helpful to have the City Council look at the CDD recommendations and the AHT recommendations that are before the Housing Committee currently, leaving the percentage aside. It would be helpful to know if it is good to have flexibility around using floor areas as opposed to 20%. Going through specific issues may be enough to draft an ordinance. She stated that we are getting into the classic clash of the reports. She said that it is good to have a CDD response to the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce study but in the end she does not believe that there will be a compromise. She said that this study is a different point of view and the datasets are different. She said that she is not convinced by the development community but it has been a different evening. She said the critical decision before the committee is what is the percentage going to be. She said that it would be helpful for CDD to learn step by step and issue by issue where people are so there can be some beginning to the ordinance. She stated that she believes that the original path laid out is very important.
Mayor Simmons suggested that at the next meeting the Committee be able to come back to say exactly what they want. She said that because of the report and discussion, the Committee was not able to render any thoughts on this study. She asked all to review with view on how to be more collaborative and get more to the center of this issue. She stated that the feeling is that the Housing Committee wants 20% as the goal. She said that it is fair to leave the room thinking that is the goal. Mayor Simmons stated that at the next Housing Committee meeting she would like the members to be clear about what they can support.
Mayor Simmons and Vice Mayor McGovern thanked all those present for their participation.
Mr. Trementozzi stated that he very intentionally looked at the Rosen Report and built on the assumptions that were made. They think the methodology is viable. They are offering a couple of key assumptions that he believes that the Rosen Report missed the mark on.
Councillor Mazen thanked the Affordable Housing Trust for their work. He said that he has some questions on the creation of family units and how to ensure that family units are not arbitrarily made larger until the number of units becomes wildly different. He said that we will end up spending a lot of the time together talking about the overall number because the recommendations are so reasonable. He stated that if the AHT would like to contact members prior to the next Housing Committee meeting it is possible to get through some of the discussion in that way. He stated that we are tending towards 20% and we would to be collaborators in the process.
Councillor Maher stated that the 5-6 years ago the City Council unanimously endorsed moving toward square footage rather than like units in order to create more family housing and the City council never saw anything back from that. He said that the City Council was up front on that issue. He stated that his belief is that everyone present supports that initiative.
Mr. Cotter stated that CDD will work with Land Wise to try to look at some of their assumptions to the extent that they can. Their analysis is very detailed and the Rosen Report is 70 pages of tables and there will be a lot of capacity that would need to go into looking at all the assumptions under Land Wise’s analysis but he is concerned about putting a lot of time into that and not having time to figure out how to move this forward. He said that CDD would prioritize trying to move it forward while looking at moving forward with 20%. They would try to talk to the development community about potential offsets. He said that CDD will bring back a revised framework based on the discussions with ideas for some offsets.
Mayor Simmons stated that the Housing Committee received a written communication from Patrick Barrett III regarding Inclusionary Housing. (Attachment F)
The hearing adjourned at 8:10pm on the motion of Vice Mayor McGovern.
For the Committee,
Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair
Vice Mayor Marc McGovern, Co-Chair
Committee Report #6
The Public Safety Committee and the Housing Committee held a joint public hearing on Aug 3, 2016, beginning at 3:09pm in the Sullivan Chamber.
The purpose of the hearing was to hold a second joint public hearing to discuss the operations and prevalence of short-term rental units in Cambridge, and further develop the information and opinions gathered during the initial hearing on July 19, 2016.
Present at the hearing were Public Safety Committee members: Councillor Kelley, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Councillor Mazen and Councillor Toomey; Housing Committee members present were Mayor Simmons and Vice Mayor McGovern, Co-Chairs of the Housing Committee, Councillors Carlone and Devereux; Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development Department (CDD); Chris Cotter, Housing Director, CDD; Jeff Roberts, Land Use and Zoning Planner, (CDD); Nancy Glowa, City Solicitor; Arthur Goldberg, Deputy City Solicitor; Ranjit Singanayagam, Commissioner, Inspectional Services Department; Kari Sasportas, Environmental Health Specialist, Cambridge Public Health Department; Will Durbin; and Donna P. Lopez, City Clerk.
Also present were: Wendy Shieh, 13 Tremont Street; Jonathan Steinman, 13 Fairmont Avenue; Marilee Meyer, 10 Dana Street; Peter Lambert, 863 Mass. Avenue; Dan Svirsky, 104 Coolidge Hill Road; Will Burns, Senior Advisor and Midwest Director of Policy, Airbnb, Inc.; Alan Fincke, 93 Belmont Street; Ken Carson, 52 Chestnut Street; Poppy Milner, 6 Peters Street; Marie Kemmler, owner of Bed and Breakfast Associates Bay Colony, Boston; Carol O'Hare, 172 Magazine Street; Charles Malgwi, 4A Mt. Auburn Street; Alex Li, 993 Memorial Drive; John Bechard, 19 Madison Avenue; and James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place.
Councillor Kelley convened the hearing and read the Call of the Meeting and gave an overview of the agenda (ATTACHMENT A). He stated that the meeting is being privately recorded. He stated that every short term rental is in violation of some regulation and that he wanted to establish rules and the right balance.
At this time Councillor Kelley opened the hearing to public comment.
Wendy Shieh, 13 Tremont Street, stated that she is a single retiree living in Cambridge and an owner of a small BNB with 3 bedrooms. She stated that the BNB has supplemented her income and allows her to stay in her home. She is facing economic financial security. She enjoys the guest and keeps the rooms clean and carries a $1 million liability policy. She uses Bay Colony BNB that does the booking for her. She feels that she is a small business owner and is happy to pay her share of income tax. She is in favor of rules and regulations. She has lived in BNB’s that have not had smoke detectors. She stated that guidance from the city would be helpful. She submitted written testimony (ATTACHMENT B).
Johnathan Steinman stated that he has an in-law apartment which he uses as a BNB. He stated that as interested group and public servants use BNB's this will become a leader in the economy. He spoke about the cost of information has dropped dramatically and every booking gets reviewed because of the Internet. He stated that every BNB unit is reviewed daily, unlike hotels. He spoke about the 48-110 commercial units and about the economic activity and how much business is generated by BNB's for the local business. He spoke about safety and the sidewalks being maintained.
Marilee Meyer, 10 Dana Street, stated that she is not against private entrepreneurs where there is oversight and control for buildings with 3 or less units. Her concerns is the larger buildings where short term tenants are using units. She resents being a policeman for the building. She stated that noise, trash, parking, pets, recycling are some of the problems. There is no list of who is in building in case of fire. She spoke about the loss of the sense of community. This is an interesting concept but regulations are needed for larger buildings.
Alan Fincke, spoke about licensing and zoning for BNB. He stated that the only license available is a lodging house license which is only allowed in C-1 areas which are multi-family zones. A lodging house license is only granted where there is for 4 or more unrelated people who share a common kitchen or a bath. He spoke about the need to create a new license category. He noted that the attraction of a BNB is that guests live in residential areas and experience the life of the city that hotel guests do not experience. One of the complaints raised was about BNB guests coming home late with cars. His guests do not have cars. He commented that Residential Parking Stickers are for residents and street parking should not be burdened with guest parking. He stated that owners occupy homes rent to guests. He stated that large buildings where apartments are rented where the owner does not live are not BNB units.
Ken Carson, 52 Chestnut Street, spoke about parking and the language on the guest parking permits. He suggested guest permits should not be used by a BNB guest; this permit should not be used by a paying guest could be included in the language on the parking permit. He spoke about the benefit which allows Cambridge to capture revenues that would go to other communities. This revenue stays in Cambridge; owners improve their property and benefits the life of the city.
Marie Kemmler, owner of BNB Associates Bay Colony, represents small BNB property owners. They help provide income for the owners. She stated that state law helps small property owners. She would help because she knows this issue. She added that these properties are will maintained and some are managed by this agency. The owners show the agency their plan for how they will maintain their property. This increases local and state revenue. She stated that it is time to regulate, inspect, insure liability, and limit the number of properties that can be rented. She spoke about the revenue that owners rely upon. She added that many of these properties are better maintained and her property is being used for her retirement. She submitted her comments (ATTACHMENT C).
Carol O'Hare, 172 Magazine Street, stated that using six units to supplement income is aggressive. She suggested that one unit be used for BNB. One unit is being taken off of the market and is being used as a hotel/motel and is a business. She spoke about lodging houses and suggested licensing BNB units. There should be an occupancy tax and zoning should be checked. She stated that there is a different structure in a condo association.
Charles Malgwi, 4A Mt. Auburn Street, stated that he is a certified fraud examiner and professional in Cambridge. He spoke about visitor parking permits and the fact that every home only gets 1 guest parking permit and this will not increase the parking.
Alex Li suggested a special permit be issued for a BNB. It is difficult to find a house in Cambridge with less than 3 bedrooms.
John Bechard stated that he has been a BNB host for 3 years and uses a spare bedroom in his house to rent. He has never had a problem and has no guest parking permit because he does not have car and the BNB helps pay the bills. It has been a great experience.
James Williamson, 1000 Jackson Place, stated that he favored owner occupied property owners having a BNB. He spoke about his experience. He spoke about the look of tourists who are BNB clients. He stated that this is destabilizing to neighborhoods in a safety way. This should addressed. The duration of the stay should be regulated. What is driving this is the high rents in Cambridge and BNB are used to raise money for rents. He submitted to documents (ATTACHMENT D-1 AND D-2).
A resident at 280 Brookline Street, spoke about the fact that residential parking permits keep coming up as an issue. He suggested revisiting the parking permit issue in its entirety and raising parking fees for all.
Councillor Kelley closed public comment at 3:48pm.
At this time a PowerPoint Presentation was given by Dan Svirsky from Harvard University. The presentation was entitled "Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence form a Field Experiment (ATTACHMENT E). He spoke about racial discrimination and the use of the Internet with the shared economy. When profiles were changed the outcome was different. He stated that 5 cities were tested for discrimination on Airbnb. He stated that white names received an affirmative vote all the time and African American received a 40% affirmative response. He spoke about incidents where there was a racial gap. He spoke about the data that could be gathered for the City from the web sites. He stated that clients waive their right to sue and whether suits should be settled in the Massachusetts Courts.
Will Burns, Senior Advisor and Midwest Director of Policy, Airbnb, Inc., stated that Airbnb is reviewing its platform on the discrimination issues. This is a top priority for the company to fix and resolve this issue. Under currently tax laws a BNB is not required to pay taxes. He stated that there is a requirement around safety.
Councillor Kelley stated that the discussion is around city staff. He summarized the issue. Short term renters are less than 30 days and more than 30 is a dwelling unit. There are categories for a hotel and tourist house, but there is no category for renters. It has to be owner occupied and BNB not allowed in RES A and B districts. It requires a use change and requires an occupancy permit. It is unknown how handicapped accessible a BNB is and there is an issue that an individual cannot sleep in a room that is not a legal sleeping room, whether a food handler’s license is required and whether a Business Certificate is required are all unknown. This is complaint driven system. If a complaint is filed with Inspectional Service Department they must inspect. He wanted this legal for all. He stated that BNB has risen and is becoming a local impact. He asked how city can development a system that we want. He stated that it is unknown how this impacts the housing market.
Mr. Burns spoke about short term rental laws from other community. This needs to be a light regulatory touch for those who are renting out rooms in owner occupied homes. It was difficult to regulate the number of nights it can be rented. He spoke about multi units listed on the BNB platform needs a different regulation. He spoke about platform liability. The focus should be on people who are not doing what they should be doing under the law. In Chicago a new section was added to the code dealing with short term rental. The food issue was not discussed. He stated that he is preparing reports for Cambridge and suggested looking at the zoning restriction and how to handle triple decker homes.
Councillor Kelley noted that there are 1065 active hosts - what is an active host. Mr. Burns responded that one could list home for one day, but not rent. Active hosts are hosts who have rented to a person in a year.
Ms. Farooq spoke about the impact on housing and about the categories. People are living in their homes who are supplementing their income by renting a room. She spoke about a category where someone may own or buy multiple apartments and rent them for a short term. This is an impact on housing. This needs to be looked at from a regulatory standpoint. She spoke about the impact on neighbors in a multi-unit building -- this is a shade of grey. This affects the neighbors in this building because they do not have a say.
Vice Mayor McGovern commented that there are so many grey areas and what people feel comfortable with. He spoke about the need for women 60 years or older doing this to supplement their income. He stated that he does not have a problem with this. He spoke about living in a condo unit and if the owners are renting their units consistently he is concerning with the comment that there are people in the neighborhood that are not recognized - he did not want strangers or visitors discriminated against.
Councillor Carlone spoke about his experience using a BNB. He stated that the owner host is a different experience than when the owner was not present and the BNB was not overseen. The experiences were different. If a resident is overseeing rooms and if there is an emergency and if there is no one in the building and there is an emergency this is different situation. He spoke about renting versus buying multiple unit buildings and renting units; this impacts the housing market. He wanted the unit overseen and having someone responsible is very Cambridge to him. Have a resident on site is a benefit and should be included in the rules. The size and number of units is a zoning issue. He stated that the codes need to be reviewed and bedrooms need a window. He does not favor people buying multi-unit buildings and renting the units out - this should be in a business district.
Councillor Devereux stated that the more you think about this the more complicated it gets. She spoke about all the different scenarios that could be encounter. She stated that she does not think that BNB is a win-win experience. The neighbors who are being inconvenienced are not experiencing a win-win situation. She stated that neighbors are not looking at the review of BNB units on the Internet. She is not concerned about parking. She spoke about fraud and difficulty enforce condo association agreements relating to short term rental. Condo associations need to do work on this. She stated that as legislator the responsibility is for the broader community of which senior citizens and the BNB are a part of. She spoke about one affording a higher rent where income is supplemented by short term rental which escalates the housing market. She spoke about property owners being unaware of the zone their property is located in.
Councillor Mazen stated that he does not think this is complex and should be owner-occupied. The quaintness and experience of the city is the norm for BNB. He spoke about a service fee in lieu of paying taxes. He commented that this market is probably self-regulated relating to inspections.
Councillor Devereux stated that San Francisco has a law that a BNB must register at zoning, but there was no requirement.
Mr. Burns stated that San Francisco changed its ordinance to require that BNB list the host - and this law is being challenged. The information was removed from the platform. He explained that in Chicago the city can subpoena the BNB. Data is provided to the City and City can subpoena the BNB for information. A voluntary agreement will be entered into with hosts for nuisance issues. In Chicago there needs to be a local contact in case of an emergency.
Councillor Toomey stated that he has never had complaints about BNB and sometimes the City looks for problems that are not there. The state legislature did not take action on BNB. This is a way for single individuals to remain in the city and to supplement their income. He spoke about getting in personal privacy issues. He asked what the goal here is - this has been working well. He spoke about housing swapping - is there an issue with house swapping. City Solicitor Glowa stated that when there is house swapping there is no money changing hands and is not operating as a business as a BNB is operating as a business. She stated that BNB is not allowed in the zoning. She suggested a zoning amendment where the City Council feels a BNB would be allowed. Councillor Devereux noted that house swapping is not for short term.
Vice Mayor McGovern stated that this was to protect the host. If a BNB is operating in an area where it is not allowed and if a neighbor complains the host can be fined. There are people engaging in this industry illegally and this is to protect them. He stated that this is an important conversation and we need rules outlining what is allowed. The concern has been about conducting this as a business and about multiple units being rented out. The intent is to understand how this industry fits into the City and to make it fair for all.
Councillor Carlone stated that no one wants to prohibit supplementing income. The concern is the host not being in the building and these issues need to be worked out.
Ms. Farooq stated that if a BNB is willing to share data and if information is received on monthly basis - how many units are being pulled off market for short term rental. It is unknown how this impacts the housing market. It would be helpful to get this information. City Solicitor Glowa stated that this can be looked into.
Councillor Kelley suggested that in 3-4 weeks an ordinance be drafted and then have another hearing to review it and forward it to the Ordinance Committee. He noted that currently this system is not regulated. He spoke about the issue with a legal bedroom. This will give property owners rules that they can operate by. He added that the City needed to get a handle on the food handling portion - because the owner is providing food to renters so it is related to handling food.
Councillor Kelley again opened the hearing to public comment.
Mr. Steinman spoke about bring in a system where neighbors review the units and make their comments and review the BNB unit hosts and guests which will provide more data for BNB on the quality of hosts and guests.
Robert Winters, 366 Broadway, asked about visitor using parking permits.
Ms. Meyer stated that parking is an issue on Dana Street and the cars have been towed. She spoke about sub-renters. The addresses of the property actually rented is an issue. She spoke about theft and policing in the area. She suggested proof of renter’s identification. She spoke about mortgages and property turnover.
Ms. Kemmler spoke about owner occupied versus non-owner occupied and stated that there is little difference in the two in the area of quality. She spoke about guidance on safety.
Mr. Williamson spoke about low income tenants living in housing or voucher apartment and why low income tenants cannot be allowed to rent space as a BNB.
Councillor Kelley closed public comment again 4:58pm.
Councillor Kelley announced that the e-mails will be added to the report as follows:
Communication from Peter Lambert in support of "entire home" listing on Airbnb (ATTACHMENT F).
Communication from Olive Malcolm, Riverbend Bed and Breakfast, in support of BNB and that it supplements her income (ATTACHMENT G).
Communication from Rachael Solem, Owner and General Manager, Irving House at Harvard and Harding House, transmitting information on the impact of commercial landlords using Airbnb in the Boston region. (ATTACHMENT H).
Communication from David Scondras and Robert Krebs, explaining that the state law passed in l987 that created bed and breakfast homes allowing homeowners to rent as a way to pay their mortgages will be eliminated by the version of the tax amendment which is before the legislature (ATTACHMENT I).
Councillor Kelley announced that his goal is to have another hearing on this matter in September.
Councillor Kelley, Mayor Simmons and Vice Mayor McGovern thanked all those present for their attendance.
The hearing adjourned at 4:59pm on motion of Councillor Kelley.
For the Committee,
Councillor Craig Kelley, Chair, Public Safety Committee
Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Co-Chair, Housing Committee
Vice Mayor Marc McGovern, Co-Chair, Housing Committee
AWAITING REPORT LIST
16-13. Report on the study the benefits of a wellbeing index and plan for how it might be incorporated into various City planning processes, including the city wide Master Plan. See Mgr #20
Councillor Carlone, Vice Mayor McGovern (O-6) from 2/22/2016
16-16. Report on financial impacts and a plan to take Vail Court eminent domain.
Vice Mayor McGovern, Mayor Simmons (O-12) from 2/22/2016
16-19. Report on hygiene products in public restrooms.
Councillor Cheung, Mayor Simmons (O-4) from 3/14/2016
16-20. Report on follow-up to swatting/school bomb threats.
Councillor Kelley (O-6) from 3/14/2016
16-24. Report on what additional measures can be taken to ensure that pedestrians are able to safely cross at the intersection of Cameron Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue.
Mayor Simmons (O-2) from 4/4/2016
Referred back to the City Manager on June 6, 2016 by Mayor Simmons.
16-26. Report on the possibility of the City Council implementing a zoning change, on the permitting of all new restaurants where a wood-fired oven is used as a significant method of food preparation.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-5) from 4/4/2016
16-33. Report on the feasibility of hosting additional drop-off locations to provide for the safe disposal of unused prescription medications.
Councillor Devereux (O-3) from 4/11/2016
16-42. Report on plans for the former Riverside Community Health Center on Western Avenue, including transfer of ownership of the building to the City and the process for determining future usage.
Vice Mayor McGovern (O-1) from 5/2/2016
16-47. Report on ways to improve the public noticing of proposed building demolitions consistent with the outreach used for variances and special permits and to consider extending the amount of time to consider whether a property is historically significant.
Councillor Carlone, Councillor Devereux (O-6) from 5/23/2016
16-49. Report on the feasibility of requiring gas pump labels with information about the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels at all gas stations in the City.
Councillor Devereux, Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern (O-5) from 6/13/2016
16-50. Report on the use of City office and meeting space for non-City appointed functions by non-City officials.
Councillor Kelley (O-4) from 6/6/2016
16-51. Report on the City's policies and best practices in the use and supervision of City Council interns.
Councillor Kelley (O-5) from 6/6/2016
16-52. Report on the City’s use of push-button caution lights at crosswalks and to determine any decrease in pedestrian legal rights should they be hit.
Councillor Kelley (O-6) from 6/6/2016
16-53. Report on the feasibility of either using City funds to subsidize the cost of installing and removing air conditioning units from Cambridge Housing Authority-owned apartments at a reduced cost.
Mayor Simmons (O-7) from 6/6/2016
16-55. Report on the feasibility of placing sunscreen dispensers containing broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher at Cambridge parks and playgrounds.
Vice Mayor McGovern (O-9) from 6/6/2016
16-56. Report on creating Sobering Centers and a Cold Weather Plan prior to the winter of 2016.
Councillor Cheung, Mayor Simmons, Vice Mayor McGovern (O-7) from 6/20/2016
16-57. Report on the feasibility of introducing a municipal ID program in the city.
Councillor Mazen, Vice Mayor McGovern (O-10) from 6/20/2016
16-58. Report on outreach efforts to survey the City’s small business owners to determine how many of these businesses expect to remain in their current locations over the next half decade.
Mayor Simmons (O-4) from 6/27/2016
16-63. Report back on the state of the Cambridge Climate Vulnerability Assessment's completion date.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Devereux, Councillor Maher (O-5) from 8/1/2016
16-62. Report on what additional measures can be taken to protect trees and other public plantings during declared droughts. (Response was provided by the DPW Commissioner at the meeting of Aug 1, 2016.)
Councillor Devereux, Councillor Carlone (O-6) from 8/1/2016
16-64. Report on reinstating trash and recycling pick up for small businesses.
Councillor Toomey, Councillor Maher (O-8) from 8/1/2016
16-65. Report on adding "Tree in Distress" to the Commonwealth Connect App's submenu radio button as a tree-related reporting option. (Response provided by DPW Commissioner at the meeting of Aug 1, 2016.)
Councillor Cheung, Councillor Devereux (O-10) from 8/1/2016
16-66. Report on how traffic laws pertaining to crosswalks are currently enforced throughout the City and whether there can be stricter laws to ultimately increase pedestrian safety.
Mayor Simmons (O-12) from 8/1/2016
16-67. Report on update on the status of the Classification of Commercial Land Use and Recommendations Study. See Mgr #19
Councillor Devereux (O-14) from 8/1/2016
16-68. Report on implementing a nomination based "Artist of the Month" program along with a $2,000 grant and to remove the long-form application in favor of a nomination-based system.
Councillor Mazen (O-15) from 8/1/2016
16-69. Report on the necessary resources needed to survey, plan and restore the Cambridge mural at Rindge Field.
Councillor Mazen (O-16) from 8/1/2016