Cambridge City Council meeting - October 25, 2010 - AGENDA

CITY MANAGERíS AGENDA
1. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 10-126, regarding a report on continuous problems with odors from catch basins on Cambridge Street from Inman Square to Lechmere.

2. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 10-127 and 10-151, regarding a report on plans for the Grand Junction Railroad.
Referred back to City Manager for additional information. - Toomey

Oct 25, 2010

To the Honorable, the City Council:

In response to Awaiting Report Item Numbers 10-127 and 10-151, regarding a report on plans for the Grand Junction Railroad, Acting Assistant City Manager for Community Development Susan Glazer reports the following:

On Sept 27, 2010 City officials met with representatives from the Mass. Department of Transportation (MassDOT) regarding the State's plans to upgrade the Grand Junction Rail line and add commuter rail service between Worcester and North Station through Cambridge. The State purchased the rights from CSX to operate the line in June 2010 and immediately started making some long-awaited repairs to the track. The City's desire for the Grand Junction to date has been to utilize portions of the corridor for Urban Ring bus rapid-transit service and to create a multi-use path that would allow residents to safely connect on foot or by bike from the northern part of East Cambridge, through Area IV and Cambridgeport, to the Charles River and to the many recreational facilities in Cambridge that are only a short distance from the railroad corridor.

MassDOT is beginning a process to research ridership potential, and to determine what the demand for the service would be. The results of the ridership study will be used to develop a proposal for the number of trains per day and times of day that service would be provided. The state has indicated that the initial thinking is to provide between five and twenty trains per day between Worcester and Boston. The study will also analyze what the impact on ridership would be if a station were to be located in Cambridge.

City officials have requested that MassDOT undertake a full analysis of the potential benefits of the project, including improved transit access for Cambridge residents and employees, as well as potential impacts, including noise, traffic delays at crossings, safety, etc., before moving forward with any new service on the Grand Junction.

The ridership study will lead to the development of options that MassDOT will present for public comment, likely in the spring of 2011. MassDOT anticipates that it will complete its work so that if it moves forward, commuter rail service could begin in 2012.

Very truly yours, Robert W. Healy, City Manager

3. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 10-136, regarding a report on the planning process for the Concord Avenue redesign.

4. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the supplemental appropriation of a Library Services & Technology Act Grant received from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care in the amount of $7,000 to the Grant Fund Library Salary and Wages account ($1,845), Grant Fund Library Other Ordinary Maintenance account ($5,155) which will support workshops and library materials and staff time to provide on-site services.

5. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 10-128, regarding an update on the Broadway project.
Charter Right - Toomey

ON THE TABLE
1. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a copy of the referral of Order Number 15 of Dec 21, 2009, regarding increasing the amount of public information about elections while the election is in progress, to the 2010-2011 City Council. [Communications and Reports from City Officers #1 of Jan 11, 2010 Placed on Table.]

2. That the City Manager is requested to restore funding for School Department clerical positions until a proper and negotiated process can be achieved with the Cambridge School Department and Unions representing the employees, and to report back to the City Council on the progress. [Order Number Fourteen of Apr 26, 2010 Placed on Table. May 10, 2010 Councillor Kelley made a motion to take from the table motion failed 2-7-0 remains on Table. Sept 13, 2010 Councillor Kelley made a motion to take from the table motion failed 4-4-1 remains on Table. Sept 27, 2010 Councillor Kelley made a motion to take from the table motion failed 3-5-1 remains on Table.]

3. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 10-32, regarding a report on issues with the development of the former St. John's property site. [Charter Right exercised on City Manager Agenda Item Number Eighteen of May 24, 2010. Placed on Table June 7, 2010.]

4. An application was received from Tony LaVita, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 68 Middlesex Street; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Historical and Public Works. No response has been received from the neighborhood association. [Applications and Petitions Number Ten Of June 7, 2010 Placed on Table.]

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
5. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel and Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., Co-Chairs of the Ordinance Committee, for a meeting held on Sept 14, 2010 to consider a petition filed by Richard McKinnon, et al. to amend the Zoning Ordinance and Map in the North Point PUD-6 District. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 1, 2010. Planning Board hearing held Sept 21, 2010. Petition expires Dec 13, 2010.

APPLICATIONS AND PETITIONS
1. An application was received from Jyothi Macharca, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 149 Cherry Street; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation, Historical and Public Works. Approval has been received from the neighborhood association.

2. An application was received from Jehuraphah, requesting permission for a table and chair to display merchandise in front of the premises numbered 13 JFK Street.

COMMUNICATIONS
1. A communication was received from Carolyn Shipley, 15 Laurel Street, regarding Tubman Park.

RESOLUTIONS
1. Resolution on the death of Mary G. Kennedy.   Mayor Maher

2. Resolution on the death of Nancy Marie DiGeso.   Vice Mayor Davis

3. Congratulations to Professor Clayton S. Rose on being elected to Freddie Mac's board.   Councillor Cheung

4. Wishing continued strength to Louis Andreottola.   Councillor Simmons

5. Congratulating Alex and Jodi Robbins on the opening of William Henry Furniture on Huron Avenue.   Vice Mayor Davis

6. Congratulating Marilyn Bradshaw on her retirement as Executive Secretary for the School Committee.   Councillor Simmons

7. Welcoming Life Alive to Cambridge.   Councillor Cheung

8. Congratulating Harvard Law Professor, Charles Ogletree on his special convocation and Honorary Degree Ceremony at Wheelock College.   Councillor Reeves

9. Congratulations to participating students from Harvard 's Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the hotline RESPONSE for their work last week in support the Purple Door Campaign.   Councillor Cheung

10. Welcome Dekey Tibet Shop to Cambridge.   Councillor Cheung

11. Congratulations to Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves and Gregg Johnson on their recent marriage.   Councillor Simmons, Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Seidel, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Kelley and Mayor Maher

12. Congratulations to Shing-Tung Yau and Steve Nadis on the publication of their book "The Shape of Inner Space: String Theory and the Geometry of the universe's Hidden Dimensions."   Councillor Seidel

13. Congratulations to Nicolas Guevara, CRLS student, on his art exhibit at City Hall.   Mayor Maher

14. Congratulations to the Cambridge Citywide Senior Center on its 15th anniversary.   Mayor Maher

15. Congratulations to the Cambridge Historical Society on being awarded a grant to fund a photo digitization project.   Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher


16. Resolution on the death of Vincent Whelan.   Mayor Maher

17. Congratulations to Jeff Lockwood on being honored with the Children's Champion Award at the Tutoring Plus Annual Fundraising event on Oct 28, 2010.   Mayor Maher

18. Congratulations to the Rachel Auspitz, Laura Kogelman, M.D. Aquitaine Group and the Bayard Rustin Breakfast Committee on being honred by the AIDS Action Committee.   Councillor Decker

19. Happy 75th Wedding Anniversary to the Cambridge Housing Authority.   Councillor Decker

20. Congratulations to Dr. Diane Lockhart on her new position as Director of the Cambridge Breast Center.   Councillor Decker

21. Resolution on the death of Robert C. Brown.   Councillor Toomey

22. Congratulations to the Center for Family Connections on their 15th birthday.   Councillor Decker

23. Congratulations to Elaine Leccesse and James DiStefano on being named the 2010 Woman and Man of the Year by the Saints Cosmas and Damian Society.   Councillor Toomey, Mayor Maher


ORDERS
1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to direct the department to investigate the possibility of designating permit parking only for Davis Street.   Councillor Simmons
Kelley voted NO

2. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to assess the feasibility of installing additional speed bumps on Buckingham Street and to declare the entire street a school zone.   Councillor Cheung

3. That the City Manager is requested, to the extent allowed by relevant law, to ensure that Cambridge does not approve any permits that the developer of the Belmont Uplands may request or require from the City of Cambridge until all legal proceedings surrounding this project have been resolved.   Councillor Kelley
Amended by substitution (below)

Substitute Order #3:
3. That the City Manager is requested to communicate to the appropriate City departments the City's desire to have these City departments reasonably consider denying any permits that the developer may request or require from the City until all legal proceedings surrounding the Silver Maple Forest and its floodplain functions put forth by the Belmont Conservation Commission and their interveners are legally resolved.   Councillor Kelley

4. That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee is requested to hold a hearing(s) with the intention of developing a more effective method for the City Council and Cambridge residents to discuss mitigation concerns during zoning discussions.   Councillor Kelley

5. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Department of Public Works to look into whether overwatering is occurring at Sennott Pocket Park.   Councillor Cheung

6. That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate department heads and report back to the City Council with a plan on how best to preserve and nurture the several large trees in front of the old Cambridge Library.   Councillor Cheung

7. That the City Council go on record encouraging voters to vote no on Ballot Question 3 in the Nov 2 election.   Councillor Simmons

8. That the City Council go on record encouraging voters to vote no on Ballot Question 1 in the Nov 2 election.   Councillor Simmons


9. That the City Council convene in Executive Session, with relevant City and support staff, to discuss pending litigation for which discussion in regular session would be detrimental to the interest of the city.   Mayor Maher

10. That the City Manager is requested to confer with Harvard University about providing bicycle racks on their property to get bicycles off of DeWolfe Street which is a very narrow street and to share in the responsibility of getting abandoned bicycles off of city sidewalks.   Councillor Decker

11. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Commissioner of Public Works and the City Arborist and report back to the City Council on the tree questions that were received at the Environment Committee meeting held on Sept 30, 2010.   Vice Mayor Davis
Councillor Simmons voted PRESENT

12. That the City Manager is requested to provide a fact sheet outlining the ordinance changes to the Zoning Ordinances as it pertains to signs and the impact of repealing Paragraph D3 and E of Ordinance #1335.   Mayor Maher, Councillor Toomey and Councillor Reeves


COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. A communication was received from Donna P. Lopez, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, Chair of the Environment Committee, for a meeting held on Sept 30, 2010 to discuss planting, maintenance and protection of street trees and any other matter that may come before the committee with regard to Cambridge trees.

COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS FROM CITY OFFICERS
1. A communication was received from Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, transmitting a copy of a communication from Mass DOT regarding the possibility of installing a long flat tube slide at a Cambridge MBTA station.

2. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting notification of the certification of 11,461 signatures of registered voters by the Election Commission of a referendum petition entitled "SAVE OUR SKYLINE" filed with the Election Commission on Oct 15, 2010. The petition protests Paragraph D.3 of Section 7.16.22, Building Identification Signs, and Paragraph E of Section 7.16.22, General Waiver of Sign Limitations, part of Ordinance No. 1335 amending Section 7 of the Zoning Ordinances of the City of Cambridge (the Sign Ordinance).
Related Order adopted and matter referred to Unfinished Business

HEARING SCHEDULE
Mon, Oct 25
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Oct 27
5:30pm   The Cable TV, Telecommunications and Public Utilities Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss with NSTAR the policy for replacing gas meters in residential properties containing asbestos; power outages; progress on the state energy efficiency plan and any other matters that may properly come before the committee.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 1
5:00pm   Special Presentation of the Cambridge Healthy Workplace Awards  (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 8
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 15
5:30pm   Roundtable Meeting with the School Committee. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised.  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Nov 16
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 22
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Dec 6
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Dec 7
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Dec 13
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Dec 14
6:00pm   School Committee Budget Retreat  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Dec 20
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Dec 21
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Dec 27
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 3
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Jan 4
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 10
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Jan 11
6:00pm   School Committee Roundtable Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Jan 18
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 24
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 31
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Feb 1
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Feb 7
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Feb 8
6:00pm   School Committee Budget Retreat  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Feb 14
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Feb 15
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Feb 28
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Mar 1
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Mar 7
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Mar 8
6:00pm   School Committee Budget Hearing  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Mar 14
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Mar 15
6:00pm   School Committee Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Mar 21
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Mar 28
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  (Sullivan Chamber)

TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR SIMMONS
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to direct the department to investigate the possibility of designating permit parking only for Davis Street.

O-2     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR CHEUNG
WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the Cambridge City Council that there have been many reports of speeding on Buckingham Street that puts St. Peter's School children at risk; and
WHEREAS: Buckingham Street has two hairpin turns in just three short blocks and there are constantly "near" collisions as cars speed around the two sharp bends in the road; and
WHEREAS: There is a school zone and speed bump near 10 Buckingham Street for Buckingham Browne and Nichols Lower School but no such traffic-calming measures for the rest of the street; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department to assess the feasibility of installing additional speed bumps on Buckingham Street and to declare the entire street a school zone and report back to the City Council with a course of action.

O-3     Oct 25, 2010   Amended by substitution (below)
COUNCILLOR KELLEY
WHEREAS: The City Council has passed numerous orders noting the natural resource value and requesting the City Manager to protect the silver maple forest in Belmont and Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: Nearly three acres of the Belmont Uplands silver maple forest are in Cambridge and there are currently permits being requested by the developer from the City of Cambridge prior to the resolution of these same issues through permitting processes in our sister town of Belmont and before the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested, to the extent allowed by relevant law, to ensure that Cambridge does not approve any permits that the developer may request or require from the City of Cambridge until all legal proceedings surrounding this project have been resolved.

O-3     Amended Order #3     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR KELLEY
WHEREAS: The City Council has passed numerous orders noting the natural resource values of the Silver Maple Forest and its surroundings between Belmont, Arlington and Cambridge and has requested the Cambridge City Manager do what he can to protect this forest; and
WHEREAS: Nearly three acres of the Silver Maple Forest is in Cambridge as a small river floodplain forest, wildlife refuge and climate adaptation area for the City as well as the town; and
WHEREAS: The Belmont Conservation Commission and Citizen Interveners from Belmont and Cambridge have submitted an appeal for a Superior Court Hearing soon in order to appeal the April 2010 DEP decision and to note the functions and vital characteristics of the area for the protection of the regional citizenry; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to communicate to the Department of Public Works the City's desire to have City departments reasonably consider denying any permits that the developer may request or require from the City until all legal proceedings surrounding the Silver Maple Forest and its floodplain functions put forth by the Belmont Conservation Commission and their interveners are legally resolved.

O-4     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR KELLEY
ORDERED: That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning Committee be and hereby is requested to hold a hearing(s) with the intention of developing a more effective method for the City Council and Cambridge residents to discuss mitigation concerns during zoning discussions.

O-5     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR CHEUNG
WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the Cambridge City Council that the grass in front of the library and Sennott Pocket Park is being overwatered to the point of over-saturation; and
WHEREAS: Not only is this watering unnecessary given the temperatures and weather of the fall season, but the amount of water dispersed in the morning is so great that it creates huge puddles on the lawns rendering them unusable; and
WHEREAS: The City should always look into possible wasteful spending and inefficiencies; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Department of Public Works to look into whether overwatering is occurring and if so, what the city can do to rectify this issue and report back to the City Council.

O-6     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR CHEUNG
WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the City Council that several landscape architects are concerned that several large trees in front of the old Cambridge Library are failing; and
WHEREAS: It is in the City's interest to take care of these trees and make sure that they recover; and
WHEREAS: Trees are an important asset to the city and to the environment. A large tree recaptures a great deal of carbon, and releases enough oxygen to support two people. Trees reduce surface runoff from storms and prevent soil erosion. they lower air temperature through shade and reduce glare on sunny days; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the appropriate department heads and report back to the City Council with a plan on how best to preserve and nurture the before-mentioned trees.

O-7     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR SIMMONS
WHEREAS: Ballot question 3 would cut the Massachusetts sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent; and
WHEREAS: This reduction would result in an estimated $2.5 billion reduction in the state's revenue; and
WHEREAS: Cutting $2.5 billion would result in cuts to education, local aid, public safety and other important services; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge received $30.2 million in state aid, which constituted 5.9 percent of its budget; and
WHEREAS: Reductions in state aid would likely lead to cuts to Cambridge's schools, police and fire departments; and
WHEREAS: Reductions in state aid would likely diminish the quality of life in Cambridge; now therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record encouraging voters to vote no on Ballot Question 3 in the Nov 2 election.

O-8     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR SIMMONS
WHEREAS: A yes vote on ballot question 1 would cut the sales tax on alcoholic beverages; and
WHEREAS: Massachusetts has some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug addiction in the country, particularly one of the highest rates of teen drinking in the country; and
WHEREAS: This reduction would result in an estimated $100 million/year reduction in the funding made available for public health services for residents with behavioral health problems; and
WHEREAS: Without these funds, access to treatment services will once again be greatly limited; and
WHEREAS: Alcohol does not deserve a special tax exemption because is not considered a necessities like food, clothing, and prescription medication; now therefore be it
RESOLVED: That the City Council go on record encouraging voters to vote no on Ballot Question 1 in the Nov 2 election.


O-9     Oct 25, 2010
MAYOR MAHER
ORDERED: That the City Council convene in Executive Session, with relevant City and support staff, to discuss pending litigation for which discussion in regular session would be detrimental to the interest of the city.

O-10     Oct 25, 2010
COUNCILLOR DECKER
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with Harvard University about providing bicycle racks on their property to get bicycles off of DeWolfe Street which is a very narrow street and to share in the responsibility of getting abandoned bicycles off of city sidewalks.

O-11     Oct 25, 2010
VICE MAYOR DAVIS
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Commissioner of Public Works and the City Arborist and to report back to the City Council on the following questions regarding trees that were received at the Environment Committee meeting held on Sept 30, 2010:
Who can the public call to get relief if it looks as if a developer is going to cut down a street tree?
If pruning is needed for street trees who does the public call?
Can hot top around tree trunks be removed because it does not allow water to percolate to the tree roots?
Can tree canopy be increased and what are the plans? Canopy Report done in 2005.
Bricks set in concrete cement not a good idea because the water cannot percolate, can this be changed?
How is the tree fund used?
Does the city own or can the city buy a watering truck?
The library beech tree with the fungus needs a timely response.
Can more plantings be planted in Parrow Park (Henry Street side)?
Is there additional funding for tree maintenance?
How many trees were planted in 2009 in the Cambridgeport area?
Can official minutes be kept of tree removal hearings?

O-12     Oct 25, 2010
MAYOR MAHER
COUNCILLOR TOOMEY
COUNCILLOR REEVES
WHEREAS: The Election Commission has notified the City Clerk that it has certified the signatures of 11,461 registered voters on a referendum petition protesting Paragraph D.3 of Section 7.16.22, the Building Identification Signs, and Paragraph E of Section 7.16.22, General Waiver of Sign Limitations, part of Ordinance No. 1335 amending Article 7 of the Zoning Ordinances of the City of Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: This referendum petition was brought forward under M.G.L Chapter 43 Section 42, a provision which, to the best of the knowledge of the City Council has never before been used in the City of Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: The signature gatherers focused almost exclusively on the building identification section of the ordained amendments of the Zoning Ordinances of the City of Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: The General Waiver of Sign Limitations section of the ordained amendments of the Zoning Ordinances of the City of Cambridge would pertain to small business in Cambridge; and
WHEREAS: The City Council needs to take action on this matter within 20 days of the date the signatures were certified by the Election Commission; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the City Solicitor on the options that the City Council has in acting on the referendum petition; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Executive Director of the Election Commission to estimate the cost taxpayers would incur as a result of holding a special election to dispose of the referendum petition; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Community Development Department regarding the impact a repeal of the Paragraph E of Section 7.16.22, General Waiver of Sign Limitations, would have on small businesses in Cambridge; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to ask the Community Development Department to create a fact sheet outlining specifically what the ordained changes to the Zoning Ordinances would and would not allow in terms of signage; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manger be and hereby is requested to report back on these issues to the City Council by November 1, 2010, so that the City Council can take appropriate action.


TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
The Environment Committee held a public meeting on Thurs, Sept 30, 2010 at five o'clock and thirty-two minutes P.M. in the Sullivan Chamber.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss planting, maintenance and protection of street trees and any other matter that may come before the committee with regard to Cambridge trees.

Present at the meeting were Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, Chair of the Committee; Councillor Craig Kelley; Councillor Leland Cheung; Richard Rossi, Deputy City Manager; Lisa Peterson, Public Works Commissioner; David Lefcourt, City Arborist; Donald Drisdell, City Solicitor; Penny Peters; and Deputy City Clerk Donna P. Lopez.

Also present were David Davis, Michael Hanlon, Florie Westcott and Paula Cortes, four members of the Public Planting Committee; Kathy Reine, Green Decade; Judy Johnson, Tree Steward; Ellen Mass, President, Friends of Alewife Reservation; John Pitkin, 18 Fayette Street; Ian Abraham, 10 Buick Street; Mark Jaquith, East Cambridge Planning Team; Andrea Wilder, 12 Arlington Street; Anne Marie Reardon, 11 Madison Street; Minka vanBeuzekom, 20 Essex Street; Debby Knight, 380 Broadway; Tara, Jannah and Jean Murray, 87 Fayerweather Street; Shola Friedensohn, 543 Putnam Avenue; Chris Messina, 268 Western Avenue; Dennis Carlone, 16 Martin Street; Chris Connaire; Elena Saporta; Carolyn Shipley; and Betty Denich.

Vice Mayor Davis convened the meeting and explained the purpose. She outlined the agenda for the meeting. She asked Ms. Peterson to discuss the presentation.

Commissioner Peterson gave an overview of the tree forestry program. She explained that the City Arborist, David Lefcourt has been with the city for over two years. She listed his credentials. She asked Mr. Lefcourt to proceed with the presentation.

Mr. Lefcourt outlined the areas that would be covered in his presentation (ATTACHMENT A). The areas included staff, statutes and ordinances, pruning, planting, removal, protection and inventory of the trees and other responsibilities. Of the nine member staff, three are certified arborists. Mr. Lefcourt also serves as the Tree Warden per state law as well as an arborist. Every city is required to have a Tree Warden. The state law explains procedures for pruning and removal of trees as well as the protocol for tree removal hearings. The municipal code ordinance, Chapter 8.66 requires that any projects, 25,000 square feet or more, must implement a "Tree Protection Plan" approved by the arborist. There are 17,000 trees in the city and 300-500 trees planted each year. This year's fall planting of 150 trees will include 25 species. Mr. Lefcourt supports tree diversity to minimize threats from pests, disease or environmental issues. He stated that approximately 100 trees are removed annually either because they are dying or there is a structural issue. Trees are removed either by the tree removal process or emergency. The process for tree removal is as follows: A resident requests a tree to be removed. The Tree Warden does an inspection and makes a determination. If that determination is contested, a tree hearing is held. The Tree Warden makes a recommendation to the City Manager. On tree protection he stated that all trees are to be protected during the construction process. The state law includes a provision to fine contractors if city trees are damaged. The City's tree inventory is computerized and maintained on ArcGIS. He updates the inventory. A summer intern counted 4,227 trees which added 1,500 more trees to the inventory. Mr. Lefcourt listed other responsibilities he has as the arborist. He is a member of the Public Planting Committee, organizes Arbor Day events, stays abreast of threats from potential pest and disease and works with other departments and contractors to minimize tree damage.

At this time Vice Mayor Davis opened the meeting for questions by members of the City Council.

Councillor Kelley asked about the city-wide policy on tree grates. Ms. Peterson stated that the priority is not to remove all tree grates. The priority is to remove the problematic tree grates. She asked Councillor Kelley to bring the problem area to the attention of the Public Works Department. Mr. Lefcourt commented that if you observe problem tree grates, report them to Public Works. Councillor Kelley asked about the plan for the tree wells in front of City Hall. Mr. Lefcourt responded the plan is to plant two trees in the fall. Councillor Kelley asked for an explanation of the use of gator bags for watering. Mr. Lefcourt explained that a gator bag is a 20-pound plastic bag that funnels rain to the soil to water trees. Councillor Kelley inquired about volunteers watering trees. The city is looking for ways to reach out to residents to care for the trees in a formal way stated Ms. Peterson. This is an internal organizational structural issue of Public Works planned to launch within the year.

Councillor Kelley stated that there seems to be no coherent guidelines for tree removal. Mr. Lefcourt stated that trees are removed because they are dying or have a structural issue. A healthy tree canopy may not necessarily mean a healthy tree. The trunk maybe decayed. Councillor Kelley asked Mr. Lefcourt to explain the tree removal process. Mr. Lefcourt stated that a recent change requires a moderator for the tree removal hearing. He explained if a resident requests a tree removed he inspects the tree. There is a tree hearing if the inspection is contested. A recommendation is written and sent to the City Manager.

Councillor Cheung commented that the issue is liability.

Vice Mayor Davis asked the City Solicitor to explain the authority of the City Council and the Tree Warden.

City Solicitor Drisdell explained the authority laid out in MGL Chapter 87 governing shade trees and the duties of the Tree Warden. Liability is a concern for the city. When a major wind storm occurs numerous claims are filed with the city. The Law Department defends these claims. The managing power is the Tree Warden. If an emergency exists a tree can be removed without a hearing. No authority rests with the City Council unless the ordinance is changed.

At six o'clock and thirteen minutes p.m. Vice Mayor Davis opened the meeting to public comment.

Ellen Mass, President, Friends of Alewife Reservation, read a prepared statement (ATTACHMENT B). She spoke at the 100 year flood plain trees at the Silver Maple Forest and the Gilmore Street trees. She requested that permits not be given to developers of the Belmont housing adjacent to the Silver Maple Forest at Alewife.

John Pitkin stated that stronger regulations are needed. He spoke about heritage trees and the fact they are being lost and not replaced. Climate change damages trees. He requested a higher value be placed on trees and heritage trees be maintained.

David Davis, Co-Chair, Public Planting Committee, praised the City Council for their focus on this issue. He urged all people to bring their concerns to the Public Planting Committee. He praised David Lefcourt and Commissioner Peterson for their work on this issue.

Florie Westcott stated that it is important to hear about the tree canopy. She thanked Mr. Lefcourt for his leadership. She requested funding for additional trees.

Judy Johnson informed the committee that there are two young dead trees in front of 344 Broadway. She stated that she is suing the city for the removal of four trees on Gilmore Street. She stated that the tree hearing minutes of Mar 10, 2010 cite Mr. Lefcourt stating that it is difficult to remove healthy trees in Cambridge.

Debbie Knight spoke about choosing specific species for planting. She stated that sidewalk work affects sidewalk trees. She favored volunteers to maintain trees. She asked if the Municipal Code could be changed that requires projects 25,000 square feet or more to implement a tree protection plan approved by the arborist. She requested that this requirement be reduced to less than 25,000 square feet.

Tara Murray stated that tree removal is a big issue. There is a flaw in the tree removal process; it is not all right for a city official to give a false reason to remove trees. There was no safety issue with the Gilmore Street trees. The city did not allow a Resistograph test.

Jean Murray stated that heritage trees should be planted. Different pruning requirements are needed for older trees. She suggested Public Works putting a sign that reads "This tree taken care of compliments of _______________."

Andrea Wilder had a list of questions:
Who can the public call to get relief if it looks as if a developer is going to cut down a street tree?
If pruning is needed for street trees who does the public call?
Can hot top around tree trunks be removed because it does not allow the water to percolate to the tree roots?
Can tree canopy be increased and what are the plans? Canopy Report done in 2005.
Bricks set in concrete cement not a good idea because the water cannot percolate, can this be changed?

Shola Friedensohn spoke about plantings in Parrow Park, near the BU Bridge. The park had thick bushes that protected the park from exhaust fumes. The Henry Street side of the park is bare. She would like to see more plantings there.

Chris Messina spoke of the Gilmore Street tree removal. Is there an objective test that the city and residents can use to resolve this issue. The Resistograph test should be a standard test.

Dennis Carlone stated that the tour given by the Public Planting Committee of Massachusetts Avenue was informative. He requested more funding for trees.

Paula Cortes commented that for every tree requested there is an additional maintenance cost associated with the tree. She favored funding for tree maintenance first then see if more trees could be added.

Carolyn Shipley stated her concern about tree wells. She asked how many trees were planted in the Cambridgeport area in 2009. Thirty dead trees were counted and reported to Mr. Lefcourt. She stated that Mr. Lefcourt was responsive. She recommended more funding for tree planting and maintenance education.

Minka vanBeuzekom questioned the tree fund and how the funding was used. Does the city own or can the city buy a watering truck? She favored a volunteer effort to water trees.

Elena Saporta reported that the heritage tree, a Cooper Beech, closest to the playground at the Main Library has fungus.

Jannah Murray spoke about keeping the city green. It is important for elected officials to act in the best interest of the residents and not for political reasons. People are disturbed about the situation with the Gilmore Street trees.

Mark Jaquith complained about the tree removal process. He claimed that no minutes are kept of the tree removal hearings. He requested that official minutes be kept.

Councillor Kelley stated that he favored the Resistograph test. He also wanted a ranking system for tree removal. He asked why are some dead trees removed and trees that look good but are not in good condition not removed. The library beech tree with the fungus needs a timely response. He also expressed his concern for backing up trucks that may cause damage to trees.

Councillor Cheung had submitted a copy of Somerville's Tree Preservation Ordinance, which was referred to this meeting (ATTACHMENT C). No action was taken on this matter.

At this time Vice Mayor Davis submitted the following motion:
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Commissioner of Public Works and the City Arborist and to report back to the City Council on the following questions regarding trees that were received at the Environment Committee meeting held on Sept 30, 2010:
Who can the public call to get relief if it looks as if a developer is going to cut down a street tree?
If pruning is needed for street trees who does the public call?
Can hot top around tree trunks be removed because it does not allow water to percolate to the tree roots?
Can tree canopy be increased and what are the plans? Canopy Report done in 2005.
Bricks set in concrete cement not a good idea because the water cannot percolate, can this be changed?
How is the tree fund used?
Does the city own or can the city buy a watering truck?
The library beech tree with the fungus needs a timely response.
Can more plantings be planted in Parrow Park (Henry Street side)?
Is there additional funding for tree maintenance?
How many trees were planted in 2009 in the Cambridgeport area?
Can official minutes be kept of tree removal hearings?

Vice Mayor Davis stated that she would schedule another meeting to discuss the following items:
Follow up to the Environment Committee meeting of Sept 30, 2010;
Somerville Tree Ordinance;
Tree replacement policy;
Public involvement in tree maintenance; and
Resistograph test.

Vice Mayor Davis thanked all attendees for their participation.

The meeting adjourned at six o'clock and fifty-five minutes p. m.

For the Committee,
Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, Chair

AWAITING REPORT LIST
10-50. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on options for amending the ordinance to allow for permitting of civic organizations to use public space after hours.
Councillor Cheung 03/22/10 (O-18)

10-56. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the adoption of a regulation to prohibit licensed hotels from subcontracting housekeeping services.
Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung, Mayor Maher, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 04/05/10 (O-16)

10-57. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on Harvard using the Jesuit properties for affordable housing and whether Harvard will offer other properties in the same neighborhoods for the purpose of developing affordable housing.
Councillor Decker & Councillor Cheung 04/05/10 (O-20)

10-63. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on instituting a program similar to the on-bill financing of business and residential building improvements.
Councillor Cheung 04/26/10 (O-8)

10-79. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on a standard set of resources, facility privileges, tools, and barebones operating budget the unfunded commissions may use in their work of enacting Council policy.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 05/10/10 (O-7)

10-89. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on a delineation of the boundaries of Joan Lorentz Park.
Councillor Seidel, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 05/24/10 (O-11)

10-115. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the courts ruling in favor of the plaintiffs at 303 Third Street and the impact on affordable housing units in the building.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 08/02/10 (O-10)

10-118. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on issues related to scooters and any changes to ordinances or regulations on scooter use and parking.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 08/02/10 (O-23)

10-119. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on long-term plans for the building and associated open space located at 116 Norfolk Street.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 08/02/10 (O-24)

10-120. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on feasibility and enforceability of implementing the provisions of House Bill 3371 which increases certain motor vehicle fines to improve driving.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 08/02/10 (O-25)

10-121. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on discussions about the future of the Cambridge Health Alliance.
Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 08/02/10 (O-27)

10-122. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the closing of the Teen Health Center and report quarterly on service changes and other matters related to the future of the Cambridge Health Alliance.
Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 08/02/10 (O-28)

10-123. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on accident at Lambert & Cambridge Streets and re-examine the intersection for pedestrian safety.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-1)

10-124. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on installing a four-way stop at Fifth & Otis Streets.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-2)

10-125. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on pedestrian safety improvements at Sixth & Hurley Streets.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-3)

10-126. Report from the City Manager:  See Mgr #1
RE: report on continuous problems with odors from catch basins on Cambridge Street from Inman Square to Lechmere.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-4)

10-127. Report from the City Manager:  See Mgr #2
RE: report on nature of the improvements along the Grand Junction.
Councillor Toomey, Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 09/13/10 (O-5)

10-128. Report from the City Manager:  See Mgr #5
RE: report on plans for reducing Broadway to one lane near the Marriott Hotel.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-6)

10-129. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the MBTA bus #47 not stopping for people waiting at the bus stops.
Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-7)

10-130. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the status of installing community gardens at Riverside Press Park.
Vice Mayor Davis and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-11)

10-133. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on railroad crossing safety policies and procedures, including equipment maintenance and repair in the City of Cambridge.
Councillor Seidel 09/13/10 (O-16)

10-134. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on reducing energy consumption by way of deleting and/or limiting email storage.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 09/13/10 (O-15)

10-135. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of working with the NSTAR/OPower project.
Vice Mayor Davis and Full Membership 09/27/10 (O-1)

10-136. Report from the City Manager:  See Mgr #3
RE: report on the planning process for the Concord Avenue redesign.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 09/27/10 (O-2)

10-138. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of adding historical sub-signs to street signs and the possibility of commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 with street sub-signs.
Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 09/27/10 (O-6)

10-140. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on safety policies and procedures in place to monitor the maintenance of natural gas pipelines in the City.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 09/27/10 (O-10)

10-141. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on why requests by residents to have their mail held by the Post Office were not acknowledged.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 09/27/10 (O-12)

10-142. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on removing the "no parking" signs in front of the old North Cambridge Catholic High School on Norris Street and establishing the parking spaces as residential permit parking.
Mayor Maher & Councillor Decker 09/27/10 (O-13)

10-143. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the allowable uses for the No. Cambridge Catholic High School site and on the number of residential dwelling units that could be developed in this property.
Mayor Maher & Councillor Decker 09/27/10 (O-14)

10-144. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on installing a crosswalk and stop signs on Kinnaird Street between Western Avenue and Putnam Avenue.
Councillor Toomey, Mayor Maher, Councillor Cheung & Councillor Seidel 09/27/10 (O-15)

10-145. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on providing additional bicycle parking at CRLS and the Main Library.
Councillor Kelley 09/27/10 (O-18)

10-146. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on improving pedestrian safety at the intersection of Magee Street and Putnam Avenue.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-2)

10-147. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on playground safety issues at the Cambridgeport School playground.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-3)

10-148. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the status of Sennott Park, including how the space is scheduled by organized groups and the landscaping costs and upkeep.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-4)

10-149. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on safety issues at the intersection of Green and Hancock Streets.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-5)

10-150. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of Cambridge participating in the Bixi bike-sharing program.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-6)

10-151. Report from the City Manager:  See Mgr #2
RE: report on how the transition of the Grand Junction Railroad to Commuter Rail traffic could impede the implementation of the Grand Junction Rail Trail.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-7)

10-152. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on whether there is language in the noise ordinance that allows enforcement of loud car radios.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-8)

10-153. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of banning smoking in public parks and other public places.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-9)

10-154. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the new food allergy guidelines and what impact it will have on the food industry in Cambridge.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 10/04/10 (O-10)

10-155. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the process for discussing the report "Missed Opportunities Shared Responsibility" throughout the community and ensuring community groups have ample opportunity to discuss the report.
Councillor Decker 10/04/10 (O-12)

10-156. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on safety issues at the intersection of Cedar and Harvey Streets.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/18/10 (O-2)

10-157. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on whether there's an agreement by the Museum of Science to build a walkway behind the museum for pedestrians to use to traverse along the Charles River towards the Craigie Dam.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 10/18/10 (O-4)

10-158. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on repairing the brick sidewalk in front of 149 Hancock Street.
Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 10/18/10 (O-6)

10-159. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on repairing the broken play structures at Hurley Street Tot Lot.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 10/18/10 (O-11)