Cambridge City Council meeting - November 7, 2011 - AGENDA

CITY MANAGERíS AGENDA
1. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to the appropriation of a donation received from the Taste of Cambridge in the amount of $10,000.00 to the Grant Fund Human Service Programs Other Ordinary Maintenance account which will benefit the DHSP Special Olympics and will be used to purchase uniforms and equipment.

CHARTER RIGHT
1. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 11-03, regarding a report on allowing homeowners alternatives to alter flat roof structures to create better rain water runoff collection. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Seidel on City Manager Agenda Item Number Seven of Oct 31, 2011.]
Referred to Neighborhood & Long-Term Planning Committee - Seidel

2. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Department of Public Works to look into the proper waste disposal issues in the Area IV area, specifically in the vicinity of Washington Street, and the possibility of installing additional trash receptacles. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Reeves on Order Number Seven of Oct 31, 2011.]
Placed on file without action taken

3. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the City Solicitor to obtain and forward to the City Council the legal opinion detailing the City Council's regulatory authority to grant curb cuts and the issue of providing the property owner access to their property. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Toomey on Order Number Sixteen of Oct 31, 2011.]
Placed on file without action taken

ON THE TABLE
4. 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. Councillor Kelley made motions to take from table on May 10, 2010 failed 2-7-0, Sept 13, 2010 failed 4-4-1, Sept 27, 2010 failed 3-5-1, Dec 13, 2010 failed 3-6-0. Remains on Table.]

5. 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.]

6. 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.]

7. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 10-189, regarding a report on the legitimacy of the tax exempt claim of Education First. [Charter Right exercised on City Manager Agenda Item Number Nineteen of Jan 24, 2011. Placed on Table Jan 31, 2011.]

8. That the City Manager is requested to have the Community Development Department convene a meeting with neighbors in the vicinity of Grove Street and Blanchard Road, the Fresh Pond Master Plan Committee and other relevant parties to review the zoning along the golf course and the Fresh Pond Reservation in that area. [Charter Right exercised on Order Number Five of Jan 24, 2011. Placed on Table Jan 31, 2011.]

9. That the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council with a complete and comprehensive list of all concessions made to the City and broader Cambridge community by developers and the universities in exchange for zoning relief, special permits, or Council approval. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Reeves on Order Number Eleven of Apr 25, 2011. Tabled on Motion of Councillor Cheung on May 2, 2011.]

10. Transmitting communication from Robert W. Healy, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 11-94, regarding a report on fireworks at Corcoran Park on July 4th. [City Manager Agenda Item Number Nineteen of Sept 12, 2011 Placed on Table on motion of Councillor Kelley.]

11. An application was received from Eric Griffith, requesting permission for a curb cut at the premises numbered 9 Wyman Street; said petition has received approval from Inspectional Services, Traffic, Parking and Transportation and Public Works. No neighborhood association for that area. [Charter Right exercised by Councillor Kelley on Applications and Petitions Number Three of Oct 24, 2011. Placed on Table Oct 31, 2011 by Councillor Cheung on roll call vote 6-3-0.]

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
12. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public meeting held on Sept 7, 2011 to consider a petition filed by Julia Bishop et al., to amend Section 17.20 of the Zoning Ordinance - Regulations for Special District 2, located in North Cambridge along Linear Park. [Order #26 adopted on Oct 17, 2011 to discharge from committee. Report placed on Unfinished Business on Oct 17, 2011.] The question comes on passing to a Second Reading. Planning Board hearing held Sept 13, 2011. Petition expires Dec 6, 2011.
Passed to a 2nd Reading 9-0

13. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public meeting held on Sept 7, 2011 to consider a petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance filed by Elizabeth deRham et al. The petition proposes an amendment to Section 9.16 of the Zoning which currently provides for a $100 per violation per day fine upon conviction of said violation. The amendment would provide for a fine not to exceed the maximum specified in M.G.L. Ch 40A sec.7, currently $300 per violation per day and would allow the fine to be levied at the discretion of the Superintendent of Buildings. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Oct 31, 2011. Planning Board hearing held Sept 13, 2011. Petition expires Dec 6, 2011.

14. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public meeting held on Oct 13, 2011 to consider a petition filed by Laura Runkel et al. to rezone 41 Bellis Circle, an area abutting the northern block of Bellis Circle, bordered on the north by the commuter rail tracks, on the south by Bellis Circle and on the east side by Sherman Street, from Residence C-1A to Residence C. The question comes on passing to be ordained on or after Nov 14, 2011. Planning Board hearing held Sept 13, 2011. Petition expires Dec 13, 2011.

COMMUNICATIONS
1. A communication was received from Beibei Su, Architectural Historian, The Ottery Group, transmitting an invitation to participate as a consulting party to the Section 106 review of the proposed modification of the existing AT&T Mobility "MIT Dorrance Building #16 #2267 Telecommunications Facility" at 77 Massachusetts Avenue.

2. A communication was received from Irv Cummings, transmitting thanks for the lovely tribute to his pastoral work in Cambridge.

RESOLUTIONS
1. Resolution on the death of Georgia (Ravanis) Fennessy.   Mayor Maher

2. Congratulations to Roger Frymire and Squizzle Plekavich on receiving the 2011 Fresh Pond Stewardship Award.   Vice Mayor Davis, Mayor Maher

3. Thanks to Weight Watchers At Work program leader Heather Federico for the encouragement she shared with City of Cambridge employees as they worked toward the goal of living a healthier lifestyle.   Vice Mayor Davis

4. Congratulations to the Early Childhood Education and Care Provider/Educators for their twenty years of incredible service to the Cambridge community.   Councillor Decker

5. Acknowledge the month of November as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.   Councillor Simmons

6. Best wishes to the Cambridge High and Latin Class of 1971 as they celebrate their 40th class reunion.   Councillor Simmons

7. Congratulations to Helen Hobbs on receiving an Outstanding Woman Award from the YWCA.   Councillor Simmons

8. Congratulations to Bryn Mawr Bookstore on the occasion of its 40th anniversary.   Vice Mayor Davis


9. Resolution on the death of Roland F. Stead Jr.   Councillor Reeves

10. Condolences to Fr. O'Mally on the death of his father.   Mayor Maher

11. Happy 92nd Birthday wishes to Tim Toomey, Sr.   Councillor Toomey

12. Happy 100th Birthday wishes to Mrs. St. John.   Councillor Toomey


ORDERS
1. That the City Manager is requested to confer with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Department of Public Works and the Police Department to determine any and all appropriate measures that can be taken to enforce that heavy trucks do not use Rindge Avenue.   Mayor Maher

2. That the City Manager is requested to direct the Inspectional Services Department to work with Nauset Construction, the developer of 7 Cameron Avenue, and with Dick's Auto Body to ascertain the source of the odor and its potential impact on the health of residents.   Councillor Simmons

3. That the City Council hereby discharges the Ordinance Committee of the Matthew Bagedonow petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance and that the City Council hereby passes the Bagedonow petition to a second reading.   Councillor Seidel

COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 14, 2011 and a follow-up public meeting on Oct 25, 2011 to consider a re-filed petition to amend the zoning ordinance filed by Chestnut Hill Realty. The petition would allow creation by special permit of rental apartment units in basement units of existing multifamily residential buildings in Residence C Districts which meet the special permit criteria.
Passed to a 2nd Reading 9-0

2. A communication was received from D. Margaret Drury, City Clerk, transmitting a report from Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 14, 2011 to consider a petition by Matthew Bagedonow et al. to amend Section 5.24.4 Paragraph(4) of the Zoning Ordinance as follows: "For Residence Zoning District C-1, in no case shall side yards be less than 7'-6". This shall apply to any plane or projection from the plane of the building."
Passed to a 2nd Reading 9-0

HEARING SCHEDULE
Mon, Nov 7
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 14
5:30pm   Roundtable Meeting with Commissioner Carole Cornelison, Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management, and her staff, to discuss plans for the East Cambridge Courthouse site. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised.  Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Nov 15
4:00pm   Ordinance Committee  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 21
5:30pm   City Council Meeting
Special Presentation - Mayor's Red Ribbon Commission on Central Square.  Sullivan Chamber)

Tues, Nov 22
10:00am   The Community Health Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss Domestic Violence and Technology: Dangers and Opportunities.  Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm   The Environment Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss goal setting for the Cambridge environment for the coming year.  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Nov 28
5:30pm   Roundtable Meeting to receive an update on the United States Census. No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised.  Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Nov 30
10:00am   The Community Health Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss Domestic Violence, Housing and Homelessness.  Sullivan Chamber)

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

Mon, Dec 12
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  Sullivan Chamber)

Wed, Dec 14
10:00am   The Community Health Committee will conduct a public meeting to discuss Domestic Violence and Youth.  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Dec 19
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Jan 2
10:00am   CITY COUNCIL INAUGURAL 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)

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

Mon, Mar 12
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Mar 19
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  Sullivan Chamber)

Mon, Mar 26
5:30pm   City Council Meeting  Sullivan Chamber)

TEXT OF ORDERS
O-1     Nov 7, 2011
MAYOR MAHER
WHEREAS: Residents have expressed concerns that increased heavy truck traffic on Rindge Avenue, particularly between Massachusetts Avenue and Sherman Street, has impacted the quality of life for the neighborhood and raised safety concerns, especially near the Peabody School; and
WHEREAS: The signage on Massachusetts Avenue at the intersection of Rindge Avenue appears to be inadequate in notifying truck drivers that certain trucks are prohibited on Rindge Avenue; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, the Department of Public Works and the Police Department to determine any and all appropriate measures that can be taken to enforce that heavy trucks do not use Rindge Avenue.

O-2     Nov 7, 2011
COUNCILLOR SIMMONS
WHEREAS: Neighbors in the vicinity of Cameron Avenue and Elmwood Street have expressed concern about the potential health impacts of a pungent odor which they suspect emanates from the construction site at 7 Cameron Avenue or from Dick's Auto Body located at 95-99 Elmwood Street; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to direct the Inspectional Services Department to work with Nauset Construction, the developer of 7 Cameron Avenue, and with Dick's Auto Body to ascertain the source of the odor and its potential impact on the health of residents; and be it further
ORDERED: That once the source of the odor has been identified, the Inspectional Services Department should work to ensure that remediation is undertaken at no cost to the City of Cambridge.

O-3     Nov 7, 2011
COUNCILLOR SEIDEL
WHEREAS: The Ordinance Committee report on the Matthew Bagedonow petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance is on the City Council agenda for the Nov 7, 2011 Council meeting as Committee Report # 2; and
WHEREAS: The Ordinance Committee held a public hearing on the petition on Sept 14, 2011 and the Planning Board held a public hearing on the petition on Sept 13, 2011; now therefore it
ORDERED: That the City Council hereby discharges the Ordinance Committee of the Matthew Bagedonow petition to amend the Zoning Ordinance; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Council hereby passes the Bagedonow petition to a Second Reading.

TEXT OF COMMITTEE REPORTS
Committee Report #1
The Ordinance Committee held a public hearing on Sept 14, 2011 and a follow-up public meeting on Oct 25, 2011 to consider a re-filed petition to amend the zoning ordinance filed by Chestnut Hill Realty (Attachment A). The petition would allow creation by special permit of rental apartment units in basement units of existing multifamily residential buildings in Residence C Districts which meet the special permit criteria.

Present at the Sept 14th public hearing were Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee; Mayor David Maher; Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis; Councillor Leland Cheung; Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves; and City Clerk Margaret Drury. Present at the Oct 25th public meeting were Councillor Seidel; Vice Mayor Davis; Mayor Maher; and City Clerk Drury. Also present were Brian Murphy, Assistant City Manager for Community Development; Stuart Dash, Director of Community and Neighborhood Planning, Community Development Department (CDD); and Jeffrey Roberts, Neighborhood Planner, CDD. Owen O'Riordan, City Engineer also attended the Oct 25th meeting.

The Sept 14th hearing began at 6:58pm with a presentation from the petitioners, Mark Levin and Matthew Zuker of Chestnut Hill Realty. They reported on the changes in this petition from the first petition on flooding issues and affordable housing units. Flood concerns have been addressed. With regard to sewer backflow issues, all units must have separate sewer and storm drainage lines from the unit and the street, there must be backflow preventions for each unit, and for buildings with a history of sewer backup problems, the City Engineer can require additional safeguards. With regard to overland flooding concerns, buildings on sites with a history of overland flooding would not be allowed to build basement units.

With regard to affordable housing, the petition would require that if any amount from one up to nine new basement units are built, one of the units must be affordable, if 10 are built, two affordable units must be built and for any amount after 10, the normal inclusionary zoning requirements would apply.

Councillor Seidel requested that CDD staff describe the Planning Board hearing and recommendation, a copy of which is attached to this report (Attachment B). Mr. Dash said that while some members of the board were intrigued with the proposal, their overall recommendation remained the same as it was for the previously filed petition, i.e., that the Planning Board does not recommend ordination of the amendment as currently proposed. The board noted that while the revised petition does attempt to deal with flooding and affordability issues, those issues remain as important concerns. A memorandum from the City Engineer is attached to the Planning Board report. Mr. Dash noted that the Planning Board also expressed some concern about the petition's allowance of new units without any additional parking space requirement, along with concern about the quality of basement units.

Vice Mayor Davis stated that she would need to hear from the City Engineer at a committee hearing before she could consider voting on any proposal for creating additional basement units.

Mayor Maher asked whether members of the Planning Board had viewed the units. He stated that he was quite skeptical when he first heard of the proposal, but after actually seeing the space and some existing basement units, he was impressed with the quality of what could be built. He said that he has some interest in a pilot program, with a sunset clause and a required review of the results of the pilot. He said that he would also be interested in some way of targeting seniors as tenants who could be looking for ways to give up driving. He agreed with Vice Mayor Davis that the committee should hear from the City Engineer.

Councillor Reeves said that there are already basement apartments in Cambridge, some quite charming and livable, some not.

Councillor Seidel said that he thinks that there are still a lot of questions that need better answers for him to reach a comfort level with the proposal.

He invited public comment.

Sheila Russell, Hawthorne Park, consultant to Chestnut Hill Realty, stated that she looked at two existing basement units in eligible buildings. She was quite surprised at how spacious and comfortable they were. She said that Cambridge needs affordable housing and that this proposal is a good way to add some more.

Mayor Maher moved that the petition be held in the Ordinance Committee. The motion passed on a voice vote without objection. The Sept 14th public hearing was adjourned at 7:33pm.

Councillor Seidel called the Oct 25, 2011 follow-up meeting to order at 4:13pm. He invited Mr. O'Riordan to begin with a report on the flooding issues associated with this petition.

Mr. O'Riordan said that the Engineering Department has concerns in two areas: sewer backup and overland flooding. He has had a productive meeting with the petitioners. They have worked successfully to provide safeguards with respect to requiring in the ordinance proper plumbing to address the sewer issue.

The bigger issue is overland flooding, which is ultimately a result of conveyance capacity and cannot really be predicted with total certainty. There is some historical data, but there have been recent events that would not have been predicted by the historical data. He described a building with about eight basement units built in the 1960's. For many years there were no problems with flooding. Only recently have they experienced basement flooding as a result of overland flooding events.

Mr. O'Riordan said that they have developed additional analysis and modeling techniques. There are a number of areas within the petition area that are likely to be susceptible to overland flooding. They would have to develop language to define these areas. In the July 2010 overland flooding event, the DPW received 200 calls from homeowners. Judging from that number of calls, they estimate that the number of properties impacted by that event was much greater, perhaps as much as ten times as large. Mr. O'Riordan said that as we look as climate change, we see the probability of more flooding in the future.

Councillor Seidel asked Mr. O'Riordan to elaborate on the effort to define the areas of probable overland flooding. Mr. O'Riordan said that the first meaningful discussion took place at a meeting with CDD and the petitioners that day. There was agreement that the language would have to provide broad discretion to the City Engineer to use his modeling techniques to estimate probabilities and, based on those reasonable estimates, to be able to make the decision that in a particular proposed site, the construction of a basement apartment is not in the City's best interest.

Vice Mayor Davis noted that Mr. O'Riordan spoke of the "City's best interest." The property owner petitioners say that the petition is in the City's best interest. She asked the City staff why it matters to the City. Mr. O'Riordan said that this is a philosophical and a legal question as well, but on the practical level, their experience has been that when there are flooding events, a lot of city resources are utilized in the municipal response to the event. The city has spent considerable funds on flooded basements, beginning with the first responder activities to cut off gas and electricity and continuing on to the funds spent to try to alleviate the problem that exists. An extremely large amount of money has been spent to try to improve the sewer lines.

Vice Mayor Davis asked Mr. O'Riordan to define overland flooding. Mr. O'Riordan said that the ground becomes saturated. The storage capacities of the city are all filled up. At that time the water is virtually being stored on the surface of the ground and eventually builds up to the extent that it overwhelms the system's ability to move the water out of the system. Mr. O'Riordan said that the ability to convey water out of the system is very constrained by the Charles River and the Alewife River and their dams. The elevation of the Charles River is artificially high.

Vice Mayor Davis said that past history does not seem adequate to predict these recent rain events, for example the July flooding in Cambridge and the flooding in Swampscott a few weeks ago. She asked Mr. O'Riordan if he could have predicted that the properties that would be affected in July were the properties that were affected. Mr. O'Riordan said yes and no. There are some areas that are surely bad risks. Vice Mayor Davis said that the trend is toward moving mechanicals that can be damaged by flooding out of basements. In the future we will see that furnaces, etc., will not be in the basement of the building.

Vice Mayor Davis said that she feels concerned because these rain events are very serious. She is concerned about delivering apartments at risk in these events to citizens even though the City has had no part in building them. She gave the example of the Kennedy Biscuit building in which the environmental conditions were found to be responsible for exacerbating the asthma that led to the death of a child.

Mayor Maher said that he would have no problem with giving the City Engineer the authority to make decisions on what areas would be appropriate or not appropriate based on engineering data analysis. He has toured the some of the sites and found that the sites are decent. He looks at this as a pilot project that could start in a small and confined way. Staff could evaluate the success, and if the worst case scenario occurs, the project would end. If this proposal does move forward, he intends to introduce a sunset provision. He would like staff feedback on what length of time would be appropriate for a pilot program. Three years? Five years? He would want a provision that six months prior to the expiration date, the City Council would get a report on the pros and cons.

Vice Mayor Davis said that the idea of a sunset provision raises the issue of spot zoning for a particular owner. Mayor Maher said that this petition does not just cover one owner. There are several owners who could take advantage of the amendment.

Vice Mayor Davis asked about other Planning Board concerns. Mr. Murphy said that there are issues about the affordable housing. The petition would provide for at least one unit of affordable housing in a building. However, the unit would be a studio or one-bedroom unit, which is not really suitable for families. That size unit does not encourage permanence. Additionally, the petition would allow for the waiver of all requirements to provide additional accessory parking for the units. This is a particular concern because the new units would likely be situated in neighborhoods where on-street parking is very limited.

Councillor Seidel noted that Councillor Kelley had submitted a communication for the record in which he stated that he would not be interested in supporting the proposal unless the petition provided that occupants of the new basement units could not get resident parking stickers (Attachment C).

Councillor Seidel then invited the petitioners to make any comments they desired. They summarized the changes since the last petition and hearing:
Pilot program provision with sunset clause.
City Engineer to have full authority to require additional safeguards.
If there is a history of overland flooding on the site, no new basement units would be allowed.
Improvement of affordable housing proposal.
De minimus increase in parking

At this time the committee members made the following motion to encompass the questions which they deemed must be answered before they could finally consider the petition:
Councillor Seidel
Mayor Maher
Vice Mayor Davis
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Assistant City Manager for Community Development, the Commissioner of Public Works, the City Engineer, the Director of Traffic, Parking and Transportation and the City Solicitor to provide the following information and material to the Ordinance Committee no later than Nov 21, 2011:
1. Answers from the City Solicitor as to 1) Whether the Zoning Ordinance can provide for a Special Permit for development of basement units that requires review and approval by the City Engineer of the appropriateness of the site with regard to the level of risk of overland flooding such that without said approval no special permit will be issued; and 2) Whether the special permit can also provide that the landlord must provide flood insurance that covers flood damage to the tenants' possessions.
2. Responses from the Assistant City Manager for Community Development and the Director of Traffic Parking and Transportation on the effect on the City's overall parking demand management policies of enacting the proposal for a complete waiver of the accessory parking requirements for the new basement units.
3. Information from the City Solicitor, Assistant City Manager for Community Development and the Director of the Traffic Parking and Transportation Department as to the legality and feasibility of some mechanism that would prevent additional on-street parking demand from the new basement units by prohibiting anyone in the newly created units from receiving resident parking permits ( e.g., deed restriction, lease requirement, whatever method Boston is using, etc.).
4. Language for amendments to the current proposed amendments to accomplish the following:
a. Authority of City Engineer to reject application based on his estimation of the danger of overland flooding;
b. No resident parking permits for these new units
c. Providing that this special permit program is a pilot program requiring a review and report to the City Council with recommendations regarding continuation six months prior to the expiration date.

The motion passed on a voice vote without objection. Thereafter, on a voice vote without objection, the committee passed a motion to refer the proposed amendment to the full City Council without recommendation.

Councillor Seidel thanked all those present for their attendance. The Oct 25, 2011 meeting was adjourned at 5:10pm.

For the Committee,
Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair

QUESTION COMES ON PASSING TO A SECOND READING (ORDER ADOPTED ON OCT 31, 2011) on Nov 7, 2011


Committee Report #2
The Ordinance Committee held a public hearing on Sept 14, 2011, beginning at 5:12pm in the Sullivan Chamber for the purpose of considering a petition filed by Matthew Bagedonow et al. (Attachment A) to amend Section 5.24.4 Paragraph(4) of the Zoning Ordinance as follows: "For Residence Zoning District C-1, in no case shall side yards be less than 7'-6". This shall apply to any plane or projection from the plane of the building."

Present at the hearing were Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair of the Ordinance Committee; Mayor David Maher; Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis; Councillor Leland Cheung; Councillor Marjorie Decker; Councillor Craig Kelley; and Margaret Drury, City Clerk. Also present were Brian Murphy, Assistant City Manager for Community Development; Stuart Dash, Director of Community and Neighborhood Development (CDD); and Jeffrey Roberts, Neighborhood Planner, CDD.

Councillor Seidel convened the hearing and explained the purpose. He invited the petitioners to present the petition. Mr. Bagedonow described the genesis of the petition in the sale of a large corner lot with a garage right on the corner of the lot to a developer. The neighbors learned that in a Residence C-1 zoning district there are no specific setback requirements. Instead there is a formula of H+L divided by 5 = minimum side yard, where H = height of the structure and L=length of the structure. If the structure is 40 ft. or less in height, the denominator can be increased by 2. Application of this formula can mean that a structure can be pushed pretty far over toward the neighboring lot. In addition, where there are different planes or protrusions such a bay windows, the minimum side lot established by the formula is an average of all of the side yard distances from the lot line (Section 5.24.2). So a particular protruding portion of a building could be extremely close to the lot line.

Mr. Bagedonow said that they have reached an agreement with the developer that he will build no closer to the lot line than 10'-6", but the petitioners believe that this setback issue is important for the neighborhood. Mr. Bagedonow said that the CDD staff memo to the Planning Board (Attachment B) provides an excellent analysis of the issue. Neighbors are concerned about the "densification" of their neighborhood and their quality of life. They are also concerned about the life safety issues presented by buildings that are too close together.

Vice Mayor Davis asked if this amendment would address the problem they have seen with corner lots. Mr. Bagedonow said that to the extent that a corner lot is defined as a lot with a front yard, two side yards and no back yard, the amendment would help by establishing a fixed numerical minimum side lot requirement.

At this time Councillor Seidel invited CDD staff to address the proposal. Mr. Dash introduced the discussion by informing the committee that CDD staff believes that the idea has merit. They also recommend adjustments to eliminate possible conflicts with new green building standards. Mr. Roberts then described the petition and the CDD analysis in detail. The petition would first establish a 7.6' minimum required side yard for any part of a building in the Residence C-1 district. That would establish a fixed numerical minimum for side yards in Residence C-1 districts and it would also preclude, by the "any plane or projection from the plane of the building" language, use of Section 5.24.2, which allows projections such as eaves, chimneys, bay windows etc. in the side yards as long as the overall average side yard dimension amounted to 7'6".

Mr. Roberts said that Residence C-1 is the most common residential zoning designation in Cambridge. It covers most residential portions of East Cambridge, Wellington-Harrington, mid-Cambridge and Riverside and substantial portions of Agassiz, Neighborhood Nine and Strawberry Hill. This designation is applied to districts with a well-established neighborhood character, which usually includes a mix of detached single-family, duplex and multifamily housing along with townhouses, apartments and condominiums on larger lots. The triple-decker is often viewed as the stereotype of development in the C-1 districts, and the zoning regulations in C-1 are calibrated to allow that style of development on typical lots. Over 5,000 lots and 5,500 buildings are situated in C-1 districts. Rough calculations produce an estimate of 4,930 (89%) of those buildings violate the 7.6 foot minimum on some side of the lot. However, most buildings in the Residence C-1 districts were built before the current zoning ordinance, so it is reasonable to assume that many existing buildings are already in violation of the existing formula setback requirements, and would continue to be legally non-conforming structures under the proposed zoning.

Mr. Roberts said that the proposed zoning change would have the biggest impact on new buildings or additions to existing buildings constructed within 7.5 feet of a side lot line while still conforming to the formula setback requirement.

Vice Mayor Davis said that she lives in a house with 10 ft. setbacks on all sides. A neighboring building has a 4 ft. setback, and that does not feel like enough, especially since the neighbor has a woodstove. She would recommend moving in this direction despite the nonconformity issues. Mr. Roberts said that in most cases the formula will result in more than 7'6".

Mr. Roberts noted that there is some concern about the proposal to prohibit all projecting elements from the required side yard setbacks, where such projections are otherwise allowed within other setbacks and in other districts. Failure to apply a general requirement in a consistent way throughout the ordinance can potentially create confusion for property owners and neighbors. The other concern about that provision relates to the effect on the recently enacted Sustainable Design and Development provisions in Article 22.000. Design features intended to improve exterior insulation and reduce solar heat gain are often features that project from the exterior of buildings.

Councillor Kelley asked whether the CDD concern about the total preclusion of projecting eaves, etc. comes mostly from concern on the potential effect on the ability to add "green" features or whether CDD is also concerned about bulkheads and other such protrusions often found in side yards. Mr. Dash said that CDD wants to take a close look at what the effects of this prohibition would be. He said that one key concern is the bay window - lots of properties feature bay windows that protrude into the side yard area. Councillor Kelley said that the Sec. 5.24.2 seems to apply only when buildings are 35 feet or less in height and wondered how many properties would be affected. Mr. Roberts agreed that Sec 5.24.2 applies to buildings 35 feet or less in height. He said that although they have looked at heights in some neighborhoods they do not know the overall number. He noted that the green projection provisions are not found in this section.

Councillor Kelley said that he likes the idea of an absolute number. Councillor Cheung agreed.

Vice Mayor Davis asked about the effect of the proposed amendments on bicycle storage. Mr. Roberts said that he believes that bicycle storage facilities are not considered a violation of setback rules. However, it would probably depend on the design. He will look at the provisions of the ordinance before answering this question. Vice Mayor Davis said that she is quite interested in the answer to this question.

At this time Councillor Seidel invited public comment.

Campbell Ellsworth, 267 Norfolk Street, stated that he is an architect and he has done a lot of work in Cambridge. He appreciates simplicity in zoning ordinances. Residence C-1 is the largest zoning district designation in Cambridge. Anything that increases nonconformity can be a concern to property owners. He would guess that a simple change of the setback could have consequences in other areas such as FAR and open space requirements. He urged CDD to look carefully at the ramifications of the changes and to focus on the differences among the kinds of projections that can be found in setbacks. Mr. Ellsworth also emphasized the importance of protecting the ability to create green buildings.

There being no further public comment, Mayor Maher moved that the petition remain in committee. The motion passed on a voice vote without objection. On motion of Councillor Kelley the meeting was adjourned at 6:03pm.

For the Committee
Councillor Sam Seidel, Chair

QUESTON COMES ON ACCEPTING REPORT (SEE ORDER #3 REGARDING DISCHARGE FROM COMMITTEE AND PASSAGE TO SECOND READING) on Nov 7, 2011


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)

10-89. 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)

10-133. 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)

10-177. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on meetings with presidents of Cambridge colleges/universities to work out a proposal that they will pay the tuition and fees for students graduating from Cambridge public high schools.
Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 11/22/10 (O-7)

10-178. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on developing an RFP for experimental music venues and space in Central Square.
Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 11/22/10 (O-8)

10-184. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of the Cambridge Farmers Market using space for the winter months in the ground floor of the First Street garage or other suitable space.
Vice Mayor Davis, Mayor Maher, Councillor Toomey, Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 12/13/10 (O-2)

10-185. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on establishing a "pilot program" for Clean Tech Start-Ups in the first floor of vacant First Street garage.
Mayor Maher and Full Membership 12/13/10 (O-4)

10-186. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on possible options for providing more support for the homeless youth in Cambridge.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 12/13/10 (O-5)

10-190. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of implementing the 311 system in Cambridge.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 12/20/10 (O-2)

11-03. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on possibility of allowing homeowners alternatives to alter flat roof structures to create better rain water runoff collection.
Mayor Maher, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 01/10/11 (O-5)

11-06. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on whether the Responsible Employer Ordinance was complied with in regard to the recent bid on water-proofing project in Lafayette Square.
Councillor Cheung, Councillor Decker, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 01/10/11 (O-9)

11-15. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on what incentives were given to Vertex as part of their relocation deal and evaluate how Cambridge could offer those same incentives to companies it is attempting to lure from out of state to the City.
Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 01/31/11 (O-15)

11-20. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of retaining the traffic light on Memorial Drive at Magazine Street.
Councillor Kelley, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Seidel, Vice Mayor Davis, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 02/07/11 (O-3)

11-27. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on recent trip of Public Safety officials to Israel and on the City's policies regarding the provision of professional development of City officials by private entities. View final order.
Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 02/28/11 (O-20)

11-28. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on possible projects that could be completed with the help of Code for America.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 03/07/11 (O-1)

11-53. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how to make the Follen Street/Little Concord Avenue intersection safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Referred back by Councillor Cheung on 5/23/2011 for further information.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 05/16/11 (O-3)

11-58. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of installing a projector presentation screen in the Sullivan Chamber.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 05/16/11 (O-12)

11-61. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the percentage of tree canopy coverage.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 05/16/11 (O-22)

11-64. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of implementing paying for city services on-line.
Councillor Cheung 05/16/11 (O-29)

11-65. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of emulating the San Francisco Yellow Pages ban in Cambridge.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 05/23/11 (O-1)

11-71. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on total of donations raised during the 2011 resident sticker renewals for environmental initiatives, identify a project that the funds can be used for and publicly display that the funds were possible from resident donations.
Councillor Toomey, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 06/06/11 (O-2)

11-79. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on installing benches in front of the Main Library.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 06/27/11 (O-3)

11-81. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on producing information for residents and taxpayers regarding readily available financial information online for citizens to view and easily understand.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 06/27/11 (O-6)

11-82. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on any possible implications of the merger between the Longy School of Music and Bard College.
Councillor Seidel 06/27/11 (O-9)

11-83. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on technology plan for the city, the use of social media tools, and identifying projects that would benefit using Gov 2.0 Initiative.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-1)

11-84. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on creating a research and development office for technology.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-2)

11-85. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on plans for participation in the BIO 2012 Convention.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-4)

11-89. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the need for a bamboo ordinance that either bans the planting of bamboo outright of somehow holds the owner of the bamboo accountable.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-8)

11-91. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on what information campaign will go along with the bike-share program.
Vice Mayor Davis and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-13)

11-92. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of creating a system that the general public could search by a unique identifier, that contains all official documents such as building permits, variance applications, License Commission inspections, etc.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-15)

11-99. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on incorporating information regarding safe bicycling in the City with the dissemination of information related to and implementation of the Hubway bike share program.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-25)

11-101. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on examining the relationship between job creation in the City and available housing stock.
Councillor Seidel and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-27)

11-102. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of using BLAZE technology for the safety of bicyclists.
Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 08/01/11 (O-29)

11-104. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the progress of Cambridge Office of College Success Initiative Working Group Draft.
Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 08/01/11 (O-31)

11-107. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how the delay of the Green Line Extension project could impact the development at Northpoint.
Councillor Toomey 08/01/11 (O-34)

11-109. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on options to go paperless with City bills.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 09/12/11 (O-1)

11-116. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on what changes need to be made to playgrounds and playing fields associated with the public schools in order to best support the Innovation Agenda.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 09/12/11 (O-23)

11-118. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on plans for the McCrehan pool.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 09/12/11 (O-25)

11-120. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on a plan to ensure that tow truck drivers model safe and courteous driving in the City.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 09/12/11 (O-27)

11-125. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the progress and feasibility of integrating and providing a service similar to SeeClickFix.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 09/12/11 (O-40)

11-127. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the public process that will take place to help determine the design of the new park in East Cambridge as it relates to the Biogen Idec build out mitigation agreement and whether a committee should be assembled as part of the process.
Councillor Toomey 09/12/11 (O-48)

11-128. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on trimming tree branches on Pine and Eaton Streets.
Councillor Reeves, Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher, Councillor Seidel, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 09/19/11 (O-10)

11-129. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of using Bobcats to clear snow on neighborhoods and retails sidewalks.
Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 09/19/11 (O-5)

11-130. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on locating a dog park in East Cambridge similar to the one on Washington Street in Somerville.
Councillor Toomey 09/19/11 (O-11)

11-131. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on placing utility pole wires underground as part of the Alewife sewer project.
Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 09/19/11 (O-9)

11-133. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of beautifying Lechmere Station.
Councillor Toomey, Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel & Councillor Simmons 09/19/11 (O-4)

11-139. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on instituting a ban on disposable plastic bags from retailers.
Councillor Decker, Councillor Cheung, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves, Councillor Seidel, Councillor Simmons & Councillor Toomey 10/03/11 (O-3)

11-140. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on ensuring that hazardous metal pieces of street signs are removed from the sidewalk level when signs are removed.
Councillor Simmons and Full Membership 10/03/11 (O-4)

11-141. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on repairing the sidewalks on and around Boardman Street.
Councillor Simmons and Full Membership 10/03/11 (O-5)

11-142. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on increasing the number of hazardous waste drop off days per year.
Councillor Toomey 10/03/11 (O-7)

11-143. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on installing cement posts on the median in the area of 61 Aberdeen Avenue.
Councillor Reeves and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-2)

11-144. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the gun shot incident at Bristol and Hampshire Streets.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-7)

11-145. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the decision making process of where bus shelters are placed.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-9)

11-146. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the upkeep of the Cambridge Common.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-10)

11-147. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the current job training programs and possible areas for expansion of existing programs or the creation of new ones.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-12)

11-148. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of implementing restaurant validated parking on Third Street.
Councillor Cheung and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-15)

11-149. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of traffic calming at Mt. Auburn Street and Putnam Avenue.
Councillor Simmons and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-19)

11-150. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the MBTA's proposed bus changes.
Councillor Decker and Full Membership 10/17/11 (O-24)

11-151. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the Boston Parking Program specifically how buildings have been approved without residents being able to get on-street parking stickers in the Ellis Street neighborhood.
Councillor Kelley 10/17/11 (O-27)

11-152. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on why Somerville has two on-street bike corral systems in Davis & Union Squares and Cambridge has none.
Councillor Kelley 10/17/11 (O-28)

11-153. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the impact of changing Section 14.2(b) of the Traffic Regulations relating to the issue of signage.
Councillor Kelley 10/17/11 (O-29)

11-154. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on whether there are any obstacles to adoption of the proposed amendment to Section 9.16.
Councillor Kelley 10/17/11 (O-31)

11-155. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the possibility of installing recycling receptacles along Cambridge Street between Lechmere Square and Inman Square.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 10/24/11 (O-1)

11-156. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report back on Council Order No. 6, dated 10/24/2011.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 10/24/11 (O-6)

11-157. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on how people without access to email or cell phone texts receive information distributed through CitizenOberver Alerts.
Councillor Kelley and Full Membership 10/24/11 (O-7)

11-158. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on comprehensive assessment and review of traffic and parking needs in the No. Mass Ave. neighborhood.
Mayor Maher 10/24/11 (O-8)

11-159. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the recent string of street robberies.
Councillor Toomey and Full Membership 10/31/11 (O-2)

11-160. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility and impact of the following: Instituting a policy that, after ascertainment, if the City of Cambridge takes more than 90 days to negotiate a contract with a potential cable service provider, the potentially new service provider can operate under the same terms as the existing incumbent service provider, with the option to continue negotiation with the City of Cambridge while operating under those terms.
Councillor Cheung, Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Decker, Councillor Kelley, Mayor Maher, Councillor Reeves & Councillor Simmons 10/31/11 (O-4)

11-161. Report from the City Manager:
RE: report on the feasibility of amending Section 11.200 of the Zoning Ordinance to require linkage from institutions, how inclusionary zoning could be extended to include institutions and the impact of MIT students on the Cambridge housing costs.
Councillor Cheung 10/31/11 (O-13)