Cambridge InsideOut - October 4, 2016
Monday, Oct 3 - The Cambridge City Council is off this week due to religious holidays. They will also not meet next week (Oct 10) due to the Columbus Day holiday.
September 29, 2016 – The Cambridge City Council voted unanimously to make an offer of employment to Louis A. DePasquale as the next City Manager at a special meeting held on Thursday, September 29, 2016. Mr. DePasquale will succeed City Manager Richard C. Rossi who is retiring on September 30, 2016. The appointment of Mr. DePasquale is contingent on successful contract negotiations. He is currently the City’s Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs.
The City Council also voted to appoint Deputy City Manager Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager effective October 1, 2016. She will serve as Acting City Manager until Mr. DePasquale is appointed.
Additional information on the Cambridge City Manager search process can be found at: www.cambridgema.gov/citymanagersearch
Louis A. DePasquale was appointed Assistant City Manager for Fiscal Affairs in 2002 after serving as the City’s Budget Director for twenty years. As Assistant City Manager, Mr. DePasquale is responsible for setting financial policy direction for the City; planning, implementing and overseeing the City's operating and capital finances; and managing the City's investment, debt service, and reserve policies. In his current role, he also oversees the management of eight City departments, is a member of the City’s senior management team, and has been actively involved in major City policy and programmatic initiatives.
Mr. DePasquale currently serves as the Finance Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cambridge Health Alliance, an appointed member of the Neville Communities, Inc. Board, and as member of the Cambridge Community Preservation Act Committee and the Cambridge Family Policy Council. Louis is a lifelong Cambridge resident and is married to Cheryl DePasquale and has two children, Kristen DePasquale and Louis DePasquale, both of Medford. He has been a coach in the Cambridge Youth Baseball Programs for 35 years. He received a Bachelor of Science from Boston State College and a Masters of Public Administration from Northeastern University.
The City Clerks and City Managers of Cambridge
2. Appointment of Lisa C. Peterson as Acting City Manager Mayor Simmons
3. City enter into a contract with Elizabeth Valerio and John Foskett. Councillor Maher
TEXT OF ORDERS
O-2 Sept 29, 2016 Adopted 9-0
O-3 Sept 29, 2016 Adopted 9-0
Oct 3, 2016 - As part of the City's continuing effort to plan for the future redevelopment of the Volpe National Transportation Research Center site in Kendall Square, the City Manager has appointed a "Volpe Working Group" consisting of residents of the surrounding neighborhoods - East Cambridge, the Port, and Wellington-Harrington - along with representatives of the Kendall Square business community and other community stakeholders.
The purpose of this working group is to develop an urban design framework and planning principles to provide guidance to potential developers about the City's priorities and expectations for the site. This work will build on the Kendall Square ("K2") Planning Study, conducted in 2012-2013, and the zoning discussions that occurred at the Cambridge Planning Board and City Council over the past two years.
The initial issues and recommendations raised by the Volpe Working Group will inform the City Council's Ordinance Committee, and will precede a more detailed and focused planning and zoning process involving the Working Group, Ordinance Committee and Planning Board that would occur after the GSA has announced its selected development partner for the site.
The Volpe Working Group's first meeting will be held Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 5:30-8:00pm, at the Cambridge Innovation Center, One Broadway. Meetings will be open to the public. Attendees are asked to bring identification for entry into the building.
More information about the Volpe Working Group, including a list of members and background materials from past work related to the Volpe site, is available at www.cambridgema.gov/volpe.
|Volpe Working Group (updated Oct 3, 2016)|
|Peter Crawley (Resident: East Cambridge)||Renae Gray (Resident: Port/Area 4)|
|Gerald O’Leary (Resident: East Cambridge/Kendall Square)||Esther Hanig (Resident: Port/Area 4)|
|Steven LaMaster (Resident: Wellington-Harrington)||Chris Barr (Business: Biogen)|
|Brian Dacey (Business: Kendall Square Assoc. and Cambridge Innovation Center)||Hugh Russell (Planning Board)|
|Kathy Born (Cambridge Redevelopment Authority)|
All Cambridge Boards & Commissions
4) Sept 26, 2016 City Council meeting
Decisions, Decisions.... Notable items on the Sept 26, 2016 Cambridge City Council agenda
Barring any unexpected turns of events, this will be the last regular City Council meeting with City Manager Richard Rossi.
Here are the items that seem most interesting:
Appointments by the Manager
Manager's Agenda #2. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Water Board for a term of 5-years, effective Sept 26, 2016: Kathleen Kelly, Jason Marshall
Manager's Agenda #9. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the reappointment of the following persons as members of the Planning Board for a term of five years, effective Sept 26, 2016: Steven Cohen, Hugh Russell and Tom Sieniewicz
Manager's Agenda #10. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the Steering Committee for the City’s Birth to Grade Three Partnership.
Manager's Agenda #13. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the appointment of the following persons as a members of the Cambridge Arts Council Advisory Board for a term of 3 years effective Oct 1, 2016: Christine Lamas Weinberg, Katherine Shozawa and Olufolakemi Alalade
I have come to look upon those who choose to serve on City boards and commissions as possessing a sort of nobility. Regardless of their age, these public-spirited people are like the Village Elders. They serve without compensation and, in some cases, most notably the Planning Board, they devote a significant amount of time in this voluntary capacity. Perhaps we should form a congress of all those who serve or who have served at one time - The League of Extraordinary Ladies and Gentlemen.
Manager's Agenda #11. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the Outdoor Lighting Zoning recommendations.
These are the zoning amendments that would go along with the proposed Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. It has been interesting, and at least somewhat entertaining, watching how this reasonable proposal to regulate intrusive lighting has led to some people wanting to expand it to deal with all lighting, including advertising signage that shine into the bedrooms of no one. This seems like a particularly Cambridge sort of thing - a proposal to regulate something turning into a proposal to regulate everything. I like the idea of establishing some standards for outdoor lighting, particularly in residential areas, as a courtesy to those who would like to get a good night's sleep. What this has to do with decorative lighting, especially garish and aesthetically questionable lighting in places like North Point, escapes me. Perhaps that's the real point of these zoning recommendations - to grant the Planning Board some regulatory authority for this other stuff while the Municipal Lighting Ordinance remains focused on ensuring that spotlights don't shine into people's bedroom windows or darken the night sky.
Manager's Agenda #12. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the votes necessary to seek approval from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue of the tax rate for FY2017:
As Bob Healy would always say, the City doesn't set the property tax rates. The Department of Revenue does. He would also add that once these votes are taken these rates are virtually guaranteed to be the same as those given in the communication: "Based on a property tax levy of $372.7 million, the FY17 residential tax rate will be $6.49 per thousand dollars of value, subject to Department of Revenue approval. This is a decrease of $0.50, or -7.2% from FY16. The commercial tax rate will be $16.12, which is a decrease of $1.59, or -9.0% from FY16." Don't jump for joy just yet. Property values have been escalating so rapidly (average of 13.5% in one year for residential properties) that you should expect to pay a bit more, especially in Riverside and Cambridgeport.
Boondoggle alert. One estimate is that it would cost $187 million dollars to build such a network, and there's no guarantee that customers would leave Comcast or another Internet service provider in favor of such a new network, especially if Comcast adjusts its pricing structure a little. That's a lot of public money expended for a discount. Anyway, this report just calls for a Feasibility Study.
Manager's Agenda #15. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to City accomplishments during City Manager 2013-2016.
Read Rich Rossi's memo. It has been a busy few years. Then think for a while about all of the major capital projects Richie has played a lead role in over the last few decades. It will make you feel pretty good about City government in Cambridge - even on the evening when votes are being taken to determine how much property tax you'll be paying this year.
Manager's Agenda #16. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to Awaiting Report Item Number 16-16, regarding the plan to take Vail Court by eminent domain.
Hallelujah! The City takes this step only when absolutely necessary, and this is long overdue.
Manager's Agenda #17. A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to the City's Agreement with MassDOT and MBTA regarding funding contribution agreement for Green Line Extension Project.
These are the details associated with the announced agreement that was made several months ago.
Order #5. That the City Manager is requested to refer the attached short-term rental draft ordinance to the City Solicitor, Inspectional Services Department and any other relevant department for comment and review as components of a potential short-term rental ordinance and be referred to a joint hearing of the Housing and Public Safety Committees scheduled on Oct 26, 2016, at 5:30pm for discussion, and to hear back from the City on the proposed policies. Councillor Kelley, Vice Mayor McGovern, Councillor Devereux
The Statement of Purpose says it best: "The purpose of this ordinance shall be to make the operation of short-term rentals legal for Cambridge residents, protect the safety of renters, owners, visitors, and neighbors, and ensure that short-term rentals will not be a detriment to the character and livability of the surrounding residential neighborhood."
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Aug 30, 2016 to continue public discussion regarding the recent completed Inclusionary Housing Study and the Draft Recommendations of the Community Development Department.
Committee Report #2. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on Sept 8, 2016 to continue the public discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and Draft Recommendations of the Community Development Department.
The Housing Committee has now voted that the Community Development Department's recommendations for Inclusionary Zoning be forwarded to the full City Council with a favorable recommendation. Primarily this will set the Inclusionary Housing required percentage for new construction over a minimum size at 20% net, though the City Council could still modify this proposed percentage. There will apparently still be some discussion about whether this will be phased in and, if so, over what period. I still remain skeptical whether this requirement will be economically feasible beyond the short term. I also have some misgivings about a future in which only wealthy people will be able to afford market housing with everyone else having to apply to a government agency to access housing that is affordable to them. The biggest mistake made over the last 20+ years was in allowing most of the housing stock of two- and three-family houses to be converted into now-unaffordable condominiums. That had previously been one of the most significant sources of affordable housing for both owners and renters.
Thurs, Sept 29
Later this week the City Council will vote on whether Jay Ash, Paul Fetherston, or Louis DePasquale will be the next City Manager of Cambridge. As I stated at the microphone last Monday - I wish the City Council good wisdom and good luck. - Robert Winters
Inclusionary Housing Committee Reports:
Committee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on May 31, 2016 to continue discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study with community feedback from the May 18, 2016 hearing being shared and discussed with consultant David Paul Rosen & Associates.
Committee Report #11. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons and Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern, Co-Chairs of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on July 11, 2016 to continue the discussion regarding the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and the Affordable Housing Trust’s recommendations to the City Council.
Committee Report #12. A communication was received from Paula M. Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Chair of the Housing Committee for a public hearing held on May 18, 2016 to discuss the recently completed Inclusionary Housing Study and will focus on receiving feedback from the community.
Some revisions to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance seem inevitable later this year, but the economic foundations in the study still seem (to me) to be a bit shaky, especially the idea of increasing the net affordable housing percentage from 11.6% to 20% without any allowance for additional density. My first concern is that if the requirement is too high then it may be more economically advantageous to build something other than housing, e.g. labs. My other concern is that since zoning changes require a two-thirds vote for ordination there might never be the political will to actually lower the requirement even if the economics warrant a decrease. It would be better if there was some way to index the requirement based on current economics.
Manager's Agenda #5 (June 20). A communication transmitted from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to recommendations from the Outdoor Lighting Task Force that address the potential detrimental impact of outdoor lighting and propose solutions that diminish existing problems and address problems that may be created by new development. [Report][Proposed Ordinance (HTML)]
The Task Force was appointed Dec 2, 2013 and was originally expected to complete its report and draft Ordinance by Spring 2014. It clearly took a lot longer than that with many different iterations of the proposed Ordinance. It's worth noting that the Ordinance will apply not only to new construction but to all properties in Cambridge with several years to bring all properties into compliance with the Ordinance.
There is currently a campaign by some activists to oppose this proposed ordinance in its current form. The core of their argument seems to be that it would permit the king of lighting that was installed on the new Zinc apartment buildings in North Point (and which has been turned off for now by decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals).
Message being circulated regarding "Limit Light Pollution"
First presidential debate:
Monday, September 26, 2016
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.
Vice presidential debate:
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Longwood University, Farmville, VA
The debate will be divided into nine time segments of approximately 10 minutes each. The moderator will ask an opening question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.
Second presidential debate:
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
Third presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate.
All debates will be moderated by a single individual and will run from 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time without commercial breaks. As always, the moderators alone will select the questions to be asked, which are not known to the CPD or to the candidates. The moderators will have the ability both to extend the segments and to ensure that the candidates have equal speaking time. While the focus will properly be on the candidates, the moderator will regulate the conversation so that thoughtful and substantive exchanges occur. The CPD is in discussion with technology and civic groups that will provide data to the moderators to assist them in identifying the subjects that are most important to the public.
This year’s debates will build on the successful 2012 debate formats which introduced longer segments, allowing the candidates to focus on critical issues. “The CPD has a simple mission, to ensure that presidential debates help the public learn about the positions of the leading candidates for president and vice president,” CPD Co-Chairs Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry said. “These formats will allow an in-depth exploration of the major topics in this year’s election.”
In the fall of 2015, the CPD announced the dates and venues and its 2016 Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria. Under the criteria, in addition to being constitutionally eligible, candidates must:
5:30pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing on the refiled petition to amend the Zoning Map in the Riverside Neighborhood from the existing Residence C-1 to Residence C within the area bounded by Franklin Street, River Street and Putnam Avenue. The most significant changes would be that the allowed Floor Area Ratio would decrease from 0.75 to 0.60, the required lot area per dwelling unit would increase from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet, and the open space requirement would increase from 30% to 36% of a lot. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm Cambridge Election Commission meeting (1st Floor Meeting Room, 51 Inman St.)
1. Executive Director’s Report
2. Assistant Director's Report
3. Commissioners' Reports
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
IV. ACTION AGENDA
1. Early Voting for the November 8, 2016 State/Presidential Election
1. State/Presidential Election, November 8, 2016
6:00pm The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will meet to discuss the redevelopment of the Foundry Building. This hearing to be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the work of the first phase of the Broadband Taskforce. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00pm School Committee meeting (Attles Meeting Room, CRLS, 459 Broadway)
8:00am Recycling Advisory Committee (Sullivan Chamber, City Hall)
5:00pm The City Council's Housing Committee will meet for an undisclosed purpose. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm Cambridge Redevelopment Authority Board Meeting (Police Station, 125 Sixth St., First Floor Community Room)
[Meeting Agenda and supporting materials]
5:30pm City Council Roundtable/Working Meeting to discuss issues relating to charter schools (per Order of Sept 19). No public comment. No votes will be taken. Meeting will not be televised. (Sullivan Chamber)
6:00pm The City Council's Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebrations Committee will meet for an undisclosed purpose. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm The City Council's Public Safety Committee and Housing Committee will conduct a joint public hearing to discuss legislative approaches to regulating short-term rentals in the City, including provisions submitted as a draft proposal on Sept 26, 2016 attached to Policy Order #5. (Sullivan Chamber)
3:00pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Zoning Lighting Ordinance. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:00pm The City Council's Ordinance Committee will conduct a public hearing to discuss the Municipal Lighting Ordinance. (Sullivan Chamber)
5:30pm City Council meeting (Sullivan Chamber)