Sunday, May 26, 2024

Much of the 273,000-square-foot King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School & Community Complex is open for tours Saturday. (Photo: Marc Levy)

CambridgeSide mall finances are back for a look; Alexandria adjusts Grand Junction zoning request

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. In what looks like a lower-key meeting, an order returns (after a two-week “charter right” delay by councillor E. Denise Simmons) to give a good going-over to New England Development’s request for a CambridgeSide mall upzoning, but without revealing the business’ finances fully to the public. Alexandria Real Estate Equities is back with changes to its Grand Junction Overlay District Zoning Petition, moving forward its granting of rail-to-trails land to the city. The city manager, responding to council priorities, seeks to move $163,707 from free cash into tenant eviction prevention services and put together $76,468 in grants to fund some salary for an attorney-investigator to work with the Fair Housing Assistance Program. And there’s opposition to “on-demand mobile fueling services,” which are summoned by app to fill up cars’ gas tanks wherever the car is, by vice mayor Jan Devereux and councillors Craig Kelley, Dennis Carlone and Quinton Zondervan. It’s dangerous and “there is no compelling public interest in allowing such a service to operate in a city whose climate action goals are to decarbonize the transportation sector by encouraging the use of sustainable mobility options,” they say.

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

Demolition delay law has built general agreement

Ordinance Committee, 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors Dennis Carlone and Craig Kelley will discuss a proposal to double the demolition delay period for potentially historically significant structures to a year – matching 62 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. The Historical Commission is in favor. Televised.

The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

Alewife Quadrangle zoning gets first hearing of week

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. This is the first of two meetings this week (the council’s Ordinance Committee takes up the matter Wednesday) to talk about a zoning petition for an Alewife Quadrangle Northwest Overlay District – as proposed by the developers Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, which in August 2018 spent $79 million on 11.9 acres on Mooney Street on behalf of California-based investor ARA. As you can imagine, the idea of the zoning is to go bigger to get value out of the purchase – to build denser, with more kinds of uses than are allowed there now (light manufacturing, office and some institutional uses as of right, with residential and educational uses by special permit from the Board of Zoning Appeal). “Local government uses” are being asked as part of the zoning for land that was once looked at for the Department of Public Works, and the developer could offer progress on a long-sought bridge over Alewife railroad tracks.

The board meets on the second floor of the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge.

Greenhouse gas inventory starts a conversation …

Health & Environment Committee, 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday. This committee run by vice mayor Jan Devereux and city councillor Quinton Zondervan will talk about a communitywide greenhouse gas inventory and annual reporting of greenhouse gas use in the city – a matter that will be discussed at another committee hearing after a two-hour break. Televised.

The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

… and how to get to net zero by 2050 extends it

Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee, 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Quinton Zondervan and Dennis Carlone resumes talk about greenhouse gases, conducting a public hearing to discuss setting annual emissions goals and how to reach the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Televised.

The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

More stung package stores come before commission

License Commission, 3 p.m. Wednesday. The underage-buying package store stings continue, with five more liquor stores called before the commission and four returning from a hearing in September, when their sentencing was deferred. (Seven others got suspensions of two days each.) The Spyce eatery matter may be settled this time too – in a concept founded by four Massachusetts Institute of Technology guys in 2015 that’s based in Somerville but opened first on Washington Street in Boston, robots will make salads and other bowl meals for up to 80 people at a time at 1 Brattle Square, Harvard Square. Also, a package store license is set to be transferred to Formaggio Kitchen for its reopening of what used to be Fresh Pond Market in Huron Village; Central Kitchen in Central Square is asking permission to remove its first floor, which would make way for a recreational marijuana shop called Western Front; and Weltkuche Bistro (translated, that’s the “world cuisine” bistro) seeks to open at 5 Glassworks Ave., Cambridge Crossing, with an inside occupancy of 78 and an additional 30 seasonal patio seats.

The commission meets in the basement of the Michael J. Lombardi Building, 831 Massachusetts Ave., Mid-Cambridge near Central Square.

Alewife Quadrangle zoning is back, with councillors

Ordinance Committee, 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Like the Planning Board on Tuesday, this committee run by city councillors Dennis Carlone and Craig Kelley will talk about the zoning petition to create an Alewife Quadrangle Northwest Overlay District. Televised.

The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

Program seeks to move beyond us-versus-them talk

“Us & Them: Conversing Across the Political Spectrum,” 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. For people who are tired of unproductive debates and arguments and have even come to avoid political conversations altogether, this dialogue on national and local issues (funded in part by mini-grants from the Cambridge Public Health Department) can teach how to discuss differences more productively. Free.

The event is at CultureHouse, 500 Kendall St., Kendall Square.

Have a say in what public art goes into Foundry

Foundry community event and participatory public art project, 8 to 11 a.m. Friday. A participatory public art event explores how the Foundry building will serve the needs and wants of the community, including an “I Wish This Was …” activity and discussion of the “Community Jukebox” project by Boston-based artist Elisa Hamilton – a one-of-a-kind permanent installation that will feature authentic stories and voices from across Cambridge.

The event starts with breakfast at the Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., East Cambridge, before a walk to the Foundry.

A map shows the various uses within the city’s Cambridge Street complex.

Tour $159 million Cambridge Street school complex

King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School & Community Complex opening celebration, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. After a $159 million, three-year refresh, it’s time for a look at this 273,000-square-foot complex, which includes the Cambridge Street Upper School, King Open School, King Open Extended Day program, community school and preschool programs and the Valente Branch Library, not to mention Cambridge Public Schools administration offices and the Gold Star Pool. After opening remarks there’s a chance to learn about net zero building design, take self-guided tours and snack in the building’s central commons.