Attend meetings on net zero goals, cannabis aid, off-street parking and after-school programs
Net zero goals, cannabis help
City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. Councillors are getting impatient with the failure to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and help stave off climate disaster, and they’re proposing additional approaches to meet city goals: attaching net-zero construction conditions to special permits needed by developers, following an example set by Brookline in May; and seeking an okay from the state Legislature to enact construction standards to start with small homes and major renovations in 2022; extend to large homes and commercial buildings in 2025; and end with labs in 2030.
Now that recreational cannabis businesses in the economic empowerment and social equity categories have an extended head-start in competition with larger, white-owned dispensaries, councillors wonder if it’s possible to offer financial help as well, considering the complications –pandemic-related and otherwise – getting in the way of opening. They also want to see the process streamlined for business owners, possibly with a single point of contact throughout.
With a commitment of $25 million returned to Cambridge by the MBTA as unnecessary to finish the green line subway extension project, some councillors want to know what will happen with that money – and have suggestions, including a test of fare-free bus routes such as the 68 and 69; extended bus-only lanes and signal priority technologies for high-traffic corridors such as Route 1 or Route 76 along Massachusetts Avenue; 24-hour service on key routes; and expansions of existing fare discount programs to low-income Cambridge residents.
There’s also an update on the search for the next city manager: After a call for firms who can lead the process, the Purchasing Department has identified Randi Frank Consulting of Louisville, Kentucky, as the best choice. An agreement must be set, after which “I anticipate more details of this process shall be made public early in the new year,” said councillor E. Denise Simmons.
The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
Some vox pop on Doc Pops
License Commission, 11 a.m. Tuesday. Kiril Alexandrov, a serial entrepreneur whose Big Skinny wallet may be in your back pocket, has his eyes on opening an eatery of some sort called Doc Pops at 20 Eliot St., Harvard Square, the onetime site of Wrapro Falafel & Grille. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
Superintendent’s ‘entry plan’
School Committee roundtable, 6 p.m. Tuesday. Committee members will dig into acting superintendent Victoria Greer’s “entry plan” intended to “develop a deep understanding of what [Cambridge Public Schools] is doing well, what areas CPS can improve and how community stakeholders including students, educators, staff, families and partners can advise me in these areas.” Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
MXD, Alexandria, bank and ice cream
Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. There are more details and discussion this week on the Kendall Square “MXD” plan to build an Eversource power station underground and a bunch of housing, retail and commercial development atop and, also in Kendall, restaurants and meeting space at 41 Linskey Way, a former maple syrup canning facility. It’s the final component of the 16-acre Alexandria project approved in 2009. Also on the agenda: Santander Bank’s plan to relocate to the former Qdoba space at 1290 Massachusetts Ave., a move against the intent of the Harvard Square Overlay District to decrease the amount of street space banks take up; and a bid to open a Scoop ‘N’ Scootery ice cream shop at 20 Child St., North Point. This small chain – it’s in Arlington, Allston and Brighton – specializes in delivery of good-looking frozen sundaes, and seems to be setting itself a challenge by going about as far to the east in Cambridge as it’s possible to go. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
Changing off-street parking rules
Ordinance Committee, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Dennis Carlone and Marc McGovern will talk about a zoning petition that would change off-street parking rules – the second of two attempts at amending the recently passed Affordable Housing Overlay zoning after a yard-setback hearing held last week. Both arrive before the Planning Board at its Dec. 21 meeting. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
Reckoning with council proposal
Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Among other items, board members will figure out what to do with a City Council suggestion that the authority help figure out how to keep social services in Central Square despite real estate price pressures – as it did over the past few years at the “nonprofit row” building at 93-99 Bishop Allen Drive. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
After-school program aftermath
Human Services & Veterans Committee, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. This committee run by city councillor Marc McGovern will look at a report from the Department of Human Services Programs about changes it made to after-school programming that left plenty of families in the cold this fall. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.