Attend meetings on ending parking minimums, a Green New Deal, the schools’ budget and more
Licensing rules and regulations
License Commission, 10 a.m. to noon Monday. This otherwise low-key agenda – in a rare if not unique Monday setting – holds a first review of commission rules and regulations in a few years, and members plan to at least set a date for possible changes and updates. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
Parking spaces; Green New Deal
City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. A short but potent policy order to remove all parking minimums from development is proposed by new councillor Burhan Azeem. It will compel dialogue on a contradiction of zoning that now allows affordable housing to be built without space for cars, but not market-rate housing affordable to far wealthier residents. Azeem, who leads the council’s Transportation Committee, is also being made chair of a Fare Free Bus Pilot Working Group – part of a regional effort “to emerge from the pandemic with an equitable and efficient transit system in place.” He has another order that’s kind-of transportation-related: He wants to know if the council can leave approval of curb cuts to the Inspectional Services Department “and free up city councillors to focus on other city matters.”
A local Green New Deal zoning petition is back from last year, reintroduced by councillor Quinton Zondervan with changes from advice by the Planning Board, Law Department and Community Development. It includes a sustainable design and development order that covers emissions accounting, green jobs and one around a Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance (which has a meeting of its own set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday). Separately, councillors Patty Nolan and Dennis Carlone have zoning to consider that could incentivize fossil fuel-free construction through special permitting.
A communication from the City Manager’s Office about inserting charter changes into city law – the changes were approved by voters in November – is back from last week, when it was set aside by Nolan because what city staff provided “really doesn’t answer the policy order” and its call for ordinance language. Councillors also want to know if municipal workers who couldn’t work remotely during the pandemic can get retroactive hazard bonuses in the form of “extra years of service toward their retirement pensions”; and what the options are for spending federal Covid relief money on direct support to people facing eviction or homelessness because of the pandemic.
The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
School budget roundtable
City Council and School Committee roundtable, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The bodies will gather to discuss priorities for the fiscal year 2023 school budget; the school district is so far expecting to ask for $232.4 million, an increase of $8.7 million or 3.9 percent over the current budget, according to a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting of the committee. It’s essentially all cost-of-living increases for current staff already baked in to educator contracts, despite a systemwide drop in student enrollment: 418 kids last academic year and 81 this year, for a pandemic-era shrinkage of 6.9 percent in student population after a decade of growth. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.
Rethinking the Garage mall
Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The remaking of Harvard Square’s Garage mall arrives as an 87,494-square-foot, six-story building that could take institutional, office and laboratory uses above ground-level retail and restaurants. The 36 John F. Kennedy St. structure is now four stories and devoted to retail all the way up, which doesn’t work as well now as it did four decades ago. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.