Wednesday, June 19, 2024

These are just some of the municipal meetings and civic events for the coming week. More are on the City Calendar and in the city’s Open Meetings Portal.

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The Vassal Lane Upper School, relocated to Spring Street in East Cambridge, may see a name change before the end of the academic year. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Effect of development changes

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. The removal of citywide parking minimums looks all the closer with a report from the Community Development Department that it’s fixing conflicts and ambiguities that implementation might cause with other zoning. On the other hand, guidance from CDD and the city solicitor on the best ways to raise “linkage” fees charged to developers to pay for affordable housing makes City Council goals seem still far away – including an exemption for square footage that’s torn down and rebuilt that “would reduce contributions by around twice as much as the 30,000-square-foot deduction when applied to past incentive projects.” The solicitor advises waiting until a future study provides a basis for the changes, and that would add years to a debate that’s already more than a year old.

There’s a council motion asking for analysis of how linkage, parking minimums and other policies are affecting development, while another wants the city manager to ensure changes to residential permit parking rules after councillors learned in September 2021 that a resident had permits for 10 cars that were being rented out as a business but being parked on-street in resident-only spaces. “There is currently no limit to the number of cars that can be registered to an address, nor is there language outlining the regulations regarding car-rental services that operate out of residential homes using residential parking permits,” but city staff haven’t come forward with a solution in the past 13 months, vice mayor Alanna Mallon said. (In other transportation news, the council extends its appreciation to Joe Barr, head of Traffic, Parking & Transportation for the past 7.5 years, as he leaves to become director of network development for the Eastern United States for Amtrak. His new role in Boston begins Oct. 24.)

The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Vassal school name change

School Committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday. By naming the city’s upper schools after their street names, the Vassal Lane Upper School by extension honors John Vassal Jr., whose family enslaved hundreds in the Jamaican sugar industry, vice chair Rachel Weinstein notes. She proposes renaming the school – relocated to East Cambridge during construction – before the end of this academic year, and ordering the superintendent to propose how by Dec. 31. The committee meets in the Dr. Henrietta S. Attles Meeting Room at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Budega cannabis and linkage

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The recreational cannabis store Budega is back to take over the Stereo Jack’s Records space at 1686 Massachusetts Ave., Neighborhood 9, and an adjustment of “linkage” rates charged to developers to $33.34 a square foot from the current $20.10 – but in a way that encourages construction while getting more affordable housing. It’s an issue with complexities being dealt with by the City Council at its meeting one day earlier. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Future of Cambridge Street

Neighborhood & Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee, 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillor Dennis Carlone talks about a study for the future of Cambridge Street. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Proposed green jobs law

Ordinance Committee, 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan will discuss a proposed green jobs ordinance. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square.

East Cambridge NCD study

East Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Study Committee Meeting, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Members will continue exploring the creation of a neighborhood conservation district, as requested by some longtime property owners and residents expressing concern about how development has changed the neighborhood. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.