Saturday, May 18, 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 empty building at 105 Windsor St., The Port, is among city-owned property with uses to be decided. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Street cleaning tows, eco-zoning

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. A light agenda, allowing councillors’ focus to get as tight as requesting a single parking spot for deliveries at a 52-unit apartment building at 931 Massachusetts Ave., Mid-Cambridge, but also considering a street cleaning season in 2023 without cars being towed or impounded. It “disproportionately impacts lower-income residents,” an order argues – along with pointing out that other cities and towns manage to do it. The city also skipped tows during the Covid pandemic.

A municipal property inventory – a report for which councillors have been waiting six years – returns from a meeting two weeks ago, when it was set aside by councillor Quinton Zondervan to get more information on how the public will be engaged for input on plans for city-owned land, especially the idea of building affordable housing over vehicle parking. Staff also have Planning Board recommendations to adopt Climate Resilience Zoning and a law making most developers say how much greenhouse gas emissions their projects are expected to generate. (The idea gets a council committee hearing Tuesday.) New City Manager Yi-An Huang, saying he’s heard from residents “a desire for greater transparency and accountability,” has what he says is the first in a series of 90-day reports. Its 4,200 words discuss topics from how he’s carrying out the council’s vision to his expectations for a more transparent budget process in planning for the next fiscal year.

“I continue to feel a deep sense of humility and privilege to be in this position,” Huang says in the report, but as the most powerful person in the city, “these days, I smile a little when [I see a problem and] the thought pops in my mind, ‘Someone should really fix that!’”

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


Greenhouse gas-free construction

Ordinance Committee, 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan will look at adding a sustainable design and development law to city zoning. It would require developers to calculate the total greenhouse gas emissions created by the building. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Conservative birthing clinics

Ordinance Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan continues discussing a ban on “limited-resource pregnancy centers” that engage in deceptive practices. Somerville’s City Council passed similar legislation in March against clinics that present themselves as being an avenue to abortion health care but are not. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Board stipends and bank frontage

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Members discuss a plan to give stipends to members of boards – in this case the Board of Zoning Appeal, not their own – as well as zoning in Harvard Square to limit the amount of sidewalk frontage allowed to financial institutions. Another topic: One Canal Park, East Cambridge. The 107,000-square-foot 1987 building is being revamped by Breakthrough Properties for lab use since the expiration of a lease for Hubspot, a social media-focused software developer. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Housing Policy is Climate Policy

A Better Cambridge, 7 p.m. Wednesday. Hear how the housing crisis drives up rents in cities such as Cambridge and forces thousands of people into living less sustainable lives from Anna Zetkulic, a researcher at the Rocky Mountain Institute who studies ways to transform cities to tackle climate change. She will present fresh results, organizers say, Information and registration is here. (Update on Dec. 8, 2022: This event was canceled due to a case of Covid and has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13.)


Deciding where labs are allowed

Economic Development and Long-Term Planning committees, 5:30 p.m. Thursday. These committees run by city councillors Paul Toner and Dennis Carlone take up a petition from councillor Quinton Zondervan that might regulate where labs can go in Cambridge, possibly prohibiting biotech construction in places such as Central, Harvard, Porter and Inman squares or major thoroughfares such as Cambridge Street and Broadway. An essentially duplicate citizens’ petition is headed to the Planning Board and council Ordinance Committee. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.