Wednesday, May 22, 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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A “CloudHouse” in Cambridge’s Greene-Rose Heritage Park provides shade during extreme heat. (Photo: Cambridge Public Space Lab)

Open space plans, programming

City Council roundtable, 5 p.m. Monday. Councillors learn the Community Development Department thinking on open space planning and programming, including about the Public Space Lab, which runs activities around Cambridge in places such as the Palmer Street alley in Harvard Square; works with neighborhoods to close areas to car traffic to create Play Streets; and installs projects such as the shade-providing CloudHouse or Inman Square public patios. The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


The affordable-unit experience

Housing Committee, 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors E. Denise Simmons discusses the results from an inclusionary housing resident experience study, hearing from people what it’s like to live in the affordable units secured by the city within likely far more expensive market-rate buildings. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

District plan target-setting

School Committee virtual roundtable, 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Committee members talk about setting targets for superintendent Victoria Greer’s plans for the district. Televised and watchable online.

Bank fallback on First Street

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The developer Urban Spaces asks for a change for its retail at 121 First St., East Cambridge, where it says that despite “years of marketing efforts, a replacement retail tenant has not been discovered” for a Petco that left after the city passed a law against sales of certain animals. (A Loyal Companion pet food and supply store soon opened nearby.) The change: letting a bank use some ground-floor retail space, despite the city’s increased dislike for streetscape-killing bank frontage. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Housing Policy is Climate Policy

A Better Cambridge, 7 p.m. Tuesday. 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.


Board of Zoning Appeals stipends

Ordinance Committee, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan holds a quick hearing about a popular proposal to offer stipends of $3,500 to people serving on the Board of Zoning Appeals (and $2,000 for associate members), part of an overall plan to diversify the city’s boards and commissions by making up for the out-of-pocket costs to participate. A recent call for new members drew 48 applicants. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Toughening rule in Harvard

Ordinance Committee, 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan turns to a citizen zoning petition to further define and limit how much sidewalk frontage financial institutions can take up in Harvard Square, where a Santander Bank relocated to the former Qdoba space at 1294 Massachusetts Ave. from 1420 Massachusetts Ave. in a way that violated the intent of the existing Harvard Square Overlay District: making up for square footage limits by using some frontage to hang art and claim it was an art gallery. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Unarmed public safety agencies

Public Safety Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillor Quinton Zondervan discusses the implementation of a Community Safety Department and how it can integrate with Heart, a residents’ group called the Holistic Emergency Alternative Response Team that vied for some of the unarmed-public-safety funds that instead went to the municipal program. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Final Alewife zoning proposals

Alewife Zoning Working Group, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. The group uses its seventh and final meeting to present a draft zoning framework for the area, hoping to ensure it develops into a true neighborhood. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Budgeting council priorities

Finance Committee, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday. This committee run by city councillors Dennis Carlone and Patty Nolan looks at City Council budget priorities and how to incorporate them into planning for the next fiscal year before the budget cycle gets started by city staff. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Stopping the escape of sewage

Combined sewer overflow control planning update, 6 p.m. Thursday. Heavy rainfall can overwhelm sewer systems and send pollution into local rivers, and climate change can make that even worse; 50 million gallons of sewage-contaminated stormwater was discharged into the Alewife Brook last year from Cambridge and Somerville. The cities are working with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority on the problem, and this second virtual meeting offers a look into the work. (The first meeting can be watched here.) Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

‘Our Cambridge Street’ wrap-up

Our Cambridge Street, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. A final meeting and presentation for a project to develop a vision for what the corridor will become; city staff looked for ideas and recommendations “big and small” to shape the future of housing, public spaces, small businesses and economic development there. (A live event with similar information will be in Inman Square at 11 a.m. Dec. 17.) Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.