Monday, May 27, 2024

The Kendall Square MBTA headhouse and plaza is getting a review by the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Cricket field in West Cambridge

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. Cambridge’s cricket players will have a field to call their own come spring. The plan responds to an October 2021 policy order noting the city’s large population of immigrants from countries where cricket is popular, packaging it with December 2020’s purchase of the 4-acre Buckingham Field in West Cambridge. Now called the Larch Road Field, “it has a large grass surface and can accommodate cricket together with soccer and softball,” according to a staff memo. A clay “crease” is to be installed in the middle of the field in time for Saturday- and Sunday-morning cricket matches from May to September. While open space is a big need in Cambridge, there may be questions about whether affordable housing or a prekindergarten is still imagined as fitting on the acreage.

The City Manager’s Office offers reports on Riverbend Park, which the state has decided to keep to its legally bound minimum hours on Sundays, though the city will keep exploring neighborhood traffic mitigation for a possible reexpansion; and on mental health resources at Cambridge Health Alliance. That takes into account a state estimate “that only 50 percent of people in Massachusetts who have a mental illness receive treatment despite significant improvements to treatment capacity made over the past five years.” City Manager Yi-An Huang offers a quarterly update of his work, and Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui says she has an ad hoc committee ready to go for performance reviews of Huang that will be led by councillor Paul Toner. Its members are vice mayor Alanna Mallon and councillors E. Denise Simmons and Patty Nolan.

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


Solar and renewable energy plans

Health & Environment Committee, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillor Patty Nolan review plans for solar and renewable energy installations, including the potential for solar on city-owned water supply land – a proposal under review by the Lexington Planning Board and watched by Cambridge’s Water Department since 2015. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Bike lanes and more on Brattle

Brattle Street Safety Improvement Project open house, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday. Residents can review final project plans, learn what changes to expect and hear about the installation and construction process for separated bike lanes and other changes coming this spring to Brattle Street between Sparks and Mount Auburn streets. At History Cambridge’s Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, 159 Brattle St., West Cambridge.

Voting on $245M school budget

School Committee special meeting, 5 p.m. Tuesday. Members meet to vote on adoption of the proposed $245 million district budget for the 2024 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Big government changes possible

Charter Review Committee,5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The group is deep in some crucial questions: Strong mayor or city manager? Should the mayor be elected directly by voters? Should the City Council stay all at-large, or have members that represent specific areas? Should the number of councillors change? Should the length of their terms change? Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Crumbl cookies and car sharing

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Crumbl cookie chain is back from a February meeting with a swapped floor plan and other changes that will allow an opening at 425 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, without violating design guidelines by blocking the location’s big windows. A zoning petition being heard from former city councillor Craig Kelley would allow for wider use of private electric-vehicle charging stations and allow rentals of private cars through apps such as Turo. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Kendall Square T stop and plaza

Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. There’s an update on construction at the Kendall Square MBTA station’s headhouse and plaza and talk about the agency’s strategic plan and board meetings. An in-person component is returning as meetings move to the Foundry community building. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

City-line voter challenge

Election Commission, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. There have been two cancellations of meetings that would decide the outcome of a Feb. 15 case about whether Sam Seidel, who lives on Harris Street in a home on the city line, should be considered a resident of Cambridge or Somerville. The decision could affect people in similar situations – and might finally happen at this meeting, which was on the commission’s site last last week but not the city calendar. The commission meets at 51 Inman St., Mid-Cambridge.

Building energy-use law, Part I

Ordinance Committee, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan continues discussion on the proposed amendments to the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance – that business buildings would become net zero on greenhouse gas emissions as of 2035 – and, importantly, accepts public comment on the topic. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Keeping Starlight Square pregame

Central Square Advisory Committee, 6 p.m. Wednesday. Consider this informal discussion to be preparation for an Ordinance Committee hearing coming Thursday, as they have the same topic: a zoning petition that would allow for continued operation of Starlight Square, an open-air event complex begun during Covid pandemic lockdowns where escaping noise has bothered some neighbors. Watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Affordable Housing Overlay

Housing Committee, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday. This committee run by city councillor E. Denise Simmons keeps discussing potential updates to Affordable Housing Overlay zoning. In this approach, affordable-housing buildings of up to 25 stories would be allowed in some of the city’s squares; along major corridors, what were up to six-story buildings in the current zoning could be nine stories, and what were up to seven-story buildings could go as high as 13. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Building energy-use law, Part II

Ordinance Committee, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan gets even more serious about proposed amendments to the city’s Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance and could vote on whether to recommend the current version to the full council. There’s no public comment at this meeting, so residents should get it out of their system Wednesday. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing. (Update on April 13, 2023: This meeting was canceled.)

Mulling Starlight Square zoning

Ordinance Committee, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan hears discussion on proposed zoning that would keep the Starlight Square open-air event complex open in Central Square. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.