Monday, June 24, 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.


A rendering of Hampshire Street with bike lanes. (Image: City of Cambridge)

No-questions gun buyback

Gun buyback, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Get weapons off the streets and out of homes by dropping off unwanted guns with no questions asked and no identification required. Residents will be awarded gift cards for what they turn in, ranging in value depending on the firearm type. The buyback is at the Reservoir Church, 170 Rindge Ave., North Cambridge, and Pentecostal Tabernacle, 77 Columbia St., The Port.

Affordable building law markup

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. Potential changes to Affordable Housing Overlay zoning are back from the Community Development after conversation with the city’s nonprofit developers, who welcomed letting 100-percent-affordable buildings rise to 12 stories along the city’s main corridors and to 15 stories in the squares, which is taller than current zoning allows. “Notwithstanding this interest, builders noted that for the near future it is unlikely that many AHO2 developments will exceed 11 or 12 stories due to other constraints,” namely a lack of funding and the limitations of construction technology, said Iram Farooq, assistant city manager for community development.

There’s action on net-zero construction too, though last week’s passage to a second reading of changes to the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance means the council doesn’t take a final vote until June 26. Staff are asking $1 million so they can assess how to get city-owned buildings in step with the work against greenhouse gas emissions. (With an 8-0-1 vote on Monday – E. Denise Simmons voted “present” – councillors talked about a $2 million fund to help affected private property owners.) Councillors meanwhile have a new amendment to consider, affecting sites covered by a kickoff in 2030 but getting a certificate of occupancy as of 2025. And there’s potential adoption of language to get in on a fossil-fuel-free construction pilot.

There’s also a Law Department opinion on how quickly voters might be able to decide changes to Cambridge government suggested by a charter review commission, which plans to end its work this winter; a call to set up a universal prekindergarten stabilization fund to help accomplish a smooth rollout for the long-wanted program; and a request for $250,000 to figure out what’s needed for improvements at the Cambridge Health Alliance’sWindsor Street Care Center at 119 Windsor St., which is leased to CHA with the understanding it will maintain the property – but has languished under the health care system’s struggling finances.

Councillors have a few items that will seem familiar: An order about collecting data about the effects of Cycling Safety Ordinance bike lanes, which can take away parking spots on Cambridge’s narrow streets, was put on pause a week ago; calls for demographic information from the city’s golf course and for automated, electronic traffic enforcement are from years past but didn’t get attention from staff.

A resolution honors Carolyn Turk, Cambridge Public Schools’ longtime deputy superintendent, who is retiring.

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

Overdose prevention sites

Human Services & Veterans Committee, 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillor Marc McGovern talks about overdose prevention sites, previously referred to as safe consumption sites. Such facilities operate in Europe, Australia and Canada so users can consume drugs under the supervision of medical personnel who can provide clean needles and tests for contaminants, reverse overdoses if something goes wrong and offer addiction and mental health resources. Somerville is exploring the idea as well, for East Somerville or Davis Square. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Bike lane open house

Hampshire Street Safety Improvement Project open house, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Hampshire Street is due to get quick-build separated bicycle lanes between Inman Square and Broadway and on one block of Broadway from Hampshire Street to Portland Street. Similar projects have whipped up strong feelings around loss of parking and traffic complications. The open house will provide an opportunity for the community to drop by in-person to talk with city staff, ask questions and provide feedback. There will be no formal presentation. At the Department of Public Works, 147 Hampshire St., Wellington-Harrington.

Cannabis businesses as of right

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The board hears a petition to remove the special-permit requirement for the establishment of cannabis retail stores or deliverers, considering the difficulty businesses have had getting started while existing businesses have had no apparent ill effect on the city. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.