Sunday, July 21, 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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Cambridge city councillors hear a staff opinion Monday about getting more aggressive about buying existing homes to turn into affordable housing. (Photo: Dan Moyle via Flickr)

No naming officer in shooting

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. This is the last regular meeting of the council before a July and August break, and though there’s a special summer meeting scheduled for Aug. 7, it’s likely this one will be long and difficult. The 177 written communications already received is one clue. This meeting also includes the police commissioner’s response to a 5-4 council vote on May 22 for a policy on identifying officers in use-of-force incidents, inspired by the Jan. 4 killing of Arif Sayed Faisal in Cambridgeport.

While police nationwide are “beginning to shift” on this and name names, no Massachusetts force has done so, commissioner Christine Elow says in a memo that will disappoint some. She gives various reasons why the answer is a “no,” and says a final report on a policy is due with consultants “within the next few weeks” – after which it will go to two police unions for review.

Also at this meeting will be an answer to councillors about more aggressive buying of existing homes to become affordable housing, with staff saying that it “used to be one of the most effective ways” to add affordable units, but “high prices of properties coupled with significant costs for rehab have made this approach more difficult.” There are also complications to issuing bonds to pay for affordable housing, councillors will hear.

Longtime issues such as building energy-use restrictions and neighborhood conservation districts also return, along with the Cycling Safety Ordinance with another call to get “accurate, objective, and reliable data from before and after installation to assess the positive or negative economic impacts on businesses from separated bicycle lane installations.”

If that weren’t enough, an order to look at siting an overdose prevention center is on the agenda, and a public health update on air quality issues resulting from wildfires. The council meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.


Cannabis sellers as of right

Ordinance Committee, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan 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. The Planning Board heard this June 13. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Charter review gets to council

Charter Review Committee, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. This group charged with suggesting updates to the city’s 80-year-old governing document is moving toward discussion of the legislative branch – the City Council – including its composition, terms and voting processes, chair Kathy Born said. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.


Benefits of sloped roofs

Ordinance Committee, 3 to 5p.m. Wednesday. This committee run by city councillors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan looks ar the Ferguson petition, which asks merely that city language stop incentivizing developers to build box-shaped houses and “to recognize the existence of pitched roofs and other sloped planes” such as A-frames, which can decrease shadows. “This change reflects the existing housing stock and traditional architecture of the city and allows flexibility for architecturally interesting designs, including curved bays, turrets and other non-vertical features,” signers say. The Planning Board heard this June 20. The committee meets at City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conferencing.

Electrify your home

Net-zero home meeting, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Share questions and stories about heat pumps, water heaters, electrical panel upgrades, induction stoves and more in a discussion about home electrification that moves toward Cambridge’s goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2050. Organized by Neheet Trivedi and Lois Markham with support from the Cambridge Community Development Department’s Cambridge Climate Leader program. In the basement of St. John the Evangelist Church, 2254 Massachusetts Ave., North Cambridge. Parking available. RSVP; walk-ins are welcome.