Thursday, July 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.


Buying the Gas Light building

A bicyclist passes the Gas Light Building at 727 Massachusetts Ave. on Nov. 9, 2022, with the bell tower of Cambridge City Hall seen in the background. (Photo: Marc Levy)

City Council, 5:30 p.m. Monday. There’s interest in buying the circa-1912 Cambridge Gas Light Co. Building at 727 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, where developers’ plans for a boutique-hotel addition proposed in February 2020 got bogged down by a landmarking study and other complications; in May they asked for a one-year extension to figure out next steps but on Dec. 7 marketed the building for sale for $12 million. It could be “much-needed office space for city departments,” the order says, less than a block from City Hall and across the street from 689 Massachusetts Ave., bought by the city for municipal purposes in June 2022 for $14.5 million.

Councillors remind staff that they want to hear back on ways to discourage gas-fueled car travel through parking fee and regulatory changes, while boosting electric cars (there are more than 5,000 registered in Cambridge) by improving a charging networking, including by dropping a $200 fee to allow charging across a sidewalk. A Feb. 5 roundtable is asked to review the results of the 2023 Resident Survey, while the City Manager’s Office announces the 14 members (out of 46 people who applied) of the Massachusetts Avenue Planning Study Working Group to look at remaking the avenue from Cambridge Common to Alewife Brook Parkway. The members are Jannet Arevalo, Josiah Bonsey, James Burns, Polly Carpenter, Camilla Elvis, Magdalena Gomez, Crystal Klaahsen, Sharmil Modi, Anna Restuccia, Michael Rome, Ruth Ryals, David Sullivan, Neheet Trivedi and Mark Verkennis. 

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

Jerry’s Pond; Blanchard homes

Conservation Commission, 7 to 8 p.m., Monday. Commissioners discuss plans by the life-sciences developer IQHQ to return Jerry’s Pond as a public amenity; it’s been fenced in since the 1960s. A citizens group called Friends of Jerry’s Pond hopes the city will invest money as well to enhance the pond for the well-being of the thousands of lower-income residents living along Rindge Avenue in North Cambridge. The commission also reviews a proposal by the nonprofit B’nai B’rith Housing to add 110 units of affordable senior housing to an existing 80 at 89 Blanchard Road, in the Cambridge Highlands (covering 87-101 Blanchard Road), under the provisions of Affordable Housing Overlay zoning. The Planning Board considers this proposal the next day. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

Charter review wraps up

Charter Review Committee, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. This group charged with suggesting updates to the city’s 80-year-old governing document winds up, getting feedback on, discussing and voting on whether to accept a final report. The findings will go to the City Council for review, and residents will get final say on aspects that make it to a ballot. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.

More on housing in the Highlands

Planning Board, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Like the Conservation Commission on Monday, the board considers a proposal by the nonprofit B’nai B’rith Housing for affordable senior housing at 89 Blanchard Road in the Cambridge Highlands (covering 87-101 Blanchard Road) under the provisions of Affordable Housing Overlay zoning. Watchable by Zoom videoconferencing.