The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council met for its monthly meeting on July 23, where the agenda was light and members discussed reports from Council Committees.
Education Ad-Hoc Committee
JPNC member Trevor Wissink-Adams said that the Education Committee did not meet this month, but are continuing to work with Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius to bring her listening tour to Jamaica Plain before October. He said the committee will also be doing outreach to Roslindale’s Welcome Center to see how they can expand the center to be more accessible to families.
JPNC member Max Glikman discussed the only zoning matter brought before the committee this month, which was a request to renovate the attic space at 41 Pershing Road and convert it to additional living space including a master bedroom, bathroom, and closet, as well as add a dormer and new stairs to the attic. A zoning variance is required for Floor Area Ratio (FAR).
Glikman said the owner would like to add the dormer so the house mirrors the house next to it that already has a dormer. “It is a relatively low stakes request but the neighbor of the sister house said ‘please don’t allow the house to have the dormer,’” Glikman said. He said there was a personal issue between the two homeowners that included privacy and light issues, but an architect said at the meeting that there wouldn’t be any issues from a light perspective.
The council voted to approve the request for an FAR variance.
Public Service Committee
A former employee of the closed Eugene O’Neill’s by Forest Hills is looking to reopen the restaurant under the same name, according to JPNC member Michael Reskind, who reported that the new manager, Melissa Hunt, is seeking a 7-day common victualler all-alcohol beverage license with a 1:00am closing hour, as well as an entertainment license for four TVs, trivia, karaoke, and up to three live performers.
Reiskind said that people at the meeting were concerned about noise coming out of the bar, but he said that the live performers would be strictly acoustic and located on the back side of the bar. Additionally, it’s an all-brick building, and “she was strong about the noise not emanating from the building and the performers just being acoustic,” he said.
“Everybody who came came in support,” Reiskind said. “Everyone thought this would be good for Forest Hills.” Hunt has over 15 years of experience in the industry, he added.
The council voted to approve supporting the request for these licenses.
The second item voted upon was to write a letter to Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets, asking for striping and enforcement of the fire lane on Robinwood Avenue. “I strongly think that fire lane should be enforced,” Reiskind said. The council voted to send the letter to the City.
Housing and Development Committee
Carolyn Royce, JPNC member and chair of the Housing and Development Committee, said that the committee would like to update its Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) to parallel the city’s efforts to update the citywide policy. At the last committee meeting, it was decided upon that a subcommittee would be created to analyze the JPNC IDP. Royce said they discussed what income levels get affordable housing and looked at topics that have come up in the city’s recent discussion of its policies, such as onsite vs. offsite housing, cash payouts, and situations like artist live/work spaces, as well as how home ownership and affordability works since a lot of the focus is currently placed on rentals.
Royce also provided an update on the Shattuck Campus, following the wrapping up of the first part of the public process. A Master Plan summary is being prepared, and the state has some recommendations as well for what should be put on the site once the hospital moves to the South End. Royce said she thinks the JPNC should provide a statement of some sort to the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, who manages that land. The statement would reflect outstanding issues. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is expected to be out in the winter. Royce said she would draft a letter to bring to the August JPNC meeting for review.
Parks Plus Committee
Lastly, the newly reorganized Parks Plus Committee met for the first time and discussed creating a parks audit to see which parks in Jamaica Plain might need help. Esther Tutella-Chen, the chair of the committee, said a plan was created to try to figure out who to reach out to to find out more about the status of parks and what is already being done. There will be park cleanups and ways for the community to get involved so the beautification can continue, Tutella-Chen said, and “we can get to know our neighbors a little bit better.”