JPA Approves Basement Work at 66 Pershing Road, $1000 Donation to ‘Tools for Schools’ Program

     The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) met virtually on October 5, where they again heard a zoning matter at 66 Pershing Road, as well as voted on donating money to Rep. Nika Elugardo’s Tools for Schools program, which provides headphones for students learning at home.


     The JPA previously heard a proposal for 66 Pershing Road in August, where architect Carol Marsh presented a proposal to demolish the existing garage and build a new one that is attached to the house with a mudroom, finish the living area in the basement, and extend the existing dormers to create more space on the third flood.

     Abutter Nick Balasalle and his wife expressed some concerns with the proposal in August, saying that he felt that the new garage will be too close to his property line, and that the proposed formers would block views from his windows.

     This month, Marsh came before the JPA with a proposal just for the basement work. She said the garage/mudroom and third floor portions of the proposal are off the table as they “need time to figure out what makes sense.”

     She said that the basement space will offer more living space for the family, which includes young children. The mechanical units will be kept where they currently are.

     She said that the homeowners are not considering renting out this new space; it will be used for them personally. The zoning relief required for the basement work would be for the Floor Area Ratio, which is going from .4 (which is what is allowed) to .5. Marsh added that the stair from the deck would also be relocated.

     “We’ve never objected to the basement work and the only really new thing to the basement to us is the reconfiguration of the stairs,” Balasalle said. He did, however, say he had concerns about the False Cypress trees that are on his property and “approaching 90 to 100 years old.” He said that he is worried about construction equipment and supplies being placed in the backyard near his property line and damaging the trees, so he said he would like to know how the construction would be managed.

     Marsh said that neither she nor the family want to see those trees damaged either, so it “would be our intention to put into the construction documents that they hold back from the fence [or] property line some designated amount,” she said. She added that there isless concern with this project because most of the work is confined to the house itself.

     The JPA voted not to oppose the basement work.


     JPA member Michael Reiskind, who is also a member of the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association (BAPA), gave an update about what the organization had discussed at its most recent meeting. He talked about four new businesses that have opened or are expected to open soon in the neighborhood, including Cada Dia Nutrition, a smoothie and tea cafe on Burroughs St., as well as a new consignment shop called DVSTY at 713 Centre St.

     He said the group also discussed how restaurants can be kept open during colder weather, and talked about the pros and cons of electric versus propane heaters.

     Also a topic of discussion was how to handle Halloween during a pandemic.

     “The best idea we’ve come up with is to have kids get into their costumes early,” Reiskind said, and have their parents take their pictures, which will be made into a slideshow that will be projected onto the JP Licks building at night using the new projector.

     He said that the City is encouraging parades, but Centre St. usually sees 1000 families on Halloween night, he said, so even having 300 families spread apart would be hard to manage.

     There was a suggestion to close down Centre St., but there is no alternative route for the 39 bus, so that is probably not a viable option.


     The JPA voted to approve a $1000 donation to Rep. Nika Elugardo’s Tools for Schools program, in which she is raising money to buy school supplies, especially noise cancelling headphones, for students who are learning remotely.

            The program has a focus on Mission Hill, and will provide headphones for students, as remote learning can present many distractions to students, whether it be siblings also learning remotely or younger siblings playing in the house. These headphones will make it easier for students to concentrate on their work in a home setting.

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