JPNC discusses committee updates; postpones its election until August 21

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) met virtually on June 22, where members discussed a couple of zoning issues as well as other committee updates, and postponed their election until August. 

First, the JPNC voted in Micah Sachs, who is also on the Jamaica Pond Association, to fill a vacancy on the council. He will still have to run and be elected in the upcoming election to keep the seat, however.

The group then discussed a proposal at 8 Glade Avenue to add a three story addition on a three family house. Zoning Committee Chair Dave Baron said that this was a proposal by the condo association to add a bedroom, bathroom, and closet to each of the three units. 

Baron said that the proposal was not controversial, and the “abutters were in favor of it.” The JPNC voted to approve the proposal.

Members also discussed a proposal at 80 Prince St., where the owners proposed to renovate the basement to include an office and a play area. The owners are expecting a baby the first week of July, and are “quite desperate to move it along,” Baron said of the project. He said that the project came before the Jamaica Pond Association which voted not to oppose, and there is no exterior work proposed. Baron said no vote was required, and because of the short time frame, there will be no letter submitted either in favor or against the proposal.

Michael Reiskind then reported that the Public Service Committee continues to work on its Good Community Business policy, and hopes to have a finalized version of it at the July meeting.

He also said that the subcommittee on police procedures continues to meet and has planned an initial listening session for July 19 that will be translated to reach a wider range of residents. Reiskind added that this listening session “will be the first of at least two,” so residents will be given ample opportunity to speak on the subject and share ideas. 

Carolyn Royce, chair of the Housing and Development Committee asked for a vote to send a letter to the editors of local newspapers supporting the expansion of Boston’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO), which, after much discussion, was approved nine to three to zero. 

According to the City’s website, “the ordinance requires Boston’s large- and medium-sized buildings to report their annual energy and water use. It further requires buildings to complete a major energy savings action or energy assessment every five years.” 

The amendment was proposed by City Councilor Matt O’Malley to “provide pathways for buildings to meet binding targets for the City’s carbon neutral goals. This update impacts about 3,500 large buildings over 20,000 sq ft in the City of Boston and creates an additional cumulative 2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions savings by 2050,” according to an advisory from his office. 

The City Council approved the motion to reform the ordinance at its June 16 meeting, and a hearing on the matter will be held this summer, according to O’Malley’s office. 

Finally, the JPNC discussed its upcoming election that had originally been scheduled for next month. 

“Due to unseen events, we talked in the Executive Committee of pushing the election back a month until August 21,” JPNC Chair Kevin Rainsford said. He said that more things will be open by then, and it will still happen before the city primary election in September.

The JPNC voted to push the election until August 21.

Nomination packets will be made available on June 25, at area libraries, and must be returned to the Jamaica Plain Branch of the Boston Public Library on July 16. 

Dave Baron said that he had some concerns around the new date, as it is a “very popular time” for people to go away on vacation. “We really do want the highest turnout possible,” he said. 

Rainsford said that the outreach and election committee had initially “explored the option of mail-in ballots,” as well as discussed having online voting, but the in-person election will take place on August 21. 

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