JPNC discusses committee updates

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) met virtually on January 25, where members discussed updates from committees, as well as elected two new members.

State Rep. Nika Elugardo was scheduled to speak and answer questions from the neighborhood, but asked if she could reschedule due to the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth address, which was held on Tuesday evening at the Hynes Convention Center. 

The Council elected Nicholas Chaves and Daniel Pérez Lacera to the council, and then discussed some committee updates.

ZONING COMMITTEE

Zoning Committee Chair Dave Baron spoke about three matters that came before the Zoning Committee and required a vote from the Council.

At 20 Orchard St., the homeowners proposed a dormer on the third floor to add a new master bathroom with more space. Baron explained that the Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) had submitted a letter of opposition, and that JPA Zoning Committee Chair Kevin Moloney had said that a few abutters were opposed to the dormer, including one who is also a member of the JPA Board.

At the JPNC Zoning Committee meeting, Baron said that there were abutters who were also in favor of the proposal. Discussion at this meeting ensued about whether or not Peter Elmuts, the abutter who is also a JPA Board member, should be allowed to vote on the matter.

Ultimately, the full Council voted to approve the dormer as presented.

At 68 Day St., the proposal is to change the occupancy of the existing building from a two family residence with a church to a three family residence. The scope of work includes renovations to the first floor only—the upper two levels will remain as-is. This was also approved.

At 44-46 Hyde Park Ave., cannabis retailer Apothca proposed to add recreational sales to their medical sales, which had already been approved by the Council. The request was approved by the Council, as well as the Zoning Board of Appeal on January 25.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITTEE

Committee Chair Michael Reiskind reported that the committee discussed its initiatives for the year relating to transportation and public safety. He said the group discussed bicycles, as well as “traffic flow and safety, and continuing our support for extending the Green Line to Hyde Square.” 

Reiskind also said that improvements to the Arborway were also discussed. For public safety, he said the group discussed public works issues, including a master plan for Centre and sOuth Streets and increasing the number of trash and recycling cans in the district. Reiskind said that once the list of initiatives is finalized, he will bring it before the full Council. 

HOUSING & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

Micah Sachs reported that the Housing & Development Committee heard from the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) about their efforts on outreach and engagement “to better engage underrepresented communities,” and a discussion about Article 80 projects in the neighborhood. 

PARKS COMMITTEE

New Council member Alexis Rickmers said she was interested in restarting the Council’s Parks Committee, which has been on a hiatus after its former leaders left the Council. Rickmers reported that she had met with fellow Council member Trevor Wissink-Adams to discuss reviving the committee, and has reached out to several residents who were also interested in participating. She said she will continue to do outreach and figure out where the committee’s priorities will lie. 

Lastly, JPNC Chair Samantha Montano announced that as of March 1, she will resign from the Council to pursue a race for the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ 15th Suffolk District seat, which is currently held by Nika Elugardo. Elugardo has announced that she is running for State Senate.

As of March 1, the JPNC will need a new president.

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