JPNC sets election for Sept.12


The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) Executive Committee voted at the JPNC’s June 23 meeting to schedule council elections for Sept. 12, the day of the Jamaica Plain World’s Fair.

The new date is the third election date the JPNC has scheduled for its 2009 election. The council most re-cently called off its June 12 and 13 election dates because only 10 candidates had taken out papers to run for 20 council seats, and the signatures those candidates collected in order to appear on the ballot had not yet been confirmed.

At the JPNC’s June 23 meeting, there were not enough council members present to constitute a quorum and allow the council to vote. But all of the members of the council’s executive committee except council chair Jesús Gerena were present. That group is empowered to make decisions on behalf of the council between meetings of the full council.

Recent changes to the JPNC’s election rules bar sitting council members from participating in organizing or running elections. Gerena previously told the Gazette he intends to resign as council chair so he can help orga-nize the new election. But Gerena had apparently not yet resigned. He was unable to attend the June meeting due to illness, said JPNC vice-chair Felix G. Arroyo.

Arroyo presented a tentative schedule for the new election process at the meeting. That schedule calls for nomination papers to be available at the JP Branch Library and Connolly Branch Libraries and at the Hyde Square Task Force office at 375 Centre St. on July 3. As of early this week, Gerena told the Gazette, the papers had not been distributed to those locations.

The tentative schedule calls for the nomination forms—including 25 signatures for seats in one of three “areas” and 50 for “at large” neighborhood-wide seats—to be returned Aug. 7.

But the executive committee did not approve the timeline, and it may change more. David Baron, who is heading an ad hoc council committee to re-write the JPNC by-laws, said the current rules leave process up to the elec-tion committee.

The nine members of the council present did discuss some details of the election.

JPNC member Andrea Howley suggested that, in addition to the fair, a table be set up at J.P. Licks on Centre Street. There was considerable support for that proposal.

Arroyo asked that council members who want to see voting at other locations coordinate those efforts.

“Unless the person making the proposal is saying, ‘I will recruit volunteers for that,’ I am going to have a hard time supporting it,” he said.

Howley said she would find volunteers for the J.P Licks site.
New restaurant

Michael Reiskind, chair of the council’s Public Service Committee, reported that there had been no opposition at the committee’s June 7 meeting to the granting of a common victuallar food service license to Sami’s Wrap & Roll.

Sami’s is a Middle Eastern restaurant currently under renovation at 654 Centre St. The JPNC executive commit-tee voted to support Sami’s owner Sami Saba’s request.

Baron, head of the council’s zoning committee, reported that at its June 4 meeting, the committee voted to support Saba’s request for another permit, a conditional use permit from the City of Boston zoning Board of Ap-peal to conduct food service operations at the 654 Centre location.

The ZBA had already granted the conditional use permit on June 9, Baron said. The Licensing Board was to con-sider whether to grant the food service license at a July 8 hearing, Reiskind said.
Hearing schedules

The ZBA’s granting of permits prior to advisory votes from the neighborhood council has been a cause for con-cern by council members in the past, and that issue was raised again at the June 30 meeting.

In addition to approving Saba’s request, the ZBA last month approved variance to allow the construction of a full-shed dormer—a build-out that increases usable space in the top floor by squaring the roof—at 41 Round Hill St.

It also deferred a decision to shift a conditional use permit for D&D restaurant 3141 Washington St. to a new owner and denied a request to change the legal occupancy at a house at 99 Bynner St. from a two-family to a three-family.

Baron and Colleen Keller, JP coordinator from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, said part of the problem is that, with less development taking place in the recession, projects are moving faster through the permitting process.

It was easier for the JPNC to keep up “when they were jammed up with work,” Baron said.

Howley, head of the JPNC’s Parks and Open Spaces Committee, said that group and the Arborway Coalition are looking for volunteers to water newly planted trees on the Arborway Hillside on the Arborway between Centre and South Streets.

Anyone who is interested can contact Sarah Freeman of the Arborway Coalition at 524-0602.

Howley reported that most state parkways, including the Arborway and the Jamaicaway in JP were maintained under Department of Conservation and Recreation control despite a push in debate about recently state transpor-tation infrastructure legislation to have them transferred to the control of the state Highway Department.

She also announced that the Boston Park Rangers mounted patrol, threatened with being disbanded due to city budget constraints, has been saved thanks to private fundraising. The Boston Police mounted unit was not so lucky, she said.

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