JPNC Hears Green Line, Development, and Zoning Updates

The JPNC held their monthly meeting on September 24. On the agenda was committee updates, as well as a presentation by the Arborway Committee for Public Transit, represented by Franklyn Salimbene.

Salimbene provided an update on the proposed Green Line extension to Hyde Square, which he said has gained support over the last couple of years. The City of Boston included it in its GoBoston 2030 plan, and it was also included in MassDOT’s Focus 2040 plan.

He said that the stage the group is in now is working with the House Ways & Means State Implementation Program, and State Rep. Nika Elugardo has said she is committed to working with the Ways & Means Committee on this issue.

“The importance [of the project[ is to connect Hyde Square and the institutions along South Huntington Ave. with developments that are going up,” Salimbene said. Right now, the South Huntington Ave. apartment units are being built in a transit oriented fashion, said Salimbene, and the “39 bus has its limitations.”

There was a public meeting at the Tobin Community Center on September 26 regarding an update on the Green Line modernization program, at which the Arborway Committee for Public Transit raised questions about service disruptions, boarding along Huntington Ave. beyond Brigham Circle, and having an inspector at Heath St. station to make it easier for boarding in a wheelchair. They also had questions about the proposed Fare Collection 2.0 that the MBTA has put forth. 

For the Green Line, Salimbene said the group is proposing ADA accessible mid-street stops off the sidewalk in the center of the street, boarding on the lefthand side of the car. An alternative would be to have bump outs on the sidewalk that are of sufficient height for boarding on the righthand side of the car.

Housing and Development Committee

 JPNC member Carolyn Royce said that the Housing and Development Committee met and discussed the Inclusionary Development Policy, and the IDP coalition has attended several city meetings and completed postcard campaigns to make affordable housing permanent. They are also planning another action in October, and the City has started to release data related to this issue.

A large chunk of the conversation was taken up by a draft letter regarding the Shattuck Campus to be sent to the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). The letter states the JPNC’s support for building affordable housing on the Shattuck Campus as well as using the site for public health purposes, though at the end of the letter they state that they hope DCAMM and EOHHS “go further and explore alternatives that may result in land use that makes the most sense for the equitable provision of supportive housing & behavioral health services (a statewide need) in other locations throughout the state.”

There were arguments both from the community and the council for and against putting these health services, which many say have not been defined by the state, on the site. Some people wished to see the land be returned to Franklin Park and the services be put elsewhere, but others wanted to see supportive housing and services on the site.

Some JPNC members did not agree with sending the letter, but the council ultimately voted 12-3 to send the letter, with one member abstaining.

Education Committee

The Education Committee met last week, and reported that State Rep. Niuka Elugardop has been working on education funding and advocating for funding to be doubled in 32 districts across the state—Boston Public Schools is one of them.

The committee also participated in an Egleston Square popup that handed out info on the Independent School Entrance Examination updates; they met with about 50 members. They are also working on a popup registration event for January that would make registering for BPS easier for families who cannot make it to the other registration events, which are only held during the daytime.

Zoning Committee

The JPNC voted to approve four zoning items. At 30-32 Greenview Ave., an addition was proposed for the back of the house for a bedroom, at 6-8 Cheshire St., a proposal to finish the basement, at 74 Brookley Road, a proposal for a finished basement with bathroom, bedroom, office, family room, and workshop, and at 6 Martinwood Road, construct a carport and rear mudroom addition to existing single-family residence. 

Public Service Committee

 The JPNC voted to support the petition to change the legal occupancy at 34-50 South St. to include restaurant with take0-out use. The business will be called Monumental Market, and will feature a coffee shop, a nut-free pastry shop, and an ice cream shop, according to JPNC member Michael Reiskind. The Public Service Committee voted to extend their operating hours from 7:00am-10:00pm should the operators choose, but they originally proposed a closing time of 8:00pm.

At J-Pizle Kitchen, the applicants were looking for support for a seven-day common victualler wine and malt beverage license with an 11pm closing time and three TVs. The JPNC voted to support this petition with the provisos that alcohol be served with food only, and that J-Pizle Kitchen hold a follow-up community meeting with neighbors and the JPNC six months after obtaining the license.

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