JPNC Denies 10 Stonley Rd. Project; Discusses Soofa Signs

he Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council met for its monthly meeting on January 28, where there were no special presentations, but council committees presented updates.

Zoning Committee

The Zoning Committee, led by David Baron, heard seven proposals last month. Five were approved and two were denied by the full Council.

At 79 Moss Hill Road, the proposal was to add a second story to an existing single-family residents on an existing footprint, which was approved. At 7-9 Wenham St., the applicants wanted to change  the building from a two family to a three family, which was also approved.

Approved at 35 McBride St. was a change of occupancy from a two family residence with a retail store to a three family residence and no work to be done. At 46 Lochstead Ave., the applicants want to finish 2/3 of a existing basement and add a bathroom, laundry room, home gym, and office space, which was approved by the Council.

At 11 Halifax St. #2, the approved proposal was to complete interior and exterior renovations of an attic with installation of formers and new exterior windows.

At 3305 Washington St., a proposal to combine existing lots into one 9,378 square foot lot and construct a four-story, mixed use building with commercial space, fourteen residential units, and a garage with 12 parking spaces was approved by the Council.

The two projects denied or deferred by the Council were at 387-399 Centre St., and 35 Brookley Road/10 Stonley Road. At the Centre St. propoerty, the proposal was to change the existing beauty salon into a body piercing studio. The issue was not with the change of use, but with a dispute between the beauty salon owner and the landlord, as the beauty salon owner said he is being displaced from the building despite saying he was able to pay the new rent for the building. The Zoning Committee recommended that the dispute be worked out amongst those involved, and that the committee would become involved again should they change of use definitely be taking place.

At 35 Brookley Road/10 Stonley Road, the proposal is to demolish the existing building to construct a new 46 unit development. AS previously reported in the Gazette, this project has a lot of community pushback and many oppose it, especially the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association. The Council ultimately voted to deny this project.

Public Service Committee

Committee Chair Michael Reiskind reported that there is a request from the Jamaica Mi Hungry restaurant for a new all-alcohol license at the existing location on Centre St. They are also considering a seasonal 15 seat patio and want to extend their closing time from 10:00pm to 1:00am. Reiskind said that the applicants did not leaflet the neighborhood in time for the Public Service Committee meeting, so it was unable to be heard at the last meeting. It is on for the February agenda. He added that the applicants did have an abutters meeting.

As previously reported in the Gazette, Soofa signs are being proposed for the business district on Centre St. Soofa has presented the proposal to several neighborhood groups already, including the Jamaica Pond Association. The signs are about seven or eight feet tall, and feature e-ink similar to Amazon’s Kindle, and they function as a community bulletin board. Residents can send in information about upcoming events to be featured, and the boards also display advertisements. They are solar powered and bolted into the sidewalk.

Reiskind said that most people liked the proposal at the Public Service Committee meeting, but many on the Jamaica Pond Association were not fond of the idea, saying that there is already too much clutter on Centre St. These signs already exist elsewhere in greater Boston. JPNC member Peg Preble said she saw one in Coolidge Corner in Brookline, “but most people ignored it.”

The Soofa sign presentation was purely informational, and no vote was taken by the Council on whether or not to approve them.

Housing & Development Committee

Carolyn Royce, Chair of the Housing & Development Committee, asked for a vote from the Council on a letter to the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) asking them to meet with the community regarding PLAN: JP/Rox.

“It would be helpful to know how they BPDA sees the play; do they want to adjust anything, do they see affordability working out, just an overall general discussion,” Royce said.

Lindsey Santana, the Mayor’s liaison for JP, said that this will be happening with the BPDA soon as several people have requested this at the mayor’s office.

Michael Reiskind had some issues with the way the letter was written, and said that he “sees it as mainly disagreeing and trying to change PLAN: JP/Rox rather than asking for a discussion.” David Baron suggested changing the wording of the letter to make it ask for more of a discussion about how the plan is working. The full Council agreed to send the letter to the BPDA with minor revisions to change the active verbs.

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