The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) met virtually on May 25, where members discussed committee updates as well as heard from District 6 City Council candidate Kelly Ransom.
Zoning Committee Chair Dave Baron reported that none of the matters heard by the committee were particularly controversial, and said that here was “no dissent on any of them.”All were approved by the Council.
The projects are as follows:
1). 56 Lochstead Avenue to increase the size of an existing deck;
2). 15 Jess Street to create curb cut per plans;
3). 15 Rocky Nook Terrace #3 to add roof dormers to third-floor unit;
4). 5 Wise Street to confirm legal occupancy as two-family residence and expand living space into basement;
5). 22 Sedgwick Street to construct new dormer on right side of house per plans;
6). 41-41A Green Street a/k/a 43 Green Street to install new deck;
7). 54 Danforth Street to construct dormer over bathroom and renovate bathroom;
8). 79 Perkins Street to change occupancy from three-family to four-family residence, create a unit in basement, and install partial sprinkler system.
Housing & Development Committee:
Marvin Mathelier reported that the housing and development committee discussed sending letters to various organizations for different projects, including support for the the Mildred Hailey 1B building proposal, the MBTA regarding support for funding for a new bus facility at the Arborway Yard, and an Article 80 comment letter regarding the Doyle’s project on Washington St.
Mathelier explained that the committee was in favor of the Doyle’s proposal to bring back a revived version of the beloved Doyle’s Cafe, along with housing and a grocery market. The project is being developed by Watermark Development and designed by architect Elaine Scales. The proposal includes four affordable units as part of the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP), but he said that the committee wants to ask the developer to include even more units between 70 and 100 percent of the Area Median Income.
Additionally, the committee would like to see the housing units be electric, not gas.
He said that the committee liked that the development is “very transit-oriented,” and includes bike parking. They also appreciated that the “Doyle’s look and feel” was going to be kept for the new restaurant, and the project supports local businesses.
“The developer has been very engaged with the community,” Mathelier said, adding that he’s heard of several residents getting a quick response from Lee Goodman of Watermark Development when they reach out with questions or concerns.
There was also some discussion amongst council members about the affordability of the restaurant space that is being offered to Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, who will operate the new Doyle’s,.
Paige Sparks, a JP resident and a member of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association’s steering committee said that a remaining question relates to the timeline of the affordability of the space. “Affordable housing units stay affordable for 30, up to 50 years,” she said. “The developer is saying he needs to give commercial space affordability” as it is “such a tough time for restaurants right now.”
She said the “question is, will the affordable space stay, and for how long?”
The JPNC voted to submit the comment letter as it had been drafted.
Public Service Committee
Committee chair Michael Reiskind reported that there was not much to report, but the discussion of a Good Community Business policy will continue.
Outreach and Election Committee
The JPNC election, which had been postponed several times from last year’s original date, will be taking place on July 24. Nomination papers will be made available on May 28.
Committee Chair Max Glikman said that the papers will be made available digitally as a PDF, but paper copies will be available should someone need one.
He said that the committee is “encouraging candidates to collect signatures electronically via z website called iPetitions.”
The election will be held in-person on July 24, with polling locations at Stop and Shop on Centre St., JP Licks on Centre St., and at Forest Hills “inside what used to be the Harvest [Co-Op],” Glikman said.
He also said that volunteers are needed to count votes as well as help out at the polling stations. Tables and chairs also need to be borrowed for the polling locations.
JPNC member Michael Reiskind said that “the candidates have to decide whether they should run at-large or an area seat,” adding that 25 signatures are required to run for an area seat, and 50 are needed if running at-large.
He said that that type of outreach is an “important showing” of the “flag for the Neighborhood Council.”
Those wishing to run need to collect signatures, then collect votes, and also round up volunteers to help out.
Rainsford added that all candidates should submit a 150 word bio with their nomination packet, as well as a photo of themselves.
Kelly Ransom, Candidate for District 6 City Council
Kelly Ransom is a longtime community activist in District 6, and has introduced herself as a candidate for City Council at various different community meetings and events so far.
She came before the JPNC on Tuesday evening to talk a little bit about herself, as well as answer questions from council members.
“I am a natural connector,” she said at the meeting, adding that she has been “bringing people together since I was 15 years old. I’ve continuously brought people together to create a community vision,” such as organizing the Latin Quarter World’s Fair or working for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation.
She said she feels this is one of her strengths that would help her as a City Councilor and be able to ensure that every constituent’s voice is heard.
JPNC member Carolyn Royce asked Ransom how she believes she can represent residents who may not be as good at expressing their opinion as others.
Ransom said that it’s “part of my platform that every voice gets included,” and she said she is “committed to consistently door knocking” to hear from residents about what is on their minds.
Glikman asked Ransom, “how will you be a candidate for the entire district?” as it includes West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.
Ransom said that “West Roxbury has no dedicated development corporation,” which is something she said would be beneficial to the neighborhood.
For more information on Kelly Ransom and her platform and campaign, visit votekellyransom.com.