The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) met virtually on June 14, where members heard from District 6 City Council candidate Kelly Ransom, heard a preliminary proposal for a transfer station at Forest Hills at Morton Street, and voted on a project at 93 Brookley St.
District 6 City Council candidate Kelly Ransom came to the meeting to talk about her campaign and answer questions from community members.
Ransom talked about her life in District 6 and the work she’s done throughout her career, including working for City Councilor At-Large Annissaa Essaibi George, who is now running for mayor.
“Working at the City Council solidified in me that it’s definitely my life’s mission to serve,” Ransom said. She also talked about her years in the restaurant industry, starting as a dishwasher at City Feed and working up to a kitchen manager at Bella Luna. She also worked as the catering chef at Fenway Park.
Ransom then shifted to more of a communications and fundraising career path, and taught marketing classes to small business owners.
“I don’t just want to serve the community that raised me…but also because I want to continue doing what I do best and I know that is bringing people together,” Ransom said.
She said she feels one of her biggest strengths is :bringing diverse groups of people together,” which is something she’s been doing since she was a teenager.
“I lead with vision, not division,” she said.
During her campaign, she has been holding “virtual halls of progress” and roundtables where people with opposing views are purposely invited. Other events “help the community at large understand what the issues are,” she said.
“I have a strong network,” Ransom said, and prides herself in “getting people together whether they agree or not.”
She also said she’s “capable of supporting these difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations,” and can “turn these conversations into progress. My goal as a city councilor is to bring us together as a district to create change we want to see in all of our neighborhoods.”
SNA Steering Committee member Paige Sparks asked Ransom what role she believes neighborhood associations playing in “local community politics.”
Ransom said “I think they need to play a bigger role. I think they play a big role now, but I know that from going to so many neighborhood association meetings when I worked at the council.”
She added that it’s “really important for the neighbors to have a say in what’s going on.”
Ransom said that she wants to provide more support for neighborhood associations should she be elected.
“I think that we have the opportunity to grow our neighborhood organizations by working together,” she said.
SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane asked Ransom what her thoughts were on the “current state of development review in Boston,” as well as how the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) and the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) currently operate.
“I think that we need to come up with a better way to separate our city planning and our city development,” Ransom said. “Those are two separate entities.” She said she does not want to completely get rid of the BPDA, but she said separating the planning from development would be beneficial.
“It is the job of the city council to be representative in those situations,” she said. She also talked about how many of those meetings are inaccessible for many residents, and there are language barriers as well. She said getting the inout of residents on these processes is important to her.
NEW TRANSFER STATION AT FOREST HILLS AND MORTON STREET
Dennis Roache, Assistant Superintendent of Waste Reduction for the city’s Department of Public Works, talked about very preliminary plans to create a type of transfer station/recycling center at Forest Hills and Morton Street.
He said that the site in “some ways could be used hand in hand as a transfer station,” but the intent is for it to be used as “more of a recycle center.” The proposal is “still very early in its planning stages,” Roache said.
He added that the goal would be to “use that site to take some of the heat off of the hazardous waste events” and provide “more options for recycling.”
The site would function as a drop-off area for food waste, e-waste, textiles, mattress disposal, and things of that nature. Roache said that the plan is not to use this site for hazardous materials.
He said that “over the next six weeks,” there will be opportunities for the community to make comments on this proposal.
“This still is very much in its infancy stages of planning,” Roache said.
Jennifer Uhrhane expressed concerns about traffic and issues about when the facility is not open.
“We share both of your concerns on both of these issues,” Roache said, adding that the department will be working with the Boston Transportation Department.
“If this is only open once a month, it may get flooded like an event,” Roache said. “That is not the intent of this center.” He added that it is “supposed to create ease of use.”
He said that while there are no specific answers to these concerns at this time, it will be something that will be part of the community discussion moving forward.
VOTE ON 93 BROOKLEY
Royce Abel, a resident of 93 Brookley, had presented a proposal at last month’s SNA meeting to enclose the existing front porches to create more indoor living space. The SNA asked himt o come back with a design that would “delineate the floors of the building” once the porches are enclosed,” he said.
“We don’t use them; we don’t have basements in our building,” Royce said of the porches.
He showed the proposed simple design for the bands, which he said the contractor said would be “easy to add in.”
Allan Ihrer said “we had warned the developer before he started building the units that the water table was high and he didn’t listen, thus you have no basements.”
Another resident, Shannon Hourigan, said that “this is a change that would really improve the living conditions of some of our neighbors and very much allow them to stay.”
Jennifer Uhrhae said that the “street noise is so bad, and their bedroom is off the porch. When this project was proposed, the neighborhood strongly urged the developer to put bedrooms on the street side and ignored us and put them in the front anyway.”
She said that she understands the issue of street noise, and while the situation is not ideal, it’s a “very different kind of situation than dealing with a new developer.”
The SNA ultimately voted not to oppose the project after seeing the proposal for the delineation bands for the facade.