JPNC Discusses Committee Updates

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) met virtually on August 23, where it discussed several issues including the proposed MBTA Arborway Bus Maintenance Facility, as well as committee reports and updates.

Arborway Yard

First, the JPNC discussed a motion from member Gert Thorn to establish a subcommittee of the Housing & Development Committee “to participate in the mandated Community Review Process to ensure that;

– the proposed MBTA Design integrates well into the JPNC Urban Design Character,

– the currently applicable MOUs are respected,

– the potential traffic issues are studied and resolved,

– we collaborate with other stakeholders such as The City of Boston, DCR, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and the Boston Society of Architects to help make the proposed facility a positive addition to JP and Boston, and

– we liaise with JP Community regarding MBTA Proposals,

with separate proposed amendment to consider that the vote on this motion be taken as roll call vote.”

The MBTA has proposed a renovation of the existing Arborway bus yard to create a facility for storing and charging 200 electric buses for the Jamaica Plain and surrounding neighborhoods

After much discussion over the motion, the Council voted in favor of the motion, eight to one, with four members abstaining.

Outreach Committee

Paige Sparks of the Outreach Committee, which is currently an ad hoc committee, proposed to make the committee an official working committee of the JPNC.

When asked why this was necessary, Sparks replied that “these meetings are not super well attended. Community engagement should be one of the primary issues that the Neighborhood Council tackles.”

She said that the committee should ensure that residents are aware of when meetings and elections are.

A description of the committee is as follows: “Responsibilities include promoting participation in the JPNC, increasing the diversity and representative cross section of the JP community on the council, promoting JPNC activities online and in person, making the work the JPNC does as transparent and accessible to the community as possible, and actively engaging as much as the neighborhood as we can, specifically through: engaging neighbors at an interpersonal level by creating connections, ensuring that there is representation across the council and its activities and that it reflects the demographics of the neighborhood on a variety of metrics, recruiting people to join the council.”

Another proposal was brought forth, but will not be voted on until the September meeting. This proposal is to amend the bylaw to include term limits for both community members and chairs on the Council’s working committees.

The first proposal is as follows: “Amendment to article 7, Committees, sub section – Working committee: Community members who serve on a working committee may serve for no more than 2 full terms of the council (4 years maximum). If community members wish to continue to serve on the same committee, they must run for a council seat and participate in the JPNC as any other member.”

The second is an Amendment to Article 14: “A person may not serve as chair of a working committee for more than one consecutive term. A new chair will be elected at the beginning of every term, as the council and committees are seated following the election.”

The Council chose to not have a full discussion on this proposal until month’s meeting.

Election of Sarah Freeman

Longtime neighborhood activist Sarah Freeman expressed her interest in filling one of the vacant seats on the council, and was unanimously voted in to take the vacant at-large seat.

Housing and Development Committee

Micah Sachs reported that Marvin Mathelier, the chair of the Housing & Development Committee, has stepped down from his seat on the council, and Kevin Rainsford was elected the new chair. Sachs is the vice chair of the committee.

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