JPNC committees present reports at monthly meeting

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) held its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 28. Chair Renee Stacey Welch presided with fellow council members Michael Reiskind, Bernie Doherty, Gert Thorn, Esther Beillard, Ben Weber, Willie Mitchell, Leah Simmons, Nick Chaves, Peg Treble, Sarah Freeman, Peter DeCotis, Luke Matthew, Lorenzo Bartolini, Danielle Sommer-Kieta, David Baron, Purple Reign, and Katherine O’Shea also in attendance.

The council heard reports from its various sub-committees.

Dave Baron, chair of the Zoning Committee, told the council that the committee had met twice in November and had taken up a number of matters regarding requests for variances. He asked that the full JPNC approve the actions that the Zoning Committee had taken, which were as follows:

— A request from the owner of 28 Evergreen St. to change a three-family into a four-family home and add some basement living space. He said the neighbors supported the application;

— The applications for 17 and 21 Alveston St. involved the build-out of additional living space in the basements of the existing two-unit building at 17 Alveston and the construction of a one-family home at 21 Alveston. The neighbors supported the expansion;

— At 6 Greenough Ave., there was an application for a curb cut to allow for an additional off-street parking space, which the neighbors supported; 

— At 44 Bournedale Rd, the owner sought a variance to add a large, L-shaped addition to the existing structure. Baron said the lack of side-yard setback did not meet with an objection by the closest-adjacent neighbor; and

— An application from the owner of 3927 Washington St. pertained to a request to add a fourth unit onto an existing three-decker that had been damaged by a fire. Baron said the addition of the fourth unit in the attic would not affect the exterior look of the structure and would keep it in line with the existing architecture of the other buildings in the neighborhood.

Baron said the Zoning Committee voted favorable recommendations on all of the applications and, with little discussion, the full JPNC gave its approval. The property owners still need to go before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals in order to obtain their variances.

Reiskind presented the Public Service Committee report. He said there was a licensing application regarding the requests of B.U. Bistro, 3840 Washington St., to change the closing hours for its front and rear outdoor patio spaces to 11 p.m. with a request for outdoor recorded music for the rear patio, which backs up to the rail tracks. 

The full JPNC unanimously approved the requests.

Reiskind also presented a letter that he asked to be sent to the Boston Transportation Dept. regarding the Route 39 transit corridor from Forest Hills to Back Bay station to upgrade the infrastructure, including repairing the sidewalks, bus shelters, and traffic lights. Reiskind requested that the full JPNC send a letter to the Transportation Dept. seeking more information about the project, including a better community process, a neighborhood advisory committee, and an improved website. The full JPNC approved sending the letter.

Reiskind also spoke of the long-delayed proposal to extend the Green Line from Heath St. to Hyde Sq. He noted that the state has never followed through on studying the extension, though the state has approved bond bills that would provide funding for a feasibility study. However, despite the funding in the bond bill, the funds for the study have not been disbursed by the governor’s office. Reiskind reported that the local state legislators and local city officials are pressing Governor Maura Healey to release the funds for the study.

Chaves presented the report of the Parks Committee. He said the committee held its first meeting recently at which the members discussed the committee’s goals. Chaves said the committee will be sending a survey to residents asking for their vision of the committee’s goals and objectives. Chaves and committee members also briefly discussed the White Stadium reconstruction project. 

Sommer-Kiera from the Housing Committee spoke briefly about the plans for housing at the Arborway MBTA garage project and about the potential for housing zoning amendments. 

O’Shea presented the Outreach Committee’s report. She said that at the committee’s last meeting, the committee developed a Powerpoint presentation that will educate members of the JP community about the workings and mission of the JPNC.

The council then turned its attention to the MBTA’s Arborway Garage project, specifically with regard to the present plans that appear to diminish the possibility of development on the eight acres that have been set aside for community development because of shared T employee parking for 150 cars within the eight acres and the access and egress roadways for the 200 buses that will cut through the eight acres.

After a presentation by Sue Cibulsky of the Arborway Garage Subcommittee, who gave an overview of the project, the full council discussed the project. Doherty was adamant that the JPNC needs to ask questions about how the new garage will impact the JP community.

“We have to be vigilant about this matter in order to ensure that we are aware of how this project will impact the community and the people we represent,” Doherty said.

Welch noted that there presently are two openings on the council, both of which are in Area C. Glen Rd. resident Sam Naylor expressed his interest in joining the council and will return at the next meeting to present his candidacy for a vote by the council.

The next meeting of the council is set for Thursday, December 21 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

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