Attend meetings in Cambridge October 17-23: Vassal Lane School name change, lots of connections

These are just a few of the town meetings and civic events for the week ahead. More are on the City calendar and in the city Meetings portal open.

Vassal Lane Higher School, relocated to Spring Street in East Cambridge, could see a name change before the end of the school year. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Effect of Developmental Changes

municipal Council5:30 p.m. Monday. The removal of parking minimums across the city look all the closer with a report from the Department of Community Development as it resolves any conflicts and ambiguities that implementation might cause with other zonings. On the other hand, advice from the CDD and the city attorney on the best ways to increase “link” fees charged to developers to pay for affordable housing, City Council’s targets still seem a long way off – including an exemption for square footage that is demolished and rebuilt that “would reduce contributions by about twice as much as the 30,000 deduction square feet when applied to past incentive projects.The lawyer advises waiting for a future study to provide a basis for changes, and that would add years to a debate that is already more than a year old.

There is a council motion analysis request of how crossovers, parking minimums and other policies affect development, while another wants the city manager to ensure changes to residential permit parking rules after councilors learned in September 2021 that a resident had permits for 10 cars which were rented out as a business but parked on the street in resident-only spaces. “There is currently no limit to the number of cars that can be registered at an address, nor is there language describing regulations regarding car rental services that operate from residential homes using residential parking permits,” but city staff have not come forward with a solution in the past 13 months, Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon said. (In other transportation news, the council is extending its Appreciation to Joe Barr, responsible for traffic, parking and transportation for 7.5 years, as he leaves to become director of network development for the eastern United States for Amtrak. His new role in Boston starts October 24.)

The council meets at the town hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central place. Televised and watchable by Zoom video conference.


Change of name of the vassal school

school committee6 p.m. Tuesday. By naming the city’s upper schools after their street names, Vassal Lane Upper School is by extension paying homage to John Vassal Jr., whose family enslaved hundreds of people in the Jamaican sugar industry, notes Vice President Rachel Weinstein. She proposes to rename the school – moved to East Cambridge during construction – before the end of this school year, and to order the superintendent to propose how by December 31. The committee meets in the meeting room of Dr. Henrietta S. Attles at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 459 Broadway, Mid-Cambridge. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconference.

Cannabis Budega and link

planning board6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Recreational cannabis store Budega is back to take over Stereo Jack’s Records space at 1686 Massachusetts Ave., Ward 9, and an adjustment to “tie” rates charged to developers to $33.34 per square foot from the current $20.10 – but in a way that encourages construction while achieving more affordable housing. This is an issue with complexities dealt with by the city council at its meeting a day earlier. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconference.


Future of Cambridge Street

Neighborhood and long-term planning, public amenities, arts and celebrations committeeWednesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This committee headed by Councilor Dennis Carlone is talking about a study for the future of Cambridge Street. The committee meets at the town hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central place. Televised and watchable by Zoom videoconference.

Green Jobs Bill

Orders CommitteeWednesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This committee led by councilors Marc McGovern and Quinton Zondervan will discuss a draft green jobs ordinance. The committee meets at the town hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave.Central place.

East Cambridge NCD Study

East Cambridge Ward Conservation District Study Committee meetingWednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Members will continue to explore the creation of a neighborhood conservation district, as requested by some landlords and longtime residents who are concerned about how development has changed the neighborhood. Watchable by Zoom videoconference.

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