North Massachusetts Avenue Rezoning
Susan reported on a Planning Board preliminary hearing of a proposal to rezone North Massachusetts Avenue, with the goal of encouraging more mixed use (ground floor retail.) The present zoning apparently gives too much incentive for residential development, even in the business zone. See www.cambridgema.gov/northmassave for all the details. One interesting provision was to exempt restaurant's outdoor seating from requirements for additional parking spaces.
In discussion, we agreed in principal with the mixed use goal. One question that came up was whether there are provisions to redo existing buildings, or only new projects.
Supporting Local Businesses
What could PSNA do to support local businesses? Discussion quickly turned to reviving the 2007 "Shop and Eat on Mass Ave" map. There was interest in both producing a new physical map, and in an online version.
Susan Hunziker agreed to work on updating the physical map. She'll also contact Dave Reed about printing and updating the files he used last time, and she will start queries about funding sources. Si Shapiro offered Tags' support as well. John Howard agreed to explore making an on-line version of the map. Ruth Ryals will pursue liaison with the existing Mass Ave improvement group including businesses between Harvard and Porter Squares.
Ears to the Ground
Also at the Planning Board was a petition to control or reduce lighting glare. Glen Heinmiller (who helped with the lighting in the MBTA parklet) made some useful comments to the Planning Board, supporting the need to reduce glare but pointing out that the current petition's wording was too vague.
The Porter Square MBTA station elevator is ahead of schedule and is planned to open by March.