August 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 3:00pm

Agenda • 1791 Mass Ave • Accountability • Ears to the Ground 1791 Mass Ave NOTE PLANNED COMMUNITY PRESENTATION SEPTEMBER 12. Developers Sean Hope and Jason Korb presented preliminary thoughts about an affordable housing development at 1791 Massachusetts Avenue. That's the now-empty dentist's home immediately to the south of Lesley's Lunder Arts Center. Also included are the two residences immediately behind it (1 and 2 Hope Terrace). A few key intentions they shared at our meeting are: * 100% affordable housing (long-term rental) * 1 and 2 Hope Terrace (two residences behind 1791 Mass Ave) included in project. * Historic elements of all three structures to be preserved. * Additional largish residential structure. * NO ON-SITE PARKING provided * Asphalt paving replace by landscaping They are planning a more detailed presentation to the neighborhood, 7PM on Tuesday September 12 at the North Cambridge Senior Center. There is a project website at with some background material. The lack of on-site parking is likely to be controversial in an otherwise attractive project. Accountability Porter Square has seen several broken promises by developers and/or city staff. The most notable recent example is the garden behind the Porter Square Hotel; Long's Funeral Home is a more distant case. Looking toward the future, what happens if the traffic department eliminates the left turn out of the shopping center, and it doesn't work? We are concerned both about developers following through on their promises, and more importantly about the city enforcing its own processes and ordinances. Ultimately the City Council is responsible, but how does that translate into action rather than just talk? We discussed how to phrase a question about this at the Candidates' Forum. Ears to the Ground Adriane Musgrave, a resident of 5 Newport Road (which abuts the dentist's house) and also a City Council candidate, introduced herself briefly. John Howard reported on status of the City Council Candidates' forum, which is scheduled for Wednesday October 18 at Lesley University's Ampitheater. There is a steering committee meeting next week which will work on format and organizational details, including how to solicit questions to be asked of the candidates. Ruth Ryals passed around a draft of the revised "Shop, Eat, & Enjoy Mass Ave" business map and gathered some feedback, particularly about the geometry of the streets around the Porter Square intersection.