Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Ben Day, chair of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, reflects on Monday’s tragedy.
Benjamin Day, chair of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, emailed comments to Jamaica Plain Patch on the Boston Marathon bombings of Monday afternoon. Below are his unedited comments: “Personally, I am speechless. Speechless and grateful for the outpouring of support from around the country. I think it's a time for Bostonians to really be there for each other, be there for the visitors who we've welcomed into the community, and be there for the victims and their families. We'll have time later to make sense of what's happened, but for now community is the most important thing we have to hold onto.”
Saturday, January 5, 2013
The Jamaica Pond Association meets monthly.
The Jamaica Pond Association will address various zoning issues at its monthly meeting Monday including one that has everyone talking. “Update on 161 South Huntington Ave.” is one of the items highlighted on the most recent JPA agenda. Currently, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council has filed a lawsuit against the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals to block an housing development at the address, the former site of the Home for Little Wanderers. The JPA will meet Monday night from 7 to 9 p.m. at Jamaica Tower, 111 Perkins St., 2nd floor.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council has written an open letter to the BRA based on the recent city Zoning Board of Appeals’ approval of a forthcoming South Huntington Street development.
With the Home For Little Wanderers officially out at 161 S. Huntington St., and a city Zoning Board of Appeals OK in its pocket, Boston Residential Group is set to build a $75 million 196-apartment complex at the site. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council opposed the plan from the start, and after the Nov. 13 ZBA decision there’s nothing more they can do to block the razing and construction. JPNC member Joseph Wight expressed concern over the zoning process at a Tuesday night meeting. He said he did not feel like the neighborhood council’s voice had been heard. “There’s been a tremendous amount of community opposition,” he said, listing several Jamaica Plain boards that opposed the project. The incoming development is going to have 60 …
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A letter written by several Neighborhood Council members as private citizens sparked fierce debate about the role of the members as residents and elected representatives of JP.
A letter written by several members of the elected advisory board that represents JP — but distributed by them as private citizens — has become a major flash point. On Tuesday heated words filled the JP Neighborhood Council meeting. At issue was a letter issued last week that pointed out campaign contributions made to local politicians by developers seeking to erect big apartment buildings along South Huntington. On one hand, chairperson Ben Day and his supporters said they have a right not to muzzle their opinions simply because they serve on the council. On the other, critics said a letter that was "highly inflammatory and embarassing to [local] officials" undermined the JPNC's ability to work with those politicians to advocate for the …
Francesca Fordiani, a nine-year veteran of the Neighborhood Council, resigned over a letter sent by the chairperson of the elected advisory group that implied acceptance of bribery by local pols.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
[Editor's note: Here is the resignation letter of longtime JP Neighborhood Council member Francesca Fordiani.] Oct. 29, 2012 To: Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Dear Colleagues, It is with great sadness and regret that I hereby tender my resignation from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, effective immediately. I have been proud to serve my community and the JPNC as a community committee member, Council member, committee chair and/or as Secretary for the last nine years and I am proud of our many accomplishments. But recent events have brought into sharp focus that some of the disagreements we have had over the past year represent fundamentally very different views on what it means to be a member and a leader of a public, …
A new scheme for City Council districts could pull one or two JP neighborhoods out of District 6.
A proposed redistricting map could split up Jamaica Plain, leaving the neighborhood no longer represented mainly by one city councilor. City Councilors must agree on a new district map soon. The law requires updating district boundaries with each Census. A final vote is expected Wednesday at the council's last meeting before the legal deadline next week. The difficulty is how to redraw districts while not diluting representation of people of color. Mayor Thomas Menino has rejected two maps passed by City Council so far, arguing they don't pass muster on that score. Such maps could even face legal challenges. Here's how it breaks down: District 6, the seat held by City Councilor Matt O'Malley, currently represents almost all of JP. …
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Some advocates of affordable housing and parts of JP's Latin community are engaged in a fight with an organization that is usually a staunch ally — The JP Neighborhood Development Corp.
Tensions appear to be running high between, on one hand, advocates of affordable housing and some parts of JP's Latin community and, on the other, their longtime ally the JP Neighborhood Development Corp. The cause: The future of the remaining undeveloped parcels on the Blessed Sacrament campus. The Neighborhood Development Corp. has brokered a deal to bring 32 or so market-rate condos to the long-vacant Blessed Sacrament Church in the heart of Hyde Square. Also at issue is the old Norbert School Building. The Neighborhood Development Corp. says the plan is in keeping with the community's overall vision for the entire campus — one in which at least 50 percent of the units on the campus as a whole are affordable. They say the market-rate …
Friday, June 8, 2012
Would-be developers face neighborhood-level challenges before they can even deal with the city.
Opening a new business in Boston can be a challenge. Not only do would-be business owners have to deal with state and city codes, requirements and laws, but—before they do so—they have to garner the favor of a sometimes-complex maze of neighborhood groups. The most infamous recent case in JP is, of course, the Whole Foods saga. In the end, the grocer opened despite a narrow vote by the JP Neighborhood Council that the national chain wasn't a "good fit" for Hyde Square. Or, looking outside JP, take the case of Rob Rivard. Rivard decided that he wanted to open a new Domino’s Pizza on Main Street in Charlestown and brought his case to a hearing of a subcommittee of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council. Residents at the meeting voiced strong …
Sunday, June 3, 2012
A sign in the window indicates the pizza parlor will reopen soon.
Hyde Square pizza joint Slice O' Pie closed abruptly this week. Signs in the windows indicate the 378 Centre St. pizza, sub and pasta restaurant is closed for renovations and will reopen soon. Slice O' Pie, which opened in February 2011, recently ran into trouble with the city over its license. The JP Neighborhood Council took up the matter in its Tuesday meeting, voting unanimously to affirm the restaurant's license. It isn't clear if the problem was actually on the city end. Over the past year, many JP restaurants that were open for months or years were surprised to find out that parts of the city bureacracy considered them as not having the proper licenses. A source told JP Patch that employees showed up for work Thursday to find the …
Friday, June 1, 2012
Last month a neighborhood advisory group voted against Whole Foods' proposal to add seating. This month they took back the vote, saying Whole Foods hasn't made an application to the city for the required license.
UPDATE, Friday, 5:55 p.m. - Whole Foods informs Patch they have applied directly to the city for the license needed to add seating to their Jamaica Plain store. Once Patch knows when the hearing will be, we will publicize it. ~~~~~ An elected neighborhood advisory group has taken back its vote last month to oppose Whole Foods' plans to add seating. Amid concerns that locally-owned restaurants would face competition from the move, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council voted in April to recommend that the city not give the national chain a "common victualer" permit. However, Whole Foods hasn't applied to the city for that permit. They'd only gone before a committee of the Neighborhood Council to seek neighborhood approval. That committee …