Friday, October 07, 2016

Boston City Council Looks At Cultural Districts, Confirmations, Geese & More

City Council President Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered these items and more at their September 28 and October 6, 2016 meetings:

Confirmations: The Council voted to confirm the following individuals:
  • Saint Boltolph Architectural Conservation Commission: Richard Henderson until June 2019
  • Bay Village Historical District Commission: Thomas Hotaling and Richard Yeager until June 2018 and Anne Kilgus until June 2019
  • Aberdeen Architectural District Commission: Kristen Hoffman until June 2018
  • South End Landmark Commission: John Freeman and John Amodeo until June 2018
  • Fort Point Channel Landmark District Commission: Lynn Smiledge and David Berarducci until June 2017 and Susan Goganian until June 2018
  • Back Bay West/Baystate Road Architectural Conservation Commission: Richard Yeager and Thomas Hotaling until June 2018
  • Mission Hill Triangle Architectural Commission: Kristen Hoffman until June 2018
  • Boston Landmarks Commission: Richard Henderson and Lindsey Mac Jones until June 2019
Geese in Parks: Councilor Essaibi-George called for a hearing to discuss how to free our parks from Boston’s growing Canada Geese population. Fun fact: Canada Geese produce 3 pounds of waste per day! Councilor Essaibi-George described the public health risks of having children playing in grass covered in goose droppings, as well as the aggressive nature of many geese, and she mentioned that the National Parks Service has taken steps to protect visitors in DC from geese. Councilor O'Malley suggested inviting the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League, and other advocacy groups as well. The matter was sent to the Parks, Recreation and Transportation Committee for a hearing.

Roxbury Cultural District: Councilors Jackson and Pressley filed a resolution to establish a cultural district in Roxbury. They described the significant concentration of cultural assets and facilities in Dudley Square and John Elliot Square, as well as the need to memorialize Roxbury’s culture as Boston sits at a crossroads. Cultural districts are designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, after a local process recommends a walkable, place-based map for consideration. Boston currently has two recognized cultural districts: the Fenway Cultural District and the Literary Cultural District. Councilor O'Malley has also been spearheading the designation of Hyde-Jackson Square as Boston's Latin Quarter. The matter was sent to the Arts, Culture, and Special Events Committee for a hearing.

College and University Engagement: Councilor McCarthy called for a hearing to discuss creating a College and University Engagement Office for the City. He noted that there are 25 colleges and universities in Boston and all of them interact with the city regarding student housing, building, event permitting, programming, and more. Most of these institutions have Government Affairs liaisons that interact with individual city departments, and we could benefit from having a one-stop shop to centralize coordination. Other Councilors spoke in support of the measure, emphasizing the need for more universities to fulfill their full PILOT payments and to include two-year colleges and community colleges in this conversation as well. The matter was assigned to the Committee on City and Neighborhood Services and Veterans Affairs for a hearing.

EACH Woman Act: The Council voted 12-0 (Councilor McCarthy absent) to approve a resolution, introduced last week by Councilor Pressley, in support of the EACH Woman Act, which would reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services for women enrolled in public insurance programs and allow the Hyde Amendment to expire. Councilor Pressley explained that this was part of a national effort to generate momentum at the municipal level for federal change.

Upcoming Hearings/Working Sessions (Watch at www.cityofboston.com/citycouncil/live.asp)
  • Tuesday, 10/11 at 1:00PM, Canada Geese Mitigation (Parks, Recreation and Transportation)
  • Monday, 10/17 at 3:00PM, Later High School Start Times (Education)
  • Tuesday, 10/18 at 10:30AM, Curbside Composting (Environment & Sustainability)
  • Tuesday, 10/18 at 1:00PM, Parking in City of Boston (Parks, Recreation & Transportation)
  • Monday, 10/24 at 10:00AM, Fiscal Impacts of Raising Charter Cap (Jointly in Ways & Means and Education)
  • Tuesday, 10/25 at 6:00PM, Roxbury Cultural District (Arts and Culture) [Off-site at Hibernian Hall, Roxbury]
  • Thursday, 10/27 at 3:00PM, Municipal ID (Healthy Women, Families & Communities)
For complete notes on this meeting and prior Boston City Council meeting notes, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email. 

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