Thursday, March 07, 2019

Boston City Council Looks At CPA, Artist Work & Live Work Spaces, Shared Mobility, Nightlife Safety & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their February 28 and March 6, 2019 meetings:

Community Preservation Fund: We voted (10-0, Councilors Baker, Ciommo & McCarthy absent) to approve the appropriation of $34.9M from the Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019 Community Preservation Fund revenues for 56 projects recommended by the City of Boston Community Preservation Committee ("CPC"). Between the first round of grants and now this second round, every neighborhood in Boston has received funding from the CPC. See the list of all projects.

Municipal Participation of the Widest Eligible Range: We voted to adopt a resolution that Councilors Zakim, Janey & I offered urging passage of the Massachusetts House Bill known as the EMPOWER Act, sponsored by Representatives Andy Vargas and Dylan Fernandes. The proposed legislation would allow cities or towns to extend the right to vote in municipal elections to citizens at 16-years of age, when youth can drive, work without restrictions, and pay taxes. Research shows that voting at an earlier age leads to more dedicated voting than starting at 18 years of age. In jurisdictions where there is a lower voting age, the data shows that the 16- and 17-year old first-time voters consistently turn out to vote at higher rates than 18- and 19-year-old first-time voters.

Artist Workspace and Live-Work Spaces: Councilors Essaibi-George, O’Malley & Janey refiled a hearing to discuss strategies for creating more affordable work space for artists, given ongoing displacement of artists who are struggling to find affordable housing and workspace. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Arts, Culture & Special Events for a hearing.

Safety in Nightlife Settings: Councilor Essaibi-George called for a hearing to analyze the safety of patrons, especially women, in Boston’s bars, clubs, and other nightlife venues, following the recent kidnapping of Olivia Ambrose and murder of Jassy Correia after the two women were socializing in Boston establishments. She stated that women have the right to be safe while enjoying nightlife in our city, and that the goal was to convene the Boston Licensing Board, Police, business owners, and others to discuss a more proactive approach to safety. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Public Safety & Criminal Justice for a hearing.

Shared mobility businesses: Councilors Flaherty and O’Malley reported back on the hearing on the Mayor’s proposed ordinance to set regulations for shared mobility companies, including electric scooters. The ordinance would create a license for companies to operate in Boston, as well as a Small Vehicle Sharing Business Advisory Committee to help the Boston Transportation Commissioner establish regulations. The ordinance does not outline specific rules, but lays out categories for the Commissioner to issue rules later, including safety, speed limits, accessibility, and the number of licenses that will be available. The matter will remain in committee for further action.

MBTA Local Assessment: Councilor Garrison called for a hearing on withholding city funding to the MBTA Local Assistance Fund until service levels are better. This matter dovetails with the order that Councilor Essaibi-George and I filed last month on Boston’s $85M annual local assessment payment to the MBTA. We will bundle the dockets together and hold a joint hearing. The matter was assigned to the Planning, Development & Transportation Committee for a hearing.

UPCOMING HEARINGS (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch Live

  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, March 13
  • Tuesday, March 12, 11am: Hearing on Boston Public Health Commission (Healthy Women, Families and Communities)
  • Tuesday, March 12, 3pm: Hearing on the creation of a traffic enforcement unit. Docket #0143 (Public Safety and Criminal Justice)

For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit or sign up to receive these notes automatically. 

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