Route 9 East/M.I.T. Study Presentation

Wednesday, October 28

7:00 – 9:00pm

Town Hall, Room 103 

The Planning and Community Development Department has engaged a class of Land Use Planning students from M.I.T’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning to conduct an assessment of Route 9 East (Cypress St. to Brookline/Boston line).  With the construction of the Hilton Homewood Suites at the former Red Cab site well underway and with construction at Brookline Place and Gateway East commencing soon, there is an opportunity to build upon this momentum and to create a vision for the rest of this portion of Route 9.  The students will be helping us start the visioning process by examining variables including, but not limited to, expanded tax base, increased commercial/retail activity, housing, as well as additional bicycle/pedestrian improvements and other public amenities. Poster_Public Meeting_Oct 28_FinalThe students will be presenting their preliminary findings and analysis and soliciting feedback from the public at this meeting.

Brookline Avenue Pedestrian Bridge coming down

The demolition of the Washington Street (Rte 9) Pedestrian Bridge is scheduled to begin at 9:00pm this Friday, October 9, 2015. Please be aware of temporary inconveniences such as traffic delays, detours, and noise along Washington Street thru 7:00am Monday, October 12, 2015.

The Board of Selectmen granted a waiver of the Town’s Noise By-Law for the duration of the Columbus Day Weekend, during which time bridge demolition will operate continuously, 24 hours straight, and Washington Street (Route 9) will be CLOSED at the bridge site, between Washington/High and Pearl/Juniper Streets.

Please see the Demolition Project Webpage for the official press release detailing demolition logistics, roadway closures, contact information and vehicular/pedestrian detours, including the MBTA Bus Routes 60, 65 and 66.

Emerald Necklace parklands meetings set

Herewith a revised notice for a series of three upcoming public meetings – hosted by the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation, The Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senator Michael Rush, and Representative Elizabeth Malia – with the goal of engaging area residents and stakeholders in addressing issues around improved multi-modal safety and access to the Emerald Necklace Parklands in Jamaica Plain, while reinforcing the parklands’ historic character. ArborwayCentrePerkinsOrtho_letterSized

Also attached is a map that outlines the three project areas to be discussed in the course of the series of meetings. Please note the specific subject area to be discussed at each meeting:

Thursday, October 1                       Perkins Street and Parkman Drive

Wednesday, October 7                 Centre Street from the VFW Parkway to Murray Circle

Wednesday, October 14               The Arborway, between Eliot Street and South Street, including Kelly Circle and Murray Circle

All meetings will take place at the Arnold Arboretum Visitor Center, 125 Arborway, Boston 02130.

We hope you can join us at these meetings and encourage you to share this notice with others who might be interested in attending them.

Last free summer concert on the Emerald Necklace

Fun & Games with Knucklebones at 5pm; Concerts at 6pm. At Allerton Overlook, Olmsted ParkAugust 9: Aphrolove — Futuristic soul band specializing in rich harmonies and polyrhythmic grooves. Bring a picnic and enjoy the Batch Ice Cream Truck. http://www.emeraldnecklace.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Olmsted-Map-and-Features.pdf

Also August 9th: A celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Yosemite Report, 10:00am – 11:00am, Outdoors by the giant sequoia. Follow signs to the Conifer Collection, opposite Peters Hill of the Arnold Arboretum. Honoring the 150th anniversary of Olmsted’s Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove: A Preliminary Report, 1865 and its vision for national parks. Known to many for creating public parks in cities, Frederick Law Olmsted was also an important advocate for scenic preservation across America. In his 1865 report, Olmsted articulated – some say for the first time by anyone – the role of government in protecting and making accessible our nation’s scenic landscapes for the enjoyment of all people in a democracy. Join us in the landscape by a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) as we read aloud portions of the report with Olmsted’s eloquent and prescient prose on the actual anniversary of its first public reading by its author.

Father’s Day Picnic & BrooklineVillage Street Fair

The High Street Hill Association Annual Father’s Day Picnic is Sunday June 21 4-8 pm. Bring your family, friends and a dish to pass. We will provide some beverages. Pony rides available from 4:30 to 5:30. Come join this tradition on the Philbrick Green!

In addition, the Brookline Village Association street fair on Harvard Street, from Linden to Washington Streets, is Sunday June 14, from 12-4pm, featuring live music, food, children’s games and more. Musical guests Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys, Ten Tumbao, The Muddy River Ramblers and Too Klez for Comfort will take the stage throughout the afternoon. Touch-A-Truck, offers children a hands-on opportunity to explore working trucks of all types and to meet the people who build, protect and serve the Brookline community. Other family friendly activities include face painting, children’s games, wellness classes, puppetry and art. Food samples will be provided by restaurants in Brookline Village and grilled burgers and hotdogs will be available for purchase.

 

Informational meeting on the Brookline Override Vote

We’ve all been hearing a lot about the Proposition 2 1/2 Override Vote May 5 here in Brookline, and it’s certainly hard to keep up with. The High Street Hill Association is proud to co-sponsor an informational meeting tomorrow night at the Lawrence School Auditorium on Francis Street to help all citizens sort through the different perspectives.
Rebecca Stone, representing the campaign Vote Yes for Brookline, will make a presentation alongside Dick Benka from the campaign For a Better Override. The convening is set to begin at 6:45 PM for a meet and greet, and go from 7 – 8 PM including brief remarks by speakers and then Q&A and discussion.
Co-sponsoring organizations are the Lawrence Neighborhood Association and the Coolidge Corner South Side Neighborhood Association

The Hidden Brookline History of Roland Hayes

Roland Hayes Concert March 15

You’ve probably the heard of the great Marian Anderson and the great Paul Robeson but do you know who was the first African American concert performer of international fame that paved their way? Do you know that this ground-breaking musician was also a courageous champion against segregation and racism? Do you know that he lived on Allerton Street on Pill Hill for almost 50 years?

Roland Hayes, who grew up poor in Georgia, became one of the premier tenors of all time and was an inspired composer. He performed classical music at the highest level but he is best known for elevating Negro spirituals and what he called “Aframerican” religious music to the concert stage.

Throughout his life he used his fame to break barriers in our country and abroad. He was the first African American soloist with the Boston Symphony, gave a command performance at Buckingham Palace and even won over an overtly racist audience in prewar Germany by the sheer force of his voice. At a time when racial oppression was rampant he demanded that his audiences be desegregated. In 1924 the NAACP awarded him their highest honor, the Springarn medal.

Despite his stellar achievements and long dignified career this amazing man has not achieved the long-lasting recognition that he deserves. If you could hear his music, performed as he did so many times around the world, you would feel its power to move people to change.

The Hidden Brookline Committee, an ad hoc committee of the town’s Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations Department, wants to bring the music of Mr. Hayes and the story of his inspiring life to those who have not heard.

At 3 pm on Sunday, March 15, “A Tribute to Roland Hayes” will commemorate the art and legacy of this extraordinary force in American music history with a concert at historic Christ’s Church Longwood in Brookline. Presented by Hammond Real Estate and emceed by the always-engaging Reverend Liz Walker, this event promises to deliver a memorable afternoon of music and storytelling. Featuring the BSO’s eminent vocalist Robert Honeysucker, the program will also include the Joyful Voices of Inspiration Choir, the Brookline High School Camerata, Wenc Bogdanoff and a short film.

Admission is free but reservations are required because seating is limited. For more info contact Rob Daves atrobdaves@rcn.com or Betsy Shure Gross at betsyshuregross@gmail.com.

Go to www.rolandhayes.eventbrite.com to make a reservation. Seats are going fast.

Hearings on override ballot questions

Thanks to Selectman Neil Wishinsky: The Selectmen are holding two public hearings on the potential Override ballot questions for the May Town election. The hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 9:00 am and Thursday, January 22 at 7:30pm. Both hearings will take place in the Selectmen’s Hearing Room on the sixth floor of Town Hall.
The Override Study Committee met for about a year and produced a report which effectively laid out the framework for the Selectmen’s analysis.
A chart summarizing the proposals under consideration has been posted on the Town website at:
http://www.brooklinema.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6896 Town Meeting Members and others understand what is being proposed.
The chart contains three columns labeled Plan I, Plan II and Plan III. The chart shows the effect on the taxes for the median Single Family (SF), Condo and Commercial taxpayers under each of the proposals.
All three proposals assume that a combined $2 million in non-tax revenues and/or municipal efficiencies will accompany the voter approved tax increase. The three proposals use numbers drawn from a chart presented to the Selectmen by Superintendent Lupini on 1/6/2015.
That chart is posted here:
http://www.brooklinema.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/6792
More detailed information about the line-items in the 1/6/2015 chart is contained in an earlier presentation by Superintendent Lupini which is located here:
http://www.brooklinema.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/6556

Plan I
The operating override portion of the Plan I proposal (Lines A and B) is based on the so-called 100% column (“Fully Funded”) from the 1/6/2015 chart. The proposal adjusts the 100% column amount downward by assuming a smaller increase in teacher compensation being agreed to in the teachers next contract with the public schools, a smaller increase in central administration staffing, the hiring of fewer custodians, not funding a proposal to place paraprofessionals in second grade classrooms, and a more nimble Brookline High School Administration. Plan I would fund a public schools spending plan increase of $10.95 million (from FY 2015) which is reduced by the $2.0 million in non-tax revenue/municipal efficiencies to yield a proposed override of $8.95 million. Note that even though specific programs were identified when constructing the proposal, the School Committee is under no obligation to cut or remove those particular programs when they construct the FY16 budget.
The proposal also contains a potential pyramid override scheme for comment. Under a pyramid override two operating override questions appear on the ballot; one to raise a base amount of additional revenue and a second seeking to raise additional funds beyond the base. The highest spending proposal which gets 51% of the votes wins. You may recall that Brookline’s 2008 operating override was structured in this manner. The Plan I proposal would include funding for a portion of an enhanced educational technology program ($530k) in a pyramid. The voters would therefore have an option for a lower amount which excludes funding for this program.

Plan II
The operating override portion of the Plan II proposal (Lines A and B) works off the so-called “90% scenario” from the 1/6/2015 chart. This column used the recommendation of Group 2 of the Override Study Committee adjusted for some updated assumptions. The Plan II proposal lowers the collective bargaining assumption (the same amount as the Plan I proposal) and removes a so-called rental contingency which was mistakenly included in the 1/6/2015 chart. This yields a spending plan increase of $10.13 million (from FY 2015) which is reduced by the $2.0 million in non-tax revenue/municipal efficiencies to yield a proposed override of $8.13 million.
The proposal also contains a potential pyramid for comment. Plan II could place funding for a portion of an enhanced educational technology program ($530k) in the pyramid.

Plan III
This proposal is the same as the Plan II proposal with 2 exceptions:
1. $65,000 is added to the Override amount to finance the purchase an additional sidewalk snow plow and snow throwing equipment to better clear curb areas with a focus on commercial districts.
2. No pyramid is proposed.

Debt Exclusion
A Debt Exclusion vote raises taxes for the term of debt incurred to complete the project listed in the ballot question, in this case, the Devotion School.
Two scenarios are presented for comment.
Line C is a debt exclusion of $44.576 million. The Devotion School project is currently estimated to cost $118.4M. The current funding plan includes the following components:

Estimated total project cost $118.4m
Estimated MSBA share $27.8
Estimated Town Share: $90.6
Existing Borrowing Capacity $54.0 m
Needed for Debt Exclusion $36.6m

As you see above, it is estimated that the Town will have to contribute $90.6M toward the cost of the Devotion School project. For the past several years, the Town has set aside $54M in its long range capital plan to cover the cost of the Devotion School project leaving a $36.6M gap in funding. The plan is to place a Debt Exclusion on the ballot for this cost plus an additional $8M in school department capital needs.
The additional $8 million will allow the Town to fund the School Department’s short term space plan which includes modulars for Baker School, rental space for BEEP and other items presented to and adopted by the School Committee.
Line D is a debt exclusion of $49.876 million. This would add capacity for an additional $5.3 million in capital improvements. The additional capital dollars could be used in the event of:
· increased Devotion School construction costs

· to fund additional smaller scale school capital projects and to mitigate the impact of increased school enrollment. Any additional projects would need to obtain Town Meeting approval before money could be expended.
An additional note; the Debt Exclusion votes proposed here addresses the Devotion School and the short term space plans of the Schools. It does not address construction costs of future expansion at the High School, permanent expansion at any elementary school or a possible ninth school. What this means is that there could be additional Debt Exclusion votes in the next 3-6 years to fund additional school expansion/renovation/construction projects.

MLK Day Celebration at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Monday

MLK_letter_size_Jan2015_for_webPlease join in for Brookline’s celebration of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday Jan. 19th at 4 pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

The Brookline MLK Celebration Committee has partnered with Brookline’s public access television station, Brookline Interactive Group, to create a documentary currently titled “Conversations on Race in Brookline”.  An excerpt from the film-in-progress will debut at the Coolidge Corner Theater on Monday.

Among his many other achievements, former Congressman Barney Frank was part of Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964.   He traveled to Jackson, MI where he joined hundreds of northern white college students to train in the techniques of nonviolent direct action in order to register thousands of new black voters.  Mr. Frank is expected to speak about this experience, which informed his later efforts to achieve civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans.

Please come early to ensure you are admitted, as seating is limited.  The Coolidge Corner Theater box office will distribute free tickets starting at 12:00 noon on Monday.  Seating will begin at 3:30 PM.   Sign language interpretation will be provided.  The Coolidge Corner Theater is accessible to persons with disabilities.

On the medical marijuana front

Last Monday, the High Street Hill Association board voted 7-3 to send a letter asking for support of Warrant Article 12 at tomorrow’s Town Meeting. Article 12 would revisit a 2013 zoning bylaw which adjusted state recommendations so as to allow registered marijuana dispensaries (RMD) to be sited more easily in Brookline. If passed, Article 12 would be prohibit a RMD from operating within 500 of a “daycare enter or any facility in which children commonly congregate.” While zoning laws are generally applied town-wide and not supposed to be parcel-specific, adoption of Article 12 would effectively disallow an RMD at the former Brookline Bank in Brookline Village, and the remaining possible sites for an RMD in Brookline would be limited to a small strip along Route 9 between Hammond Street and the Newton line. The text of the letter is below.
For a complete discussion of Article 12 and to see the latest recommendations from the Advisory Committee and Selectmen go to:
http://brooklinema.gov/1020/Town-Meeting-Files
… and download the “November 18, 2014 Special Town Meeting Combined Reports with Supplements.”
*******
November 15, 2014
Dear  Selectpersons and Town Meeting Members,
We write to you at this important juncture in Brookline’s development to report that the High Street Hill Association (HSHA) formally supports the adoption of Warrant Article 12. We believe Article 12, with its appropriate setback guidelines, would help keep our children and community safe.
The High Street Hill Association is the neighborhood organization for residents within the Pill Hill Local Historic District.  Located just south of Route 9, our neighborhood begins less than 200 feet from the Brookline Bank Building, the site chosen by New England Treatment Access (NETA) for its Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD).
The HSHA supports the medical use of marijuana, and we support Brookline’s commitment to provide medical marijuana for people with serious medical conditions.  But we call for appropriate guidelines for distribution that will ensure safety in our closely-intertwined community. Therefore, we also support Warrant Article 12.
The state and federal guidelines are clear. Mr Arnon Vered, while serving as an officer of NETA, wrote in a letter to the Zoning ByLaw Committee on August 12, 2013, that the federal guidelines:
  “limit cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana- even medical marijuana- within 1000 feet of schools.”
He also wrote in the same letter:
 “As a result, an appropriate and necessary standard of care for a conscientious RMD operator in Massachusetts is to limit its site selection criteria to locations that are beyond 1000 feet from a school. This is the approach we are taking throughout Massachusetts.” (ibid.).
 “We recognize that the 1000 foot buffer zone may disqualify many commercial areas and properties from eligibility for obtaining a special permit for an RMD. Nonetheless, based on GIS mapping, there will still be locations that meet your other zoning criteria even with a 1000 foot buffer zone from elementary or secondary schools. For all of these reasons, we encourage you to amend your proposed By-laws to make the elementary or secondary school buffer zone 1000 feet.” (Ibid.)
We completely agree with Mr. Vered’s 2013 statements, and do not understand why he and NETA have done an about-face on this issue so critical to our community.
We would like to see Brookline adopt the state or the federal guidelines. We believe the proposed location of the RMD puts children at risk.  There are many small children and teens living in the High Street Hill neighborhood, as well as other nearby areas like Emerson Park. They walk past the Brookline Bank building to get to school, to the Town Center and Library, the T stop, the new Teen Center, and also play at the nearby playground on Juniper Street. Soon there will be even more children in the area when the old Lincoln begins to serve as a swing school.
We feel it is important to limit children’s exposure to marijuana.  Article 12 adopts buffer zones for Brookline in accordance with state recommendations for safety of young children. The federal guidelines are even stricter, clearly recognizing the dangers of having marijuana sold close to schools and playgrounds.
This proposed RMD challenges our capacity to raise our children safely. Many of us will think twice about allowing them to walk independently through their own community. Please allow the state or federal standards to protect them.