Letter to the Editor: Report on JPNC Left Out Key Information

The report in Jamaica Plain News as to the Neighborhood Council’s decision at the suggestion of the Jamaica Pond Association to direct $5,000 of the 161 South Huntington Ave. litigation settlement funds to the Fund for Jamaica Pond Park, is not accurate as it does not mention the good works of the fund, which is under the supervision of the Park Department. (“The $5,000 voted for the Fund ... would double [its] assets ... In its past four IRS filings it has never had a balance of more than $5,000”).


Olmsted Place Developer’s $150K to Fund Tenant Organizing, Park Work

An example of the work done by City Life/Vida Urbana. This is a City Council hearing on "just cause" evictions. Credit: City Life/Vida Urbana

On Tuesday the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council voted 10-1 to recommend grants totaling $150,000 to two JP organizations. The money comes from the mitigation fund from the Boston Residential Group, developers of Olmsted Place Apartments at 161A South Huntington Ave. City Life/Vida Urbana would receive $145,000 for its two-year "Health Through Housing Justice" program along the Washington Street corridor; $5,000 would be given to  to the Fund for Boston Parks and Recreation on behalf of the Jamaica Pond Association for improvements to Jamaica Pond.


Tenant Group Eyed to Get $150K in Neighborhood Council Deal

Boston Residential Group has completed the exterior of its enormous housing development on the western edge of Jamaica Plain overlooking Leverett Pond. Marketing of the 196 mostly luxury apartments is well underway with slogans like "Where Cattails Meet Concierge " and "Where Pondside Meets Poolside." The developers of what's now called Olmsted Place Apartments had originally offered to build at their expense a public walkway connector from the 3.5 acre site to the Jamaicaway as a means of settling a zoning lawsuit brought by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council. The site is the former Home for Little Wanderers. At the February meeting member Ben Day reported that the Architectural Access Board did not give a waiver for construction.

Detlev Alain Koepke

Detlev Alain Koepke, 58: Philosophy Teacher, Neighborhood Advocate

Detlev Alain Koepke was born on June 23, 1956 at Kandang Kerbau Hospital in Singapore. He spent his early childhood in Munich, Germany and immigrated to the United States at age nine. After graduating from the liberal arts honors program at the University of Texas at age 19, and attending Columbia University’s Ph.D history program on a full scholarship (he obtained a Master’s degree), Detlev moved to Boston in 1983 to attend Harvard Divinity School. In his 30-plus years in Jamaica Plain, Detlev was very active in the local community, in many creative, academic and social justice pursuits. He participated and performed in international folk dancing troupes, sang in the Dedham Choral Society, and formed a number of recorder performance groups.

Plan for 3383-3389 Washington St., former home of Royal Fried Chicken.

Neighborhood Committee Okays Fried Chicken Place’s Mixed-Use Transformation

A stretch of Washington Street most famous as the former home of Royal Fried Chicken has taken two more steps toward becoming 21 apartments and two new retail spaces. The plan for 3383-3389 Washington St. won approval Wednesday from the zoning committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. In late January, the project passed muster with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, according to the Gazette. But not all the red tape is done.


Neighborhood Council Member Moves to North Carolina

Daniel Pérez Lacera, center, hugs his children (Lyric, 8; Lanaedjah, 7 and Daniel, 5, at his last JP Neighborhood Council meeting on Dec. 23, 2014. Credit: Chris Helms

Daniel Pérez Lacera, who was serving his second stint on the JP Neighborhood Council, resigned to make his move to North Carolina permanent. Pérez brought his three children, aged 5 to 8, to his final meeting of the elected, volunteer advisory group last Tuesday. Pérez served on the council from 2009 to 2011, when his work took him to Charlotte, N.C. He rejoined the advisory board for 2014 on his return to Boston.

Caffè Nero, 560 Washington St., on June 20, 2014.

Read the ‘Good Community Biz Agreement’ Caffè Nero Won’t Sign

Caffè Nero, the international coffee house chain on the verge of gaining approval to open in JP, committed verbally to a list of neighborhood demands but won't sign the document. Jay Gentile, who runs U.S. operations for the family-owned company, told attendees of a Tuesday community meeting that his firm was "fully committed" to being a good neighbor and should be judged a year from now on how they actually perform. "When lawyers get involved, it gets messy," Gentile told the Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council. "It's an uncomfortable feeling." The 733 Centre St.

Rendering of interior for Caffè Nero's 733 Centre St. location.

Licensing Board Puts Off Decision on Caffè Nero

The city's Licensing Board will wait to hear from a JP neighborhood group before deciding whether to give a European coffee house approval to open. As expected, the Licensing Board heeded a request by the JP Neighborhood Council's Michael Reiskind to delay any decision until at least Tuesday's meeting of a committee that's crafting a "memo of understanding" between the neighborhood and Caffè Nero. That meeting will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Curtis Hall, 20 South St. The coffee house chain aims to open their second North American location at 733 Centre St. The international company has drawn push-back from some neighbors who prefer locally-owned businesses and strong support from others.

Michael Ford-Deegan, principal at Caffè Nero, speaks at a JP Neighborhood Council committee meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014.

Neighborhood Group Won’t OK Caffè Nero Without Written Deal

A neighborhood advisory group won't give its blessing for Caffè Nero to open in JP until the international coffee house chain crafts a "memorandum of understanding" with it. The Public Service Committee of the JP Neighborhood Council voted 7-5 on Tuesday to delay up to two weeks before taking an up-or-down vote on Caffè Nero's bid to open at 733 Centre St. During that time, members of the committee and interested residents can help craft the elements that might go into the written deal. "Memorandums of Understanding" are common when new businesses open, but they are usually between the business and abutters and focus on issues like noise or delivery schedules. Several residents who attended Tuesday's meeting at Curtis Hall Community Center argued for a wider-reaching "Community Benefits Agreement."


Public Service Committee of JP Neighborhood Council

From Michael Reiskind, chairperson of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council's Public Service Committee:

"The Public Service Committee will hold its October 2014 monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 7 at 7:00pm at Curtis Hall, 20 South Street. On the agenda will be a petition of Caffe Nero Americas, Inc., doing business as "Caffè Nero", at 733 Centre Street for a 7-Day Common Victualler License from 7:00am to 9:00pm, with Jason Souza as manager. (Please note that the Zoning Committee will also be considering a request for take-out for this business at their October 1 meeting.)"

The Oct. 1 Zoning Committee meeting referenced above at 7:00 p.m. at Farnsworth House, 90 South St.