The June meeting of the Summit Neighborhood Association was held at the Mount Hope Learning Center on June 18th.
Strategy and Funding | SNA created their first strategic budget, looking at how to raise and use funds to support goals like the North Main redevelopment project, as well as neighborhood building, civic engagement, and neighborhood advocacy in planning and zoning processes.
A conversation ensued around what engagement should look like; should SNA engage people who are already members, or people who are currently non-members but residents?
Timeliness is a major issue – people get value from a means of communication that can move more quickly and nimbly. Usually that is the internet, but our perception of internet usage is it is spotty across Summit residents.
Distribution challenges exist for expanding the use of physical newsletters. We have 45 volunteers today, many of whom have been leafleters for years. SNA will start with holding a social event to thank those volunteers.
Special Guest | Kevin Jackson | Comprehensive Plan and Neighborhood Charrettes. Reviewed the previous discussion on the comp plan, zoning, and neighborhood planning, which was that neighborhood planning should come first, before comp plan, and zoning should come last, informed by all the previous plans. Washington Park charrette engagement was not successful, long time residents did not show up, the majority who did were there less than 5 years. As a result, the next neighborhood meetings have been moved to restart in the fall.
Meanwhile, a new Zoning ordinance will come before the City Council at the end of the year. Neighborhood plans will be included as non-binding addendums to the comprehensive plan; there is some discussion that common theme issues that arise across all neighborhood plans will appear as amendments in the comp plan.
Some discussion as to whether CPC members have the protection from lawsuit to make grey area decisions, that are zoning interpretations consistent with the goals of the Comp Plan but unpopular with developers. DPD has proposed that some of the flexibility be granted to them in the zoning ordinance to encourage developers to meet CPC objectives. One possible point of leverage or intervention for SNA and other neighborhoods is to lobby for a more inclusive and holistic CPC, in addition to a zoning ordinance that values neighborhoods.
We had some discussion of how to create an inclusive mediation process (similar to Harvard Negotiation Project, known as One Text) that could be used for public mediation on Zoning, rather than a “take it or leave it” fight. Harvard has offered some matching funds to do this training for non-profits, if we could get other neighborhoods interested, and find an entry point for this conversation with the city.
Other news | Radius Management, a large nursing home management company, has purchased the Hillside Nursing Home facility for $5.5M, scooping other bidders at the last minute. Their bid is conditional on re-opening as a nursing home, with a conditional approval from DOH on transferring the nursing home license.