Zoning Board hearing on Tokyo Project (8/27)

Tokyo_August2015On Thursday, August 27th at 7:45pm the Board of Zoning Appeal will hear the request for a special permit and variances that would enable the former Tokyo restaurant (at 307 Fresh Pond Parkway) to be used as an extension of the auto repair garage next door.
Below are links to the most recent elevations, which have been revised to address some of our suggestions for design improvements. We are waiting for a revised landscaping plan, as one of our greatest concerns is how the parking lot facing Vassal Lane will be screened from the heavily traveled route between Fresh Pond and the Tobin School.

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Fresh Pond Residents Alliance to Meet 7/22

The future of the former Tokyo restaurant remains uncertain

The future of the former Tokyo restaurant remains uncertain

The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance (FPRA) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, July 22nd at 6:30 pm at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane, Cambridge). The minutes of the FPRA’s June 16th meeting are attached here.

The July 22nd agenda will include a discussion of the city’s master plan process and a preview of the proposals by the 3 design firms competing for the contract, and a continuation of our discussion of the proposal to convert the former Tokyo restaurant into an auto repair garage, which will come before the Board of Zoning Appeals on August 13th. In addition Pardis Saffari of the city’s Economic Development Department will brief us on an upcoming retail customer intercept survey in the Fresh Pond/Alewife area. Other topics on the agenda will include Harvard’s plan to reduce the outdoor open space on Holyoke Plaza.

Your Help Needed. Important Safety Issue before the City Council on 6/22.

Missing sidewalks make travel difficult.

Missing sidewalks make travel difficult along Huron Ave.

The FPRA has helped Councillor Nadeem Mazen draft a policy order for the Monday, June 22nd Cambridge City Council meeting, calling on the City to add sidewalks to the north side of Huron Avenue between Fresh Pond Parkway and the Haggerty School. As many residents know, this portion of the Fresh Pond side of Huron Avenue is completely without sidewalks, thus forcing people (including schoolchildren) to walk or cycle in the road on the way to and from Haggerty, Glacken Field, the Fresh Pond municipal golf course, the branch library on Aberdeen, and the West Cambridge Youth Center.

Here are more details about what we are requesting from the City to improve the safety of this busy road:

http://www2.cambridgema.gov/cityClerk/PolicyOrder.cfm?item_id=49975

If this is an issue that concerns you as it does us, we urge you to email the City Council at council@cambridgema.gov or attend the Council meeting Monday, June 22 at 5:30 pm at City Hall to express your support for Policy Order #6. Call the City Clerk on Monday morning after 9 AM to sign up to speak (617-349-4280). And to get more involved, you can also contact us directly for more info.

Pedestrians are frequently forced to walk in the street.

Pedestrians are frequently forced to walk in the street.

FPRA Meeting on 6/16 to Preview Plans for Tokyo Site

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View from Vassal Lane

You may have noticed the dumpsters and the activity at the former Tokyo restaurant on Fresh Pond Parkway. Change is on the way, so we have invited the property’s owner to share his plans at our next meeting on Tuesday, June 16 at 7 pm at the Tobin School. Read on for more about Tokyo’s future as well as other items on our 6/16 meeting agenda. Continue reading

Large development in East Arlington near Alewife draws public opposition, fans fears of flooding

May 21 meeting (photo by Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands)

May 21 meeting (photo by Coalition to Save the Mugar Wetlands)

Some 300 members of the public, including many from Cambridge and Belmont, attended a “Community Presentation and Feedback” session held on May 21 by Oaktree Development regarding their proposal to develop a site in east Arlington bordering Rte. 2 owned by the Mugar family (across Rte. 2 from the “Belmont Uplands”). Continue reading

Citywide Plan to Focus on Alewife Area First

Suggested Study area. the area of impact extends well beyond the map's borders, making residents of adjacent areas stakeholders in the study process.

Suggested Alewife Study area. The area of impact extends well beyond the map’s borders, making residents of adjacent areas stakeholders in the study process.

The citywide master planning process is now underway. The first step in the 3-year process is an RFQ (Request for Qualifications) for a scope of services and deliverables from the to-be-named planning consultant. The Community Development Department, which is overseeing the plan, released a draft RFQ and invited the community to send comments by May 8.

Here are comments the FPRA officers submitted. Our comments address the Alewife Study, which has been promised as an early phase/first area of focus of the citywide plan. The final RFQ will be issued the week of May 25. According to the city’s timeline, a consultant will be selected by the end of the summer, and the planning process will begin in September 2015. Read on and stay tuned!  Continue reading

Minutes of 4/14 FPRA Meeting

IMG_8868Here are minutes of the FPRA’s April 14th public meeting held at the Tobin School.

Jan Devereux, FPRA President, gave some area development updates:

  • Tokyo Restaurant (on Fresh Pond Parkway near Tobin School) – the City was contacted by FPRA about the lack of maintenance of the site (snow not being removed from sidewalks this winter, graffiti on the wall, and the “temporary” metal fence falling over onto the sidewalk). The generally derelict condition of the building is also of concern. It is uncertain if the new owner intends to develop the site. Post-meeting update: Staff at the adjoining auto repair business unofficially reported that their boss Eli, who acquired the Tokyo property last fall, said recently that he is thinking of extending the auto repair bay over the Tokyo property. We believe this would require a special permit because it is in the Parkway Overlay District. There is now a policy order on the 4/27 Council agenda, asking the manger to report on the possibility of acquiring the site for affordable housing. Stay tuned.

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