BZA Denies Special Permit for Auto Repair at Tokyo

IMG_0104Plans to convert the former Tokyo restaurant on Fresh Pond Parkway to an auto repair garage were scuttled when the Board of Zoning Appeal denied the necessary special permit. The BZA voted unanimously to deny the applicant’s request for a change of use permit at its November 19th hearing. The future of the site is again up in the air. Continue reading

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Minutes of FPRA Summer Meeting

Nearing completion on Cambridgepark Dr: The Fuse apartments (244 units)

Nearing completion on Cambridgepark Dr: The Fuse apartments (244 units)

Minutes of our last meeting are attached here: FPRA Meeting minutes 7-22-15

Our next public meeting will be on Thursday, October 1st at 7 pm at the Tobin School (197 Vassal Lane).
The agenda includes (so far):
1. Presentation by CDD staff on a draft urban agriculture ordinance (they are seeking residents’ input)
2. Discussion of a petition on accessory use housing (details to come when petition is filed on 9/21).
3. Continuation of the discussion of the Tokyo project (conversion to auto repair) prior to BZA hearing on 10/22
We expect to hear soon when the Alewife master plan study will officially begin and how community input will be solicited.

Zoning Board hearing on Tokyo Project

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UPDATE: The hearing was postponed until October 22nd. We are talking with the owner about some improvements to the design and landscaping.
On Thursday, August 27th at 7:45pm October 22nd at 7:00 pm 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.

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

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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