Plans 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
The Fresh Pond Residents Alliance held a public meeting on Thursday, October 1, 2015, at the Tobin School, starting at 7 p.m. The minutes follow below. Continue reading
Minutes of our last meeting are attached here: FPRA Meeting minutes 7-22-15
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.
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
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.
Last year at this time the possibility of the long-shuttered Tokyo restaurant being redeveloped weighed heavy on neighbors’ minds. The proposed design for a 4-story apartment building seemed overly large for the site, capitalizing on the parcel’s commercial (BA) zoning to maximize density through reduced setbacks from the street. Questions were raised about how close the building would be to the heavily trafficked pedestrian and bike route to Fresh Pond (see post from 3/7/14).
Fast-forward a year and part of that route has been impassable for weeks, owing to the new owner’s refusal to shovel his sidewalk frontage along Vassal Lane. Further, the temporary chain link fence that the former owner put up to secure the lot is leaning out into the public way, presenting a hazard to passersby. Numerous complaints via the city’s iReport mobile app have not prompted any action by the new owner to remedy this dangerous situation. Continue reading