Cambridge City Council OKs zoning changes

CAMBRIDGE — Monday night’s council meeting covered a lot of ground. A few ordinances meant zoning changes, and some new, possibly controversial ideas for improving life in Cambridge were discussed.

A change in council procedure allows public comment to start the evening’s work. So Robert Aaron, a public-minded citizen, expressed both concern and annoyance about a project he undertook to beautify Cannery Way with flowers. Mr, Aaron has a 100 tulip bulbs that needed to be planted at the front of Cannery Way to please the eye. That long term improvement (since tulips come up for several years) required help which Mr. Aaron complained was not forthcoming. The mayor will help out, hoping it’s not too late for planting. We’ll know next spring (I hope there will be yellow ones).

Three ordinances, introduced in the last session, were adopted. All three allow zoning changes in the Downtown Waterfront Development District. Ordinance 1088 permits an auto repair shop. Ordinance 1089 allows a marine repair shop, which means that Dennis Elzey can remodel his purchase of 403 Aurora St., a non-waterfront lot, for his business, Elzey Custom Boats. Ordinance 1090 provides side-by-side configuration and brings into compliance three already existing structures.

City Planner Pat Escher gave commissioners a Planning and Zoning update on various projects throughout the city. She reviewed the following: Cambridge Creek Restoration, Pat Escher explained that project is temporarily halted because of wildfowl migration. The Phillips Factory, on the National Register, Cambridge Plaza has met some obstacles in its rehab and revamp schedule; the American Legion will be signing a lease for Sailwinds while their own fire-damaged property is replaced with an attractive new building, and a visual show of Cambridge without banners and beer signs on highways appeared to be an improvement to commissioners. Banners were removed on city orders, but in some cases, removal was reluctant.

Commissioners Dave Cannon and Steve Rideout recommended several initiatives you might call “quality of life” issues. They are asking City Manager Sandra Tripp-Jones to research the question of animal control services, including wild animals along with cats and dogs. Also on the list are the conditions of the 70 miles of city streets that might need repair and sidewalks that are damaged. The commissioners hope to learn how other municipalities enforce their code requirements and deal with responsible property owners. Another issue being raised by Commissioners Cannon and Rideout is recycling. They are asking the city manager “to research and report” on the costs of privatized curbside collection and who is willing to pay.

Commissioner Donald Sydnor also has a request. He is asking city staff for a report on the plans and costs of installing cameras in high crime areas. Police Chief Dan Dvorak has already prepared a suggested locations and the operations of cameras.

And finally, Commissioner Robbie Hanson wants to see a noise ordinance that will reduce the noise of trucks on the Malkus Bridge. Something about “jake brake” usage. I hope to find out what that means.

During most of the discussions outlined above, three men in white shirts waited for their moment patiently. At the Rescue Fire Company meeting, they were elected to two year terms, Brian Willey as Chief of Department, Adam Pritchett as first Assistant Chief, and Brad Walters as second Assistant Chief. The three have served the community for many years and came to the council meeting to have their appointments confirmed. Additionally, they received the thanks of a grateful city.

The Council will be holding two work sessions this week “to refresh the goals and implementation plans” adopted by the council. The five goals include: 1. Strengthen the financial health of the city; 2. Address the housing blight; 3. Economic development; 4. Advance Sailwinds development; and 5. Reduce crime.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment