Updates from City Council 10/29

This week city councillors discussed a wide variety of issues including the Central Square cultural district action team, the proposed plastic bag ban, and issues with and changes to the planning board. Councillors also passed several policy orders that address developing our youth centers, a CIC grant endorsement, and restrictions on private drone use.


Central Square Cultural District Action Team

In order to bring more of the arts to Central Square the councillors discussed creating a cultural district action team. The Central Square action team will be made up mostly of well established artist and creative types in the community, the idea being that they would be best suited to spearhead the endeavor. Nadeem also proposed that we add some less established artists that could bring new and alternative styles to the group.


Plastic Bag Ban

The plastic bag ban ordinance has now been referred the ordinance committee for a hearing. The discussion centered around the fact that after the latest information session on this issue most of the detailed regulation was removed. This was apparently done so that the ordinance committee could have flexibility in determining the exact nature of the regulations on bags if this ordinance is passed.


Planning Board

Council members discussed changing several members of the board whose terms have expired. It was also suggested that going forward the hearing date for the planning board should not be set until all relevant paperwork is received and ready for public consumption. Council members also considered the possibility of making additional consultants available to the board so they have better understanding of issues they are deciding on, as well as the possibility of a rotating chair of the board. These are all great steps towards improving the board, but going forward councillors should also consider how they deal with the early stages of the process, and how to improve their long term holistic planning. By improving these aspect we can hopefully create a planning board that is not only responsive to community concerns, but also one that develops individual projects in a way that complies our vision for Cambridge’s future.


Policy Orders

There were several policy orders passed this week. One policy order addressed the use of drones and how we regulate hobbyist and other individuals that operate small scale drones in our city. As drone technology becomes less expensive and more commonly used by hobbyist and innovators there are also more problems that arise when such devices are used in public. The discussion was centered around balancing privacy concerns from individuals and freedom of hobbyist and innovators to explore this new technology. We also passed a policy order endorsing the CIC grant that was submitted several weeks ago. This grant is an attempt to get funding for an online portal that focuses on human services that are available to Cambridge residents. Yet another policy order asked for the city to study and investigate the current use of youth centers to find underutilised space and programs that can be improved in order to ensure that the youth in our community get the types of programs and services that they deserve.


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