Archive for the 'Living Here' Category

Community Gardens In Cambridge

Community Gardening in CambridgeWinter’s coming to an end and soon it will be time to think about gardening. Perhaps you’ve been dreaming about the vegetables you could grow. Or maybe you hope to fill your home with flowers that don’t come from the store. 

Where Can I Find a Community Garden?

If you live in Cambridge, MA and don’t have a garden plot to call your own – don’ t despair.  Cambridge has thirteen community gardens spread across the city and preference is given to those who don’t have access to land for gardening.  There does seem to be more demand than available plots, however, and a  lottery system is used to assign plots to prospective gardeners.

Community Gardens in Cambridge, Massachusetts

North Cambridge Community Gardens

Whittemore Avenue Garden – Whittemore Ave. & Magoun Street
McMath Park Community Garden – Pemberton Street
Corcoran Park Community Garden – Walden Street

West Cambridge Community Gardens

William G. Maher Park Community Garden – 650 Concord Ave. at Neville Manor
Fresh Pond Reservation / Parkway Garden – Fresh Pond Parkway

Community Garden in the Agassiz Neighborhood

Sacramento Street Community Garden – Sacramento Street

Riverside Community Gardens

Field of Dreams Garden – Elmer and Banks Streets
Green Street Neighborhood Garden – Green and Bay Streets

Cambridgeport Community Gardens

Peggy Hayes Memorial Garden – Watson Street
Emily Garden – Brookline and Emily Streets

Area 4 Community Gardens

Squirrel Brand Community Garden – Broadway and Boardman Street
Moore Street Community Garden – Moore Street

Community Garden in East Cambridge

Costa Lopez Taylor Park Community Garden – Lopez Ave. and Charles Street

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Residential Property Tax Rates – 2008 – 2010

Wondering what are the property tax rates in Cambridge and nearby towns?

Property Tax Rates in CambridgeThe 2010 residential property taxes have been announced by most towns. I’ve decided to add them to last year’s post so you can see the rates from 2008 and 2009 as well. 

Tax rates are expressed in dollars per $1,000 of assessed value. In other words, if your Cambridge property, for example, was assessed at $500,000 you would multiply the tax rate of $7.72 by 500 to calculate your property taxes.

2010 Residential Property Tax Rates

Cambridge Residential Property Tax Rate:

  • For 2010: $7.72
  • In 2009: $7.56
  • In 2008: $7.36

Looking for the new real estate tax rates? Cambridge has announced the rates for 2011 real estate taxes.

Arlington Residential Property Tax Rate:

  • For 2010: $12.11
  • In 2009: $11.92
  • In 2008: $11.45

Belmont Residential Property Tax Rate:

  • For 2010: $12.16
  • In 2009: $11.89
  • In 2008: $11.27

Medford Residential Property Tax Rate:

  • For 2009: $10.08
  • In 2008: $9.12  

Somerville Residential Property Tax Rate:

  • For 2010: $12.30
  • In 2009: $11.71
  • In 2008: $10.95

Watertown Residential Property Tax Rate:

  • For 2009: $12.24
  • In 2008: $11.39

Wondering if a town has a residential exemption?  Of the towns listed above three do – Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown.  Read more about the residential exemption in Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown.

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Do You Have A License For That Cat?

If you live in Belmont or Watertown you had better!  Belmont and Watertown are two of the handful of Massachusetts towns that requires licensing for cats.  Who knew?! 

Dog licenses go back decades – vintage dog licenses  have become quite collectible  – but the licensing of cats is unusual at least in our area.

Cat Licenses In Belmont

Does Your Cat Need A License?In Belmont, the license fee for a spayed or neutered cat is $12 per cat, $9 if the owner is 60 or older.  Proof of spaying or neutering must be presented at time of application.  A license for a cat who has not been spayed or neutered will be $37 or $34 if the owner is 60 or older.   In every case proof of vaccination for rabies must be presented to obtain a cat license. 

The license is good for the calendar year.  The deadline for getting your 2009 cat licenses is March 15th.  Owners who fail to license their cats will be subject to a $25 fine per cat.  Belmont will start issuing tickets for unlicensed cats on March 16th. 

Licensing Your Watertown Cat

Watertown cats cost $10 to license ($5.00 if you’re 60 or older) with an additional fee of $25 if the cat is not spayed or neutered. Proof of rabies vaccination and of spaying or neutering if applicable is required.  Failure to license will subject you to a $25 fine.  The Town Clerk’s Office at the Watertown Town Hall deals with cat and dog licensing.

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Belmont Recycling Restrictions

Recycling In BelmontIt seems that many towns and cities are tightening recycling restrictions in response to recycling facilities cracking down on contaminated loads.  Belmont, Massachusetts has posted the new regulations on the Town of Belmont website.   

Recycling regulations for Belmont:

Comingled Containers

“Comingling” means that metal, plastic and glass containers can be mixed in your recycling bin. Containers must be clean and rinsed.

Acceptable Containers

  • Plastic containers marked 1-7
  • Tin cans
  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass bottles and jars – clear or colored
  • Aluminum foil, trays and pie plates

Examples Of Unnacceptable Materials

  • Plastic chairs
  • Children’s toys and play equipment
  • Laundry baskets
  • Swimming pools
  • Window glass
  • Mirrors
  • Pyrex
  • Ceramics
  • Etc.

Paper and Corrugated Cardboard

Acceptable Paper

Paper should be placed in brown bags next to your recycling bin

  • Office paper including colored paper, computer paper, fax paper and post-its
  • File folders
  • Catalogues
  • Envelopes with or without windows
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Telephone books
  • Paperboard
  • Junk mail
  • Chipboard (ex: cereal boxes, shoe boxes)
  • Kraft paper bags

Rules For Corrugated Cardboard

  • Must be free of moisture barrier and wax content
  • Cardboard must be flattened and cut into pieces no larger than 2 ft. by 2 ft.
  • Cardboard can be included with other paper recyclables in brown paper bags or tied with string in bundles

Materials Not Accepted For Recycling

  • Hardcover books
  • Contaminated paper
  • Carbon paper
  • Mylar
  • Wax paper
  • Waxed corrugated cardboard
  • Tyvek envelopes
  • Photograph paper
  • Paper towels
  • Hanging folders
  • Pizza boxes
  • Foam packaging
  • Plastic bags
  • Garbage and rubbish

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Get Your Belmont Garden Plot – Rock Meadow Community Garden

Tending The Garden PlotAs winter drags on it’s exciting to consider the prospect of spring and summer gardening.  Time’s a fleeting if you’re interested in reserving a community garden plot at Rock Meadow in Belmont, Massachusetts.  The $25 fee for the season and completed registration form are due by March 15th.

The 70 acre Rock Meadow Conservation Area is located in Belmont about one mile outside of Waverley Square, adjacent to Beaver Brook North Reservation.  The community garden plots at Rock Meadow were established in 1969 and plots now number 130.  Belmont originally had victory garden plots that dated from World War II on land now occupied by the high school on Concord Avenue.  Those plots were moved to Rock Meadow in 1969 after the town purchased the land from McLean Hospital.

Garden plots are not limited to Belmont residents though it is possible that residents will be given preference if demand exceeds availability.

This is a wonderful opportunity to grow your own food – or flowers – especially if you don’t have a suitable garden space at home.

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Somerville Tightens Recycling Regulations

Recycling in SomervilleThe City of Somerville has cracked down on recycling requirements.  Get it right or you’ll be bringing a full bin back into the house!

Prices paid for recyclables have plunged and recycling materials contaminated  by banned items can cause entire loads to be rejected by the recycling facilities.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Did You Get Your Cambridge Resident Parking Sticker?

ticket-23Because if you didn’t you might have a parking ticket on your car when you get home tonight.

The deadline for having a 2009 Cambridge resident parking sticker on your car was January 31st and the ticketers will be out in full force today. 

Registration forms to get the new stickers were mailed out back in November but there are always plenty of people who leave it to the last minute.  As the deadline nears, the line wraps through the lobby of the City Hall Annex building  on Broadway at Inman.  Head on over if you’ve yet to get your new sticker – but be prepared to wait in line!

parking-stickers-1One new twist this year – despite the outdated instructions on the sticker – new regulations require the parking sticker to be placed on the lower corner of the windshield on the driver’s side.  Thus ends a long standing tradition of amassing a collection of the annual stickers on your passenger window or back windshield.  Long time residents displayed them as a badge of honor and it was fun to see all of the photographs of Cambridge used on the stickers through the years. 

This year’s sticker has a photo by Israel Ferraz of the clock tower at Cambridge City Hall.  The winning photograph was one of 125 submitted in the 2009 resident parking permit photo contest held by the City.

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What? Another Ticket? 10 Common Cambridge Parking Violations

parking-ticketThe new City of Cambridge Traffic and Parking Department booklet has a list of ten common parking violations that don’t require a sign.  So even if you’ve got a current Cambridge parking sticker and you’ve checked the street signs, you’ll get a Cambridge parking ticket for any of these violations:  

  • Blocking a handicapped ramp
  • Parking within ten feet of a fire hydrant
  • Parking in a crosswalk
  • Parking in an intersection
  • Parking on a sidewalk
  • Non-resident parking more than 24 hours without moving the vehicle
  • Parking less than ten feet from a travel lane
  • Commercial vehicle parking overnight
  • Parking over one foot from the curb
  • Parking in the wrong direction

My brother was outraged when he was nicked for the last item on the list.  Hey, that goes over in South Boston but not in Cambridge!

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