The latest announcements and updates...

What’s Up in Newton this Week – Early Voting for Presidential Primaries, Northland Referendum, and Democratic and Republican State and City Committees, Riverside Project in front of Land Use – focus on Transportation, Request for New Liquor Licenses for not one but two locations at UMASS Amherst – Mt. Ida Campus, and Next NewCAL community meeting at the Senior Center

Early Voting Begins TODAY! Early Voting for the March 3 Elections will be held at Newton City Hall on: Monday, February 24 through Thursday, February 27, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Friday, February 28, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A sample ballot with the municipal referendum can be found here. Unfortunately, a complete sample ballot listing all of the Presidential candidates and the local Republican and Democratic State and City Committee candidates is not currently posted.

Riverside on the Land Use Agenda: The Land Use Committee will continue its discussion and review of the Riverside Change of Zone and Special Permit and Site Plan Approval requests on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 p.m. The Land Use Committee will focus the discussion on Transportation. The agenda can be found here and the Planning Department Memo can be found here.

New Liquor License Requests from UMASS Amherst? UMASS Amherst at Mt. Ida is seeking two new all alcohol and entertianment license requests for the Top of the Campus – located at Carlson Hall and Top of the Campus – located at Shaw Hall – both to be operated Monday – Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. The Licensing Commission agenda can be found here.

Next NewCAL Meeting – Thursday, February 27th at the Senior Center: The next NewCAL Community meeting will be held this Thursday, February 27th at the Senior Center, beginning at 7:00 p.m. PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION. Previous meetings were held at the Ed Center. Additional information can be found here.

NewCAL Community Meeting – Thursday, February 27th, 7:00 p.m. at the Senior Center

The next community meeting on the NewCAL project has been scheduled for Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Senior Center!

Sticky note comments received at forums, as well as at the Senior Center, can be viewed here:  https://newcal.projects.nv5.com/

The City is still gathering and considering thoughts, comments, or questions with regard to site selection, so you can send them directly to the project team here or to: newcal@newtonma.gov.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of February 23rd

Finance Committee: The regularly scheduled Finance Committee meeting has been cancelled. The Meeting Cancellation Notice can be found here.

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will first meet jointly with the Planning and Development Board to hold a Joint Public Hearing on Monday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber and then meet as a Committee following the public hearing. The agenda includes the following:

  • Joint Public Hearing with the Planning and Development Board on Part A of an item requesting review and possible amendments to Section 7.3.3.C.5 of Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to further inform the objectives of reducing energy consumption and limited use of natural resources. See Planning Department Memo here.

Following the Joint Public Hearing, the Committee will then meet to discuss the following:

  • Review, discussion, and direction relative to the draft Zoning Ordinance
  • Request to amend the following ordinance chapters: Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture – NOTE: The Chair intends to move No Action Necessary

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda is solely focused on the Riverside petition for a Change of Zone and Request for a Special Permit. The Committee’s discussion will focus on Transportation.

See Planning Department Memo here.

Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 26th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Nicole Banks as the new Commissioner of Parks and Recreation and Culture
  • Request to amend the following ordinance chapters (Docket Item #138-20) Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Request to amend the following ordinance chapters (Docket Item #9-20): Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture – NOTE: This is a different docket item and the Chair is requesting a vote of NO ACTION NECESSARY on this item.
  • Request for a discussion with the School Department and the School Committee about fees in the Newton Public Schools.

Traffic Council: The Traffic Council will meet on Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for an accessible parking space in front of 62 Fellsmere Road
  • Request to modify the parking regulations on Austin Street between Walnut Street and Lowell Avenue to account for the relocated parking meters
  • Request to update Sec. TPR-194, Time limits in municipal off-street parking areas, to reflect the distribution of time limits among the parking spaces, as well as enforcement hours, in the Austin Street Parking Lot
  • Request to add stop signs into the Traffic and Parking Regulations (TPR) on Philip Bram Way as it intersects with Austin Street and Highland Avenue
  • Request to change the parking regulations on the section of Highland Avenue between Lowell Avenue and Bram Way to allow for permit parking by residents of the street and seniors with senior parking permits
  • Request installation of an RRFB pedestrian crossing signal on Linwood Avenue, crossing Walnut Street, to improve pedestrian safety
  • Request to review and possibly change the parking regulations along the section of Washington Park between Walnut Street and Park Place
  • Request to allow parking along the north side of Homer Street, across from the library parking lot, in the area between the two pedestrian crossing signals
  • Request on behalf of the Oak Hill Middle School Principal, for the addition of “No U-turn” signs on Wheeler Road in the vicinity of Oak Hill Middle School

The Chair will entertain a motion of NO ACTION NECESSARY on the following items:

  • Request for temporary changes to the parking regulations on the section of Highland Avenue between Walnut Street and Lowell Avenue to help accommodate the parking needs of seniors attending programming at the Newton Senior Center during the reconstruction of the Austin Street Parking Lot. This may involve temporarily adding this section of Highland Avenue into the Newtonville Neighborhood Parking District
  • Request to allow flexibility in terms of the location, duration, and pricing of public parking spaces as well as potential changes to traffic circulation within and proximate to the Austin Street parking lot, in order to provide for the reconstruction of the Austin Street parking lot

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of February 23rd

Newton Parks and Recreation Commission: The Parks and Recreation Commission will meet on Monday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Introduction of new Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Nicole Banks
  • Approval of January 27, 2020 Meeting Minutes
  • Commissioner’s Reports on Programs, Forestry and Maintenance
  • Update on Crystal Lake Management Plan
  • Public Hearing on Newton Early Childhood Program (“NECP”) – Playground Installation
  • Informational discussion on Dog Fest – Fall of 2020 – Auburndale Cove
  • Committee Reports:
    • Community Preservation Committee
    • Open Space and Recreation Plan Committee
    • Farm Commission
    • Commonwealth Golf Course
    • Off-Leash Area Working Group
    • Crystal Lake Working Group
    • Athletic Fields Committee
  • New Business

Planning and Development Board: The Planning and Development Board will meet jointly with the Zoning and Planning Committee and hold a Joint Public Hearing on Monday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Public Hearing on Part A of an item requesting review and possible amendments to Section 7.3.3.C.5 of Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to further inform the objectives of reducing energy consumption and limited use of natural resources
  • Possible Vote on the above.

Zoning Board of Appeals: The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet on Monday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Application for the issuance of a Comprehensive Permit under Chapter 40B to construct a 244 unit residential development, which will include 61 affordable housing units and approximately 12,141 square feet of retail space, and to maintain an approximately 8,222 square foot existing office building, all on approximately 3.17 acres of land located at 1149, 1151, 1169, 1171-1173, 1179 and 1185 Washington Street, 12, 18, 24 and 25 Kempton Place, and 32 and 34 Dunstan Street.

Project Information can be found here.

Board of License Commissioners: The Board of License Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:30 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of January 21, 2020 Minutes
  • Request for a One-Day Temporary Wine and Malt License for an auction and dinner on Saturday, April 4th from 6:00 p.m – 10:00 p.m. at Mt. Alvernia Academy Gymnasium, 20 Manet Road
  • Request for a One-Day Temporary Wine and Malt and Entertainment License for an annual fundraising gala on Saturday, March 28th, from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Newton Free Library, 330 Homer Street
  • Request for a One-Day Temporary All Alcohol and Entertainment License for a fundraiser for the Angier PTO on Saturday, April 4th from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. to be held at the Windsor Club, 1601 Beacon Street
  • Request for a new Wine and Malt License to be exercised at Chefronsky, LLC d/b/a Ronsky’s, 3A Boylston Street. There will be 8 interior seats and 8 exterior seats. The hours of operations will be Sunday – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Request for a new All Alcohol License, New Common Victualler, and Entertainment License to be exercised by Top of the Campus, Inc. d/b/a UMASS Amherst Mt. Ida Campus, Carlson Hall, #11 South Loop. There will be 575 seats. The hours of operation will be Monday – Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Request for a new All Alcohol General On Premise License and an Annual Entertainment License to be exercised by Top of the Campus, Inc. d/b/a UMASS Amherst Mt. Ida Campus, Shaw Hall, #1 Shaw Road. There will be 355 seats. The hours of operation will be Monday – Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Council on Aging and Advisory Board: The Council on Aging and Advisory Board will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street. The agenda includes the following:

  • Welcome, Call to Order, Approval of Minutes
  • Introduction of new members
  • NewCAL update:
    • Working Group update
    • NewCAL Advisory Group
  • Domain Action Team updates
    • Community Health
      • Update
      • Library Session – “Managing Low Back Pain in Older Adults” – March 11, 2020
    • Others?
  • General updates
    • Budget Review
    • State Budget Advocacy
    • Other

West Newton Armory Joint Advisory Planning Group: The West Newton Armory Joint Advisory Planning Group will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of February 4th Meeting Summary
  • Appointment of Rotating Secretary
  • Discussion with Katy Holmes, Chief Preservation Planner
  • Review and Discuss Armory Case Study Worksheets
  • Assignment of Case Studies
  • Setting of Next Meeting Date

Zoning Board of Appeals: The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet on Wednesday, February 26th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Two appeals of the Commissioner of Inspectional Services decisions:
    • Issuance of Notice of Violation based on the existence of illegal apartments at 129 Grassmere Street
    • Issuance of Building Permit for construction of a two-family dwelling at 1058 Beacon Street

The Packet documents can be found here.

Newton Historical Commission: The Newton Historical Commission will meet on Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Two Local Landmark Designation Requests:
    • 1173 Washington Street – National Register property – individually listed
    • 978 Watertown Street – National Register property – individually listed
  • 5 Requests to demolish buildings
    • 399 Grove Street
    • 80 Puritan Road
    • 114 East Side Parkway
    • 241 Brookline Street
    • 67 Bourne Street
  • Request for Partial Demolition at 24 Winnetaska Road
  • Request to renew a Certificate of Appropriateness for 29 Greenwood Street
  • Request to formalize approval of a waiver at 45 Albert Road

The Staff Memo can be found here and the Packet Documents can be found here.

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of February 23rd

The following potential projects/proposals are scheduled to meet with the Development Review Team this week:

  • 96 Monadnock Road– Discussion regarding possible short-term rental
  • 39 Norwood Avenue – Special Permit to extend nonconforming front setback and other renovations to single-family dwelling
  • 1084 Chestnut Street – Amendment to prior Special Permit to increase floor area ratio (FAR) of three-family dwelling by covering deck
  • 16 Marlboro Street – Special Permit for a single-family dwelling to exceed allowed floor area ratio (FAR)
  • 94 Charlesbank Road – Discussion regarding combining two lots and constructing an addition to two-family dwelling

The Development review Snapshot can be found here.

What’s Up in Newton This Week: Public Safety and Transportation holding Public Comment Session on Transportation Priorities; Appointment of New Parks and Recreation and Culture Commissioner – Nicole Banks and Request to Rename the Department of Parks and Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture and more…..

Seeking Public Comments on Transportation Planning: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will hold a Public Comment session on Priorities for transportation planning on Wednesday, February 19th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. See agenda.

Welcoming new Parks and Rec and Culture Commissioner: The City Council’s New Docket contains the appointment of the new Parks and Recreation and Culture Commissioner, Nicole Banks. See Docket here. The appointment will go before the Programs and Services Committee at their next scheduled meeting on February 26th. This week’s Programs and Services Committee has been cancelled. See Cancellation Notice here.

More Parks and Rec stuff….The City Council’s Docket also contains a request to rename the Department of Parks and Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture – (although that’s the way it already is listed on the City’s website!). See Docket here.

Weekly Road Construction Update: This week’s Road Construction Update can be found here.

City Council Reports – Now Available

Programs and Services – February 5, 2020 Committee Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to relocate the polling location for Ward 2 Precinct 1, which is currently at the old Horace Mann School on the corner of Watertown Street and Albermarle Road to the Albermarle Field House at 250 Albermarle Road.

The Committee voted No Action Necessary on the following:

  • Request a discussion with the Complete Count Committee Newton’s plans to assure that all Newton residents are counted in the next Census.

All other items were held.

Public Facilities – February 5, 2020 Committee Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of Meryl Kessler and Carl Valente to the Solid Waste Commission
  • Request to transfer $500,000 from Budget Reserve – Snow and Ice Removal Account to the DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal ($200,000) and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors Accounts ($300,000).

All other items were held. Please note: There was a substantive discussion on the Solar Phase 3 Projects and on the update on the Climate Action Plan.

Finance – February 10, 2020 Committee Report: The Finance Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to accept and expend a $43,943 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to fund overtime to have police officers monitor high accident locations and conduct traffic enforcement through written warnings and/or citations
  • Request to approve a proposed 5-year contract for online payment services with the vendor as chosen by the RFP evaluation committee
  • Recommendation from Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for authorization for City Treasurer to amend the funding source for $740,000 to fund legal and conservation restriction expenses for Webster Woods approved by Council Orders #379-19 (3) and (4) to allow the City to borrow seven hundred and forty thousand dollars ($740,000) as authorized by G. L. c. 44B, sec. 11, for a period of 30 years, and any expenditures already appropriated from the CPC’s Open Space Reserve and Restricted Fund Balance for open space pursuant to the CPC’s original recommendations be reimbursed from the sale of such bonds or notes, and that any premium received upon the sale of such bonds or notes, less any such premium applied to the payment of issuance costs of the bonds or notes shall be deposited in the Community Preservation Fund’s restricted fund balance for open space
  • Submission of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and external audit reports for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 for City Council review and acceptance
  • Reappointment of James Shaughnessy as a member of the Board of Assessors

All other items were held.

Zoning and Planning – February 10, 2020 Committee Report: The Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the following:

  • 2 Appointments to the Upper Falls Historic District Commission: Scott Aquillina and Daphne Romanoff
  • Appointment of Martin Smargiasi to the Auburndale Historic District Commission
  • Reappointment of Chris Steele to the Planning and Development Board
  • Reappointment of Dan Brody to the Community Preservation Committee

All other items were held. Please note: There was a substantive discussion regarding the Draft Zoning Ordinance.

Land Use Committee – February 5, 2020 Report (Report NOT online): The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a free-standing sign on the property located at 40 Austin Street – (Rockland Bank) – See Draft Council Order
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a new free-standing sign on the property located at 84 Needham Street (Creative Bookfair) – See See Draft Council Order

Land Use Committee – February 11, 2020 Committee Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Two Requests for an Extension of Time to exercise a special permit:
    • Request for an Extenskioin of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit to convert a two-family dwelling into a three-unit multi-family dwelling by converting the existing attic space, allow parking within 5’ of residential dwelling units, to waive the minimum aisle width requirements, to waive driveway width, and to waive lighting requirements at 20-22 Circuit Avenue
    • Request for an Extension of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit to further increase the non-conforming FAR by constructing a 191 sq. ft. addition in the existing footprint of the house, further extending the non-conforming three-story structure at 105 Temple Street

All other items were held.

City Council Meetings – Week of February 16th

Programs and Services Committee: The regularly scheduled Programs and Services Committee Meeting this week has been cancelled. The Notice of Cancellation can be found here.

Public Faciltiies Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for acceptance of a sewer pipe as a public sewer and acceptance of an easement in property known as the Farwell Street subdivision. The developer shall pay all costs associated with the construction of the sewer pipe and the connection to the MWRA sewer line.
  • Chair’s Note: The Public Works Department will update the Committee on projects in the Water, Sewer, and Stormwater Divisions.
  • Re-appointment of James Purdy to the Energy Commission
  • Re-appointment of Michael Gevelber to the Energy Commission
  • Re-appointment of Halina Brown to the Energy Commission

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes only one item:

  • Request for public comment on priorities for transportation planning

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of February 16th

Newton Housing Partnership: The Newton Housing Partnership will meet on Tuesday, February 18th at 6:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of January 7th Meeting Minutes
  • Riverside – Discussion and Vote
  • Northland Project – Discussion
  • Update on 40B Projects
    • Dunstan East – Discussion
    • Riverdale – Discussion
  • Update on Newton Housing Authority/CAN-DO Portfolio Acquisition
  • Newton Housing Partnership Priorities for 2020
  • Upcoming Meetings – March 17th, 6:00 p.m., Room 211

Newton Board of Assessors: The Newton Board of Assessors will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 9:00 a.m. in Room 108. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of January 2020 Exemption and Abatement Reports

Newton Citizens Commission on Energy: The Newton Citizens Commission on Energy will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 7:00 p.m. in Room B17. The agenda includes the following:

  • Data Analysis and Update on the EV Taskforce
  • Working Session on the Energy Coach interactive website
  • Outreach-communication-marketing update

Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission: The Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission will meet on Thursday, February 20th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Two requests for Certificates of Appropriateness:
    • Request to re-roof a garage at 29 Lee Road
    • Request to replace garage doors at 17 Chestnut Hill Terrace

Conservation Commission: The Conservation Commission will meet on Thursday, February 20th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to determine a purpose statement for a proposed Wetlands Ordinance
  • Request for an Order of Conditions (“OOC”) on a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) to demolish an existing duplex and construction of 3 single-family homes at 148 Pine Street (continued)
  • Request for an Order of Conditions (“OOC”) on a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) to demolish and existing single-family home and construction of a duplex at 42 Parsons Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance (“COC”) for driveway enlargement, bulkhead relocation, and landing installation at 31 Williams Street
  • Request to re-sign a Certificate of Compliance (“COC”) for a one-story addition and deck enlargement at 55 Wayne Road
  • Webster Woods Celebration
  • Invasive Species Policy – Discussion of Black Swallowart
  • Bicycles in Conservation Area – Policy Discussion
  • Tracking Research/Education in Conservation Areas – Discussion of Possible Policy
  • Approval of January 30, 2020 Minutes
  • Issues Around Town

Packet Documents can be found here.

OPEB Board of Trustees Meeting: The OPEB Board of Trustees will meet on Thursday, February 20th at 3:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Discussion of Actuarial Valuation and Review of OPEB as of June 30, 2019 Report

See Segal Consulting Report