The latest announcements and updates...

What’s Up In Newton This Week? COVID-19 Cases continue to rise, Newton Begins Re-Opening Process; Housing Relief Program approved, Schools May Vote to Withdraw from EDCO, City Council Votes Increase in Water and Sewer rates, Budget Review of Fire, Police, and DPW, and more…

COVID-19: According to the Newton Patch: ” Newton has one of the highest rates of coronavirus infection in the state, with the 28th highest number of cases as of Thursday. Officials have attributed the high case count to the availability of testing and the city’s congregant living facilities.” The City’s website has us at 716 confirmed cases as of May 21st with 105 deaths May 19th. You can check out Jack Prior’s app to see how Newton and the rest of the US and the World are doing.

Re-opening: With the announcement from Governor Baker regarding the Re-Opening Plan for Massachusetts, the City of Newton is beginning it’s own re-opening. First to re-open are our tennis courts. According to the Parks, Recreation, and Culture link on the City’s website:

Newton Parks, Recreation & Culture is excited to announce that we are able to begin the opening of tennis courts within the city.  We will be opening the courts on a rolling basis as we get them prepared and ready for play.  The tennis courts at our two high schools, Newton South and Newton North, are ready to go for Memorial Day weekend. 

We are able to open these courts during the Governor’s Phase 1 of re-opening with three important stipulations:

  • Games are restricted to players from the same household.  
  • Masks are required to be worn when physical distancing is not possible.  Players must wear masks, for example, when accessing the courts and waiting for court availability … in essence at all times when people are not playing.  
  • We are limiting play to 1 hour with a turnover on the hour when other payers are waiting.  (Newton’s Parks maintenance crews will work to get other courts open over the next few weeks.)  

Please check www.newtonma.gov/parks for updates on the opening of additional courts. 

The City will also begin re-opening the Resource/Recovery Center at Rumford Avenue. According to the DPW website, drop-off recycling at the Resource Recovery Center will be available by appointment beginning on June 2nd.

Effective June 2: Open BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Call Customer Service at 617-796-1000 Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00 pm to schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, residents without an appointment will not be able to enter the site.  Summer hours (by appointment only): Tuesday-Friday from 7:00am-3:45pm* Closed on Saturdays until further notice, Sundays and Holidays

Located at 115 Rumford Ave, Auburndale, MA 02466 

COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program: Last week, the City Council voted to approve a proposal to appropriate $2,000,000 of CPA funds to create a COVID-19 Housing Rental Assistance Program. In addition, the City will be allocating $500,000 in CDBG funding from the federal CARES Act to emergency housing needs. The application for this program is due on June 3rd.

City Council approves increase in Water/Sewer Rates: Last week, the City Council voted unanimously to increase our Water and Sewer Rates. The Presentation of the Proposed Rates that were approved can be found here.

Budget Review Continues: The City Council Committees will continue their budget review this week: Public Facilities Committee – (See Agenda) will review the DPW Budget and the Public Safety and Transportation Committee – (See Agenda) will review the Fire and Police Department Budgets.

Mayor’s Community Breakfast: The Mayor’s Community Breakfast will be held virtually this year. On Wednesday, May 27, the 46th Annual Theodore D. Mann Memorial Newton Mayor’s Community Breakfast will be held virtually through Zoom, starting at 8:30am. There are 1,000 “virtual seats” available for this event. Register here. Sign up no later than May 25 to reserve your seat. 

All others are welcome to join in by watching the event on NewTV. A livestream will be available on our Government Channel: Comcast 9 • RCN 13, 614 (HD) • Verizon 33 and online through Facebook Live and our Vimeo Channel.

Weekly Road Construction Schedule: The Weekly Road Construction Schedule can be found here.

COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program

Last week, the City Council voted to approve a $2 million appropriation from Community Preservation Funds and to pool that with $500K of CDBG funds to create a COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program.

The program flyer is available for download in the following languages:

Arabic  الترجمة العربية Chinese 简体中文Japanese 日本語Korean 한국어; Portuguese português; Russian русский; Spanish español; Turkish Türk Dili;  and Vietnamese Tiếng Việt.

APPLICANTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR: 

  • Up to three months of housing assistance
  •  The program will cover 70% of a household’s monthly rent, with a maximum monthly assistance amount of $2,500 per household (or $7,500 per household for three months)
  •  Mortgage assistance is only available to those income eligible households who reside in affordable deed restricted units. The program will cover 70% of a household’s monthly deed-restricted mortgage payment, with a maximum monthly assistance amount of $2,500 per household (or $7,500 per household for three months)

DRIVE-UP APPLICATION ASSISTANCE

Tuesdays:  May 26th and June 2nd, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., 79 Chapel St., Newton
Bring your documents, questions or just get started from the safety of your car!
No appointments necessary.

ELIGIBILITY
An “eligible” renter household is one that:
Currently lives in the City of Newton

Has reduced income because of COVID-19 (and can demonstrate this financial hardship)

Has an annual income (at the time of application) at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)

Households currently receiving rental assistance (e.g. Public Housing tenants, RAFT, Section 8, MRVP or other locally administered support) are also eligible for this program (program assistance is only applied towards tenant’s portion of rent)

An “eligible” homeowner household is one that:

  • Currently lives in the City of Newton
  • Resides in an ownership unit that is deed-restricted affordable (restriction recorded with the Registry of Deeds)
  • Has reduced income because of COVID-19 (and can demonstrate this financial hardship)
  • Has an annual income (at the time of application) at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)

2020 HUD Income Limits:

The total income of the applicant and all other members of the applicant’s household over the age of eighteen (18) may not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income for the greater Boston area adjusted for family size. An applicant’s total household income at the time of application cannot exceed the following limits:

Household size1 person2 person3 person4 person5 person6 person
Income Limit 80% area median$67,400$77,000$86,650$96,250$103,950$111,650

PREFERENCES

Preference shall be given to households whose annual income is at or below 65% AMI. This preference shall not be applicable after the initial Lottery period.

HOW TO APPLY

The Program is being administered by Metro West Collaborative Development, on behalf of the City of Newton. To begin:

Contact Robyn Rufo at robyn@metrowestcd.org (preferred method) or at 617-923-3505 x5.

TYY users please call 711. FREE TRANSLATION ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE: Call Robyn at 617-923-3505 x 5.

Applicants have the right to request a reasonable accommodation, which may include a change to a policy, procedure or practice to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to participate fully in the housing program.

For detailed information on the COVID-19 EMERGENCY HOUSING RELIEF PROGRAM please read the PROGRAM GUIDELINES.

Application Due Date:  JUNE 3, 2020

Applications are due (or postmarked) by June 3, 2020. A Lottery will be used to establish the order in which funds will be awarded. Applications received after the due date will be added to the bottom of the Lottery List in the order received, until all funds are disbursed. The Lottery will be held on June 10, 2020.

PROCESS 

  • All potential participants must complete an application and attach requested documents prior to the deadline. All complete applications will be entered into a lottery.
  • The deadline for submitting complete applications is June 3, 2020; however, households who contact the Metro West CD office after the application deadline will be added to the bottom of the Lottery Wait List in the order received.
  • Assistance with the submission of the application is available to those with limited computer access.
  • Applicants have the right to request a reasonable accommodation(s), which may include a change to a rule, policy, procedure or practice to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to participate fully in the housing program or to use and enjoy the housing.
  • Free language assistance is available to households with limited English proficiency.
  • The Lottery will be held via zoom on June 10, 2020. Applicants will be given access to the zoom meeting information after the close of the application deadline.
  • All applicants will then be drawn and assigned a Lottery Wait List number in the order they were drawn.
  • For further details, please read the PROGRAM GUIDELINES.
  • Download Rental Assistance program flyer.
  • Download Mortgage Assistance program flyer.


    The City of Newton COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program is administered by Metro West Collaborative Development, on behalf of the City of Newton. Metro West is a non-profit community development corporation based in Newton. More information on Metro West can be found here: https://metrowestcd.org/

Food Resources for Newton Residents

Food Assistance: On May 6, 2020, the School Department sent the following email regarding Food Assistance for Newton residents regarding food resources. According to the email:

“Many in Newton are struggling to put food on the table right now. If your income has changed as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits. SNAP is a federal entitlement program  and anyone who is eligible will receive benefits. P-EBT provides households with an EBT card containing the dollar value of free school breakfast and lunch reimbursement rates for the days that schools are closed to help them purchase groceries. We also continue to run our grab-and-go meal distribution at three sites; see below for additional information. 

P-EBT

If your income has recently changed, you are encouraged to apply for Free & Reduced Lunch. If approved, you may become automatically eligible for P-EBT benefits provided directly from the state.

How to apply online: The online application is easy to complete and is the quickest and most efficient way for you to confirm your eligibility and to enroll your student(s).

How to call for assistance: Please leave a message at 617-559-9038 with return phone # and a representative will reach out to assist you in completing an application.

SNAP

SNAP benefits are given each month on a plastic card called an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card which works like a debit card. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery and convenience stores and some farmers’ markets and co-op food programs. You can give your EBT card to a trusted family member or friend to shop for you. 

Click here for a 10-second screening to see if you might be eligible. 

How to Apply Online: Apply for SNAP benefits today online through DTA Connect.

How to Call for Assistance: If you have questions about your eligibility or how to apply for SNAP benefits, Project Bread has many resources including a confidential Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 where counselors assist callers in 160 languages. It’s open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also reach out to Newton’s Health and Human Services Department at 617-796-1420.

Grab-n-Go Meal Sites 

All Newton residents, regardless of age, may pick up meals at the following three sites. Meals are provided free of charge and include breakfast and lunch items. All sites are open Monday-Friday from 10AM-12PM. 

  • Newton North High 
  • Newton South High
  • NECP (150 Jackson Road)”

City Council Meetings – Week of May 24th

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, May 26th at 7:00 p.m.

To view this meeting using Zoom use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83525786589 or call 1-646-558-8656 and use the following Meeting ID: 835 2578 6589

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 5-story addition with 18 new units and common accessory use space, extending the non-conforming structure to the extent necessary and to determine density and dimensional controls at 280 Newtonville Avenue – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 1st – floor addition to the principal dwelling and to construct dormers to the existing detached garage to allow for an accessory apartment in a detached structure, further increasing the non-conforming FAR to .66 where .64 exists and .48 is allowed and where the structure does not meet principal setback requirements at 30-32 Salisbury Road – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request to rezone land and request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for the Riverside MBTA mixed-use development at 355 and 399 Grove Street – NOTE: The focus of the discussion will be on project revisions. – See Planning Department Memo

Public Facilities Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, May 27th at 6:00 p.m. NOTE: EARLY START TIME

To view this meeting use this link at the above date and time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/805724346

Dial by your location +16465588656 US (NewYork) Meeting ID: 805724346

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to transfer $400,000 originally set aside for DPW 25% Design of Washington Street to the DPW Roads Program to repair the roadway section of Washington Street between Chestnut Street and Walnut Street
  • Submittal of the FY2021 Municipal/School Operating Budget
  • Submittal of the FY2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan
  • Submittal of the FY2021-2025 Supplemental Capital Improvement Plan

Please note: The Committee will conduct budget review of the following Department:

  • Public Works Department

The Committee will then discuss the following item:

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet virtually on Thursday, May 28th at 7:00 p.m.

To view this meeting use this link at the above date and time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/99664276518

One tap mobile +13017158592,,99664276518# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location:     +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)    Meeting ID:  996 6427 6518

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to repurpose and transfer $100,000 from Comptroller’s Reserve Acct #01C20107‐585010 originally set aside for a Police Incident Command Vehicle to new Police Cruisers
  • Submittal of the FY2021 Municipal/School Operating Budget
  • Submittal of the FY2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan
  • Submittal of the FY2021-2025 Supplemental Capital Improvement Plan

Please note: The Committee will conduct budget review of the following Department:

  • Fire Department
  • Police Department


School Committee to Meet on Tuesday, May 27th

The School Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, May 27th beginnig at 6:15 p.m. in Executive Session to discuss EDCO membership and strategy regarding litigation and then convene at 7:00 p.m. for it’s regularly scheduled meeting.

To Join the Zoom Meeting by Phone or Computer. Under both options you will be automatically muted with video off upon entering the meeting. Please leave your video and audio muted so that the meeting can proceed without interruption. Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/390017072 Meeting ID: 390 017 072 Dial in:+1 646 558 8656 US Meeting ID: 390 017 072 Listen in on NewTV’s broadcast – Visit the NewTV website for more information.

The agenda includes the following:

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of May 24th

Council on Aging: The Council on Aging will meet virtually on Tuesday, May 26th at 7:00 p.m.

To Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83500856282?pwd=eFFXYytQRTdHK2Vyb1dQY0FsT1VVdz09 Meeting ID: 835 0085 6282 Password: 411575 One tap mobile +13126266799,,83500856282#,,1#,411575# US (Chicago) +16465588656,,83500856282#,,1#,411575# US (New York) Dial by your location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) Meeting ID: 835 0085 6282 Password: 411575

The agenda includes the following:

  • Call to Order; Welcome, Approval of Minutes
  • Age-Friendly Award
  • NewCAL Presentation
  • General Updates

NewCAL Presentation Materials from the May 21st Community Meeting can be found here.

Economic Development Commission: The Economic Development Commission will meet virtually on Tuesday, May 26th from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

To Join Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84818524473 ID: 848 1852 4473 One tap mobile +13017158592,,84818524473#

The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of Minutes
  • Discussion Items: Review Draft Report to Mayor
  • Other Business
  • Date of Next Meeting – June 9, 2020

Newton Citizens Commission on Energy: The Newton Citizens Commission on Energy will meet virtually on Wednesday, May 27th at 7:00 p.m.

To Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84141377751 Meeting ID: 841 4137 7751 One tap mobile +13017158592,,84141377751# US (Germantown) +13126266799,,84141377751# US (Chicago)

The agenda includes the following:

  • Updates on the recent activities around CAP implementation and next steps
  • Cost comparisons for heating a house with electricity vs. gas
  • Redesign of the Zoning Code with recorded video with Deb Crossley

West Newton Armory Joint Advisory Planning Group (JAPG): The West Newton Armory JAPG will meet virtually on Wednesday, May 27th from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

To Join Zoom Online Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8429428454 You may also join the meeting from your smartphone by dialing 1(646)558-8656 and entering 8429428454#.

The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of April 2, 2020 and April 26, 2020 Minutes
  • Appointment of Rotating Secretary
  • Approval of JAPG Timeline Extension Letter to Reuse Committee
  • Review of City’s Current Chapter 40B Safe Harbor Calculations
  • Review of Affordable Housing in the City

Newton Historical Commission: The Newton Historical Commission will meet virtually on Thursday, May 28th at 6:30 p.m.

To Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/288490607

Dial +16465588656 ID: 288490607#

The agenda includes the following:

  • Review of proposed amendments to the Local Landmarking Ordinance
  • Request for Full Demolition of house – Change from Partial Demolition request at 279 Fuller Street
  • Request for Partial Demolition to remove and replace side porch and add rear addition at 68 Chestnut Street
  • Request for Partial Demolition to move and partially demolish carriage house – change from Full Demolition request at 62 Lenox Street
  • Request for Partial Demolition to partially demolish carriage house – change from Full Demolition request at 52 Winthrop Street
  • Request to approve revised design for new construction at 128 Chestnut Street
  • Request to waive the demolition delay at 36-38 Whittemore Road
  • Request to waive the demolition delay at 43 Sharpe Road
  • Request for Full Demolition to demolish buildings at 32-34 Dunstan Road
  • Request for Full Demolition to demolish buildings at 24 Kempton Place
  • Request for Full Demolition to demolish buildings at 25 Kempton Place
  • Request for Full Demolition to demolish buildings at 1169 Washington Street
  • Request for Full Demolition to demolish buildings at 1179 Washington Street
  • Approve April Meeting Minutes

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

What’s Up in Newton This Week? Newton COVID-19 cases continue to rise, City Council to vote on $2,000,000 appropriation of CPA Funds for COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program, School Committee to vote to Withdraw from EDCO Comments due TODAY on Draft FY2020-2027 Open Space and Recreation Plan, NewCAL Community Meeting on Thursday and more….

COVID-19 Update: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 689 with 96 related deaths. The Governor is expected to release a four-phase re-opening plan TODAY. Stay tuned to see what restrictions and/or businesses will or will not be open and how that impacts Newton. In the meantime, stay safe.

Council to vote on $2,000,000 CPA appropriation for COVID-19 Emergeny Housing Relief Program: The City Council will meet TONIGHT as a Committee of the Whole to discuss and vote on a proposal to appropriate $2,000,000 of CPA funds to create a COVID-19 Housing Rental Assistance Program. In addition, the City will be allocating five hundred thousand ($500,000) in CDBG funding from the federal CARES Act to emergency housing needs.

Food Assistance: On May 6, 2020, the School Department sent the following email regarding Food Assistance for Newton residents:

Hello Families,

Many in Newton are struggling to put food on the table right now. If your income has changed as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits. SNAP is a federal entitlement program  and anyone who is eligible will receive benefits. P-EBT provides households with an EBT card containing the dollar value of free school breakfast and lunch reimbursement rates for the days that schools are closed to help them purchase groceries. We also continue to run our grab-and-go meal distribution at three sites; see below for additional information. 

P-EBT

If your income has recently changed, you are encouraged to apply for Free & Reduced Lunch. If approved, you may become automatically eligible for P-EBT benefits provided directly from the state.

How to apply online: The online application is easy to complete and is the quickest and most efficient way for you to confirm your eligibility and to enroll your student(s).

How to call for assistance: Please leave a message at 617-559-9038 with return phone # and a representative will reach out to assist you in completing an application.

SNAP

SNAP benefits are given each month on a plastic card called an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card which works like a debit card. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery and convenience stores and some farmers’ markets and co-op food programs. You can give your EBT card to a trusted family member or friend to shop for you. 

Click here for a 10-second screening to see if you might be eligible. 

How to Apply Online: Apply for SNAP benefits today online through DTA Connect.

How to Call for Assistance: If you have questions about your eligibility or how to apply for SNAP benefits, Project Bread has many resources including a confidential Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 where counselors assist callers in 160 languages. It’s open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also reach out to Newton’s Health and Human Services Department at 617-796-1420.

Grab-n-Go Meal Sites 

All Newton residents, regardless of age, may pick up meals at the following three sites. Meals are provided free of charge and include breakfast and lunch items. All sites are open Monday-Friday from 10AM-12PM. 

  • Newton North High 
  • Newton South High
  • NECP (150 Jackson Road)

Sincerely,

Stephen Marshall

Director of Business Services

No more EDCO? The School Committee will meet TONIGHT to discuss and vote on withdrawal and termination of affiliation with the EDCO Program. What is EDCO? According to the EDCO website:

“EDCO (pronounced Ed-Co) is a collaborative of 16 urban and suburban school districts serving the Greater Boston area and beyond. We are governed by a board of directors comprised of superintendents and school committee members representing each of our member school districts. All EDCO programs and services are developed and implemented through consultation with member school districts and other sponsoring agencies. EDCO Collaborative Roundtables often facilitate the gathering of information needed for planning programs, services, and professional learning opportunities. Programs align with EDCO’s mission, reflect the priorities of EDCO’s primary constituencies, and are provided in a cost effective manner through interdistrict and interagency collaboration.


EDCO Collaborative’s range of services includes professional learning opportunities for educators; special education and alternative education programs for students with disabilities and at-risk youth; in-district consultation, special education transportation through a cost effective consortium of adjacent communities; and cooperative purchasing of utilities and other items upon request.


In addition, EDCO provides services to youth and adults through a variety of state and federally funded programs, including the Massachusetts Migrant Education Program, the Special Education Surrogate Parent Program, Wrentham Habilitative Services, the EDCO Title III Consortium, and the EDCO Youth Alternative Program.”

Public Comment Period for the Draft FY2020-2027 Open Space and Recreation Plan due TONIGHT: The open public comment period on the draft Open Space and Recreation Plan will now close on 5/18/20 at 6pmAll public comment should be sent to concom@newtonma.gov. The Draft Plan can be found here. The draft Plan will be discussed again by both bodies on 5/19/20, starting at 7pm. Access information for the meeting will be posted in advance. 

NewCAL still moving forward: The next community meeting for the NewCAL project, has been scheduled for Thursday, May 21, at 6:00PM.  The meeting will be held remotely, via Zoom and will be broadcast on NewTV.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85027132275?pwd=MFIrVWNGeS8rMFd6MnFyU3NwMFdPUT09

Or One tap mobile +13017158592,,85027132275#

Or Dial 1 301 715 8592 Meeting ID: 850 2713 2275

Additional information can be found at https://newcal.projects.nv5.com/ .

Weekly Road Construction Schedule: This Week’s Road Construction Schedule is now available here.