The latest announcements and updates...

What’s Up in Newton this week – COVID-19 confirmed cases hold steady, Planning Department provides updates re: West Newton Armory and COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund and more…..

COVID-19: This week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Newton has decreased from  770 as of June 25th and the number of reported deaths has remained at 118 as of June 23rd.

Planning Department updates: The Planning Department submitted updates to the City Council regarding the status of the COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund and the status of the West Newton Armory decision process. See below. Looks like there may be future opportunities for more people to apply for the Assistance Fund and that the West Newton Armory decision will be delayed in part because of the delay in hiring the consultant.

Weekly Road Construction Schedule: This week’s road construction schedule can be found here.

Communications

Update on Real Property/Reuse Matters: The Planning Department submitted an update on the items before the Real Property/Reuse Committee:

  • West Newton Armory: Due to delay in selection of consultant, and the inability for the consultant to produce a feasibility study by the State’s June 30th deadline, the City requested and received an extension until the end of the year to inform the State on its decision to purchase the Armory. The JAPG Working Group will extend its term which was set to expire by May 30, 2020 to November 30, 2020.
  • Countryside Road-Baldpate Water Tower: The Planning Department is investigating whether the parcel is a “buildable lot” and will provide an update in September.
  • Bracket Road Request for Bids: The Planning Department and Purchasing Department are working to solicit bids for the parcel and will provide an update in September.

Update on City of Newton COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program: The Planning Department provided the following update to the City Council regarding the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Relief Program:

  • There were 597 email and 219 phone inquiries (some duplicative)
  • 240 applications were entered into a lottery generating a waitlist – approximately 55% are people of color – 27% Hispanic/Latino, 15% Black/African American, 10% Asian, 4% Other Multi-Racial, 10% left the question blank, and 35% White. The majority of applications that have been processed thus far are for households at or below 65% AMI, and the majority of those applicants are at or below 30% AMI.
  • MetroWest who is administering the program, is still accepting applications (why isn’t this advertised?) and these applications will be placed at the bottom of the waitlist
  • Priority is given to households at or below 65% AMI
  • Of the 240 applicants, 150 will receive assistance in July – average rent is $2000 – average assistance amount of $1,400 (70% of the $2,000 median rent), or $210,000 of direct financial assistance awarded in the first month in which CDBG funds will be used to cover these awards.
  • The full amount of assistance that will likely be awarded to these first 150 households is $630,000 ($210,000 at three months of assistance). This represents approximately 27% of the total program budget of $2,312,500 for direct financial assistance. They estimate by the end of July, approximately 50% of the program budget will still be available.
  • The Planning Department plans to conduct additional outreach starting in mid-July to solicit additional applications for the program.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of June 28th

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet virtually on Monday, June 29th, at 7:00 p.m.

To view this meeting, use this link at the above date and time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85742581538.

To listen to the meeting via phone dial 1-646-558-8656 and use the Meeting ID 857 4258 1538

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a change of zone to Public Use for portions of land located at 23 Parkview Avenue (currently MR1) acquired in 2016 for the expansion of Cabot School, and at 300 Hammond Pond Parkway, known as Webster Woods, (currently SR1) acquired in 2019 for open space use and conservation purposes – See Planning Department Memo
  • Requesting for a review, discussion, and direction relative to the draft Zoning Ordinance – See Planning Department Memo

Chairman’s Note: The following two items will be taken up the main item (listed above) so they may be taken up as they relate to Article 3, residential districts:

  • Request for a review of the zoning requirements for single-family attached dwelling units
  • Request to amend to Chapter 30 of the Revised City of Newton Ordinances to eliminate mandated parking minimums to improve the vitality of local businesses, reduce the cost of housing, and support the climate action goals
  • Re-appointment of William Winkler to the Urban Design Commission
  • Two re-appointments to the Newtonville Historic District Commission
    • Ralph Abele
    • Mark Chudy
  • Re-appointment of Jay Walter to the Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, June 30th, at 7:00 p.m.

To view this meeting using Zoom use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83751606299 or call 1-646-558-8656 and use the following Meeting ID: 837 5160 6299

The entire meeting will focus on the Riverside petition. See agenda here and the Planning Department’s Memo here.

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of June 28th

Fair Housing Committee: The Fair Housing Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, July 1st, at 8:00 a.m.

To join this meeting, click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84326412184 or dial +16465588656 Meeting ID: 84326412184#.

NOTE: The agenda was not posted on the Electronic Bulletin Board, but according to the Planning Department’s Weekly “Friday Report“, the Committee will discuss the progress with the City of Newton’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. 

Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission: The Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission will meet virtually on Thursday, July 2nd, at 5:00 p.m.

To view and participate in this virtual meeting on your computer, at the above date and time, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89292470190 Or go to www.zoom.us, click “Join a Meeting” and enter the Meeting ID: 892 9247 0190

To view and participate in this virtual meeting on your phone, download the “Zoom Cloud Meetings” app in any app store or at www.zoom.us. At the above date and time, use one-tap mobile +13017158592,,89292470190#

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace all of the existing windows and eight doors with black aluminum-clad wood windows and doors at 106 Old Orchard Road

There is no Packet Documents or Staff Memo this week.

Newtonville Historic District Commission: The Newtonville Historic District Commission will meet virtually on Thursday, July 2nd, at 7:30 p.m.

To view and participate in this virtual meeting on your computer, at the above date and time, go to https://zoom.us/j/679023979 Or go to www.zoom.us, click “Join a Meeting” and enter the Meeting ID: 679 023 979

To view and participate in this virtual meeting on your phone, download the “Zoom Cloud Meetings” app in any app store or at www.zoom.us. At the above date and time, use one tap mobile +16465588656,,679023979# Or click on “Join a Meeting” and enter the Meeting ID: 679023979

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to remove the existing fencing and replace it with closed board cedar fencing. The new fencing will be six-feet high in most locations with a few four-foot high sections and a four-foot high gate at 209 Walnut Street
  • Request for feedback on a proposed project to change the design and massing of the left-side addition, add new dormers to the main house block, and change the front entry at 47 Prescott Street

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

What’s Up in Newton this Week? Good news – COVID-19 cases are decreasing(?) and the number of deaths has not increased;City Council still deliberating budget with focus on Police Department budget; Former Newton School Committee Chair formerly invited by city Council and then disinvited will now be on webinar hosted by City Councilor Emily Norton; Dunstan East Chapter 40B proposal hearing continues;

COVID-19: Last week, I reported that the number of confirmed cases was at 771 as of June 11th and the number of reported deaths had risen to 118 as of June 9th. As of today, the number of confirmed cases has decreased to 765 as of June 18th with no new deaths as of June 16th. While this is good news, please continue to adhere to recommendations regarding safe hygiene and physical distancing.

Budget deliberations continue: The City Council will continue its budget deliberations this week, beginning on Monday and possibly continuing on Tuesday. A list of the departmental budgets and resolutions discussed and passed can be found here.

Former School Committee Chair to speak on NPS finances TODAY: Matt Hills will be a guest presenter in a webinar hosted by Ward 2 City Councilor Emily Norton and moderated by Paul Levy, Chair of the Newton Blue Ribbon Commission for Financial Resources 2006-2007. As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, the City’s most recent financial forecast suggests tough times ahead – and with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding the City’s finances – and more importantly, the School’s finances is critical in planning for the City’s future. Register here.

Zoning Board of Appeals continues public hearing on Dunstan East: The Zoning Board of Appeals will continue its public hearing on the request for a Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit 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 at 1149, 1151, 1169, 1171-1173, 1179 and 1185 Washington Street, 12, 18, 24 and 25 Kempton Place, and 32 and 34 Dunstan Street – Dunstan East on Tuesday, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. The agenda can be found here.

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

Full City Council continue budget deliberations – Monday, June 22nd and possibly Tuesday, June 23rd

The Full City Council will continue its budget deliberations on Monday, June 22nd – at 6:00 p.m. (I’m not sure if it will be like last time – when they do the City Council meeting and the reports docket first).

To view this meeting use this link at the above date and time:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87310855941

Or iPhone one‐tap:      +16465588656,,88626021674#

You may also:

1. Watch a live broadcast of the meeting on NewTV’s government channel (Comcast 9, RCN 13, 614(HD), Verizon 33).

2. Viewing a live stream on NewTV’s Vimeo channel at: https://vimeo.com/newtvgov

The agenda can be found here.

If the City Council has not concluded its budget deliberations on Monday, the City Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, June 23rd at 6:00 p.m.

To view this meeting use this link at the above date and time:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86728376180  Or iPhone one‐tap:      +13126266799,,86728376180# 

You may also:  1. Watch a live broadcast of the meeting on NewTV’s government channel (Comcast 9, RCN 13,  614(HD), Verizon 33).  2. Viewing a live stream on NewTV’s Vimeo channel at: https://vimeo.com/newtvgov

The agenda can be found here, and the Special Meeting Notification can be found here.

Budget Information

All of the Latest Budget Resolutions can be found here.

The Complete Budget Information can be found below:

Executive

City Clerk

Comptroller

Purchasing

Assessing

Treasury

Law

Human Resources

Information Technology

Planning and CPA

Public Buildings

Financial Information Systems

Police

Fire

Inspectional Services

Public Works

Health and Human Services

Senior Services

Veterans Services

Library

Parks, Recreation and Culture

Historic Newton

School Department

Additional Budget Information

Information regarding Directed Patrols for FY2019

Mayor’s Supplemental Information for the FY2021 Budget

Council Budget Order #8-20(2) FY2021 Budget 6/4/20

FY2021 Proposed Municipal Budget

Comptroller’s Budget Analysis

FY2021 – 2025 Capital Improvement Plan

FY2021-2025 Supplement Capital Improvement Plan

FY2021 School Committee Approved Budget

Letter from Liam Hurley regarding reductions in FY2021 School Budget

FY2021 Water/Sewer Rates Presentation

Full City Council to Meet – Monday, June 22nd

The Full City Council will meet virtually on Monday, June 22nd beginning 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/87310855941

One tap mobile   +13017158592,,87310855941# 

Landline   +1 301 715 8592  Meeting ID: 873 1085 5941 

You may also: 

1. Watch a live broadcast of the meeting on NewTV’s government channel (Comcast 9, RCN 13, 614(HD), Verizon  33). 

2. Viewing a live stream on NewTV’s Vimeo channel at: https://vimeo.com/newtvgov

The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

City Council Committee Reports – Now Available

Finance Committee – June 15, 2020 Report: The Finance Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request authorization to transfer $750,000 from Retiree Health Insurance to Fire/Rescue Regular Overtime
  • Request to transfer $1500 from Computer Equipment Repairs and Maintenance to Full-Time Salaries to correct an error in the FY2020 Budget
  • Request to appropriate and expend $420,000 from Free Cash for the full and final settlement of claims by Mackay against the City

The Finance Committee voted No Action Necessary on the following item:

  • Request to transfer $500,000 from Budget Reserve -Snow and Ice Removal Account to the DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors

All other items were held.

Zoning and Planning Committee: June 15, 2020 Report: The Zoning and Planning Commitee voted to approve the following:

  • Re-appointment of Laurie Malcolm to the Upper Falls Historic District Commission

All other items were held.

Committee of the Whole – Reports from June 8th, June 10th, June 11th, and June 16th: The Committee of the Whole voted to approve the following:

  • EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUDGET …………………………… $1,089,154 
  • CITY CLERK/CLERK OF THE COUNCIL BUDGET ……. $2,076,974 
  • COMPTROLLER’S OFFICE BUDGET  ………………… $49,557,453 
  • PURCHASING DEPARTMENT BUDGET …………………. $534,859 
  • ASSESSOR’S DEPARTMENT BUDGET ………………… $1,241,645 
  • TREASURER’S DEPARTMENT BUDGET  …………… $32,767,153 
  • LAW DEPARTMENT BUDGET ………………………….. $1,894,071 
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT BUDGET ………………….. $ 
  • INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT ……. $2,094,474 
  • PLANNING DEPARTMENT BUDGET …………………..$ 1,934,975 
  • CPA BUDGET ………………………………………………..$ 4,797,373 
  • PUBLIC BUILDINGS DEPARTMENT BUDGET ………. $4,861,855 
  • Budget Resolution #6  Police Department  Budget Resolution relating to Animal Control Enforcement 
  • Budget Resolution #7  Police Department  Budget Resolution to Perform a Bottom up Analysis of the Police Department   

Land Use Committee – June 16, 2020 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow four single-family attached dwelling units in two structures, to further extend the nonconforming height, to reduce the required side setback and to allow a driveway within ten feet of the side lot line at 70 Walker Street

All other items were held.

Public Facilities Committee – June 17, 2020 Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of John Lewis to the Solid Waste Commission

All other items were held.

Public Safety and Transportation Committee – June 17th Report: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to transfer $750,000 from Retiree Health Insurance to Fire/Rescue Regular Overtime Account
  • Request for annual renewal of the two Boston College bus licenses:
    • Boston College Law School routes
    • Boston College Main Campus to Boston routes
  • Request for annual renewal for one bus license for 7 vehicles for Medical Academic and Scientific Organization, Inc. (“MASCO”)

The Committee voted No Action Necessary on the following item:

  • Request for a review and possible changes to the intersection of Lake Avenue and Rogers Street to improve safety for all road users

All other items were held.