The latest announcements and updates...

What’s up this week?

The Zoning and Planning Committee agenda appears to be the big ticket item for policy wonks concerned about development. The latest edition of the Washington Street Vision Plan, proposal to suspend landmark nomination, Riverside Rezoning and short-term rentals (See also Councilor Baker’s memo #1 and memo #2) will be discussed at the Zoning and Planning Committee meeting this week.

While the Riverside Rezoning is also on the Zoning and Planning Committee’s agenda, there will be a training session held for residents interested in learning more about utilizing a referendum petition to potentially overturn a zoning ordinance.

The School Committee will convene a morning meeting on Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. with the Superintendent’s Assessment on the agenda.

Lots of events this week including the happening Farmers’ Market on Tuesday and Saturday, a Mayor’s welcome for new residents on Wednesday, and the St. Mary of Carmen’s Festival beginning on Wednesday and concluding on Sunday.

And of course, please don’t forget:

  • Wednesday in the Village Free Concert Series – this week at the Auburndale Community Library this Wednesday, July 17th at 6:30 p.m. featuring Cross Street – See the Newton Community Pride – Summer Concert Flyer
  • The Hyde Playground Friday Night Concert/Movie Series – this Friday, July 19th, beginning with a concert at 6:00 p.m. featuring the Stardust Band (rock music) and the Alfred Hitchcock movie: Rear Window – See Hyde Summer Schedule for more info and additional events
  • Sunday Free Concert Series on the Newton Centre Green this Sunday, July 21st at 6:30 p.m. featuring the Love Dogs – See the Newton Community Pride – Summer Concert Flyer

And the Sunday concerts on the Newton Centre Green:

City-wide Referendum Petition Training – July 16th 7:00 p.m. at the Auburndale Community Library

A city-wide referendum petition training session will be held at the Auburndale Community Library on Tuesday, July 16th at 7:00 p.m. led by Jim Fleming of JEF Associates. Residents apparently can overturn a city zoning ordinance through a city-wide referendum. Section 10-9 of the City Charter, which states in part that “any measure passed by the city council or the school committee, including a measure proposed by initiative procedures and passed by the city council or the school committee, may be protested and referred to the voters in accordance with this article.”

A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that voters could veto a zoning amendment by a referendum – See Labranche v. AJ Lane & Co., Inc.


More information about the event can be found here.

Newton Farmers Market is in Full Swing

If you haven’t visited the most happening place to be in the City on Tuesdays at Cold Springs Park from 1:30 – 6:00 p.m. or on Saturdays at Elm Street in West Newton from 9:30 – 12:30 p.m., then you are missing A LOT. The Tuesday market runs from July 9th through October 22nd and the Saturday market runs from June 22nd through October 5th.  The markets are held rain or shine and are a must go destination.

If you are a local foodie, you will be dazzled by chef demonstrations, food talks, classical and jazz music at the Tuesday market and if you are an eclectic (like me – at least that’s what I aspire to be), you will be thrilled with the diverse offerings at the Saturday market in West Newton with craft beer tastings, flea markets, and a dog days of summer event (maybe if I’m brave, I’ll bring my pug, Frank, and my goldendoodle rescue – maybe some wolfhound? Aji (short for Agitata)!

Go here to see the latest Farmers Market newsletter and here to sign-up and get the latest info on what’s happening at the hottest place to be in the City!

St. Mary of Carmen Society Festival – July 17th – July 21st

It’s that time of year again to celebrate the St. Mary of Carmen Society Festival beginning on Wednesday, July 17th and ending on Sunday, July 21st. Enjoy great music, wonderful vendors, food, rides, and entertainment for kids and a wonderful and meaniful end to the festival with a full-day of events on Sunday, beginning with a Mass at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday; a procession at 2:00 p.m.; Seabreeze with Steven Savio at 6:00 p.m. and a candlelight procession to Our Lady’s Church and Flight of the Angel at 10:00 p.m. Additional information can be found at their website.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of July 14th

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet on Monday, July 15th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 205 and then in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Leigh Gilligan to the Conservation Commission
  • Re-appointment of Paul Snyder to the Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission
  • Re-appointment of Susana Lannik to the Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission
  • Request to adopt the Washington Street Vision Plan as an amendment to the 2007 Comprehensive Plan – See Planning Memo
  • Discussion of proposed zoning amendments by the Riverside Station/355 Grove Street Developers for the Riverside MBTA Station relative to the MU3 District – See Draft Memo from Councilor Albright to the Land Use Committee
  • Discussion of proposed zoning amendments by the Lower Falls Improvement Association’s Riverside Committee for the Riverside MBTA Station relative to the MU3 District – See Draft Memo from Councilor Albright to the Land Use Committee
  • Request to create a temporary suspension on the landmark designation of any land, buildings, and structures in the City of Newton in order to allow the City adequate time to review the landmark ordinance and consider what revisions are appropriate. The temporary suspension will prevent and suspend the nominating, processing, and approval of any future landmarks or any property currently under consideration for landmark designation. See Planning Memo
  • Continued discussion of a proposal to create a short-term rental ordinance that defines the short-term rental and bed & breakfast uses, identifies what zoning districts they would be allowed in and under what criteria, conditions limitations and permitting process (NOTE: This item was approved by the Zoning and Planning Committee but was recommitted by the Full Council on June 27th) – See Planning Memo and See Councilor Baker’s Memo #1 and Councilor Baker’s Memo #2
  • Continued discussion of a proposal to create a short-term rental ordinance with fees that would require registration of short-term rentals with the City’s Inspectional Services Department and fire inspections to protect public health and safety (NOTE: This item was approved by the Zoning and Planning Committee, the Public Safety and Transportation Committee and the Finance Committee but was recommitted by the Full Council on June 27th) – See Planning Memo and See Councilor Baker’s Memo #1 and Councilor Baker’s Memo #2

Public Facilities Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, July 17th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Maria Leo as a community representative to the Design Review Committee for the Lincoln-Eliot Project
  • Public Hearings on the following petitions:
    • Petition for a grant of location to relocate one pole north of the current location on Washington Street in the vicinity of 2014-2060 to accommodate a new driveway
    • Petition for a grant of location to install conduit from a manhole in Dedham Street in a southerly location turning easterly to provide new service to 116 Upland Avenue
    • Petition for a grant of location to install and maintain (work needed as part of MWRA water main replacement project):
      • a main from an existing main to the intersection of Manet Road
      • a main from an existing main on Manet Road to a traffic island on Commonwealth Avenue
      • a main from an existing main ear 233-235 Commonwealth Avenue to the intersection of Manet Road
    • Petition for a grant of location to install a main from an existing main at 11 Waverly Avenue southerly to just before the curb cut at 11 Waverly Avenue due to an MWRA gate valve replacement
    • Petition for a grant of location to install and maintain:
      • a main from an existing gas main at house #256 to the existing gas main at 233-235 Commonwealth Avenue
      • a main from a new gas main in Ward Street to an existing gas main
    • Petition for a grant of location to install and maintain a gas main from an existing gas main at the intersection of Stuart Street northerly to an existing gas main at the intersection of Tremont Street
  • Request to appropriate $1,350,000 from bonded indebtedness to fund the construction of the Lincoln Eliot Elementary School window replacement and accessibility improvements and authorization to apply premiums received from the sale of the bonds or notes, less the cost of preparing, issuing, and marketing them, and any accrued interest received upon the delivery of the bonds or notes to the costs of the project and to reduce the amount authorized ot be borrowed for the project by like amount
  • Request to amend Chapter 29 of the Newton City Ordinances to create an Inflow and Infiltration Mitigation Ordinance that would codify mitigation requirements for development projects over a certain size, potential for fees in lieu of mitigation and waiver of fees by the City Council
  • Request to amend Chapter 29 of the Newton City Ordinances to create a building sewer and water service pipe update ordinance that would require the removal and replacement of sewer and water connections, and replacement of sidewalk when a dwelling is demolished or substantially remodeled or rehabilitated
  • Request for a review and amendments to the Procedures and Standards and Application Form as they relate to grants of location ofr Wireless Communication Facilities

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of July 14th

Planning and Development Board: The Planning and Development Board will meet on Monday, July 15th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204 for the first two items and then will join the Zoning and Planning Committee in the Council Chamber for three additional items. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of Minutes
  • Planning and Development Board deliberation of Community Preservation Committee Priorities and Updates

The Board will then join the Zoning and Planning Committee in the Council Chamber to join the discussion on the following (see the Zoning and Planning Committee’s agenda for more information):

  • Washington Street Vision Plan and Zoning
  • Riverside Rezoning
  • Short-Term Rentals

Board of Licensing Commissioners: The Board of Licensing Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, July 16th at 7:30 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • a Beer Garden Discussion with Lt. McMains,
  • a request for a seasonal farmers market winery license (House Bear Brewing),
  • two one-day wine and malt license and one-day entertainment license requests (The Presti Group – BBQ-Clambake at the Cove; Bat Mitzvah at the Windsor Club),
  • request for a one-day wine and malt license for a baby shower at Durant-Kenrick;
  • several one-day wine and malt licences requests for Church of the Redeemer events and Fessenden School events;
  • a request for change of hours and annual entertainment license for Pineapple Thai Cuisine;
  • two change of manager requests for Shake Shack and Crowne Plaza; and
  • a request for an all new alcohol license and an amendment to seating request for OddFellows, Chestnut Hill

Newton Retirement Board: The Newton Retirement Board will meet on Wednesday, July 17th at 1:30 p.m. The Notice of Change of Meeting Time can be found here. NOTE: The agenda has not been posted online as of the date of this newsletter.

Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission: The Chestnut Hill Historic District Commission will meet on Thursday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Hardship to install wireless equipment on a utility pole on sidewalk in front of property at 262 Beacon Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a swing set and to replace two third-floor windows at 521 Hammond Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to repair and re-coat stucco, replace gutters and downspouts, and repair fascia at 119 Old Orchard Road
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace garage roof, stucco and doors, repair eaves, paint stucco, doors and trim at 29 Lee Road
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to finalize exterior materials and products, to install hardscaping and build out driveway area at 31 Chestnut Hill Terrace (continuation)
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install retaining wall, and regrade front yard, replace and relocate front walkway and entry steps, install railing and path lights, relocate post light and extend stone driveway edging at 86 Beacon Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a shed, replace gutters and downspouts and install chimney caps, repair and replace shutters, repair front and side entry landings, railing systems and window trim, and repaint clapboard siding on the front elevation at 33 Orchard Road
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to build an addition, install a new window, relocate a chimney and replace windows at 95 Suffolk Road (continuation).

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

School Committee to meet Tuesday, July 16th – NOTE: Early Morning Meeting Time: 8:00 a.m.

The School Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 16th at 8:00 a.m. in Room 210 at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street. The agenda includes the following:

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of July 14th

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

  • 180, 188, 210 Needham Street – Possible Special Permit amendment to add 36 additional parking stalls
  • 29 Kewadin Road – Special Permit Amendment to construct an addition
  • 100 Langley Road – Special Permit to allow three attached dwellings
  • 87 Herrick Road – Special Permit to allow establish a detached accessory apartment

The Development Review Team Snapshot can be found here.

What’s up for this week? A lot even though it’s summer time!

Potential shortening of the duration of the overnight parking ban. Yes – the City Council will be voting on this at their full council meeting TONIGHT – with the suggested dates of December 15th (instead of November 15) to April 1st (instead of April 15th). See Reports Docket

Banks at Washington Place? Yes – that is scheduled to be voted on TONIGHT – despite a condition to prohibit banks at the site when the original special permit was granted. See Reports Docket and Land Use Committee Report.

Zoning Amendment to change the Inclusionary Zoning requirements is scheduled to be voted on TONIGHT. See Reports Docket and the Zoning and Planning Committee Report.

New Ordinance regarding Short-Term Rentals is scheduled to be voted on TONIGHT. See Reports Docket and the Zoning and Planning Report.

Not sure what will happen with the Sidewalk Clearing Ordinance amendments with Finance failing to carry an approval vote yet two other committees- Public Facilities and the Public Safety and Transportation Committee voting in favor. See Reports Docket and the Finance Committee Report.

Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP) to move to 687 Watertown Street – Former Horace Mann Elementary School – as City Council will vote on the 5-58 and Site Plan Approval TONIGHT. See Reports Docket and the Public Facilities Committee Report.

Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance Amendments are scheduled to be voted on TONIGHT. The amendments include a new definition for “reusable bag” as well as a $0.10 fee on paper bags. See Reports Docket and Finance Committee Report.