The latest announcements and updates...

What’s Up In Newton This Week – MLK Jr. Celebration- “Know Your Neighbor” TODAY; Northland Referendum Election Date to be set on Tuesday; 478 Parking Space Waiver in Newton Center to be voted on Tuesday; Chapter 40B Dunstan East proposal by Mark Development before Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday and more……

MLK Jr. Celebration: The MLK Jr. 2020 Annual Celebratiion will take place this morning, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, 848 Beacon Street, Newton Centre. This year’s theme is “Know Your Neighbor”. There will be a community chorus performance and a Community Coffee: An Engagement and Activism Fair. More details about this event can be found here.

Northland Referendum Date to be set on Tuesday evening: At the last full Council Meeting, five City Councilors (Norton, Ciccone, Kalis, Markiewicz, and Malakie) chartered the vote to set the date of the special election for the Northland Referendum. The four-person (five – in this case) charter effectively halted the Council from setting the date of the referendum until the next regularly scheduled Full Council meeting (preventing the calling of a special meeting) – which will be on Tuesday. Here are some memos regarding the special election that I posted last week, but may still be of interest, this week:

  • Planning Department memo here;
  • City Clerk memo here;
  • Council President memo here.

478 Parking Space Waiver Request: Yes, 478 otherwise required parking space may be waived if the City Council votes to accept the recommendation from the Land Use Committee for a request made by Union Realty Trust in conjunction with a request to allow a restaurant with more than 50 seats. The properties seeking the request are not contiguous, and comprise of 93-105 Union Street, 1280 Centre Street, 47-61 Langley Road, 43-63 Union Street, and 790-794 Beacon Street. Read the report to understand why the request is being made and the reasoning behind the Planning Department and Land Use Committee’s support of this request.

Dunstan East – Chapter 40B proposal for West Newton before ZBA on Wednesday: The long-awaited public hearing on the Dunstan East – Chapter 40B proposal for West Newton will be held on Wednesday, January 22nd. The meeting will begin at 6:30 but the Public Hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. As you may recall, the proposal is for 244 residential units – with 61 of those units to be “affordable”, and some retail space and maintaining and existing office building. The project will be located in West Newton – 1149, 1151, 1169, 1171-1173, 1179 and 1185 Washington Street, 12, 18, 24 and 25 Kempton Place, and 32 and 34 Dunstan Street.

What to do with the West Newton Armory? A Public Hearing will be held by the Real Property/Reuse Committee regarding potential uses for the West Newton Armory located at 1135 Washington Street. The Armory was one of the options folks got to weigh in on at the recent NewCAL meeting that was held last Thursday evening. Other sites that were looked at include: Existing Senior Center, Former Aquinas Junior College, the Ed Center,West Suburban YMCA, the Police Headquarters, and the Newton Center Triangle Parking Lot.

Newton Historical Commission has historic number of landmark requests (in one meeting), for West Newton National Register properties (properties that have already been acknowledged for their historic importance): This week’s Newton Historical Commission will review 7 requests for local landmarking – 1253 Washington Street, NR – Local Landmark request, 1173 Washington Street, NR – Local Landmark, 978 Watertown Street, NR – Local Landmark request, 989-1003 Watertown Street, NR– Local Landmark request, 1239-1247 Washington Street, NR – Local Landmark request, 1235 Washington Street, NR – Local Landmark request, and 1 Chestnut Street, NR – Local Landmark request. The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205.

A Cappella at Gregorian Rugs: The Newtones, the Newton South High School’s a cappella group will perform a “Winter Warmer”, this Friday night, January 24th at 7:00 p.m. at Gregorian Rugs, 2284 Washington Street, in Newton Lower Falls. The show will also feature the Northern Lights from Newton North, Noteafy from Brookline High and improv from the Children of the CandyCorn from Newton South. Tickets are $10 and additional details can be found here.

Weekly Road Construction Schedule: The weekly road construction schedule can be found here.

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration 2020

The 52nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration will take place on Monday, January 20th beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Newton, 848 Beacon Street, Newton Center. This year’s theme is Know Your Neighbor. After the event, there will be a Community Coffee: An Engagement an d Activism Fair. More information can be found here.

NewCAL – new sites?

Last Thursday, the NewCAL folks held a community meeting to gather community input on potential alternative locations to site NewCAL – which the Commissioner of Public Buildings stressed would be Senior Center focused but could be utilized by others when not used by Seniors. Unfortunately, I could not find the handouts on the NewCAL website here, but did manage to take a few photos of the handouts.

The most recent meeting minutes of the working group can be found here.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of January 19th

Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the scheduling and priorities for 2020-2021 term as well as the following:

  • 4 Appointments to the Youth Commission:
    • Anna Kusiak
    • Anabel Marre
    • Andrew Li
    • Shiv Sawhney
  • Appointment of Sue Rasala to the Council on Aging
  • Re-appointment of Elizabeth Dugan to the Council on Aging

Public Facilities Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 22nd at 6:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Chief of Staff for DPW, Shawna Sullivan, will provide an overview of the Department of Public Works
  • Request to transfer $1,000,000 from Budget Reserve – Snow and Ice Removal Account to DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors Accounts
  • Public Hearing on Request for Grant of Location (Eversource Energy) to relocate one pole northerly from its existing location in front of 3-5 Claflin Place to the south side of Claflin Place
  • Three Public Hearings on Request for Grants of Location (National Grid):
    • to install and maintain a gas main in Jackson Street
    • to install and maintain a gas main in Sargent Street
    • to install and maintain a gas main in David Road

The Committee will then meet jointly with the Public Safety and Transportation Committee for the following item:

  • Request discussion with the administration and school officials on transportation priorities and and public works/streets/sidewalks, etc.

The Commissioner of Public Buildings will provide an update on ongoing Public Building projects in municipal buildings, schools, the library and NewCAL.

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 22nd at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to appropriate and expend $900,000 from June 30, 2019 Certified Free Cash to Fire Rescue Full Time Salaries Account

The Committee will then meet jointly with the Public Facilities Committee for the following item:

  • Request discussion with the administration and school officials on transportation priorities and and public works/streets/sidewalks, etc.

Real Property/Reuse Committee: The Real Property/Reuse Committee will meet on Thursday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request that the West Newton Armory located at 1135 Washington Street be evaluated for the purpose of leasing the property for redevelopment as 100% affordable housing or for municipal uses

Traffic Council: The Traffic Council will meet on Thursday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a stop sign at Country Club Road and Greenwood Street to enhance safety
  • Request for a No Turn on Red at the intersection of Winchester Street, southbound and Nahanton Street, Monday – Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Request to remove the following stop sign from the Traffic and Parking Regulations (“TPR”): Brandeis Road at Roosevelt Road, northbound and southbound. NOTE: This makes no change in the field as it fixes a mistake in the TPR.
  • Request to discuss and potentially remove some or all of the stop signs in the City’s TPR and in the field, at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Theodore Road
  • Request to remove the following accessible parking space: Chapel Street, east side; 270 feet north of Green Street; northerly 20 feet – as it is no longer needed
  • Request to change the official parking regulations for the portion of William Street located in Newton Corner. The official parking regulations includes a parking prohibition from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. the entire length, for William Street in Ward 1. However, this parking regulation does not match the existing signage and appears to the be the parking regulation for Williams Street in Newton Upper Falls.
  • Request to increase the number of business parking permits available on Lincoln Street between Bowdoin and Woodward Street
  • Request to review and possibly change the official parking regulations for Williams Street in Newton Upper Falls. The current parking regulations for Williams Street prohibits parking on both sides from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. The parking restriction is currently posted only on the west side of the street and will need to be posted on both sides unless the regulations are changed
  • Request to add parking meters along Chestnut Street in Newton Upper Falls, in the spaces next to the existing metered parking area where the Park and Pedal signs are located
  • Request to review, correct, and reorganize the official parking regulations in the TPR for Beacon Street in a format that is easier to use. The item will correct errors in the TPR and will not make any changes to the intended and posted parking regulations, signage, or meters along the Beacon Street corridor
  • Request a slight modification of the No Parking zones in the TPR around the following existing bus stops in order to clarify tnhe bus stop zones: Washington Street eastbound at Crafts Street, Fredette Road at Saw Mill Brook Parkway, and Saw Mill Brook Parkway at Keller Path

Full City Council to Meet on Tuesday, January 21st – 7:00 p.m. Northland Referendum Special Election Date on the agenda

The Full City Council will meet on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

Note: At the last City Council meeting, four members of the City Council chartered the vote on the Northland Referendum Special Election Date. The item was therefore, moved to this City Council meeting for a vote.

City Council Committee Reports – Now Available

Land Use Committee – January 7, 2020 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 189 sq. ft. one-story addition behind an existing detached garage, increasing the FAR to .43 where .41 exists and .33 is required (? maybe allowed?) at 95 Suffolk Road – Subject to Second Call – See Draft Council Order
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to raze and existing garage and replace it with a larger garage, extending the non-conforming side and rear setbacks at 18 Arapahoe RoadSee Draft Council Order
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct dormers in the attic level to add 769 sq. ft. of habitable space for an accessory apartment creating an FAR of of .65 where .55 is allowed and ..53 exists, and to install a staircase to access the roof of an existing detached garage, extending the side and rear setbacks vertically at 68 Manet RoadSee Draft Council Order

All other items were held.

Public Safety and Transportation Committee – January 8, 2020 Report: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to amend the Senior Citizen Sticker Parking to allow the possibility for vehicles displaying a valid senior citizen’s parking sticker to continue to park on Highland Avenue, between Lowell Avenue and Bram Way, thereby freeing up spaces within the Austin Street Parking Lot for other vehicles

The Committee voted NO ACTION NECESSARY on the following item:

  • Annual Report of the Traffic Council for 2019

Public Facilities Committee – January 8, 2020 Report: The Public Facilities Committee did not vote to recommend any items for City Council approval. Instead, they voted to schedule items that were posted on their agenda. So all items were held.

Zoning and Planning Committee – January 13, 2020 Report: The Zoning and Planning Committee held all items. NOTE: There was substantive discussion regarding the history of Zoning Redesign and discussion of the Request for a moratorium on landmark designation.

Land Use Committee – January 14, 2020 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Consistency Ruling regarding a request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a paved portion to remain and a portion of rear paved patio to be removed at 642 Centre Street
  • Request for an Extension of Time on a Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow the expansion of a non-conforming multi-family dwelling use by constructing a three-story multi-family development (20 units) at 32.6′ in height in a manufacturing district with greater than 20,000 sq. ft. of new gross floor area at 182-184 & 166 California StreetDraft Council Order is currently NOT posted online
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a restaurant with more than 50 seats and a parking waiver of 478 parking stalls at 93-105 Union Street, 1280 Centre Street, 47-61 Langley Road, 49-63 Union Street., and 790-794 Beacon Street – Piccadelli Square See Draft Council Order
  • Two requests for Class 1 Auto Dealer Licenses
    • MAG Retail Holdings – CJ LLC /d/b/a McGovern Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram – 777 Washington Street
    • Flaherty Equipment Sales Corporation – 846 Walnut Street
  • Eight requests for Class 2 Auto Dealer Licenses
    • Jacob and Associates – 1232 Washington Street
    • New England Motor Mart, Inc. – 1211 Washington Street
    • Motorcars of Boston, Inc. – 1191 Washington Street
    • JR Car Care, Inc. – 454 Watertown Street
    • KC Auto – 55 Farwell Street
    • Enzo’s Auto Sales – 10 Hawthorn Street
    • Auction Direct Preowned – 1545 Washington Street
    • Newton Collision Inc. – d/b/a GM Autobody

All other items were held. Please Note: Atty Steve Buchbinder presented an update to the Land Use Committee regarding the text amendments to the MU3 Zoning and the Special Permit application submitted in December 2019.

“The proposed development will be capped at 1,025,000 sq. ft. and 60% of the program will be dedicated to residential uses. Atty. Buchbinder and Principal Damien Chavieno presented an update to the Committee on how the proposed special permit petition differs from the petition filed in 2019. The public hearing for the proposed development is scheduled to open on January 28, 2020 after a presentation on Site Design and Open Space. Topics of discussions are currently planned as follows:

  • February 11th – Housing and Fiscal Impacts
  • February 25th – Transportation
  • March 5th – Design Guidelines, Sustainability”

Programs and Services Committee – January 15, 2020 Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to the City Council to accept the provisions of MGL, Chapter 53, Section 18B to allow the City of Newton to provide voters with with (1) the full text of each question; (2) a fair and concise summary of each question, including a 1 sentence statement describing the effect of a yes or no vote, which shall be prepared by the city solicitor; and (3) arguments for and against the question, for all types of municipal ballot questions.

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of January 19th

Board of License Commissioners: The Board of License Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:30 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of December 17, 2019 Minutes
  • Setting of March 2020 Public Hearing Date
  • 3 One-Day Temporary Wine and Malt License Requests
    • Business After-hours networking session on January 23rd from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Village Bank Corporate Headquarters, 320 Needham Street
    • Pop-up Shop @ Simon Pierce at the Street, 33 Boylston Street, on January 25th from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. with alcohol service from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    • Opening Reception Art Exhibition on February 6th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the New Art Center, 61 Washington Street
  • Request for One Day Temporary All Alcohol and Entertainment License for a Horace Mann PTO Spring Auction on March 14th, from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. at Newton North High School, 457 Walnut Street
  • Two requests for One Day Temporary Wine and Malt and Entertainment License
    • Birthday party on February 8th from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. at the Windsor Club, 1601 Beacon Street
    • Benefit Dinner for Jennifer Price Global Education Leadership Fund on May 9th from 6:30 – 11:30 p.m. at Newton North High School, 457 Walnut Street
  • Change of Officers/Directors/LLC Manager from M Stein Ells to Helen Kaminsky to be exercised at Chipotle, 300 Needham Street
  • New Common Victualler and Entertainment License at Chefronsky, LLC d/b/a Ronsky’s 3A Boylston Street, Sunday – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. – There will be 8 seats. (?)
  • Transfer of All Alcohol License, New Common Victualler and Entertainment License from B&B Culinary Concepts, LLC d/ba/ Lumiereto New Towne Hospitality, LLC d/b/a the Bluebird Bar & Grill, 1293 Washington Street. There will be 88 seats.
  • New Wine and Malt Package Store License at BDIC Passion Project, Inc. d/b/a Eamons Walnut Market, 20 Lincoln Street. Hours of operation will be Monday – 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. , Tuesday – Friday – 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Saturday – 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Solid Waste Commission: The Solid Waste Commission will meet on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00 p.m. in Room B of the Newton Free Library. The agenda includes the following:

  • Introductions
  • Approval of December 19, 2019 Meeting Minutes
  • Bylaws/Ordinance Change update
  • Public Spaces Recycling Update
  • Sustainable Materials Management Division Update – Public Comments received, curbside compliance, grant applications, School Committee presentation, new contract, organics subscription program, proposed reusable containers policy, proposed private hauler/recycling ordinance change, other items
  • New bulky waste ordinance update
  • Extended Producer Responsibility presentation
  • Trash reduction goals/2020 Commission Goals
  • Public Comments/Other Announcments

West Newton Armory Joint Advisory Planning Group: The West Newton Armory Joint Advisory Planning Group will meet on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of December 12, 2019 Minutes
  • Appointment of Rotating Secretary
  • Introduction from Councilor Vicki Danberg, Chair of Real Property/Reuse
  • Presentation from Josh Morse, Building Commissioner
  • Brainstorming on Future Uses and Meeting Topics
  • DHCD Housing Choice Grant Update
  • Meeting Reminders:
    • Real Property/Reuse Committe Meeting – 1/23 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204
    • February JAPG Meetings – February 2 and February 25th at 7:00 p.m.

Newton Retirement Board: The Newton Retirement Board will meet on Wednesday, January 22nd at 3:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda can be found here.

Youth Commission: The Youth Commission will meet on Wednesday, January 22nd at 5 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Attendance
  • Planning for 2020
  • OSRP Land Use Survey Questions
  • Harvard Grad Research Project
  • Other

Zoning Board of Appeals: The Newton Zoning Board of Appeals will meet on Wednesday, January 23rd at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Elections; any necessary briefing from the Law Department regarding any items in litigation; any changes to the Rules and Procedures of the Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Public Hearing on Dunstan East – application for a Comprehensive Permit under Chapter 40B of the Mass General Laws to construct at 244-unit residential building with 61 affordable units, 12,141 sq. ft. of retail space, and maintain approximately 8,222 sq. ft. of existing office buildling all on approximately 3.1 acres of land located at 1149,1151,1169, 1171-1173, 1179 and 1185 Washington Street, and 12,18, 24 and 25 Kempton Place, and 32 and 34 Dunstan Street in West Newton. – See Planning Memo

Designer Selection Committee: The Designer Selection Committee will meet on Thursday, January 23rd at 6:00 p.m. in the Trustees Room at the Newton Free Library. The agenda includes the following:

  • Horace-Mann Elementary School Project – Designer Interviews
  • Interview Short-list of Designer Responses

Newton Historical Commission: The Newton Historical Commission will meet on Thursday, January 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • 7 Local Landmark Requests for the following National Register listed properties:
    • 1253 Washington Street
    • 1173 Washington Street
    • 978 Washington Street
    • 989-1003 Watertown Street
    • 1239-1247 Washington Street
    • 1235 Washington Street
    • 1 Chestnut Street
  • 5 Demolition Requests
    • Request to demolish garage and partial demolition of the house at 43 Prince Street – listed on the National Register
    • Request to demolish buildings at 28 Annapolis Road
    • Request to demolish buildings at 22 Esty Farm Road
    • Request to move the house on the lot at 52 Bennington Road
    • Request to demolish buildings at 22 Ober Road
    • Request to demolish buildings at 59 Selwyn Road
    • Request to formalize the approval of a waiver at 9 Sharon Avenue

The Staff Memo can be found here and the Packet Documents can be found here. Also see Planning Memo addressed to the City Council regarding the Local Landmark Process in Newton.

Wireless Working Group: The Wireless Working Group will meet on Thursday, January 23rd at 8:00 a.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Discussion with wireless expert, Annabele Dodd
  • Open Discussion
  • Schedule Upcoming Meetings

What’s Happening in Newton this Week? Finance Committee Meeting cancelled, Riverside is back (update only this week), Medical Marijuana Dispensary Meeting (1158 Beacon Street), Party to kick-off CREATE Newton, School Building Project and Enrollment Update, Riverside (update only this week) and NewCAL are back and more…..

The first (?) Finance Committee Meeting of the term has been cancelled. See Cancellation Notice here.

Concerned about trash and recycling? After reading the front page article of Sunday’s Globe (or the online version here), I’m very concerned about the future of recycling. The Long Range Planning Subcommittee of the Solid Waste Commission will be meeting TONIGHT at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2G, at the Newton Free Library. Although the agenda does not specifically mention recycling, it might be a good opportunity to learn more about their recommendations.

Union Twist – 1158 Beacon Street – Recreational Marijuana Dispensary on the Highlands Area Council’s agenda this week. In fact, the agenda is focused not only on an update about this proposal but will feature former City Councilor and Land Use Chair, Greg Schwartz who will provide information on marijuana dispensary siting rules and other special permit considerations.

Riverside – Zone Change Request and Special Permit/Site Plan Approval Request is on the Land Use Committee Agenda this Tuesday evening. However, according to the Chair’s Note:

” Chairs Note: The Committee will hear an update from the petitioner relative to the following two items. A Public Hearing for the following items has been assigned for January 28, 2020. The discussion on January 28, 2020 will be relative to Site Design and Open Space”

CREATE Newton: CREATE Newton is hosting a Community Reception on Tuesday, January 14th at the Showcase SuperLux Theatre at the Street, Chestnut Hill from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Hors d’ouvres and Cash Bar but an RSVP is required. To RSVP – go here (hopefully – it’s not too late!). For more information about CREATE Newton and to read/review the Comprehensive Arts and Culture Plan – go here (NOTE: that if you click on the online version to view the Plan, a cookies warning message comes up).

Want to know the latest plan for the Schools regarding building projects and enrollment projections? The City Council and School Committee will hold a joint meeting on Wednesday, January 15th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 111 at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street. The agenda can be found here.

NewCAL is back! It won’t be located at Albermarle or on any other parkland (” This morning the NewCAL Working Group recommended to me that Albemarle and all parks/green space be taken off the list of locations being considered for NewCAL. I agree; they’re off the list.” – from the Mayor’s January 7, 2020 update), but the project is still moving forward kicking off its first meeting of the year on Thursday, January 16th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 111 at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street. More info can be found here.

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

Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council to Meet on Monday, January 13th

The Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council will meet on Monday, January 13th at 7:30 p.m. in the Waban Library Center, 1608 Beacon Street. The agenda includes the following:

  • Update on the Union Twist proposal for a medical marijuana dispensary at 1158 Beacon Street – (Jaylin Cleaners building)
  • Presentation and community discussion regarding marijuana dispensary siting rules and other special permit considerations and how residents can be most effective in advocating with respect to dispensary permit applications