All posts by Amy Sangiolo

MBTA Community Meeting – Monday – April 30th – Proposed Newton Highlands Green Line Station Improvements

The MBTA will be hosting a community meeting on Monday, April 30th at the Women’s Club of Newton Highlands, 72 Columbus Street, to discuss proposed pedestrian accessibility improvements to the Newton Highlands Green Line MBTA Station.  These improvements include:

  • reconstruction of existing ramps from Walnut Street and from Station Avenue
  • a new pedestrian ramp from Hyde Street to the “Inbound” Platform side of the tracks
  • reconstruction of both the inbound and outbound platforms to be raised to provide easier access to the Green Line cars
  • new lighting
  • new covered bike rack
  • new benches
  • new trash receptacles

More information can be found here.

Municipal Aggregation Hearing

The Department of Public Utilities will be holding a Public Hearing on the City of Newton’s application to procure electric supply for its consumers within its municipal borders.  The hearing will take place on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 2:00 p.m., at the Department’s offices located at One South Station – 5th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts.

Written comments can be submitted to the Department no later than the close of business
(5:00 p.m.) on May 16, 2018 and filed with Mark D. Marini, Secretary, Department of Public Utilities, One South Station, 5th Floor, Boston, 02110. A copy of all written comments must also be sent to Sarah A. Smegal, Hearing Officer at the Department of Public Utilities. One copy of all written comments should also be sent to counsel for the City, Paul W. Gromer, Esq., 85 Merrimac Street, 3rd Floor Boston, Massachusetts 02110.

All documents should also be submitted to the Department in electronic format using
one of the following methods: (1) by e-mail attachment to dpu.efiling@state.ma.us and to
the Hearing Officer, Sarah A. Smegal, sarah.smegal@state.ma.us, or (2) on a CD-ROM.
The text of the e-mail or CD-ROM must specify: (1) the docket number of the proceeding
(D.P.U. 18-36); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief
descriptive title of the document. The electronic filing should also include the name, title,
and telephone number of a person to contact in the event of questions about the filing. Theelectronic file name should identify the document, but should not exceed 50 characters in length. All documents submitted in electronic format will be posted on the Department’s
website: http://www.mass.gov/dpu.

Notice can be found here.

Board and Commission Meetings – Week of April 15th

Washington Place Liaison Committee:  The Washington Place Liaison Committee will meet on Tuesday, April 17th in Room 211 at 6:00 p.m..  The agenda can be found here.

Board of Assessors:  The Board of Assessors will meet on Wednesday, April 18th in Room 108 at 9:00 a.m.  The agenda can be found here.

Newton Taxation Aid Committee:  The Newton Taxation Aid Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 18th in Room 205 at 3:30 p.m.  The agenda can be found here.

Urban Design Commission:  The Urban Design Commission will meet on Wednesday, April 18th in Room B10 (Planning Department’s Conference Room) at 7:00 p.m.  The agenda includes the following sign permit applications:

  • 19-31 Needham Street – Professional Physical Therapy
  • 34 Langley Road – Marcus
  • 30 Hammond Pond Parkway – Boston College
  • 287-301 Elliot Street – GS Development
  • 1255 Washington Street – Jenny Craig
  • 367 California Street – La Bonne Maison
  • 1203 Walnut Street – Walnut Grille
  • 89 Wyman Street – The Village Bank
  • 95 Elm Street – Paddy’s Public House

Development Review Team:  The Development Review Team will meet this week on the following item:

  • 175-199 Boylston Street – Special Permit to allow temporary rug sales in parking area
    (previous 5-year special permit to do so expired in 2017).

The agenda can be found here.

City Council Meetings – Week of April 15th

Public Safety and Transportation Committee:  The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to amend the 128 Business Council Bus License
  • Discussion with Police Department regarding Tactical Readiness
  • Discussion with the Chief of Police on Crash Trends in the City
  • Discussion with the Chief of Police and Department staff on Community Policing

Public Facilities Committee:  The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for Grants of Location for 227 Walnut Street (Verizon); Karen Road (National Grid) and Brookside Avenue (National Grid)
  • Appointments to the Solid Waste Commission:  Robin Maltz and Claudine Ellyin
  • Appointments to the Design Review Committee:  Amy MacKrell and Stephanie Gilman
  • Discussion with DPW regarding sewer extension billing
  • Discussion/Review of the Street Design Guide
  • Re-appointments to the Designer Selection Committee:  Kenneth White, James Powers and Benjamin Tucker
  • Re-appointments to the Design Review Committee:  Marc Resnick and Jonathan Kantar

Programs and Services Committee:  The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment to the Jackson Homestead:  Leland Fisher
  • Re-appointment to the Biosafety Committee:  Aric Parnes
  • Discussion of a proposed Polystyrene Ban on Disposable Food and Beverage Containers

Full City Council Meeting and Mayor’s Budget Address – Tuesday, April 17th

The Full City Council will meet on Tuesday, April 17th at 7:45 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.  The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

Of note on the New Docket is a request to amend the Special Permit/Site Plan approval for the Washington Place Development.  You might recall that there was a hybrid development proposal that was approved by the Council.  That hybrid had options for a 140 unit proposal or a 160 unit proposal. This request includes:

  • substitution of the originally approved plan for a 140 unit plan that would add a fifth floor to the middle building fronting Washington Street and reduce the massing at the rear of the building on Walnut Street.
  • an overall decrease of 14,575 sq. ft from the originally approved 160 unit option
  • an increase of 1,970 sq. ft from the originally approved 140 unit option.
  • the addition of 170 sq. ft of commercial square footage
  • relocation of two at-grade parking stalls to the underground garage.

In addition, the petition is seeking to change the condition requiring the filing of a Final Inclusionary Housing Plan and an Affirmative Fair Marketing and Resident Selection Plan – originally required as a condition precedent to receiving a building permit, to a condition precedent to receiving a temporary occupancy permit.

Mayor Fuller will be giving her first budget address.  She will be submitting the the FY2019 Municipal and School Operating Budget totaling $412,513,389 as well as the FY2019-2023 Capital Improvement Plan and FY2019-2023 Supplemental Capital Improvement Plan.

City Council Committee Reports – Week of April 15th

Land Use Committee Report – April 3, 2018:  The following items were recommended for approval:

  • 2 Terrace Avenue – Petition for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for additional space over a two-car garage exceeding the FAR from .41 to .43  Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • 2095 Commonwealth Avenue (Auburndale Starbucks) – Petition for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a restaurant with more than 50 seats, allow a free standing sign (withdrawn), allow for more than 2 secondary signs, waivers to the interior landscaping requirement, parking waivers for parking in the front setback and for aisle width.  Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • 333 Nahanton Street (Jewish Community Center) – Petition for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to amend the site plan to construct a 2-story 4,352 sq. ft. addition at the rear of the existing gymnasium. Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • 93 – 105 Union Street (Piccadilly Square) – Petition for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for a Comprehensive Sign Package and waivers for individual signs. Draft Council Order can be found here.

Land Use Committee Report – April 10, 2018:  The following items were recommended for approval:

  • 80 Union Street – Request to Withdraw an application for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to amend a prior Board Order issued for 70-80 Union Street and 93 Union Street and eliminate a requirement for 4 off-site parking stalls at 93 Union Street.
  • 133 Park Street – Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to enclose first and second floor porches and construct a two-story side addition exceeding the FAR of an allowed .37 (existing is .34) to a proposed FAR of .48. Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • 36 Cummings Road – Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a two-story addition to the rear of a house and the side of a house extending the existing non-conforming structure. Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • 110 Parker Avenue – Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a second story addition and attic space further increasing the non-conforming setback and increasing the FAR from an allowed .48 (existing is .38) to .50. Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • 64 Green Park – Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to replace a two-story enclosed porch with a two story addition further increasing the non-conforming FAR from an allowed .36 (eixsting ,51) to .53. Draft Council Order can be found here.
  • JFK Circle – Newton Housing Authority – Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to amend a prior Board Order and remove 26,366 sq. ft. of land from 83-127 and 106-128 JFK Circle to develop 55 affordable elderly housing units (requiring Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit), extend non-conforming setbacks and parking waivers. Law Department memo and draft Council Order can be found here.

Zoning and Planning Committee Report – April 9, 2018:  All items were held. There was an in-depth discussion about two items and a brief update on the Washington Street Corridor Action Plan.

  • Shared Parking Pilot Program – See Planning Memo here.
  • Zoning Redesign Series – See Planning Memo here.

Finance Committee Report – April 9, 2018:  The Finance Committee approved submittal of the FY2017 Comprehensive Financial Audit Report and other external audit reports:  FY2017 Single Audit Reports – GAO and OMB Reports and  Management Letter. All other items were held.

Public Safety and Transportation Committee Report – April 4, 2018: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee voted to approve the following:

  • proposed amendments to the Pilotless Aircraft Ordinance (Drones) – suggested amendments in response to Federal Court’s decision striking down registration requirements and other prohibitions
  • appeal of Traffic Council’s decision for flashing warning lights at LaGrange Street and instead – install pedestrian activated signal with a flashing yellow light
  • No Action Necessary – Discussion item on preparedness for automated, electric and shared vehicles

The Committee also had substantive discussion on the City’s ability to test and implement self-driving vehicles.

Public Facilities Committee Report – April 4, 2018:  All items were held but the Committee had substantive discussions on the following:

  • Update on the Organic Waste Composting Pilot Program from the Director of Environmental Affairs, Waneta Trabert as well as a general discussion of the status of contaminated recycling and sustainable materials management – See the end of the Committee Report for the Director’s excellent presentation!
  • Review of proposed City Council ordinances/regulations regarding petitions to install wireless communications facilities and poles

Traffic Council – April 12 ,2018:  The Traffic Council voted to approve the following:

  • Parking restriction on Lexington Street (Ward 4) near the pedestrian crosswalk that leads to Burr Elementary School field
  • Parking restrictions on Hawthorne Avenue (Ward 4) – entire length on the east side, from Woodland Road to to Unity Street on the west side, and a two-hour limit all days and all hours from Unity Street to Aspen Avenue on the west side
  • Parking restrictions on Amy Circle (Ward 5) – No parking east side from Beacon Street to a point 175 feet northerly, two-hour limit from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. west side from Beacon Street to a point 175 feet north of Beacon on the east side
  • Stop sign at the intersection of Wolcott Street extension and Wolcott Street (Ward 4).

The Council voted No Action Necessary on the following items:

  • Request to review traffic flow on Ellis Street (Ward 5)
  • Request to study speed and traffic flow on Radcliff and Tamworth Roads (Ward 5)
  • Request for traffic calming measures on Washington Street from Beacon Street to Aspen Avenue (Ward 4)
  • Request for speed study, traffic calming measures, and a raised crosswalk at Auburn Street and Woodland Road (Ward 4)

Sign up for NewtonSERVES – Sunday – April 29th

Join fellow Newtonites volunteering on Sunday, April 29th for the 18th Annual Newton Serves – a day of community service.  More information on how to sign up can be found here.  There are lots of volunteer opportunities in the morning and in the afternoon still available at schools:  Bigelow, Burr, Countryside, Franklin, Horace Mann, Lincoln-Eliot, Mason Rice, Memorial Spaulding, Newton North (Operation Bold Paint), Newton South, Oak Hill, Pierce, Underwood, Ward School, and Williams School; parks, burial grounds and playgrounds all across the City.  Hope to see you at one of the volunteer sites or at the ice cream finale!!

Heartbreak Hill Road Race and Walk

The 26th Annual Heartbreak Hill Road Race and Walk will take place this Sunday, April 15th from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Rain or Shine.  Online registration is closed but you can still register on Saturday, from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday or on Sunday morning after 9:00 a.m. or by calling 617-796-1540.  More information can be found here.