Category: City Council

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of February 23rd

Finance Committee: The regularly scheduled Finance Committee meeting has been cancelled. The Meeting Cancellation Notice can be found here.

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will first meet jointly with the Planning and Development Board to hold a Joint Public Hearing on Monday, February 24th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber and then meet as a Committee following the public hearing. The agenda includes the following:

  • Joint Public Hearing with the Planning and Development Board on Part A of an item requesting review and possible amendments to Section 7.3.3.C.5 of Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to further inform the objectives of reducing energy consumption and limited use of natural resources. See Planning Department Memo here.

Following the Joint Public Hearing, the Committee will then meet to discuss the following:

  • Review, discussion, and direction relative to the draft Zoning Ordinance
  • Request to amend the following ordinance chapters: Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture – NOTE: The Chair intends to move No Action Necessary

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda is solely focused on the Riverside petition for a Change of Zone and Request for a Special Permit. The Committee’s discussion will focus on Transportation.

See Planning Department Memo here.

Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 26th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Nicole Banks as the new Commissioner of Parks and Recreation and Culture
  • Request to amend the following ordinance chapters (Docket Item #138-20) Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Request to amend the following ordinance chapters (Docket Item #9-20): Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture – NOTE: This is a different docket item and the Chair is requesting a vote of NO ACTION NECESSARY on this item.
  • Request for a discussion with the School Department and the School Committee about fees in the Newton Public Schools.

Traffic Council: The Traffic Council will meet on Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for an accessible parking space in front of 62 Fellsmere Road
  • Request to modify the parking regulations on Austin Street between Walnut Street and Lowell Avenue to account for the relocated parking meters
  • Request to update Sec. TPR-194, Time limits in municipal off-street parking areas, to reflect the distribution of time limits among the parking spaces, as well as enforcement hours, in the Austin Street Parking Lot
  • Request to add stop signs into the Traffic and Parking Regulations (TPR) on Philip Bram Way as it intersects with Austin Street and Highland Avenue
  • Request to change the parking regulations on the section of Highland Avenue between Lowell Avenue and Bram Way to allow for permit parking by residents of the street and seniors with senior parking permits
  • Request installation of an RRFB pedestrian crossing signal on Linwood Avenue, crossing Walnut Street, to improve pedestrian safety
  • Request to review and possibly change the parking regulations along the section of Washington Park between Walnut Street and Park Place
  • Request to allow parking along the north side of Homer Street, across from the library parking lot, in the area between the two pedestrian crossing signals
  • Request on behalf of the Oak Hill Middle School Principal, for the addition of “No U-turn” signs on Wheeler Road in the vicinity of Oak Hill Middle School

The Chair will entertain a motion of NO ACTION NECESSARY on the following items:

  • Request for temporary changes to the parking regulations on the section of Highland Avenue between Walnut Street and Lowell Avenue to help accommodate the parking needs of seniors attending programming at the Newton Senior Center during the reconstruction of the Austin Street Parking Lot. This may involve temporarily adding this section of Highland Avenue into the Newtonville Neighborhood Parking District
  • Request to allow flexibility in terms of the location, duration, and pricing of public parking spaces as well as potential changes to traffic circulation within and proximate to the Austin Street parking lot, in order to provide for the reconstruction of the Austin Street parking lot

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of February 23rd

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

  • 96 Monadnock Road– Discussion regarding possible short-term rental
  • 39 Norwood Avenue – Special Permit to extend nonconforming front setback and other renovations to single-family dwelling
  • 1084 Chestnut Street – Amendment to prior Special Permit to increase floor area ratio (FAR) of three-family dwelling by covering deck
  • 16 Marlboro Street – Special Permit for a single-family dwelling to exceed allowed floor area ratio (FAR)
  • 94 Charlesbank Road – Discussion regarding combining two lots and constructing an addition to two-family dwelling

The Development review Snapshot can be found here.

City Council Reports – Now Available

Programs and Services – February 5, 2020 Committee Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to relocate the polling location for Ward 2 Precinct 1, which is currently at the old Horace Mann School on the corner of Watertown Street and Albermarle Road to the Albermarle Field House at 250 Albermarle Road.

The Committee voted No Action Necessary on the following:

  • Request a discussion with the Complete Count Committee Newton’s plans to assure that all Newton residents are counted in the next Census.

All other items were held.

Public Facilities – February 5, 2020 Committee Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of Meryl Kessler and Carl Valente to the Solid Waste Commission
  • Request to transfer $500,000 from Budget Reserve – Snow and Ice Removal Account to the DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal ($200,000) and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors Accounts ($300,000).

All other items were held. Please note: There was a substantive discussion on the Solar Phase 3 Projects and on the update on the Climate Action Plan.

Finance – February 10, 2020 Committee Report: The Finance Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to accept and expend a $43,943 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to fund overtime to have police officers monitor high accident locations and conduct traffic enforcement through written warnings and/or citations
  • Request to approve a proposed 5-year contract for online payment services with the vendor as chosen by the RFP evaluation committee
  • Recommendation from Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for authorization for City Treasurer to amend the funding source for $740,000 to fund legal and conservation restriction expenses for Webster Woods approved by Council Orders #379-19 (3) and (4) to allow the City to borrow seven hundred and forty thousand dollars ($740,000) as authorized by G. L. c. 44B, sec. 11, for a period of 30 years, and any expenditures already appropriated from the CPC’s Open Space Reserve and Restricted Fund Balance for open space pursuant to the CPC’s original recommendations be reimbursed from the sale of such bonds or notes, and that any premium received upon the sale of such bonds or notes, less any such premium applied to the payment of issuance costs of the bonds or notes shall be deposited in the Community Preservation Fund’s restricted fund balance for open space
  • Submission of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and external audit reports for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 for City Council review and acceptance
  • Reappointment of James Shaughnessy as a member of the Board of Assessors

All other items were held.

Zoning and Planning – February 10, 2020 Committee Report: The Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the following:

  • 2 Appointments to the Upper Falls Historic District Commission: Scott Aquillina and Daphne Romanoff
  • Appointment of Martin Smargiasi to the Auburndale Historic District Commission
  • Reappointment of Chris Steele to the Planning and Development Board
  • Reappointment of Dan Brody to the Community Preservation Committee

All other items were held. Please note: There was a substantive discussion regarding the Draft Zoning Ordinance.

Land Use Committee – February 5, 2020 Report (Report NOT online): The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a free-standing sign on the property located at 40 Austin Street – (Rockland Bank) – See Draft Council Order
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a new free-standing sign on the property located at 84 Needham Street (Creative Bookfair) – See See Draft Council Order

Land Use Committee – February 11, 2020 Committee Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Two Requests for an Extension of Time to exercise a special permit:
    • Request for an Extenskioin of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit to convert a two-family dwelling into a three-unit multi-family dwelling by converting the existing attic space, allow parking within 5’ of residential dwelling units, to waive the minimum aisle width requirements, to waive driveway width, and to waive lighting requirements at 20-22 Circuit Avenue
    • Request for an Extension of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit to further increase the non-conforming FAR by constructing a 191 sq. ft. addition in the existing footprint of the house, further extending the non-conforming three-story structure at 105 Temple Street

All other items were held.

City Council Meetings – Week of February 16th

Programs and Services Committee: The regularly scheduled Programs and Services Committee Meeting this week has been cancelled. The Notice of Cancellation can be found here.

Public Faciltiies Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for acceptance of a sewer pipe as a public sewer and acceptance of an easement in property known as the Farwell Street subdivision. The developer shall pay all costs associated with the construction of the sewer pipe and the connection to the MWRA sewer line.
  • Chair’s Note: The Public Works Department will update the Committee on projects in the Water, Sewer, and Stormwater Divisions.
  • Re-appointment of James Purdy to the Energy Commission
  • Re-appointment of Michael Gevelber to the Energy Commission
  • Re-appointment of Halina Brown to the Energy Commission

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes only one item:

  • Request for public comment on priorities for transportation planning

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of February 16th

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

  • 26 Magnolia Avenue – New construction requiring retaining walls in setback and/or FAR relief
  • 449 Commonwealth Avenue – Expansion of detached garage to accommodate an accessory apartment
  • 130 Wheeler Road – (Oak Hill Middle School) Proposed three classroom addition
  • 75 Vernon Street – Non-profit education use in church

The Development Review Snapshot can be found here.

City Council Meetings – Week of February 9th

Finance Committee: The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, February 10th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to accept and expend a $43,943 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to fund overtime to have police officers monitor high accident locations and conduct traffic enforcement through written warnings and/or citations
  • Request to transfer $500,000 from Budget Reserve – Snow and Ice Removal Account to the following accounts: DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal ($200,000) and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors ($300,000)
  • Request to approve a proposed 5-year contract for online payment services with the vendor as chosen by the RFP evaluation committee
  • Recommendation from Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for authorization for City Treasurer to amend the funding source for $740,000 to fund legal and conservation restriction expenses for Webster Woods approved by Council Orders #379-19 (3) and (4) to allow the City to borrow seven hundred and forty thousand dollars ($740,000) as authorized by G. L. c. 44B, sec. 11, for a period of 30 years, and any expenditures already appropriated from the CPC’s Open Space Reserve and Restricted Fund Balance for open space pursuant to the CPC’s original recommendations be reimbursed from the sale of such bonds or notes, and that any premium received upon the sale of such bonds or notes, less any such premium applied to the payment of issuance costs of the bonds or notes shall be deposited in the Community Preservation Fund’s restricted fund balance for open space
  • Submission of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and external audit reports for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 for City Council review and acceptance
  • Chair’s Note: The Committee will review the June 30, 2019 Independent Financial Audit Report with Matt Hunt of Clifton, Larson, Allen, LLC, the City’s independent auditor. Please bring the Management Letter, GAO and OMB A-133 Reports, and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2019 that you received in the packet. The reports can also be found online here.
  • Reappointment of James Shaughnessy as a member of the Board of Assessors

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet on Monday, February 10th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • 2 Appointments to the Upper Falls Historic District Commission:
    • Scott Aquillina
    • Daphne Romanoff
  • Appointment of Martin Smargiasi to the Auburndale Historic District Commission
  • Reappointment of Chris Steele to the Planning and Development Board
  • Reappointment of Dan Brody to the Community Preservation Committee
  • Request for review, discussion, and direction relative to the draft Zoning Ordinance – See Planning Memo

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 11th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Two Requests for an Extension of Time to exercise a special permit:
    • Request for an Extenskioin of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit to convert a two-family dwelling into a three-unit multi-family dwelling by converting the existing attic space, allow parking within 5’ of residential dwelling units, to waive the minimum aisle width requirements, to waive driveway width, and to waive lighting requirements at 20-22 Circuit Avenue
    • Request for an Extension of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit to further increase the non-conforming FAR by constructing a 191 sq. ft. addition in the existing footprint of the house, further extending the non-conforming three-story structure at 105 Temple Street
  • Three Requests to amend a previously approved special permit:
    • Request to amend the deed restrictions and to revise the design of the parking structure and surface parking to the approved three-story office building, to reduce interior landscaping requirements, to reduce loading bay length requirements and to allow reduced minimum open space requirements which requires an amendment to the deed restriction at 180 Wells Avenue
    • Request to amend the deed restriction that was previously approved to be further amended to allow a waiver of the minimum open space requirement to less than 40% at 180 Wells Avenue
    • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit to increase the number of allowable nursery students to 41, to allow parking in the front setback and to reduce the minimum open space at the site at 349 Dedham Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Change of Zone to Mixed-Use 3/Transit-Oriented District for portions of land located at 355 Grove Street (currently zoned BU-2) and 399 Grove Street (currently zoned BU-5) abutting the existing MU-3 Zone (Riverside Development)
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a mixed use, transit-oriented development of residential units, office, retail, personal services, restaurant, hotel, and related commercial uses not to exceed 1,025,000 square feet of gross floor area …. at 355 and 399 Grove Street – Riverside MBTA Development) – See Planning Memo

NOTE: The Riverside Discussion will be focused relative to Housing and Fiscal Impacts

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of February 9th

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

  • 300 Needham Street – Special Permit to waive parking stalls in conjunction with a restaurant expansion
  • 351 Otis Street – Special Permit for single-family dwelling to exceed the allowed floor area ratio
  • 43 Prince Street – Special Permit for single-family dwelling to exceed the allowed floor area ratio
  • 73 Washburn Avenue – Special Permit to extend single-family dwelling’s nonconforming front setback by covering an existing porch

The Development Review Team Snapshot can be found here.

Full City Council to Meet on Monday, February 3rd

The Full City Council will meet on Monday, February 3rd at 7:45 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The Reports Docket can be found here and the Revised New Docket can be found here. Please note: The President of the Council will request a roll call vote to go into Executive Session to hear from legal counsel regarding an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed against the City Council. – See Open Meeting Law Complaint

Also, please note that the 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 for properties located at 93-105 Union Street, 1280 Centre Street, 47-61 Langley Road, 49-63 Union Street and 790-794 Beacon Street was chartered at the last Full Council Meeting and is once again before the Council. See – Planning Department Memo with a Draft Council Order.

City Council Meetings – Week of January 26th


Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet on Monday, January 27th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber and Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to amend Chapter 22 of the Revised Newton City Ordinances, 2017, to temporarily suspend nominations made by the Historical Commission and by the City Council for landmark designations. The temporary suspension will prevent and suspend the processing, and approval of any property currently under consideration for landmark designation and will temporarily suspend future landmark designations made by the Historical Commission and the City Council. Landmark nominations made by the Mayor, Director of Planning of Development and the Commissioner of Inspectional Services shall not be affected. This temporary suspension shall end no later than December 31, 2020. NOTE: As I mentioned last week, there were 7 landmark nominations for properties in West Newton.
  • Request for a review and possible amendments to Section 7.3.3.C.5 of Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to: a) further inform the objectives of reducing energy consumption and limiting use of natural resources, and b) consider reducing the threshold for compliance to apply the requirement to buildings 10,000 sq. ft. and larger – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request for review, discussion, and direction relative to the Draft Zoning Ordinance – See Councilor Crossley’s Zoning Redesign Memo and Planning Department Memo

Finance Committee: The Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, January 29th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to transfer $1,000,000 from Budget Reserve- Snow and Ice Removal Account to the DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors Accounts
  • Request to appropriate and expend $900,000 from June 30, 2019 Certified Free Cash to Fire Rescue Full Time Salaries
  • Request to appropriate and expend $41,869 from E-Rate reimbursement funds to purchase the conversion of the phone system at Williams Elementary School to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • Request to accept and expend a $3,000 grant from the US Food and Drug Administration for Environmental Health Specialist training
  • Request to accept and expend a $200,000 Housing Choice Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to study the possibility of converting the West Newton Armory into affordable housing

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, January 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Class 2 Auto Dealer License – Paragon Exports
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow parking design criteria including waivers to: interior landscaping requirements, lighting requirements, to allow parking accessory to a manufacturing use in a residential district and to allow parking in the front and side setback at 287-289 Newtonville Avenue
  • Request for a Change of Zone to Mixed-Use 3/Transit-Oriented District for portions of land located at 355 Grove Street (currently zoned BU-2) and 399 Grove Street (currently zoned BU-5) abutting the existing MU-3 Zone (Riverside Development)
    Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a mixed use, transit-oriented development of residential units, office, retail, personal services, restaurant, hotel, and related commercial uses not to exceed 1,025,000 square feet of gross floor area …. at 355 and 399 Grove Street – Riverside MBTA Development) – See Planning Department Memo