Category: City Council

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of July 15th

The following City Council Committees are scheduled to meet this week:

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet on Monday, July 16th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Brian Yates to the Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission
  • Two appointments to the Newtonville Historic District Commission:  Tarik Lucas and Peter Mooradian
  • Five re-apppointments to the Newtonville Historic District Commission:  Barbara Wales, John Martin, David Morton, Nancy Grissom and James Gross
  • Six re-appointments to the Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission:  Paul Snyder, Julia Malone Neville, Laurie Malcom, Donald Lang, Jeffrey Riklin, and Jay Walter
  • Discussion of the draft policy content outline of the new Zoning Ordinance
  • Discussion and possible adoption of the Needham Street Vision Plan as an amendment to the 2007 Comprehensive Plan
  • Request to amend the Inclusionary Housing Provisions of the Zoning Ordinance

Planning Memos are attached to the end of the agenda.

Charter Subcommittee:  The Charter Subcommittee will meet on Tuesday, July 17th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Article 4 – School Committee
  • Article 11:  General Provisions
  • Article 12:  Transition Provisions
  • General Related Matters

Finance Committee:  The Finance Committee will meet on Wednesday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204.  The only item on the agenda is a request to authorize the transfer of $100,000 from Budget Reserve to the FA Day/Bigelow Boiler Replacement Account for schematic designs for potential boiler replacement projects. The Committee will meet jointly with the Public Facilities Committee on this item.

Public Facilities Committee:  The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda can be found here. The Committee will meet jointly with the Finance Committee on a a request to authorize the transfer of $100,000 from Budget Reserve to the FA Day/Bigelow Boiler Replacement Account for schematic designs for potential boiler replacement projects. The Committee will then discuss the following items:

  • Appointment of Robert Hnasko to the Design Review Committee
  • Appointment of Puja Vorha and Jonathan Klein to the Citizens Commission on Energy
  • Review of proposed City Council regulations governing petitions for wireless communications
  • The Chair will entertain discussion on an update on the status of the Crescent Street Housing Project

City Council to Meet Monday, July 9th – MJ Ballot Questions, MU4 Moratorium on the Agenda

The City Council will meet on Monday, July 9th at 7:45 p.m. in the Council Chamber.  The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

Two ballot questions regarding retail marijuana will be before the City Council tonight – One ballot question would ask voters if they want to ban recreational sales in Newton and the other proposes to limit the number of recreational sales facilities to no less than 2 and no more than 4.

Both the Law Department and Councilor Albright issued memos for the Council’s consideration.

Also, there is a request by the Mayor to amend an item:  Request to amend the funding source on docket item #344-18- Request to transfer funds from the Executive Department Full-time Salaries Account and replacing it with the Planning Department’s Full-time Salaries Account to hire a consultant to develop a cultural strategy.  (Not sure:  but the docket item was to take the money from Current Year Budget Reserve -not the Executive Department Full-time Salaries Account but maybe it was amended in the Finance Committee). The request can be found here.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of July 8th

The following City Council Committees will meet this week:

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 10th at 6:00 p.m. in Room 211 to hear and discuss two appointments:  Lynn Vetra and Ken Lyons to the BC Neighborhood Council.  The Committee will then move to the Council Chamber at 7:00 p.m. to hear the following:

  • Petition to amend a previously granted special permit and site plan approval to allow non-accessory parking to lease 496 parking stalls to off-site third party users at 199 Boylston Street
  • Request for a special permit/site plan approval for a 5-year permit for a temporary tent to hold an annual rug sale in May and the temporary displacement of 153 parking spaces for the event at 175 Boylston Street
  • Request for a special permit/site plan approval to allow a restaurant with greater than 50 seats and with 4 outdoor tables at 225 Boylston Street
  • Request for a special permit/site plan approval to combine two parcels to allow four attached dwelling units in two structures at 21-25 Gardner Street
  • Request for a special permit/site plan approval to allow a registered medical marijuana dispensary in a non-conforming structure at 24-26 Elliot Street (Cypress Tree Management)

Please note:  That the special permit/site plan approval request for 189-193 Adams Street and 19 Quirk Court was continued to the July 9th meeting.  The Planning Department issued the following memo with an attached Draft Council order.

Recodification Committee to Meet – Monday, July 2nd

The Recodification Committee, chaired by Councilor Lisle Baker, will meet on Monday, July 2nd at 8:30 a.m. in the Clerk’s Office.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Historic District Commission Ordinances
  • Status of City Seal Ordinance
  • Status of Purchasing Section of Ordinances
  • Engineering’s Stormwater Management Policy
  • Revolving funds Ordinance to Meet Municipal Modernization requirements
  • Rules change for Law Department Review of Ordinance changes by Council
  • Parking on Municipal Property
  • Shrubs and Overhanging Vegetation Removal Charges

City Council Committee Reports – Now Available

The following Committee Reports are available:

Programs and Services Committee Meeting – June 20, 2018:  The Programs and Services Committee met on June 20th and voted to recommend approval on the following items:

  • Appointment of John Castellot to the Institutional Biotechnology Committee
  • Three appointments to the Human Rights Committee:  Elizabeth Ingraham, Tamika Olszewski, and and David Kuppenheimer
  • Re-appointment of Michelle Freshman to the Health and Human Services Advisory Council
  • Three Re-appointments to the Human Rights Commission:  Bryan Barash, Hattie Kerwin Derrick, and Jane Brown
  • Request to increase the salary of the City Clerk/Clerk of the Council to $135,619 to match the percentage increase included in the FY2019 budget for H-grade employees
  • Amended Ballot Question regulating the number of recreational marijuana establishements to no fewer than 2 and no more than 4

Click on the Programs and Services Committee Meeting – June 20, 2018 link to read the report.  Please note:  attached to the report, is an opinion from the Health and Human Services Commissioner and testimony from the Police and Fire Chief.

Public Safety and Transportation Committee Meeting – June 20, 2018:  The Public Safety and Transportation Committee met on Wednesday, June, 20th and voted to recommend approval of the following:

  • Walnut Street Newtonville Enhancement Project

All other items were held.  Click on the Public Safety and Transportation Committee Meeting – June 20, 2018 link to read the report.

City Council Meetings – Week of June 23rd – Back Pay for former Police Chief, Draft Pot Shop Zoning Regulations and possible first retail pot shop special permit

The following City Council Committees will meet this week:

Finance Committee:  The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, June 24th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 211.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to transfer $240,000 from certain accounts ($25,000 – Executive Office Full-time Salaries Account; $60,000 – Assessing Department Full-time Salaries Account; $20,000 – Treasury Department Full-time Salaries Account; $30,000 – Human Resources Full-time Salaries Account; $50,000 – Information Technologies Full-time Salaries Account; $50,000 – Planning Department Full-time Salaries Account) for the purpose of funding “back-pay” for Former Police Chief Matthew Cummings
  • Request to appropriate $9,837,31 to settle a sewer back-up claim
  • Request to appropriate and expend $6,400 from Handicap Parking Fines -Disability Commission Receipts Reserved for Appropriation to fund the purchase and installation of Accessible Pedestrian Signals at the Waverly and Tremont Streets intersection
  • Request to transfer $30,000 from Current Year Budget Reserve to the Executive Office Consulting Account to develop a cultural strategy for the City of Newton
  • Request to increase the salary of the City Clerk/Clerk of the Council to $135,619 effective July 1, 2018 to match the percentage increase in the FY2019 for H-grade employees

Zoning and Planning Commitee:  The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet on Monday, June 24th at 7:00 p.m. first, in the Council Chamber and then in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Public Hearing on the adoption of the Needham Street Vision Plan as a amendment to the 2007 Newton Comprehensive Plan;
  • Public Hearing on amendments to Chapter 30, the Newton Zoning Ordinance to allow for a Shared Parking Pilot Program as an accessory use in commercial districts
  • Discussion on proposed zoning amendments to limit the residential portion of a development in a commercial zone to 50% of the total development
  • Discussion on proposed zoning amendment regarding the Mixed Use 4 Zoning District – to eliminate it completely, reduce the dimensional controls currently allowed, place a two-year moratorium on any new MU4 development or any combination of the preceding actions
  • Discussion on proposed zoning amendment to adopt an immediate moratorium on any zone changes and/or construction/development along both sides of Washington Street including abutting properties from the intersection of Comm Ave and Washington Street to the intersection of Washington Street and Centre Street until Zoning Redesign and the proposed actionable plan for Washington Street are completed
  • Discussion on proposed amendments to the Newton Zoning Ordinance regarding regulation of retail marijuana establishments – see end of agenda for discussion draft and proposed zoning maps
  • Discussion of a draft policy content outline of the new Zoning Ordinance

Land Use Committee:  The Land Use Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, June 25th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for an extension of time to exercise a previously granted special permit to allow a free-standing sign at 1349 Centre Street;
  • Request to Withdraw a Petition for an extension of time to exercise a previously granted special permit for 283 Melrose Street – Turtle Lane;
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval  to enclose porches which would  create an FAR of .49 where .48 is allowed at 22 Beecher Place;
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow for a rear-lot subdivision to create two lots, demolish the existing single-family structure and construct two new single-family structures – one on each lot at 156 Otis Street;
  • Request to amend a previously granted special permit/site plan approved for Garden Remedies to allow for retail sale of recreational as well as medical marijuana and to amend certain conditions to the previously granted permit.  See Planning Memo, revised Landscape Plan,and response to questions.

Marijuana Update

On June 5th, the Land Use Committee held public hearings on two petitions:  a request by Garden Remedies – a permitted medical marijuana dispensary located at 697 Washington Street (See Planning Department Memo)- to allow retail sale of marijuana and a request by Cypress Tree Management to allow for medical marijuana dispensary at 24-26 Elliot Street (See Planning Department Memo) The public hearings for both requests were continued- Garden Remedies will be taken up on June 26th and Cypress Tree Management’s petition will be taken up on July 10th.  The report on these public hearings can be found here.

On June 6th, the Programs and Services Committee held a public hearing on a 50 person signature petition (as allowed for by our City Charter) to request the City Council to place a ballot question on the retail sale of recreational marijuana in the City of Newton. A detailed report on the hearing can be found here. The Programs and Services Committee voted 3-1-2 (Councilor Albright opposed, Councilors Krintzman and Brousal-Glaser abstaining and Councilor Baker not voting) to recommend placing that question on the ballot to the Full Council. The Full Council is scheduled to take that up TONIGHT, Monday, June 18th at it’s Full Council Meeting.

Mayor Fuller announced her support for placement of the Opt-Out ballot question in her most recent newsletter.

But…the Council also has the following on its new docket:

  • The Planning Department’s long awaited zoning amendments regulating the operation of marijuana establishments and zoning districts where retail sales of marijuana may be located, and
  • Request filed by Councilors Albright and Krintzman to place a ballot question as to whether the City should limit the number of retail marijuana establishments operating in Newton to no fewer than 2 and no more than 6.

Stay tuned……

Open Meeting Law Complaint and Best Practices for City Councilors

Last week, the City Solicitor conducted a review of an anonymous Open Meeting Law Complaint that was filed with the City Clerk regarding a gathering of 11 City Councilors on May 20th.  According to this memo from City Council President Laredo, the Law Department concluded that no violation had occurred.

In addition, Council leadership met two weeks ago to discuss draft Guidelines regarding Best Practices for City Council Chairs and City Councilors in general.  Council President Laredo has now released Best Practices for City Councilors which can be found here.

City Council Committee Reports

Below are the City Council Committee Reports filed for this week’s Full City Council Meeting. Please click on the meeting links to see the full report. For land use petitions, click on the address to find draft Council orders.

Land Use Committee – 6/5/2018:  The Land Use Committee met on June 5th and voted to recommend approval of the following special permit/site plan approval requests:

  • Request to enclose front entrance and further extend a non-conforming setback for property located at 12 Acorn Drive
  • Request to allow a detached accessory apartment in an existing detached structure for property located at 1224 Boylston Street
  • Request to allow a rear lot subdivision to create two lots and demolish the existing single-family structure and construct single-family dwellings on each lot for property located at 156 Otis Street

All other items were held.

Programs and Services Committee Report – 6/6/2018:  The Programs and Services Committee met on June 6th and voted to recommend approval of the following items:

  • Appointment of two new Library Trustees:  Bharat Bhushan and Chris Kirby
  • Request to transfer $75,000 from the Main Library Full-time Salaries Account to the Main Library Building Improvements Account to install a public address system
  • Request to appropriate $100,000 from Free Cash to fund fence repairs throughout the City damaged by storms
  • Request for Home Rule Legislatiion to give the City the ability to modify the local 41A tax deferral program for seniors by increasing the income limit to qualifying and participating property owners

All other items were held.

Public Facilities Report – 6/6/2018:  The Public Facilities Committee met on June 6th and voted to recommend approval of the following items:

  • Request to relocate a city drain and sewer easement on the Boston College Middle Campus
  • Petition for a grant of location to install and maintain a gas main in Short Street from an existing main in Montclair Road to service 1521 Beacon Street
  • Request to appropriate $150,000 from Free Cash for repairs to 1294 Centre Street (former Health Department Building)
  • Request to appropriate $338,000 from bonded indebtedness to rehabilitate the Forest Grove Pump Station
  • Request to transfer $150,000 from Current Year Budget Reserve to fund repair and replacement of streetlights

All other items were held.

Public Safety and Transportation Committee Report – 6/6/2018:  The Public Safety and Transportation Committee met on June 6th and voted to recommend approval of the following:

  • Request to transfer $100,000 from Current Year Budget Reserve to purchase an Incident Command Vehicle for the Police Department
  • Bus license renewals for Boston College
  • Bus license renewals and license for one new bus for Trip Advisor
  • Reports of semi-annual taxi license and public auto inspections
  • Request to appropriate $121,770 from Free Cash to replace 120 bottles for the Self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Request to appropriate $33,739 from Free Cash to purchase an extractor and gear dryer for Fire Stations 1 and 2

Finance Committee Report – 6/11/2018:  The Finance Committee met on June 11th and voted to recommend approval of the following:

  • Request for authorization to accept a Mass Housing grant of $85,000 to fund a fiscal impact team to analyze financial impacts from potential developments along Washington Street, Needham Street, Riverside and exam the proposed new Zoning Ordinance
  • Request to transfer $120,000 from Budget Reserve to Public Works Vehicle Maintenance Account to replace three vehicles in the Inspectional Services Department and one vehicle for the Inspector of Weights and Measures
  • Request to appropriate $75,000 from Free Cash to replace the Elliot Street generator and related electric service upgrade
  • Request to transfer $100,000 from Human Resources Full-time Salaries Account to the Public Buildings Repairs and Maintenance Account to fund assorted year-end building improvements
  • Request authorization to transfer $150,000 from the Stormwater Current-Year Budget Reserve to a capital project account to fund a storm water retention system for Franklin Elementary School
  • Request authorization to appropriate $400,000 from the Water Fund Surplus – Available for Appropriation Account for the purpose of making hte FY2018 MWRA Lead Pipe Replacement Program loan payment
  • Request authorization to appropriate $100,000 from Free Cash for fence repairs throughout the City
  • Request authorization to transfer $10,000 from Veteran’s Services Benefits Account to fund War Memorial Veterans Museum improvements
  • Request to transfer $75,000 from Main Library Full-time Salaries Account to Main Library Building Improvements Account to install a new public address system
  • Request to appropriate and expend $150,000 from Free Cash for repairs to 1294 Centre Street, the formerHealth Department Building
  • Commissioner of Public Works requesting approval of various sidewalk/driveway apron/curbcut betterments
  • Request to appropriate $338,000 from bonded indebtedness to fund the rehabilitation of the Forest Grove Pump Station
  • Request authorization to transfer $150,000 from Current Year Budget Reserve to fund repair/replacement of streetlights
  • Request authorization to transfer $40,000 from Police Department Full-time Salaries Account to the Police Department Computer Server Software Account to fund a time and attendance software
  • Request authorization to transfer $100,000 from Current Year Budget Reserve to purchase an incident command vehicle for the Police Department
  • Request to appropriate $121,770 from Free Cash to replace 120 bottles for the self contained breathing apparatus
  • Request to appropriate $33,739 from Free Cash to purchase an extractor and gear dryer for both Fire Stations 1 and 2
  • Request to transfer $100,000 from the Fire Department Full-time Salaries Account to the Fire Department Electricity Account to cover the increase cost of electricity from the Station 3 addition
  • Request to transfer $10,000 from the Current Year Budget Reserve Account to the Law Department’s Full-time Salaries Account to provide funding for a few week overlap in the Office Manager’s position
  • Request to transfer $30,000 from the Current Year Budget Reserve Account to the Executive Office Consulting Account for the purpose of developing a cultural strategy for the City
  • Request to transfer $25,000 from the Current Year Budget Reserve Account to the Executive Office Consulting Account for the purpose of hiring a consultant to assist the Permit Software Working Group as they prepare to search for new permitting software
  • Request for authorization to transfer $260,000 from the Treasury Long Term Interest Account and $10,000 from the Treasury Advanced Refunding Contribution to cover the costs of the December advanced refunding

Zoning and Planning Committee Report – 6/11/2018:  The Zoning and Planning Committee met on June 11th and voted to recommend approval of the following items:

  • Three appointments to the Planning and Development Board (Sudha Maheshwari, Kevin McCormack, and James Robertson and one re-appointment to the Planning and Development Board (Peter Doeringer)

All other items were held.

Land Use Committee Report – 6/12/2018: The Land Use Committee met on June 11th and voted to recommend approval of the following items:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 455 sq. ft. two-story addition, creating an FAR of .58 where .39 exists and .45 is allowed at 39 Summit Street
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to extend the hours of operation and increase the number of customers at one time, requiring an amendment to Special Permit Board Order #257-13(4) at 145 Wells Avenue
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a restaurant
    with greater than 50 seats, a waiver for 12 parking stalls and allow the re-use of an existing non-conforming sign at 342-344 Watertown Street
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a multi-family development in a business district with greater than 20,000 gross floor area, with a four-story structure 41’ in height, containing an 18-unit dwelling with ground floor units, to allow an FAR of 1.31, to allow a density bonus to reduce the lot area per unit and increase the number of inclusionary units, to allow a reduction of the requirement for parking to 1.25 stalls per unit, to allow parking in the setback, to allow parking within 5’ of a building containing dwelling units, to waive minimum stall dimension requirements, to allow a reduction in the minimum width of a entrance/exit drive, to allow a reduction in the minimum width of maneuvering aisles, to waive lighting requirements and to waive perimeter landscape screening requirements in Ward, 1, Newton, at 189-193 Adams Court (Note:  The petiton was reduced to 15 units of housing)

Traffic Council Report – 6/14/2018:  The Traffic Council met on June 14th and voted to approve the following:

  • Addition of Upland Road (Mill to Pheasant) to the Newtonville Neighborhood Parking District adding a two-hour parking restriction 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. school days, both sides, except by Newtonvile Parking permit
  • Addition of Pheasant Road to the Newtonville Neighborhood Parking District adding a two-hour parking restriction 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. school days, both sides, except by Newtonvile Parking permit
  • Prohibition of right turn on red  from the Angier School driveway, southbound, onto
    Beacon Street, and prohibits right turns on red from Manitoba Road,
    northbound onto Beacon Street between the hours of 8:00am to 9:00am,
    12:00pm to 1:00pm, and 2:30pm to 3:30pm, school days
  • Expansion of Auburndale Village Parking District to include:  Woodland Road (Grove to Windermere), Hawthorne Avenue (Woodland to Aspen), and Aspen Avenue (Hawthorne to Washington), creating a one-hour limit Sept 1 to May 15, except holidays or by Auburndale Permit, onto the west side of Hawthorne Avenue (Woodland to Aspen), and creates a one-hour limit, all days, all times, except by Auburndale Permit on the north side of Aspen Avenue (Hawthorne to Washington)
  • Expansion of Auburndale Village Parking District to iinclude:   Windermere Road (Woodland to Commonwealth Avenue) creating No parking, 8:00am to 10:00 am except Saturday, Sunday and Holiday; Resident Parking Only, Monday-Friday
    September 1 to May 15
  • Creation of parking restrictions along sections of Crafts Street (Watertown Street to Waltham Street) and along sections of Waltham Street (Crafts Street to the Waltham
    City Line).

All other items were voted No Action Necessary.