Category: City Council

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

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.

Full City Council to Meet on Monday, July 8th at 7 p.m. – Committee of the Whole for 3 Public Facilities Items and then Full Council Meeting

The Full City Council will meet on Monday, July 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. According to the Committee of the Whole Agenda, they will first meet in Committee of the Whole to hold a discuss and vote on the following items:

  • Public Hearing on Request to amend the lease for the Brown Middle School Solar Project to replace the front canopy at the site with two canopies in the rear parking area
  • Request for an Extension of Time to Act until September 17, 2019 on a petition to install a small cell wireless facility on an existing utility pole located in the right-of-way in the vicinity of 262 Beacon Street. (Installation includes: antenna, radio equipment, an electric meter, and cabling for fiber and power)
  • Recommendation on the use of $700,000 for off-site improvements provided for in the Washington Place Special Permit as amended by Special Permit #216-18

The Council will then proceed into it’s regularly scheduled meeting. The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

City Council Committee Reports Now Available

Land Use Committee – 6/18/2019 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to raze an existing detached garage and shed and construct a 698.5 sq. ft. garage, further extending the non-conforming side setback at 92 Manet Road
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct an attic level dormer to increase the living space, creating an FAR of .52 where .46 is allowed and .43 exists at 61 Forest Street

Programs and Services Committee – 6/19/2019 Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of Marcela Marino to the Community Education Commission
  • Appointment of Rebecca Mozaffarian to the Health and Human Services Advisory Council
  • Re-appointment of Barbara Meltz as a Library Trustee
  • Re-appointment of Shadi Aryanpour to the Community Education Commission
  • Request to approve plans to upgrade the AV equipment in the City Council Chamber to provide better projection of digital images
  • Request to approve an increase in the salary of the City Clerk/Clerk of the City Council to $139,719 effective July 1, 2019, to match the percentage increase included in the FY20 budget for H-grade employees

Public Facilities Committee – 6/19/2019 Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to amend Chapter 17, Section 3 and Chapter 26 Section 8D of the Revised Ordinances to provide for enforcement and fines for violations of the sidewalk clearing ordinance
  • Request to appropriate and expend $2 million from Free Cash to develop 25% conceptual design of the Washington Street corridor in order to make the improvements eligible for the State’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) funding
  • Petition for 5-58 schematic design and site plan approval at 687 Watertown Street for the interior renovation of the former Horace Mann Elementary School to accommodate the Newton Early Childhood Program. The design includes a new entry plaza, removal of the existing modular structures to provide an access drive, a school transportation van loading area and emergency access, and landscaping improvements. Additional site plan improvements include parking improvements and an accessible ramp to new play structures located in the adjacent area north of the building.
  • Request for a Resolution to support “An Act for Utility Transition to Using Renewable Energy” House H. 2849/Senate S.1940, also known as the FUTURE Act – mandates measures that address the urgent need to advance repair of a growing number of underground leaking gas pipes under our streets, while implementing a transition to safe and cleaner energy sources, and mandates processes to ensure coordinating this work with municipalities

Public Safety and Transportation Committee – 6/19/2019: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request amendments to Chapter 17, Section 3 and Chapter 26 Section 8D of the Revised Ordinances to provide for enforcement and fines for violations of the sidewalk clearing ordinance

Zoning and Planning Committee – 6/24/2019 Report: The Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for amendments to the Inclusionary Zoning provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and apply the requirements to any project including 7 or more residential units; to increase the required percentage of affordable units for projects of a certain size; to require that some affordable units be designated for middle-income households; to create a new formula for calculating payments in lieu of affordable units and fractional cash payments; to waive certain inclusionary zoning requirements for 100% deed restricted affordable developments; to strengthen the Elder Housing with Services requirements and to clarify and improve the ordinance with other changes as necessary – Approved as amended
  • Request to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create a short-term rental ordinance that defines the short-term rental and bed and breakfast uses; identifies what zoning districts they would be allowed in and under what criteria, conditions, limitations and permitting process – Approved as amended
  • Request to amend the Zoning Ordinances to create a short-term rental ordinance with fees that would require registration of short-term rentals with the Inspectional Services Department and fire inspections to protect public health and safety – Approved as amended
  • Re-appointment of Jack Leader and Robert Finkel to the Economic Development Commission
  • Re-appointment of Jane Brown, Robert Caruso, and Girard Plante to the Commission on Disability
  • Re-appointment of Nancy Grissom and Italo Visco to the Auburndale Historic District Commission

Land Use Committee – 6/25/2019 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to amend a previously granted special permit/site plan approval council order condition which prohibited banks to now allow petitioner to lease commercial space to not more than one bank with a total square footage not to exceed 3800 sq. ft. at 845 Washington Street and 245 Walnut Street (Washington Place)
  • Request for a special permit/site plan approval to construct a two-story addition and one-story rear addition, further increasing the non-conforming FAR of .49 where .41 is allowed and .55 is proposed at 67 Marlboro Street

All other items were held.

Finance Committee – 6/26/2019 Report: The Finance Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to appropriate $2 million from Free Cash to develop 25% conceptual design of Washington Street corridor in order to make improvements to the corridor eligible for the State’s Transportation Improvement (TIP) Program – Approved as amended
  • Request to transfer funds to correct an error made in FY2019 funding of the Water, Sewer and Stormwater Health Benefits (Total: $235,000)
  • Request to reduce bond authorizations as a result in cost savings on projects or premiums received and applied to during the bond sales (Total: $1,468,425.42 – for details see agenda)
  • Request to transfer $15,000 from the Human Resources Full-time Salaries Account to the Inspectional Services Overtime/Special Projects Account to cover costs of the scanning project
  • Request to transfer $700,000 from the Snow and Ice Overtime Account to the Snow and Ice Rental Vehicles (Contractors) Account to rebalance the actual costs incurred for the removal of snow and ice throughout the FY2019 winter season
  • Request to amend Chapter 12, Section 71, by revising the definition of “reusable bag”, revising the definition of retailers to include establishments of less than 3500 sq. ft., and adding a $0.10 fee on paper bags provided by the retailer
  • Request to increase the salary of the City Clerk/Clerk of the City Council to $139,719 effective July 1, 2019, to match the percentage increase in the FY2020 budget for H-grade employees
  • Re-appointment of James Pellegrine as Constable for the City of Newton
  • Re-appointment of Daniel Kunitz as a trustee of the Cousens Fund

City Council Meetings This Week

Finance Committee: The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, July 8th at 6:45 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to appropriate $50,000 from Cable CATV Capital Receipts to upgrade the City Council Chamber with high quality video distribution system for state of the art computer displays while maintaining the historic integrity of the room

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday July 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to Withdraw without Prejudice a Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow four single-family attached dwellings in two buildings, allowing single-family attached dwellings with three stories and to allow retaining walls greater than 4′ within a setback at 499 Winchester Street
  • Requests to amend a Deed Restriction to permit a solar carport over the parking lot area at 181 Wells Avenue – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a parking stall withing the front setback and five feet from the street at 30 Jacobs Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow for an 8.14 sq. ft. free standing sign at the front of the property in a planting bed at 112 Needham Street – See Planning Memo

What’s up for this week?

Last week was mostly Northland and a little bit of Riverside. This week is mostly Riverside. On Monday, the Planning and Development Board will meet jointly with the Zoning and Planning Committee to review zoning amendments to the MU3 District proposed by the Developer – (June 4th presentation) and zoning amendments to the MU# District proposed by the Lower Falls Improvement Association – see June 4th presentation and here.

The Planning Department’s May 31st memo for the June 4th meeting on both of these proposals can be found here and the Planning Department’s June 21st memo for Monday’s meeting can be found here.

Then on Tuesday, the Planning and Development Board will meet jointly with the Land Use Committee to hold a public hearing on the request for a change of zone and for a special permit/site plan approval for a very large development – (to construct a 10 building, mixed use, transit-oriented development, of not more than 1,520,000 sq. ft. and more than 20,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area including up to 650,000 sq. ft. of office use, up to 750 residential units containing no more than 750,000 sq. ft., retail space of not more than 200,000 sq. ft., buildings up to 18 stories in height, building height of up to 230 feet, FAR up to 2.7, no more than 10% open space, and a whole host of other requests and waivers). The Planning Department’s memo for Tuesday’s meeting can be found here. In addition, the Lower Falls Improvement Association – Riverside Committee submitted a review, analysis and comment on the Riverside Vision Plan. You can read it here.

$0.10 fee on Paper Bags and expansion of the Plastic Bag Ban will be discussed in the Finance Committee this Wednesday evening. The proposed amendment would revise the definition of “reusable bag”, revise the definition of retailers to include establishments of less than 3500 sq. ft., and add a 10-cent fee to paper bags provided by the retailer. This proposal was approved by the Programs and Services Committee back in February.

The Finance Committee will also take on the proposal to amend the sidewalk clearing ordinance to include an enforcement provision and fines for violations.

There will be a special meeting of the City Council on Thursday – outside of it’s usual schedule, to vote on several items – including proposed short-term rental ordinances and $2 million request to develop 25% conceptual drawings for the Washington Street corridor to make improvements eligible for the State’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)funding. See Reports Docket.

NewCAL – update – 24 short-listed sites, most of them parkland

Last week, the NewCAL (Newton Center for Active Living) project team led by City of Newton Buildings Commissioner, Josh Morse, held a community meeting to update residents regarding the status of the project. A total of 24 sites have been short-listed from this list of over 100 sites around the City as potential locations for a new, mostly senior focused but also inter-generational community center. As you can see, the majority of sites on the short-list are park sites. A huge crowd of residents attended the presentation to discourage the “team” from siting the new center at any of the park locations (though the primary concern was Cold Springs Park). Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Bob DeRubeis, was on hand to assure residents that the team will look at all locations and choose one that will create the least amount of disruption to our parks and asked residents to let the vetting process continue. The Commissioner of Public Buildings went further to state that the list of 24 is not final and that they may look at other sites on the larger list as well. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, please visit the project team’s website for additional information and sign-up for updates here.

Special Meeting of the Full City Council – Thursday, June 27th – 7:00 p.m.

The Full City Council will meet in a Special Meeting on Thursday, June 27th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The Reports Docket can be found here and anticipates voting on the following if approved by Committees during the week:

  • Request to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create a short-term rental ordinance that defines the short-term rental and bed and breakfast uses; identifies what zoning districts they would be allowed in and under what criteria, conditions, limitations and permitting process
  • Request to amend the Zoning Ordinances to create a short-term rental ordinance with fees that would require registration of short-term rentals with the Inspectional Services Department and fire inspections to protect public health and safety
  • Request to appropriate $2 million from Free Cash to fund development of 25% conceptual design of the Washington Street corridor in order to make the improvements eligible for the State’s TIP funding
  • Re-appointment of James Pellgrine as Constable for the City of Newton
  • Request to transfer $15,000 from the Human Resources Full-time Salaries Account to the Inspectional Services Overtime/Special Projects Account to cover costs of the scanning project
  • Request to transfer $700,000 from the Snow and Ice Overtime Account to the Snow and Ice Rental Vehicles (Contractors) Account to re-balance the actual costs incurred for the removal of snow and ice throughout the FY2019 winter season
  • Request to transfer funds to correct an error made in FY2019 funding of the Water, Sewer and Stormwater Health Benefits (Total: $235,000 – for details see Finance agenda)
  • Request to reduce bond authorizations as a result in cost savings on projects or premiums received and applied to during the bond sales (Total: $1,468,425.42 – for details see Finance agenda)