Category: City Council

Zoning Redesign Office Hours

The Planning Department will hold Office Hours on Wednesday, August 5th from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. to discuss Zoning Redesign. Staff will be available to answer to questions about Zoning Redesign. You can sign-up for a dedicated time by adding your name to the online sign-up form, or you can drop in to join the conversation. Contact the Zoning Redesign project team at zoningredesign@newtonma.gov.

What is Zoning Redesign? Well, for the past 9 or more years, the City has talked about revamping/revising/reforming the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Now, the City Council is moving full-speed ahead, with ” the goal of full adoption by the end of this Council term (2021)” – See Current Drafting Status page for a summary of where they are and a rough schedule on how they plan to proceed.

Zoning Redesign continues at the next Zoning and Planning Committee meeting on August 13th with a continued discussion on Article 3 – Residence Districts. Staff will present revised text for Article 3, based on guidance from City Councilors as well as feedback from building professionals and others in the community. The next rounds of Zoning Redesign Office Hours are scheduled for August 5th and August 19th. Please participate and share your thoughts on the future of zoning in Newton.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of August 2nd

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, August 4th at 7:00 p.m.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83857708492 or call 1-646-558-8656 and use the following Meeting ID: 838 5770 8492

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow changes to the site plan at 1110 Chestnut Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a garage in excess of 700 sq. ft., to allow a dormer that extends the second-floor wall plane vertically, to allow a dormer greater than 50% of the wall plane below it, to allow a dormer within three feet of the intersection of the roofline and main building and to create an FAR of .32 where .26 is allowed and .16 exists at 43 Prince Street
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to enclose first- and second- floor decks to create additional living space, creating an FAR of .53 where .51 exists and .49 is required at 1084 Chestnut Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a retaining wall in excess of 4’ within the setback at 36 Walsh Road – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a for-profit educational use and reconfiguration of the parking stalls, to waive the requirement to use the formula for AB+C parking, to waive 18 parking stalls, to waive minimum stall dimensions, to waive minimum accessible stall dimensions, to allow restricted end stalls, to waive minimum aisle widths, to waive a minimum driveway width, to waive perimeter landscaping requirements, to waive interior landscaping requirements, to waive lighting requirements for parking areas and to waive bicycle parking requirements at 141-145 California Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Change of Zone and 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, with residential uses comprising not less than 60% of the total gross floor area with a residential density of not less than 800 square feet per unit with not less than 560 units nor more than 620 units with special permit relief and/or waivers at 355 and 399 Grove Street – Riverside MBTA Development – See Draft Council Order; See Riverside Resource Guide; See Councilor Markiewicz’s Memo

Also, please note: The Planning Department submitted the following memo regarding a request for a consistency ruling for changes to the Ascend Special Permit (Marijuana Retailer) – 58 Cross Street/1089 Washington Street.

City Council Meetings – Week of July 26th

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet virtually on Tuesday, July 28th at 7:00 p.m.

To view this meeting using Zoom, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82541612956 or call 1-646-558-8656 and use the following Meeting ID: 825 4161 2956

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct additions to the garage which increase the height and footprint, extending the nonconforming residential use in the BU1 district at 17 Shamrock Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a detached two-car garage, creating more than one garage, garage space with more than three vehicles, and garage space in excess of 700 sq. ft. at 103 Cabot Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for a Change of Zone and 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; see Memo from Councilor Markiewicz – re Council Order Condition 12; see Riverside Resource Guide

Traffic Council to Meet on Thursday, July 30th

The Traffic Council will meet virtually on Thursday, July 30th at 7:00 p.m.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82974340072 One tap mobile +16465588656,,82974340072# US (New York) Dial by your location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) Meeting ID: 829 7434 0072

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to insert the following entry into TPR-96. No Turn on Red signs: Dedham Street, westbound, onto Winchester Street.
  • Request to insert the following entry into TPR-147. Obedience to isolated stop signs, Walnut Hill Road at Parker Avenue, northbound and southbound
  • Request to insert the following entry into TPR-96. No Turn on Red signs: Walnut Street, northbound, onto Centre Street
  • Request to add the following into TPR-199. Fire Lanes: Center drive aisle of the Crystal Lake Bathhouse Parking Lot at 30 Rogers Street. Note that this fire lane has been approved by the Newton Fire Department and this item makes no change in the field
  • Request to remove from Sec. TPR-148. Obedience to yield signs, the following: Quinobequin Road from right turn lane onto Washington Street, and to insert into Sec. TPR-148. Obedience to yield signs, the following: Grove Street to Route 16 Collector-Distributor Road from the right turn lane onto Washington Street. Note that this item supersedes the Traffic Council vote from June 15, 2020, in order to utilize the official MassDOT name of this roadway
  • Request to remove the following from Sec. TPR-145. Traffic-control signal locations, from section (c) Traffic signals at the following locations are owned, operated and maintained by the state: Washington Street (Route 16), Grove Street bypass, Quinobequin Road and Wales Street, and to insert the following into Sec. TPR-145. Traffic-control signal locations, into section (c) Traffic signals at the following locations are owned, operated and maintained by the state: Washington Street (Route 16), Grove Street to Route 16 Collector-Distributor Road, Quinobequin Road and Wales Street
  • Request to insert the following entry into TPR-147. Obedience to isolated stop signs: James Street, southbound, at River Street
  • Request to remove the following entry from TPR-147. Obedience to isolated stop signs: Webster Street at Rowe Street, southwestbound
  • Request to remove the following entry from Sec. TPR-176. Parking regulations pertaining to particular streets for Pine Street: (3) Prohibited, school days, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., south side, from a point 640 feet east of Washburn Avenue to Ivy Drive, and to insert the following entry into Sec. TPR-176 for Pine Street: (3) Prohibited, school days, 8:00 a.m. to 400 p.m., south side, from a point 465 feet east of Washburn Avenue to Ivy Drive
  • Request to insert the following entry into TPR-147. Obedience to isolated stop signs: Hatfield Road at Fuller Terrace, eastbound and westbound (northern intersection)
  • Request to remove the following entry from Sec. TPR-85. One-way streets: Maynard Street, from Morrill Street, easterly to Albemarle Road; 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and to add the following entry into Sec. TPR-89. Right turns prohibited: Maynard Street, from Albemarle Road, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Request to delete from Sec. TPR-85. One-way streets, the entire section for Albemarle Road, and to insert into Sec. TPR-85. One-way streets the following for Albemarle Road (NOTE: This item will make no changes to the one-way signage on Albemarle Road, and will remove errors and redundancies from the TPR):
    • a. Southern roadway, from Eddy Street to Brookside Avenue.
    • b. Eastern roadway, from Watertown Street to North Street.
    • c. Western and northern roadway, from North Street to Eddy Street.
  • Request to delete from Sec. TPR-147. Obedience to isolated stop signs, the following:
    • 1. Albemarle Road at Brookside Avenue, eastbound.
    • 2. Albemarle Road at Crafts Street, northbound.
    • 3. Albemarle Road at Crafts Street, southbound.
    • 4. Albemarle Road at North Street, northbound and southbound.
  • and to insert into Sec. TPR-147. Obedience to isolated stop signs, the following:
    • 1. Albemarle Road, southern roadway, at Brookside Avenue, eastbound.
    • 2. Albemarle Road, eastern roadway, at Crafts Street, northbound.
    • 3. Albemarle Road, eastern roadway, at North Street, northbound and southbound.
    • 4. Albemarle Road, western roadway, at North Street, southbound.
    • 5. Albemarle Road, western roadway, at Crafts Street, southbound.
    • 6. Albemarle Road, northern roadway, at Eddy Street, westbound
  • Request to remove from Sec. TPR-177. Football game day parking regulations, the following from section (d): Colby Road, both sides, and to insert into Sec. TPR-177. Football game day parking regulations. the following into section (d): Colby Street, both sides
  • Request to evaluate and possible add a stop sign at the intersection of Lewis Street and Langdon Street
  • Request to remove from Sec. TPR-176. Parking regulations pertaining to particular streets., Watertown Street, (2) Prohibited, all days, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., a) North side from Adams Street to Bridge Street., and b) South side from a point 80 feet east of Washington Street easterly 85 feet, and to insert into the provisions of Sec. TPR176. Parking regulations pertaining to particular streets., Watertown Street, (2) Prohibited, all days, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., a) South side from a point 80 feet east of Washington Street easterly 85 feet
  • Request to change the parking regulations in front of Cook Restaurant and the Paint Bar in Newtonville to accommodate the MBTA bus stop, which has to be modified due to a new bump-out at the northeast corner of the intersection of Washington Street at Walnut Street – (NOTE: It is the Chair’s intent to entertain a motion for NO ACTION NECESSARY)

NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, the requested changes above make no changes in the field and corrects an error in the TPR (Traffic and Parking Regulations)

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of July 19th

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83889634065 Or iPhone one-tap: US: +13017158592,,83889634065# or +13126266799,,83889634065#

The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Former Newton City Councilor, Mitch Fischman and Jeremy Freudberg to the Traffic Council
  • Request discussion with the Administration on creating walking/biking streets with local traffic only during the duration of COVID-19 emergency to allow for safe social distancing and recreation

Chair’s Note: There is a request for a briefing and conversation with the administration on the investigation into the incident with Mr. Tim Duncan.

Public Facilities Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81146123468 Dial by your location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) Meeting ID: 811 4612 3468

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a main drain extension and three manholes in Verndale Road from the property at 21 Verndale Road in a northerly direction 170+ feet
  • Re-appointment of Jonathan Kantar to the Citizens Commission on Energy
  • Request for a discussion with the Sustainability Team to create an ordinance to limit or prohibit the installation of fossil fuel infrastructure in new construction and substantially renovated buildings as well as to clarify’s the Council’s authority to prohibit the extension of gas

Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

To join the Zoom meeting, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86133559339. To listen to this meeting via phone call 1-646-558-8686 and use the Meeting ID 861 3355 9339.

The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for Salary Increase for the City Clerk/Clerk of the City Council
  • Request to relocate polling locations – (NOTE: the Schools will not be occupied on Election Day):
    • Ward 2 Precinct 2 – from Cabot Park Village to Cabot Elementary School
    • Ward 2 Precinct 3 – from the Newton Senior Center to Newton North High School
    • Ward 6 Precinct 2 – from Weeks House to the Bowen Elementary School
    • Ward 5 Precincts 3 and 4 – from the Waban Library Center to Zervas Elementary School
  • Re-appointment of Beth Wilkinson to the Urban Tree Commission

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of July 19th

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

  • 858 Walnut Street – Special Permit/Administrative Site Plan Review to establish a religious use
  • 45-47 Forest Street – Special Permit for a rear addition
  • 1858-1860 Washington Street – Proposed relocation of the Hebrew College to existing religious use site
  • 229 Bellevue Street – Special Permit to construct a garage

What’s Up in Newton this Week? – COVID-19 confirmed cases rise slightly and an additional Newton death, City Clerk looks to relocate polling locations – Ward 2 Precinct 2; Ward 2 Precinct 3; Ward 6 Precinct 2; Ward 5 Precincts 3 & 4; City Council to vote on a 4,532 sq. ft. 2.5 story addition and a three-car garage greater than 700 sq. ft., Plastic Bag Ban Back into Effect, Councilors request discussion regarding impact of fuel-burning outdoor fireplaces, firepits; School Committee to meet in Executive Session this Tuesday to discuss strategy relating to Collective Bargaining and Fall Planning; Council on Aging and Advisory Board to discuss and vote on one of two site locations for the NewCAL (Newtonville – existing site or Newton Centre parking lot); Riverside Special Permit – closing in – review of Draft Council Order and Conditions this Tuesday; Local building community will continue to provide input on Zoning Redesign, and more……

COVID-19 Update: Although there is no longer a special highlighted COVID-19 link at the top of the Homepage on the City’s website, the City continues to report COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths. As of Sunday, July 12th, the City is reporting 776 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of July 9th and the number of COVID-19 deaths has increased to 119 as of July 7th.

Speaking of COVID-19… Newton’s State Representative Ruth Balser was successful in passing a bill requiring reporting of COVID-19 related data from elderly housing facilities – including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and congregate housing facilities that house the elderly and disabled. That bill was signed into law by Governor Baker – but now Governor Baker and some affordable housing advocates are trying to undermine the bill and are requesting exemption from the reporting requirements – see S.2753 and see the testimony of CHAPA.

More COVID-19 Impacts: The City Clerk has filed a request to relocate some of the City’s polling locations. Included in this list are polling locations currently at Cabot Park Village, the Newton Senior Center, Weeks Housing Senior Apartment Facility, and the Waban Library Center. The proposal is to move each of these polling locations to nearby elementary schools.

A 4,532 sq. ft. addition? Yes, the City Council will be voting on a Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to approve a 4,532 sq. ft. addition and a three-car garage greater than 700 sq. ft. See Land Use Committee Report here. No worries, though….the Zoning and Planning Committee will certainly be addressing issues related to the new Zoning Ordinance on Thursday at their Zoning and Planning Committee meeting along with “local building professionals who will share observations on applying the proposed code to local residential projects”. See Zoning and Planning agenda here.

Plastic Bag Ban Back in Effect: The Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health rescinded the order that placed a moratorium on plastic bag bans. The order can be found here. The original order can be found here.

Will Firepits be banned? Some City Councilors are looking to discuss the impacts of fuel-burning outdoor fireplaces, chimneys, fire pits, pizza ovens, etc., including setback and maximum lot coverage requirements, air quality/pollution, and fire protection in relation to permitting, zoning enforcement, fire code, and Newton’s Climate Action Plan. See New Docket.

Collective Bargaining and the NTA: The School Committee will meet in Executive Session this Tuesday, July 14th at 5:00 p.m. to discuss strategy relating to Collective Bargaining with the Newton Teacher’s Association regarding Fall Planning. See Meeting Notice here.

NewCAL site determination – imminent? Well, the Council on Aging will be discussing and voting on two potential locations to site the proposed NewCAL. The Programs and Services Committee met jointly with the Public Facilities Committee last week and discussed the two options: the existing site in Newtonville and the parking lot (the Triangle) in Newton Centre. See Programs and Services Report here for that discussion.

Riverside Review: The Land Use Committee will review the Draft Council Order for the proposed mixed-use development of the Riverside MBTA Station. The Committee’s agenda can be found here. A clean version of the Draft Council Order can be found here; a red-lined version of the Draft Council Order can be found here; and a memo from the Law Department regarding the Draft Council Order can be found here.

Zoning Redesign: Local Building Professionals will continue to provide input at this week’s Zoning and Planning Committee as they continue their discussion about their experiences building in Newton. The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 16th at 7:00 p.m. See agenda here.

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

Want more information on Direct Food and Shopping Resources Serving Newton? Check out allovernewton.org to find the latest information on where to access fresh produce, baked goods, meat, fish and dairy products and more!!

Full City Council to Meet on Monday, July 13th

The Full City Council will meet virtually on Monday, July 13th at 7:45 p.m.

To view this meeting use this link at the above date and time: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81253643049

One tap mobile US: +13017158592,,81253643049# Land line +1 301 715 8592 Meeting ID: 812 5364 3049

You may also:

1. Watch a live broadcast of the meeting on NewTV’s government channel (Comcast 9, RCN 13, 614(HD), Verizon 33).

2. Viewing a live stream on NewTV’s Vimeo channel at: https://vimeo.com/newtvgov

The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

City Council Committee Reports – Now Available

Programs and Services – June 24, 2020 Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to amend ordinances related to care and custody of dogs in public spaces, including licensing, leashing, paying for off-leash privileges in certain parks, and cleaning up, so as to allow staff involved in the supervision of Newton’s parks and conservation areas to enforce those ordinances or regulations – NOTE: It was suggested to create a parenthesis item for the fix to the ordinance to allow the PRC Commissioner or their designee and would serve as a short-term measure until the larger issues identified are addressed

The Committee voted No Action Necessary on the following item:

  • Request to discuss responsibility for large and small maintenance projects of the Newton farm structures

All other items were held. Please note: There was a substantial discussion held jointly with the Public Facilities Committee regarding the status of NewCAL and the two site locations – Newtonville – existing site and Newton Centre parking lot site.

Zoning and Planning – June 29, 2020 Report: The Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Re-appointment of William Winkler to the Urban Design Commission
  • Re-appointment of Ralph Abele and Mark Chudy to the Newtonville Historic District Commission
  • Re-appointment of Jay Walter to the Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission

All other items were held.

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

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to waive 2 parking stalls to allow for a medical office use in the building at 450 Lexington Street, Unit 1 – See Draft Council Order
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to demolish an existing detached garage and construct a 1,841 sq. ft., 2.5 story addition to the existing dwelling, increasing the nonconforming height and creating an FAR of .42 where .33 is allowed and .32 exists at 351 Otis Street – See Draft Council Order
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to demolish an existing detached garage and construct a 4,532 sq. ft. 2.5 story addition, to allow a garage in excess on 700 sq. ft., to allow a dormer that extends the second-floor wall plane vertically, to allow a dormer greater than 50% of the wall plane below it, to allow a dormer within three feet of the intersection of the roofline and main building and to create an FAR of .32 where .26 is allowed and .16 exists at 43 Prince Street – See Draft Council Order
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to amend Special Permit Board Order #105-95 to construct a five-story addition with 18 new units and common accessory use space, extending the non-conforming structure to the extent necessary and to determine density and dimensional controls at 280 Newtonville Avenue – See Draft Council Order

All other items were held.