Category: City Council

What’s up for this week?

NewCAL: NewCAL dominates the agendas this week. Last week, the Finance Committee received an update from the Public Buildings Commissioner on the NewCAL project and the site selection process. See Finance Report here. This week, the Parks and Recreation Commission will receive an update TONIGHT – See Parks and Rec agenda here and the Public Facilities Committee meeting jointly with the Programs and Services Committee will receive an update on Wednesday night – See Meeting Agenda here. (Note: that the discussion is not scheduled to take place until 7:30 p.m.) AND…there will be a Community Meeting held on Thursday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 111 at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street. The NewCAL link on the City’s website can be found here.

Northland: The Northland Development proposal received two approvals – both just advisory but still recommendations for approvals. The first was from the Planning and Development Board which is legally required to hear and advise the City Council on zoning. The Planning Board’s recommendation was conditioned on their proposals regarding traffic demand management. In addition, the Economic Development Commission sent a letter recommending the approval of the zoning change with four additional recommendations:

  • We recommend that future development within the Needham Street corridor be structured to achieve objective 1A and 1B of the Economic Development Action Plan for the City of Newton, prepared by Camoin Associates, January 2019, namely
    • “Objective 1A – Increase lab space in Newton to capitalize on highly skilled workforce with science background and regiona economic trends”
    • “Objective 1B – Increase office space in Newton including coworking space to attract and retain companies and increase the commercial tax base”
  • We recommend that the City of Newton authorize “as of right” commercial development up to 50,000 square feet for flexible, commercial, industrial, laboratory, co‐working space or hotel use along the Needham Street Corridor.
  • We recommend that any future redevelopment contemplated b Northland or its successors on property it owns on the east side of Needham Street be 100% commercial/industrial/flex and not include a residential component.
  • Finally, we recommend that future redevelopment along Needham Street be heavily weighted toward and favor commercial/industrial/flex development over residential development.

West Newton Armory: The West Newton Armory is up for discussion this week – Tuesday, September 17th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211 with the City Council’s Real Property/Reuse Committee.

City Council to give themselves and the Mayor and School Committee members a raise? Both the Programs and Services Committee and the Finance Committee voted to recommend approval of pay raises (City Councilors – $15,500; the Mayor – $155,000; and the School Committee – $7,750) and will vote on this at the Full Council Meeting TONIGHT. See Finance Committee Report and Reports Docket.

Washington Place and Banks: The Land Use Committee met on September 11th and voted to approve the request to amend the Council Order prohibiting bank use and allowing bank use. The Land Use Committee voted to replace

“…the petitioner is required to dedicate at least 10,000 rentable square feet within the ground floor only for lease to non formula retail, restaurant, or personal use tenants, this requirement shall be met prior to, and remain in effect after, the issuance of certificate of occupancy to a commercial bank”

and substitute the following language:

“…the petitioner is required to reserve (i.e. whether leased or vacant and available for lease) at least 10,000 rentable square feet within the ground floor only for lease to non-formula retail, restaurant, or personal use tenants, which requirement shall be in place prior to and remain in effect after, the issuance of certificate of occupancy to a commercial bank…”

24-unit Development for Waban? The New Docket has a 24-unit proposed development project that is scheduled to come before the Land Use Committee on October 3rd at 20 Kinmonth Road – the former Waban Health Center.

See Land Use Report.

Marijuana Retail Dispensary Update: Ascend Mass LLC has requested an extension of time to open a public hearing on its request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval at 58 Cross Street/1089 Washington Street. See New Docket.

Full City Council to Meet on Monday, September 16th

The Full City Council will meet on Monday, September 14th at 7:45 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

Note: Reports Docket includes a Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 484 sq. ft. two-car garage and construct a dormer on the new structure greater than 50% of the wall plan below and closer than 3 ft. to the end wall where one garage exists, creating more than 700 sq. ft. of garage space at 213-215 Langley Road. A Planning Department Memo on Plan Revisions can be found here.

The Reports Docket also includes the request to amend the Council order condition prohibiting banks at the Washington Place development and the request is before the Council for a vote

Note: New Docket includes: Request for an Extension of Time to open the Public Hearing for the third recreational retail marijuana facility – Ascend Mass, LLC – to locate at 58 Cross Street/1089 Washington Street and a 24-unit multi-family dwelling at 20 Kinmonth Road in Waban.

City Council Committee Reports – Now Available

Public Facilities Committee – 9/4/2019 Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of David Gillespie to the Design Review Committee
  • Request to appropriate and expend $70,000 from FY2020 Budget Reserve to install surveillance cameras at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center, Elliot Street and Craft Street yards
  • Request to appropriate and expend $175,000 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of modular trailer at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center
  • Request to appropriate and expend $496,000 from the Sewer Fund Surplus to purchase a Vactor combination cleaner truck to be used by Public Works Department during sewer cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $315,000 from the Stormwater Management Fund Surplus to purchase a Vacuum Street Sweeper to be used by Public Works for street cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $150,280 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of two Ford F550 4×4 trucks for Public Works for street and snow operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $739,059 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of three 6-wheel trucks to be used by the Highway Department for street and snow operations

The Committee voted NO ACTION NECESSARY on a request for a grant of location 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

Public Safety and Transportation Committee – 9/4/2019 Report: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee voted NO ACTION NECESSARY on a request for an update on the Lime Bike program in the City of Newton. All other items were held. Please note: There was considerable discussion on the following:

  • Ability to test and implement self-driving vehicles in Newton
  • Implementation of differential priced parking in Newton
  • Update on the Shared Parking Program

Land Use Committee – 9/5/2019 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct dormers on each side of the second floor, vertically extending the non-conforming front setback at 2 Thaxter Road
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 702 sq. ft. attached one-car garage and one-story addition above the garage at 29 Kewadin Road
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to extend the existing non-conforming FAR by replacing an existing one-story addition with a two-story addition, creating an FAR of .64 where .51 exists and .46 is allowed at 11 Canterbury Road
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow modifications to the site plan for driveway and patio spaces not shown on the approved site plan at 22 Beecher Place
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to further extend the non-conforming front setback on Wade Street, creating a new front setback of 14.7′ where 14.9′ exists as well as further extend the existing non-conforming front setback on Hersey Street, creating a new front setback of 14.8′ where 14.7′ exists and to allow parking in the front setback at 28 Wade Street (NOTE: that the request for parking within 5′ of the street was withdrawn)
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 484 sq. ft. detached two-car garage and construct a dormer on the new structure greater than 50% of the wall plan below and closer than 3′ to the end wall where one garage exists creating more than 700 sq. ft. of garage space at 213-215 Langley Road (Subject to second call)

All other items were held.

Finance Committee – 9/10/2019 Report: The Finance Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of Rosemarie Woods as the City’s Treasurer/Tax Collector
  • Request for consideration of recommendations of Special Blue Ribbon Commission regarding compensation of the Mayor, City Council and School Committee – Mayor compensation – $155,000; City Council compensation – $15,500; School Committee compensation – $7,750
  • Request to appropriate and expend $70,000 from FY2020 Budget Reserve to install surveillance cameras at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center, Elliot Street and Craft Street yards
    Request to appropriate and expend $175,000 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of modular trailer at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center
    Request to appropriate and expend $496,000 from the Sewer Fund Surplus to purchase a Vactor combination cleaner truck to be used by Public Works Department during sewer cleaning operations
    Request to appropriate and expend $315,000 from the Stormwater Management Fund Surplus to purchase a Vacuum Street Sweeper to be used by Public Works for street cleaning operations
    Request to appropriate and expend $150,280 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of two Ford F550 4×4 trucks for Public Works for street and snow operations
    Request to appropriate and expend $739,059 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of three 6-wheel trucks to be used by the Highway Department for street and snow operations
  • Re-appointment of Shawn Murphy as Constable

NOTE: There was significant discussion and update on the NewCAL project.

Land Use Committee – September 11, 2019 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a two-year Extension of Time to exercise a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval which granted the construction of a 14,313 sq. ft. mixed-use development containing 9 residential units, 2,714 sq. ft. of commercial space and no more than 16 on-site parking stalls at 386-394 Watertown Street
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to further extend the non-conforming three-story dwelling by razing the existing deck and constructing a three-story side addition at 28 East Boulevard Road
  • Request to amend a previously granted Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for the Washington Place project to allow bank use which was previously prohibited as a condition of the special permit (NOTE: The item was voted out of committee on 6/18/2019 and then recommitted by the Full Council on August 12th)

All other items were held.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of September 15th

Real Property/Reuse Committee: The Real Property/Reuse Committee will meet on Tuesday, September 17th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda will focus on recommendation from the Planning Director recommending the West Newton Armory located at 1135 Washington Street be evaluated for the purpose of leasing the property for redevelopment of 100% affordable housing or for municipal uses pursuant to Ordinance Section 2-7.

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

  • Two National Grid petitions for grants of location:
    • Request for a grant of location to install and maintain a gas main in Voss Terrace from the existing gas main in front of house #40 southwesterly to the end of the main in front of the house #50 to provide new service to 50 Voss Terrace
    • Request for a grant of location to install and maintain a gas main in Dearborn Street from the existing gas main in front of house #56 southwesterly to the end of the main at #64 in order to provide new service to 64 Dearborn Street
  • Request for a grant of location (Eversource) to install and maintain conduit in Woodward Street from the existing manhole in front of #991 Boylston Street in a northwesterly direction to a new proposed manhole in front of 38 Woodward Street, continuing to a second proposed manhole at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Woodward Street thence turning and installing conduit on Lincoln Street in a northeasterly direction in front of #163 Lincoln Street.
  • Request for a main drain extension at 12 Ferncroft Road
  • Chair’s Note suggests that the Public Facilities Committee will meet jointly with the Programs and Services Committee in the Council Chamber to receive and update from the Public Buildings Commissioner, Josh Morse, on the NewCAL project and then return to Room 204 for the rest of the Public Facilities Committee agenda.
  • Request by the City Engineer for amendments to Chapter 29 of the City of Newton 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 fees by the City Council
  • Request by the City Engineer for amendments to Chapter 20 of the City of Newton 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.

Public Safety and Programs and Services Committee – regularly scheduled meetings are cancelled this week – although the Programs and Services Committee will meet jointly with the Public Facilities Committee on Wednesday, September 18th at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers to receive an update on the NewCAL Project. The Meeting Cancellation Notice can be found here.

Traffic Council to Meet on Thursday, September 19th

The Traffic Council will meet on Thursday, September 19th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to make Cliff Road a one-way – NOTE: held for a trial: one-way in the eastbound direction; no parking on the northside
  • Request to add the blocks of Woodward Street between Lincoln and Route 9 into the Newton Highlands Parking District, including 991 – 1005 Boylston
  • Request to add a stop sign into the Traffic and Parking Regulations (TPR) on Forest Street, eastbound and westbound, at Chester Street, to match the existing signage
  • Request the reinstatement of parking prohibitions on California Street 1) north side, from Los Angeles Street westerly 115 feet; b) south side from Alison Street to a point 125 feet westerly to accommodate parking for business customers
  • Request for a two-hour parking restriction between 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to deter commuter parking on Ricker Road
  • Request for a right-turn only lane on Washington Street westbound at Jackson Road to be added to the TPR
  • Request for an addition of a stop sign at the end of Warren Street at the intersection of Langley Road and at the end of Chase Street at the intersection of Langley Road
  • Request to approve a stop sign at the Long Meadow Road northbound approach to Old Farm Road
  • Request to modify language in the TPR for Central Street in Auburndale
  • Request for two dedicated ADA parking stalls east of Oak and Christina Street intersection along the northerly side of Chestnut Street

Riverside Revised?

If you haven’t heard, Mark Development has revised it’s proposal for the Riverside MBTA Station Development. The new proposal includes a reduction of 151 dwelling units (675 to 524); a reduction of office square footage of 39,412 sq. ft for a total of 523,509; a decrease in hotel rooms by 40 (194 to 154); an increase in retail square footage of 6,415 sq. ft. for a total of 71,070 sq. ft.; and the height of the 18 story building has been reduced to 13 stories. A table of the revised proposal can be found here and the Planning Department memo on the revised plan can be found here. The Petitioner is expected to present these changes at the joint Zoning and Planning Committee and Planning and Development Board meeting on Monday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m. (see Globe article by Jon Chesto)

City Council Meetings – Week of September 8th

Finance Committee: The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, September 9th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Rosemarie Woods as the City’s Treasurer/Tax Collector
  • Request to consider the recommendations of the special Blue Ribbon Commission regarding compensation for the Mayor, City Council, and the School Committee (NOTE: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve $155,000 for the Mayor; $15,500 for the City Council; and $7,750 for the School Committee)
  • Request to appropriate and expend $70,000 from FY2020 Budget Reserve to install surveillance cameras at Rumford Avenue Recycling Center, Eliot Street and Craft Street yards
  • Request to appropriate and expend $175,000 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of modular trailer at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center
  • Request to appropriate and expend $496,000 from the Sewer Fund Surplus to purchase a Vactor combination cleaner truck to be used by Public Works during sewer cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $315,00 from the Stormwater Management Fund Surplus to purchase a Vacuum Street Sweeper to be used by the Public Works Department for street cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $150,280 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of three 6-wheel trucks to be used by the Highway Department for street and snow operations
  • Re-appointment of Shawn Murphy as Constsable

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet jointly with the Planning and Development Board on Monday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Zoning Amendments filed by the Developer relative to the Mixed Use 3 zoning district for the Riverside MBTA Station development – See Planning Department Memo
  • Zoning Amendments filed by the Lower Falls Improvement Association pertaining to the Mixed Use 3/Transit Oriented zoning district for the Riverside MBTA Station development – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request for approval and adoption of the Washington Street Vision Plan as an amendment to the 2007 Newton Comprehensive Plan – See Planning Department Memo
  • Re-appointment of Michael Quinn and Timothy Durken to the Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Re-appointment of John Downie to the Urban Design Commission

The Public Hearing Notice on the Washington Street Vision Plan can be found here.

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

  • Request for a continuance of the public hearing for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a multi-family dwelling with three units, further extending the non-conforming frontage and to allow a retaining wall greater than four feet within a setback at 12-14 Middle Street
  • Request for a two-year Extension of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for the construction of a 14,313 sq. ft. mixed use development containing 9 residential units, 2714 sq. ft. of commercial space and no more than 16 on-site parking stalls at 386-394 Watertown Street
  • Request to further extend the non-conforming three-story dwelling by razing an existing deck and constructing a three-story side at 28 East Boulevard Road – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow commerical bank use not to exceed 3800 sq. ft. at 845 Washington Street and 245 Walnut Street Washington Place (NOTE: This was referred back to the Land Use Committee after a motion to reconsider at the City Council meeting on September 3rd.
  • Request to rezone three parcels and request for a special permit/site plan approval to allow a mixed-use development greater than 20,000 sq.ft. with building heights of up to 96′ consisting of 822 (now 800) residential units…NORTHLAND DEVELOPMENT – (NOTE: The Committee will hear an overview of the design guidelines, community benefits and the request to rezone the site for the following items. The Planning Department will also review the petitioner’s responses to the questions raised relative to transportation at the hearing on August 6th. The Committee may discuss other aspects of the petition but NO public comment will be taken. The Public Hearing will remain open and there will be additional opportunities for public comment.) – See Planning Department Memo and See Letter to Land Use Committee from Petitioner’s Legal Counsel



Development Review Team Meetings – Week of September 8th

The following potential proposals/projects will meet with the Development Review Team this week:

  • Various properties in Newton Centre (“Piccadilly Square”) – Comprehensive parking waiver for “Piccadilly Square,” Newton Centre
  • 697 Washington Street – Amendment to the Special Permit for “Garden Remedies” to remove the appointment only requirement
  • 978 Boylston Street – Special Permit for free-standing sign
  • 106 Fordham Road – Proposed accessory apartment

The Development Review Snapshot can be found here.

City Council Meetings – Week of September 1st

Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 4th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Public Hearing on recommendations of the special Blue Ribbon Commission regarding compensation of the Mayor, City Council and the School Committee

See League of Women Voter’s Letter

Public Facilities Committee: The Pubic Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 4th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of David Gillespie to the Design Review Committee
  • Petition for a grant of location to install a small cell wireless facility on an existing pole located in the right of way in the vicinity of 262 Beacon Street
  • Request to appropriate an expend $70,000 from FY2020 Budget Reserve to install surveillance cameras at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center, Eliot Street and Craft Street yards
  • Request to appropriate $175,000 from bonded indebtedness to purchase a modular trailer at Rumford Avenue Recycling Center
  • Request to appropriate $496,000 from the Sewer Fund Surplus to purchase a Vactor combination cleaner truck to be used by Public Works during sewer cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate $315,000 from the Stormwater Management Fund Surplus to purchase a Vacuum Street Sweeper to be used by Pubic Works for street cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate $150,280 from bonded indebtedness to purchase two Ford F550 4×4 trucks for the Department of Public Works and snow operations
  • Request to appropriate $739,059 from bonded indebtedness to purchase three 6-wheel trucks to be used by the Highway Department for street and snow operations

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 4th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to the Director of Transportation to create the ability to test and implement self-driving vehicles in Newton
  • Request to discuss implementing differential pricing for parking in Newton
  • Request for an update on the Shared Parking Program
  • Request for an update on the Lime Bike Program in Newton

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Thursday, September 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a 329 sq. ft. one-car attached garage where a 3-car garage exists, creating a private garage space greater than 700 sq. ft., more than one garage and a private garage for more than 3 vehicles at 333 Otis Street
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct dormers on each side of the second floor, vertically extending the non-conforming front setback at 2 Thaxter Road – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow modifications to the approved site plan at 29 Kewadin Road – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to extend the existing non-conforming FAR by replacing the existing one-story addition with a two-story addition creating an FAR of .64 where .51 exists and .46 is allowed at 11 Canterbury Road – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow modifications to the site plan for driveway and patio spaces not shown on the approved site plan for 22 Beecher Place – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to further extend the non-conforming front setback on Wade Street, creating a new front setback of 14.7′ where 14.9′ exists as well as to further extend the existing non-conforming setback on Hersey Street creating a new front setback of 14.8′ where 14.7′ exists and to allow parking in the front setback and within 5′ of a street at 28 Wade Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow construction of three single-family attached dwelling units, to allow a reduction in the side setbacks, to allow a reduction in the required frontage, to allow a reduction in the required lot area, to allow a driveway within 10′ of a side lot line and to allow retaining walls greater than 4 feet within a setback at 264 Pearl Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to raze an existing single-family dwelling and construct seven single-family attached dwellings in two buildings, to reduce the frontage requirement, to reduce the side setback requirement, to allow three stories, to exceed maximum lot coverage, to allow a retaining wall greater than 4′ in the setback and to allow a driveway in the side setback at 956 Walnut Street – See Planning Memo