Category: City Council

City Council Meetings – Week of March 1st

Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 4th. The Committee will meet jointly with the Public Facilities Committee in Room 20 f4or the first item on the agenda and will then convene in Room 211 to discuss the rest of the items on the agenda. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request authorization to submit a Statement of Interest (“SOI”) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) for consideration of funding for a renovation/addition at Countryside Elementary School, designated as the highest priority for a major project before Franklin Elementary School designated as the second-highest priority
  • Appointment of Michael Flaherty to the Health and Human Services Advisory Council
  • Re-appointment of Brenda Anders to the Health and Human Services Advisory Council
  • Request for Special Legislation to amend the provisions of the Acts 2014, c. 96 An Act Relative to the Appointment of Special Police Officers in Newton, as most recently amended by Acts 2016, c. 266, by raising the age limit for service on the special retiree police detail patrol from age 70 to age 75.

Public Facilities Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 4th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204 (jointly with the Programs and Services Committee for the first item on the agenda). The agenda includes the following:

  • Request authorization to submit a Statement of Interest (“SOI”) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) for consideration of funding for a renovation/addition at Countryside Elementary School, designated as the highest priority for a major project before Franklin Elementary School designated as the second-highest priority
  • Request to amend Chapter 17, Section 23; Chapter 25, Section 3 and Chapter 26, Section 14 of the Revised City of Newton Ordinances to add defining language, provide enforcement and establish fines for violations of the sidewalk obstruction ordinance
  • Request for a discussion with the Sustainability Team to create an ordinance to limit the or prohibit the installation of fossil fuel infrastructure in new construction and substantially renovated buildings, as well as to clarify the Council’s authority to prohibit the extension of gas mains subject to the condition of the existing infrastructure
  • Four re-appointments to the Design Review Committee:
    • Carol Schein
    • Peter Barrer
    • David Gillespie
    • Robert Hnasko

Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 4th at 8:00 p.m. (NOTE: Later start time) in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Three requests for new public auto license:
    • Noel Diaz for Newton Limos Company
    • Jose Gregorio Cendeno for Bace Limousine Services
    • Ismail Unkoc for Izmo Limo
  • Request an amendment to Chapter 19‐332 (e) Procedure for obtaining licenses in the following sentence:  …The committee shall forward its recommendations for approval or denial to the full city council during the month of January December of each year
  • Request an amendment to Chapter 19‐339 (g) Van licenses. Procedure for renewal of van licenses:  in the following sentence:  …The committee shall forward its recommendations for approval or denial to the full city council during the month of January December of each year
  • Request for a Resolution to the State Legislature supporting additional funding for Clean, Equitable Transportation

Chair’s Note: The committee will dedicate time to discussing its priorities for the term, in light of public comment, input from civic groups, and discussion with the administration

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

  • Request for a Change of Zone to Mixed-Use 3/Transit-Oriented District for portions of land located at 355 Grove Street (currently zoned BU-2) and 399 Grove Street (currently zoned BU-5) abutting the existing MU-3 Zone (Riverside Development)
    Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct a mixed-use, transit-oriented development of residential units, office, retail, personal services, restaurant, hotel, and related commercial uses not to exceed 1,025,000 square feet of gross floor area …. at 355 and 399 Grove Street – Riverside MBTA Development) – See Planning Memo

Note: The presentation and discussion of the Riverside items will focus on civil engineering and sustainability. Also, please see Councilor Questions re: Riverside Traffic

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow retail marijuana sales and waivers to the lighting requirements at 58 Cross Street/1089 Washington Street – See Planning Memo

City Council Committee Reports – Now Available

Public Facilities – 2/19/2020 Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Three Re-appointments to the Energy Commission:
    • James Purdy
    • Michael Gevelber
    • Halina Brown

All other items were held.

Public Safety and Transportation – 2/19/20 Report: The Pubic Safety and Transportation Committee voted NO ACTION NECESSARY on the following item:

  • Request for public comment on priorities for transportation planning

The report contains many great comments and suggestions. A good read.

Zoning and Planning Committee – 2/24/2020: The Zoning and Planning voted to approve the following:

  • Request to review and amend Section 7.3.3.C.5 of Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to: a) further inform the objectives of reducing energy consumption and limiting use of natural resources

The Committee voted NO ACTION NECESSARY on the following:

  • Request to amend City of Newton Ordinances, Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture

All other items were held.

Land Use – 2/25/2020 Report: All items (Riverside Change of Zone and Request for Special Permit/Site Plan Approval) were held. The focus of the meeting was on Traffic and Transportation. Go here to see questions from City Councilors regarding Traffic and Transportation.

Programs and Services Committee – 2/26/2020 Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of Nicole Banks as the new Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Request to amend the City of Newton Ordinances, Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture

The Programs and Services Commission voted NO ACTION NECESSARY on the following:

  • Previous request to amend the City of Newton Ordinances, Chapters 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 30 to rename the Department of Parks & Recreation to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Request to discuss with appropriate members of the School Department and School Committee fees in the Newton Public Schools

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of March 1st

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

  • Daycare center (Potential site: 284 California Street) – General conversation regarding opening a daycare
  • 50 Smith Avenue – Special Permit/Variance to construct an attached garage
  • 73 Washburn Avenue – Special Permit to extend nonconforming front setback by covering an existing porch
  • 103 Cabot Street – Possible Special Permit to construct a detached two-car garage in addition to an attached garage

The Development Review Snapshot can be found here.

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of February 23rd

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Planning Department Memo here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of February 23rd

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

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

The Development review Snapshot can be found here.

City Council Reports – Now Available

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

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

The Committee voted No Action Necessary on the following:

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

All other items were held.

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

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

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

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

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

All other items were held.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All other items were held.

City Council Meetings – Week of February 16th

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

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

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

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

  • Request for public comment on priorities for transportation planning

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of February 16th

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

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

The Development Review Snapshot can be found here.