Early Voting Begins TODAY! Early Voting for the March 3 Elections will be held at Newton City Hall on: Monday, February 24 through Thursday, February 27, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Friday, February 28, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
A sample ballot with the municipal referendum can be found here. Unfortunately, a complete sample ballot listing all of the Presidential candidates and the local Republican and Democratic State and City Committee candidates is not currently posted.
Riverside on the Land Use Agenda: The Land Use Committee will continue its discussion and review of the Riverside Change of Zone and Special Permit and Site Plan Approval requests on Tuesday, February 25th at 7:00 p.m. The Land Use Committee will focus the discussion on Transportation. The agenda can be found here and the Planning Department Memo can be found here.
New Liquor License Requests from UMASS Amherst? UMASS Amherst at Mt. Ida is seeking two new all alcohol and entertianment license requests for the Top of the Campus – located at Carlson Hall and Top of the Campus – located at Shaw Hall – both to be operated Monday – Sunday from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. The Licensing Commission agenda can be found here.
Next NewCAL Meeting – Thursday, February 27th at the Senior Center: The next NewCAL Community meeting will be held this Thursday, February 27th at the Senior Center, beginning at 7:00 p.m. PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION. Previous meetings were held at the Ed Center. Additional information can be found here.
The School Committee will meet on Monday, February 10th at 6:00 p.m. in Room 210 at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street. The Committee is expected to vote to move into Executive Session for the purpose of conducting strategy sessions in preparation of contract negotiations for non-union personnel – Superintendent and an update regarding litigation and convene in Room 304. The School Committee will then convene in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. in Room 210. The agenda includes the following:
Property Taxes Due TODAY. If you are like me and didn’t mail in your taxes, they are due TODAY.
478 Parking Waiver Request to be voted on TONIGHT: Two weeks ago, the Special Permit/Site Plan Approval Request to allow a restaurant with more than 50 seats and a parking waiver of 478 spaces was chartered and is scheduled to be voted on TONIGHT. According to the Planning Department Memo:
Due to lack of support for the request to allow restaurants with more than 50 seats as a blanket waiver in perpetuity, the petitioner has withdrawn this request and will pursue the special permit once a specific tenant is identified. The remaining relief to be granted is to allow a parking waiver of 478 stalls to allow flexibility in leasing, and faster turnover of tenant spaces in Newton Centre.
Temporary Moratorium on Local Landmarking – to be voted on TONIGHT. The Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the proposed Temporary Moratorium on Local Landmarking amending the timeframe to 6 months and a review within 3 months. See Report. The Full Council is expected to vote on this TONIGHT.
A Night of Danger:The next Newton Nomadic Theatre Story Slam – On Sunday, February 9th at 7:00 p.m., the Newton Nomad Story Slam will be held at Gregorian Rugs, 2284 Washington Street, Newton Lower Falls. More information and tickets can be found here.
Very sad to report the passing of former City of Newton Co-Director of Sustainability, Andrew Savitz. Andy was born and raised in Newton and returned to serve as Director of Sustainability under Mayor Warren in May of 2015. He was also Executive Director of Consumers for Sensible Energy.
Newton resident, BU professor, environmental activist, and friend, Nathan Phillips, began a hunger strike this past Wednesday, January 29th, to call attention to serious public health and safety violations occurring at the site of the ill-conceived Weymouth Compressor station. Nathan describes his concerns in a personal statement regarding the violations which he believes threatens the health of residents of the Fore River Basin and along routes across the Commonwealth and beyond. Mothers Out Front, sent an email this week asking for folks to support Nathan and
…elevate the cause he has bravely embraced by making phone calls, tweeting, posting and messaging at the two men in our state who have the power to act on Nathan’s – and our – demand that the law be obeyed at the Weymouth Compressor station. So far they have refused to do so. We are hoping to get as many calls and tweets to Governor Baker and the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Suuberg as we can over the weekend – so they find their boxes full on Monday morning! We will continue these actions on Monday when they are back at work as well.
Nathan is doing well. getting lots of support and caretaking, so the best way you can help is to amplify the message of his hunger strike and reach out directly to Governor Baker and the Depa,tment of Environmental Protection Commissioner Suuberg to meet Nathan’s three demands!
For CALLS: Please call Gov. Baker’s office 617-725-4005 and DEP Commissioner Suuberg’s office 617-292-5500, and say, “I am calling to urge you to meet the three demands that will allow the ongoing hunger strike of Nathan Phillips to end.”
The demands are:
1. All dump trucks leaving the site abide by the decontamination measures outlined on page 27 of the Release Abatement Measures plan of November 25, 2019, which require a decontamination pad/station and other measures to clean tires and exterior vehicle surfaces of site residue.
2. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection commences comprehensive testing for asbestos in furnace bricks and in the coal ash matrix, across and throughout the vertical profile of the North Parcel.
3. The Baker administration commits to a date certain, no later than two weeks from today, for the installation and operation of an air quality monitor as Governor Baker pledged action on ‘within a couple of days’ on Radio Boston on January 23, 2020.
FYI: Suuberg’s extension for messages is: #71098
On TWITTER: Use this Hashtag:#Hunger4JusticeMA
@350Mass Nathan Phillips: @nathanpboston Mass Department of Environmental Protection: @MassDEP Governor Baker: @MassGovernor FRRACS: @FRRACS_MA
The Full City Council will meet on Monday, February 3rd at 7:45 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The Reports Docket can be found here and the Revised New Docket can be found here. Please note: The President of the Council will request a roll call vote to go into Executive Session to hear from legal counsel regarding an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed against the City Council. – See Open Meeting Law Complaint
Also, please note that the Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a restaurant with more than 50 seats and a parking waiver of 478 parking stalls for properties located at 93-105 Union Street, 1280 Centre Street, 47-61 Langley Road, 49-63 Union Street and 790-794 Beacon Street was chartered at the last Full Council Meeting and is once again before the Council. See – Planning Department Memo with a Draft Council Order.
Request to amend Chapter 22 of the Revised Newton City Ordinances, 2017, to temporarily suspend nominations made by the Historical Commission and by the City Council for landmark designations. The temporary suspension will prevent and suspend the processing, and approval of any property currently under consideration for landmark designation and will temporarily suspend future landmark designations made by the Historical Commission and the City Council. Landmark nominations made by the Mayor, Director of Planning of Development and the Commissioner of Inspectional Services shall not be affected. This temporary suspension shall end no later than December 31, 2020. NOTE: The Committee amended the item and approved a 6-month moratorium and a review in Committee in three months.
Request for a Class 2 Auto Dealer License – Paragon Exports
Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow parking design criteria including waivers to: interior landscaping requirements, lighting requirements, to allow parking accessory to a manufacturing use in a residential district and to allow parking in the front and side setback at 287-289 Newtonville Avenue – See Draft Council Order
Request to transfer $1,000,000 from Budget Reserve- Snow and Ice Removal Account to the DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal and DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors Accounts
Request to appropriate and expend $900,000 from June 30, 2019 Certified Free Cash to Fire Rescue Full Time Salaries
Request to appropriate and expend $41,869 from E-Rate reimbursement funds to purchase the conversion of the phone system at Williams Elementary School to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – (amended to substitute Burr School as Williams School was converted in 2018)
Request to accept and expend a $3,000 grant from the US Food and Drug Administration for Environmental Health Specialist training- NOTE: This item was amended to $6,000 – for the acceptance of two grants
Request to accept and expend a $200,000 Housing Choice Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to study the possibility of converting the West Newton Armory into affordable housing
Chairmen’s Meeting: The Chair’s of each Committee will meet on Monday, February 3rd at 6:45 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:
Rules issues from Chairs and Members – Rules to be updated and reviewed
Legislative Agenda – what happened in committees – can there be a write-up for the TAB
Open Meeting Law – Is there a need for another training
Will Clerk find a place for communications in every committee area (?)
Suggestions for members of Boards and Commissions – list of openings will be provided
Other issues from the floor
Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, February 4th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes 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 Planning Memo
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 Planning Memo
Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a for-profit educational use at the existing building at 66 Winchester Street – (Olympia Fencing Center) – See Planning Memo
Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow retail marijuana sales and waivers to lighting requirements at 58 Cross Street/1089 Washington Street – ASCEND MASS, LLC – See Planning Memo
Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a retail marijuana establishment, to waive the minimum driveway width for two-way traffic, to waive perimeter screening requirements and to waive lighting requirements at 1158 Beacon Street – Union Twist – See Planning Memo
Public Facilities Committee: The Public Facilities Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 5th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:
Two appointments to the Solid Waste Commission:
Request for an update on the status of the Solar Phase 3 Projects
Request for an update on the status of the Climate Action Plan
Request to transfer $500,000 from the Budget Reserve – Snow and Ice Removal Account to the following accounts:
$200,000 to DPW Overtime, Snow and Ice Removal
$300,000 to DPW Rental Vehicles/Subcontractors
Programs and Services Committee: The Programs and Services Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 5th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:
Chair’s Note: There will be a brief update on an item requesting the Mayor submit a new Crescent Street proposal
Request for a discussion with the Administration for the creation of an online or phone-based staff directory so that citizens can be directly connected to city staff
Request for a discussion with the Complete Count Committee Newton’s plans to ensure that all Newton residents are counted in the next census
Request to move the pollling location for Ward 2 Precinct 1 which is currently at the former Horace Mann Elementary School to the Albemarle Field House at 250 Albemarle Road
Public Safety and Transportation Committee: The regularly scheduled Public Safety and Transportation Committee meeting has been cancelled. The Meeting Cancellation Notice can be found here.