Category: Events

Sad news

On March 15th, former Ward 5 at-large City Councilor Brian Yates passed away. Brian was a a dedicated public servant and a kind, caring, and loyal friend. I will miss him deeply.

The wake will be held on Tuesday, from 4 – 8 p.m. at George E. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home at 1305 HIghland Avenue in Needham. The funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m. at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.

Blue Ribbon Commission Seeks Public Input

The Blue Commission, appointed by the City Council President, to study compensation for elected officials and make recommendations for possible future amendments to compensation, benefits is seeking public comment from the community.

The online questionnaire can be found here.

In addition, the commission will hold two sessions for public comment:

  1. Wednesday March 27, 7:00 p.m., Newton City Hall, room 204
  2. Tuesday, April 9, 7:00 p.m., Newton City Hall, room 205

You can also forward comments to:

Elected Official compensation was last reviewed in 2005. At that time, the recommendations was to raise salaries for all elected officials and provide a process for future increases. The City Council approved an increase in salary for the Mayor, but the Mayor did not accept it.

Additional information about the 2019 Blue Ribbon Commission for Salaries, including a list of commission members can be found here. Agendas, reports, and audio can be found here.

Mayor announces Delay in Delivery of Final Zoning Ordinance – Pushed back to 2020

In a letter addressed to the City Council, the Mayor, with the input of Planning Director, Barney Heath, Council President Marc Laredo, and Zoning and Planning Chair, Susan Albright, has decided to “extend the time of delivery of a final draft zoning ordinance to the City Council to the calendar year 2020.

“My decision was made for two reasons.  First, we recently concluded the 1st draft Zoning Redesign ward-by-ward meetings and listened carefully;we know we have considerable work to do on the second draft to ensure we have the right rules in place to direct the future development of our community. Second, we have a sizeable work load in our Planning Department for the rest of this calendar year. This includes important and time-sensitive planning work reviewing the Northland Special Permit application, a Vision Plan and anticipated special permit application for Riverside,updating our inclusionary zoning provisions, developing and presenting a Climate Action Plan, and completing work on the Vision Plan and associated zoning for Washington Street. I am confident the Planning Department can ably complete these initiatives in 2019 if we extend zoning redesign into 2020.”


Riverside Conceptual Plan – Public Meeting – March 14th – 7:00 p.m.

The City’s Land Use Committee will hold a public meeting (NOT a public hearing) this Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, where the petitioner, Mark Development, will present conceptual plans for review. The public will be allowed to ask questions, gain an understanding of the project, and provide feedback to inform further development of the project.

Information about the process for this meeting can be found here. The conceptual plans can be found here.

Additional clarification from Land Use Committee Chair, Greg Schwartz:

The Riverside development project is upon us. In the next few weeks and months you will see advertised numerous meetings regarding this project. To forestall any confusion, here is a quick review of the three main endeavors for which these meetings are occurring:

  • The first is the visioning process which began just last month after the city council and the mayor hired civic moxie to facilitate meetings between the planning department and members of the communities most affected by the project. Their mission is to identify the goals and benefits and options that everyone would like to see built on the parcel.
  • The second group of meetings will likely begin in late April or early May. These will be part of the City Council’s formal process to review a special permit submitted by the developer for the Riverside project. This process is specific to the particular project proposed, and involves intense review by the planning department, their hired peer reviewers, city councilors, and the public. Those meetings will go on for months until a final vote is taken by the Council before the end of the year.
  • However there is a third meeting type that is occurring this Thursday, March 14, at 7 pm in the Council chamber at City Hall. That meeting is outside the special permit process and outside the visioning process. It is a public meeting of the Council required under the MU3 zoning ordinance, and it’s purpose is to give the community and the developer an opportunity to discuss an overview of a potential project, and to provide community feedback before any particular special permit is filed.

Community involvement will be essential to the success of all three of these processes. Your involvement and participation is welcome and encouraged.

Comments due by midnight – March 13th – Hello Washington Street

Comments are due on Draft Two of Hello Washington Street – the City’s Vision Plan for the future development of Washington Street by midnight, March 13th.

There are four ways to read the documents and leave your comments:

  1. Online*
  2. Library**
  3. Planning Department**
  4. Download the Vision Plan and Zoning pdfs and email.
*Instructions for Online
  1. Click on the document anywhere to leave a comment. You’ll be prompted to create a username and password: it should take no longer than two minutes to register.
  2. Zoom using the + and – buttons in the menu up top.
  3. Scroll with your mouse, simply click on the scroll bars on the side and bottom of the document, or with a touchpad by keeping cursor on the document and scrolling.
  4. Move from chapter to chapter using the drop down menu above or below the document, or by clicking the arrows below the document.
  5. The document can also be downloaded for reading.
**Option to leave comments by hand.
Summary Sheets and Key Maps can be found here.
Additional summary sheets can be found here.
Chapter 1 of the Vision Plan can be found here.
Full Draft can be found here and Zoning can be found here.
Additional opportunities to comment include the City’s Council public hearing and additional office hours hosted by the planning team.  Comments can also be forwarded by email at


Porchfest 2019:  Sign-ups for Newton PorchFest, scheduled for Saturday, June 1st (raindate Sunday, June 2nd) are now open.   Last year was the inaugural year for Newton PorchFest, with 60+ bands playing all over Auburndale.  This year will include the Villages of Lower Falls and Waban.

  • Host:  Sign up to host a band on your porch, lawn or driveway.
  • Play:  Are you a singer-songwriter, part of a jazz quartet, or rock out?  All forms of musical talent, all ages are welcome!
  • Volunteer:  We’d love the help!
  • Donate:   Newton PorchFest is funded entirely by donations.  Any and all donations are welcome.
For more information and to signup, see

Sidewalk Poetry Project:Make Poetry Concrete will stamp selected poems into the concrete of newly constructed sidewalks throughout Newton’s villages in village centers, around public schools, near local businesses, public parks, and transit stations.  .


This project will produce a library of ten poem molds that will each be stamped once in the sidewalks of the City over an 18 month period. If this project is funded, poets young and old will be invited to submit poems for consideration. A selection committee will accept original poems from all members of the public. The committee will review all submissions and will choose up to ten poems. Submission guidelines and contest rules can be found online here.

There are two ways you can help.

  1. Make a contribution to help reach the $15,000 goal. You can donate online or write a check to Newton Community Pride and drop it off at City Hall.
  2. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about this project and share this link.

Story Slam:  Newton Nomadic Theater present another story slam on Friday, March 29th at 7:30 p.m. at Gregorian Rugs in Newton Lower Falls.  The theme is “comfort zone”.

For more events, check out the Newton Arts Calendar here.


Snow Closures and Snow Emergency in Effect

Newton Public Schools and the Newton Senior Center will be closed on Monday, March 4th due to the impending snow storm.

The Newton Free Library and City Hall are expected to open by 11 a.m.

A Snow Emergency will be in effect for the City of Newton, beginning on midnight, Sunday evening, March 3rd. Check the City’s website after 8 a.m. to see when the ban will be lifted.

Trash and Recycling are still on schedule for regular pick-up.


Better Bus Project – Final Week of Open House and Community meetings

The MBTA’s Better Bus Project’s Open House and Community Meetings will take place this week.

Better Bus Project Open House at Malden Center Station
Monday, March 4
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Look for our table!

MBTA Community Meeting at Watertown Square
Monday March 4
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Watertown Police Department – Community Room
552 Main St., Watertown, MA

MBTA Community Meeting in Downtown Boston
Thursday, March 7
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
State Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA

Feel free to stop by any time during the Open House hours to learn more about the MBTA’s 47 cost-neutralproposals to update and modernize 63 existing bus routes. View an Open House Flyer and a Community Meetings Flyer for more information. 

Can’t make these events? You can still participate online through Wednesday, March 13. 

We also encourage you to share your feedback online, through the feedback form(  The form is available in English, Spanish (Español)Portuguese (Português),French (Français)Chinese – Simplified (汉语)Chinese – Traditional (漢語)Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt), andHaitian Creole (Kreyòl Ayisyen). The comment period will close on Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

How to read each proposal

Visit to view the proposals, available in multiple languages. The proposals include a description of each proposed change by route number, a map of the change, and the data supporting the change along with the tradeoffs.

Please visit to learn more about the project, sign up for email updates, and review project materials.


Zoning Redesign – Ward 4 Meeting – Thursday, March 7th – 6:45 p.m. Burr Elementary School

The Ward 4 City Councilors will host a community/ward meeting focusing on Ward 4 on Zoning Redesign on Thursday, March 7th at 6:45 p.m. at the Burr Elementary School, 171 Pine Street, to discuss the draft zoning ordinance. Please note that this meeting is not part of the Riverside Vision Plan Process. For more information please visit the Planning Department’s website at or email them at

Sad News – Passing of Reverend Howard Haywood and Linda Plaut

It is with heavy heart to inform you about the passing of Reverend Howard Haywood and Linda Plaut. Both gave so much of their hearts and souls to the City of Newton and they will be sorely missed. Sincerest sympathies, love, and prayers go out to their families and friends.

Reverend Haywood served as past of the Myrtle Baptist Church. A staunch affordable housing and civil rights advocate, he served on numerous Newton organizations including the Council on Aging, the Newton Community Development Foundation, the Newton Clergy Association, the Newton Human Rights Commission.  Services will be held at the Myrtle Baptist Church, 21 Curve Street, West Newton.  Wake:  Saturday, February 23rd from 4 – 8 p.m. and the Funeral on Sunday, February 24th at 1 p.m.

Linda Plaut served as Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Newton, promoting community and cultural events throughout the City. Linda served as Director of the Newton Cultural Council and Director of the Newton Pride Committee. She helped found and run numerous events including Newton’s Harvest Fair, the Festival of the Arts, NewtonServes, Newton Youth Players and the Heartbreak Hill Race. Services will be announced on Tuesday, February 19th here.