The latest announcements and updates...

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 washingtonstreet@newtonma.gov

Events

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 https://newton.porchfest.info/

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.

 

City Council Committee Meetings – Week of March 10th

Finance Committee:  The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, March 11th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Jim Shaughnessy as Director of Assessing Administration
  • Request authorization to submit Statement of Interest to the MSBA for consideration of funding for a renovation/addition of Countryside Elementary School, designated as the highest priority for a major project after Cabot Elementary School and the Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School and the Newton Early Childhood Program
  • Request to appropriate $1,364,006 from bonded indebtedness for to fund  incidental and/or related costs, of replacing the boilers at Bigelow Middle School which the City may be eligible for a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)
  • Request to amend Section 17-3 of the City of Newton’s Ordinances and adopt the FCC’s presumptively reasonable application fees for wireless attachments and new pole construction and conduct studies of the costs to document the City’s time and expenses regarding these applications
  • Request to amend the non-resident parking permit fee from $25 to better cover the costs and encourage alternatives to driving in parts of the City where demand is high
  • Request to rescind the city’s acceptance of Section 22F of the Mass General Laws Chapter 40 which authorizes certain municipal boards and officers to fix reasonable fees for the issuance of certain licenses, permits, or certificates
  • Request for an ordinance amendment requiring divestment from direct or indirect investment in fossil fuel companies
  • Request to amend Council Order #51-19 to authorize the transfer of $1,250,000 from the Angier Elementary School Project Account to the Capital Stabilization Account to the Accelerated Roads Program
  • Request to amend the FY2019 Budget Council order by increasing Retirement Accounts in both the Sewer Funds Benefits Account and the Water Funds Benefit Account by decreasing Sewer Maintenance and Operation by $188,067 and decreasing Water Maintenance and Operation by $302,283
  • Request to re-appropriate unspent bond funds for completed projects to new projects (see agenda for full listing)

Zoning and Planning Committee:  The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet on Monday, March 11th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment and Re-appointment of David Kayserman, 33 Hancock Street, as a member of the Auburndale Historic District Commission
  • Request to amend Chapter 30, Section 4.4.1. Business, Mixed Use & Manufacturing Districts. to allow Registered Marijuana Dispensaries and marijuana retailers by special permit in Limited Manufacturing and Manufacturing Districts – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance to increase the required percentage of affordable units; to require that some affordable units be designated for middle income households; to create a new formula for calculating payments in lieu of affordable units; and to clarify and improve the ordinance with other changes as necessary – See Planning Memo
  • Continued discussion of the Draft Zoning Ordinance – with overview of the Development Review Process – See Planning Memo

Land Use Committee:  The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday, March 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda will be solely focused on the Northland Development specifically an overview of the project revisions as they relate to site design, open space and fiscal/economic impacts. See Planning Memo.

Land Use Committee:  The Land Use Committee will meet on Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber for a conceptual review of a proposed Riverside Station Mixed-Use/Transit Oriented Development. The agenda can be found here and the Concept Plans can be found here.

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of March 10th

Commission on Disability:  The Commission on Disability will meet on Monday, March 11th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of 2/11/19 Meeting Minutes
  • Reports – CDBG; Accessible Fines; Treasurer; and ADA Coordinator
  • Request for Accessible Parking – Newton Centre
  • Candidate for Commission – E. Sandberg
  • MAAB Time Variance – 2300-2320 Commonwealth Avenue
  • MAAB Variance – 400 Beacon Street

Planning and Development Board:  The Planning and Development Board will meet on Monday, March 11th at 6:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Updates on the following:  Economic Development Strategy Plan; Zoning Redesign; the Washington Street Vision Plan;  the Riverside Visioning Process;  Inclusionary Zoning; the Climate Action Plan; and the FY20 Annual Action Plan – ESG RFP Review and the Human Service RFP Review; Community Preservation Committee; and Recreational Marijuana
  • Continued discussion on the Northland Project – Request for Change of Zone
  • Upcoming Meetings:
    • March 11th at 7:00 p.m. – Zoning and Planning Committee-Development Review Process discussion (Not Required, but encouraged)
    • March 12th at 7:00 p.m. –  Joint Land Use Committee and Planning and Development Board Public Hearing on the Northland Project Revisions/Mitigation
    • March 19th – 7:00 p.m. – City Council Committee of the Whole – Fiscal Impact Discussion of the Northland Project (Not required, but encouraged)

Auburndale Historic District Commission:  The Auburndale Historic District Commission will meet on Tuesday, March 12th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205.  The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness (Violation) – for approval of an as-built second-story railing system at 29 Fern Street 
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to enclose two right-side porches at 51 Hancock Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish an existing garage and connector and build a new garage, connector and addition at 347 Central Street

Staff Memo can be found here and Packet documents can be found here.

Community Preservation Committee:  The Community Preservation Committee will meet on Tuesday, March 12th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request from Historic Newton to spend $8,690 of the remaining $84,000 in previously appropriated CPA funds to repair damage caused by a tree fall at the South Burying Ground – Historic Burying Grounds
  • Pre-Proposal Request from the Public Buildings Department for $214,500 of architectural services for a total estimated project cost of $2.3 million for the City Hall Exterior Stairs
  • Approval of draft program budget for FY2020
  • Commitment of additional administrative funding for continued legal work on conservation restrictions for past CPA-funded land acquisitions
  • Continued discussion of program planning, budgeting, outreach and staffing
  • Approval of previous minutes – January 8th meeting

Pre-Meeting Packet information can be found here.

Solid Waste Commission:  The Long-Term Planning/Sustainable Materials Management Goals Subcommittee of the Solid Waste Commission will meet on Tuessday, March 12th at 7:00 p.m. at the Newton Free Library Room 2H. The agenda will focus on a discussion of recommended terms for future trash and recycling hauling contract.

Economic Development Commission:  The Economic Development Commission will meet on Tuesday, March 12th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • N2 Update
  • Overview from the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce
  • 2018 Annual Report
  • April EDC Village Roundtable Meeting
  • Election of EDC Officers

Design Review Committee:  The Design Review Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 13th at 6:00 p.m. at the Horace Mann Elementary School, 687 Watertown Street.  The agenda includes discussion of the Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School and Newton Early Childhood Program project – site plan and schematic design progress review.

Urban Design Commission:  The Urban Design Commission will meet on Wednesday, March 13th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Five Requests for Sign Permits:
    • Arin Realty Co., Inc – 112 Needham Street
    • 287 Auburn Street
    • The Neighborhood Club – 24 Berkeley Street
    • Babykoo – 1239 Washington Street
    • Ceri – 386 Langley Road
  • Request for a Comprehensive Sign Package – Washington Place

Staff Memo can be found here.

Youth Commission:  The Youth Commission will meet on Wednesday, March 13th at 5:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Spark Share Youth Summit Discussion
  • Finalizing the  Newton Teen Mental Health Survey Outreach and Distribution
  • Choosing a date for School Committee Presentation

Newtonville Area Council:  The Newtonville Area Council will meet on Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The tentative agenda includes the following:

  • Report on Charter Commission Subcommittee to alter Area Council powers
  • Updates re:  Austin Street and Washington Place
  • MBTA’s Better Bus Proposal
  • Report on February Adjustments to the Proposed Draft Zoning Ordinance
  • Member and Resident Impressions of 2nd Draft Vision of Washington Street
  • Brainstorming and establishing committees to address tasks and goals in 2019:
    • Zoning and development issues
    • Facilitating City Council candidate debates
    • Expanding the NAC’s geographic jurisdiction
    • What should be essential and distinctive in our next newsletter
    • Lobbying for and monitoring community benefits. Advocating “impact fees
    • Village Day
  • Website Management

Newton Upper Falls Commission:  The Newton Upper Falls Commission will meet on Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for Certificate of Appropriateness to install windows and vents at at 65 High Street
  • Request for Certificate of Appropriateness to amend previously approved main entry, and to install light fixtures, wood fence, and metal door at 1238 Chestnut Street 
  • Request for Certificate of Appropriateness (Violation) for approval of front entry porch railing system at 254-256 Elliot Street

SEPAC to Meet on Tuesday, March 12th

SEPAC will meet on Tuesday, March 12th at 7:30 p.m. in Room 210 at the Ed Center, 100 Walnut Street. There will be a presentation by Dr. Kerim Munir, MD, MPH, DSc, Director of Psychiatry at the University Center of Excellence in Development Disabilities at Boston Children’s Hospital on:  Mental Health in Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities.  The Notice can be found 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(mbta.com/BBPfeedback).  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 betterbus.mbta.com 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 mbta.com/betterbus 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 www.newtonma.gov/zoningredesign.com or email them at zoningredesign@newtonma.gov

Full City Council to Meet on Monday, March 4th

The Full City Council will meet on Monday, March 4th. The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

Note:  There were two Motions for Reconsideration on the Request for authorization to enter into potential lease agreements on 18 municipal and school properties for the Phase 3 Solar Projects (with the exception of the Auburndale Cove location which was NOT approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission).

Public Facilities Chair Deb Crossley has provided this memo regarding the Solar Phase 3 projects.

In addition, there is a request from the Mayor to amend Docket item #84-19 to replace the transfer amount of $500,000 to $1,250,000 with $650,000 going to Rental Vehicles and $600,000 going to Regular Overtime.