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Full City Council to Meet on Monday, July 8th at 7 p.m. – Committee of the Whole for 3 Public Facilities Items and then Full Council Meeting

The Full City Council will meet on Monday, July 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. According to the Committee of the Whole Agenda, they will first meet in Committee of the Whole to hold a discuss and vote on the following items:

  • Public Hearing on Request to amend the lease for the Brown Middle School Solar Project to replace the front canopy at the site with two canopies in the rear parking area
  • Request for an Extension of Time to Act until September 17, 2019 on a petition 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. (Installation includes: antenna, radio equipment, an electric meter, and cabling for fiber and power)
  • Recommendation on the use of $700,000 for off-site improvements provided for in the Washington Place Special Permit as amended by Special Permit #216-18

The Council will then proceed into it’s regularly scheduled meeting. The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

City Council Committee Reports Now Available

Land Use Committee – 6/18/2019 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to raze an existing detached garage and shed and construct a 698.5 sq. ft. garage, further extending the non-conforming side setback at 92 Manet Road
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to construct an attic level dormer to increase the living space, creating an FAR of .52 where .46 is allowed and .43 exists at 61 Forest Street

Programs and Services Committee – 6/19/2019 Report: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Appointment of Marcela Marino to the Community Education Commission
  • Appointment of Rebecca Mozaffarian to the Health and Human Services Advisory Council
  • Re-appointment of Barbara Meltz as a Library Trustee
  • Re-appointment of Shadi Aryanpour to the Community Education Commission
  • Request to approve plans to upgrade the AV equipment in the City Council Chamber to provide better projection of digital images
  • Request to approve an increase in the salary of the City Clerk/Clerk of the City Council to $139,719 effective July 1, 2019, to match the percentage increase included in the FY20 budget for H-grade employees

Public Facilities Committee – 6/19/2019 Report: The Public Facilities Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to amend Chapter 17, Section 3 and Chapter 26 Section 8D of the Revised Ordinances to provide for enforcement and fines for violations of the sidewalk clearing ordinance
  • Request to appropriate and expend $2 million from Free Cash to develop 25% conceptual design of the Washington Street corridor in order to make the improvements eligible for the State’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) funding
  • Petition for 5-58 schematic design and site plan approval at 687 Watertown Street for the interior renovation of the former Horace Mann Elementary School to accommodate the Newton Early Childhood Program. The design includes a new entry plaza, removal of the existing modular structures to provide an access drive, a school transportation van loading area and emergency access, and landscaping improvements. Additional site plan improvements include parking improvements and an accessible ramp to new play structures located in the adjacent area north of the building.
  • Request for a Resolution to support “An Act for Utility Transition to Using Renewable Energy” House H. 2849/Senate S.1940, also known as the FUTURE Act – mandates measures that address the urgent need to advance repair of a growing number of underground leaking gas pipes under our streets, while implementing a transition to safe and cleaner energy sources, and mandates processes to ensure coordinating this work with municipalities

Public Safety and Transportation Committee – 6/19/2019: The Public Safety and Transportation Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request amendments to Chapter 17, Section 3 and Chapter 26 Section 8D of the Revised Ordinances to provide for enforcement and fines for violations of the sidewalk clearing ordinance

Zoning and Planning Committee – 6/24/2019 Report: The Zoning and Planning Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request for amendments to the Inclusionary Zoning provisions of the Zoning Ordinance and apply the requirements to any project including 7 or more residential units; to increase the required percentage of affordable units for projects of a certain size; 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 fractional cash payments; to waive certain inclusionary zoning requirements for 100% deed restricted affordable developments; to strengthen the Elder Housing with Services requirements and to clarify and improve the ordinance with other changes as necessary – Approved as amended
  • Request to amend the Zoning Ordinance to create a short-term rental ordinance that defines the short-term rental and bed and breakfast uses; identifies what zoning districts they would be allowed in and under what criteria, conditions, limitations and permitting process – Approved as amended
  • Request to amend the Zoning Ordinances to create a short-term rental ordinance with fees that would require registration of short-term rentals with the Inspectional Services Department and fire inspections to protect public health and safety – Approved as amended
  • Re-appointment of Jack Leader and Robert Finkel to the Economic Development Commission
  • Re-appointment of Jane Brown, Robert Caruso, and Girard Plante to the Commission on Disability
  • Re-appointment of Nancy Grissom and Italo Visco to the Auburndale Historic District Commission

Land Use Committee – 6/25/2019 Report: The Land Use Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to amend a previously granted special permit/site plan approval council order condition which prohibited banks to now allow petitioner to lease commercial space to not more than one bank with a total square footage not to exceed 3800 sq. ft. at 845 Washington Street and 245 Walnut Street (Washington Place)
  • Request for a special permit/site plan approval to construct a two-story addition and one-story rear addition, further increasing the non-conforming FAR of .49 where .41 is allowed and .55 is proposed at 67 Marlboro Street

All other items were held.

Finance Committee – 6/26/2019 Report: The Finance Committee voted to approve the following:

  • Request to appropriate $2 million from Free Cash to develop 25% conceptual design of Washington Street corridor in order to make improvements to the corridor eligible for the State’s Transportation Improvement (TIP) Program – Approved as amended
  • Request to transfer funds to correct an error made in FY2019 funding of the Water, Sewer and Stormwater Health Benefits (Total: $235,000)
  • Request to reduce bond authorizations as a result in cost savings on projects or premiums received and applied to during the bond sales (Total: $1,468,425.42 – for details see agenda)
  • Request to transfer $15,000 from the Human Resources Full-time Salaries Account to the Inspectional Services Overtime/Special Projects Account to cover costs of the scanning project
  • Request to transfer $700,000 from the Snow and Ice Overtime Account to the Snow and Ice Rental Vehicles (Contractors) Account to rebalance the actual costs incurred for the removal of snow and ice throughout the FY2019 winter season
  • Request to amend Chapter 12, Section 71, by revising the definition of “reusable bag”, revising the definition of retailers to include establishments of less than 3500 sq. ft., and adding a $0.10 fee on paper bags provided by the retailer
  • Request to increase the salary of the City Clerk/Clerk of the City Council to $139,719 effective July 1, 2019, to match the percentage increase in the FY2020 budget for H-grade employees
  • Re-appointment of James Pellegrine as Constable for the City of Newton
  • Re-appointment of Daniel Kunitz as a trustee of the Cousens Fund

City Council Meetings This Week

Finance Committee: The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, July 8th at 6:45 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to appropriate $50,000 from Cable CATV Capital Receipts to upgrade the City Council Chamber with high quality video distribution system for state of the art computer displays while maintaining the historic integrity of the room

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Tuesday July 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request to Withdraw without Prejudice a Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow four single-family attached dwellings in two buildings, allowing single-family attached dwellings with three stories and to allow retaining walls greater than 4′ within a setback at 499 Winchester Street
  • Requests to amend a Deed Restriction to permit a solar carport over the parking lot area at 181 Wells Avenue – See Planning Memo
  • Request for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a parking stall withing the front setback and five feet from the street at 30 Jacobs Street – See Planning Memo
  • Request to amend a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow for an 8.14 sq. ft. free standing sign at the front of the property in a planting bed at 112 Needham Street – See Planning Memo

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of July 7th

Commission on Disability: The Commission on Disability will meet on Monday, July 8th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of 5/13/2019 minutes
  • CDBG Report
  • Accessible Fines Report
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • ADA Coordinator’s Report
  • Request for an accessible parking space for 18-20 Coyne Road
  • Discussion of Apex Curb Ramps with the Department of Public Works
  • ADA Complaints at Mulitple Dwellings
  • Disccusion on Accessible Projects for MOD Grant and Accessible Fines Fund

Auburndale Historic District Commission: The Auburndale Historic District Commission will meet on Tuesday, July 9th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for Certificate of Appropriateness to install fence sections at 93 Hancock Street;
  • Request for Certificate of Appropriateness to install fence sections at ;
  • Request for Certificate of Appropriateness to change the name on five existing monument signs located at the following corners: Grove Street and Woodland Road, Forest Avenue and Woodland Road, Commonwealth Avenue and Cheswick Road, Myrtle and Grove Streets, and Commonwealth Avenue and Central Street for Lasell College;
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish an existing garage and connector and build a new garage, connector and addition
  • Working session to discuss request to replace siding, trim, gutters, decks and railings, and to install copper roof areas at 113 Hancock Street

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

Community Preservation Committee: The Community Preservation Committee will meet on Tuesday, July 9th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

Economic Development Commission: The Economic Development Commission will meet on Tuesday, July 9th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of 6/11/2019 Minutes
  • Updates from Planning and Development Department Director, Barney Heath
  • Update on N2 and Newton Innovation Center Study by Chuck Tanowitz
  • Discussion of Northland Letter
  • Scheduling of Riverside Presentation for August Meeting

Newton Human Rights Commission: The Newton Human Rights Commission will meet on Wednesday, July 9th at 7:00 p.m. in Room B15. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of March, April, and May minutes
  • Discussion of Hate Incidents
  • Discussion of Complaints received
  • Student Reports related to Human Rights
  • Debriefing on Pride Event
  • Budget Discussion – Expenditures of 2018-2019; and Proposals for 2019-2020
  • Update on collaboration with the Newton Free Library on Book Salon – Location and Months: September, January and May
  • Human Rights Commission Reading Lists
  • Human Rights Commission Newsletter:
    • Initial Issue: Housing
    • Articles/Thoughts by August 9th

Newton Cultural Council: The Newton Cultural Council will meet on Wednesday, July 10th at 11 a.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Discussion of the MCC (Mass Cultural Council) pilot program
  • Report from the Community Input Survey Team
  • Report from the Evaluation Team
  • Request that Marketing Team create outreach flyer and to prepare the NCC call for grant proposals
  • Inform grant applicants of the MCC Youtube video to guide them through grant application process
  • Planning for September reception for NCC grant recipients and potential grant applicants – deadline for grant applications October 15th, 2019

Urban Design Commission: The Urban Design Commission will meet on Wednesday, July 10th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for sign permits:
    • Lasell University – 1844 Commonwealth Avenue
    • Village Bank – 714-724 Beacon Street
    • CVS/Minute Clinic – 978 Boylston Street
  • Fence Appeal for 38 Thurston Street

The Staff Memo can be found here.

Conservation Commission: The Conservation Commission will meet on Thursday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Discussion items:
    • Request for feedback on sketch plans of proposed dog park options – Norumbega Park – Proposed Off-Lease Area
    • Request for feedback to Community Preservation Committee on current and future CPA-eligible needs
  • Request for a Determination of Applicability on confirmation of delineation for vegetation management plan – MBTA Green Line
  • Notice of Intent – to renovate historic landscape features and improve accessibility at 400 Beacon Street
  • Determination of Applicability regarding confirmation of wetland resource area – request to determine that stream is intermittent at 100 Old England Road
  • Notice of Intent on a request to issue an Order of Conditions for an addition and landscaping for a single-family home at 36 Duffield Road
  • Notice of Intent on a request to issue an Order of Conditions for a 36-stall expansion of parking and restoration of the RFA at 188-192 Needham Street (Crosspoint)
  • Request to continue hearing to July 11th on a continued Notice of Intent for vegetation management in golf course ponds at 212 Kenrick Street (Newton Commonwealth Golf Course)
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance to film within wetland jurisdication at Cold Springs Park (Paramount Pictures)
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance on a demolition of a single-family house and construction of a new duplex at 112-114 Carlisle Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance on removal of diseased hemlocks at Houghton Garden
  • Request to re-sign a Certificate of Compliance for 15 Kingswood Road

Administrative Decisions:

  • Naturally vegetated buffer policy
  • Approval of 6/20/2019 Minutes
  • Memorandum of Understanding with Parks and Recreation Department on the mowing of recently restored Kennard Conservation Land by the Parks and Recreation Department

The Packet documents can be found here.

Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission: The Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission will meet on Thursday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a re-application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to expand the front bump out, change the left front enclosed porch, build a rear addition and install a shed. The current Certificate of Appropriateness expires on July 13th at 969 Chestnut Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace a section of cedar shake roofing with architectural shingles at 993-997 Chestnut Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install roof vents at 216-218 Elliot Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for feedback on proposed side entry at 216-218 Elliot Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install tie rods to stabilize exterior masonry at 996-1000 Chestnut Street
  • Request for feedback on proposed renovation, demolition of rear additions, and construction of new rear additions at 959 Chestnut Street
  • Request for feedback on proposed roof elevation and addition of dormers on 336 Elliot Street and proposed second-story addition and balcony on 7 Hale Street

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

Happy Fourth of July! Celebrate with events throughout Newton!

Start your morning off at the Kids Morning at the Newton Centre Playground designed for kids ages 3 – 12 but everyone is welcome!. Events include the Grand Pet Parade (I brought my pug, Frank, last year, and he had a blast!), Decorated Doll Carriage Promenade, Teddy Bear Parade, Foot Races, and Free Ice Cream courtesy of Cabot’s Ice Cream.

Then head over to the Albemarle Playground/Halloran Sports Complex for an afternoon/evening – 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. for a crafts fair, local business vendors, food trucks, and children’s activities.

After a full afternoon, spread out a blanket, unfold your lawn chairs, unpack your picnic basket or get delicious food from the food trucks, and enjoy the evening with music and dancing with the Bo and Bill Winiker Band at 6:00 p.m. Thanks to Newton Community Pride and all of the generous sponsors!!

More information can be found here.

Fire Hydrant Testing

Fire Hydrant testing began on June 24th and will continue through September 27th, between the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Fire Department and the Department of Public Works will be flushing and conducting fire hydrant inspections throughout the City. Residents may experience discoloration in their drinking water due to the dislodging of iron deposits in the water main during the flushing process. According to the City’s website:

“This discoloration DOES NOT cause a health risk, however residents are encouraged to run your cold fix water through the lowest fixture in your home until the discolored water becomes clear. Also DO NOT wash laundry during this period of discolored water.”

Below are the dates residents can expect the flushing:

Monday: Newton Corner, Newtonville, Nonantum, Upper Falls, Newton Highlands, and Waban

Tuesday: Lower Falls, Auburndale, West Newton, and Newton Corner

Wednesday: Upper Falls, Waban, Newton Highlands, Oak Hill, Lower Falls, Auburndale, and West Newton

Thursday: Newton Center, and Chestnut Hill

More information can be found here.

City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of June 30th

Newton Free Library Board of Trustees: The Library Board of Trustees will meet on Tuesday, July 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in the Trustees Room. The only item on the agenda is a discussion on the process for hiring a new Library Director. Congratulations to Phil McNulty, current Library Director on his new position as head of the Minuteman Library Network (MLN)!

Newtonville Local Historic District Commission: The Newtonville Local Historic District Commission will meet on Tuesday, July 2nd at 7:30 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to amend previously approved plans to eliminate a new dormer on the left side of the house at 25 Page Road
  • Working Session on a request for feedback on a proposed rear addition at 87 Prescott Road

The Staff Memo can be found here and the Packet Documents can be found here.

What’s up for this week?

Last week was mostly Northland and a little bit of Riverside. This week is mostly Riverside. On Monday, the Planning and Development Board will meet jointly with the Zoning and Planning Committee to review zoning amendments to the MU3 District proposed by the Developer – (June 4th presentation) and zoning amendments to the MU# District proposed by the Lower Falls Improvement Association – see June 4th presentation and here.

The Planning Department’s May 31st memo for the June 4th meeting on both of these proposals can be found here and the Planning Department’s June 21st memo for Monday’s meeting can be found here.

Then on Tuesday, the Planning and Development Board will meet jointly with the Land Use Committee to hold a public hearing on the request for a change of zone and for a special permit/site plan approval for a very large development – (to construct a 10 building, mixed use, transit-oriented development, of not more than 1,520,000 sq. ft. and more than 20,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area including up to 650,000 sq. ft. of office use, up to 750 residential units containing no more than 750,000 sq. ft., retail space of not more than 200,000 sq. ft., buildings up to 18 stories in height, building height of up to 230 feet, FAR up to 2.7, no more than 10% open space, and a whole host of other requests and waivers). The Planning Department’s memo for Tuesday’s meeting can be found here. In addition, the Lower Falls Improvement Association – Riverside Committee submitted a review, analysis and comment on the Riverside Vision Plan. You can read it here.

$0.10 fee on Paper Bags and expansion of the Plastic Bag Ban will be discussed in the Finance Committee this Wednesday evening. The proposed amendment would revise the definition of “reusable bag”, revise the definition of retailers to include establishments of less than 3500 sq. ft., and add a 10-cent fee to paper bags provided by the retailer. This proposal was approved by the Programs and Services Committee back in February.

The Finance Committee will also take on the proposal to amend the sidewalk clearing ordinance to include an enforcement provision and fines for violations.

There will be a special meeting of the City Council on Thursday – outside of it’s usual schedule, to vote on several items – including proposed short-term rental ordinances and $2 million request to develop 25% conceptual drawings for the Washington Street corridor to make improvements eligible for the State’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)funding. See Reports Docket.