The latest announcements and updates...

What’s up this week?

Riverside Zoning: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet jointly with the Planning and Development Board on Monday, September 5th at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber to discuss two zoning amendment proposals – one proposed by the Developer and the other proposed by the Lower Falls Improvement Association regarding the Mixed Use 3 Zoning District and the Transit Oriented District. The Committee and the Board will be updated on the revised Riverside project proposal. See Zoning and Planning Committee and Planning and Development Board Joint Meeting Agenda

Washington Street Vision Plan: There will also be a public hearing on a request to approve and adopt the Washington Street Vision Plan as part of the 2007 Comprehensive Plan on Monday, September 9th at 8:15 p.m. in the Council Chamber.

Washington Place – request to amend the previously approved special permit/site plan approval to allow banks – was recommitted to the Land Use Committee and is on their agenda for Wednesday, September 11th. The item is expected to be taken up by 8:15 p.m. in the Council Chamber. See Land Use Agenda.

Preliminary Election for Ward 5 Councilor: The Preliminary Election will be held on Tuesday, September 10th. ONLY Ward 5 residents are eligible to vote.

Northland Discussion – The Land Use Committee will discuss the Northland Petition at it’s meeting on Wednesday, September 11th in the Council Chamber and will focus on the design guidelines, community benefits and the request to rezone the site and the Planning Department is expected to review petitioner’s responses to the questions raised regarding transportation raised at the hearing on August 6th. See Land Use Agenda.

Weekly Road Construction Schedule: The Department of Public Works has updated its weekly road construction schedule and you can find it here.

Riverside Revised?

If you haven’t heard, Mark Development has revised it’s proposal for the Riverside MBTA Station Development. The new proposal includes a reduction of 151 dwelling units (675 to 524); a reduction of office square footage of 39,412 sq. ft for a total of 523,509; a decrease in hotel rooms by 40 (194 to 154); an increase in retail square footage of 6,415 sq. ft. for a total of 71,070 sq. ft.; and the height of the 18 story building has been reduced to 13 stories. A table of the revised proposal can be found here and the Planning Department memo on the revised plan can be found here. The Petitioner is expected to present these changes at the joint Zoning and Planning Committee and Planning and Development Board meeting on Monday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m. (see Globe article by Jon Chesto)

Ward 5 City Council Election – GO VOTE on Tuesday, September 10th

The preliminary election for the Ward 5 City Councilor seat to narrow the field from 3 to 2 (I know, don’t get me started!) will take place this Tuesday, September 10th. Polls are open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. ONLY Ward 5 residents are eligible to vote. Ward 5 polling locations:

  • 5 1 Emerson Community Center 51 Pettee Street
  • 5 2 Hyde Community Center 90 Lincoln Street
  • 5 3 Waban Library Center 1608 Beacon Street
  • 5 4 Waban Library Center 1608 Beacon Street

The Candidates are (in ballot order):

The sample ballot can be found here.

Three more Marijuana retailers receive provisional Host Community Agreement approval

Three additional Marijuana retailers have received provisional host community agreements from the Mayor as per recommendations from the Marijuana Host Community Agreement Advisory Committee. The three retailers are:

  • MME Newton Retail (MedMen) at 232 Boylston Street
  • GR Vending MA Newton (Herbology) at 131 Rumford Avenue
  • Union Twist at 1158 Beacon Street

Detailed information on the City of Newton Marijuana permitting processes can be found here.

Additionally, the Development Review Snapshot seems to suggest an interest by Garden Remedies to remove the appointment only requirement.

Things to Do in Newton this Week

9/11 Commemoration: The Newton 9/11 Committee and the City of Newton will commemorate on Wednesday, September 11th at 6:00 p.m. at 1164 Centre Street in front of the memorial. More information can be found here.

Newton Farmers’ Markets: The Farmers’ Markets continue as we move into the Fall season on Tuesdays at Cold Springs Park from 1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and on Saturdays on Elm Street in West Newton from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Stop by and pick up fresh veggies, meat, fish, and prepared foods. Go here to see all the vendors coming to the markets and to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the Farmers’ Markets be sure to subscribe to their newsletter here.

City Council Meetings – Week of September 8th

Finance Committee: The Finance Committee will meet on Monday, September 9th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Appointment of Rosemarie Woods as the City’s Treasurer/Tax Collector
  • Request to consider the recommendations of the special Blue Ribbon Commission regarding compensation for the Mayor, City Council, and the School Committee (NOTE: The Programs and Services Committee voted to approve $155,000 for the Mayor; $15,500 for the City Council; and $7,750 for the School Committee)
  • Request to appropriate and expend $70,000 from FY2020 Budget Reserve to install surveillance cameras at Rumford Avenue Recycling Center, Eliot Street and Craft Street yards
  • Request to appropriate and expend $175,000 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of modular trailer at the Rumford Avenue Recycling Center
  • Request to appropriate and expend $496,000 from the Sewer Fund Surplus to purchase a Vactor combination cleaner truck to be used by Public Works during sewer cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $315,00 from the Stormwater Management Fund Surplus to purchase a Vacuum Street Sweeper to be used by the Public Works Department for street cleaning operations
  • Request to appropriate and expend $150,280 from bonded indebtedness for the purchase of three 6-wheel trucks to be used by the Highway Department for street and snow operations
  • Re-appointment of Shawn Murphy as Constsable

Zoning and Planning Committee: The Zoning and Planning Committee will meet jointly with the Planning and Development Board on Monday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Zoning Amendments filed by the Developer relative to the Mixed Use 3 zoning district for the Riverside MBTA Station development – See Planning Department Memo
  • Zoning Amendments filed by the Lower Falls Improvement Association pertaining to the Mixed Use 3/Transit Oriented zoning district for the Riverside MBTA Station development – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request for approval and adoption of the Washington Street Vision Plan as an amendment to the 2007 Newton Comprehensive Plan – See Planning Department Memo
  • Re-appointment of Michael Quinn and Timothy Durken to the Zoning Board of Appeals
  • Re-appointment of John Downie to the Urban Design Commission

The Public Hearing Notice on the Washington Street Vision Plan can be found here.

Land Use Committee: The Land Use Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a continuance of the public hearing for a Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow a multi-family dwelling with three units, further extending the non-conforming frontage and to allow a retaining wall greater than four feet within a setback at 12-14 Middle Street
  • Request for a two-year Extension of Time to exercise a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval for the construction of a 14,313 sq. ft. mixed use development containing 9 residential units, 2714 sq. ft. of commercial space and no more than 16 on-site parking stalls at 386-394 Watertown Street
  • Request to further extend the non-conforming three-story dwelling by razing an existing deck and constructing a three-story side at 28 East Boulevard Road – See Planning Department Memo
  • Request to amend a previously approved Special Permit/Site Plan Approval to allow commerical bank use not to exceed 3800 sq. ft. at 845 Washington Street and 245 Walnut Street Washington Place (NOTE: This was referred back to the Land Use Committee after a motion to reconsider at the City Council meeting on September 3rd.
  • Request to rezone three parcels and request for a special permit/site plan approval to allow a mixed-use development greater than 20,000 sq.ft. with building heights of up to 96′ consisting of 822 (now 800) residential units…NORTHLAND DEVELOPMENT – (NOTE: The Committee will hear an overview of the design guidelines, community benefits and the request to rezone the site for the following items. The Planning Department will also review the petitioner’s responses to the questions raised relative to transportation at the hearing on August 6th. The Committee may discuss other aspects of the petition but NO public comment will be taken. The Public Hearing will remain open and there will be additional opportunities for public comment.) – See Planning Department Memo and See Letter to Land Use Committee from Petitioner’s Legal Counsel



City Board and Commission Meetings – Week of September 8th

Commission on Disability: The Commission on Disability will meet on Monday, September 9th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of 7/8/2019 Minutes
  • CDBG Report
  • Accessible HP Fines Report
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • ADA Coordinator’s Report
  • APEX Curb cuts with DPW staff
  • Discussion on access projects for MOD Grant and accessible Fines Fund
  • Co-chairs quarterly meeting with the Mayor
  • Station Diner Update
  • Girard’s walkthrough with MBTA at Riverside
  • Old/New Business

Auburndale Historic District Commission: The Auburndale Historic District Commission will meet on Tuesday, September 10th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for an as-built fence at 315 Central Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace trim, gutters, deckings and railings, and to install copper roofs, glass block windows, and soffits at 113 Hancock Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish left ell, front entry and chimney, to renovate the existing house, and add new architectural details, to build an attached two-car garage, additions, a side chimney and a pergola, and install hardscaping at 51 Hawthorne Avenue

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, September 10th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Public Hearing – Request for $15,000 for costs associated with accepting this CPA required restriction on land acquired with CPA funds in 2003-2004 – Newton Conservators – Kesseler Woods (open space)
  • Project Progress Report on the Allen House (historic rehab)
  • Program Finances – Approval of revised FY2020 Program budget and funding forecast
  • Program Planning – Proposed updates to local CPA Ordinance, January 2020 program staff transition (with Director of Housing and Community Development)
  • Approval of Minutes – July 9 , 2019
  • Staff updates on current and past funded projects
  • Executive Session – 300 Hammond Pond Parkway – Webster Woods

Economic Development Commission: The Economic Development Commission will meet on Tuesday, September 10th at 6:30 p.m. in Room 211. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of Minutes – July 9, 2019
  • City Updates – Planning Director, Barney Heath
  • N2 and Newton Innovation Center Study – Chuck Tanowitz
  • Main Discussion Items:
    • Review of Northland Letter and Vote
    • Planning Department Overview of Riverside Special Permit Request
    • Update on Website
  • Change of Meeting Date

Election Commission Warrant Preliminary Election: Notice of the Ward 5 Preliminary Election to be held on Tuesday, September 10th from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. – See Notice

Planning and Development Board: The Planning and Development Board will meet on Tuesday, September 10th at 7:00 p.m. at the Newton Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of Minutes – August 5, 2019
  • Public Hearing – FY19 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) Presentation and Public Comment
  • FY21-FY25 Consolidated Plan Discussion
  • Board of Survey Discussion: Approval Not Required Amended Language
  • Northland Discussion: Zoning Change Request
  • Officer Nominations and Elections

The Packet can be found here.

Design Review Committee: The Design Review Committee will meet on Wednesday, September 11th at 6:00 p.m. in the Trustee’s Room at the Newton Free Library. The agenda includes the following:

  • Update on NewCAL – Newton Center for Active Living
  • Update on the NECP Project – Newton Early Childhood Program
  • Information on Newton’s selection by the USGBC to showcase green building design and innovation

Newton Free Library Board of Trustees: The Newton Free Library Board of Trustees on Wednesday, September 10th at 9:00 a.m. in the Trustees Room at the Newton Free Library. The agenda includes the following:

  • Approval of Minutes – July 24, 2019
  • Reports
    • President
    • Treasurer – report from David Li, JP Morgan
    • Library Director
    • Development
    • Friends
    • Committees
      • New Trustee search
      • New Director search
      • Spring Fling
  • Continuing Business
    • Ongoing renovations and furnishing plans
    • Staff Development Training
    • Meeting Dates for FY2020 Trustee Meetings
  • Visitors Discussion

Newton Housing Authority: Newton Housing Authority will meet on Wednesday, September 11th at 3:00 p.m. at 82 Lincoln Street. The Meeting Notice can be found here.

Urban Design Commission: The Urban Design Commission will meet on Wednesday, September 11th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • 10 Requests for Sign Permits:
    • Sukker & Sweet – 43 Boylston Street
    • EverPresent – 84 Needham Street
    • US Postal Service – 714-724 Beacon Street
    • Rockland Trust – 40 Austin Street
    • Marshall’s – 260 Needham Street
    • Mathnasium – 1349 Centre Street
    • Fidelity Investments – 200-220 Boylston Street
    • Loyal Companion – 130 Needham Street
    • 84 – 84 Needham Street
    • Neighborhood Barbers – 286 Centre Street
  • 2 Requests for Design Review
    • 355 and 399 Grove Street – Riverside
    • Review of Draft Northland Design Guidelines

The Staff Memo can be found here.

Conservation Commission: The Conservation Commission will meet on Thursday, September 12th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 204. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for an Order of Conditions – Notice of Intent filed by the City of Newton for installation of solar canopies at 149 Pleasant Street
  • Request Determination of Applicability – confirmation of wetland resource area at 100 Old England Road (continuation)
  • Request Determination of Applicability – removal of mature pines and restoration planting at 303 – 309 Winchester Street
  • Request for an Order of Conditions – Notice of Intent – vegetation management in golf course ponds at 212 Kenrick Street – Commonwealth Golf Course (continuation)
  • Request to continue hearing until October 3, 2019 Conservation Commission Meeting – Notice of Intent filed by Crosspoint Associates – for a 36 stall expansion of parking and restoration of RFA at 188 -192 and 210 Needham Street
  • Request to Withdraw Notice of Intent filing for construction of 25 unit residential condominiums at 1114 Beacon Street (continuation)
  • Request to ratify friendly Enforcement Order for 22 Hollywood Drive
  • Request to extend Order of Conditions by 3 years to allow for the applicant to install the final landscaping and to allow for the 2 year growing season survival requirement be met for 56 Greenwood Street
  • Request to extend Order of Conditions by 3 years – applicants have not started the approved project (teardown/rebuild of a single-family house) and are still determining if they will proceed with the work at 50 Grace Road
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance to close out the Order of Conditions 239-829 for exterior hardscaping and landscaping at 204 Dedham Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance to close out the Order of Conditions 239-742 for teardown/rebuilding and landscaping at 44 Olde Field Road
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance to close out the Order of Conditions 239-738 for teardown/rebuilding of a duplex at 36 Parsons Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance to close out the Order of Conditions 239-380 for new deck and addition on a single-family home with landscaping at 296 Islington Road
  • Request for a Certificate of Compliance to close out the Order of Conditions 239-798 for driveway expansion and rain garden at 4 Byron Road
  • Discussion of Encroachment Resolution Policy
  • Discussion of Encroachment into Houghton Garden by 170 Suffolk Road
  • Discussion of assessment for a restoration and maintenance plan for the Charles River Pathway
  • Discussion about the new liaison to the Newton Commonwealth Foundation
  • Review of the Invasive Species Disposal Special Condition
  • Earth Moving Ordinance
  • Info regarding the Fall Conference of MACC – 10/19/2019
  • Approval of Minutes – 8/1/2019

Packet documents can be found here.

Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission: The Newton Upper Falls Historic District Commission will meet on Thursday, September 12th at 7:00 p.m. in Room 205. The agenda includes the following:

  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace all the windows at 3-5 Summer Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to amend the previously approved steel tie rods to stabilize the masonry facade at 996-1000 Chestnut Street
  • Request for feedback on proposed dormers at 336 Elliot Street and the build-up of the rear bump out and addition of projecting window at 7 Hale Street
  • Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to renovate the main house block, demolish the rear additions, and build a new rear addition, and attached two-car garage at 959 Chestnut Street

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

Development Review Team Meetings – Week of September 8th

The following potential proposals/projects will meet with the Development Review Team this week:

  • Various properties in Newton Centre (“Piccadilly Square”) – Comprehensive parking waiver for “Piccadilly Square,” Newton Centre
  • 697 Washington Street – Amendment to the Special Permit for “Garden Remedies” to remove the appointment only requirement
  • 978 Boylston Street – Special Permit for free-standing sign
  • 106 Fordham Road – Proposed accessory apartment

The Development Review Snapshot can be found here.

Fun Things to Do this week

Hyde Community Center Summer Series: The Summer series continues this Friday, September 6th beginning with a concert at 6:00 p.m. featuring, “Loose Change” followed by the Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Information about the Hyde Community Center Summer Series can be found here.

Newton Farmers’ Markets: The Farmers’ Markets continue as we move into the Fall season on Tuesdays at Cold Springs Park from 1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and on Saturdays on Elm Street in West Newton from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Stop by and pick up fresh veggies, meat, fish, and prepared foods. Go here to see all the vendors coming to the markets and to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the Farmers’ Markets be sure to subscribe to their newsletter here.

Full City Council to Meet on Tuesday, September 3rd

The Full City Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, September 3rd at 7:45 p.m. in the Council Chamber. The Reports Docket can be found here and the New Docket can be found here.

The Council will be voting on the request to amend a previously granted special permit/site plan approval for the Washington Place development to remove the prohibition of commercial banks and allow for a commercial bank not to exceed 3800 sq ft and the Petitioner would reserve 10,000 sq ft of ground floor space for non-formulaic retail space. According to this letter from the Petitioner, the Planning Department requested that restaurant space be specified as one type of the “non-formulaic” uses. The Petitioner is asking that personal services also be specified as an additional type of “non-formulaic” uses.

The Council will be taking up the Short-Term Rental Ordinance. Three Councilors are offering amendments to the ordinance:

  • Councilor Krintzman’s proposed amendments can be found here
  • Councilor Albright’s proposed amendments can be found here
  • Councilor Baker’s proposed amendments can be found here

The Snow Removal Ordinance will also be taken up. The proposed Draft Ordinance can be found here. See League of Women Voters 2018 Letter

The proposal to shorten the Winter Parking Ban to begin on December 15th rather than November 15th and end on April 1st rather than April 15th will also be taken up. The Proposal can be found here.