LWVN wrote to the City Council in support of sending docket item 294-20/275-21 back to the Public Facilities Committee on the grounds that the process for consideration of the item was flawed as important constituencies (such as the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy and the Newton Housing Partnership) never received notice from the administration that the measure was under consideration and were not included as part of the discussion of this item.
The docket item consists of a home rule petition to the Massachusetts Legislature, which would clear the way for Newton to implement an ordinance that would require new buildings and major renovation projects to use electricity instead of fossil fuels for heating, cooling, and hot water systems as officials seek to limit the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a copy of the draft ordinance from early July, the regulations would allow the city to withhold issuing a building permit for a new or remodeled building that does not use electricity for those uses, according to the proposal.
The LWVN requests the City Council to send the proposal back to committee and reopen the public hearing.
LWVN further recommends that the Mayor and the City Council increase its transparency on this matter by providing the public with an explanation on the Home Rule Petition and consult with the relevant constituencies before moving this docket item forward.
See the full letter to the City Council below: