Letter from Newton City Council Zoning and Planning Committee Chair

I’m excited to write to you as Chair of the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee (ZAP) to inform you about the important work our committee is doing regarding zoning changes in Newton.  What is zoning?  Zoning is the way governments control the physical development of our city. For example, it governs areas where we can have residences of various types, as well as commercial, manufacturing and mixed-use buildings.  It also governs the use of properties throughout the city as well as the size of buildings on these properties.

Why does Newton need new zoning?

The City Council’s efforts to reform zoning began with the work of a group of citizens tasked by Mayor Warren and (then) Board of Alderman to develop a plan for reforming Newton’s outdated zoning ordinance.  Our ordinance has not been comprehensively reviewed since 1953.    In 2011, this group produced a report reflecting citizens commonly voiced concerns such as;

  • Why are there so many teardowns?
  • Why should people be allowed to build “McMansions” that come so close to my home?
  • What can we do to make sure my daughter can afford to live in Newton when she starts looking for a home?
  • Why aren’t there any options for places to live in Newton when I can no longer take care of my big home where I raised my family?
  • How can we keep our villages full of shoppers with a vibrant mix of shops?
  • How can we manage parking and traffic?
  • How can we channel growth that we need to thrive and advance to appropriate areas of our city?
  • How can we preserve the character of our neighborhoods?
  • How can Newton contribute to climate change mitigation?

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Volunteer at Newton Civics Day on Tuesday, May 28th!

Newton Civics Day Invitation

Volunteer at Newton Civics Day on Tuesday, May 28th!

Newton Civics Day Invitation

Housing, Transportation and Climate Change Speakers from Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

At a recent Newton-Needham Regional Chamber event, speakers addressed the topics of diverse and affordable housing, as well as transportation and climate change.  The latter speaker was Robin Chase, an American transportation entrepreneur. She is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar as well as founder and former CEO of Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car sharing service, acquired by Drivy.  Watch the comments here:

Newton-Needham Chamber:  Affordable Housing

Newton-Needham Chamber:  Transportation and Climate Change

LWVN Help Wanted: CPC, EIC, Municipal Finance, and ‘The League Presents…’

HELP WANTED:  If you are interested in ‘doing more’, we have three opportunities for you!

LWVN’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC):  This committee observes Newton’s Community Preservation Commission meetings, reads the applications before the Commission, and comments on each one.  We have a group of people who are willing to read the applications, but need a chairperson to coordinate the process.  This is not a huge time commitment!  The Newton Commission meets at most once a month, their meetings end at a reasonable time, and readings/letters only need to be coordinated a few times a year (only when there is an application).

LWVN Committee Chairs for Environmental Issues Committee and for Municipal Finance Committee:  These are chances to re-form committees that are no longer active.  We are looking for people willing to chair each group, set up regular meetings and set modest goals to start.

Co-Producer for The League Presents…:  Our monthly show is recorded at NewTV and can cover a wide range of topics.  Being a co-producer means organizing the guests and hosts for LWVN’s monthly TV program, working with both to develop questions on the topic, and communicating with your co-producer and director.  A co-producer does need some NewTV training, and it would be helpful to know how to use a camera or some of the other technology.  Taping is once a month and we have a regular schedule, which makes planning ahead easier, so this is not a huge time commitment, but is a lot of fun!

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