|Overnight Parking Ban in Effect Nov. 15
Remember starting tonight (Nov. 15) there is no parking on the street overnight (2am-6am for more than 1 hour). If this is a hardship you may apply for a free permit to park in a municipal lot (though you must move your car in the case of a snow emergency).
Last week (Thursday Nov. 12) the Land Use Committee deliberated and voted on the special permit application for the Austin Street
project. While there have been many public hearings on the project this is the first time the Committee engaged in any deliberation. I think it is fair to say that the Committee acted with uncommon speed in deliberating and voting on a project this size in one night. The vote was 6-1 in favor with one abstention. A report with notes from the meeting will be posted here within the next few days. There are a number of details still to be worked out, including whether the project’s new commercial tenants would have to apply for parking waivers, the number of parking spaces to be made available during construction, the number of housing units that would count toward the City’s affordable housing requirement, whether the public plaza would abut two-way traffic, and more.
A recent Newton Tab column by Bob Kavanagh lays out valid concerns to the project including the risk of pressure on existing affordable rental units in the area - aka gentrification.
The Full Board will take up the project this coming Monday, November 16, but I have been informed by the Board President that the vote will be put off to the next full Board meeting which takes place December 8th. The project requires 16 votes (out of 24 Aldermen) to be approved. While the public comment period has ended you may still express your opinion about it to aldermen via email individually, or collectively by emailing City Clerk David Olson at email@example.com.
Citywide turnout on Election Day a couple weeks ago was 20% which is not that impressive, so a special thank you to those who did come out and vote, and especially to those who voted for ME! I will continue to work hard to serve you.
I want to express gratitude to my Ward 2 at-large colleague Marcia Johnson for being a hard-working, diligent and conscientious public servant since 1999. Ald. Johnson was very helpful to me as a new Alderwoman, and we worked together on many projects large and small to improve life in Ward 2.
I also want to congratulate Councilor-Elect Jake Auchincloss who campaigned as hard as I have ever seen anyone do, and who was elected to the first class of Newton City Councilors. I look forward to working with Ward 2 At-Large Councilors Auchincloss and Albright in the coming months and years.
Lastly, the City voted overwhelmingly to establish a Charter Commission to review our City's charter (not reviewed in ~40 years) and to elect 9 Charter Commissioners. I look forward to seeing the results of their work! There will be public hearings offering opportunity for all to weigh in.
The next meeting of the Cabot School Building Committee is this Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6PM at 100 Walnut Street Room 210. No agenda has been posted for the meeting at this time.
If you’d like to be kept apprised of any community meetings related to the demolition of the Orr Building site, let me know and I’ll add you to the Newtonville listserve, which I update more frequently than this monthly e-newsletter. Note there can be a lot of emails coming in on various topics but you can change your settings to “daily digest” so you only get one per day at most. (No public meeting is scheduled yet.)
Narcan Availability for Newton First Responders
The Newton Tab reported recently “Newton’s police officers and firefighters are still responding to overdose calls without Narcan, the fast-acting drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, even as first responders in every neighboring community have acquired the life-saving medication.” Opioid abuse is a full blown crisis in Massachusetts and Newton is not immune. Out of concern for what the Tab reported, Aldermen Jim Cote, Jay Harney and I have docketed a discussion item with the Executive Dept. on this issue. (page 2, #312-15)
No Office Hours this month
As the last Friday of November is the day after Thanksgiving, I will not be having office hours this month. I’ll be back in action Friday December 18, 9-10am at the Newton Senior Center, 345 Walnut Street in Newtonville (as the last Friday of December is Christmas Day). Of course you don’t have to wait for office hours to discuss something with me, you can call or email anytime and I will respond as soon as possible.
As the tragic events in Paris only serve to reinforce, we in Newton have much to be thankful for, where our disagreements are communicated via words not weapons. I wish you and your family a happy, peaceful Thanksgiving.