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In the beginning there was the Newton Highlands Area Council. And Newton Upper Falls saw that it was good. (They even have Facebook pages here and here.)

Now come efforts to organize Area Councils in Waban, as well as Newtonville and Newton Centre.

Area Councils in Newton are not simply another fancy name for a neighborhood association. They are an official, elected, government body as authorized underĀ  Newton’s City Charter (article 9). Here’s an excerpt:

Sec. 9-8. Neighborhood Area Council Powers and Functions.
A neighborhood area council may exercise any powers and perform any functions within the neighborhood service area expressly authorized by the Board of Aldermen, which may include but not be limited to:
(1) Advisory or delegated substantive authority, or both, with respect to such programs as a community action program, urban renewal, relocation, public housing, planning and zoning actions, and other physical development programs, crime prevention and juvenile delinquency programs, health services, code inspection, recreation, education, and manpower training.

Good idea? Or just another layer of government in a city that has more aldermen than most people can name?