Under the Newton City Charter, neighborhood area councils have been approved as citizen-instigated elected grass-roots advisory organizations for several decades. But, for many years, only one neighborhood took advantage of this most local of all loci of our city’s government.
Out of the death knell of the Woolworth’s store on Lincoln Street rose the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council, a group of nine elected Councilor volunteers who have worked diligently on behalf of their Village (particularly to keep the Hyde School open and to create the Hyde Center) by informing their neighbors about these and other city matters directly affecting them and by bringing that neighborhood’s concerns directly to City Hall with a bit more weight than an individual could.
Newton Upper Falls was second. In January 2012 their nine member council was sworn in and they have been operating since then to address their community’s needs.
Newton Centre tried to develop an Area Council, but withdrew its petition after some discussions about the legitimacy of the district they had outlined for representation. L
Newtonville was the third to gather their requisite signatures and were accepted by the Board of Aldermen as the third Village Council. They will be electing their Councilors at an election next September at their Village Day and during the week after that at City Hall.
And now Waban has successfully gathered 904 certified signatures (where only 817 were required) to enable the creation of the Council to be docketed as an item for the Board of Aldermen to refer to their Programs and Services Committee. Then, if approved by the Committee, the item will be sent back to the Board to be voted on by the full Board in order for the Waban Area Council to become the fourth recognized Village Neighborhood Area Council. Then, after the Board’s approval, nine Waban registered voters will be eligible to be elected by voters within the Waban Area Council Service Area as Councilors of the first ever Waban Area Council.