A local attorney has asked the aldermen in Land Use to consider whether Newton should continue to urbanize with additional high-rise apartment/condo buildings.

Peter Harrington’s memo touches on the perennial debate on whether Newton is a suburb or a city (in the sense of dense, compact) and whether the Zoning Code (now up for reform) is in line with the Comprehensive Plan. His opinion is clearly that the ordinances don’t support the Plan, and should rule here.

Once again we are faced with new decisions to urbanize our city with the addition of intense development  of residential housing. The proposition that the taxes generated by the new development will cover the  increase (sic) costs is not provable, based upon our historical experience.

He also implies that Land Use has not been operating as it should. He compares it to a court room, and asks that all communications be held in public hearing. Any that are not, he says, are improper:

Compare the problem to that of a Judge meeting one of the parties or a witness in a case that is before that particular Judge outside of the courtroom. The meeting is prohibited and the case would be declared a mistrial.