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Question:Why would the Waban Area Council want to sponsor a City-wide forum/panel discussion on the ins and outs of the process that developers may follow to produce multi-unit housing with affordable housing requirements in our city?  The answer depends on how well you can answer these questions:

1.)  Do you know what a “Regular 40B” is?

2.)  Do you know what a “Friendly 40B” is?

3.)  Do you know what a “Special Permit” is?

4.)  Do you know when you and other residents can have your say?

5.)  Do you know what the Zoning Board of Appeals can do in determining approval or denial of a “40B”?

If your answer to any of the questions above is not a resounding: Yes, I have a clear understanding of the State’s 40B Statute and the City’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance,” then we suggest that you attend the panel discussion to be held on Thursday, May 1 at 7:30pm in the Newton War Memorial Auditorium.

Answer:The Waban Area Council is sponsoring this event because the Councilors believe that it is important:

  • To educate the residents of Newton about the basic process through which developers get Permits.
  • To educate the public about the points in the timeline of this process when the community can have its “say” and what that “say” can modify.
  • To explain the jargon:  Regular 40B’s; Friendly 40B’s; Local Initiative Program; and the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.
  • To translate unfamiliar acronyms such as SHI and HAC, whose meaning is integral to understanding the process.
  • To reduce the confusion of learning about this process when this kind of development is first being considered in your Village.

We have gathered the experts who work with the developers to apply these regulations in our City and who are most knowledgeable about how the process works. These are the panelists who have generously agreed to share their expertise with all of us:  Candace Havens, Newton’s Director of Planning and Development; James Freas, Newton’s Chief Planner, Long Range Planning; Alderman Marcia Johnson, Chair of the Zoning & Planning Committee of the Board of Aldermen; and Brooke Lipsitt, Member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The panel will be moderated by the Secretary of the Waban Area Council, Kathy Winters. There will be a question and answer period following the panel presentation.

THIS EVENING IS NOT ABOUT ANY SPECIFIC HOUSING DEVELOPMENT. IT IS MEANT TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO NEWTON RESIDENTS ABOUT THE ZONING PROCESS THAT UNFOLDS WHEN A HOUSING DEVELOPER SHOWS INTEREST IN BUILDING MULTI-UNIT HOUSING WITH AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMPONENT IN OUR CITY.