For more than a year, an all-volunteer group has worked to create a Preliminary Study Report proposing a Local Historic District (LHD) for Newton Highlands. This proposal has received approval by the Newton Historical Commission and, just this week, by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, as well.
The next step will be a public hearing in late April, followed by consideration and final vote by the Newton City Council. In the meantime, the group has been conducting extensive outreach to each property owner in the proposed LHD, and this will continue.
The Newton Highlands Local Historic District Study Group includes Rodney Barker (Chair), Bob Burke, Carol Clark, Mildred Hutchinson, Nathaniel Lichtin, Ron Mauri, Srdj Ndeljkovic, Diane Pruente, Bill Roesner, Barbara Smiley, and Amy Wayne. The group emphasizes these key points that about the proposed LHD:
- The proposed LHD of more than 200 distinctly designed homes is unique within Newton because it also includes a vibrant commercial village center and square that has been preserved in its current form for more than a century. As Bob Burke notes, “The blending of homes and businesses is what makes this part of Newton Highlands unique and attractive to those who live here and those who come to shop, dine, or just walk the pleasant neighborhood.”
- While the proposed LHD includes more than a hundred stately old Victorian homes, for which the Highlands is most famous, it also includes older and newer styles, from a pre-Civil War Greek Revival to a unique Frank Lloyd Wright-style house constructed in 2010 (which is too new to be considered historic, but give it time).
- The proposed LHD is seen not as a “museum” but rather as a “dynamic and evolving entity that allows for growth while preserving the physical character of what is here now.”
- The proposed LHD is compatible with opportunities for high-density development in areas adjacent to the LHD that are within easy walking distance of the Village Center and public transportation.