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Lost in the hubbub about the marijuana ballot questions before the city council on Monday, was a scheduled vote on a pilot program designed to provide more parking in our village centers without creating new spaces.  Under the city’s shared parking proposal, a business or nonprofit that has excess parking would be allowed to rent parking through an app or private arrangement. So, for example, a church would be allowed to rent spaces on weekdays to area employees or a bank to rent spaces to a restaurant for use in the evening when the bank is closed.

The parking proposal had previously passed Zoning and Planning 7-0.  (And in what I believe was a first, both the Newton Villages Alliance and  Newton-Needham Chamber testified in favor of the pilot program at a public hearing.)

But City Councilor Lisle Baker made a motion on Monday to postpone the parking vote until the council’s next meeting and noted that a copy of the language of proposed item had not been distributed to the council that evening. Several of Baker’s colleagues, including Councilors Auchincloss and Danberg, spoke in support of the pilot and wanted to vote that evening. 

Sensing perhaps that he did not have the votes to pass his motion to postpone, Baker exercised his “charter” option which stopped all deliberations.

The shared parking proposal will now go before the full council for a vote on Aug. 13.


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