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Update 8-13-18

The results of Newtonville Area Council’s survey concerning the development of the Washington Street Corridor were posted on V14 today. Of seven available answers, where any number can be selected, 79% selected Mixed Use development, a mixture of residential and commercial uses. Another excellent reason to vote NO on a moratorium  

The City Council will meet ‪on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm‬ to discuss and act upon the following items that were postponed to a date certain of August 13, 2018:

#201-18 Zoning amendment to limit residential portion of business zone developments.
COUNCILOR GENTILE, MARKIEWICZ, COTE AND NORTON requesting amendments to Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to require that any development in a business zone, limit the residential portion of the project to 50% of the total development. Zoning & Planning voted No Action Necessary 7-0 on 06/25/18

#202-18 Zoning amendment to Mixed Used 4 district.
COUNCILOR GENTILE, MARKIEWICZ, COTE AND NORTON requesting amendments to Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, so that the Mixed Used 4 (MU4) zone is either eliminated; or the dimensional controls are reduced; or a moratorium of two years be placed on any new MU4 development; or any combination of these three action. Zoning & Planning voted No Action Necessary 6-0-1 (Brousal-Glaser abstaining) on 06/25/18

#203-18 Zoning amendment for moratorium on zone changes/construction on Washington St.
COUNCILOR GENTILE AND NORTON requesting amendments to Chapter 30, Newton Zoning Ordinance, to adopt an immediate moratorium on any zone changes and/or construction/development along both sides of Washington Street, including abutting properties, from the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue Washington Street in Auburndale/West Newton, to the intersection of Washington Street and Centre Street in Newton Corner. This moratorium shall remain in place until Zoning Redesign and the proposed “actionable plan for the Washington Street Corridor” are completed. This moratorium does not apply to by right construction/development that is currently allowed by the Newton Zoning Ordinances. This moratorium shall expire on September 30, 2019. Public Hearing Closed 5/29/18 Zoning & Planning Approval Failed to Carry 1-5-1 (Albright, Leary, Danberg, Downs and Krintzman opposed; Kalis abstaining) on 06/25/18

I have written the City Council about each individual item above but have condensed them into one to share my thoughts  

Dear City Councilors,

Concerning Item 201-18, please vote no action necessary as the Zoning and Planning Committee did.

Concerning Items 202-18 and 203-18, please vote no on both of them.

While I understand the concerns about the scale and style of development along Washington Street, I don’t believe the elimination of or a moratorium on the zoning code MU-4 until September, 2019 (202-18) accomplishes what the docketers and some of my neighbors say they intend.

The MU-4 zoning code addresses problems that arise when apartments or commercial, retail are built one without the other when they depend on one another. It has nothing to do with too much large development over too short a period by one developer along Washington Street. 

Halting any development or rezoning along both sides of Washington Street until September, 2019 (203-18) doesn’t just affect large development. Its a huge miscalculation for a multi-faceted problem. Preposed new large development of too many apartment buildings with too many units along and just behind Washington Street needs to be addressed with more nuance than a complete moratorium.

The zoning redesign does need to speed up and the Principal Group should have time to finish its study before any more large developments receive special permits along Washington Street. The study needs to include how the two developments being built now, on Austin Street and Washington Street in Newtonville center, actually affect the schools and other concerns. 

The Santander building redevelopment including the proposed restaurant in its parking lot need study and proper consideration. 

The contemplated deal with Mark Development over the redevelopment of the beautiful, historic police department and park beside it should be scraped as is and be removed from the Hello Washington Snapshot. It doesn’t provide the best plan to keep the building, the park or enough space or proper placement of a new modern police station complex.  The new police complex should be studied by those who understand what modern police complexes should include, the amount of land they need, the best placement for the complex and what the complex itself should entail. 

The large apartments buildings being discussed by Mark Development need to be studied one by one properly by the city. 

There must be better ways than a complete moratorium to find solutions to the concerns that Mark Development’s projects are creating for the Washington Street Corridor. There are legitimate concerns about too much of a good thing and the size, building materials and style of the proposed buildings. Please find a better way to address these concerns. 

Thanks for your consideration.

Please add your thoughts below.