City Council candidate column: Alison Leary

This Election could be one of the most consequential in many years. There are very significant initiatives and development projects before the Council next term. This includes the Washington Street Corridor redesign and mixed use developments at Riverside and Northland which are still under review. There is a lot to like about these proposals including dramatically more efficient buildings, more greenspaces and robust shuttle services. Giving people options to driving will reduce traffic congestion and help us meet our climate goals. We are also in the midst of updating our zoning code which will help to make the process more predictable and easier to understand. It will also encourage the building of smaller homes and more diverse housing types. I will work to ensure we include standards for maximizing green infrastructure including increasing tree and vegetative cover and permeable surfaces which reduce impacts from the heat island effect and storm water runoff.  

I am in full support of passing the Citizen’s Climate Action Plan. This plan, a year in the making, is a road map to carbon neutrality developed by a brilliant team put together by the Newton Citizens Commission on Energy. The goal is to be carbon neutral by 2050.

I am a strong supporter of preserving of Webster Woods. We have a unique opportunity to preserve 17 acres of intact forestland and build resilience in the face of a warming planet. We cannot miss this opportunity.

Building a new senior center is also a big priority for me. The current facility is too small and wholly inadequate for the needs of our seniors. I support a new facility in a central location, near amenities, and transit with dedicated services for our senior population.

It is important that we continue the long term strategic planning which is essential to mitigating climate change impacts as well as rehabilitating our shared infrastructure and public spaces. We have made significant progress including water, sewer stormwater improvements, embarking on phase 3 solar projects, a municipal aggregation program where we source 60% of our electrical power from renewable sources and investing in our schools including building 3 new elementary schools on time and under budget!

I look forward to serving another term on the city council and I ask for your vote on November 5th.

Best,
 
Alison 
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