Campaign Week in Review: 2/8/19 – Door Knocking Begins, Housing Proposals, and More

by Irina Costache, Campaign Organizer

Last Saturday, Bill volunteered at the Newton Highlands Soup Social, serving delicious soup on a cold day from various Ward 5 and 6 restaurants to a big turnout.

This week, given the beautiful weather, Bill officially kicked off the canvassing effort, knocking 167 doors in Ward 5! Many of the voters reached were concerned about improving safety and accessibility of city roads, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Affordable housing was another key concern people brought up.

(If you'd like to donate to help us pay for our campaign literature as Bill goes door-to-door, please make a contribution now!)


Bill also participated in the monthly Engine 6/Livable Newton meeting at the Union Church in Waban, where zoning reform and inclusionary zoning requirements were the main focus.

Finally this week, Bill attended the Newton Highlands Area Council meeting, where issues concerning both wards five and six were addressed. Here is a quick recap of the most noteworthy points from the meeting:

  • Main Issues/Items addressed:

    • Walnut St special permit for a residential development

    • Proposed Elliot St retail marijuana retailer

    • Riverside proposal

    • Charter Commission process

  • Walnut St

    • Adjoining lots near Whole Foods are being proposed for a small housing development, but a lot of revisions have been made in response to community feedback

    • One lot is proposed for a 2-family (built by right), while the other lot proposal plans to build 7 units and requires a special permit

    • 9 total units are proposed across the multiple properties, with private underground driveways and garages

    • The proposed units will be for sale after construction

    • One of the proposed units would be affordable

    • This project is not related to the proposed development nearby on Beacon St by a different owner

  • Eliot St. proposed retail marijuana site (currently permitted for medical)

    • There were no new announcements on this issue since the Upper Falls Area Council presentation by the owners. Traffic remains the top lingering concern for residents. The owners believe that the traffic and parking management plan for the marijuana site as well as appointment-only rules and staff levels mean they will actually have slightly less traffic than the salon and take-out restaurant uses previously on the site before it became vacant.

  • Riverside development proposal

    • The Lower Falls Improvement Association presented their objections to the Riverside proposal to the Area Council. They have been making presentations at various meetings around the city.

    • The visioning process for the site kicks off this Sunday afternoon at the Williams school

  • Charter Review Process continues

    • Councilor Rice announced that the Programs & Services Committee has completed a one year review of two years of the Charter Commission process, since the overall Commission proposal was unsuccessful at the ballot box but had plenty of widely accepted elements of minor changes

    • Rice said there is now a counter-proposal as a result of this review, which will be coming up for committee and council votes soon

One final word: Don't forget our upcoming campaign fundraiser for Bill on Sunday February 17. More information available here.