Campaign Week-in-Review: 6/14/19 - Updates on N.H. Village Day, Door-Knocking, Northland, Greenway Art

by Irina Costache, Campaign Organizer | Subscribe by Email

Newton Highlands Village Day

On Sunday, Bill and I had a campaign booth set up at Newton Highlands Village Day! It was a beautiful day with great live music and big turnout. We had a great opportunity to introduce ourselves to new voters and hear about their top city concerns. Many were meeting Bill for the first time and were excited to hear about the campaign!


This week, Bill headed out and knocked doors in Ward 5 nearly every day of the week. He was able to knock 243 doors, now having reached 40% of the Ward for the second pass! In one of the neighborhoods we knocked, many voters voiced concerns about a property that had been torn down some time ago and now the lot stood empty, possibly as the developer waited for re-zoning. Zoning reform has been an issue that Bill has been closely following, and he was able to provide voters information on how they could give their input to the city, as well as gave them information on the status of the zoning reform process that has been pushed to the next term.

Engine 6/Livable Newton meeting

Bill attended Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the affordable housing groups Engine 6/Livable Newton, held at the Boys & Girls Club on Watertown St. The club, which provides affordable after-school activities for students, is grappling with shifting financial demographics in the city and the challenge of how to transport kids from their schools to the club in the afternoons.

Waban Area Council

On Thursday, Bill attended the monthly Waban Area Council meeting. The night’s agenda primarily featured a presentation by (and public questions toward) Union Twist, the developer of a proposed Beacon Street retail marijuana dispensary. The content of this presentation did not differ notably from the presentation at the Newton Highlands Area Council in May, although the petitioners said that there are actually also other companies seeking retail marijuana store approval in the same commercial district who have chosen not to do public presentations. There are no regular Waban Area Council meetings scheduled for July or August, but there might be a special meeting in July to get public input on upcoming Chestnut St overhauls, as there was last summer.

Community Updates

- Northland project revisions:

  • Village 14 today released an article detailing some revisions made this week to the proposed Northland development. More details on the revisions can be found in this letter sent to Land Use Committee Chair Greg Schwartz from the Northland developer.

  • One big and important change is that the shuttle system to and from the Newton Highlands T station will be free. Another positive change is the increase in middle-income housing units, with rents capped to 30% of income falling within the 80-100% AMI (Boston Area Median Income) range. This is above and beyond the legally-mandated share of lower-income affordable apartments set aside for people in the 50-100% AMI range.

  • However, the project still remains dependent on fossil fuels, regardless of promises for partially using renewables and passive-house standards on some buildings. For a development that is supposed to last at least 30-50 years minimum, this is a form of climate denial and is very worrying. 2050 is 30 years from next year. No new construction from this point forward should be approved with the inclusion of fossil fuels, if we are to have any hope of getting to zero-emissions targets we have set.

  • Another issue that still stands is the Oak street entrance/exit.

  • On Tuesday, June 18, there will be a hearing on the development in front of the City’s Land Use Committee. The meeting will be held in the City Council Chamber at 7 p.m.

- Senior Rides App Launch:

  • This Monday, June 17, Newton’s new senior transportation system, “NewMo” (Newton in Motion), will finally be launching. The transportation app will give seniors access to vetted driver that will walk seniors to their doors and reliable get them around Newton.

  • More information on the new system and how to sign up can be found here.

- Greenway Arts 2019 Summer Art Exhibition

  • The exhibit is now open with a launch event this afternoon (June 14) from 4-6 p.m. Titled “Reverberations”, this year’s exhibit is again curated by Studios Without walls and will “feature up to 20 sculptures and conceptual art located along the one-mile rail trail, which runs parallel to Needham Street in Newton," according to the Upper Falls News email list.