June 2021

Waban Area Council
Thursday, June 10, 2021, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Zoom meeting – details below

Agenda

    1. Issues from the Community (5’)
    2. Updates (10’)
      • Zoning of Firearm businesses in Newton
    3. WAC Discussions (30’ – Total)
      • Zoning Redesign (20’)
      • WAC’s role in community engagement of the Planning Department’s Village Center Initiative
      • Parking Space in front of Waban Library Center (10’)
      • Pedestrian Safety at the Angier School crosswalk (10’)
    4. Administrative Business (30’)
      • Treasurer’s Report
      • Approval of WAC Meeting minutes (April and May)
      • Approval of end-of-year Reports
      • WAC summer schedule
      • WAC Fall meeting format – in person or virtual?
      • Waban Village Day update
    5. New Business (5’)

    6. Announcements

    • Mark your Calendar: Linda Plaut Newton Festival of the Arts 2021 will present over 20 concerts on 3 stages on July 10th and 11th including the Suzuki School Porch and the Hyde Center outdoor bandshell.
    • Waban Improvement Society is currently launching its Next 100 Years fundraising campaign. Please consider donating to Waban's oldest organization by clicking on this link.
    • The MBTA will halt all train service on the Green Line D Branch through Brookline and Newton during two separate nine-day stretches in June to expedite track and signal replacement work. Trains will be replaced by buses from Riverside to Kenmore.

    No Greenline D Branch Trains; Buses Only
    Saturday, June 12 – Sunday, June 20
    Thursday, June 24 – Friday, July 2

    • Farmers’ Market Returns at Cold Spring Park starting Tuesday, June 29 th 1:30 pm.
    • The MBTA recently hosted a virtual public hearing (Thursday, April 29th) for the D Branch Station Accessibility Improvements at the Waban, Eliot, Chestnut Hill and Beaconsfield Station Stops. The public is able to view the proposed improvements on the following YouTube  (link).
    • Link to recording of special joint Waban & Newtonville Area Councils meeting focused on Guns in Newton held May 6th

    For more news from around the city, subscribe to the Mayor's Update and Amy Sangiolo's eblast

    Meeting Date: 
    Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 7:30pm

     

     

    WABAN AREA COUNCIL

    MEETING MINUTES

    JUNE 10 2021

    HELD VIA ZOOM

     

    WAC: Christopher Pitts, Rena Getz, Sallee Lipshutz, Bob Jampol, Tom Elkind, Isabelle Albeck, Megan Meirav, Ronald Marcus, Dinah Bodkin.

     

    City Councillor: Bill Humphrey

     

    Community:  Jesse Corey, Judi Burten, Nancy Mansbach.

     

    Zoning of Firearm Businesses in Newton. A gun store was planning to open on Washington St but for now that is no longer happening.   For now what is in effect is a regulatory approach which says that there are only a few areas in the city where one can apply to operate a firearms business.   In addition,  a special permit, with approval from two thirds of the City Council is required.  One criteria in the special permit is that the majority of the Council has to determine that the applicant’s project is not going to be detrimental to the health of the community.  That requirement is true of all special permit applications.  Locations were picked by careful study on the part of the Planning Department.  It is generally felt by the City Council and the Mayor’s office that a total ban on gun stores would not withstand a court challenge.  Chris Pitts agreed that those were the sentiments expressed at the special meeting with Newtonville Area Council re proposed gun store.

     

    WAC’s Role in Community Engagement of the Planning Department’s Village Center Initiative

    The question as presented by Rena is how we as a council want to engage our catchment area in the Planning Department’s Village Center Initiative.  “The Vision” is an online tool created by the Planning Department that allows individuals to reflect on what they envision for the future of our city, particularly village centers.  Some frustration and skepticism expressed on the part of WAC members that input from the public was solicited but ultimately ignored.  However, there was general agreement that WAC should engage with community and facilitate this effort.  It was agreed that all WAC members would go through the Vision Kit and at the next WAC meeting we will decide how to engage our community.  Each member will send Rena a comment on each of the nine categories.

    Library Parking Spaces  (This discussion has been ongoing through several WAC meetings).  Councillor Humphrey emphasizes that we must work through Andrea Downs (Chair of Public Safety and Transportation Committee).   In response to complaints about sight lines, Traffic Council had created a short no parking zone administratively.  Several members of WAC stated in this meeting and in other meetings, that those parking spaces are really needed for parking cars.   Andrea Downs was planning on convening an informal meeting to discuss.   Frustration expressed because the action was taken administratively rather than put to a vote.  Andrea Downs enters meeting via Zoom and states that a meeting is planned with WLC representative, traffic engineer and interested WAC members.

    Discussion re traffic incident at Angier in which a serious accident was narrowly averted (see description https://village14.com/2021/06/03/traffic-control-at-angier-school/).  Newton Police Dept agreed to have a traffic officer monitor the area for an afternoon or two just to basically check and make sure all protocols are in place.  Some crossing guard retraining will also occur.

    Treasurer’s Report:  $720.75.  Report accepted.

    April Minutes Accepted.

    2020 Annual Report Accepted with revisions suggested by Rena.

    Chris states that summer is a good time to generate interest in WAC and perhaps recruit members.

    MA State Legislature will decide whether municipal meetings can remain on Zoom.

    No Waban Village Day but there will be a Waban Fun Run.

    Chestnut St work completed.  Utilities and sidewalks are finished.  Street will be fully repaved from Rte 9 to Beacon St.

    Meeting adjourned 9:06pm.

    Respectfully submitted by

    Dinah Bodkin, June 22 2021