March 10, 2016

WABAN AREA COUNCIL MEETING: 7:30PM (FIRM TIME)

following 7PM Zervas community and construction team meeting

I.   APPROVAL OF FEB 11, 2016 MEETING MINUTES JC (3 min)

II.  APPROVAL OF MAR 10, 2016 TREASURER’S REPORT RG (3 min)

III. BURNING ISSUES: Community comments for future agenda or immediate resolution. (5 min)

IV. NEWTON CHARTER COMMISSION APPROACH AND PROGRESS SL (10 MIN)

 

V. UPDATES: (50 min)

            A. Report on planning for Zervas meeting on traffic/parking/safe routes with Newton Highlands Area Council, scheduled for April 14.  AD (15 min)

            B. Update on WAC and NHAC Visioning Efforts. CP (10 min)

            C. Update on St. Philip Neri/1521 Beacon St. Continuation of ZBA Public Hearing on March 24   (KW, SL) (3 min)

            D. Update on former Peck Property/1615 Beacon St. (KW, PB and SL) (6min)

            E. Report of meeting with Parks and Rec about Island across from Angier at Beacon Street (JR, MRM and SL) (5 min)

            F. Zervas Construction Team Report - PB (3 min)

            G. Update on Add-A-Lane concern about entry from Quinobequin Road to Rt. 9W. SL (3 min)

            H. Report on voter E-mail collection efforts on Primary Day. IA, KW, MRM, SL, CP (5 min)

 

VI. WAC BUDGET NEEDS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FUNDRAISING FOR WAC All (15 min)

VII. NEW BUSINESS: New items that may lawfully arise for discussion. NVA sponsored 40B panel.

VIII. ANNOUNCEMENTS:  

1. Monday, April 25, 7:00PM. WAC/NHAC Visioning Meeting, Waban Lib. Ctr.

2. Saturday, April 23, Newton Conservator's Walk along the Upper Charles Reservation, adjacent to Quinobequin Road.

3. Saturday, April 30, 9AM-12. Charles River Watershed Association Annual Cleanup.

4. Sunday, May 1, 9AM-4PM.Newton Serves. To volunteer go to: newtoncommunitypride.com

IX. ADJOURN Next Waban Area Council Regularly Scheduled Meeting/Program: Thurs. April 10, 2016, 7:30PM, Waban Library Center, after Zervas Construction Team Meeting at 7PM. (Zervas Program.)

We encourage you to contribute to the Newton Food Pantry, housed in the basement of the Waban Library Center, by bringing non-perishable food items when you attend our monthly meetings! The Food Pantries especially need your donations year round!

The location of this meeting is handicap accessible, and reasonable accommodations will be provided to persons requiring assistance. If you need a special accommodation, please contact the city of Newton’s ADA Coordinator, Jini Fairley, at least two business days in advance of the meeting: jfairley@newtonma.gov or (617) 796-1253. For Telecommunications Relay Service, please dial 711.

 

 

Meeting Date: 
Monday, March 28, 2016 - 9:15pm

Meeting Minutes

March 10, 2016, 7:30pm

 

Members in Attendance: Joe Corkery, Sallee Lipshutz, Pia Bertelli, Isabelle Albeck, Chris Pitts, Maureen Reilly-Meagher, Rena Getz, Kathy Winters, Andreae Downs

City Officials: John Rice

Other attendees: Gretchen Friend, Deena David, Jane Frantz, NewTV

 

  1. Meeting called to order at 7:44 PM

 

  1. APPROVAL OF FEB 11, 2016 MEETING MINUTES: JC presented the minutes for review and described the current procedure for minutes review. SL moves to approve the minutes as updated. IA seconds. MRM, CP, SL, IA, JC approve. Remainder abstain because they were absent.
     

  2. APPROVAL OF MAR 10, 2016 TREASURER’S REPORT: RG reports that she saw on docket item for NHAC annual report and wanted to know if we do that. AD says that when we submit them it generates a docket item. RG suggests we bundle treasurer’s annual report with the secretary’s report.  RG reports that we have $1,676.83 in available funds at this date. AD moves to approve the reports. SL seconds. Unanimously approved.

 

  1. BURNING ISSUES:

    1. SL announces that the Elliot St ave bridge in Upper Falls is going to be closed for 6 months and that will affect Waban residents. Upper Falls is sponsoring a meeting on March 23rd at the Emerson Center on this. If you have questions, this is a good opportunity to get them answered.

    2. Gretchen Friend wants to know when studies about timing on lights will be done. AD reports that city fired Bill Paille right after Angier opened so we are down a traffic engineer. Suggests filing this as a 311 issue so that it is recorded and that you get as many people to do this as possible. JR reports that Shane Mark is in charge of all traffic issues, recommends that we arrange a meeting with Shane and representatives from WAC, plus JR. SL and AD agree to do this and will coordinate with Principal Lamberti to make sure she is aware.

    3. Deena David recommends that better signage (or education) is needed around right arrow signal in front of Angier. AD says that she has been trying to get city to send information along with water or excise bills.

    4. IA reports that she was approached by people who were dismayed about the increased appearance of sandwiched boards in Waban Sq.  SL there were some posted by the city. IA says there was one for party planning. AD states that there are ordinances on posting. JR says that only the city can post signs on city property. Call 311 when you see issues. Of note, the signs above the T tracks are on MBTA property. Says that there was a fight over this in Newton Highlands and that people complained to MBTA. MBTA said that people had to get along or there would be no signage allowed.

    5. RG says that there will be a special zoning & planning committee meeting on March 14 on the residential demolition ordinance docket item. Encourages people with an opinion on the item to come to speak at the meeting.

 

  1. NEWTON CHARTER COMMISSION APPROACH AND PROGRESS: SL reports that she approached charter commission to attempt to schedule a joint meeting with Charter Commission and WAC. Fortunately, Jane Frantz is a member and is present tonight to provide an update on their activities. Jane Frantz explains the structure of the commission and their focus/goals: the primary goal is to address the structure of the government and make a timeless document codifying that. Current document was crafted in 1970s and reflects situation at the time. There are 12 articles and the commission has appointed 2 leaders per article to address the individual articles. Attitude is that if it is not broken, there is no need to fix it.  Charter will be rewritten so that it is readable by average residents as opposed to lawyers. Early focus is on Elections and General Provisions. Next 6-8 weeks will be very important as they will be focusing on Executive, Legislative, and School Committee branches. There will be a public hearing on April 6 focused on Legislative branch. Jane Frantz encourages people to provide their feedback even if they have received it because it helps to know how many people share that feedback. Can provide feedback by attending the biweekly regularly scheduled meetings (first 20 minutes reserved for public comment), can email chartercommission@newtonma.gov, can call any member, or attend a public hearing. Can also add your email address to Charter Commission email list via the Newton City website. Important for WAC: the commission will be addressing area councils in September.  SL requests that JF communicate our interest for a joint / interactive meeting. Would be willing to have other area councils attend as well if that would be more effective.
     

  2. UPDATES:

    1. Report on planning for Zervas meeting on traffic/parking/safe routes with Newton Highlands Area Council, scheduled for April 14: AD reports that the traffic street plan for Zervas is well defined, but Alex Valcarce says that it is not fixed. AD reports that the planning team (Josh) says that they felt like they have already heard from the community which was surprising to her because she doesn’t know when that could have happened. AD says that we (WAC) will be hosting a presentation on this at the next WAC meeting to bring together community on this. Recommends that we reserve a lot of regular WAC business for a future meeting to make time for this. Would like to be able to ensure that everybody could have an opportunity for everybody in attendance to speak/share thoughts. In particular, traffic models don’t reflect community knowledge, especially around safety (e.g. blind spots, near misses, etc.). RG recommends that it would be great if we could make an interactive site allows community to bring data to the website and bring that to the forum. Would like to see the meeting as more of a community meeting than a presentation from the city. AD would like to put together a fact sheet for this to clarify what things are supported by data that might be counterintuitive and not obvious to community members. AD thinks it is important that people know that they won’t have police details or school staffing to monitor this. JR reports that as part of the Zervas working group that from what he has heard plans are still open for community input except for the drop-off lane which is part of the infrastructure. JR it is important to remember that community can have input but ultimately decisions are going to be made by Newton Police and Traffic. AD concerned that city has assumptions and that community has assumptions and that they don’t match and aren’t validated. SL suggests that city look at traffic at the same time they look at architecture when they are building/rehabilitating new schools. Is there anything we can do about that? AD states that NHAC and WAC email lists will reach out to neighbors raise awareness of this. Suggests that we should also create flyers to make sure neighbors know about the meeting.

    2. Update on WAC and NHAC Visioning Efforts: CP reports that there were 20 people at the last meeting. Has received a lot of feedback on how the meetings are run and working to incorporate. Last meeting was focusing on village and business centers. Reports that Srdj (NHAC president) presented a number of plans that had been proposed for NH in the past for community reference. Good to have this input. Downside is that many Waban residents may have been put off by early focus on Highlands at last meeting. All documents are currently on the WAC website under the Future Planning section.

    3. Update on St. Philip Neri / 1521 Beacon St. Continuation of ZBA Public Hearing on March 24: SL reads an email from Alexandra (?) received in February stating that Mr. Argiros will not be filing an appeal to the city’s safe haven ruling which means that he’ll be open to more city and community feedback. Reads a follow-up email from Alexandra received in March and that there were no new updates. KW says that she has heard from Alexandra that there have been meetings with the developer but they have not received new plans. If they don’t receive plans they will likely postpone the meeting.

    4. Update on former Peck Property / 1615 Beacon St: SL reports that Alexandra said in February that the Englers have been in for 2 DRTs and that the project still needs a lot of work and that in March she says they have had additional meetings and that the only change is that they have decided to keep the existing building as residential and not commercial. Expect to file with MassHousing in about a month which will start a 30 day comment period. KW reports that current plans are on the website. PB that they will put in more authentic windows, remove vinyl siding, and make it look more historic. KW says that new building will be 9 ft higher than existing building and roughly 5 ft from the property line with the Windsor Club. KW says we don’t know who the developers are yet, Jeff Engler is just a consultant and not ready to share the developer information yet. Says site is designated as a local landmark and designated on the register of historic places. If weren’t doing a 40B history commission would have to sign off. Because they are a 40B ZBA will step into role of taking into consideration of historical considerations. Seems like Jeff Engler thinks that maintaining historic portion of the home is enough, but not clear that matches what Secretary of Interior’s recommendations would be. Often take into consideration the site as a whole. We want to make sure that someone who has knowledge about historic commissions to be aware of this. Katie Holmes has been involved in the DRTs. KW recommends that WAC reaches out Katie on this. SL wants to know if Mass Housing Partnership takes historical perspective into account in the approval letter. Suggests reaching out to Alice Ingerson (sp?) for her thoughts on this. KW important thing is to make sure that we get somebody involved who can provide informed feedback on historic issues. IA recommends requesting Katie Holmes or chair of Newton Historical Commission to attend ZBA meetings. JR says that a few years ago he and other councilors requested landmark status of the building a few years ago to help contribute to the fact that these are factored into consideration. RG will reach out to some people she’s knows and thinks should talk with a historical lawyer. KW says that Jeff Engler will reach out to Windsor Club and is not currently interested in holding a community meeting at this time. KW important to know that the whole site is landmarked but the addition could be removed under the landmark status.

    5. Report of meeting with Parks & Rec about island across from Angier at Beacon St: SL reports that they had a meeting with Elaine Gentile from P&R and they have already had an engineer at site working on runoff/drainage problem. Will have another meeting next week and provide a report on that. JR reports that they are working to get the Angier vendor to account for some of the dirt issues before the city has to fund it. Also notes that there is budget for trees on the island as a result of Angier construction and they will replace trees over the community.

    6. Zervas Construction Team Report: Deferred on report. Everyone reviewed document left behind.

    7. Update on Add-A-Lane concern about entry from Quinobequin Rd to Rt. 9W: SL says that Shane Mark was assured on Feb 17 that median would be extended as a result of conversation with tenants of Wellesley Office Park. Asked for a diagram of this. Since then a police car has been parked in front of Office Park forcing people merging to move to the left. SL says that she emailed Shane Mark thanking him for reaching out and asking for an update. Also noted that she pointed out concerns about the police car and how DOT evaluates the safety of that. SL says that she has not received an answer on that yet.

    8. Report on voter email collection efforts on Primary Day: SL notes thanks are in order to all councilors for taking shifts and in particular IA who took a 5 hour shift collecting email addresses. AD observes that it was very chaotic and hard for people to hear. Turn out was very high in the primary and expects it to be even higher at the presidential election. Challenge was that people were coming to the table asking where they were supposed to vote which made it complicated. AD thinks it’s useful for local elections where it’s not overwhelming.  MRM says that she did not observe those same conditions. CP says that it was a great experience and people seemed to enjoy that and for raising awareness. IA says that there were some emails that she  just couldn’t figure it. People will look and see if they can figure it out.
       

  3. WAC BUDGET NEEDS & SUGGESTIONS FOR FUNDRAISING FOR WAC: SL in the interest of time moves to defer the discussion to a future meeting. JC seconds. Unanimously approved.
     

  4. NEW BUSINESS:

    1. NVA sponsored 40B panel: CP reports that many people attended the NVA forum on 40B at the Windsor Club. Says it was very informative and recommends that people attend future meetings. Would like to make sure the WAC informs people that these forums are going on and that we put them in our emails as a point of information. KW asks if we have done this before? SL we have when requested. CP asks that we provide notice of the upcoming meetings as a point of information. MRM suggests that if it is not hosted by us or from the city we can put it on the calendar. AD I think we need to have a discussion about policies for publication. SL we’ve done it in the past for groups that are dealing with important Waban issues. MRM could we just put the absolute minimum on the calendar on the site. CP that’s not what I’m asking. CP moves that we publicize this in the most minimal way possible via email. RG seconds it. SL says how about if we state something along the lines of “WAC has been asked by NVA to publicize this event.” KW we should also be careful around not bombarding this. KW said she was concerned because she got a call from an attorney thinking that WAC was putting this forum on. JC recommends that we have a “community happenings” section in our email like the PTO does. KW and RG agree.  SL moves that we put together an announcements email with a list of all the upcoming events listed of which this could be included in it. JC seconds. KW, RG, SL, CP, IA, JC vote in favor, PB abstains, MRM opposed. AD absent. Motion carries.

    2. IA suggests that the minutes need to be less detailed and worried that JC might not be able to contribute as much as possible. SL the minutes as are very valuable. JC willing to take detailed minutes but definitely not going to aspire for transcription.
       

  5. ADJOURN:

 

Next meeting will take place on April 14, 2016.

 

Adjourn.  10:10 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Joe Corkery

Comments

The weather has made a slight impact.  Work was halted for six snow days thus far.  The project schedule allowed float for five snow days, so one day will need to be made up.  The construction team is confident that it will not be a problem to work extra hours to make up the lost time.  Once the weather is better, they will start ten hour days, plus Saturdays.  Work time will be from 7AM to 5PM, as set by the town.

The steel is going up as planned.  Soon the building will be wrapped.  This will allow the building to be temporarily heated for indoor work, such as pouring the concrete for the floors, to begin.

Angier has been designed to have solar panels on the roof.