Waban Area Council
Meeting Agenda – February 10 2022 – 7:30 – 9:00 pm
Isabelle Albeck, Dinah Bodkin, Bill Bracken, Rena Getz, Sallee Lipshutz, Drake McCabe, Megan Meirav, Chris Pitts, Summukh Tendulkar
Ex-Officio City Councilors: Bill Humphrey
I. Opening (5’)
A. Confirmation of quorum
B. Issues from the Community
II. Substantive topics
A. Cochituate Aqueduct Trail Segment Closure Update (5’)
B. Zoning Updates
1. “Developing Village Centers” Presentation
Marc Hershman, Newton Architect, (20’)
2. “Citizen’s petition to amend the village center district #44-22” Presentation,
Peter Harrington, Newton Attorney and former Alderman & State Rep. (20’)
3. Zoning Updates – Rena Getz (20’)
III. New Business (5’)
IV. Administrative (15’)
A. Review and approval of Meeting minutes (Jan. 2022) & Annual Reports
B. Treasurer’s Report
Waban Area Council
Meeting Minutes – February 10, 2022
Waban Neighborhood Area Councilors: Dinah Bodkin, Rena Getz, Sallee Lipshutz, Drake McCabe, Sumukh Tendulkar, Chris Pitts
City Councilors: Julia Malakie, Tarik Lucas, and Pam Wright
Community: Bob Burke, Peter Harrington, Marc Hershman, Jonathan Kantar, Ted Kuklinski, Maureen Reilly Meagher, Lisa Monahan, John Mordes, and Jay Walters
Meeting commenced at approximately 7:35 pm, after the confirmation of a quorum. The meeting was held via Zoom videoconferencing and recorded for the Acting Secretary purpose of generating meeting minutes.
Burning Issues from the Community:
SL requested an update from the Ward 5 Councilors on Phase 2 of the Wellesley Office Park Development. Maureen Reilly Meagher (MRM) and John Mordes (JM - Friends of Hemlock Gorge President) commented on the MassDOT engineering plans for pedestrian safety improvements at the intersections of 1) Boylston Street/Quinobequin Road and 2) Boylston Street/Ellis Street. Plans were generated from a November 2021 meeting of MassDOT staff, Ruth Balser (RB), JM and MRM. MRM stated that RB’s office would be taking public comments to pass on to MassDOT.
Cochituate Aqueduct Trail Segment Closure Update:
RG stated - mediation did not seem like a likely pathway forward, so other options are being explored by the city, other organizations and abutters. The Newton Conservators were looking for a peaceful resolution of the matter, with a reasonable accommodation.
“What Makes a Village Center Inviting” presentation given by Marc Hershman, Newton Architect. Marc discussed and compared built environment components and characteristics that support and work for healthy Village Centers through regional, global and Newton examples. He discussed building metrics and stated that most urban designers currently favor a building height to street width ratio of 1:2.5, for a desired “human scale” streetscape and is found in the classic New England context. Discussion with the public ensued. His presentation is posted to Waban Area Council website.
Citizen’s Petition to amend the Village Center District – Docket item #44-22, presentation given by Peter Harrington, Newton Attorney, former Alderman and State Rep. Peter explained his zoning proposal to incentivize the permitting of housing for people with incomes below 50% AMI (Area Median Income) in new Village Center construction. He presented a digest of Newton’s current zoning and housing density.
#42-22 - ATTORNEY PETER HARRINGTON ET AL., submitting a 60-signature citizen petition to strike Chapter 30, Section 4.1 Business Districts, in its entirety and insert, in place thereof, the following: 4.1. Village Center District; 4.1.1. District Intent and 4.1.2. Dimensional Standards.
Zoning Updates - RG gave a preliminary overview of Housing Choice (slide deck posted). Pam Wright further discussed Housing Choice and explained that for a District to reach a final unit density of 15 units/acre overall, the unbuildable areas (up to 30-40% - Village Center assessments/Doug Greenfield) need to be considered and do result in an even higher housing density on the adjoining buildable parcels. She then compared the level of transit service in Newton (commuter rail versus the T) and then showed tables with the current totals of permitted housing units in Newton. She also compared what is obtainable in the criteria of “by right” versus special permitting (slide deck posted). She addressed audience questions.
New Business: SL requested asking the new City Clerk to come and speak with our Area Council to discuss the election process and to invite the other 3 Area Councils to join us in the meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30pm.
Respectfully submitted as a collaborative work by Megan Meirav and Rena Getz.