October 8 2020


  1. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
  2. Budget report
  3. Burning Issues from the Community
  4. DCR meeting review
  5. FOTQ report
  6. Four Council Debate - special election for the Ward 2 At-Large CC (January - April)
  7. Historic Plaque Committee
  8. Discussion on WAC participation in Informational Forum on proposed zoning code hosted by the 4 Area Councils
  9. Announcements:
    1. Quinobequin Road DCR Meeting:
      As a result of an amendment Representative Balser filed in last year’s state budget, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has been conducting a study on ways to improve pedestrian and bicycle access along Quinobequin Road. DCR has scheduled a public meeting to discuss ideas with the community on Thursday, October 8th at 6:30 pm. To register for the meeting:
      Meeting ID: 917 1686 2275
      Passcode: 277744
    2. Friends of Hemlock Gorge Zoom Meeting
      Tuesday, Oct 6, 2020  at 7:15 PM If you would like to attend, please send an email to friends@hemlockgorge.org
    3. The Newton Cultural Council (NCC) seeks proposals in art, music, literature, drama, science and the humanities from individuals who live or work in Newton and from organizations that serve the city. In this time of Covid-19, we invite creative ways to offer on-line events and exhibits. The NCC seeks a wide range of diverse projects, including those that elevate the experiences of historically marginalized groups to highlight the current and historical diversity of Newton. For an application, please visit www.newtonculturalcouncil.org/grants  You can reach the NCC at info@newtonculturalcouncil.com or at 617-796-1540. Applications are due by November 16, 2020 and must be completed online.
Meeting Date: 
Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 8:15pm



Waban Area Council

Meeting Minutes Oct 8 2020

Held via Zoom



WAC:  Chris Pitts, Dinah Bodkin, Rena Getz, Robert Jampol, Sallee Lipshutz, Thomas Elkind.

City Councillors:  Deb Crossley, Andrea Downs

Community:  Nathaniel Lichtin, Judi Burten, Barbara Brustowicz, Carole Grossman, John Mordes, Kathy Pillsbury, Lisa Monahan, Margie Arons-Barron, Tim De Chant




Approval of September 10 2020  Minutes. Minutes approved with needed spelling corrections.  Budget remains unchanged.  

Community Issues: Tim  De Chant: Nothing new from NWH.

DCR Listening Session (from 6:30pm tonight) Review.  Three proposals for Quinobequin presented.  Screen capture showed three proposal for what DCR calls “21st century parkway.”  The purpose of the meeting was mostly for DCR to gain a sense of what local residents favor.  Alternative 2 is most expensive, alternative 3 is closest to what we currently have.  The DCR presentation can be seen here  https://www.mass.gov/doc/quinobequin-road-and-trail-improvements-meeting-presentation-2020-10-8/download.  Most important as described here https://www.mass.gov/event/quinobequin-road-and-trail-improvements-newton-virtual-public-meeting-2020-10-08t183000-0400, the public comment period is open until Oct 23.  CP stated that in his next email blast, he will remind people of Oct 23 deadline.  All material will also be posted at FOTQ section of WAC website.

Four Council Debate:  Jake Auchincloss is the Democratic candidate for the Congressional seat vacated by Joe Kennedy III.  He presumably will win this seat and then resign his seat on Newton City Council.  This is a Ward Two at large seat.  Do we favor a debate hosted by the four area councils for candidates for the open seat?  Nathaniel Lichtin:  organizing committee will handle the details.  Debate must be 120 days after City Council calls for the special election.  If held via Zoom, the debate will cost nothing.  Motion to hold the four council debate passed unanimously.  

Historic Plaque CP: Plaque will be sited in Waban Square where historic features are easily visible.  Features will be listed.  Description will be 400 words maximum.   Role of WIS and WAC yet to be worked out.  RG: need to create story lines which will interest people.

Zoning  Deb Crossley: Not sure when the first public presentation will be held.  WAC should wait for a well vetted draft before holding public meeting.  It is generally felt that a strong consensus is needed within the Planning and Zoning Committee before presenting to the public. Two groups of building professionals are looking at the proposals and much input is being proposed from other sources.  Exact timeline unclear.  SL: It would be great to have a computer program which shows what will happen to one’s own home under new Zoning Law. DC: Great idea, but as of now no single computer program will summarize the effect of all the variables on a single property.    New zoning code treatment of garages:  garage and driveways will be examined as a single entity.  Main concern is limiting curb cuts, both the size and number of curb cuts per dwelling unit.  Would like to encourage rear garages.  How lot coverage is defined affects length and width of driveway since paved surface is included in definition of lot coverage.  DC:  P and Z is hoping that with more specific requirement, less special permitting will be necessary.  Nathaniel Lichtin:  Highlands Area Council does a weekly 1/2 page report on the progress of new zoning ordinance.  Green Newton also sponsoring a meeting on zoning and climate action plan.  CP: Rena will keep WAC up to date on major developments.

All should note:  Early voting in Newton starts October 17.

Meeting adjourned 9:30pm

Respectfully submitted by Dinah Bodkin, October 23 2020