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Zoning Code Rewrite Paused in Newton, Massachusetts

The mayor of Newton says the city's planning department is stretched too thin, with several ordinances and large development proposals in the works.
April 4, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Wangkun Jia

"Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller is pumping the brakes on her administration’s efforts to rewrite the city’s zoning rules," reports John Hilliard.

"In a letter to city councilors, Fuller said she has asked the Planning Department to wait until 2020 to deliver a final draft of the new citywide zoning ordinance — the first such overhaul in 32 years — for the City Council’s approval," according to Hilliard.

Mayor Fuller's decision followed public feedback, but the letter also credited "the city’s already 'sizeable workload' reviewing two large-scale development proposals and carrying out other planning efforts" in deciding to pause the code rewrite process.

Hilliard goes into greater detail about the "larger debate over development" in Newtown. Northland Investment Corp. has proposed a 14-building development at Needham and Oak streets that would add 800 residential units, 180,000 square feet of office, and 115,000 square feet of retail and community space. A separate proposal would add ten buildings, with 675 residential units, 611,000 square feet of office, 194 hotel rooms, and 611,000 square feet of retail at the Riverside MBTA station. "[Planners in Newton] are also working on “vision plans” for Riverside and Washington Street, a climate action plan, and an inclusionary zoning bylaw to promote more affordable housing."

Full Story:
Published on Friday, March 22, 2019 in The Boston Globe
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