The Newton Villages Alliance is pleased to present information and videos from "Setting Our Course in Newton", our speakers series featuring expert guests covering a range of topics of interest to those concerned about community, historic and open space preservation. The Spring 2016 inaugural series included a forum on Chapter 40B in Newton; lessons from West Coast community preservationists about the impact of rapid high-density residential development on gentrification and displacement; an account of one community's experience with HUD intervention into their local land use decision-making; and a talk about the economic and environmental benefits of preservation of historic houses and other buildings. All events in the free series were held on Sunday afternoons from 1:00-2:30 pm at the Windsor Club in Waban. All were welcome to attend, and to participate in Q&A sessions with our distinguished speakers. The premiere talk was on Sunday, March 6.
April 3rd Speakers Series Looks at Risks of Up-Zoning Reform
A big crowd turned out for the second event in the series on April 3rd. "The False Promises of (Up)Zoning Reform: Lessons from the Seattle Neighborhood that Inspired the Movie 'Up'” featured an NVA-produced video comparing zoning issues in Newton and the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Speakers in a live video-conference conversation with the audience included a representative from Livable Ballard, a community organization and Seattle City Council candidate Bill Bradburd. Newtonville's Lynne LeBlanc moderated and NVA board member John Koot introduced the speakers and narrated the video.
Speakers Series Gets Great Start on March 6th With 40B Forum
The Windsor Club in Waban was filled on Sunday, March 6, for "Answering Chapter 40B: The Challenge of Housing Affordability & Neighborhood Context in Newton", an NVA-sponsored forum on Chapter 40B and housing affordability. Attorneys and 40B experts Professor Jonathan Witten (left in photo below right) and Dennis Murphy (right), and moderator Julia Malakie, (center) impressed the crowd with their complete command of the subject, and their ability to make a very complex subject understandable. Video of the event will be available soon on NewTV and here on the NVA website; and links and information are here.
More Information, in Case You Missed the 40B Forum...
Anyone who lives in Newton has probably heard of "40B" projects. Chapter 40B is a Massachusetts state law that allows developers, under certain conditions, to ignore local zoning and put an over-sized apartment or condo complex almost anywhere, including next to houses in neighborhoods of single-family and two-family houses. Two historic Victorian houses in Newtonville were demolished in February 2016, destroying a long-established neighborhood of working families, to make way for a 40B luxury condo project. The photo and video below are the view from the next-door neighbor's house. If this could happen on Court Street, it could happen on your street.