Five Things You Missed at the Board of Aldermen Meeting: Citizens United, Restaurant Hearings
The board took a stand against the Citizens United decision and debated whether to hold public hearings for local restaurant permits this summer.
With only two full board meetings planned for this summer, the Newton Board of Aldermen had a lot to get through Monday night.
In addition to approving special permit for a Newton Centre home that exceeded the area's FAR, the board addressed a number of other important items.
Here are five things you may have missed:
1. The board voted overwhelmingly (23-1) to support a resolution that calls on the U.S. Congress to repeal the Citizens United decision. Around 15-17 local supporters, including several Occupy Newton members, visited the chamber to hear the vote and back the board's resolution.
The item was initially proposed by Ward 3 Alderman-at-Large Ted Hess-Mahan. Ward 3 Alderman-at-Large Greer Tan Swiston was the only dissenting vote.
2. The board debated Monday night whether to suspend the rules of the Board of Aldermen and allow public hearings for "major projects" during the summer.
Under the board rules, public hearings on large projects are not to be held in the summer months to allow for maximum public input.
However, Ald. Hess-Mahan noted that the Land Use Committee, which would hold the public hearings, has a full agenda in the fall and needs to get some of the hearings done in August to keep the process moving in a timely maner.
However, the board voted against allowing a summertime public hearing for a project at 429 Cherry St., which looks to tear down an existing building and rebuild residential and office space. Aldermen agreed that the neighbors of the property should be given ample opportunity to speak, and that many of them may not be able to do so if the public hearing is held in August.
Instead, the public hearing for that project will be held later in the fall.
3. Ald. Swiston and Ward 5 Alderman John Rice recognized a group of government students who are visiting Newton from Taiwan. The group of students has traveled here through the Taipei Economic Cultural Office, which has its Culture Center in Newton Highlands.
4. Alderman Brian Yates offered a memorial resolution honoring Beatrice H. Baron, who passed away on June 15 at the age of 95. Baron lived in Newton for more that 50 years, Yates said, and was a local activist as well as one of the first speech therapists hired in Massachusetts public schools. She founded the Newton Times newspaper and helped create the New Art Center.
5. The full board voted in favor of requesting a raised crosswalk on Cypress Street (near 280 Cypress St.) as part of updates to the Bowen Elementary School entrance. This item was approved on May 26, 2011 in Traffic Council and by the Public Facilities Committee (5-1) on June 20. It will be paid for through MassDOT’s Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Program.