When we run our weekly Visions for Vacancies" column on Newton Patch, we ask our readers to weigh in on what they think should go in to empty storefronts and buildings in the Garden City.
And almost every week, someone will comment: "Not a bank!"
Well, those readers may just get their wish.
Recently, the city's Economic Development Commission (EDC) proposed a one-year "moratorium" on banks moving into the ground level of a building, unless a special permit is granted by the Board of Aldermen.
The temporary measure aims to allow for more retail variety in business districts and therefore, bring more vitality to Newton's village centers. According to a memo from the city's Department of Planning and Development, the one-year moratorium would give aldermen time to adjust zoning to help with village development. See attached .pdf from the Planning Department.
What do you think about the moratorium? Do you think it will help business districts in the city? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
After submitting a letter to the board in February recommending the moratorium, the EDC consulted with the Planning Department and several aldermen about the item, according to minutes from the EDC's May meeting.
Now, the item has been docketed for the Board of Aldermen and is before the board's Zoning and Planning Committee.
According to minutes from its June meeting, the Zoning and Planning Committee held a discussion on the one-year proposal and voted 6-0 to hold the item while more input is sought from the Planning Department, local banks and the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Setti Warren has said he opposes the proposal and doesn't feel it is a "necessary step," although he is open to the aldermen discussing the item, according to a June report in the Boston Globe.
The committee will take the item up once again at its meeting tomorrow, Aug. 16, at 7:45 p.m. in room 202 at City Hall.
For more information, see the report in the Boston Globe. A copy of the Planning Department memo and meeting minutes are included in the .pdf section above.