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What Do You Think About a 'Moratorium' on New Banks in Newton?

The Board of Aldermen's Zoning and Planning Committee will continue discussion on the item tomorrow night. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

When we run our weekly " 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 . 

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. 

Kevin Mitchell August 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM
I selfishly support it. We need diversity of stores in our villages. So while we're at it: add nail salons and dry cleaners to that list. But this is dangerous ground to tread on. Could be chains next or some other business type.
Jay Walter August 15, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I agree. The proliferation of banks in the village centers destroy the vitality of the areas They occupy the best locations, squeezing out other small businesses that bring diversity and create destinations for shoppers. The problem is how to deal with it. The answer may be in the Special Permit process. I will be interested to see what the Aldermen propose.
Linda Piken August 15, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I also support the moratorium. We are gradually eliminating every possibility to re-establish ourselves as individual villages in Newton. I live in Newtonville where new banks or bank branches have been emerging at what seems like every new vacancy in the area. I'm delighted to see there will be a frozen yogurt shop adjacent to Starbuck's. This, and perhaps cafes offering things other than coffee would also be a nice addition.
Josh Weiss August 15, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I am in full support. I am surprised and delighted that the alderman are taking this on. Our villages need a vibrant and diverse set of shops, restaurants and places to visit. Why do we need to go to Moody Street to find it. This is a step in the right direction.
Ross August 17, 2012 at 06:22 PM
The problem is the owners and lessors who see banks as an easy source of high rents and the perceived "safety" of a long-term lease with no messiness. One site with numerous banks ATMs would solve most customers' needs without ruining the remaining character of our villages.

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