Land Use Committee Meeting
Tuesday, May 7th at 7:00 pm
Q & A Session for Residents
The Land Use Committee will be discussing engineering, fiscal impact analysis, and outstanding traffic issues of the Riverside proposal.
This Tuesday night, May 7th, there is a regularly scheduled Land Use meeting at City Hall at 7:00 pm and the second topic will be Riverside. There is also an opportunity for Lower Falls and other interested residents to meet before the Land Use meeting, from 6-7 pm in Room 209.
Jay and Lenny have asked that you do your best to submit your questions to them in advance of the meeting.
Jay Harney: email@example.com
Lenny Gentile: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following link brings you to the most recent Planning memo which will be discussed during the working session: http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/aldermen/fridaypack.asp
Land Use Committee Working Sessions Begin
Tuesday, March 5 at 7:00 pm
It’s been 11 weeks since the Riverside and Hotel Indigo Special Permit Public Hearings were closed by the Land Use committee on December 18, 2012. Since that time the applicant, BH Normandy, has provided additional documentation requested by the City and Board of Aldermen. The Land Use committee is now ready to begin working sessions to review all aspects of the proposal. The first committee meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 5th, at 7:00 pm in Room 222 of City Hall.
Here is a list of valuable links to city webpages where you will find detailed background information about this proposal.
- Special Permit documentation provided to the Land Use committee may be found at http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/aldermen/sppermits.asp. Scan down through the webpage to the sections labeled Riverside #258-12 and Grove Street - #272-12 (Hotel Indigo) for a list of links to documents.
- On the Friday before every Riverside/Indigo working session, the Planning Department will publish a memo for the Board of Aldermen that summarizes issues regarding the proposal, and the discussion topics to be covered at the next working session of the committee. These memos, along with many other Riverside Planning documents, may be found at http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/planning/current/devrev/hip/riverside/default.asp. For your convenience, the Planning Department's memo for Tuesday’s meeting can be found in our File Gallery.
- Land Use committee meeting agendas, audio files of the meetings, and committee reports to the Board may be found at http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/aldermen/committees/landuse/2013.asp.
- Notes from the Chairman regarding the Special Permit process may be found at http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/44169.
According to Land Use Chairman Ted Hess-Mahan, working sessions will begin at 7pm and end no later than 11pm, with a brief break midway through. The RSNC anticipates that at least 4 working sessions during the next two months will be required for the committee to address all of the issues, and craft Board Orders for both Special Permit requests.
If you have a question, please contact us and we will do our best to get you an answer.
RIVERSIDE SPECIAL PERMIT
Tuesday November 27th
The Riverside Special Permit Public Hearing was held open by the Land Use Committee after an almost 5-hour session on Tuesday night. Presentations from the MBTA and the developer were delivered and have been posted on the City's website (see links below). There are still many outstanding issues and the questions and concerns of the aldermen and the public reflected this.The Land Use Committee intends to schedule the continuation of this hearin so that Mass DOT is able to attend, hopefully mid-December. The RSNC will post the date here and to our email list when it is announced.
Below are links to some of the pertinent documents.
- Audio (mp3) of the 11.27.12 public hearing
- Developer presentation slides (PowerPoint) from the 11.27.12 public hearing
- MBTA presentation slides (PowerPoint) from the 11.27.12 public hearing
- Riverside Station Petitioner responses to questions from prior public hearing
- Riverside Station - City of Newton Planning Dept. 11.23 memo
- Hotel Indigo Petitioner responses to questions from prior public hearing
- Hotel Indigo - City of Newton Planning Dept. 11.23 memo
All documents can be found under 399 Grove and Riverside at the following link: http://www.ci.newton.ma.us/gov/aldermen/sppermits.asp
BH Normandy Files for Special Permit
August 30, 2012
BH Normandy filed their Special Permit application with the city today!
The Riverside Special Permit application files can be found here on the City’s website.The Zoning Review Memo, S.P. Application, Fiscal Impact Statement, Inclusionary Housing Plan, and a lot of engineering diagrams are included. The site plan is almost identical to the June Concept Plan. The diagrams reflect access option B-2. A quick visual check of the diagrams shows a right turning lane into the site for southbound Grove St traffic (in January TIAS, eliminated in June Concept Plan, but FST peer review recommended its reinstatement), a reduction of 2 surface parking spaces next to the residential building, among other things.
We will post a hearing date when it is announced.
Held on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
We’d like to thank the 75 residents who attended, especially the two dozen people who spoke on behalf of our neighborhoods. The Board, developer, and city staff, listened carefully to our concerns regarding the potential impacts from traffic, school, and sewer/stormwater that could adversely affect our quality of life and change the future character of our neighborhoods.
Additional comments & questions can be submitted up until July 10. [See below.]
The Planning Department will compile all of the questions and relay them to the developer, and will subsequently create a report which includes the developer's responses. We will post that here when we receive it (likely mid- to late-summer).
Presentation delivered by BH Normandy (PDF)
Site Plan Rendering -Overall
Site Plan Architectural Drawing -Overall
Site Plan Architectural Drawing- Focus on Open Space
General Project Description
Full Meeting Broadcast by NewTV
The meeting will also be re-broadcast on NewTV’s government channel (Comcast Channel 9, RCN Channel 13, Verizon Channel 33).
The deadline for questions and comments on the conceptual design is July 10. Please send your comments to Riverside@newtonma.gov or to the Planning Department, Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, MA 02459.
Links to City of Newton web pages & documents on Riverside:
Now that the zoning amendment has been approved by the Board of Aldermen (BOA), the next step for the developer is to apply for a Special Permit. The Land Use Committee (headed by Ted Hess-Mahan) of the BOA will evaluate the developer's plans and make a recommendation to the full BOA. The full BOA will then vote whether or not to issue a Special Permit for the development.
The first step in this part of the process will be for the developer to present a conceptual design on which the public may comment. This meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 pm in the Aldermanic Chamber at City Hall. Overflow rooms will be provided with simulcast video.
Details are still being worked out, but everything that will be presented at the meeting by the developer will be available online beforehand, and any additional slides or other presentation materials used at the conceptual review will also be posted. An open WiFi connection will be available for anyone to review the materials during the meeting.
Plan to review the materials when they become available, and plan to attend this meeting!
We suggest that you bring a hardcopy of your comments to the meeting to leave with the Land Use Committee.
From the Board of Aldermen- NEWS, NOTES & REMINDERS – JUNE 8, 2012
From Alderman Hess-Mahan:
Riverside Station Conceptual Review – All Board members are invited to attend. The Land Use Committee will hold a meeting to conduct a Conceptual Review of the proposed Riverside Station Mixed-Used/Transit-Oriented Development on Tuesday, June 26th at 7:00 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chamber. At this meeting, the Land Use Committee will provide a forum for a public presentation whereby the Committee and the public may ask questions, gain an understanding of the project proposal, and provide feedback that can inform further development of the project. The presentation will include conceptual plans and a traffic analysis for the proposed development by the design team, as well as a peer review report on the proposed traffic management plan. The conceptual plans include a project description, project statistics, a preliminary site plan and additional information as may be requested by city staff to perform a zoning review and preliminary impact analyses. These materials will be posted in the Riverside Project Information webpage (http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/planning/current/devrev/hip/riverside/default.asp) a week or so before the conceptual review meeting. Aldermen and members of the public who cannot attend the meeting are encouraged to submit written comments or question to the Planning Department up to two weeks after the meeting. The Planning Department will collect all comments and questions and prepare a report presenting responses and analysis from the developer and the planning department, which will be posted on the Riverside Project Information webpage. The conceptual review will be video and audio recorded by NewTV, to be aired at a later date. Room 202 and Room 222 in City Hall have been reserved for overflow capacity, and will have
television monitors where the public may view a simulcast of the conceptual review. If you have any questions, please contact the chairman of the Land Use Committee, Alderman Ted Hess-Mahan, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 508-847-4855.
April 9 Zoning & Planning Committee Meeting
At their April 9 meeting, ZAP voted to recommend that docket item #400-11 (the zoning amendment for the Riverside parcel) be put to a vote by the full board of Aldermen. We anticipate that the vote will occur during their regularly scheduled meeting on April 17th (7:45, City Hall Aldermanic Chamber).
Only Alderman will be participating in this meeting. Therefore, if you have any issues or concerns regarding the language in the document, please raise them to our three Ward 4 Aldermen. They may or may not have the opportunity to relay additional public comment at this meeting, but in any event they should at least hear what your comments are.
At this meeting, Candace Havens and the City Planning Department offered a document which responds to many of the issues raised in the public hearing/public comment phase of the proposed zoning amendment.
Working Session Memorandum
April 6, 2012
The full 26-page memorandum is available here in PDF form. It includes "Attachment E"- revised language of the proposed zoning amendment. But for a few minor changes, this will be what the Aldermen will be voting on at their April 17 meeting.
You can browse an excerpt from the Planning Department's memo, including their responses to the public comments received. You can jump directly to a specific section using the links below, or go to the full excerpt.
Responses to Questions and Concerns Direct Access
Access to Riverside Center (the existing, adjacent office complex)
Project Size and Scale
Site and Design Standards
Water and Sewer
Chapter 40B Development Options Other Proposed Text Changes
Zoning & Planning Committee UpdateThe aldermanic chambers were comfortably full on Thursday night (3/22) for the public hearing on the zoning changes proposed to accommodate new development at Riverside. The committee allowed people 3 minutes each to speak. We heard thoughts on project size, project impacts- traffic, schools, sewage -site uses, as well as comments on the language used in the proposed amendment. We heard (and saw) presentations on parking & the effect different payment schemes might have. There was also some debate on the degree of specificity the amendment contains- Would this count as spot zoning? Should some limits be taken out of the zoning or made more flexible, to instead be addressed as part of the special permit process?
Many of the comments delivered at the meeting were also submitted in writing. They can be found at the end of the ZAP Agenda (187 pages worth!) for the next regular meeting, Monday, 3/26/12.
You can listen to the 3/22/12 public hearing by clicking the audio link at the City website.
The Planning Dept made revisions to text language based on comments from aldermen and public testimony, including our survey. Several uses mentioned in the survey, like "business incubator", "food co-op", and "electric car charging" were specifically added as "by right" uses. Some size flexibility was added to text, which would allow by special permit, for the project to have an additional 1000 sf of retail and 11,000 sf of office. By one quick estimate, that would add about 150 vehicles per day to the total (+3%). It seems that the developer does not need that (relatively) small amount of extra space and likely won't seek to use it. The Chair stated early in meeting that ZAP would NOT vote this item out tonight (Monday, 3/26). After three hours of discussion, the item was held. There will be additional tweaking to text, and it will likely be voted out at the next ZAP meeting on April 9th. We don't have an electronic version of the revised text yet.
The Zoning and Planning committee (ZAP) will be continuing to address this amendment in upcoming meetings and working sessions. We'll keep you informed.
In the meantime, please continue to write down your comments and send them to your aldermen and to the ZAP committee. Comments to ZAP can be sent to Rebecca Smith, the Zoning and Planning Committee Clerk. Addresses for the aldermen can be found on our Key Contacts page.
Summary of the City Zoning Process
as presented by Candace Havens, City Planner
Rezoning of Riverside1 Zoning and Planning Committee (ZAP) reviews text amendment to zoning regulations
- Working sessions in January and February
- Planning and Law Departments developed draft language
- Public hearing to further inform zoning
- P&D Board makes recommendations
- ZAP recommends to BOA
- Requires 2/3 vote of Board of Aldermen
- Environmental and impact reviews of project and design
- Reviews by all City committees and agencies
- P&D Board makes recommendations on rezoning
- LUC recommends to BOA
- Requires 2/3 vote of Board of Aldermen
Public Hearing Scheduled for Proposed
Riverside Zoning Changes
7:00 pm, March 22, 2012
City Hall, Aldermanic Chamber
Plan to attend!
The Zoning and Planning Committee of the Board of Aldermen has issued a Public Hearing Memorandum in advance of the hearing. This document contains a summary and analysis of the proposed zoning changes as well as the full text of the proposed amendment.
The Riverside Development is the only item on the agenda, so come early to get a seat!
Public Hearing Memorandum
During a public hearing anyone who wishes to speak may speak. There will likely be a 2 or 3 minute cap on each person. This would ensure that the Committee will be able to hear from as many people as possible. There is no time limit, per se, on the meeting, but meetings rarely ever last past midnight.
People will see a sign up sheet to speak at the podium in the chamber. They should start signing up as soon as they enter if they wish to speak. People will generally not be allowed to repeat previous comments. To show agreement with a statement during the meeting, audience members can raise their hands or stand.
Anyone can submit written statements at any time, before or after the meeting, and those comments will be forwarded to the committee. They can be sent to Rebecca Smith, the Zoning and Planning Committee Clerk. It is probably best to get any written comments in before the committee's next working session- Monday, March 26.
The hearing usually begins with a presentation and is then opened up for public comment. After the the public hearing is closed the committee may or may not choose to continue into a working session on the item that night; this depends on the hour. The public should not expect to comment in a working session, though at times it is allowed by the chairman, but again, written comments addressed to the Clerk (Rebecca Smith) are accepted at any time, or they can be sent to the to the aldermen themselves.
This is a major step toward approving a development plan.
Please plan to attend and bring your neighbors!
We have created a Forum where people can discuss issues that might be worth bringing up in public comment at the meeting. Anyone can view the Forum, but in order to post to the Forum, you will need to be registered and logged in.
Community Survey Results Released
Our recent survey garnered 120 responses. View the results here.
BH Normandy Riverside LLC has released a new traffic study which reflects the recent reductions in project size. The project proposal upon which this latest study is based is as follows:
New Traffic Study Released
- 225,000 gross square feet (gsf) of office space;
- 290 residential apartment units, encompassing 320,000 sf of building area;
- 19,300 sf of ancillary retail space; and
- 12,000 sf of Community Space
to support the MBTA and Project parking demands.
The study is available on the City of Newton Planning Department's website. Download warning: The study itself is only 147 pages, but with the images it contains, the PDF file is 58 MB. There are also two appendices- 464 pages and 554 pages, but without so many images, they're a more manageable 7.5 MB & 5.5 MB.
We have broken the study down into smaller pieces for those with download issues. In the process, some pages have been rotated so as to print in 'portrait' rather than 'landscape' mode and some images have been reduced slightly in resolution. All parts are PDF.
Traffic Study Part 1; 38 pages; 7.8 Mb. Introduction; Existing Conditions
Traffic Study Part 2; 30 pages; 5.9 Mb. Future Conditions
Traffic Study Part 3; 49 pages; 5.5 Mb. Traffic Operations Analysis; Portions of Traffic Mitigation
Traffic Study Part 4; 8 pages; 1.9 Mb. Portions of Traffic Mitigation
Traffic Study Part 5; 1 page; 106 Kb. Image from Traffic Mitigation reduced in resolution
Traffic Study Part 6; 21 pages; 1.3 Mb. Portions of Traffic Mitigation; Conclusion
Traffic Study Part 7; 464 pages; 7.6 Mb. Appendix 1
Traffic Study Part 8; 554 pages; 5.7 Mb. Appendix 2
- JANUARY 29th -
This meeting was hosted and run by the Riverside Station Neighborhood Coalition’s steering committee with the Ward 4 Aldermen. At this meeting, the RSNC and Ward 4 Aldermen:
Community Meeting & Discussion
- provided an update on the project,
- described the process of how this project could move through city & state permitting,
- ointed out the formal and informal opportunities that we, as residents, have to influence and guide the planning and outcome (this meeting being one of those informal opportunities).
Here is a PDF file of the 10 presentation slides.
During this meeting, we reviewed a survey questionnaire, intended to capture the sentiments of residents living in Auburndale, Lower Falls, and Waban. As a result of feedback from participants at the meeting, we modified the survey. The surveys are now in and we're tabulating and analyzing the results. When that process is complete, we will post the results here on our website.
Project UpdateThe following preliminary dimensional numbers were provided by the developer for our presentation.
Height: 126 feet (10 stories – 5 office over 5 parking)
Garage Parking: 563 spaces. One space per 400 sq. ft. of office.
Height: 60 feet maximum (5 stories)
Garage Parking: 435 spaces. 1.5 spaces per unit.
Garage Parking: none (use MBTA parking garage)
Total Garage Parking: 998 spaces (excludes MBTA garage)
New Vehicle Trips: 5,000 Average Daily Trips (estimate)