From the last election campaign:
All of Newton’s stakeholders should have a voice in shaping Newton’s future. One of the most important aspects to being an Alderman is to engage residents to better understand their concerns. I have some concrete ideas for how to do that. Working with the City, Aldermen, homeowners, residents, businesses, and business owners we can achieve all our goals for a beautiful and fiscally sound Garden City.
I – Bring in new revenues to expand our commercial tax base
- Bring in high tech businesses into key areas such as Well Avenue Office Park and along Needham Street (also known as the Newton-Needham Corridor) and the Charles River Mill District (which includes Newton Corner, and parts of Watertown and Waltham). These businesses could potentially employ Newton residents – the 7th most educated city in the nation!
- Support existing and new businesses in each of Newton’s thirteen village centers.
II – Plan better for stronger villages
- Incentivize the City Planning Department to work with residents to plan and sustain an optimal business mix in each of Newton’s villages by making the Planning Department accountable not only to the Mayor, but also to the Board of Aldermen.
- Encourage the Planning and Development Director to work with commercial property agents so we can proactively assess possible uses of up-coming or available property.
- Streamline the inefficient commercial permitting process for new or existing businesses renovations, so more independent businesses can afford to bring their businesses to Newton and remain competitive.
- Neighborhood Area Councils represent residents; team up Area Councils, commercial property owners, businesses and nonprofits to plan together for better villages.
- Complete the planned beautification of Newtonville with wider sidewalks, street lamps, trees and benches, partially funded by resident & business donations and use it as model for other villages.
- Expand public transportation for Newton and West suburban areas by collaborating with the City, Area Councils, and the state agencies to serve a broader spectrum of residents; include bus-shuttle service as an option for village business employees.
III – Empower Residents
- Develop an opt-in social media and/or email list for the Board of Aldermen to alert residents about public hearings that also included contextual information for the hearings.
- Explore a partnership with student groups to distribute flyers alerting Newton residents to Board of Alderman public hearings especially when significant city or neighborhood changes will occur. This will ensure hard copy notification to residents who do not use email or social media.
- To better understand resident interests, add to our Annual City Census questions such as:
- Should Newton accelerate permitting to add accessory units to single family homes?
- What most needs improvement – – public transportation? village centers? traffic and congestion? parking?
- What businesses would meet shopping needs?
- Is there adequate notice of public meetings?
- Do you want to be informed of significant changes to your neighborhood or village?
- How should we address snow removal to keep Newton walkable even in the winter?
- How can we help the 88% of Newton seniors who would like to age in place, do so?
What do you think? Let me know by contacting me.