Hello Neighbors!

Early in 2021 there will be a special election to replace outgoing Ward 2 At-Large Councilor Jake Auchincloss and recently deceased Ward 1 At-Large Councilor Jay Ciccone. All registered voters in Newton will be able to vote for these two seats.

We are supporting Tarik Lucas for the Ward 2 At-Large Council seat and John Oliver for the Ward 1 At-Large seat.

Tarik Lucas is a long-time Newton resident, advocate, and union member running to bring his grassroots advocacy and experience to City Hall. He wants to make sure “Newton remains the welcoming and affordable community we cherish. I'm running in this important Special Election because I love this city and want it to truly be inclusive and attainable, just as it was to me.”

Tarik is a genuine and humble candidate who will listen to our concerns and advocate on our behalf.

John Oliver is a Newton North parent and small business owner. John is a charismatic Newtonite who will bring his small business-oriented, responsible, and pragmatic approach to our City Council. John is running on the message of “Realizing our best Newton.” He wants to invest in our infrastructure and public transportation, and will bring his leadership within the Horace Mann PTO to be a strong advocate for education.

We would love it if you would join us to meet Tarik and John on December 17th. We will also be joined by Councilor Marc Laredo who will kick off the meeting with a talk about the current zoning redesign project (see short primer below or here) that will have an impact on all of us. The winners of this city wide At-Large Council race will be voting on zoning redesign in 2021*.

We hope to “see” you on December 17th at 7:30 PM

Please RSVP here or send an email to

Please feel free to invite anyone you think will benefit from joining us. 

*The winner of this citywide At-Large Councilor race will be voting on zoning redesign in 2021.

If you haven’t yet heard about the zoning redesign project here is a brief history put together by Councilor Marc Laredo:

In August, the Newton Planning Department released a new draft of the residential section of the proposed new zoning code.  The proposed changes are a major departure from our current zoning code and will impact almost every part of Newton.  Key changes to our zoning code in the Planning Department’s proposal include:

  • Allowing most existing single family houses (all but bungalow or cape-style houses) throughout Newton to be converted “by right” into buildings which can have up to six residential units (See pages 5-6 of the Planning Department’s memorandum and Section 3.5.2  of the proposed draft code – link provided below).

o   By right” means that a developer (or other landowner) has the right to build something without any city approvals other than ordinary construction permits. Currently, such conversions are allowed only with a special permit approved and provided by the City Council. While I favor making it easier to convert certain existing single family structures (such as old Victorian houses on large lots) into multi-family housing, we should do so with appropriate checks and balances in place.

  • Allowing two family housing “by right” in the entire city (See page 4 of the Planning Department’s memorandum).

    • This is a major departure from our existing zoning policy and is a more profound change than the ones originally presented at the Zoning and Planning Committee meeting in June.   This proposed change would allow a developer (or other landowner) by right to convert or even tear down any single family home anywhere in the city (except if landmarked or in a historic district) and construct a two family house as long as it does not exceed the new allowed maximum building footprint and meets the proposed minimum setback and maximum lot coverage requirements.

    • Eliminating parking requirements for one and two family homes in the entire city (See Section 3.7.1 of the proposed draft code).

o   The proposal removes requirements to provide on-site parking for one and two family buildings. I expect this will lead to more regular parking on city streets, especially if ongoing efforts in the City Council to abolish the winter overnight parking ban are successful.


Copyright © 2020 Lisa Gordon, All rights reserved.

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