Mixed Use Zones 

A proposal to amend Newton's Zoning Ordinance 



9/24/07 Proposed PMBD Changes

We have submitted proposed changes to the draft PMBD and Table A. We submitted them to the Zoning and Planning Committee, along with a summary memorandum. The public hearing notice, which has the draft language, is here. (Our pages also have the draft PMBD language side-by-side with our proposed changes.)

There will be a public hearing on the draft PMBD tonight at 7:45 at City Hall.

8/20/07 Why detailed criteria?

Our PMBD alternative has much more detailed criteria than the current City version. It's not accidental. We believe that more detailed criteria are a critical attribute of a PMBD section that is going to ensure development be built that meets our city's values. We explain why in a brief essay.

7/26/07 Provisional PMBD Alternative

We have decided to intentionally adapt our alternative amendment to track the City's most recent proposed version, including Table A. This way, we can highlight issues on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis.

All of our proposed paragraphs are indendently viable. That is, one could choose our version of any paragraph without having to choose any other part of our alternative. Our alternative is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

7/26/07 Chestnut Hill Square site plan

Here is a (poorly) scanned version of the Chestnut Hill Square site map (from New England Development's Final Environmental Report).

7/1/07 Latest version of PBD amendment

On Friday, June 29, 2007, the Planning Department provided the latest version of the amendment (PDF).

6/28/07 Response to latest PBD draft

I sent an e-mail memorandum to members of the Zoning and Planning committee and to Planning Director Mike Kruse. The memorandum focuses on three main issues:

  • Integration with the Neighborhood
  • Responsible transportation
  • Pedestrian access and circulation

The memo reflects the principles reflected in our alternative, but Srdjan is out of the country, so this memorandum is my work only.

Sean Roche

6/22/07 Updated PBD Proposal

The planning department has posted its 6/22/07 memorandum to the members of the Zoning and Planning Committee. The memorandum sets out the latest version of the Planned Business Development (PBD) amendment to the zoning ordinance.

I have posted a comparison between the PBD and our alternative.

Sean Roche

6/13/07 Note

While Srjdan and I are active with a number of different groups and this proposal is consistent with our work with those groups, we are working independently on this proposal, not under the auspices of any of those groups.

Sean Roche

6/12/07 Update

There were a lot of positive developments at Monday's meeting of the Zoning and Planning Committee, particularly with regard to open space, consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, and enforcing trip-generation maximums. We're going to be revising our draft proposal to reflect the apparently growing overlap between the City's direction and ours.

In the meantime, there's a link on the left to a document that highlights the key issues we feel are still missing or underdeveloped in the current amendment draft or in the planning department's recommended changes.

We encourage your feedback.

Srdjan Nedeljkovic & Sean Roche


New England Development has proposed an amendment to the Newton Zoning Ordinance to create a new zoning mechanism: the Planned Business District. The purpose of the Planned Business District is to allow, by special permit, mixed-use zoning on parcels greater than 10 acres.

While we are in favor of appropriately scaled mixed-use development, the Planned Business District proposal is flawed. We are proposing an alternative: Mixed Use Zones.

Here are the key features of our Mixed Use Zones proposal:

  • The Board of Alderman will designate as Mixed Use Zones the Regional Business Areas, Major Village Centers, and Local Village Centers, as defined in the Draft Comprehensive Plan.
  • Mixed use development will be allowed in the Mixed Use Zones, with a special permit required for lots greater than 2 acres.
  • Our proposal encourages pedestrian scale, in particular with blocks of 250-500 feet in length
  • Our proposal requires that development in the Mixed Use Zones be integrated into the surrounding neigborhoods
  • Our proposal strongly promotes alternatives to single-occupant vehicle travel


We believe the future of mixed-use development in Newton should reflect community values and priorities. Consistent with this belief, we are using this web site to solicit community feedback on our proposal. You can click on the links to the left to view the current draft of the proposal. We will continually update the draft proposal to reflect input we receive. Please e-mail us your thoughts and comments at mixedusezones << at >> gmail << dot >> com.

After thirty days, we will submit our Mixed Use Zones proposal through a charter provision which requires the Board of Alderman to consider any change to the ordinance that is submitted with signatures from 50 (or more) residents.

-- Srdjan Nedeljkovic & Sean Roche