On eve of potential Council vote, Fuller calls for scaled-down rezoning

As the Newton City Council prepared to discuss and potentially vote on the Village Center
Overlay District proposal, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller sent out an email modifying her support for it.

Fuller, a longtime advocate of rezoning the village centers, cited last week’s election, in which three city councilors lost their seats and five people were elected who oppose the village rezoning plan.

“A week ago today, we had an election for City Councilors. Much of the debate leading up to the vote was on the perceived pros and cons of the proposed zoning,” she wrote.

“My takeaway is that we have general consensus that Newton needs to comply with the MBTA Communities Act and the proposed zoning (perhaps with a few more edits) for the six village centers / public transit nodes should be approved,” Fuller continued. “In contrast, going ahead with zoning for all 13 village centers / MBTA station areas right now clearly makes a lot of Newtonians uncomfortable.”

Fuller is up for reelection in 2025.

“While zoning is wholly a decision of the City Council, I think the City Council voting ‘Yes’ on those six village center / MBTA station areas that meet the MBTA Communities Act zoning requirements is a good approach right now.”

The six areas in Newton that would see up-zoning in that scenario would be Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, Waban, West Newton, Newtonville and the neighborhood around the Eliot T stop.

Fuller added that she wants to see Auburndale included as well, because Auburndale has a commuter rail station that needs accessibility renovations and getting funding for that may be difficult if Auburndale isn’t up-zoned for the MBTA Communities Act.