My name is Alison Leary and it has been my privilege to serve as your City Councilor at Large from Ward 1 for the last 8 years. I currently chair the Public Facilities Committee and serve on the Zoning & Planning Committee.
I am running for re-election this year and all Newton Voters can vote for me as an at Large candidate. I ask for your vote on November 2nd.
My goal has always been to contribute to Newton's excellent quality of life which includes great schools, great services, vibrant village centers, diverse neighborhoods and safe, walkable streets.
This past term was been very busy with a number of major initiatives. My priorities include moving forward with zoning reform and capital planning projects. This includes the building of a new senior center, and the Lincoln Eliot/Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP) replacement/reconstruction project at 150 Jackson Road as well as the replacement of the 50 year old Gath Pool.
As Chair of the Public Facilities Committee my priority is to continue to work on our Transportation Network Improvement Program. You can't miss all the infrastucture improvements going on around the City this summer. Our DPW is hard at work improving city streets and sidewalks to improve accessibility and safety for all users. In addition, I am committed to meeting our climate action plan goals. The Public Facilities Committee has been working on a plan to require the electrification of new and substantially renovated buildings with a home rule petition. Other initiatives include the phase 3 solar projects, adding electric vehicle charging stations in public parking lots and adopting a stormwater ordinance that will help us better protect our local waterbodies.
I recognize that zoning reform is also a tremendous opportunity to meet multiple goals as a community. This includes building a community more resilient to climate change impacts and creating more opportunities for diverse and more affordable housing and incentivizing high-efficiency performance including net zero construction and passive house design.
Zoning improvements will also be key to ensure a clear, predictable process for development and ensure that it will be consistent with neighborhood context. It will set limits on the height and overall scale or mass of buildings, as well as how far buildings are from the street and neighboring property lines. It is also an opportunity to discourage teardowns, and overly large homes, promote good design, expand public open space and promote low impact development.
I do support expanding housing opportunities. We need more housing to provide opportunities for low and moderate income residents as well as employees who work in or around the City and contribute to our City’s economic growth. I am especially excited about the Howard Haywood House now under construction on Jackson Rd which will provide 55 new one bedroom rental apartments for low and moderate-income seniors and also replace the inadequate community center with a modern and expanded facility.
I have voted for all the City's solar initiatives including roof top and solar canopies on City owned properties on municipal buildings. I co-sponsored an item on municipal aggregation designed both to save rate payers money on electricity rates and encourage the purchase electricity from renewable sources. We now acquire 40% of municipal energy needs from class 1 renewable energy sources.
I worked on initiatives and policies to get the City to recycle more and throw away less trash. I reconstituted the Solid Waste Commission (now called the Sustainable Materials Management Commission) and worked with the Commission to develop a list of action items that move the City forward on a holistic, cost effective path for managing trash and recycling, including reducing consumption, improving the quality of curbside recycling, and encouraging re-use and re-purposing of materials and products.
In 2019 the Newton Citizen’s Commission on Energy released the Citizens Climate Action Plan, which is based on extensive quantitative research, analysis and sets targets over a 30 year time frame in order to meet aggressive climate goals. I will be using this document as a guide as we create a more sustainable and resilient city. This includes but not limited to more trees and public greenspaces, stormwater improvements and encouraging development/redevelopment that meets high standards of efficiency.
I welcome your input. Please call me at 617-821-5619, email me at email@example.com