Neighborhood requests

The residents in Ward 8 (Oak Hill)  asked the City Planning Department’s consideration of their requests related to the Church of LDS’ plans in the neighborhood.  The page of ‘signatures’ attached to the letter listed 146+ residents who specifically opted to endorse this letter.

Oak Hill Neighborhood Organization

https://www.ohnonewton.org/

C/O Pamela Burton

149 Wiswall Road

Newton, MA. 02459

(617) 630-1540

Email:pdburton@comcast.net

Email:ohnonewtonma@gmail.com

June 6, 2019

 

Mr. Barney Heath

Director of Planning & Development

Newton City Hall

1000 Commonwealth Avenue

Newton, MA. 02459

Via email: bheath@newtonma.gov

Dear Mr. Heath,

 

On behalf of the neighbors who have signed this letter and all the residents of Oak Hill (Ward 8) in Newton, MA., we have read the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ application for a Site Plan Review submitted to the Planning Department and respectfully submit this letter and the requests listed herein.

 

We have grave concerns about these plans and their effect on our homes specifically, and the neighborhood, generally. In order to alleviate our anxieties, we respectfully ask you to incorporate our requests into the Planning Department Recommendation to the applicant upon completion of the Administrative Site Plan Review process. Our requests below:

 

  1. Increase the proposed rear and side setbacks by an additional 20’

  2. Install additional vegetative screening (conifers and broadleaf evergreens)

  3. Gate the property when not in use by the Church

  4. Position on-site lighting ‘away’ from neighbors’ properties

  5. Design entry/exit so car headlights are not directed at neighbors’ properties

  6. Reduce the number of parking spaces

  7. Commit to one-hour turnover between staggered Sunday services

  8. Commit to a traffic analysis before and after for at least one year

  9. Pay for a police detail at the intersection of Dedham and Carlson for six months

  10. Join us, UMass and the Nahanton Woods Condo Association in a discussion to open Nahanton Road to public traffic on Sundays.

  11. Allow our representative to review the Church’s insurance policy (in the event of unforeseen neighbor flooding/damage)

 

Requests 1-6 alleviate residents’ concerns about privacy between the Church and neighboring properties, destruction of existing trees and wildlife habitat, and an increase in air pollution; requests 7-10 address traffic concerns, and request 11 concerns flooding.

 

We will be prepared to discuss these requests on June 13th with you and the Church.

 

Yours sincerely,

(see attached signature page)

 

Cc: David Kalis, Councilor at Large

Cheryl Lappin, Ward 8 Councilor

Rick Lipof, Councilor at Large

Holly Ryan

John Bezzant, Church of Jesus Christ of LDS

Frank Stearns, Holland & Knight LLP

Rep. Ruth Balser

Sen. Cynthia Creem

The residents in Ward 8 (Oak Hill)  asked the City Planning Department’s consideration of their requests related to the Church of LDS’ plans in the neighborhood.  The page of ‘signatures’ attached to the letter listed 146+ residents who specifically opted to endorse this letter.

The LDS Church Response

At tthe publci hearing on June 13 the  Church confirmed  that they have received the residents  requests . 

The summary of the LDS Church response so far:

1. Increase the proposed rear and side setbacks by an additional 20’

       The Church will respond in writing to the Planning Department

 

2. Install additional vegetative screening (conifers and broadleaf evergreens)

      The Church will cut down 300 mature trees and unspecified number of younger trees and plant 160 young trees; they will pay  the city for destroyed trees as required by the city ordinance

 

3. Gate the property when not in use by the Church

       The Church will respond in writing to the Planning Department  

 

4. Position on-site lighting ‘away’ from neighbors’ properties

      The Church is willing to reduce intensity of the lightning even below the city ordinance requirements if allowed by the city

 

5. Design entry/exit so car headlights are not directed at neighbors’ properties

     There will be a fence along the rear setback across the parking lot to protect abutting properties from the cars' headlights.

 

6. Reduce the number of parking spaces

       The Church will not reduce the number of parking spaces  because they do not want to be inconvenienced when  many congregations get together for events like weddings. This is  a regular  event that happens several times per year which will need  up to 210 parking spaces.

Per Ken Rollins, a regular Sunday service will attract only 50-60 cars per service, 2 services every Sunday

 

7. Commit to one-hour turnover between staggered Sunday services

       The Church will overlap the services by half-an-hour or an hour, in order to reduce maximum traffic, but will not to stagger the services.

 

8. Commit to a traffic analysis before and after for at least one year

       The Church did not give a clear answer to this question

 

9. Pay for a police detail at the intersection of Dedham and Carlson for six months

        The Church did not give a clear answer to this question  

 

10. Join us, UMass and the Nahanton Woods Condo Association in a discussion to open Nahanton Road to public traffic on Sundays.

        The Church will follow the UMass lead on the issue

 

11. Allow our representative to review the Church’s insurance policy (in the event of unforeseen neighbor flooding/damage)

        The Church will respond in writing to the Planning Department  

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