The disappearing starter home

The character of roughly 10% of Needham’s 8,500 single-family houses has changed dramatically over the past decade as a consequence of 75 to 100 annual teardowns. Teardown homes tend to be smaller, older, in disrepair, or some combination of all three. Many of these houses date back to Needham’s post-World War II building boom, when…

Anti-teardown petition gets a hearing

The proposal to amend a 2017 zoning bylaw that regulates the size of homes in the town’s Single Residence B (SRB) zoning district met with some disagreement at Tuesday’s Planning Board public hearing.  Joe Matthews, a Town Meeting member from Precinct I, has submitted a citizens petition to amend the bylaw, which he described as…

Town Meeting to consider funds for Quiet Zone  

Town officials are preparing to make the most significant funding request to date to establish a Quiet Zone that would eliminate the need for commuter rail trains to routinely sound their horns when approaching public railroad crossings.   The Quiet Zone Working Group (QZWG) plans to ask for about $750,000 to fund a diagnostic review of…

The problem with plastics

Following last year’s ban on single-use plastic bags, Needham’s second citizens’ petition on single-use plastics will be voted on at next month’s Town Meeting.  Filed by residents Kathy Raiz and Rob Fernandez, working with the Green Needham Collaborative, the petition would amend the town’s bylaws to ban dispensing of other single-use plastics by food and…

Business leaders, residents have their say at final HONE community meeting

The Housing Needham Working Group (HONE) heard from more than 40 residents during the nearly two-hour public comment period of its third and final community meeting on March 28.  The comments came after HONE presented two options for the town to comply with the state’s MBTA Communities Act, which mandates an increase in the town’s…