Annual Town Meeting will resume Monday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Powers Hall and appears likely to extend to Wednesday, as a few complex issues remain to be debated.

The first order of business Monday will be to adjourn Annual Town Meeting so Special Town Meeting can be called to order and its seven articles considered.

With the possible exception of a $340,00 appropriation for upgrades at the town’s three performance auditoriums at Newman Elementary School, Pollard Middle School and Needham High School, the articles are pro forma items.

Annual Town Meeting will likely reconvene relatively early in the evening and work its way through more than a dozen articles yet to be settled, including:


This issue was teed up for discussion last year, but was derailed due to the lack of up-to-date information. A $100,000 allocation from the town’s reserve fund enabled the update of a 2015 study.

That led to this year’s request to authorize $750,000 to produce a diagnostic review of the entire commuter rail corridor and assessments of what changes are required at all but one of the town’s at-grade railroad crossings in order to improve safety to levels that will no longer require blowing the train horns.

The project will not address the crossing at the Needham Golf Club.


This article would amend the zoning changes made back in 2017 so that basements, attics and penthouses with ceiling heights greater than 5 feet will now count “for purposes of calculating a structure’s floor area ratio (FAR)” in the Single Residence B zoning district.

The petitioners hope this will slow the rate of teardowns and lead to greater diversity of housing options in Needham.


This petition seeks to hire a consultancy with engineering expertise to prepare an analysis of “infrastructure, public safety, and environmental impacts” associated with the MBTA Communities Act.

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