Newton’s City Council Zoning and Planning Committee is considering the adoption of a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to become part of the official Newton Comprehensive Plan.
The hearing will be held on Thursday, November 14 at 7 pm in the Council Chamber at Newton City Hall (1000 Commonwealth Ave., Newton) and residents are encouraged to attend. The focus will be to understand the synergies between the two complimentary plans and how items within the plans can be integrated to achieve the significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions called for in recent national and international reports.
The City’s proposed draft is a plan with recommended actions over the next five years with the intent to update it every 5 years.
The Newton Citizens Committee on Energy (NCCE) prepared its own 30-year CAP, which is more detailed, includes Newton-specific data and analysis, and contains numerical projections to get to carbon neutrality within Newton by 2050. It contains both metrics and priorities. The Newton CAP relies on the analysis and metrics in the CCAP, and its numerical five-year goals are also drawing on the CCAP.
Each action area in the following list (from the City) identifies strategies and specific actions to get us on our way to our goal of carbon neutrality.
- Create a City implementation team, develop appropriate municipal planning and budgeting processes, and ensure regular Plan evaluations and updates .
- Work with partners to build awareness and drive action.
- Increase rate of biking, walking, telecommuting, shared rides, and use of shuttles and public transit, while reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips.
- Advocate for a more energy-efficient and climate-smart building code.
- Work with City Council to adopt Zoning Ordinance amendments that require and/or incentivize high-efficiency performance, such as Passive House and/or net-zero new construction – within the next 12 months.
- Increase the amount of electricity provided by New England renewable energy resources.
- Ensure that municipal infrastructure and operations are as “green” as possible.
- Incentivize residents to switch to EVs with a goal of having 10% of all vehicles on the road be electric vehicles, zero emission machines and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2024.
- Transition to electric and thermal heating and cooling in residential and commercial buildings.
- Consider initiatives to engage businesses and residents in reducing GHG emissions resulting from corporate operations and individual activities.
Below is a letter from Green Newton Board members and Committee Chairs that has been sent to Newton’s City Councilors…
Dear City Councilors:
As you consider the adoption of a Climate Action Plan for Newton, the following strategies merit your strong support:
A City Implementation Team should be formed to use municipal planning and budgeting processes to provide a Plan with regular evaluations and updates that will build awareness and drive action about all efforts to become carbon neutral. City Councilors are asked to fully support all reasonable initiatives to engage businesses and residents in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Our City needs to increase biking, walking, telecommuting, shared rides, the use of shuttles and public transit, and reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips, as well as incentivize residents to switch to electric vehicles and ensure that at least 10% of all vehicles on the road will be electric vehicles, zero emission machines and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2024.
We must also achieve a more energy-efficient climate-smart building code and transition to electric thermal heating and cooling in residential and commercial buildings, and adopt Zoning Ordinance amendments within 12 months to require high-efficiency performance, starting with Passive House and net-zero new construction.
The City will also benefit by increasing the amount of electricity provided by New England renewable energy resources to ensure that municipal infrastructure and operations are increasingly sustainable.
Green Newton hopes that all of the above items will receive the strongest support from Newton City Councilors.
Respectfully,Green Newton Board Members and Committee Chairs