Questions for City Council Candidates 2019

The mission of the Newton Conservators is to promote “the protection and preservation of natural areas … for the enjoyment and benefit of the people of Newton for scientific study, education, and recreation.”  As a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, the Conservators does not endorse political candidates.  However, we consider it part of our mission to inform the public about the positions of candidates on open space issues.

On September 25th, we emailed the questions shown below to every candidate for Newton City Council.  We informed them that beginning on October 1st, we would publish their replies on our website, and that on October 15th, we would mail all replies to our email list.

Candidate responses received as of October 20th

The questionnaire

  1. Webster Woods

Mayor Fuller has asked the Community Preservation Committee and the City Council to authorize the issuance of bonds, to be repaid from Community Preservation Act revenue, for the purchase of 17 acres of Webster Woods from Boston College.  ( )  Boston College would retain ownership of the former temple building and the adjacent parking lots.  Do you support this proposal?

  1. Webster Woods eminent domain taking

State law permits cities and towns to acquire open space through eminent domain if the owner is unwilling to sell.  In eminent domain takings, a jury determines the price the buyer must pay.  Mayor Fuller’s letter on Webster Woods stated the following: “While I remain open to achieving a mutually acceptable agreement with B.C., I have decided to initiate a process of acquiring the property’s 17+ acres of pristine woods through the City’s power of eminent domain.”   If Newton is unable to negotiate a purchase agreement with Boston College, do you support using the city’s power of eminent domain to acquire Webster Woods?

  1. Riverside Greenway

The proposed Riverside Greenway ( )  would extend from Lyons Field on Commonwealth Avenue to the Lower Falls Pedestrian Bridge at Concord Street. Do you support the proposal?

  1. Public use of Sudbury Aqueduct

Almost all communities along the Sudbury Aqueduct have obtained a permit from the MWRA to authorize public use of the aqueduct.  ( )  Should Newton do the same?

  1. Land acquisition

Besides Webster Woods, what other privately owned open space parcels should the city acquire and preserve?

  1. Other land conservation issues

Are there other land conservation issues that you would address if elected to the City Council?