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Update #7

Kick Off Questions Answered: Pattern Book

We received some questions from you about the Pattern Book at our Kickoff Event in October. Here are some answers in preparation for the Pattern Book Open House this weekend.

Come stop by Pattern Book Open House this weekend December 3 & 4 at the Newton Innovation Center, 124 Vernon St. RSVP here. Saturday 1:00-5:00pm & Sunday 12:00-4:00pm. Parking map is available here.

1) How will the Pattern Book help to ensure that future development/redevelopment within Newton is in scale and character with the city's existing development?

The pattern book, once completed, will be a catalog of development types within Newton. It will be specific to the unique character and scale of each of the city’s neighborhoods and will serve as a guidebook for new development and redevelopment within Newton. Through the Zoning Redesign’s robust community engagement campaign, members of the Newton community will have a chance to provide input on which observed patterns best represent the community and should be carried forward as models for new development. The Newton community will also be invited to provide feedback on the location of new zoning districts which will provide rules and regulations for new development. In addition to cataloging Newton’s observed patterns of development, the pattern book will also showcase aspirational development patterns carefully selected and curated by the planning team for the consideration of the community. Patterns best representing the desired character of Newton’s neighborhoods and village centers will be included in the final pattern book, which will ultimately inform the redesigned zoning ordinance.

2) How will the Pattern Book be developed?

The development of the pattern book will involve several conferences with local officials and stakeholders, community tours, research, documentation, evaluation of properties and building forms, and extensive dialogue with residents about Newton’s character and aspirations. Following the analysis stage and the launch of the public process involved in the development of the pattern book, Sasaki will begin to categorize built patterns of development around the city and organize these patterns into new zoning districts, which will reflect the existing built landscape throughout the city. New district lines will incorporate findings from the team’s analysis, community feedback and preferences, existing planning initiatives and strategies, and knowledge of best practices in planning and design. Once patterns are understood and new zoning districts are organized to fully and accurately represent Newton’s existing development, each will be defined and illustrated to convey the attributes and character that make it unique. This analysis will include text, diagrams, and dimensional tables that describe the representative features of the city’s development areas.

3) How will the Pattern Book be used to inform the reformed zoning ordinance and to guide new development/redevelopment within Newton?

A context-based zoning ordinance is different from a traditional zoning ordinance in that it looks to the city’s existing development patterns for guidance on how to steer new development. The first step in understanding the development typologies and patterns that exist throughout the Newton community is analyzing and cataloging these patterns into the pattern book. Once this catalog is established and the Newton community has made decisions on which patterns should serve as models for future development/redevelopment efforts, an ordinance will codify these findings and refer back to the pattern book for the typological standards that will regulate development within specific neighborhoods and zoning districts. The two documents will work in tandem to ensure that the evolution of Newton is in keeping with the city’s unique and celebrated character.