A City Councilor used a parliamentary procedure July 9 to block his colleagues from voting on a program designed to provide more parking for businesses, employers and customers in Newton’s villages.
Under the city’s shared parking proposal, a business or nonprofit that has excess parking would be allowed to rent parking through an app or private arrangement. This would allow, for example, a church to rent spaces on weekdays to area employees or a bank to rent spaces to a restaurant for use in the evening when the bank is closed.
The pilot program was approved last month, 7-0, by the council's Zoning and Planning Committee. It had no opposition at a public hearing and appeared to have more than enough votes to pass at Monday’s council meeting.
But Councilor Lisle Baker used a parliamentary procedure to delay the vote until mid-August because, according to a memo Baker sent to his colleagues, he “was not able to attend” a meeting when the plan was discussed and still had “questions.”
Chamber President Greg Reibman said he was disappointed by Councilor Baker’s actions.
“The shared parking program would bring much needed parking to our villages without building any new parking spaces,” Reibman said. “Councilor Baker’s actions effectively prevents this good idea from rolling out until after the busy fall and holiday seasons; months that are critical to every merchant’s bottom line.”
The city council next meets on Aug. 13.