CPA Proposals & Projects

Citywide Historic Resources Studies



Studies, inventories, and plans to set priorities and guide decisions for the preservation of historic buildings and sites throughout the City of Newton.


To see project details below, click on these links:

primary contact:

  • Katy Hax Holmes, Senior Preservation Planner
    Planning & Development Department
    City of Newton
    1000 Commonwealth Avenue
    Newton, MA 02459
    phone: 617.796.1143

Newton Highlands Local Historic District Survey



Demarcate and justify a new local historic district in Newton Highlands, in compliance with Newton's local ordinances and applicable state laws.

No full proposal submitted, so this project was not funded.

potential funding:

$20,000  CPA request estimated in pre-proposal; in the end, other sources below were increased enough to eliminate any need for CPA funding
$1,000 Newton Highlands Area Council contribution
$1,200 community fundraising
$4,000   value of contributed volunteer hours

Funding Process


30 March 2016 - pre-proposal

14 April 2016 - meeting minutes for the CPC's discussion of this pre-proposal, including conditions for consideration of a full proposal

29 September 2016 - Planning Dept. notice that no full proposal will be submitted

In consultation with the Newton Highlands Area Council, the Planning Department decided this project could be completed without CPA funds.


2013 - Newton's local ordinances for the Newton Historical Commission (citywide) and local historic districts

2003 - state process for establishing local historic districts (Massachusetts Historical Commission)

2012 - Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, used by the Newton Historical Commission and Newton's local historic district commissions to evaluate proposed projects (after clicking on link above, scroll down). These guidelines are posted under "Reports & Studies" on Historic Preservation webpages of the Planning

March 2016 - Newton Highlands Area Council webpage for this project, including links to information about Newton's existing local historic districts

Elsewhere on this page, see also the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, used by Newton's local historic district commissions.

City Historic Buildings Survey



Identify the City's most historically significant public buildings, evaluate their significant features, and make recommendations for their preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive re-use, within the context of the City's overall Capital Needs Assessment.


$98,780 CP funds appropriated (historic resources)
$395,000 City of Newton Overlay Surplus Reserve Account
$20,000 CDBG (federal funds, for accessibility assessments)
$513,780 TOTAL COST for City Capital Needs Assessment

Funding Process


7 January 2011 - pre-proposal

28 January 2011-18 March 2011 - proposalpublic hearing presentation (incl. photos) and letters of support

4 March 2011 - CPC funding recommendation 

21 March 2011 - Board order (appropriation)


Project News


April 2012 - Phase 1 Report: Phase 1 was a brief survey of all City buildings, with rankings & recommendations for further, in-depth assessment of certain buildings. These long files may load slowly:

April 2012 - Phase 2 Final Reports for all individual buildings assessed (on Public Buildings Dept. webpages)

Early Architecture Surveys: to 1870



Correct and expand existing partial surveys of Newton's earliest buildings, to guide regulatory preservation, including the demolition delay, as well as future decisions about preservation funding. Some significant early buildings have been lost since previous surveys were done; and the City's current information about many of its oldest buildings is either inaccurate or inadequate.

This project is ongoing; as more early buildings are discovered or as buildings from one period are completed, the Planning Dept. is applying for state funds to survey additional buildings or expand the survey to the next period. CPA funds were originally appropriated only for the first phase, covering buildings constructed up to 1840.


$37,500 CPA funds appropriated (historic resources)
$63,500 Massachusetts Historical Commission Survey & Planning Grants
$14,000 est. value of contributed services by Newton Planning Dept.

Funding Process


14 October 2010 - proposal & letters of support

17 November 2010 - public hearing presentation

25 January 2011 - CPC funding recommendation

21 March 2011 - Board order (appropriation)


Project News


April 2011 - $16,700 Massachusetts Historical Commission grant awarded for pre-1830 survey

December 2011 - Work on the pre-1830 survey revealed that the City had an estimated 400 remaining buildings from 1830-1850, rather than the 140 originally estimated for 1830-1840.

March 2012 - $15,000 Massachusetts Historical Commission grant awarded, on condition that the project cover the full period 1830-1850.

August 2012 - RFP for consulting services; contract awarded to Larson Fisher Associates to survey the first 150 buildings. Planning staff is seeking additional MHC funds to survey another 100 buildings.

14 April 2016 - project report to the CPC, including photos of some of Newton's earliest homes dated & documented through this project

Historic Preservation Design Guidelines



Create guidelines to assist the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) and the Newton Historical Commission (NHC) in evaluating the eligibility of proposals for funding as required under the Community Preservation Act; and to assist proposal sponsors in meeting the Newton CPC's requirement to apply federal standards in establishing significance, identifying significant features, and choosing appropriate treatments for historic buildings. The guidelines will use Newton-specific examples to illustrate both appropriate and inappropriate changes to historic buildings, by style and period.

The Newton Historical Commission served as the project manager in finding additional required matching funds, in hiring and overseeing a qualified consultant, and in leading adoption of these guidelines by both the NHC and Newton's local historic district commissions, to promote consistency between CPC funding recommendations and the City's regulatory decisions.


$12,000 Newton CPC administrative funds
$15,000 Massachusetts Historical Commission grant


Funding Process


14 October 2009 - original proposal

18 November 2009 - project presentation (incl. photos)

17 June 2010 - administrative funding request

7 September 2010 - commitment of Newton CPC administrative funding

15 March 2011 - Massachusetts Historical Commission grant

Spring 2012 - final guidelines (under "Reports & Studies" on Historic Preservation webpages of the Newton Planning & Development Department)

Archaeology Survey 



To guide future preservation and funding decisions, use above-ground data and ground-penetrating radar to identify probable archaeological resources in Newton.


$37,750 CPA funds
additional support contributed by the Planning & Development Dept. (RFP for and oversight of consultant)

Funding Process


5 December 2008 - proposal

January-February 2009 -  letters of support

14 January 2009 - presentation at public hearing

9 March 2009 - CPC funding recommendation

April-May 2009 - additional letters, including descriptions from other communities of how they have used such surveys

15 June 2009 - Board order (appropriation)


Project News


15 October 2009 - Newton Archaeological Survey request for proposals

24 May 2010 - Newton Archaeological Survey contract

March 2011 - Ground-penetrating Radar (GPR) Survey of East Parish Burying Ground & adjacent Loring Park

  • GPR is used by archaeologists to identify potential archaeological resources without excavation. See also the page on this website for Newton's Historic Burying Grounds.

6 December 2011 - Archaeology Survey final summary slide show to CPC  This large file may load slowly.

Final Reports


Newton Archaeological Reconnaisance Survey: Public Education Report 

Some files below are large & may load slowly:

  • part 1: introduction and methods
  • part 2: Native Americans
  • part 3: 17th and 18th centuries
  • part 4: 19th century   Very large file.
  • part 5: 20th century, conclusions & recommendations

Note: The full, final technical report of this survey is in the permanent files of the Newton Planning & Development Department, which will use it in recommending measures to mitigate possible negative impacts on archaeological resources from proposed development or other activities.


Heritage Landscapes Report & Inventory



Identify and evaluate historic public landscapes and streetscapes throughout the City, to inform management, preservation, and funding priorities for these resources.


$5,250 CPA funds - historic resources
$2,625 CPA funds - open space
$2,625 CPA funds - recreation land
  Additional staff time for RFP and consultant oversight provided by the Planning & Development Department.

Funding Process


5 December 2007 -  proposal

4 April 2008 - CPC funding recommendation

22 April 2008 - Board order (appropriation)


Project News


Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation & Recreation Heritage Landscapes Program

June 2008 - request for consultants' qualifications for Newton report

August 2008 - project summary (flyer) for Newton

September 2008 - schedule & handout for community meetings in Newton

30 April 2009 - Final Reports


Local Historic Districts Signage



Preserve the historic fabric of the Newton Upper Falls and Newtonville local historic districts by installing small outdoor signs to increase public awareness of these districts and their boundaries. Design will be consistent with signs that already designate the Chestnut Hill local historic district.


$2,000 CPA funds - historic resources


Funding Process


3 November 2003 - proposal

28 January 2004 - CPC funding recommendation

15 March 2004 - Board order (appropriation)

back to top