How can I apply for a grant to preserve a parcel of open space in Newton? What past projects like this has Newton funded?

Newton's Community Preservation Program provides grants to develop affordable housing, preserve historic resources or conservation land, and to create and improve City parks. A 9-member volunteer Community Preservation Committee evaluates proposals and recommends funding to the Board of Aldermen, who may then appropriate the requested funds.

To find out how to propose a project, or what past projects have been funded, explore our website at

For more information, contact program manager Alice Ingerson at 617.796.1144 or

Please note that land acquired with these funds must be owned and managed by the City of Newton.  Open space proposals must be sponsored by the City's Conservation Commission, which oversees Newton's conservation areas.

Community Preservation Program, Planning & Development Dept.
Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue
MA 02459
Phone: 617.796.1144

Is my property in a floodplain?

Check the floodplain maps in the Planning or Inspectional Services Departments, or the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department at City Hall. The FEMA floodplain maps are used primarily for flood insurance eligibility. The City floodplain maps are used to determine the requirements for construction projects.

May I call to find out whether my property is in a floodplain?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide that service to residents because it involves interpreting property locations. If we were to guess as to the location of your property, and we guess wrong, it would cause you many problems. You must come in and view the maps yourself or have a friend or your real estate agent do it. If your property lies on a borderline of the FEMA floodplain and it's difficult to determine whether your house is in or out of the floodplain, we suggest that you review the City floodplain map which is on an assessors base and shows individual lots and houses. We are happy to make a copy for you of the portion of the floodplain map where your property is located.

If my property is in a floodplain, will that affect my plans to build an addition?

Yes. If you are in a FEMA or City floodplain, you must prepare plans for your addition with the assistance of a surveyor and engineer and make a filing for a hearing before the Conservation Commission. Your construction must also follow the Flood-Resistant Construction Standards in the state Building Code.

If you have additional questions, you may check with the City's Environmental Planner, who serves as staff to the Conservation Commission, at 617-796-1134 to assist you through the process.

Do I have to buy flood insurance?

It depends. If you are in a FEMA A zone, your mortgaging bank will require you to buy Federal flood insurance. If you are in a FEMA B zone or C zone, you may not be required to buy Federal flood insurance; however, you may wish to purchase the less-expensive private flood insurance. Check the flood maps and talk to your insurance agent about your individual situation.

Is my property in or near a wetland resource area?

Check the City of Newton Wetlands & Floodplain mapping in the hall in the Planning Department or visit the Inspectional Services Department and request a map check.

Will being in or near a wetland resource area affect my plans to build an addition to my house or do extensive landscaping or other outside improvements?

Yes. All work within the 100 foot Buffer Zone of a wetland resource area or within the 200 foot Riverfront Area of a perennial stream requires review by the Commission. This is not a "no-build zone", but all projects in these areas must be reviewed by the Commission to ensure that they are being carried out in the most environmentally appropriate manner.

Does the City have maps of the Conservation Areas?

Yes, maps of the larger Conservation Areas are available for $1.00 from the front counter in the Inspectional Services Department. In addition, the Newton Conservators, a local, environmental, non-profit organization, recently published a booklet of all of the open space areas (conservation, parks and state land) in Newton and surrounding communities. It is also available from the front counter in the Inspectional Services Department for $8.00 or directly from the Newton Conservators at Box 590011, Newton Centre, MA 02459, for $8.00 plus $1.00 for mailing. Checks should be made payable to The Newton Conservators, Inc.

Can you recommend surveyors and engineers to help with my project?

No, we are not allowed to make recommendations. For any project you should check that a potential surveyor or engineer has a current Massachusetts registration (PLS [Professional Land Surveyor] or PE [Professional Engineer]). It may be helpful to you in going through the process to have professionals who have worked in Newton and know what is expected by the Conservation Commission, Engineering Division and the Inspectional Services Department, but any registered professional who is familiar with wetlands and floodplains regulations is capable of doing the work. 

For more information contact the City's Environmental Planner at 617-796-1134.

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