Northland submitted proposed changes to its project which were presented at a Land Use Committee meeting on March 12, 2019.
Despite claiming to have listened to feedback it has received from the council, the planning department, and the public at large, Northland’s proposed changes do nothing to alleviate the concerns that have been raised about the proposed project!
Northland claims that its project is a MIXED-USE project (even though the original proposal was 80% residential and 20% commercial/retail), but the latest proposal cuts 40% of the retail space and only 2.7% of the residential space, making it EVEN MORE RESIDENTIAL-HEAVY. Further, Northland wants the remaining RETAIL space to be zoned to allow FLEXIBLE use (which includes smaller professional office spaces, medical office spaces, co-working spaces, and the like). These uses are typically reserved for OFFICE SPACE use, not RETAIL.
The small reduction in residential units does nothing to alleviate concerns about the impact on our schools (and the need for future TAX OVERRIDES to pay for expanding or rebuilding schools) or the oversupply of LUXURY high-rent apartments (and the under-supply of affordable housing).
Northland’s revised proposal indicates that one building will be designated “age-friendly” to make it easier for senior citizens to choose to live there. However, according to recent surveys by the Newtonville Area Council and the Senior Citizens Fund of Newton, Inc., most seniors DO NOT WANT to live in high-rise apartments and would prefer to STAY IN THEIR OWN HOMES. This is made harder by rising real estate taxes, which will continue to go up if we allow irresponsible projects that sap our resources!
Our updated presentation can be found below; our original presentation on Northland’s original proposal (most of which is still relevant today) can be found here: Original Presentation on Housing and Economic Impacts.
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