The Globe editorial “Let towns solve the Mass. housing shortage” (Feb. 18) speaks directly to our current, controversial Newton housing story.
The Northland project, previously approved by the Newton City Council by a 17-7 vote, offers a thoughtful green residential and retail design, including 800 apartments, 140 of which are designated permanently affordable. Yet a group of residents wants to overturn the affirmative City Council vote with a referendum on a project that has been years in the planning and includes everything from mitigating traffic to creating numerous parks. The project even keeps the architectural gem of the Piano Mill building, to be renovated into commercial space.
If a local Newton referendum proceeds with a “no” vote on March 3, the result may be less to the liking of opponents. The site comprises three parcels. The developer, by law, may build more than 600 units on each under the state statute Chapter 40B, without any of the green and design amenities that the Newton City Council has arranged with the developer. I see no reason why the developer wouldn’t take the 40B option if Northland is rejected.
I’ve become convinced that Northland should go forward, given our housing shortage, and I will vote yes.