Newton voters who cast ballots for candidates in the March 3 presidential primary will also have another choice to make: deciding the fate of Northland Investment Corp.’s mixed-use development for Upper Falls.
The project was approved by city councilors, who granted a special permit and necessary zoning changes in December after more than a year of review.
But a referendum effort driven by opponents of the project will ask Newton’s Super Tuesday voters to countermand the council’s decision on the zoning change.
The approved project would consist of 14 buildings on 22 acres at the corner of Needham and Oak streets. Plans call for 800 apartments, with 123 affordable units and 20 units designated as workforce housing, plus 180,000 square feet of office space and 115,000 square feet of retail and community space. There would also be about 10 acres of open space as part of the development.
After the City Council gave its okay for the project, opponents of the project then collected enough voters’ signatures to compel the City Council to either rescind its zoning approval for Northland, or schedule a special election for voters to decide.
On Jan. 8, the City Council voted 22-0 to not rescind its decision. It delayed its vote on a special election date until Tuesday, when councilors voted 21-1 to set the Northland special election for March 3. The dissenting vote was from Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Markiewicz.