About the LFIA Riverside Committee
The Newton Lower Falls Improvement Association formed the LFIA Riverside
Committee in response
to the proposed development at the Riverside MBTA Station made public in April 2018. The committee's task is to understand the proposed development, assess the implications, and advocate for the
best interests of the Lower Falls community and our neighbors.
Committee Members: Randall Block, Chair, Ted Chapman, Debbie DeBotton, Nancy Finn, Barbara Gruenthal, Cyrisse Jaffee, Erin Kandamar, John McElduff, Liz Mirabile, Debra Ruder, Kit and Charles Stover.
Who We Are
The LFIA created the Riverside Committee to represent the Newton Lower Falls community and its views regarding the development of Riverside. The members of the committee are residents of Lower Falls who volunteer to take on these tasks.
- Educate the Lower Falls and the greater Newton community about current and future plans for Riverside
- Investigate the impact—social, political, economic, legal, transportation, environmental, educational—of development at Riverside
- Advocate for the interests and needs of the Lower Falls community
- Coordinate our activities with other neighborhoods such as Auburndale and other entities committed to smart growth strategies in Newton.
- We continue the work of many dedicated community members during the previous development approval phase, which began with community meetings in 2006, followed by the signing of a 85-year lease between the MBTA and the developer, BH Normandy, LLC in 2009, and ended in early 2014 when the City of Newton granted special permits to develop the site.
- The approved BH Normandy mixed-use development consisted of:
- 290 apartments, 15% affordable, with 438 parking spaces.
- 225,000 feet of office space with 571 parking spaces.
- 20,000 feet of retail space and 11,000 feet of community space.
- 1,000-car MBTA parking garage.
- The project stalled due to a stalemate between BH Normandy and the MBTA over who would pay for the parking garage
- We organized because Mark Development, which is developing the Washington Street corridor, has proposed a 1.5 million square-foot residential and commercial project at Riverside that is more than double the size of the plan approved by the City in 2013.
- Riverside is not an isolated site. What happens there will have a dramatic and ripple effect on all of us.
- The current 1.5 million-square-feet, mixed-use proposal by Mark Development and Normandy is too big, too tall, and too dense.
- The proposal will create a brand new village on an already-crowded two-lane street, causing significant traffic, congestion, safety, and quality-of-life issues for surrounding neighborhoods, straining the capacity of local schools and the MBTA.
- Development at Riverside should be appropriately scaled and designed so that it enhances, not endangers, Lower Falls and Auburndale, while providing benefits to the rest of the City and region.
- The Riverside visioning process is a critical opportunity to seek community input. The process should be independent and not rushed.