The Lower Falls Improvement Association’s Riverside Committee is a neighborhood group concerned about oversized development at the Riverside MBTA Station in Newton
What is RightSize Newton?
The LFIA Riverside Committee, known as RightSize Riverside, focuses specifically on the proposed Riverside Station development. RightSize Newton, a nonprofit civic organization, advocates for appropriately sized and thoughtful development across Newton. Our committee supports the goals and values of RightSize Newton.
To learn more about RightSize Newton, click here.
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A birds-eye view of Newton Lower Falls. The Riverside site, where Mark Development plans to build a mixed-use complex, is on top left.
GETTING RIVERSIDE RIGHT.
The Lower Falls Improvement Association’s Riverside Committee is a neighborhood group that advocates for sensible and sustainable development at Riverside Station that fits the scale of the surrounding community.
After months of intense negotiations involving our committee, our Ward 4 Newton City Councilors, and Mark Development (MD), we reached a zoning compromise that the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee (ZAP) approved on Nov. 7, 2019. The full City Council approved the zoning plan on Nov. 18.
The zoning caps the development size at 1.025 million square feet, instead of the 1.5 million square feet originally filed. It also requires that 60% of the mixed-use project be allocated to housing (about 600 units), which will help meet housing needs while generating less traffic than office space. The agreement allows for only one tower by Route 128 of up to 170 feet (down from two towers of up to 220 feet). On Grove Street, it reduces the maximum building height while increasing the minimum building setbacks from the curb.
In addition, the zoning requires more truly useable open space than the original zoning plan; requires additional traffic and construction studies; and includes language requiring that the development's impact on public transportation be considered going forward.
Next steps: Mark Development filed a revised special permit application in December for a plan that will fit within the new zone. The City Council's Land Use Committee will consider the application, likely starting in January 2020. These hearings will give community members a chance to raise concerns about traffic, design, fiscal impact, school capacity, sustainability, and other aspects of the proposed development.
Our committee — known as RightSize Riverside — will continue to press for development at Riverside that:
· Limits traffic to volumes that our streets can bear
· Provides access to efficient and reliable transportation
· Creates real affordable housing
· Preserves/creates green, open, and community spaces
· Welcomes people of ALL ages, backgrounds, and abilities
A huge thanks to everyone who has attended City Council meetings, written letters, put up RightSize Riverside signs, or donated to the LFIA Riverside Committee. Councilors recognized the hard work we have done to reach this point. We need your continued engagement as we head into the Land Use phase!
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