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.
A birds-eye view of Newton Lower Falls. The Riverside MBTA Station site, where Mark Development plans to build a mixed-use complex, is at the top left.
GETTING RIVERSIDE RIGHT.
The Lower Falls Improvement Association’s Riverside Committee (LFIA Riverside) is a neighborhood group that was formed in 2018 to advocate for sensible and sustainable development at the Riverside MBTA Station site—located between Newton Lower Falls and Auburndale, MA—that fits the scale of the surrounding communities.
On September 9, 2021, the Newton City Council unanimously approved a revised development plan after many months of public hearings and discussions on important changes to the project.
Mark Development (MD) plans to build two lab/life sciences buildings, 550 apartments (including 110 affordable units), retail space, a parking garage, reconfigured public transit areas, walking and bike paths, a new highway ramp to 128 North, plus other components. Construction is expected to begin in 2022–23 and take up to 12 years to complete.
The City Council approved an initial version of the special permit in October 2020, after 2 ½ years of intense negotiations that involved our Committee, our Ward 4 City Councilors (Lenny Gentile, Josh Krintzman, Chris Markiewicz), and Mark Development. The special permit was then revised and approved in fall 2021. For more on the project’s evolution, see Facts and Plans and About Us/Riverside Timeline.
On behalf of neighbors and future Riverside residents and visitors, our Committee has advocated over the years for minimized traffic, noise, and lighting; appropriate building heights; appealing design; affordable housing; increased landscaping and open space; pedestrian/motorist/cyclist safety; mitigation funds for neighborhood and school improvements; and more.
We issued this statement in 2020, when the initial MD proposal was approved: “All developments—especially large-scale ones like Riverside—need to strike a balance among many competing goals. The LFIA Riverside Committee worked extraordinarily hard to represent our neighborhood. While we succeeded in reducing the overall size of the project and working out many other details, the 10-building, 1.025 million square foot development approved tonight essentially creates a new Newton village. Nonetheless, this is what compromise looks like.”
We thank our Ward 4 councilors for their guidance, support, and advocacy. We also appreciate the willingness of Mark Development to meet and negotiate with us in good faith. Most importantly, we thank our Lower Falls and Auburndale neighbors. Without their engagement and commitment to the process, we would not have been as successful.
Next Phase: Riverside Neighborhood Liaison Committee
The City Council established the Riverside Neighborhood Liaison Committee to communicate with neighbors and address issues that come up during the construction and opening of the development. Ward 4 councilors Chris Markiewicz and Josh Krintzman are co-chairs, Liz Mirabile and Barbara Gruenthal serve from Lower Falls, and Phil Wallas serves from Auburndale. A representative from Mark Development will also be on the committee.
For information on upcoming public meetings related to the project, see Upcoming Events. For plans and other public documents about the project, visit the city’s planning website.
Questions for/about the Liaison Committee? Please contact Councilors Chris Markiewicz or Josh Krintzman at Cmarkiewicz@newtonma.gov or Jkrintzman@newtonma.gov.