Today’s Newton Tab features a commentary column by Kathleen Koril Grieser, arguing against the proposed Austin St development project. Various other voices, here and elsewhere, have objected to one or more aspects of the project. Much of that criticism has been constructive and has focused on how to make this a better project.
Ms. Grieser’s column is something different. It’s clear for her there can be no improvement, no compromise that could make this project acceptable. She objects to the project because “Newton has surpassed state requirements .. for affordable housing”, because of traffic, because of parking demand, because of overloaded infrastructure, overcrowded schools, loss of green space, rising taxes, walkable schools, because we cannot give up our cars, because we need parking, because “the Austin Street parking lot is essential to the health of the village”, because its too tall, because its on pillars, because it’s “for profit”, because it has luxury apartments, because it doesn’t have enough affordable housing, because the commuter rail isn’t a regular T stop, because the station has steep stairs, because of the scale, because of the shadows, because of the process, because of the price.
Even more startling, she then links this to virtually every other development project in the city – Riverside, Court St, Rowe St, Wells Ave, Goddard St, St Philip Neri, Crescent St.
In summary, her policy recommendations seem to boil down to “no development, never, no how, no where”.
Clearly development is a big issue in the city and there’s plenty of healthy disagreement among the citizenry about the details of individual projects and the overall pace and level of proposed new development. Ms. Grieser’s column doesn’t add to that discussion. It just appears to be someone holding their hands on their ears and answering every question with NO!!