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On Monday night, Newton’s Board of Aldermen will begin debate of the proposed mixed use project at Austin Street, a process that began years ago and intensified in June with five months of public hearings before the Land Use Committee.

As was clear from many hours of comments, good people can and do disagree over the merits of this project and if it will be beneficial or harmful to Newtonville and our city.

But can we at least all agree that our city and our region faces a genuine housing crisis?

Based on too many of the Austin Street public hearing comments, letters in the TAB and comments here on Village 14 (such as this one from this morning), we can’t.

Here’s hoping public policy in Newton won’t be made based on the views of  all these self-appointed experts who are positive that they know more about housing demand than actual experts, such as the authors of this new study (you’ll find the executive summary on page 5).

Please note, that I’m not saying we can’t disagree over how to solve the crisis or even over Austin Street.

But in 2015 there should be no room in this debate for housing crisis deniers any more than we should tolerate climate change deniers because the data in both instances is irrefutable.