One of the top concerns we’ve read on this blog and heard in public meetings leading up to last week’s 17-7 Northland approval, came from residents worried about what the project’s impact would be on Newton’s school population (despite an independent demographer report that suggests the school impact from Northland’s 800 apartments would be negligible.)

To those folks I say: Well then, you certainly should be concerned if Right Size Newton is successful gathering the signatures to overturn Northland because we could end up with a much larger school population increase.

Here’s how:

Under the state’s 40B law, rather than building 800 approved apartments, Northland could potentially build over 1,800 apartments (640 units on each of the site’s three parcels). And there would be nothing the city or Right Size can do to stop a 40B, the law is designed to bypass any zoning rules.

But that’s not all:  Under 40B, ten percent of all units in any development must be three bedrooms.

In Northland’s just approved project only five percent of the units are three bedrooms or a total of 4o units.

But what happens if voters overturn the Northland vote and the developer chooses to build under 40B instead?

Well ten percent of each 640 unit parcel would result in a mandatory 64 three bedrooms. And since this 23 acre project is really three parcels, by law, they could build as or as many as 193 three bedrooms. I think everyone can agree that the more bedrooms, the more attractive these units will be to families with kids.

And under 40B, we’d likely also lose $10 million in traffic mitigation, free shuttles, free T passes for residents, parks, school building funds and other community give-backs that Northland and the city have thoughtfully negotiated over years of deliberations.

And those are number that should make anyone worried about our school population very nervous.