Many of us on Village 14 have been following the Northland project closely over the past three years and are quite familiar with the ways the project has changed over the years (for example, it shrunk from 2 million square feet to 1.1 million square feet and about a year ago Northland decided to place all the parking underground in order to create more parks and open space).
But as we get closer to the March 3 referendum, I’ve been running into a lot people who understandably are just beginning to learn about the project; including some who aren’t even that familiar with the location.
That was the case with a neighbor, who recently asked me how “800 apartments, as well as office, retail and parks could all fit into Marshalls Plaza?” The answer is
NewTV’s election night coverage Tuesday began with a wide ranging interview with Mayor Ruthanne Fuller where she discussed Webster Woods, NewCAL, Newton Power Choice, Northland, Riverside and other developments (including breaking news about a residential tower at Chestnut Hill Square) and zoning (along with what types of development projects might be proposed in the future).
This same video also includes interviews with Gail Spector and a BU student journalist, School Committee member Steve Siegel, City Council President Marc Laredo and Councilor Cheryl Lappin, following by election results and analysis.
For local politicians, the easy way out is often to oppose just about anything — and hope some other community picks up the slack. But the most tragic consequence of the resulting housing shortage is that it worsens the very problems that antidevelopment forces often contend that they care about. Preventing development in dense urban areas near transit pushes the demand off to auto-centric suburbs, where it does more environmental damage. Displacement of low-income residents happens when insufficient supply creates gentrification pressures on existing neighborhoods. When you hear critics complain that developers only build new luxury housing, it’s worth remembering that failing to build those new units to keep the market in equilibrium turns all housing into luxury housing. Newton has resisted development, and now its median sale price for single-family homes is above $1 million.
From a story on the CityLab website….
To understand local housing politics over the past several decades, consider a recent study out of Boston University. Political science professor Katherine Levine Einstein surveyed all of the minutes for zoning and planning meetings about housing across 97 cities and counties in Massachusetts…
“In every single city and county we studied, the advantaged dominated the proceedings,” Einstein said at a recent Brookings Institution panel on housing. Residents who are older, men, longtime residents, local voters, and homeowners are much more likely to participate in these meetings. And they are much more likely to oppose new construction than the general public.
Residents who oppose new housing are also
Here’s the video of Northland’s presentation to the City Council’s Land Use Committee showing its proposed changes to its Needham Street mixed use project, followed by public comment.