Vote No on the Northland Referendum

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On 2nd December 2019 the Newton’s City Council narrowly missed voting down the Northland Special Permit (situated in the old Marshalls area on Needham street), by just 2 votes!

Within 20 days, over 5000 members of the Newton community signed a petition asking the city council to rescind the Northland Special Permit, and listen to the concerns of the neighborhood who are directly impacted by this development. On the 8th January 2020, the city council decided not to rescind the vote, and so now we shall have a referendum.

This extraordinary measure is a rarely used and provides the citizens a check and balance on our elected leaders. Please join our growing number of supporters. Give the neighborhood a chance. It could be yours next!

We believe in development

  • That respects the character, and listens to concerns, of our neighborhoods
  • That provides realistic mitigation for traffic and school concerns
  • That delivers a fiscally positive outcome for the City
  • That enhances Newton as a place to live, raise our children, and retire

We support affordable housing, greener development, and the fiscal benefits that development can bring. We simply don’t want extreme development- we prefer respectful development.

Northland falls short on traffic

Currently, Needham St. is at service level F (A being excellent, F – fail)! We, as citizens, all know this. After the Northland project, they estimate service level will remain at level F. We know Northland can’t solve all the traffic issues, but this is not acceptable.

  • They say the shuttle system will run every 10 minutes – is that physically possible given the traffic?
  • The shuttle will only go to the most congested green line stop we have, Newton Highlands, and we know the green line is not dependable
  • They estimate an incremental 289 vehicle trips during peak hours – with 115sq ft of retail and 800 units, we don’t buy it
  • Northland has provided $5M in traffic mitigation funding. This is far short of what the South side will need. With the Kendrick St bridge opening, new lanes being added to Winchester St and the bridge coming from Needham into Newton, traffic will only get worse. We need more mitigation funding to alleviate issues that Northlands project will exacerbate.


Similar to the Avalon initial estimates, the Northland estimates are low. The Northland fiscal impact report estimates the development will generate 138 public school students. Based on one methodology developed by a consultant to the city, the number will be 249. What this means is more school overcrowding and a net fiscal impact that is negative.


Parking for the project has been scaled back from an initial 1900 spaces to 1600. While this will probably reduce car traffic, it will also burden our neighborhoods with parking issues and cars circling looking for spots.

Northland refused to build the project in phases

  • If the city council had forced the project to be built in phases, it would give Northland the opportunity to validate its traffic numbers.
  • Should the numbers turn out wrong at the end of each phase, the Council order should have prevented the next phase starting until remedies are made.
  • With phasing and validation, 800 units could have been supported by all

Does the Northland project set a precedent that could impact your neighborhood?

Absolutely. The Washington Street Vision plan has just been approved, Riverside is being built and who knows what is next. We are fighting for all of Newton and hope everyone stands up to say yes to respectful growth and no to over development. Again, here are the details of the Northland development. Do you think this fits on Needham St next to the 1 lane Rd, Oak St? We do not.

  • 800 Residential Units (140 will be affordable)
  • 193,200 sq ft office space
  • 115,000 Retail / Commercial
  • 1600 parking spaces
  • 5 of the buildings are 8 stories high!
  • Splash Park
  • Maximum 289 vehicle trips in Morning Peak hour*
  • Maximum 220 vehicle trips in the evening peak hour*

*Vehicle trips only include office and residential – they do not include commercial.

For this initiative to be a success we must increase public awareness and counter misinformation being spread by Northland and its allies and that requires money : for printing, research, web services and messaging. Please help us in our effort by considering making a donation. Thank you!

Please vote NO on March 3rd- and tell your friends to do the same!