The LWVN Board sent a letter to the CPC about the City’s proposed Crescent Street project. Thanks to AnnaMaria Abernathy for representing LWVN at the CPC meeting!
Here is the main part of the letter:
The League of Women Voters of Newton (LWVN) has evaluated the proposal by the City of Newton for a master plan/feasibility study and design of the park and the housing on Crescent Street. We find it is well-written, clear, and complete, and the plan fits well into the City’s Recreation and Open Space Plan Update (2013-2019).
Our questions about the proposal, and the project in general are as follows:
- The City has not undertaken a project of this type before. This raises several questions:
- Has the city looked for outside sources of funding for the construction phase?
- Should the City consider partnering with a non-profit developer for the project to add needed expertise?
- Would a private non-profit developer be able to leverage outside funding for construction?
- How will the city insulate itself from the risk of higher vacancy rates?
- Have the proponents considered studio apartments or micro-apartments in this location? This would mean smaller per-unit square footage and more units (perhaps 10 or 12) in the same footprint.
- Will the study include the feasibility of traffic-mitigating measures such as the off-road walking path to West Newton, car share, bike storage, and separate charges for parking and housing?
LWVN recognizes the strong need for alternative and affordable housing in Newton, and we truly want to support this proposal to add badly needed housing. Our concerns outlined above—in particular, the go-it-alone approach by the City—leads us to ask you to address these questions.
Thanks to members of the Community Preservation Committee and of the City’s Building Department for their efforts on this project so far.