West Newton neighbors of the Dunstan East development where the Barn shoe store is currently located filed a lawsuit in August against Newton’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the developer, Mark Development. The complaint argues that the height and density of the plan approved by the ZBA are arbitrary and capricious because they violate the Washington Street Vision Plan and are contrary to the character of the immediate neighborhood. It also argues that this project has more commercial space than is allowed in a 40B project.
The Dunstan East neighbors are in favor of developing this property especially if it includes subsidized housing. What upsets them is the scale and density of the development – 79 residential units per acre compared to 49 and 45 per acre at Mark Development’s other projects at Washington Place and Riverside; five and six story buildings with no dedicated park or playground space for the 234 families who will live there.
We are indebted to the West Newton residents who are spending their own funds so that Dunstan East might become a development we can all be proud of. One that creates a significant amount of new housing, including affordable housing, but minimizes the harm it does to the surrounding neighborhood. We hope that Mark Development and the Dunstan East neighbors reach a compromise so that a development can proceed.
Public documents on the Dunstan East proposal can be found here.