Engine 6 Accomplishments
At Engine 6, we focus our work in two main areas: supporting the permitting of new housing throughout the city and proposing changes to local housing and zoning policies to encourage the construction of housing that is affordable and sustainable. Click here to go to the policy section.
Successful New Housing Advocacy
Engine 6 has been instrumental in persuading the City Council to issue Special Permits for mixed-use (housing and retail), mixed-income developments and the Zoning Board of Appeals to issue Comprehensive Permits for mutifamily buildings under Chapter 40B.
Engine 6 presses developers to provide deeper levels of affordability and increase the number of three bedroom affordable units because they are suitable for families.
We work in partnership with other community groups who also understand that building more housing will make Newton a more diverse community while helping to address climate change. Local environmental groups, like Green Newton and 350 Mass Newton Node, also push developers to make the buildings more sustainable.
Click here to find out about new housing that is in the permitting process that Engine 6 supports.
28 Austin Street
Across the street from the Star Market in Newtonville, this project was permitted in 2015 after more than three years of hearings before the City Council’s Land Use Committee. Engine 6 led a coalition, The Friends of Austin St., which advocated for the project including organizing supporters to testify before countless Land Use Committee hearings. Built on an underutilized, run-down city parking lot, the new development has 68 apartments, including 23 deed-restricted affordable units. A cafe and toy store are on the ground floor and a beautiful plaza on Bram Way provides much needed space for gatherings. It also includes a municipal parking lot with the same number of spaces as in the original lot. Residents moved into the apartments in the fall of 2019.
1149-1151 Walnut St.
1114 Beacon St.
50 Jackson St.
145 Warren St.
Crafts St. Elder Housing
Successful Policy AdvocacyIn addition to supporting new housing projects, Engine 6 has been deeply involved in advocating for changes to local housing and zoning policies that will enable more housing and could increase the diversity of residents. To date our efforts have included: Changes to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance:
- Increasing the number of affordable units required: Engine 6 supported the changes to the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance in 2018. These changes increased the percentage of deed-restricted affordable units. Close to 500 affordable units have been permitted since then.
- Reducing local preference for affordable units: In order to increase the racial diversity of Newton, Engine 6 successfully advocated for reducing the local preference for new affordable units to 25% from 70%. Before the change, the 70% local preference for the affordable units was a major contributing factor to the lack of racial diversity of the tenants.
- In 2017, Engine 6 successfully advocated for amendments to the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance to make it easier to build these smaller units for extended family or for rental income.
- In 2022, Engine 6 successfully advocated for additional changes to the ADU ordinance to allow some detached ADUs to be built by right.