Trio, Newtonville

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

Austin StreetAcross 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.

Turtle Lane

At the site of the Turtle Lane Community Theater in Auburndale, this mixed-use, mixed income project will contain a restored theater, office space and 16 condominiums, with 2 deed-restricted affordable units.

Trio

This mixed-use, mixed-income development is at the corner of Washington St. and Walnut St. in Newtonville. Permitted in 2017 and occupied in 2020, Trio has 140 rental apartments with 35 deed-restricted affordable units. The ground floor retail includes a family-owned shoe store, restaurants, and a drugstore. A New Art Center space for classes and exhibits is also housed at Trio. Trio’s sustainability level is LEED Gold Certifiable.

Haywood House

Haywood House under construction - affordable housingThis senior housing development is named to honor the Reverend Howard Haywood, a tireless leader for affordable housing in Newton. Developed by the Newton Housing Authority this project located in Nonantum will contain 55 one-bedroom units for elders (62 and older). 32 units are for very low and extremely low income residents and 23 are for residents at 80% to 99% AMI. Haywood House will be completed in early 2023.

Northland

This mixed-use project is under construction on a 22 acre site on Needham Street. After more than 2 years of hearings before the Land Use Committee, it was approved by the City Council in 2019 and upheld by the voters in a Referendum on March 3, 2020. It will have 800 rental apartments with 140 deed-restricted affordable units. at least two of the apartment buildings will be Passive House construction, the highest level of sustainability. It will include retail and commercial space. Forty percent of the site will be open space. A stringent traffic management plan will be coupled with a free shuttle bus to the Newton Highlands MBTA stop, which will run every 15 minutes 16 hours a day/ 7 days a week.

Riverdale

Located in Nonantum, along the Charles River, the project was permitted under Mass. law chapter 40B. It will have two buildings with a total of 204 rental units of which 51 will be deed-restricted affordable. The project also includes office space and retail with a public courtyard and access to the Charles River. The project will be at least LEED Silver certifiable. The residential units will be all electric.

Dunstan East

Dunstan East will be built on Washington Street in West Newton. A Chapter 40B project approved by the Zoning Board of Appeal. It consists of three mixed-use buildings. A total of 292 rental apartments including 73 deed-restricted affordable units, 10 of which will be permanently reserved for households earning 50% AMI or less. The ground floor will have retail space. Extensive landscaping and a new boardwalk behind the property overlooking Cheesecake Brook behind the property will create inviting open space. The buildings will be LEED Gold Certifiable and the residential portion of the buildings will be all electric

1149-1151 Walnut St.

Rendering of 1149 Walnut St Newton HighlandsLocated in the heart of Newton Highlands across the street from the Newton Highland MBTA station, this four-story mixed-use project will contain 25 rental units with 5 deed-restricted affordable units and retail space on the ground floor. The housing will be smaller units, averaging 1000 sq. feet, with 23 parking spaces. These apartments are designed for smaller households that are car-free or car-light.

Riverside

Riverside Rendering Located at the MBTA Riverside station in Newton Lower Falls, an ideal location for transit-oriented development, this large development will have 10 buildings with 500 rental units. 110 apartments will be deed-restricted affordable, including 44 reserved for households earning 50% of AMI which is deeper affordability than the inclusionary ordinance requires. The commercial space will include office space and two life sciences buildings, the first permitted in Newton. Among the community benefits, the developer will upgrade the Riverside Charles River trail network and will have rainwater reuse.

1114 Beacon St.

Located in Newton Four Corners, this four-story building will have 34 rental units with 6 deed-restricted affordable units. Sustainability features include solar panels. Walking distance to two MBTA Green Line stops: Newton Centre and Newton Highlands.

50 Jackson St.

Fronting on Route 9 just west of Langley Road, this 12 unit three story building will be condominiums with 2 deed-restricted affordable three bedroom condominiums. The building will be all electric, LEED Silver certifiable and have solar panels on the roof.

145 Warren St.

Rendering 145 Warren St - 5 units housing An historic craftsman style bungalow will have 4 moderately sized units added to the rear. As it is less than ¼ mile from the Newton Centre T station, each of these units will have only one designated parking spot instead of the two currently required. The renovations and new construction will be built to Passive House standards and will not use fossil fuels for heating or appliances.

Crafts St. Elder Housing 

Located on Craft St. just off of Washington St., this project will have 105 independent living units, 52 assisted living, and 28 memory care beds. In accordance with Newton’s inclusionary zoning ordinance the developer will contribute $11.8 million towards affordable housing. They will also  contribute $1.5 million for infrastructure improvements including roadway and water and sewage improvements plus a mural at Pellegrini Park. The residential sections of the building will be built to Passive House standards. There will be bike parking, EV charging in the garage and they will provide pre-paid Charlie Cards for employees using the MBTA.

Successful Policy Advocacy

In 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.
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance:  ADUs are another tool in the affordability toolkit. Until 2017, ADUs were extremely difficult to construct in Newton
  • 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.
Lobbying Newton’s state legislators to support the Housing Choice bill:  Engine 6 joined with housing advocates across the state to urge the legislature to enact the Housing Choice bill which among other things, amended the state’s zoning law to lower the required vote from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority for zoning changes related to housing production.