Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller is hiring an outside consulting firm to bring together residents, city officials and businesses to pro-actively plan the future
of the Washington Street corridor.
Principle Group is expected to have a final master plan and the associated zoning recommendations for the Washington Street corridor ready in the next
13 months. The firm will be paid $500,000 from the city’s free cash account.
With the help of professional planners, elected officials and in-depth community input, the goal is to develop a zoning plan that reflects a consensus
vision for the main thoroughfare from West Newton Square to Newton Corner.
“This process will guarantee that developers conform to the city’s vision, not the other way around,” Fuller said.
Principle, the firm that will do the master planning, was chosen for its ability to work intensively with the community to develop a detailed plan
that includes such things as the mix of office, retail and housing, open space, building heights and density, automobile, bicycle, pedestrian and
mass transit alternatives.
“They are an unusual firm that has the unusual capabilities we are looking for. It’s a critical investment,” Fuller said.
The firm’s work can be seen in a range of cities, including Union Square in Somerville.
“The chamber applauds Mayor Fuller for proactively undertaking this process so we can build consensus and bring clarity to how this vital, underutilized
commercial district should be redeveloped,” said Chamber President Greg Reibman.
The planners from Principle hold community meetings and have an “open studio” session on Washington Street to listen and to learn the concerns and
desires of residents and businesses. The fiscal impact of potential land-use and development decisions, and the economic development opportunities
will also be vetted.
“I’m excited to get started on the future of the Washington Street corridor. Let’s come together, get working and take charge of Newton’s future,”