A plan to restore the Turtle Lane Playhouse in Auburndale has been approved by the Newton City Council, despite some objections from abutters and councilors who objected to the overall project and design.
Developer Stephen Vona has been trying for more than two years to renovate the theater, which closed in early 2013, while also adding a mix of residential and commercial uses to the project on Melrose Street.
After multiple revisions, Vona finally got permission to build a 16-unit multi-family building plus a new three-story office building that will be attached to the renovated theater on an 18-5 vote. Earlier plans called for 29 units plus a restaurant.
Councilor Leonard Gentile, who represents Ward 3 (where the site is located), voiced the loudest objections to the project. But in a rare break from some past votes, his two Ward 3 colleagues Councilors Amy Sangiolo and Jay Harney voted in favor. In addition to Gentile, Councilors Lisle Baker, Emily Norton, Brain Yates and Scott Lennon opposed the development.
However, the Newton TAB reports that the project faces another legal hurdle — a lawsuit from an abutter claiming ownership of part of the project site at 283 Melrose St.