Tonight, the Land Use Committee voted 5-1-2 to let Korff have his bank, and allowing him to go back on his “promise” not to put a bank in Washington Place.
In reality, its not really about the bank (although I am totally not excited about an 8th bank in the immediate area). Mark Development was given a special permit with the clear stipulation NOT to include a bank in his retail plans. And now, even though the project isn’t even close to completion (and without really trying to find a local or small business to fill that spot), he is going back on that promise to the community and City Council. Now, the 5 city councilors who voted for it will tell you that they “gave in” so that Mark Development will pledge to hold 10K sf of retail space for a non-chain retailer, but why should we believe that they are going to hold tight to this “promise?” With the vow from Mark Development that The Barn was already assigned to a 8.5K space in the building, I am left wondering what Newtonville is really getting out of this.
The Land Use Committee had an opportunity to show Mark Development that they would hold their ground on any concessions they make in the special permit process…instead they gave the developer exactly what he wanted. Even Jake Auchincloss, who added the stipulation in the first place, completely changed his tune when faced with the decision of going against a developer.
With all the land Mark Development owns all over Newton, and the prospect of many more special permit applications to come, I have a feeling that there was a precedent set tonight that is sure to play out over and over and over again in the future…