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West Newton mixed-use development approved by zoning board

The Dunstan East mixed-use project in West Newton was filed under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law, which which allows developers to ask for waivers from local zoning to create affordable units.
The Dunstan East mixed-use project in West Newton was filed under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law, which which allows developers to ask for waivers from local zoning to create affordable units.Mark Development

A West Newton mixed-use development bringing apartments, retail space, and city infrastructure improvements was approved earlier this month by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Dunstan East, located on a 3-acre property at the intersection of Dunstan and Washington streets, is expected to bring 234 apartments and 8,000 square feet of retail space, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement. The project will consist of three buildings ranging from three to six stories in height.

The project was proposed last August by Robert Korff, principal of Mark Development, who is seeking to build a mixed-use development at the MBTA’s Riverside station in Newton Lower Falls and has called for improving Washington Street along the Massachusetts Turnpike. He is also building Trio, a mixed-use development that includes affordable housing in Newtonville.

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In a statement to the Globe, Korff said multiple changes were made to the West Newton project to address concerns or questions from the development’s closest neighbors.

“As a result, Dunstan East delivers much-needed affordable housing in a way that respects the local neighborhood,” Korff said. “Based on the high interest we have received for the affordable units at Trio, there is no doubt that this project will be a much-needed addition to our community.”

The project was filed under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law, which allows developers to ask for waivers from local zoning to create affordable units.

The approved plan for Dunstan East includes 51 apartments reserved for residents earning 80 percent or below the area median income -- $81,000 for a three-person household, according to the statement.

Eight more apartments will be for residents earning at or below half the area median income, which is $51,000 for a family of three, Fuller said. The developer is providing $1.2 million to subsidize those units, she said.

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Retail space is spread out on the first floor of each building, according to the approved plan, and a 284-space parking garage will be built underground. The development also features a courtyard connecting Washington Street to Cheesecake Brook.

Mark Development will also provide $800,000 in sustainability measures, $400,000 in Cheesecake Brook improvements, and $100,000 for the Elm Street playground, Fuller said.

There will be $335,000 for transportation improvements, including a pedestrian-activated signal to cross Washington Street, she said. The developer will also make a $515,000 payment to Newton’s sewer upgrade fund.

The location of the development has been the home of The Barn Family Shoe Store on Kempton Place for decades, but the business will relocate down the street to the Trio development in Newtonville.

That Newtonville project, under its earlier name of “Washington Place,” was approved by the City Council in 2017. Projects proposed under the state’s Chapter 40B law do not require City Council approval.

Last month, the city’s zoning board approved another mixed-use development proposed under the state’s Chapter 40B.

That three-building proposal, located on Riverdale Avenue in Nonantum, calls for 204 apartments, including 51 affordable units, about 3,995 square feet of ground floor commercial and community space, and 236 parking spaces, Fuller said in a June statement.

Fifty-one of the apartments would be affordable, and developer Criterion Development is also providing the city with $1.94 million in funding to upgrade the lighting and landscaping at the nearby Forte Park, Fuller said, as well as transportation improvements at California Street’s intersections with Los Angeles and Bridge streets.

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John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.