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Developer seeks to expand West Newton 40B plan

Robert Korff’s Mark Development, which secured approval for a mixed-use affordable housing plan in West Newton last summer, is seeking Zoning Board of Appeals approval to add 64 additional apartments and more parking to the site.

The Dunstan East project at the corner of Washington and Dunstan streets was originally approved by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals in July 2020. It was filed under the state’s Chapter 40B housing law, which allows developers greater leeway under local zoning to build affordable units.

That version of the project included 234 apartments, about 8,000 square feet of retail space, and 294 parking spaces. A subsequent board decision in February approved changes to the development, adding four apartments and two parking spaces, while reducing the amount of retail space to abut 5,800 square feet.


The changes now being proposed would increase the number of apartments to 302, including 76 that are permanently affordable, according to a statement from Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and project filings. Parking would increase to 338 spaces.

The proposal the zoning board is currently consideringincludes 51 apartments reserved for residents earning 80 percent or below the area median income, which amounts to $81,000 for a three-personhousehold.

Ten additional apartments would be for residents earning at or below half the area median income, $51,000 for a family of three. Mark Development is providing $1.5 million to subsidize those units.

The latest proposal comes after the developer in December purchased a neighboring property at 1157 Washington St. for $5 million, according to records on file with the South Middlesex Registry of Deeds and Newton’s assessor’s office.

That property is just shy of 7,000 square feet, and abuts the existing 3-acre site intended for Dunstan East. Korff first proposed Dunstan East in 2019.

The developer previously agreed to pay $800,000 in sustainability measures, $400,000 for improvements to Cheesecake Brook, and $100,000 for the Elm Street playground, Fuller has said. Mark Development will make a $515,000 payment to Newton’s sewer upgrade fund, and provide $335,000 for transportation improvements.


Developers are moving ahead with the project after an appeal filed by three abutters ended with a stipulated dismissal in the state’s Land Court in March, court records show.

The abutters’ appeal, filed last summer initially in Middlesex Superior Court, argued in part that the project was too large, and that local officials overstepped their authority by approving the commercial portion of Dunstan East.

Jason R. Talerman, an attorney representing the abutters in the case, said his clients reached an agreement with the project’s developer. Mark Development declined to comment on the court case.

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