Town meeting rezones parcel slated for hotel project
Shrewsbury – Town Meeting has overwhelmingly voted to rezone of a parcel of land at the junction of Main Street and Intersate-290 from Rural B to Commercial, a move that paves the way for a proposed hotel at the site.
Proponent Andrew Surabian, a 33-year town resident and owner of several commercial sites in the region, had requested that the five-acre site be rezoned to allow for commercial development. The site is located directly adjacent to the Interstate-290 on-ramp, in an area that currently houses a childcare facility, a cultural center and a U.S. Postal Service distribution center.
The rezoning will allow Surabian to move forward with plans to construct a Holiday Inn Express – a 90-room, business-class hotel, and restaurant – at the site.
The site also abuts a residential neighborhood, and several neighbors had spoken out against the zoning change. Representatives at the meeting had asked people to consider the amount of noise and disruption a hotel at the site would bring to their neighborhood.
Because of the neighborhood’s proximity to 290, though, many Town Meeting members questioned how much additional noise the project would actually result in.
“I think the benefit outweighs the harm,” Matt Hogan said. “It may not seem fair, but I don’t think the impact is so significant or severe that we should vote it down.”
Zoned residential, the site generated about $5,000 per year in property taxes. Should the hotel be constructed, Surabian’s attorney Richard Ricker said the site would general roughly $60,000 to $80,000 in property taxes and $123,000 in hotel taxes annually, as well as nearly $200,000 in one-time start-up fees.
In addition, the hotel would create 24 permanent jobs in town. Ricker encouraged Town Meeting members to approve the project he said was ideal for the location.
“If we’re not open to this proposal from a local guy … then who or what will we ever embrace?” he asked.
During the course of debate, a few people mentioned a previous proposal that the town had turned down from Pyramid Mall. Rather than move forward with the commercial venture, the site was used for housing that relies heavily on town services and the postal facility, which contributes no taxes.
Town Meeting members asked that the same mistake not be made twice.
“This piece of land will be much more beneficial to the town as a commercial piece of property than as a residential one,” Planning Board Chair Mel Gordon said.
Both the Finance Committee and the Planning Board had recommended the zoning change, which they said would bring much greater good than harm to the town.
Following the 156-36 vote in favor of the zoning change, Town Meeting was adjourned until May 27 at 7 p.m.
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