Affordable housing decision postponed to later date

Westborough – The Westborough Board of Selectmen voted to postpone further discussion about the Zaara Gardens Local Initiative Program (LIP) application until its August meeting. 

    Zaara Gardens, a 14-unit affordable housing project with four units per acre, has a site plan for East Main Street and Granger Road in Westborough. Several town boards and commissions provided feedback about the project at the Board of Selectmen’s July 21 meeting.

    Police Chief Alan Gordon, speaking on behalf of his department, said the major concern regarding the project is the traffic flow, which would double upon the project’s completion. The line of sight for vehicles on East Main Street would also be a problem.

    “[The Police Department needs] a more definitive plan that shows the height of the landscape and what will be done to improve the line of sight for the vehicles,” Gordon said.

    Town Planner James Robbins spoke on behalf of the Planning Board and said that a traffic study of the area would be necessary.

    “I’d like to know what a traffic engineer might find as far as the line of sight and the speed of traffic on the road,” Robbins said. “This would help to determine if this was a safe way of entering onto East Main Street.”

    Robbins added that Granger Road may be an alternative entrance, depending on the safety determination by the Fire Department. 

    Robbins also mentioned the updated Town Master Plan from 2002, accepted at the 2003 Town Meeting. The Master Plan supported additional affordable housing in Westborough; however, it designated that the affordable housing area should be in the transit-oriented village in the overlay district. The Zaara Gardens Project, Robbins said, lies in a split district – zoned highway, business and single residential.

    “I don’t think the number of units is a burden on the site if it’s a comprehensive permit,” Robbins said. 

    A representative from the proposed housing project, Steve Lydell, described Zaara Gardens as “similar to Indian Pond.”

    “We do support the project [Zaara Gardens] and feel that it is in line with other projects that have been done in Westborough in the past,” Lydell said.

    The developer, Farooq Ansari of Ansari Builders of Westborough, defended his plans.

    “A lot of questions that were asked by the boards would all be presented in the details of the drawings, which we have not submitted yet,” he said. “All of those issues will be addressed [in the drawings].”

    The LIP application process allows local government to participate in the beginning of a building project before it goes to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

    The August meeting will include a public hearing for local residents to voice their opinions about the Zaara Gardens Project. Discussion about the project, including an economic analysis of the project, will continue.


Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=5323

Posted by on Jul 31 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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