By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Following much deliberation and several meetings of the Operations and Overview Committee, the City Council unanimously approved the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) Master Plan during its March 25 meeting.
Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano, chair of the Operations and Overview Committee, thanked councilors who helped develop a preamble to the 200-page document titled “Building the New Marlborough Economy.”
“Rather than approve a large and complex report line-by-line, I am suggesting that we use the preamble to outline our thoughts and goals for this report,” he said. “Approving the economic development Master Plan does not mean we are employing one singular strategy, program or technique, but rather it is a recognition of our present economic realities and our affirmation that we need to proactively act to achieve an agreed-upon strategic vision.”
The preamble states that the council is endorsing the objectives of the Master Plan: “To take strategic action to improve economic opportunities for Marlborough residents and businesses leading to the stabilization of the Marlborough residential tax rate over the long term by increasing commercial values.”
The document also states that by supporting this effort, “it will allow our city to successfully promote local business expansion and retention, attract high quality companies, and encourage targeted synergistic development.”
Councilors emphasized that it is essential to gradually lower commercial tax rates in order to remain economically competitive, but accomplish it without shifting excessive tax burdens to residential taxpayers.
During the formal presentation of the city's Master Plan, several references were made to mixed-use overlay zoning. Earlier this year councilors granted approval to Atlantic Management of Framingham to rezone and redevelop the 109-acre campus on Forest Street. That action allowed the developer the opportunity to utilize the land in a variety of ways, including commercial office space, retail shops and restaurants, a hotel and residential units.
In seeking the council's endorsement of the MEDC's Master Plan, Mayor Arthur Vigeant said, “The Master Plan provides a road map that identifies goals for future growth and economic development for the foreseeable future. Having a fully endorsed Master Plan will provide a vital tool that can guide the city's growth for years to come.”