By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – A plan for the downtown area of the city to become the Marlborough Village District has been proposed by Assistant City Solicitor Cynthia Panagore Griffin. The plan, which would allow a variety of new enterprises, was presented to the City Council at its Sept. 8 meeting.
The request for the proposal was made by Council President Trish Pope and Ward 1 City Councilor Joseph Delano both of who are active members of the special planning committee for the Redevelopment of Downtown Marlborough. That group, comprised of city officials and ?business owners, has been working cohesively with the Marlboro Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for ?the past several months.
Mixed use development, zoning changes, redesigned buildings and a parking permit program are among the major proposed changes addressed in the plan.
Councilors voted to refer the zoning proposal to the Urban Affairs Committee and scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Oct. 20 to be held jointly with the Planning Board.
In July an open house forum to discuss conceptual design and plans for the area was conducted by the MEDC. At that time, residents were invited to share their thoughts on what they would like to see in the downtown area. MEDC Director Tim Cummings and his staff stated that they had been collaborating with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in developing rezoning elements including uses, parking, dimensions, design criteria, and overall conceptual development. MAPC members attended the open house and encouraged questions and comments from attendees.
The purpose of the Marlborough Village District, as stated in the proposal, is to implement smart growth principles with development that is compatible with the character of Downtown Marlborough. The district is envisioned as the hub of community gathering places that reflects and celebrates the existing historic character and enhances the traditional atmosphere. The proposal defined design standards which included the premise that new buildings and/or substantial alterations shall be pedestrian-oriented and shall reflect the community preference for moderate-scale structures that are in harmony with the existing historic brick structures.
To maintain a pedestrian-friendly environment, the plan calls for parking spaces behind or beside buildings wherever possible.