By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The new Marlborough Village District, designed to capture the historic character of the downtown area of the city while expanding it into a hub of community gathering places, was approved by City Councilors at the Dec. 1 meeting. It was the result of almost a year of meetings of a designated committee, city officials, local residents and business owners, culminating in a design that meets the criteria established by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), working in partnership with the city of Marlborough.
The redesign of the area will allow for mixed-use projects and encourage several new uses including multi-family residential projects, hotels, bed and breakfasts, brew pubs and music recording studios.
Prior to making a motion to accept the amendment to the city’s zoning code, Councilor Joseph Delano, chair of the Urban Affairs Committee and an active member of the Downtown Village Committee, extended “special kudos” to many involved in the project. He thanked Council President Patricia Pope, who he said was at every meeting held – public and private.
“Without her leadership and guidance, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.
Delano also thanked Attorney Arthur Bergeron, Assistant City Solicitor Cynthia Panagore Griffin, MEDC Director Tim Cummings, volunteer residents and those from the business community who supported the effort.
Members of the Urban Affairs Committee made an addition to the original proposal, requesting potential developers to use artistry and attractive signage on their buildings. They suggested blade signs which they said would attract pedestrians.
The purpose of the Marlborough Village District, as outlined in the official document approved by councilors, is to implement smart growth principles with development that is compatible with the character of downtown Marlborough. The goal is to build value and to support employers with a downtown that attracts visitors and helps to retain and recruit employees while creating new housing opportunities.