By Vicki Greene, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The City Council voted unanimously, March 8, to formally ask the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to build a traffic signal outside the proposed Walcott Heritage development on Boston Post Road East.
The request takes the form of a resolution sent to the DOT. It calls for a light specifically regulating entrance and exit from what could become a sprawling luxury residential complex.
“It is apparent, after speaking with many of the councilors, that if there’s no light, there’s no development,” Councilor David Doucette told the full Council, March 8.
The Walcott proposal would have developers build 140 residential apartment units on the former McGee Farm property. There is currently a housing development on Village Drive, just across the street, though. And Jo-Len Village, a complex of 124 manufactured homes, is located next to the Walcott. Due to that density, traffic has been the top concern as developers have pushed forward.
Many councilors and area residents have voiced those concerns, making calls, sending emails, speaking at hearings, and in one case, signing an online petition late last year that garnered roughly 1,000 such signatures.
“If there’s no chance for a light, it changes how I look at [the project],” City Councilor Laura Wagner said, responding to some of the concerns.
Resolution drafted as state draws up roadwork plans
As Marlborough’s new resolution hits, the state is finalizing design plans for work on a stretch of Route 20 that includes the proposed Walcott development. Current plans offer a new layout with a center turning lane, bike lanes and a new sidewalk. The Council is seeking to add the light to the plan.
Developer changes original plan
Outside of traffic light concerns, developers have scaled back their plans for the entire Walcott project.
In a December memo to Urban Affairs Committee Chair, Councilor Kathleen Robey, the City’s Conservation/Sustainability Officer Priscilla Ryder, on behalf of the Site Plan Review Committee, summarized and responded to those changes.
“Positive changes have been made including one less building and expansion of the landscape areas along Route 20,” she wrote.
She elaborated, saying “The project moves all work outside of the floodplain and reduces impacts to the Riverfront area and wetland buffer zone, which is a benefit.”