Marlborough mayor, city councilors discuss multi-family housing moratorium

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By Stuart Foster, Contributing Writer

Marlborough Mayor concerned with Phase two of vaccine rollout.MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant spoke during a Nov. 8 City Council
meeting in favor of extending the city’s moratorium on new multifamily housing
projects through Dec. 31.

Vigeant said that the moratorium should be prolonged due to delays at the state Office of
Housing and Community Development in clarifying guidelines contained in new state housing legislation.

“This gives us a couple more weeks breathing room,” Vigeant said.

City Council Urban Affairs and Housing Subcommittee Chair Kathleen Robey spoke in opposition to the extension.

Robey said that, when the moratorium was first brought up in April, she came to support it despite being initial opposed because she wanted to make sure that Marlborough was in compliance with housing requirements pertaining to communities served by the MBTA.

“We don’t know when that’s going to happen,” Robey said amid these continuing delays in getting clarification from the state. “The mayor said back in April it would be the fall. Now in the fall we still don’t have it.”

Robey said that the City Council had been successful in denying projects, like the Walcott
Heritage Farms project, with the moratorium in place.

Robey added that an issue she has with the moratorium relates to a project located at the Campus property in Marlborough at the western corner of Forest Street and Simarano Drive.

That project has been approved to bring a site plan before the Council.

“Yet the language of the moratorium says no site plan can come before this body,” Robey said.

Robey said that, if the moratorium, which she said she does not think is necessary, is
maintained through the end of the year, an exception should be made to let the Campus
project site plan come before the council so that the council can begin working on it.

City Councilor David Doucette asked whether Vigeant would support postponing the
moratorium further if the state has not provided guidelines by Dec. 31. City Council President Michael Ossing, answering for Vigeant after the mayor had temporarily left the room, said that Vigeant does not plan to extend the moratorium in that case.

“It’s our job as a City Council to approve or disapprove projects as they come in,” said Ossing, who also opposed extending the moratorium. “That’s our responsibility, we don’t have to have a moratorium to tell us not to.”

Marlborough’s moratorium on multifamily housing developments was initially discussed in late April. It was then approved by the City Council at a meeting on July 19.

Vigeant submitted a letter to the City Council last month requesting an extension as the moratorium was set to lapse on Oct. 17. The City Council agreed to schedule this public hearing that took place on Nov. 8.

Contacted by the Community Advocate on Nov. 11, Robey said she expects the matter will now come to a vote at a Nov. 22 City Council meeting.