MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough City Council voted 7-4 on Nov. 22 to not extend the city’s temporary moratorium on multifamily housing projects.
Mayor Arthur Vigeant had sought an extension through the end of the year due to delays at the state Office of Housing and Community Development in clarifying guidelines pertaining to new state housing legislation.
“I doubt between now and our next two meetings we’re going to have anybody come to us with a proposal,” said Councilor and Urban Affairs and Housing Committee Chair Kathleen Robey.
Robey was one of the seven councilors to vote in favor of denying the extension. She cast her vote after already speaking in opposition to the extension at the City Council’s previous meeting on Nov. 8.
Robey had raised concerns about the language of the moratorium, which said that site plans could not come before the City Council while the moratorium was in place.
One project, the proposed Campus development in town, had already been approved to bring a site plan before the City Council.
The City Council voted to suspend its rules in order to take this article out of the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee for a full-council vote on the proposed extension Nov. 22.
Moratorium discussion dates back to April
The moratorium was first discussed late April of this year as a 90-day pause on permit applications while the city waited for more information from the state and took stock of its then current housing situation.
“I’m looking to get a handle on all complexes so, as a City Council, you need to start picking the best complexes and what’s best for our city,” Vigeant told the council on April 26. “You’ll be getting some [applications] that aren’t so advantageous.”
Vigeant discussed the moratorium again at a meeting in May.
From there, the moratorium was back on a City Council agenda in mid-July, at which point the council formally approved it with a unanimous vote.
That green-lit the moratorium through Oct. 17.
Months later, though, as Oct. 17 approached, Vigeant came back to the City Council asking for this extension that the council has now opted not to grant.
“We continue to wait on the definitive regulations of the Governor’s housing bill so we can adapt and potentially capitalize on state grant funding that is relevant to housing and transportation,” he wrote in a letter to the council. “We have been told recently by the Lt. Governor that the information should be available in the coming weeks.”