MARLBOROUGH – The master development plan for the proposed Campus at Marlborough project will be discussed again on Dec. 20 after an attempt to send the proposal back to the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee failed at a Dec. 6 City Council meeting.
The development plan hit a snag on Dec. 6 when not enough councilors voted to suspend the rules so that the Council could accept communication from the City Solicitor that placed the master agreement and development plan for the Campus project in proper legal format.
Seven voted to suspend the rules, one short of the eight-vote minimum. City Councilors Sean Navin, Samantha Perlman, Christian Dumais and David Doucette voted against accepting the communication.
Councilors disagreed over whether their next course of action should be to discuss the plan further at the next City Council meeting or to send it back to the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, which previously approved the plan 5-0. Ultimately, five city councilors voted to send the plan back to Urban Affairs, meaning that motion failed.
The item will appear on the agenda for the next City Council meeting on Dec. 20.
Urban Affairs Committee Chair Kathleen Robey was in favor of keeping this on the City Council agenda, saying that councilors should state clearly what changes need to be made in the plan before sending it back to Urban Affairs.
“I don’t understand why, when this can be on an agenda in two weeks, but we’re not going to have an Urban Affairs meeting within two weeks, you can’t just discuss it at a full City Council meeting,” Robey said.
Dumais supported sending the plan back to Urban Affairs, arguing that the plan had not been fully discussed at that committee’s meeting.
Specifically, Dumais said that the parts of the plan pertaining to the timing of construction for commercial and residential aspects of the Campus required more discussion from the committee. He said that the phasing needs to be clearly defined in the plan.
“My concern was with the phasing,” Dumais said, adding that he thought others on the Urban Affairs Committee shared his concerns.
Aspects of the current plan for the Campus project, which would build a mixed-use development at the western corner of Forest Street and Simarano Drive in Marlborough, have seen opposition from some city councilors and Mayor Arthur Vigeant due to the timing of planned residential development before commercial development at the site.
Vigeant, writing to the City Council before this most recent meeting, also raised concerns over the city’s proportion of affordable housing, which has to represent at least 10 percent of all housing to preserve local control over affordable housing zoning.
Vigeant wrote that the city will be at 10.01 percent affordable if all the projects currently approved by City Council were factored into that rate. Any new projects that don’t individually meet a 10 percent affordable housing threshold will push the city below that overall 10 percent mark, he said.
“We must be prudent as we move forward with additional housing projects, including the Campus, to require at least 10 percent affordable housing,” Vigeant wrote.