Marlborough approves zoning map amendment

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Marlborough approves zoning map amendment
A now approved zoning map amendment impacts parcels near the intersection of Lincoln and Jefferson Streets in Marlborough. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – The Marlborough City Council earlier this month approved a zoning map amendment for parcels of land located on Jefferson Street and Lincoln Street.

The change in zoning relates to a proposed 276-unit, 10,000-square-foot mixed-use development at that intersection submitted earlier this year and dubbed Alta Marlborough.

At an April 11 City Council meeting, attorney Brian Falk, representing Alta developers, said that the zoning map amendment contains a small portion of the Alta site, adding that developers fully support the amendment, which will remove certain design restrictions in that part of Marlborough.

The amendment moves certain parcels from the Commercial Automotive district to either the Neighborhood Business District or the Residence B District. 

At the same meeting in April, Mayor Arthur Vigeant said that the area in this new amendment should have already been included in a previous rezoning effort at Lincoln Street because of its proximity to the Assabet River Rail Trail. 

The amendment was approved by the Council via a 10-0 vote on June 6, with Councilor Christian Dumais recusing himself from participation. 

The Marlborough Planning Board also voted 6-0 at a May 23 meeting to issue a favorable recommendation on another proposed zoning amendment potentially impacting the Alta development. 

This other amendment would allow the City Council to use special permits to vary dimensional, parking, design and landscaping restrictions for mixed-use developments in the Neighborhood Business District. 

Falk had also endorsed this amendment, saying that Alta’s plans for their project are currently constrained by some of these restrictions.

Marlborough approves zoning map amendment
A rendering shows the proposed Alta Marlborough development currently envisioned for the French Hill area of Marlborough. (Photo/via City of Marlborough)

The Alta plans have drawn broad support from some city leaders.

City Councilor Don Landers called the project “a real asset to the city” in comments to the Community Advocate last month.

Councilor Sean Navin said he was “excited” to see potential investment in the area, which currently includes a large vacant lot. 

As Navin noted positives in the project, he highlighted remaining steps to work out some concerns. 

Among those, abutters have worried about increased traffic congestion. 

In her own comments to the Community Advocate, meanwhile, Councilor Kathleen Robey highlighted a planned parking lot that developers want to build next to the Assabet River Rail Trail near their site. 

Conveyed to the city as a way to improve accessibility in the area, the parking lot, Robey said, could itself add congestion in the form of bicycles and pedestrian traffic. 

“I would prefer it not to be parking,” she said of the specific area in question.

Alta’s plans to remain under review, with future discussions planned involving the City Council. 

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