The Northborough Planning Board recently received a petition by town citizens regarding concerns about the Metrowest Collaborative Development proposal for the restoration of the White Cliffs mansion and building affordable housing units on the property. Certainly a project of this magnitude will come with many legitimate community concerns and questions regarding the impact on the town.
It is important to keep in mind that this is a proposal and not a final contract. As such, there is the potential for modifications to the proposal to better fit the community’s concerns. Metrowest Collaborative Development is planning to schedule several community outreach forums for input into their proposal.
A project of this magnitude needs to be decided by a community vote at Town Meeting. It was at the April 2016 Town Meeting that the voters voted in favor of purchasing the property. My recommendation is that any near-term decisions by the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board regarding the White Cliffs property should provide a pathway to having this project brought forward as a Town Meeting vote. The best option would be to have a dedicated special Town Meeting in the fall of 2023 to thoroughly review and discuss the Metrowest proposal. A fall Town Meeting will give the community ample time to consider, research and provide input into the final contract.