Westborough proposes MBTA zoning districts

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Westborough proposes MBTA zoning districts
This map shows the three districts proposed by the town to comply with the MBTA’s zoning requirements for multifamily housing. (Photo/Courtesy Westborough Planning Department)

WESTBOROUGH – The town is proposing three districts to comply with the MBTA’s zoning requirements for multifamily housing.

During a public hearing sponsored by the town’s Planning Department on Dec. 5, Planning Director Jenny Gingras said that after an extensive look at the town’s properties, the following three districts were selected – Gleason Street (including Village Commons); Turnpike Road (Parc Westborough); and Arrive (corner of Turnpike Road and Otis Street).

According to Gingras, the proposed zoning districts would satisfy the criteria imposed by the MBTA for communities serviced by commuter rail. The criteria include a minimum gross density; located not more than a half-mile from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station; no age restrictions; and suitable for families with children.

As a commuter rail community, the town is required to have a minimum of 1,250 dwelling units; a total of 50 acres; and a minimum gross density of 15 dwelling units per acre.

The proposed districts will have to be approved by the town via Town Meeting and the state. The deadline for Westborough to file plans with the state is Dec. 31, 2024.

The MBTA requirements are intended to help create more multifamily housing. Failure to comply would lead to a loss of grant-funding opportunities, including MassWorks and Housing Choice, said Gingras.

In addition to the proposed multifamily districts, Gingras would like to conduct a more comprehensive look at the town’s affordable housing.

The next steps would include a presentation before the Select Board on Tuesday, Dec. 19; the submission of an article to the Town Meeting warrant in January; a public hearing before the Planning Board in February; and Town Meeting itself in March.

To send questions, or for more information, visit www.westboroughma.gov/1038/Zoning-Amendments—MBTA-Communities, or contact Gingras at 508-366-3055, [email protected].

 

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