City mulls future of Donald Lynch Boulevard

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City mulls future of Donald Lynch Boulevard
The city is considering adding an overlay district to Donald Lynch Boulevard. (Photo by/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – Sean Navin remembers going to Solomon Pond Mall every Friday and Saturday night.

“It was a formative part” of my life, he said.

Now a member of the City Council, Navin would like to see the mall – and the rest of Donald Lynch Boulevard – revitalized with new businesses, and perhaps some housing and bike paths.

During its meeting on March 18, the council’s Urban Affairs Committee discussed the possibility of adding an overlay district to the area.

Should the proposal be approved, the zoning ordinance would be modified to include restaurants, cafes and allow other uses with a special permit. These would include medical offices, multifamily dwellings, studios, fitness clubs and drive-through facilities. There is currently one standalone restaurant on the boulevard.

“It’s important to be proactive about this,” said Meredith Harris of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., which co-sponsored a report about Donald Lynch Boulevard with the city.

Retail shopping has evolved over the past few years, with the rise of online shopping. Several big-box retailers, including Sears, have either closed or moved out of the area.

The city would like to expand opportunities within the proposed district to accompany successful operations like the New England Sports Center and Sartorius.

A formal request to submit a zoning change will come before the City Council in April; a public hearing will be scheduled in May.

The Planning Board will also hold a public hearing, with a date to be determined.

The documents are available at https://www.marlborough-ma.gov/city-council/events/90506.

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