‘If you remove an obstacle for developers and clear the path, they will come!’

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Letter to the Editor iconI have found many residents of Northborough are unaware of the proposed zoning changes and related articles # 49 – #63 on the docket for the town meeting on April 22 – 23, 2024.

MBTA Community Law: Northborough must comply with the MBTA and have at least 50 acres of developable land zoned for multifamily houses, including 15% as affordable housing. The town added mixed-use businesses and residential areas to the zoning changes to support the downtown revitalization program by increasing the population density. 

Article # 49 Two Subdistricts Proposed:

Southwest Connector Subdistrict is 47.94 acres, and the Downtown Subdistrict is 11.29. 

  • Impact: The downtown area contains significant historic buildings and residential neighborhoods. With high-density housing in its center, the town’s landscape and nature will transform it from a quaint small town. Yes, quaint. When was the last time you noticed the beautiful historic buildings? These are unique to Northborough, much to be proud of, and should set the tone for the downtown. Not high-density housing, it has a city-like feel and adds to the incongruousness of the center of town. 

Traffic yields 20,000 cars each day. Population density will increase local traffic, affect air quality, noise, and the quality of life in the immediate neighborhood, and impact town services. 

  • The proposed Downtown Subdistrict zoning is for 75 units of housing built on the Hudson Street end of the lot, with a height of 35 feet (3.5 stories high). Along Main Street, it is zoned for mixed-use: retail on the first floor and housing above, with a height of 40 feet (4 stories high). A cityscape view. 
  • The Assabet River, as part of the developable parcel, has some protection. Any land currently in use is grandfathered in for uses/development, e.g., a blacktopped area 2 feet from the riverbank. The developer can relocate the wetlands within the development.

I propose that the town remove the Downtown Subdivision from the plan/article and choose a 5-acre area that is more appropriate for high-density housing. 

Many residents have heard the possibility of development on the site is low. If you remove an obstacle for developers and clear the path, they will come! 

Please vote at the Town Meeting. 

Nadine Proctor 

Northborough

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