Northborough Candidate Statement – Planning Board – Anthony Ziton (Incumbent)

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Northborough Candidate Statement – Planning Board – Anthony Ziton (Incumbent)
Anthony Ziton 

Why are you running?

I’m running for reelection to the Planning Board to continue representing the desires of the residents, enforce our established bylaws, support projects aligned with our master plan, promote open space initiatives while safeguarding our water resources.

What are the three biggest issues facing the Northborough Planning Board in order of importance?

The three biggest issues facing the Northborough Planning board are related to affordable housing, limited build out space, and ongoing efforts to protect groundwater.

1. Staying above the 10% affordable housing limit. Falling below 10% would subject Northborough to 40B state rules which would allow developers to bypass most local zoning laws and develop however they choose. I will continue to foster and promote housing development including 40B requirements that benefit the community at large.

2. As we near build out, we need to attract uses and businesses that will benefit the community. By focusing on using the remaining space effectively, we will be able to maximize the impact to the town.

3. Protecting our groundwater remains a top priority. With all development, we need to consider the impact on our wetlands and protect them. Along with this, we need to ensure our bylaws are up to the current standards to protect our natural resources.

Revitalizing downtown has been a recent topic in town. If you could model downtown Northborough after another community in Massachusetts, which would you pick and why?

Hudson and Marlborough have successfully revitalized their town centers, largely due to their effective Business Development initiatives, a component currently lacking in Northborough. Northborough faces challenges with its main street serving as a state highway without street parking. Recently, Northborough completed its Downtown Revitalization Plan, focusing on areas like Blake Street for potential dining, shopping, and housing units. However, since Blake Street comprises multiple private property owners, the ultimate decisions on development rest with them. As a planning board, our role is to share the proposed plans with property owners, listening and collaborating with them throughout the process.

What would be the biggest hurdle(s) to overcome to make your vision for downtown a reality?

The biggest hurdles are traffic congestion, insufficient parking, and inadequate sidewalks. Addressing parking solutions and enhancing businesses to attract pedestrians will support the goals outlined in the master plan.

The Downtown Revitalization Plan calls for three scenarios, which contain ideas for housing in downtown. How should the Planning Board respond to this plan and its suggestions?

We’ve been developing a MBTA communities overlay district for several months, as mandated by the state, allowing zoning for up to 15 housing units per acre by-right. One of the designated districts is downtown, aimed at jumpstarting its revitalization. Upon approval, the Northborough Planning Director plans to pursue grants for the Downtown Revitalization effort, which was recently endorsed at Town Meeting.

What is your relevant experience to serve on the Planning Board?

With six years of experience on the Northborough Planning Board and a track record of serving on various other boards over the past 15 years, I believe I possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to advance the Downtown Revitalization plan and fulfill the goals outlined in the 2020 Master Plan. Throughout my tenure, I have consistently attended meetings, carefully listened to input from stakeholders, and contributed to important decision-making processes.

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