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Marlborough City Council OKs Rte. 20 zoning change

July 27, 2010 – The City Council’s approval last night of a zoning change off Rte. 20 could lead to a mixed-use development, but some councilors don’t like the idea of apartments there.

Councilors approved the extension of the business zone deeper into the limited industrial-zoned land off Rte. 20, bordered by Glen and Ames streets. The change, proposed by the Gutierrez Co., allows for the apartments planned for the eastern part of the site as well as more businesses.

The Gutierrez Co.’s plan, the “Beacon @ 495 Center,” calls for 300 apartments, shops near Wendy’s and office buildings off Ames Street. The developer has indicated that it would seek the special permit needed for apartments there.

Ward 3 Councilor Matt Elder said he supports the zoning change, but does not plan to back apartments in the development. “The neighborhood doesn’t want to see apartments,” said Elder, whose ward includes the development area.

Councilor at large Patricia Pope said she does not support the zoning change because of the neighborhood’s aversion to apartments.
“I believe we are sending a mixed message here (with a zoning change),” said Pope, who voted against it.

Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano said he is also against apartments there, but would like to see the property developed. “If we get apartments in there, it’s going to be a net loss for the city,” Delano said.

Ward 6 Councilor Edward Clancy said he would prefer businesses in the development that create jobs.

Scott Weiss, project manager for the Gutierrez Co., recently told the Urban Affairs Committee that business owners like the presence of homes because they bring shoppers.

The rezoning of the Rte. 20 land helps to protect area residents with a buffer around Glen Street, said Councilor at large Steven Levy, the Urban Affairs Committee chairman. The 50-foot, limited industrial-zoned buffer ensures that cars cannot use Glen Street to reach the site.

Elder has said he supports the zoning change only to prevent Glen Street from being used as a cut-through to the site.

The City Council approved a suspension of the rules to vote on the change last night, rather than letting it wait until the next meeting.
Earlier last night, the Planning Board accepted the resignation of member Steven Kerrigan.

Kerrigan, who was on the board for about four years and served as its clerk, thanked the city for the opportunity in a letter read at the Planning Board’s meeting. His departure is “going to be a huge loss,” said Barbara Fenby, board chairwoman.

Kerrigan lost to Robert Tunnera in the July 13 special election to fill the Ward 4 City Council seat. Tunnera was sworn in before last night’s City Council meeting.

Kerrigan could not be reached for comment.

This story originally appeared here