METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – An increase in housing units has not correlated to a rise in students attending city schools during the past 15 years.
The City Council in March signed off on a six-month moratorium on special permits for housing projects. Mayor Arthur Vigeant proposed the temporary ban to allow city officials to devise a housing plan that will catalog the existing stock, gauge demand and determine how more housing will affect city services, such as public safety, education and the water and sewer departments.
More than 1,500 apartment units and 700 owner units have been built since 2002, but the school district’s enrollment has declined by 300 students during that time.
“It’s not a one-for-one connection where the more housing we have the more kids we have,” Kyle Talente, Vice President and principal of RKG Associates, said while updating the community on the housing study.
There are a small number of students living at newer apartment complexes, including the Talia apartments and Avalon Marlborough, that are attending the city’s public schools, said Talente. He estimated there is about one new student for every 20 units at those high-end apartment complexes.
Talente said there is an average of one student for every four units at the more moderately priced complexes that were built prior to 2010.
Tuesday’s discussion did not touch on how more housing would affect public safety, which is a concern of several city councilors.
With the city becoming a hub for economic activity, the demand for housing in Marlborough has significantly increased, said Talente.
“The health of the market is evident,” he said.
Several housing developers have expressed interest in building in the city and have discussed a handful of projects with city officials. They all may not end up has formal proposals, however, the mayor said.
City officials have approved more than 950 homes of various kinds since 2010, including the Ice House Landing condos, Talia apartments, Avalon apartments, St. Mary’s condos and two Main Street housing projects.
The study is about halfway completed, said Meredith Harris, executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation. RKG Associates will release its housing recommendations when the study is finished.
This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.