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A Push for Business Development in Marlborough

February 3, 2011 – Could Rte. 20 handle more business activity? Should the city allow taller buildings to be built? Are parking rules too stringent? City Hall is about to give the go-ahead to a project that will look into those and other questions to see if Marlborough is doing enough to attract business.

On Monday, the City Council’s Finance Committee recommended using $200,000 to create what’s being called an economic development master plan.

“We’re all excited about getting the process under way,” said George Ciccone, executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp.

The work includes evaluating the city’s industrial, commercial, retail and housing markets.

The plan aims to determine how much more business development the city can accommodate under current zoning laws, and it will analyze what businesses could build under more lenient zoning, such as taller buildings and looser parking requirements.

Rte. 20 East probably has the greatest potential for growth, said Arthur Bergeron, chairman of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp.’s board of directors.

Ward 1 Councilor Joseph Delano described that part of town as “a forgotten area.”

The city needs more businesses in order to maintain a stable residential tax rate, officials say.

The full City Council will likely vote on the funding at a meeting this month. The transfer would come out of the city’s free cash.

The City Council in November approved setting the hotel room tax at 6 percent, up from 4 percent, with the plan being to steer the estimated $450,000 in extra annual revenue to pay for economic development efforts.

The city has filed a home-rule petition with the Legislature that would create a special revenue fund for economic development. Until the city gets the Legislature’s approval on the home-rule petition, the additional tax revenue goes into the city’s general fund.

The higher tax went into effect Jan. 1

This story originally appeared here