METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – After months of discussion and public forums, the City Council is expected to vote on a downtown rezoning proposal at its next meeting in early December.
While updating the council on the progress of the proposal Monday night, Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Delano said committee members made a few final edits to the measure and voted to send the document to the full City Council last week. On Monday, the City Council sent the proposal to the city solicitor for it to be put into proper legal form.
Delano anticipates the council will vote on the “Marlborough Village” zoning district at its next meeting Dec. 1.
“I think we’ve finally gotten to a very good document,” Delano told councilors Monday.
Designed to spur redevelopment downtown, the proposed “Marlborough Village” zoning district would encourage mixed-use projects and calls for several new uses downtown, such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, brewpubs and music recording studios. Not initially included in the document, music recording studios were added as an acceptable use by the Urban
Affairs Committee at the request of a Planning Board member who visited a nearby community and toured a recording studio.
The proposed changes would also ease requirements on parking and building dimensions for developers, who would in turn have to comply with more stringent design standards for downtown. The zoning would allow developers to make payments in lieu of creating parking and use parking that is available in the municipal garages located downtown.
Current zoning for Main Street in downtown is the same as it is along the less dense stretches of Rte. 20 on the east and west side. Existing zoning carries prohibitive rules – like setback requirements meant for more suburban settings – that would rule out the type of development city officials want.
As part of the proposed “Marlborough Village” zoning district, developers are encouraged to utilize artistic and visually appealing blade signs on the sides of their properties. Blade signs are often used to attract pedestrians and drivers who are traveling perpendicular to shops and cannot see the front of buildings.
Delano cited examples such as a wooden ice cream cone for a dessert shop and scissors for a tailor. The blade signs will make downtown more vibrant and visually appealing, said Delano.
Under the proposed zoning, developers can also increase the height of their buildings to 80 feet with a special permit. Currently, the maximum height is 70 feet.
This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.