How would you like an art gallery in downtown Southborough? What about a playhouse? Or more restaurants and shops? The Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) believes enabling that type of development downtown — as well as in Southborough’s other three villages — is key to reinvigorating the town center.
But some village residents feel the specific zoning changes being proposed will threaten the historic character of the village and potentially lower property values. They plan to share their concerns at a public hearing on the matter tomorrow night.
The zoning changes proposed by ZAC would expand the downtown village district and allow for taller three-story buildings on smaller lot sizes with reduced setbacks – including the option for buildings to be constructed right along the sidewalk with no setback.
In a letter to the ZAC, a group of downtown residents said the proposed zoning changes would have a dramatic impact on the character of downtown. “A developer could buy an existing house lot … demolish the house, and divide the lot into two smaller lots,” the letter said. “This will create a domino effect. Once it starts it will continue.”
Higher density multi-family housing would also be an option within the village district and in a surrounding “overlay” district that includes areas now zoned residential. Multi-family housing in the overlay district would require a special permit.
That proposal has the ire of not only downtown residents, but also some from Fayville. In an open letter to the Planning Board, Larry Cain, who is purchasing a home in Fayville wrote, “The property values in the entire neighborhood will decline as it gradually changes from a single family area into a multifamily area.”
Residents will get the chance to air their views on the proposed changes that would impact all of Southborough’s villages — downtown, Fayville, Cordaville, and Southville — at a public forum on Wednesday night. It’s sure to be lively.
The meeting starts at 7:30 pm in Cordaville Hall (the Senior Center), 9 Cordaville Road (map). All residents are encouraged to attend.
Here is some background documentation — including the opposition letters from the downtown and Fayville residents — that may be helpful if you’re planning on attending the forum.
- Proposed regulation and design changes for village and overlay districts
- Zoning map for downtown
- Zoning map for Fayville
- Zonong map for Southville
- Zoning map for Cordaville