MWDN: Town protests 40B approval and town manager discussion heats up

There are two stories in today’s Metrowest Daily News you all might be interested in. The first has to do with the proposed 140-unit Madison Place apartment complex on Route 9 near Crystal Pond Road. The second is about conflicting opinions on how budgets should be handled if Southborough votes to move to a town manager form of government.

Follow the links for the complete articles. Got thoughts or opinions on either? Come back and share them here.

Southborough protesting 40B approval
Town officials are unhappy that a housing financing agency has given its support to 140 apartments of proposed affordable housing on Rte. 9, saying they never received the full plans from the developer. (read more)

Boards, drafting panel diverge on budget authority in Southborough
Town leaders found little common ground with the Drafting Committee for Town Manager Legislation during a back-and-forth discussion over budget authority Monday night. The Planning Board, Library Board of Trustees and Board of Health want to remain elected bodies with control over their own budgets and hiring decisions if Southborough switches to the town manager system. (read more)

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Jim Freeman
10 years ago

I find this little tidbit from the article interesting.

“The town has asked……………., MassHousing wrote, and also requested that town residents and employees be given first preference for housing.”

Give town employees preference? Is this normal?

Tim Martel
10 years ago

Has there been a response from the school committee?

Al Hamilton
10 years ago
Reply to  Tim Martel

Tim

The School committee is completely independent and is not under the control of the Board of Selectmen. I believe this is by state law. The would not be impacted by this change.

The Board of Selectmen have only some minor powers with respect to the operation of the schools largely related to negotiating regional affairs, agenda setting with respect to overrides and managing school building projects.

The School Committees (k-8 and regional) are responsible for about 2/3 of our budget and are the principle drivers of our tax rates. They also have substantially more authority with respect to spending than the Board of Selectmen.

Pat Q
10 years ago

For me, the issue isn’t even affordable housing. I don’t want a 140 unit apartment building, of any kind, built in Southborough………period.

What about the condo units behind the Red Barn? Are they even at full occupancy?

Tim Martel
10 years ago

Thanks, Al. I appreciate the information. My question was aimed more at the 40B approval, though – apologies for being unclear. I have several questions, and would like to know if they have already been answered by a town or independent analysis. Thanks!

1. Has the school committee provided their feedback on the impact that an additional 140 apartments will have on the quality of education in Southborough (class size, etc.)?

2. Have the fire and police departments offered their input on how the apartment complex will impact their ability to provide services to the town? It seemed to be clear during the recent budget discussions that they could not tolerate any drop in funding – it therefore seems logical to assume that they cannot support such the massive, all-at-once increase that this complex will bring.

3. What about the impact on route 9 traffic? The turn-around at crystal pond road? The light at Oak street?

4. From what I’ve read, Southborough already has a water shortage and this complex will only exacerbate the problem.

5. As Pat pointed out in her comment, are the existing housing complexes in Southborough at or close to full capacity?

6. Compared to the average amount of property taxes currently paid by Southborough residents, will those in the apartment complexes be responsible for a comparable amount? If not, it seems inevitable that our property taxes will have to rise to compensate for the impact on town services.

7. Finally, does this complex offer any benefit to the town? Is there any state funding currently received that is wholly dependent on the town providing a certain percentage of affordable housing?

Thanks again.

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