MWDN: New open space bylaw in Southborough in jeopardy

As town boards continue their review of a massive overhaul of the town’s zoning code, one element of the proposal is drawing some fire. At a Planning Board meeting earlier this week, the Open Space Preservation Commission reiterated their opposition to new rules that are intended to encourage builders to preserve more open space.

The Open Space Residential Development, or OSRD, bylaw would allow developers to build more densely if they agree to preserve 50% of the land as open space. The Open Space Preservation Commission told the Planning Board the details of the proposed bylaw skew it in favor of developers.

Reports the Metrowest Daily News:

“We continuously gave feedback to the (town) that the proposal was contrary to professional recommendations but our verbal and written comments over the course of over two-and-a-half years were ignored,” the commission wrote in a recent letter to the Planning Board.

Commission members say a formula used to calculate how densely developers can build is too generous. They also believe there are loopholes in its wording that allow developers to count land not normally considered as open space as part of the 50 percent.

“There is nothing in the proposed (bylaw) to prevent using leftover scraps of land and long narrow strips without meaningful open space value to satisfy open space requirements,” the commission wrote in its letter.

You can read more, including the Planning Board’s response, in this article by the MWDN.

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Tim Martel
9 years ago

While the proposed zoning bylaw has some good ideas (villages, rt 9), it is without doubt significantly slanted towards developers.

It negatively impacts Open Space, Conservation, Schools, and Affordable Housing. It does not realistically take into account traffic and infrastructure impacts. The proposed density increase and “by right” changes will have a large impact on the town’s character.

If you choose to read the report, please bear in mind that the exhibits are heavily slanted in favor of the new zoning bylaw. They are not “apple to apple” comparions, and they omit important information.

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