Last night, the Planning Board voted in favor of Fitzgerald’s Store’s plan to develop a parking lot for commuters. The vote included a number of contingencies, including delegating final approval to Chair Don Morris.
The delegated authority allows Morris to verify that the board’s instructions are met, without holding up the project until the board meets again.
Plans to improve the roadside appearance include planting of plum trees and silver maples. To avoid multi-use zoning issues, the board approved splitting the property into two parcels: the general store with customer parking and the commercial parking lot with 70 spots.
At Monday’s meeting, Fitzgerald’s consultant answered questions about the amount of parking used by Fitzgerald’s customers. Apparently, many commuters are still using his lot as free parking for the train.
The application to build a commercial lot initially raised concerns among neighbors. But at last month’s hearing, the only comments from neighbors were in support of revised plans.
Meanwhile, legislators are continuing to look at issues at the MBTA stop. Last week, Senator Jamie Elderidge walked the property with Town officials and concerned residents/commuters. A reporter for Southborough Wicked Local was there:
There was also talk about the lack of a convenient crossover over the tracks, which was highly debated before the station opened about 15 years ago. Officials say the crossover was opposed at the time because of its size and height.
“The abutters see people jumping the fence all the time,” [Town Planner, Jennifer Burney] said. . .
Eldridge urged town officials to write a letter to his office with a punch list of concerns. The visit is considered the first step in getting potential repairs.
“I did agree with the concerns of the town employees and active Southborough residents,” Eldridge said after the tour. “I will be working with state Rep. Carolyn Dykema on making these requests a reality.”
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Occasionally, the afternoon trains drop off on the inbound (parking lot) side. It would make a lot of commuters happy if this were a regular thing. Fitzgerald’s would likely be happy, too, to not have the pickup area be in their parking lot.
The main downside is that it’s a tough exit from the station lot onto Rt. 85. I would advocate some additional traffic-sensitive signals to give long green cycles to the exiting traffic at peak times (with a signal at the entrance to the station, and coordination with the lights up on the corner).
This will be a total nightmare to both neighborhoods. No one will convince me the full parking lot behind Fitzi’s with the same cars day after day, (a few with out of state plates), are not paying for parking now. As a local resident, I have to adjust my schedule to the whims of the cell phone using, always in a hurry people who already park there and those who come to pick up their others, who presumably left supper on the stove and had to get home quickly. The addition of 70 MORE parking spots is insane. On the other hand, as money talks and common sense walks, I will enjoy getting there early, grabbing a cold drink and sitting on one of their rotting picnic tables and enjoying the havoc. At this time of year, I guess you can’t blame the planning board for staying warm and hearing presentations and having plans presented. However, a couple of days at the appropriate arrival times and seeing the mayhem which ensues would better, should better, influence their options.
As to the crossover from one side of the tracks to the other, does anyone know about the underpass, (from the old mill days), that was built with the same huge blocks as the bridge over rt.85 and is still there, just filled in for personal crime safety issues when the new station was built? I know an engineer who worked on the project and said it was still solid enough for trains to go over, but they were ordered to fill it in. Dig it out in place of a newly built overpass and save millions…Whoops, I forgot we live in Massachusetts.