The Planning Board on Wednesday established initial focus areas for the MAPC consultants working on the village zoning project that we’ve been following here. The project has two components: 1) research possible design review guidelines for defined areas of town, and 2) examine the possibility of creating a mixed use village overlay district in defined areas. The purpose of the discussion on Wednesday was to establish those defined areas of focus.
The outcome of the project will be a study with recommendations. Any suggested zoning bylaw changes, should they move forward, would require hearings and a two-thirds affirmative town meeting vote.
Design Review Guidelines The Planning Board direction to the consultants relating to design review guidelines is to incorporate a large area of the town center in the examination. That area is defined as approximately 500 feet on either side of Main Street from I-495 on the east to just past Harvard Road on the west (i.e. the east and west boundaries of the Bolton Center National Register Historic District). The eastern boundary may be extended to Hudson Road to incorporate the business-zoned parcels between I-495 and Hudson Road. The design review guidelines would likely only apply to business/commercial uses. The purpose of these guidelines would be, in part, to protect the historic character and feel of the town center.
Mixed Use Overlay Regarding a possible mixed use village overlay district, instructions to the consultants will guide them to focus their study on the cluster of parcels around the 495/117 interchange that are currently zoned for business or limited business (yellow and orange on the map below). It was unclear whether the Salt Box property, 2.5 acres of which is currently zoned for business, would be included in this scope as it is not contiguous to other business-zoned parcels closer to 495. The examination area for an overlay district will not include the historic village center at this time, which is zoned residential. The graphic below shows approximate current locations of business, limited business, and pre-existing business areas. All other area is zoned residential.
To listen to audio of the discussion (40 minutes), click on the small triangle below. Or you can download an mp3 file here.