By Adam Steiner
FRAMINGHAM – A year and a half ago, prior to our first city election, I wrote the following about the need for a sustainable development approach in Framingham: “Sustainable development considers long-term implications over short-term benefits, it values community input and promotes community loyalty to local businesses, and it makes Framingham a more desirable city for residents and businesses alike.”
It is time to put those words into action.
A proposed set of zoning requirements for Nobscot Plaza will be coming to the City Council in the next month or so and the current proposal is unacceptable.
The draft rules would allow for apartments that are too dense, too tall, and do not offer enough for current residents in terms
of amenities or public spaces.
I will not support this proposal as it is written.
Some suggest that we should simply give in to the interests of the property owner, but that is flawed thinking. In fact, sometimes no development is better than any development – and that is true of a Nobscot Plaza that includes 150 densely constructed apartments in 4 stories and without much of anything in terms of public amenities other than a few stores. There also has been no accurate calculation of the potential revenue implications of a project like this, but we all know that adding all of those apartments will make a bad traffic situation even worse.
Further, it is important to understand that this zoning will not only apply to the plaza, but to adjacent properties that could also be developed into apartment buildings.
Some say messing with the zoning will scare off the possibility of development, but there needs to be flexibility on both sides. Take it or leave it is no way to manage a city.
About two years ago, the owner of the Nobscot plaza, Mr. Rose, worked with residents and Town of Framingham officials to develop a plan that offered a reasonable compromise and though it did not satisfy everyone, there was give and take from both sides. The placement of the chapel means a new plan is needed, but this plan should be the result of a similar spirit of
I encourage the Mayor and her economic development team to re-engage with Mr. Rose and once again find an appropriation resolution that balances everyone’s interests including the current residents of the Nobscot area.
A strategic approach will lead to a project that benefits Mr. Rose and the residents of Framingham. That is the right way forward.
Adam Steiner is the elected city councilor for District 3.