Selectmen vote to put Spring Street rezone on Town Meeting agenda

Nov 8, 2017

The Marion Board of Selectmen made it official on Tuesday night – they plan to move forward with the rezoning of an area on Spring Street.

At the annual Town Meeting in May, residents voted to deny rezoning several plots on Spring Street from general business/limited industrial to residential. The rezoning was to precede an official permit request to build a condominium complex.

The owner of those lots, Sherman Briggs, came before the selectmen and the Planning Board last month to talk about trying the proposal again after speaking with new Town Planner Gil Hilario.

The selectmen met with Briggs, Hilario, Planning Board Chair Eileen Marum and Affordable Housing Trust Chair Ruth Olson at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the possibility further.

“I’m here to support [Briggs],” Marum said. “…I think it would be keeping with what the residents in the town wanted as far as village-style housing, and I think this is an ideal location because of the amenities that are close by.”

Marum also added that there’s a demand for this type of housing, and that rezoning would help satisfy that.

“Many residents are at the point now where they have expressed the desire to downsize, but want to stay in the community,” she said. “There seems to be a shortage of homes like that for families…I think it would be very valuable and would let residents know we’re following through with their wishes.”

With support from Marum, Hilario and Olson, the selectmen also voiced their opinions.

“I think this is a chance to show what we can do,” Selectman Steve Gonsalves said. “I’m absolutely in favor.”

Selectman Norm Hills, who also worked on the Master Plan which encourages village-style housing as a member of the Planning Board, also voiced support.

“I believe this supports the Master Plan, and we should consider moving forward with it,” he said.

Before taking a vote, Select Chair Jody Dickerson reminded everyone that this was only the beginning of a long process.

“This is the first of many steps,” he said. “We’re not giving it a green light right now, but let’s take the first step to go forward.”

Ultimately, the board voted unanimously to add the rezoning article to the agenda for Annual Town Meeting.