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Wrentham Officials Ask Residents to Vote on Downtown Rezoning at Town Meeting Next Week

Town of Wrentham
Kevin Sweet, Town Administrator
79 South St.
Wrentham, MA 02093

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018

Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Phone: 781-428-3299

Wrentham Officials Ask Residents to Vote on Downtown Rezoning at Town Meeting Next Week

Fall Town Meeting to be Held on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

WRENTHAM — Town Administrator Kevin Sweet would like to encourage residents to attend next week’s Town Meeting, which will include an article asking residents to rezone 50 acres of land in the downtown to allow for expanded retail and residential use.

Wrentham’s Fall Town Meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the King Philip Regional High School auditorium. This year’s warrant has 10 articles.

Article 8 of the warrant seeks to amend the town’s zoning by-laws to change the zoning of 50 acres of vacant land in Wrentham Center. This property behind South Street is commonly referred to as the old Crosby Valve property.

“Not many cities or towns in the commonwealth can boast 50 acres of vacant land in their downtown that are unused and rife for development,” Town Administrator Sweet said. “If approved, this incredibly unique opportunity will not only bring new business and residential options to Wrentham, but will also guarantee the preservation of the historical character of the downtown.”

The property is currently zoned for commercial use, appropriate for industrial businesses or warehousing – similar to the zoning along Route 1. Article 8 seeks to create a new zoning district that will be called a Village Zone. The new zoning would have two sub-zones:

  • Sub-Zone A preserves the current zoning associated with South Street, Common Street and Randall Road.
  • Sub-Zone B extends the village characteristics into the vacant 50 acres. It is designed to provide a blend of retail and residential components.

“The retail component is intended to attract restaurants, small businesses, retail stores and office space,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Joe Botaish said. “The residential component allows for townhouses and attached dwellings meant to attract commuters or those looking to downsize. The intent is to use residential and open space as a buffer between the adjoining neighborhoods close to Lake Archer without directly connecting any new roadways to those neighborhoods. One of the most important aspects of the design is that the land must be very walkable and have low-impact on surrounding neighborhoods.”

In January 2017, the Wrentham Planning Department applied for and received a grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) through its Local Technical Assistance program to provide technical guidance in creating new zoning regulations for the downtown property.

From that, a working group was created to work on the new zoning that is comprised of representatives from the Board of Selectmen, the Economic Development Commission, the Planning Board, Town Administrator, Planning Director, MAPC staff, Galaxy Development and local business owners.

The group began meeting in the spring of 2017 and has been meeting regularly since. In September, a public forum was held to hear from residents about the rezoning and was well-attended and resulted in a good dialogue.

“This article will have a great positive impact on the town, if approved, and has tremendous support from community leaders and residents alike,” Joanna McFarlane, Economic Development Commission Member, said. “Recently the Board of Selectmen, Economic Development Commission and Planning Board all voted unanimously to support this article for Town Meeting. In addition, town administration, the Wrentham Fire, Police and Public Works Departments all expressed support.”

To view a slideshow presentation with more details about the proposed rezoning click here.