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Planners Look at Development, Preservation Areas

The Planning Board last month reviewed the town's priority development and preservation areas with consultants who are preparing a regional map to help guide the state's investment in the Interstate 495 area's growth. About 25 areas in Milford were listed.

Known as the "495/MetroWest Development Compact Regional Study," the research is sponsored by the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC), the MetroWest Regional Collaborative, the 495/MetroWest Partnership and Mass Audubon. "The compact is intended to create a shared framework for state, regional and local strategies for priority development and land preservation as well as transportation and other infrastructure investments in the 37 cities and towns within our study area," according to information handed out by Barry Keppard, a MAPC regional planner, to the Planning Board members on April 19.

"The goal of what we're doing is to begin with the local perspective," Keppard explained. His team is meeting with each town separately, and will then convene a regional meeting to show how each individual town's goals match or conflict with their neighboring communities. The study also will look at where the state should invest its dollars, to assist with growth five to ten years from now, he explained.

The areas listed as priorities for preservation – which Keppard said includes passive recreation – include Beaver Pond, Godfrey Brook, Milford Pond, the Mill River corridor, Ivy Brook, the Town Forest, Louisa Lake, and the Consigli parcel off Dilla St. The Rocky Woods area and Robsham properties off Route I-495 were listed as both preservation and development areas. Priority development areas include downtown Milford, Granite Park, Bear Hill, and the proposed Platinum Park and Stone Ridge Business Park.

Areas listed as a priority for regional transportation investment include the intersection of Prospect St. (Route 140) and Water St., the intersection of Main St. (Route 16) and Prospect St., the Upper Charles Trail, and Veterans Memorial Drive.

Planning Board members said the unbuilt portions of the Charles River corridor should be added as a preservation area, Route 140 from Milford Regional Medical Center to the Hopedale town line should be added as a development and transportation investment area, and the town-owned property off Veterans Memorial Drive should be added as a regional transportation area to help complete the downtown traffic alternate route. Board members also suggested designating land around Milford Regional Medical Center area as a priority development area to allow for future hospital expansion.

In other business at their April 19 meeting, board members briefly discussed their article on the Annual Town Meeting warrant that would allow up to 16 apartments to be built on the top floors of eight downtown buildings. "At the end of the day, they need something new in there," Chairman Patrick Kennelly said. Board members decided to invite the Board of Selectmen to attend the Planning Board's scheduled May 3 public hearing on the proposed zoning change.


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