The Sherborn Planning Board discussed and reviewed a draft for a plan to revitalize the town center at their meeting Wednesday.
They stated in the meeting that it is an amendment to the town’s general plan and not a rewrite.
Chair of the Planning Board John Higley said a previous chair of the board told him there was a three-year process with all the boards and committees of the town involved in changing the town’s general plan.
Higley said the promoters of the plan overeducated the public and it was passed unanimously at town meeting, “although it didn’t have to.”
Higley said with all that is on the board’s plate, they should focus on the town’s center and not pursue any change in zoning. “That’s my opinion, love to hear what other people think,” said Higley.
Board member John Stevens agreed stating that it made sense to make that the focus.
Higley said this would focus on generating revenue for the town, possibly with commercial properties.
He added that there is some misconception over the town center report, as there have been others and this one is only in the draft stage.
Stevens said in their plan they should put a specific vision of what the center should look like.
Higley said, “I would like it to be more walk-able,” possibly adding a grocery store. He also noted that Sherborn had just become a green community and maybe that should become the town’s staple. “We’re an oasis,” he said.
Higley said Sherborn has plenty of towns around with large commercial areas that have helped Sherborn stay a small agricultural community.
Stevens suggested that the town bring some commercial business to the south side of the town and suggested some of the empty storefronts near Citgo on Rt. 27 and the new municipal campus as a potential site.
Board member Eric Johnson said the numbers for adding sewer and commercial business to the downtown is in the new draft. He noted that with the town’s current small population that adding this cost might not be a sustainable model for Sherborn.
Stevens said that this kind of change should be more gradual and said the town’s tax burden is set to go down towards the end of this decade.
Johnson said he would recommend that the municipalities do construction in a bad economy because bids come in low.
Board member Susan Spence said she would like to see a more bike-able downtown with a grocery store.