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Yes, there is interest in redeveloping using FBC. For example, Northern Bank, who has been working on a redevelopment plan has approached the Planning Board and has been working cooperatively to incorporate their proposal and provide constructive feedback towards the proposed bylaw. The owners of the elastic factory at 410 Great Road have expressed interest in pursuing a mixed-use redevelopment for that site; and the owners of the IBM site are interested in looking at how re-use of the historic Tuttle House at 538 King Street could be accomplished.
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At 2018 fall Town Meeting, residents voted to appropriate $42,000 to study and draft FBC, which is Article 24 at 2020 spring Town Meeting. FBC is one of several projects to transform the Common. Other public improvement projects to fulfill the vision include traffic calming, shuttles to/from the train station, and sewer, which are the purview of other Boards, not the Planning Board. To facilitate guidance regarding the Common, in Spring 2020, the Littleton Common Revitalization Committee was established with a member representing the Planning Board, Housing Trust, Sewer Working Group, and Transportation Advisory, Economic Development and Finance Committees. A member of the Board of Selectmen currently chairs this committee.
Positive. An initial economic analysis conducted in the Revitalization Roadmap (PDF), p. 71-72, shows revenues to retail, food services, professional and tech services and residential rents at $49M. Based on this scenario and current tax rates, incremental revenue to the Town could be $275k. This assumes likely build-out in the Common as modeled. Redevelopment is ultimately dependent on private interests, land value, and construction cost. As such, likely build-out under the FBC bylaw could take decades.
Housing, including apartments, currently exists in the Common district, so that aspect is not new. The Revitalization Roadmap (PDF), p. 71, summarizes housing at full build-out over many years, in every possible space, up to 193 units. Some developers may not want housing, but if they do, the number of units in each development is limited by the parking made available, which must comply with the bylaw. Sections 173-221J and 173-224 of the proposed zoning bylaw (PDF) explain this parking requirement. Housing in the Common is intended to allow a wider range of housing options for folks trying to build life as an adult and folks trying to preserve the life they have built in Littleton.
Typically when new housing is discussed it is understandable to think that means more children in the school system. However, a recent study from the Massachusetts Area Planning Council (MAPC) presented by Littleton School Committee in 2018 (PDF), shows that is not the case. MAPC observed no meaningful correlation between housing production rates and enrollment growth over a six-year period, and projected the number of children in Littleton under age 15 to fall by more than 500. Based on the parking requirements of the proposed zoning bylaw, it is anticipated that most of the new housing will be smaller units appealing to our seniors and younger populations.
Yes, because developers would have clearer development direction than currently exists. In the last ten years, only one project (235 Great Rd) has been developed using the existing zoning.