The Winchester Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Sept. 11 at 8 pm in the Board of Selectmen Meeting Room at Town Hall, to gather public input regarding its Town Center Initiative draft working proposals for rezoning the Town Center. This is part of the Great Neighborhoods’ work with the Winchester Planning Board, Board of Selectmen and the business community to strengthen the economic vitality of the Town Center and to increase housing opportunities within the Town Center.
To date, efforts have proceeded on three parallel tracks: 1) developing a vision for the Town Center, with illustrative renderings; 2) writing zoning that will replace the current zoning for the Town Center; and 3) affirmative public outreach, to get feedback on a vision and zoning amendments before they are finalized. This is a key element of the hearing. One outcome of this hearing will be soliciting pre-development feedback on the economics of potential development in the Town Center.
During the hearing, the Planning Board will present an update on the above tracks, future steps expected, and a timetable for reaching the finished proposal. A working draft map of the Town Center showing potential heights of buildings will be displayed.
Key challenges to redevelopment will be discussed,
• Developing in a floodplain
• Development of shared parking strategies
• Examination of housing options- – housing mix, affordability, requirements for
building vs. funding
• Coordination with MBTA re redevelopment of train station, especially removal
of spur and potential of integration of a new Waterfield Station with a larger
development on town-owned land
Key issues to be discussed, and for which input is being actively solicited at this hearing:
• Housing objectives for Town Center
• Building heights proposed
• Building uses proposed, by floor
• Desired design criteria for new development, and best approaches for managing
design and approvals
• Parking and parking requirements, and how they relate to potential new
• Alternative strategies under consideration for historic preservation