Voters in the town of Boxborough, Massachusetts voted on March 27th. to pass two zoning articles at town meeting limiting the size of big box stores. Article 6 on the Town Meeting warrant changed the zoning Bylaw Use Schedule by making retail stores with more than 25,000 s.f. of gross floor area not allowable in any of the town’s 7 zones. The Board of Selectmen in Boxborough unanimously recommended the size cap. “We believe that allowing the development of big box retailing is a gap in the current zoning by law, as this type of development was not anticipated during the initial development of the zoning bylaw,” the Selectmen wrote. “This zoning article would prevent the creation of big box retail operations in town. The Board believes that in a town of our size and character, events that occur in our collective ‘backyard’ affect everyone, and we must make decisions now that will impact the town for many years to come.” The building cap of 25,000 s.f. needed a 2/3rds vote, and the article passed the town meeting vote. The citizens also adopted Article 7, which prohibited retail stores in the Industrial-Commercial and Office Park zoning districts. This changed the existing bylaw that allowed retail uses by special permit, to not permitted at all. Again, the Board of Selectmen recommended unanimously these restrictions on big boxes. “This action is balanced as it allows business activity to expand and prosper, while focusing retail activity in the areas where we believe the master plan and current zoning intends, including the business districts and Town Center.
Boxborough or Big Boxborough? That question was resolved on March 27th. as the town voted on a retail cap, and restrictions on retail encroaching into industrial and office park districts. For a copy of the Town Meeting warrant articles that were adopted in Boxborough, contact [email protected]