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CARDMalden opposes apartment complex

Posted by Kaileigh Higgins  January 6, 2011 10:04 AM

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A group called CARDMalden is opposing an ordinance change that would open the door for apartments to be built at the former Super Fitness site on Jackson Street.

On Wednesday, the City Council and Planning Board will hold a joint public hearing on a proposed ordinance to change the city's so-called "residential overlay district" to include the area between Commercial, Exchange, and Main streets and Route 60. 

The current ordinance allows for housing developments to be built up to 12 stories. But the ordinance change would limit residential development to six stories in the area of Commercial, Main, and Exchange streets.

CARDMalden -- which stands for  Citizens Association for Responsible Development of Malden -- believes the change is not consistent with the city's master plan or a visioning statement prepared in 2009.

"Hundreds and hundreds of people came out to express their feelings on the master plan and their vision of Malden," said Lori Rittner, an organizer of CARDMalden. "It seems to me, that's not being listened to." 

The group hopes more than one public hearing is held on the matter, she said. Wednesday's hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall.

Ward 4 Councilor James Nestor, whose district includes the old Super Fitness site,  said the ordinance change will help spur development on a key city parcel.

He said the property owners, Combined Properties, has talked about putting up apartments there, but so far has not filed any formal application with the city. But the ordinance could help shape any future development on the site, he said.

"I think it would be a good change," Nestor said, noting he hopes to meet with CARDMalden members. "Limiting any new construction to six stories would [ensure] that anything built there isn't taller than any of the buildings around it. That was an important consideration when this [ordinance change] was written."

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