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KINGSTON, MA-The town’s attempt to rezone a 140-acre parcel located around the new MBTA station was rejected for the second time this year at Town Meeting, prompting the planning department to rethink its approach to this centrally located property.

The goal of creating a transit-oriented development district, which would support mixed-use development, was essentially to concentrate development in one part of the town while preserving open space in the other part of town. “The town wanted to steer development here and away from sites less suitable for development,” Thomas Bott, the town planner, tells GlobeSt.com. Bott is referring to the town’s hundreds of acres of cranberry bogs and aquifer recharge areas. The downturn in the cranberry industry has prompted many cranberry bog owners in the area to develop their land.

The new development district involved transferring development rights from the cranberry bogs to the land around the train station, which is privately held by 16 different owners. The idea was that the cranberry bog owners would get a cash infusion to tide them over until the industry turned around. “We wanted them to realize a benefit from their land without having to develop it,” points out Bott. The money would come from developers who wanted to build more than four units on the property near the station.

A majority passed the zoning change but not the two-thirds majority that is required. Bott says some residents were concerned about creating housing in the center of town. He notes thamn many of the bogs could be easily converted to housing.

He adds that he has no intention of continuing to press for creating this district but hopes that developers of the property will consider building what the town would like to see on the site. “All there is now is to have the zoning laws changed in a more piecemeal fashion,” he says.

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