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Economic Development Commission Presents Survey Results to Selectmen

The Wrentham Selectmen met with the EDC and Planning Board Thursday night.

The Wrentham Economic Development Commission presented the results of a survey of townspeople to the Board of Selectmen as part of a joint meeting Tuesday night.

The selectmen met with the commission and the Planning Board as the town continues to search for ways to increase revenue.

The commission told the board that 276 residents had been surveyed, and 76 percent were in favor of pursuing commercial development. Among the areas suggested for development were Route 1 and the South Street corridor.

Most residents said the town did not need additional residential development, the results showed.

Selectmen Chairman Joseph Botaish said he was suprised the former Crosby Valve facility did not rank higher as a possible development site.

"I don't think people understand what Crosby Valve is," he said. "I think, if they did, it would have knocked South Street right out."

Botaish said that company leaving had an effect on the entire town.

"They employed 300 people in that facility — that's 300 jobs lost," he said. "What does that mean? People are no longer going to Cataldo's or the pizza house."

According to the commission, pharmacies and supermarkets tied as the most-wated businesses in town at 33 percent, with restaurants following at 27 percent.

Town Planner Paige Duncan said the town must look at its zoning before commercial development can progress.

"Pretty much the only thing allowed in town by right is single-family houses," she said. "Our zoning now requires people to go through hoops for anything but single-family homes."

She said the town should put its energies into a single goal.

"There's a lot of good energy and a lot of good ideas, but we're not really capturing and focusing on one," she said. "I would suggest a group goal — we can't do it all at once."

Botaish said he felt the Crosby property presented the quickest opportunity.

"Crosby Valve is about helping find a buyer for a property that's already zoned," he said. "Route 1 may be about zoning."

Selectman Stephen Langley, though, noted that the town didn't control the property.

Selectman Michael Carroll asked the commission to ask regular town meeting attendees their thoughts.

"Zoning amendments for Route 1 have gone down big time because people from the area have come out and expressed their opinions," he said. "I would suggest mailing a survey to find out what citizens who have gone to town meeting might do."

Attendees suggested the town make clear how much revenue potential projects could bring into town.

Botaish said the selectmen, EDC and Planning Board would meet again in November, and would be manning a booth at Wrentham Day.

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