Zoning a hot topic for Danvers’ downtown

The Salem News | By Ethan Forman
January 18, 2017

DANVERS — Planners Tuesday night spoke about their vision for 14 acres around Maple Street, envisioning a mix of attractive shops on the ground floor with residences above in what is now a hardscrabble industrial area just off the downtown dominated by electric heater maker Hotwatt.

The future of the area, which includes other businesses and workers’ cottages, is in flux.

The zoning consultant hired by the town, Ted Brovitz, owner of Brovitz Community Planning and Design LLC, said Hotwatt could be moving from the neighborhood in about a year, so the question then becomes, what will become of the mostly industrial area.

It’s a question the town’s Planning Department and Planning Board have been wrestling with for years.

Consultants for the town are proposing the creation of an overlay Smart Growth Zoning District, with the goal of spurring attractive development at the intersection of Hobart and Maple streets, where Hotwatt is located now. The idea would be to create a walkable mix of shops, sandwich shops, offices or other businesses along the street, Brovitz said. Residences would go behind or above this.

The new zoning could also create hundreds of other residences in the area as well.

Some residents at a Town Hall public forum Tuesday night, however, had their concerns.

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