Saturday, September 2, 2017

Election Prep: What does the Planning Board do?

From the Town of Franklin Planning Board webpage we can share:
"The Planning Board, established under Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) Chapter 41, Section 81A, is an elected board comprised of five members, each with a three year term and one appointed associate member. 
The Planning Board’s primary responsibilities are to administer the Subdivision Control Law pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 41 and to issue certain special permits and site plan approval under the Town of Franklin Zoning By-Laws in order to ensure the public safety, interest and welfare of the residents of the Town. State and local laws and regulations governing procedures for these approvals are MGL Chapter 40A (the Zoning Act); MGL Chapter 41, Sections 81K - 81GG (the Subdivision Control Law); Chapter 300 of the Franklin Town Code Subdivision Regulations; and the Town of Franklin Zoning Bylaws Chapter 185.

The Board conducts meetings and public hearings in compliance with Town of Franklin General Laws to review and consider preliminary and definitive subdivision plans, Site plans and Special Permits, Approval Not Required (Form A) plans, and Certificate of completion applications.
The Planning Board also considers and prepares amendments to the Town of Franklin Zoning By-laws and the Town of Franklin Subdivision Regulations. The Board conducts public hearings on amendments created by the Board and on zoning amendments that are submitted to the Board by way of citizen petition or by landowners or other town boards through the proper procedures for submitting to Town Council.

All material received by the Planning Board in connection with applications is considered public information and can be seen during posted office hours."

Additional information on the Planning Board can be found on their page

Note: the Town of Franklin webpage is incorrect in stating the terms of office are three years (they are 4) and that the Associate is an appointed position (it is up for election this year).


The Planning Board, as established by MGL. Ch. 41 sec.70, is responsible for “…making plans for the development of the municipality, with special reference to proper housing of its inhabitants.” The Board is charged with administering the State’s Subdivision Control Law (MGL. 41 Ch.81K) and the local subdivision rules and regulations (Chapter 300). The Board makes recommendations to the Town Council on Zoning By-Law amendments and may at its own discretion adopt new subdivision regulations. The Board is also designated as the permitting authority for various site plan and special permit submittals under the Town’s Zoning Bylaw (Ch. 185). The Board receives recommendations from the Design Review Commission on building design, elevation, and signage for commercial site plan permits, and from the Conservation Commission on wetland related issues, and works closely with the Planning and Community Development and Public Works Departments. 
In FY2016, the Planning Board reviewed and issued decisions for several projects throughout the year. One major project the Planning Board approved was 150 Emmons Street, a multi-unit retail development at the location of the former Municipal Building. The Site Plan includes demolition of the existing building and construction of a new retail building, which is to include a restaurant, salon and additional retail spaces. In front of the building land has been reserved to create a small park with a statue of Horace Mann. The largest project before the Planning Board during FY16 was the proposed Central Square project at 300 - 340 East Central Street, which will replace the former Ficco Bowling and Keigan Auto buildings with a multi-building, 113,000+ sf retail, commercial, and restaurant shopping center. Proposed uses include but are not limited to a 4,500 sf filling station and convenience store, and a 2,371 sf vehicle service/repair center. The Planning Board reviewed and approved a Site Plan for a bath house at Camp Haiastan, which was for summer campers. 
The Planning Board approved two new Definitive Subdivisions, Union Meadows and Rolling Brook Estates. Both were for single family homes to be built on a new roadway that end in a cul-de-sac. The Planning Board voted to endorse (2) two 81-P plans, and accepted ten (10) Form H - Certificate of Completions. Acceptance of a Form H indicates all work has been completed according to Site Plans or Subdivision Plans previously approved by the Planning Board. Examples of completed Site Plans include Midas Auto Repair and CVS Pharmacy, both located on West Central Street, and Eastern Propane located at 11 Forge Parkway. The table below is a summary of Planning Board Activity during the 2016 Fiscal Year.
Decisions - Approvals Total FY2016
  • Preliminary Subdivisions 1
  • Definitive Subdivisions 2
  • Definitive Subdivision Modifications 2
  • 81-P Plans (ANR) 2
  • Site Plans 3
  • Site Plan Modifications 3
  • Limited Site Plan 1
  • Limited Site Plan Modifications 2
  • Special Permits 3
  • Street Acceptance Recommendation 1
  • Certificate of Completion 10
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendments 4
  • Subdivision Regulation Amendments 2
  • Bond Releases 1
  • Acceptance of Bonds 1

The Planning Board held public hearings on several proposed Zoning Bylaw changes including Zoning Bylaw 16-762, which clarifies requirements of the Stormwater section of the Zoning Bylaw, and Zoning Bylaw 16-764 was needed to address the filing criteria for a limited site plan. With these changes, the Planning Board is hoping to better streamline the application process. The Board continues to help property owners make the desired changes and improvements to their properties while fostering responsible growth and development in the Town of Franklin. 
The Planning Board typically meets twice a month on Mondays at 7:00 PM in the Municipal Building. All Board meetings are open to the public, and are televised via Community Cable Access.
Planning Board Membership
The Planning Board consists of five members and one associate member. The associate member participates in all hearings but only votes on Special
Permits if one of the members is unable to act. The Board members are elected and serve 4-year terms. Below is a list of current Planning Board members:

  • Anthony Padula, Chairman 
  • Joseph Halligan, Vice Chairman 
  • John Carroll, Clerk 
  • Gregory Rondeau 
  • William David 
  • Rick Power, Associate Member
Respectfully submitted,
Anthony Padula, Chairman

the Horace Mann statue stands to welcome folks to downtown Franklin
the Horace Mann statue stands to welcome folks to downtown Franklin
in the front of the new building at 150 Emmons St

Download and read the full Annual Report for the Town of Franklin FY 2016

Prior year annual reports can be found

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