Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Franklin, MA: Planning Board

The Planning Board (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 local Zoning By-Laws (Ch. 185).

The Board works together with the Department of Planning and Community Development, the Department of Public Works, and Town Administration. In addition, the Board receives recommendations from the Design Review Committee on building design, elevation, and signage for commercial site plan permits and from the Conservation Commission on wetland related issues. Two notable projects permitted this year were for a Walgreens Pharmacy, currently under construction at the former location of the “Four Corners School” at the intersection of East Central, King and Cross Streets, and a new performance center/dining hall at the Dean College campus intended to improve and expand its dance and theatre curriculum. The Franklin Center Commons project continued to move forward this year. Construction was completed on the 15 Summer Street building in the fall of 2008. Plans for the demolition and new construction of the front building (12-36 East Central Street) are currently on hold. The town is working closely with the developer to help produce the best possible result for the final phase of this important project in the downtown.

The Board has, and will continue to focus on updating the existing zoning by-laws to more accurately define the needs and goals of the town. This year, the Board reviewed and made recommendations for amending the non-conforming buildings, structures, and uses by-law, which was subsequently approved by the Town Council in December 2008. The Board will also continue 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 7:00PM in the Town Hall. All Board meetings are open to the public, and are televised via Community Cable Access.

This year, the Planning Board saw a significant decrease in the number of applications presented.

Planning Board Activity
(July 2008 through June 2009)
Definitive Subdivisions and
Modifications- 1
Preliminary Subdivisions 0
81P Plans 5
Site Plans 5
Limited Site Plan Modifications 14
Special Permits 6

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. Two seats will be up for election in November 2009.

Current Planning Board members:

Tony Padula, Chairman
Board member since November, 1999

Ron Calabrese, Vice Chairman
Board member since November, 2005

Joseph Gill, Clerk
Board member since January, 2008

Mark Denommee
Board member since November, 2007

Gregory Ballarino
Board member since November, 2007

Joseph Halligan
Associate Member since January, 2008

Please visit our website for additional information including application forms, and regularly posted agendas and meeting minutes at:

Respectfully submitted,
Anthony Padula, Chairman

In the November 2009 Town election, Padula and Halligan were elected to the full member spots. John Carroll was also elected as an associate member. Effectively, Halligan moved from associate to full member to replace Joe Gill and Carroll replaced Halligan as the associate member.

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

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