Saturday, July 31, 2010

Franklin, MA: summer reading

Looking for some summer reading?
Something more than a paperback novel or a magazine from the grocery store check out line?

Try the Financial Audit Reports for 2008 and 2009. You can obtain both reports from the town website here:

If you find a term you are not familiar with, look it up with your favorite search engine. The results should include one or two dictionary references, an entry for wikipedia and perhaps some professional references including higher education institutions.

By the time you finish reading and studying, the summer will be over!


By the way - if you are interested in the Town budget documents, you can find the prior years here:

You can find the current Fiscal Year 2011 budget here:

Franklin, MA

Friday, July 30, 2010


6. Amend the zoning by-laws to allow:
“Assisted living” and other elderly housing facilities in residential and certain commercial zones,
Greater densities for housing reserved for the elderly residents.

7. Maintain an inventory of existing housing facilities.
The Town will maintain an inventory of existing housing facilities that details the location of existing affordable housing facilities, 55+ senior developments and 40B housing developments within Franklin (Map 4: Existing Affordable Housing).

8. Identify areas where there is potential for development of affordable housing.

  • The focus area for potential housing development is centered around the Downtown area with a focus on providing multi-bedroom housing units.
  • Provide housing opportunities in the Downtown area where mixed-use and infill development opportunities are available. This area provides the most services and has a housing stock that is generally affordable and can more easily be converted to affordable housing.
  • Allow housing conversions in the Downtown area to allow multi-bedroom housing-units.
  • Consider a multi-family zoning around the central business district by-right rather than requiring a special permit.
  • School land that is owned by the Town of Franklin should be evaluated for residential uses. Housing at schools could be used for teachers and other municipal workers. Renting or leasing to these people may require specific eligibility conditions such as income limits and residency terms.
  • Retain, support, and expand existing affordable housing sites that are scattered throughout Franklin.


The Town of Franklin has postured itself as a key player and stakeholder in the creation of housing consistent with the above stated policy, goals and objectives. The Town reaffirms it commitment to ensure that a variety of housing opportunities exist to meet the diverse needs of its existing and future citizens. The Town looks forward to working with a broad coalition of public and private entities to achieve its affordable housing goals.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website

Franklin, MA: Farmers Market

A friendly reminder that the Farmers Market is open each Friday from now until October. It operates on the Town Common on the corner away from the veterans memorials.

There is a big sign for those on RT 140 at the Davis Thayer School to point you in the proper direction:

There are also quite a few strategically placed signs like this to help spread the word:

Now that you are there, what will you find?
Susan Morrison posted a summary from her recent visit on ActiveRain here:

Tangerini's Farm was recently featured in an article in the Milford Daily News here:

Franklin, MA

In the News - Stormwater regulations

Learn about stormwater regulations next month

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hold the date - Aug 3rd - Sit & Chat - Bill Glynn

Bill Glynn, School Committee member, will hold a "Sit & Chat" on the Franklin Town Common (near the Bandstand, in the Bandstand if it rains) on Tuesday August 3rd from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There is no agenda, it’s just an opportunity to share your thoughts, ask questions, engage in discussion on different topics, etc. The discussion is open to all.

Bring a chair, your thoughts, and perhaps a question or two to the Common near the Bandstand.

Franklin, MA


5. Increase housing opportunities for seniors and the elderly.

  • Encourage affordable housing for the elderly through alternative residential programs such as life-care, assisted, or congregate living arrangements.
  • Evaluate different programs for providing elderly housing.
  • Explore expanding the number of rental opportunities for senior and elderly residents.
  • Encourage development of housing units that can easily be adapted or modified for handicap accessibility as needed.
  • Other options to improve elderly housing include utilizing town-owned land for housing sites and utilizing the senior center for outreach and counseling.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website


4. Encourage development of multifamily housing.

The Town will encourage development of multi-family housing at appropriate locations in Franklin and encourage adaptive reuse of existing buildings for future residential use, particular downtown redevelopment areas. The Town will work towards the redevelopment of the Town’s older sites for a mixture of uses, including lower cost housing for families and the elderly. Methods include:

  • Providing financial incentives through the planning and permitting process;
  • Addressing development impacts;
  • Identifying downtown/mixed use development sites that would be appropriate for redevelopment;
  • Working with property owners to create mixed use developments through incentives such as density bonuses or tax incrementing financing.
  • Utilize Town owned tax-title properties for development of low, moderate, and middle-income housing units.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website

Franklin, MA: fiscal policies

What are the fiscal policies of Franklin?

The policies are published on the Town website (PDF) and can be viewed here:


In the News - three teachers, EMC, Harvest Festival

Franklin's bid to save three teacher jobs fails

EMC workers enjoy kids day

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I know at least one K teacher that will like this article

Wow, this article will generate some conversation!
... as in other studies, the Tennessee experiment found that some teachers were able to help students learn vastly more than other teachers. And just as in other studies, the effect largely disappeared by junior high, based on test scores. Yet when Mr. Chetty and his colleagues took another look at the students in adulthood, they discovered that the legacy of kindergarten had re-emerged.
Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.
All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too.
The economists don’t pretend to know the exact causes. But it’s not hard to come up with plausible guesses. Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance. The tests that 5-year-olds take may pick up these skills, even if later multiple-choice tests do not.
Read the full article in the NY Times here

The study presentation slides can be found here:

And yes, in case you did not know, my wife is a kindergarten teacher.

Franklin, MA

Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan (collection)

Franklin, MA


3. Increase housing opportunities for low, moderate, and middle-income households.

  • Continue to support zoning incentives to encourage low, moderate, and middle-income housing in multi-family developments and residential subdivisions.
  • Continue to support the work of the Housing Trust to identify and develop affordable housing opportunities for a variety of different income levels.
  • Assist affordable housing goals by supporting programs and policies that directly seek related funding and programs.
  • Provide financial incentives through grants from the Housing Trust to encourage reuse of existing housing stock.
  • Pursue funding programs available for assisting with housing efforts.
  • Utilize Town owned tax-title properties for development of low, moderate, and middle-income housing units.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website


2. Ensure that the Town continues to meet and exceed the Chapter 40B goal for subsidized housing.
The Town will explore innovative ways to increase the supply of affordable housing development through the Chapter 40B process to not only maintain the 10% threshold, but to also, exceed the state’s goal of 10% subsidized housing.

A. Methods to be utilized include:

  • Monitor and track all housing projects.
  • Explore a variety of housing opportunities to increase affordable housing units.
  • Update housing plan every 5 years.
  • Support lower cost housing that is affordable in perpetuity.
  • Explore methods for preventing the expiration of affordable units.

B. The Town will work through the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust to ensure the creation of a variety of housing options to reflect the needs of the community. The Trust will prioritize types of development, units, numbers of bedrooms, and locations.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website



The housing strategy was designed to increase affordable housing opportunities with increases in production, retention of existing units, and programs and policies that support these goals. These recommendations were developed through an analysis of available housing data and statistics, current housing issues facing the community and from the applicable goals of the Housing Element of Franklin’s Community Development Plan and “Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan” (2004).

1. Establish a housing task force.
The most important step that the Town of Franklin can take to improve housing is to establish a group of committed local people to lead the housing program – a housing task force. The task force would help solve housing issues with locally administered input and programs and would examine housing supply and
policies. It would be responsible for the following actions:

  • Coordinate goals and efforts,
  • Seek funding opportunities,
  • Provide outreach for tenants,
  • Establish supply and demand for housing,
  • Identify target areas for housing development, and
  • Maximize utilization of resources.

The Town Council should appoint members. It should include a broad range of housing groups such as the Franklin Housing Authority, developers, and the Franklin Downtown Partnership.

In order to successfully implement actions, the task force will need to identify all stakeholders and coordinate goals and objectives as well as focus on implementation strategies. From a functional standpoint, the task force will need to have a budget, expenses, and seek housing funds and grants to support its operation and actions.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website

In the News - house fire, stormwater

Fan starts house fire in Franklin

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan: Conclusion of Existing Conditions

g. Conclusion of Existing Conditions

The Town of Franklin has a unique history of development that has shaped, molded, and influenced the growth of this Massachusetts town. From this synopsis of information, several issues are recognized which will be important in Franklin’s future housing programs and overall planning.

  • Although overall population growth has continued, the most significant population growth has been in middle-age cohorts. These are typically the age groups that have the largest family sizes and live in single-family homes.
  • The gap between the median costs of home ownership and the median, moderate, and low-income levels is very significant. For middle-income buyers, the cost differential is not considered highly significant at this time, so long as the higher income jobs remain available for residents.
  • The amount of buildable land is decreasing while the housing stock is aging. As the Town approaches build-out, the ability to control housing costs by new production will be very limited. Moreover, the potential for future reconstruction and redevelopment pressures suggests that renovation, updating, and infill development policies will be important to the future character of the residential areas, in particular the areas with older housing stock such as the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • With new Census data expected in 2010, the Town anticipates possibly being under the state’s subsidized housing goal of 10% in the next few years. This has important implications for the Town’s housing strategies by providing opportunity to focus new housing development into areas that meet specific local goals and regulations as well as general state mandates in order to meet state subsidized housing goals.
  • The existing water and sewer infrastructure and planned projects appear to adequately support existing and projected population growth and housing development. Recent and planned school facilities also appear to support the future educational needs of the Town's residents.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website

Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan: Executive Summary


A Town’s housing stock is a primary element fundamental to defining a community; it is where the citizens that make-up the heart of each neighborhood reside. The quality and affordability of, as well as the accessibility to housing in a town are often factors that will determine where a person chooses to live. Analyzing historic housing data, current housing trends and projecting future housing needs is a way for a community to plan for the housing needs of its residents. By proactively planning through the development of an Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan, Franklin can assure that the housing needs of its residents are met for all income and ability levels of the community.

The collection and analysis of housing data and statistics revealed the need to improve housing affordability in Franklin, in particular for low, moderate, and middle-income households (both seniors and families). Analysis also revealed, Franklin is in need of a mix of housing types, such as senior and family rental and condominium units, and special needs housing (both physically and mentally challenged individuals). The information collected for this study shows Franklin is approaching its ‘build-out’ of residential sites, and there are several issues that need to be considered:

  • Growth in Franklin is slowing, allowing for a proactive approach to planning for Franklin’s future housing related needs and the residentially zoned areas still available for development; 
  • Growth of single-family homes has slowed; however, there has been steady growth of two-bedroom condominium developments including Over-55 Senior Villages as well as non-age restricted developments.There is also growth noted in larger developments of apartment rental units.
  • Housing is dependent on the types of services a community provides. A quality public school system or private school choices are important. Public transportation is an important factor to potential future residents. Food supplies, shopping facilities and recreation opportunities are also important. The best locations for low- and moderate-income households as well as for the elderly are dependent on where and how these services can be delivered.

The full Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan can be found on the Franklin, MA website

In the News - housing plan, snowy walkways, vandalism

Franklin to encourage affordable, senior housing

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Rash of vandalism hits area

Franklin, MA

Monday, July 26, 2010

Note of distinction

For some readers it may matter to note that

"real time" reporting is when I am able to report in 'real time' via the cable feed or via the Town streamed video

"live" reporting is when I am in the physical room where the meeting is being conducted.

If I report on the meeting from the video archive after the meeting has been conducted, it will just be a meeting recap.

Franklin, MA

real time reporting - Planning Board

I tuned in to the broadcast via the Town website late to find a discussion already underway about a previously approved special permit for 59 units that was looking for advice on how to come back before the board to increase the 59 units by 1. Coincidently, the 60th unit was on the original plans and as part of some deal (not revealed during the discussion) came out of the final special permit that was approved. The development is progressing, triple units authorized have been built and sold. They are looking to make an existing planned (not built) duplex a triplex (as mention restoring one cut from the original plans).

This was interesting in that the Chair while recognizing that the advice was being looked for realized that since it was a special permit issued, the special permit process would have to be followed. The bylaw doesn't allow for modifications of an exiting special permit.

Some of the committee were interested in finding out how willing the developer would be in working with the Board to obtain an agreement. This persisted despite the Chair mentioning a couple of times that this type of discussion was not what we should be doing.

Really all the developer was asking is: "Hey, we have been here before, provided a whole passel of paperwork, now want to add one unit back to the plan. What paperwork do you need?"

All that needed to be said was "Whatever is required for the special permit."

Question: why was the unit cut from the original plans?
Question: why is the developer coming back for the 60th unit now?

Opened hearing for the Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan.
Beth Dahlstrom spoke that this is an update from the 2004 plan and required to be updated every five years by the state. (So it seems we are a year late? or does the clock run from the approval date not submittal date of the last one?)

She is looking for the Planning Board to recommend the plan.
The Board voted to approve the plan with no questions asked about the plan.

One of the members of the Board reminded the Chair that the hearing needed to be closed before voting. The Chair acknowledged that there were no members of the community present (TV camera panning of the Council Chambers revealed only the Milford Daily News reporter) so that there would be no questions from the audience. He asked for a motion to close the hearing. It was moved, second and passed unanimously.

The Chair asked for a motion to vote on the planning document, it was moved, seconded and voted upon unanimously.

The meeting moved to adjourn immediately after.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Traffic Alert (updated)

Main Street and Lincoln Street Construction

Main Street and Lincoln Street from Emmons Street to Moore Avenue will be under construction starting July 15, 2010 to October 2010 for the construction of a new water main. Motorists should expect delays and detours during this time.

UPDATE 07/26/2010

Motorists should avoid Church Square, seeking alternate routes.

Franklin, MA: Planning Board - 07/26/10 - Agenda

Key item on the Planning Board will be the first hearing of the Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan. The Town Council received this 34-page document last week and deferred discussion on it until their next meeting as they did not have time to read it.

The document can be found here:

The agenda for the Planning Board:

Franklin MA Planning Board Agenda 7-26-10

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chestnut St curbing

A recent run down Chestnut St revealed work to install some curbing along the road before the final layer of asphalt is laid.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Franklin, MA