Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Live reporting - 150 Emmons St

Motion to approve minutes for the meeting
– February 12, 2014 Regular and Executive Session- To be released

motion seconded, passed via roll call. 9-0

150 Emmons Street

Nutting - still waiting on pre-construction hearing for the downtown project, maybe May now rather than sooner. We did have a study a year ago on the condition of the building, basically in excess of $2M for renovations on the existing site. Would be very expensive to save the building.

Padula - after talking with a lot of folks, there is no decision tonight, I have heard a number of arguments. This is going to stand on its own merits. We do need more discussion to determine what we want there. There are a lot of factors in play. I have not made up my mind on anything. To slow this down is not a valid reason.

Lisa Piana - Executive Director for the Downtown Partnership
recently letter sent asking for time to develop additional recommendations/ideas
there is no downside to inviting the community in the process
the March 4th workshop was a great stop, impression was this was the first of many meetings
there should be no rush to sell the property, the land will increase in value as the work is being done
there are 5 key questions to be answered

  1. what are the specific goals for the property?
  2. what is the plan for where businesses will park during the project?
  3. how will loosing the 50 parking spaces affect the downtown businesses?
  4. what will the new traffic patterns be after the traffic is re-routed with the new 2-way?
  5. what state funding is available if the Council considers green space or cultural center?

We are fortunate to have this property and bring something special to the gateway to Franklin
Calls and emails as a result of the drive through
allow us time to develop these ideas and research funding options
take the time to answer the five questions, the community will be more comfortable with the future

I appreciate your time tonight and meeting with us as a group and individually over the past several weeks
this is an important project for the community

Claire Griffin
reads the Open Letter (published earlier) and petition

signed by over 500 citizens, all Franklin residents between online and hard copy

Richard Huff
my wife and I are on the listing
I have an idea, new assistant office for a non-profit in town
great constituency, non-profit
an incubator for non-profits focus on growing the value of the community
we have some short comings, the diversity is lacking
lot of us are white males, silent or invisible disabilities that are just becoming known and will need to be addressed
there are non-profits out there, who could try and partner to

Jim Schultz
thanks for voicing your opinion Councilor Padula, it is good to hear that
I would like to explore the cultural aspect
cultural district is in the works, the Master Plan was approved by this Council
there are points in the Master Plan, goals are grounded in Town property
what is the proper use of this property? developing a coordination among the groups
great deal of concern about where the funding will come from, the cultural district will potentially provide that
communication is something we need to do a better job at
highlighted several sections of the opening goals of the Master Plan
glad that there seems to be an interest in having this discussion

Max Morrongiello
we live in a commonwealth and that means a lot to me
I was born in NJ and the state didn't provide the support I needed
I wouldn't be where I am today if the schools here didn't provide
a greenspace is about a community
I think we need to take this slow, if we decide a park, it will be here a long time
this will be a monument to our character and I want that to be here for all of us

Susan Sheridan
I think this conversation is just beginning
I was blindsided about some development ideas without having involved the community
research, stakeholders, things like these do not happen overnight
people are willing to sit on committees to see what it would take to do this
once it is sold, it is gone forever
it would be part of the cultural district
it would be beneficial to have a jewel in the gateway
let's take the time, get the community involved

Jane Curran
20 year business owner, 37 year resident
number one concern is with the upheaval due to the downtown streetscape project
where would the overflow go due to the disruption, at that time, the area around the municipal building would have been a solution
spoke to Stevn Greenberg, in Ashland, who recalled a particular shop that had closed due to the construction there
the traffic low is a concern, we don't know what it will be
it is a science, a science of guesswork, two lanes of traffic, if we don't wait and see, we would be compounding the guess

Michael Doherty
newcomer, only here for 27 years
nothing happens quickly, move forward at a reasonable pace
and simultaneously encourage other development
create a competition of ideas
since 2003 it has sat there
we need to change the status quo
we need hard proposals, it is right to say it is unique
having a private citizen willing to invest is also rare, Roger Callarese is a good developer
there is no deal to sell it to Roger, there is a lot of time to elapse
explain it to the folks, design review, planning board, all opportunities for the public to be involved
if you stop the process, you stop the town
it is hard to take the concept to take an idea to brick and mortars
lets work parallel programs, how much will it cost, how much will it benefit the town?

John Griffin
I have no opinion as to what should be done
I am of opinion that nothing should be done right now
preserve your options, there is value in that
waiting, that entire triangle, it is an accident of history, Rockland Trust
there could be an opportunity to do something meaningful there
reduce some of the cookie cutter aspect
it is an odd thing
there is no crime no sin in waiting
there is a great deal to be said for waiting

Alan Mercer
I think a couple of things
let's not stop this just to stop the process
many are confused, what is the process, RFI, RFP?
we are frustrated as we are not part of it
it has been around there but now here
we want to be part of the process
I am clearly in favor of the cultural district
if we have some time, we can do the next sensible thing, a find raising feasibility study
there are groups and families and businesses that might want to be recognized
there is no shortage of contractors in this town
perhaps they could do something for us
38 foundations support cultural and community
make sure we are all part of the process

Guy Rezendis
I went to kindergarten in that school
you have an opportunity to do something good
it doesn't have to be one or the other
a great opportunity for the gateway
pause, the businesses are going to get hurt, help them
echo those thoughts, rather than repeat what has been said
pause and think to get the ideas from the community

Brian Kelly
Asst Vice President for Capital Planning at Dean College
in favor of whatever will enhance the community
we have made changes at Dean to give it a sense of place, a sense of identity
there is a lot of research that shows that brings community brings civic pride, makes Franklin different from our neighbors
needs to be unique and a signature entrance to the community
we have been here for 150 year, we will be here for another 150 years

Cindy Rich
Quilt shop owner, in business after 10 years
two concerns, one what is going to happen when the streetscape is going on
I have 7 employees and 5 are residents, the work they depend upon
celebrating the ten year anniversary this year
need to do something creative, the process should be fair and transparent

Jim Hill
resident for 37 years
I patronize the businesses downtown
I am empathetic for those who would be doing business
a council should not do anything that would have even a small impact on their livelihood
it doesn't make sense
Mr Nutting mentioned we have this property for over a hundred years
I don't see why we would give up this space

Peter Liner (?)
I have talked to a lot of people, I haven't heard that we need another drive through or an other office space
I am advocating stopping

Claire Griffin
We used to have a community center
the pipes burst, it did not get rebuilt, the families lost the opportunity to go
the scouts lost their place to have meetings
it was a crappy building, but it was there
having a place where families and non-profits, community groups can gather

Lisa Buccelli
23 year resident of Franklin
how often we like to name things and share our history
what do we want our town to be known for
I don't want our town to be know for how many Dunkins; or Starbucks, are here
We need to incorporate Dean like NH has done
we need to make our community a walking community
we don't need another Walgreens in our gateway
have you tried to get out of Chipotle's
it is a disaster

Judy Pfeffer
reading a statement from the Citizens Committee
the committee was formed to enhance the community
the recycling center improvements, Dean College station improvements
the site is better suited for commercial business
curb cut should be done before the building is completed so it would not be re-done when the streetscape is done
suggestions that the site is suitable for a park is not well reasoned
the towns history of property maintenance is abysmal at best
needs to be an ongoing discussion of public and private section
recommends that a request for interest be solicited
request process will take months
waiting for the next few years is not in the towns best interest

we are elected to serve 30,000 folks
one misconception, there was a meeting in October where the developer mentioned a drive through
this did start in Oct 2012, this did start sometime ago
my goal for this property is the highest and best use for Franklin
what is the plan for business parking?
I decided to do a study
18 open spaces during three times a day during march
currently a portion leased to the Post Office
the new traffic pattern was heavily looked at during the streetscape project
our building does have a hole in in, a $2M dollar hole
how to raise money for our roads
how do we get the lawn in front of the fire station cut as our DPW is so short staffed
nothing happens quickly, this has been on the agenda since 2004, I appreciate that you are all interested
I would love to see the downtown expanded to include to the Town Common

I would request an expression of interest be referred back to the EDC to be put on legislation for action

I think something needs to be done
absolutely not open to any time delay, that accomplishes nothing
this is the very beginning, I think they need to continue
money is going to be an issue
we need to do more with parking
maybe expand the free meters so folks will know at least they can get something

Mike Doherty stole part of may speech, Peter stole the other so I'll just wing it
I realize it is not all about the money, when the anaerobic digester came to Pond St, it was not the right move
what the best we can do is be transparent and input as much as we can, expression of interest
let's keep moving forward, this will not happen fast
after those steps, then the person will need to go through the Planning Board
we know we have to make a decision sooner or later
there are hard decisions, we represent the whole community

I don't want to rush into this, I am excited about the community interest
I would like to hear of the interests before we going with an RFP
we should have some answers before going forward
where are we going to put Franklin Recreation?
parking in our downtown, the Council looked at purchasing the Old Masonic Hall to alleviate parking
thank you to the residents who came out tonight

I spend more time downtown than most people do
this is my home, this is my stomping ground
you will find some photos there of what this building used to look like it was the high school until Davis Thayer opened, it was barberized and I am not fond of it now
Ryan Jette and the Recreation operate a self sustaining budget, they need a better space
I am a member of the downtown partnership
there is no doubt we have a parking issue
I would like to approach Rockland Trust in hopes of partnership with them that we might be able to make available
I am looking forward to having the Black Box opening
the streetsscape, will be a problem, in order to get it better we have to destroy it
150 Emmons St can be and will be a good gateway
we own Horace Mann a dedication, parking, now that leaves the remainder of the lot
what is it going to be, I don't see purpose in delaying it

statutory guidelines for RFP
expression of intent before hand will help to craft the RFP and focus
the RFP has to stand by itself

we do need to do a better job explaining what is going on
short term vs long term
cognizance of the business concerns
would the value of this property be higher after?

in listening to what has been said here tonight, there is truth along all sides
go with the expression of interest, see what happens, a great compromise
it doesn't stop things, we have been sitting on it and need to move forward
let's get every bodies ideas, what is viable

I think the value of the building wil really be determined by the proposal
what the property use will be will affect the sale price
is the motion to put on the next agenda for a request for interest for 90 days to the EDC and a report to the Council in Sep

vote on roll, unanimous via roll

announced that there would be a 5 minute recess
the crowd empties the Council Chambers

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