Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Live reporting: Legislation

1. Resolution 15-02: Authorization to join Bellingham for the FY 2015 CDBG Program Application
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

2. Resolution 15-03: Declaration of Town-Owned Land at 150 Emmons Street (Old Municipal Bldg. Property) as Surplus and Available for Disposition
Kelly recused himself for this and next item

requires 2/3 vote, via roll call
motion to approve, seconded, passed 8-0 (Kelly recused)

3. Resolution 15-04:Authorization for Disposition (Sale) of Town Owned Land @ 150 Emmons Street(Old Municipal Bldg. Property)

dependent upon the prior resolution
motion to approve, seconded, passed 8-0 (Kelly recused)

4. Resolution 15-05: Appropriation: Town Administration: Legal Expenses
Kelly returns to meeting
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

initially had about 45-48,000 added ~30,000, now adding $50,000
primarily for negotiation but also for other legal matters

5. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 15-745: Amendment to Chapter 185, Attachment 7, Part VI, Use Regulation Schedule, Residential Uses, Office Zoning District – 2ND Reading

motion to approve, seconded

Nutting reads the listing of current allowable uses, the proposal would add one more potential use to the land that the town owns, the town would issue a request for proposal

Kelly - is there another way to permit condos
Taberner - no, other than going through 40B, this would be the only way

Nutting- this is the only place in town where this exists

If we get an RFP would get a response
Meeting of EDC next Weds at 6:30 for drafting the RFP
doesn't necessarily mean a residential component will be part of the RFP
doesn't also mean that the RFP will get a response including residential

If by adding the residential component, we should get more interest
we'll get some input at the EDC meeting next

John Edson, 242 Pond St
not in my backyard, would be easy to say
the road is already, won't make the situation any better
there is big difference between high end condos, and multilevel apartment buildings, when it the time to limit
one reason I bought the house is it a very residential area

Kelly - next week is the EDC meeting, input being looked for as to what would be in the RFP; similar to the Emmons St building

Nutting - after crafted next week, it still comes back to this Council for it before it goes out to the street

Paul Sagar - 225 Pond St
there is a lot of traffic and everyone is complaining about it
I'd rather not have it built on at all
From the Starbucks will add 500 cars a day, 
the left turn lane isn't big enough today and now you are talking about adding something else; most every one appreciates the wildlife that is there
you can drive down i495 and see trees on both sides of the road
we came here to get away of the city
there is also government owned land and that is only accessible via this land
refers to the Alan Earls article posted in Franklin Matters

You just sold some land in the middle of town, doesn't seem to be necessary right at this point; a 20% increase in traffic; 20% of 500 is another 100 cars, if you don't have pets, I have lost pets to traffic; vote no

Sandy Verhagen, hilltop road
thanks for the help to folks who have provided help since the last meeting
voting to rezone leaves us unprotected unless restricted while in your control
at the last meeting, one of my questions may not have been heard correctly
there is a way to restrict the zoning, by calculating the space and buildings allowed; I am asking you to protect the residents
I also went back to the tape to hear the residents that would be happy to restrict the zoning, I understand that it is late in the process, why not consider it?
Many are not against development, we understand the need to revenue, I would love to hear some guarantees to allow the residents to participate in the writing of the RFP, not just listening; that the town will build something that is truly needed, that won't depreciate the houses already there.
That if there are going to be offices, they be needed, there are a lot already empty

Lea Botta-Whiting, Pond St
gardens in front of her house
noticed the increase in traffic
I go inside when Tri-County gets out

has an alternative idea, Exit 23, parcel of land
solar farm there, but at least it is green and has far less impact
and the lady slippers which are endangered by the way

if you widen the street, all my gardens are gone
if the land gets developed, the sewer beds will get disturbed and who knows what they'll bring up
energy from the solar power and provides revenue
multiple solar arrays, including
maybe we have a few council members who are real estate, maybe it is a coincidence, maybe they are looking for the business

Bissanti referenced for comments and specifically quoted at times
the answer to the town growing too quickly is not to help it grow more quickly, it would only add 1% to the town's revenue

my husband and I have discussed this on end, the town is rushing to see, certain council members need to recuse themselves from this discussion
remember we elected you, you are supposed to work for us
we do not want rezoning

Gail Ward - Hilltop Rd
I will ask you all to do us a favor, I am thinking 
remember what it was like when you bought you first home, 
when your kids grew up, played in the yard
we don't want our neighbor hood to change, I want my grandchildren to have what my children had, please remember that when you vote

Hager, Pond St

Nutting - the proposed bylaw would allow for 1 unit per 2000 sq ft, it is similar to what we have in other areas of town, applies to several zoning districts around the downtown

yes, it would apply

an acre is 44,000 sq ft and about 22 units per acre

This community is density, it has continued to grow, it has snow balled, there is apathy, it is affecting our entire community

Oak St was a glorious farm when I grew up,we had the space to be able to do that; maybe some of you made that decision to allow the property development

we can talk about the stop light and impacted the life, I can walk to the grocery store, I have drunk driver issues trying to get home at night, it is dangerous for me and for the children, consider our density, building is not a bad thing, we do need blank space

Gail Irwin - Hilltop Road

I know this is a zoning process, and not an RFP process
two week ago, I asked about due diligence, you say look to the RFP and I am asking you to do the job we are asking of you, do that fact finding for the people and more communications than to the 62 people who are abutters, if you allow this continue to move forward, you have failed in delivery to the constituents in the town of Franklin

I know the sewer beds are there, I will not walk my children on Pond St because I am afraid for our safety
why are you selling the building, why not putting in parking, two restaurants have closed because of parking, I don't understand what you are doing. My kids are here, we love the town, I hope someone is going to take care of the new school better than the last one

Stephanie Pazniokas, hilltop road
I understand the motivation behind the sale, revenue from the property, while talking amongst yourself, it may have seemed a no-brainer, I have walked over a hundred houses in the last two weeks, my point is that there are many important points that should not be ignored

In 2010, primarily wet lands and prime forest land of local importance, it should not be imposed upon, well head protection area on the property, only 9.7 acreage available, 5 acres minimal, we are not downtown level and should not be zone for downtown where we are. if residential, it should be restricted.

This is not prime residential for high end condos, the EPA has not tested, but has been tested by other private, is it possible to have the EPA proper EPA investigation; back when the people put everything down their toilets, we have no idea what is there

we were on our way tonight, someone beeped their horn at us when they were in excess speed, and we were in the right; the only time it is light is late at night and very early in the morning

we want any zoning change to be restricted to protect us
we can add specific density there, referring to Cambridge zoning

I would like some clarification from Mr Nutting, some of the road, setbacks, etc would come from the acreage

Nutting - the five acres is the minimum they could use to put in housing, we don't have a proposal to give you a good answer

Let's not assume that the condos won't bring children, I live in one where we have three kids, the prior place had fourteen units and fourteen kids

The RFP is only applicable for the development, if a few years done the road, we would be not protected, please don't run with your intentions

I really truly hope that is not the case, look at alternative sources of revenue

Nutting - EPA paid for our environmental investigation in 2002 and 2009, the paid for the study

access, every RFP would require access to Mine Brook and it would still be part of; 

we did get solar investigated there and it would not be as beneficial as what we have with the Upper Union St solar Farm where we get 80% of our electricity

Condos produce half the traffic that an office would, it is more of an advantage to minimize the impact to the neighbor, far less intrusive than what is allowed by right

the Council has to address 34,000 people
they have to balance the budget and the development with the needs and wishes of the neighbors, the RFP is the vetting process. it has already gone out twice, I appreciate that no one wants change, someday we'll have 40,000 people, I remember well the little pond on oak St and it was private property and there was nothing the town could have done about that.
we are the largest land owner in the town with the green space we have

Steve Quinlin - Pond St
what is the end game? when does it end, how much larger is Franklin going to be in the future?
this is one little small piece, are we going to say we got these bills and do more?
Norfolk and Wrentham, drive downtown there, people don't know where it is, there is nothing there

On the number of units, art 2,000 sq ft, you got 20 units?
400 hundred people

Nutting- our projections say the town will continue to grow, there is a lot of vacant land that is privately owned

Quinlin - about 45,000? you get my general drift, thank you

Paul Sagar - (returning)
you have a one acre lot, 

Nutting - most of the zoning is a 1/4 acre

Sagar - you might put a hundred units there? it doesn't seem possible, the Council has a right to restrict what ever goes there, they control the destiny; you can put in the RFP how much it should be

Nutting- you can put it for 20 years initially

Sutty? - 89 Pond St
I think we are putting more burden on the depts in Town. I am trying to weigh the pros and cons and I don't see pros. Every dept you are going to put a burden on. I started smelling the sewers, and you put in the day care and office building so I can hear the train; if you put something else in, Ill be able to hear the traffic on 495, with all the traffic going in there, how are we going to do it. I haven't found too much good, how much you get from selling this, you going to spend more to support it. I am against the whole thing. I think it is perfect.

? - Oxford Dr
last meeting, when the developer does have empty space, he is still on the hook for the taxes, 

Nutting - we have an 8-10 percent vacancy rate at any point it town, no one will make a proposal thinking it will be empty space

Nutting - I thnk someone is going to invest and propose, you not goign to spec out a $10M office building without a tenant, you wouldn't get financing

Lea Botta-Whiting, retuning
Bissanti would you sell my house

The gentleman is making our case, green space is important, the natural habit animals do better with open space than with office space

John Edson - returning
the govenment should not be part of the growth problem, we don't have control over the private space, over population is a problem, you need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem

Stephanie Pazniokas, returning
economic development opportunity, Franklin largest property owner of green space, if we are continuning to grow, then we should protect what we do have; it is not a large area but a special area

I am not sure it is in the towns best interest to fill up the space when what we don't have control over

Sandy - 
reiterating, you can restrict the density, you have heard it tonight, you can do so in the zoning bylaws

Sherry Lynch, 6 walker road
when you take all those trees down, what is the buffer to be there? what are they going to do to protect them from the highway noise, almost didn't buy with the highway noise as it was; 

Nutting- from years ago the minimum was going to be 75 ft, the brook that runs through the property helps to protect as well as it makes it undevelopable

Lynch - I am thinking of selling and can't do so as everyhting is up in the air
are they goinp to tap into that old sewer line?

Nutting - one along Walker and the other goes under 495 and services pretty much the rest of the town, the structure couldn't be built on; they can't do anything without the town's permission.

Lynch - what are we going to get as a privacy barrier, is there anything else you guys can do to protect those who are living there; what you are going to propose could help the values but could also kill us. My thing was the privacy factor. Realtors don't always tell the truth

Nutting - the topo(graphy) of the area is a dramatic drop off, there is a small section of evergreen, there has been no discussion or decision of the buffer on Pond St

Can you answer an individual each question?
Vallee - You can't ask that
Kelly - She can ask, we don't have to respond

If you were the woman would you vote?
Pfeffer - yes, I would. The income would be 600,000 which the town absolutely needs
Kelly- yes, as an abutter I can have a say now rather than some other alternative

Padula- I'd probably abstain if I was an abutter, this project was almost developed with a hotel potentially begger than what we may get
Do you tink it is in the Town's best interest to not develop this? No, I think we need to

Bissanti - I'd like to remind you that the prior proposal was for the anaerobic digester, and we stopped it. I didn't want 80 garbage trucks taking trash here. We stopped it. I hate to say it, there is a misunderstanding of the RFP process. The developer who did reply wanted apartments, we didn't want that. We all got together and did what was right for Franklin.

I do appreciate that it didn't go in.

Dellorco - I was with Bissanti to support stopping the anaerobic digester. I am against the project

Feldman - we built three beautiful parks in town last year. It affected alot of people and I'll take this case on its merits

Irwin - we did not understand process the last time, we did our homework. What concerns me is that you think we don't understand, we think you have an oppportunity to take some traffic studies, to get an updated EPA study, is it going to be that determental to take a little more time

Bissanti - that will be coming down the road, that comes under the site plan, the RFP has to describe something, I have been asking for an unrestricted RFP, so we could get more, get their different ideas. some you might love, some you might hate. According to our attorney that is what we follow. I don't blame you people that is the way we have to do it

?? - 44 Pond St
why are we rushing to do this? let's take a step back, each one of use represents others who could not be here
we want to trust you that you are going to do what is in our best interest. If you really want to do so, you'll postpone this

Nutting  - the zoning could be changed by the next council, it can not be restricted in perpetuity

Pfeffer - minium of 5 acres for residential, when it goes to the EDC for the RFP crafting they could stipulate some number of units
this isn't over, next week you can come to get some restrictions

Nutting- the RFP drafting will be an open process, 

Sandy - so you could change the bumber 2,000 in the zoning to help restrict

?? - (returning)
with more growth, you need some lands for more fields for the recreation

Feldman - there is ability to restrict the current motion?

Nutting - that would be an amendment to the proposal

Feldman - I am not saying I would oppose it, could we consider delaying
I appreciate your solar efforts but the town is already doing a tremendous job, it is an amazing effort going to a hundred houses, every town would like this effort
1% may not sound like a lot but it can make a difference.

Padula - as members we sit on the horns of this dilema, it almost happened with the last RFP if it had come back with a hotel, you may not have known.
it is okay to compassionate, that is good. If we had sold this property we'd probably have $10M in our coffers. Is it logical to think that we'd never develop that property? It is not realistic.  We're asking to slow this piece, the RFP process is next week but it may also be more than enxt week to complete the process. I would not be in favor of the Emmons St property if it were other than a bank drive through, if I am not comfortable with it. If a hotel goes in, I don't want that to get converted. I want to make sure, is there something we can do to protect us down the road. We want to control that piece. 

Nutting - a zoning change could be done in 2 weeks time
Cerel - there are mechanisms to ensure that you get the development you want, but there are not guarntees due to ecnomic conditions, we have seen in the recent downturn many items

Mercer - I appreciate everyone coming forward tonight. I think everyone has heard and appreciate your concerns, we need to vote on what is in the best interest of the town. It doesn't mean we will do it, the RFP for Emmons st shows that the process does work. When the RFP comes back to the Council, if it comes back without addressing your concerns, I wouldn't support it.

Pfeffer - we are looking at this 2,000, what if we changed that to 3,000.
Nutting- there is no magic number there

Pfeffer - amend motion to change the motion to allow 3,000 sq ft instead of 2,000

Feldman - Why 3,000?

Pfeffer - I was going to go with 4,000 but that would only be ten units, and we want to get a response

vote - 8-1 to approve amendment (Dellorco - no)

Bissanti - I'd like to point out when the traffic studies and trip analysis come back, the development residential is not going to screw up Pond St traffic, we don't want to cut the legs out of the RFP. And that is why we got rid of the anaerobic digester. Some one may ask to put in a sports complex and we'll need to review that. I'd like to see what can be done.

Forster - 
the traffic study won;t get screwed up, it is already that way, I asked to see if you would drive that, not sure if you did. Any addition will screw it up more. 

Bissanti - the Planning Board will hold the developers feet to the fire

Did any of you do the drive on Pond St?

Irwin - while I appreciate, Ms Pfefer's attempt to accomodate us? I would like you consider Mr Feldman's mention of a request to delay to come up with a thoughtout process. I get something will go there, I want a thoughtful consideration and thoughtful compromise

Pazniokas - 
it is not just about the traffic, a lower density would be more attractive to some of the residents, and impact to the other resources of the town, make it more attractive to live there

Difficulty in changing the zoning, I appreciate your efforts. It is not just the traffic but hwo might be living there.

Lea - (returning)
if the traffic is a problem, then why haven't you done something. Story of the truck parked delivering to Starbucks, cars all parked on the side street

Pfeffer - motion to close the discussion
vote to close the question, 9-0

vote on bylaw via roll call
8-1 (Dellorco no)

two minute recess

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