Saturday, January 2, 2016

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 1/1/16 - THU 1/7/16

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

SATURDAY 1/2/16
1pm   Adult Coffee and Craft: Earrings and a bracelet at the Franklin Public Library

WEDNESDAY 1/6/16
6:30pm   Franklin Art Association Meeting at Franklin Senior Center. Open to public. Demonstration by pastel painter Liz Haywood Sullivan.

For all the Town of Franklin Public Meetings click HERE.

For event details click HERE.

*If you have any suggestions or events for the calendar, please email Renata@BetterLivingRE.com

Planning for the US Army Corps of Engineers Natural Valley Storage Area

From Alan Earls

​Dear Colleagues and Neighbors, 
I am writing to you in regard to the hundreds of acres of mostly contiguous open space land within Bellingham, Franklin and Medway that are part of the US Army Corps of Engineers Natural Valley Storage Area. I have had the opportunity to meet most of you at some point in the last 10 months so you will be aware of my effort to gather support for improved public access to this land. In the course of this period I have met with Metacomet Land Trust, the Conversation Commission of Bellingham, and the Open Space Committee of Medway as well as talking with several officials in Franklin. 
In September Representative Jeff Roy (D-Franklin) and Representative Kevin J. Kuros (R- Uxbridge) joined me for a morning of driving and walking around the property. Both men expressed surprise at the extent of the property and indicated a willingness to seek “seed” funding, perhaps for an engineering study, to look at how public access could be improved.

In hopes of building some momentum together, I have reserved a meeting room at the King Street fire station in Franklin to discuss how those of us in each of our three communities can better work together toward this goal while also working effectively with US and Massachusetts officials involved in management of the property. 
Specifically, I would like to include on the agenda:

  • Developing an inventory of existing or potential public access points...
  • Sharing experience/insights about working across communities and state/federal jurisdictions
  • Clarifying potential “next steps” toward making the “Charles River Meadowlands” an integral part of the open space picture across our three towns.
Mine Brook flows into the Natural Valley Storage Area
Mine Brook flows into the Natural Valley Storage Area


The meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan 28, 2016 from 6:30- 8:30 PM


LOCATION:

  • John Durand Memorial Fire Station
  • Station #2
  • 600 King Street
  • Franklin, Massachusetts

Annual Report - 2015: Public Library


Franklin's Community Vision

“To be a vibrant community that supports the arts, nonprofit organizations, higher education and businesses in an atmosphere that allows growth and prosperity while at the same time conserving our heritage, natural resources, and history. We will build on and celebrate our uniqueness as a
community and maintain the quality of life that is a strength and competitive advantage.”

Franklin's Public Library, 118 Main St
Franklin's Public Library, 118 Main St

Franklin Public Library Vision

Franklin Public Library strengthens the Town of Franklin’s culture of learning, innovation and engagement.

Highlights and New Services:

Facility
Plans to address code issues, renovate and expand the facility are underway. The Library is profoundly grateful for the hard work and diligence of the Building Committee.

Services:
Sunday hours have made easy, continuous and convenient access to the library possible for all Franklin residents.


Collections - The Digital Branch

Expanding access and resources beyond the physical building is a library priority. In 2015, the library added five new databases, bringing the library’s digital collection to eight. In addition to the e-book collection from Overdrive, Hoopla for e-audio books, music and movies, and genealogy and Ancestry, Franklin residents of all ages now have unlimited access, anytime, anywhere to online resources for research, education, personal growth and entertainment.


New databases

1.Rosetta Stone
With a simple log-in through the Library, Franklin residents now have the freedom to learn a new language free of charge whenever, wherever, they choose from the leading provider of online services designed to help people master a new language. The Rosetta Stone can be accessed on almost any device with a mobile app. and provides instant feedback, fun activities and expert guidance for differing learning styles or core lessens that build reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

11. Learning Express 
Library an online test preparation database with over 800 practice tests and self paced study opportunities to help Franklin Residents achieve their educational and career goals free of charge.

Featured resources include:

1. Adult Learning Center
• Build math, grammar, writing and reading skills.

2. Become a U.S. Citizen
• Prepare for the Citizenship Exam
• Get a Green Card

3. College Center

Math Skills Review
• Algebra
• Basic Math
• Calculus
• Geometry and Measurement
• Trigonometry
• Statistics
• Logic and Reasoning
• Quantitative Comparison and Word Problems

Reading Skills Review
• Reading Comprehension
• Vocabulary and Spelling

Grammar and Writing Skills Review
• Grammar
• Writing
• Public Speaking

Science Skills Review
• Chemistry
• Biology

Prepare for Graduate School Admissions Exams
• GMAT Preparation
• GRE Preparation
• LSAT Preparation
• MAT Preparation
• PCAT Preparation

Prepare for College Placement Exams
• ACCUPLACER Preparation
• ASSET Preparation
• COMPASS Preparation
• College Placement Preparation eBooks

Prepare for the CLEP* Exams
• CLEP* Preparation

4. College Preparation Center

Prepare for Your ACT Test
• Prepare for Your ACT Test
• ACT Practice Tests

Prepare for Your SAT Test
• SAT Test Preparation Tutorial
• SAT Practice Tests

Prepare for your AP* Exam
• Practice for Your AP Exam
• AP Exam Preparation eBooks

Prepare for Your PSAT/NMSQT Test
• Practice for Your PSAT/NMSQT Test
• PSAT/NMSQT Test Preparation Prepare for Your TOEFL Test
• Practice for Your TOEFL Test College Admissions Essay Writing
• Learn to Write a College Admissions Essay

5. High School Equivalency Center

Build Your Basic Skills
• Build Your Reading Skills
• Build Your Writing Skills
• Build Your Math Skills
• Build Your Grammar Skills
• Build Your Vocabulary and Spelling Skills

Prepare for the GED® Test
• Learn About the New GED® Test
• Reasoning through Language Arts
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Science
• Social Studies

6. School Center

Elementary School
• Math Skills Improvement
• Reading Comprehension Skills Improvement

Middle School
• Math Skills Improvement
• Reading Comprehension Skills Improvement
• Writing and Grammar Skills Improvement
• Social Studies Skills Improvement
• Vocabulary and Spelling Skills Improvement
• High School Entrance Exams Preparation

High School
• Logic and Reasoning Skills Improvement
• Math Skills Improvement
• Reading Comprehension Skills Improvement
• Science Skills Improvement
• Social Studies Skills Improvement
• Statistics Skills Improvement
• Trigonometry Skills Improvement
• Vocabulary and Spelling Skills Improvement
• Writing and Grammar Skills Improvement

7. Career Center

Learn More about a Career
• Allied Health
• Caseworker
• Culinary Arts
• Firefighting
• Green Careers
• Homeland Security
• Law Enforcement
• Legal
• Nursing
• Teaching
• Career Information for Veterans

Prepare for an Entrance Exam
• Prepare for Allied Health Programs Entrance Tests
• Prepare for Nursing School Entrance Tests

Prepare for an Occupation Exam
• Allied Health
• Air Traffic Controller
• Civil Service
• Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
• Cosmetology
• Culinary Arts
• Emergency Medical Services
• Firefighting
• Homeland Security
• Law Enforcement
• Postal Worker
• Nursing
• Real Estate
• Plumbing
• Teaching

Join the Military or Become an Officer
• Prepare for the ASVAB
• Prepare for the Military Flight Aptitude Tests
• Prepare for the Officer Candidate Tests
• Prepare for the CFAT

Job Search and Workplace Skills
• Improve Your Job Search, Interviewing, and Networking Skills
• Build Your Workplace Skills

111. Reference USA
Reference USA is the premier source for consumer and business information. With access to over 24 million US businesses it is a valuable tool for students, job seekers and small business owners/entrepreneurs.

1V. Zinio - Magazine newsstand
The world's largest newsstand offering free full color to digital magazines from the library’s collection of popular titles with no holds, no checkout periods, and no limits to the number of magazines that Franklin residents can download. Zinio can be accessed on variety of devices including iPads, iPhones, Android, Macs, and the PC.

V. America’s Genealogy Bank with America’s Obituaries and Dearth Notices

This new database is now available to Franklin residents with your Minuteman Library Card, America’s Genealogy Bank provides Web-based access to nearly 241 million of United States core genealogical records from 1690 to the present day. Most of these sources are unique to this collection and are difficult to find on microfilm or in print. Through basic name search or advanced search options, genealogists can find and browse digital images of obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements, casualty lists, military and government documents, and other essential primary sources. It also provides the full text of modern U.S. newspaper obituaries and death notices, as well as enhanced Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records. By searching more than 151 million records found in more than 4,600 historical U.S. newspapers and other sources, researchers can quickly find their ancestors in obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements and other items.

To access databases Go to www.mln.lib.ma.us Click on Databases Enter your library card number, and select the database.

Outreach - Partnering with the Schools

Outreach efforts to the Franklin Public Schools, the Charter School and Tri-County included:
• Library visits to the schools to read, share information and meet with parents.
• School Library orientation programs and tours.
• Library card campaigns at the schools.
• Teen book discussion group.
• Sharing programming information and services with the schools.
• Regularly scheduled reading programs at the Library.
• Library's year round 'get ready for kindergarten' program.
• Free Tutoring/ homework assistance for students in grades 2-8.
• Free books for Franklin school teachers for their classrooms at the library's monthly book sales.
• Library books /digital collections developed to assist students complete assignments throughout the school year.
• Summer reading programs and lists
• Hosting the Charter School Art show for the sixth year in a row.

Programs

In FY2015, the Library offered nine powerful weekly programs designed to increase reading readiness, support school readiness, improve learning outcomes, teach technology and programming skills and create informal learning environments for tweens and teens.

In addition, three monthly clubs (Lego club, genealogy club, adult coffee and craft) transformed library visits into teachable moments and social gatherings for youngsters, families and adults.

Monthly adult programs included author visits, ghost stories, computer workshops and open computer labs.


Special thanks



  • The Franklin Library Association gift

We are very grateful to the Franklin Library Association (FLA) whose generous donation of $28,750 allowed us to expand the digital collection and purchased 15 laptops, 15 chrome books, a digital cart, a 3D printer and supplies. Their generosity provided the financial support needed to
establish Technology Talk for teens and tweens, technology workshops for adults and an open computer lab.


  • The Friends of the Franklin Library Gift

All of the 2015 Summer programming has been funded through a generous donation of $10,000 by the Friends of the Franklin Library. We are thankful for their financial support and commitment to the Library.


  • The Town Council for the FY2016 Budget

Town Council approved a 2% increase of the FY 2016 budget. Although this modest increase is $271,024 short of the $962,020 Municipal Appropriation Requirement, we are grateful for the stability and continuity it provides.


  • Digital Credit Union's $4,000 gift will significantly impact Library Services.



  • The Mom's Club of Franklin North's donation of $250 for improvements in the Children's room is welcome and inspiring.


The Library values the vision set forth by the Library Board of Directors, the continued support of the Town Council, Finance Committee, Town Administrator, the Friends, the Franklin Library, the Franklin Library Association, our hard working staff and volunteers.

Exploring additional funding revenue streams going forward

The Library Board has begun exploring the establishment of a Foundation to support the Library's capital and the operational needs

Respectfully submitted,

Felicia Oti
Library Director

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"Prior to November 1 of each year, the Town Clerk shall cause to be prepared and made available to the inhabitants of the Town an annual report for the preceding fiscal year which shall include: the annual Town budget, the reports of all Town officers, the records of all Town Council bylaw amendments and resolutions, an abstract of births, marriages and deaths, and the wages, salaries, or other compensation of all Town employees." [Added 5-2-2012 by Bylaw Amendment 12-681]


Shared from the full and complete PDF version of the Town of Franklin Annual Report for 2015



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The library expansion plans were approved after the Annual Report entry was completed

although the presentation to the Town Council occurred in April 2015

The architect document can be viewed here (PDF)

The library has its own blog where it posts upcoming events  http://franklinpl.blogspot.com/

In the News: robbery suspects, EMC announces job cuts

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin

Police have released photos of two suspects in the Middlesex Savings Bank robbery that occurred Wednesday morning. 
According to an updated press release sent out Thursday night, "police are now searching for a dark-colored BMW 3 Series four-door sedan." An earlier description suggested the suspects might have used a Volkswagen to flee the Franklin Village Shopping Plaza area. 
Anyone with any information related to the robbery should contact the Franklin Police Department at 508-528-1212.

Two male suspects in the Wednesday bank robbery in Franklin VIllage Plaza. One of the suspects is thought to be light-skinned.
Two male suspects in the Wednesday bank robbery in Franklin Village Plaza. One of the suspects is thought to be light-skinned. Franklin Police via Milford Daily News

The dark-colored BMW 3 Series four-door sedan that two male suspects allegedly used to flee the scene.
The dark-colored BMW 3 Series four-door sedan that two male suspects allegedly used to flee the scene. Franklin Police via Milford Daily News

For more on the robbery, read the Milford Daily News coverage.


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In regulatory filings, Hopkinton storage giant EMC Corp. announced it would restructure its business and cut jobs before its $67 billion takeover by Dell. 
According to the filings, EMC said the restructuring would save $850 million a year, but did not say how many people would lose their jobs. The layoffs would be complete by early 2016.

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20151231/emc-announces-job-cuts

In the News: FHS boys basketball fund raiser, Seniors feedback sought

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin

The Franklin High School Boys Basketball Boosters will hold an adult-only fundraising event from 7 p.m. to midnight Jan. 16 at the Franklin Elks Hall, 1077 Pond St. 
The evening will include raffle items, 50/50 raffle, DJ entertainment, light appetizers and a cash bar. 
The cost is $20 per person, and all proceeds will benefit the FHS Boys Basketball program. 
Tickets can be reserved and will guarantee entry. To reserve tickets, mail a check (postmarked by Jan. 12) payable to: FHS Boys Basketball Boosters Club and mailed to: FHS Boys Basketball Boosters Club; Karen Mahon, 11 Lost Horse Trail, Franklin, MA 02038. 
To pay at the door, admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis, limited to 175 people. 
For more information, contact Karen Mahon at karen.mahon11@gmail.com.
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20151231/franklin-highs-boys-basketball-boosters-to-hold-fundraising-event-for-adults


In an effort to help seniors better connect with state services, State Rep. Jeffrey Roy (D-Franklin) will be hosting a "community conversation" on the matter this month. 
The conversation - scheduled to take place in the Franklin Senior Center on Friday, Jan. 15 at 10:30 a.m. - will feature State Rep. Denise Garlick (D-Needham), the chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. 
Garlick - a registered nurse - and Roy will be speaking about the $3.5 billion in senior programs offered by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and MassHealth. 
"This is to make sure that folks are aware of the services available, to get a sense of what we do in the state government and to get feedback on the areas where we're not doing enough," Roy said.
Senior Center - Jan 15, 2016
Senior Center - Jan 15, 2016

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160101/legislator-to-host-conversation-with-seniors

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year Franklin!

This will be the only post today. If there is other news that is share worthy, it can wait until Saturday. 

What matters today is spending time with family and friends!


happy new year Franklin!
Spruce Pond on Christmas morning

Note: With the New Year holiday falling on Friday, the weekly calendar will be posted on Saturday, Jan 2, 2016.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Residents invited to help Franklin Federated reach fundraising goal

Franklin Federated Church nears $500,000 Restoration Campaign Goal

Church is asking the community to help close the fundraising gap


Just over a month after launching a capital campaign dedicated to funding substantial repairs and updates to its historic buildings, the Franklin Federated Church is closing in on its $500,000 goal.

As of December 28, $485,515 had been pledged to the campaign by church members and friends, to be paid over the next three years. More than $113,500 in contributions have been received and work has begun on several much-needed projects.

We are excited to be so close to achieving our goal," said campaign co-chair Allan Sawyer. "At this point, we are asking the community to help us get there." Campaign co-Chair Tom Pfeifle added that "the Franklin Federated Church is a tangible symbol of Franklin's history, providing a continuous link to the town's origins."

Situated on the southwest corner of the town common at 171 Main Street, the church has long been an important center of activity in the town. Meals on Wheels uses the kitchen, Temple Etz Chaim uses the sanctuary for high holidays, and Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and various support groups also meet there. The church hosts a popular annual yard sale and a Christmas concert, and has opened its doors in times of need, such as following the vigil for Lexi and Sean Munroe on Franklin Common.


Franklin Federated Church
Franklin Federated Church

The congregation is a Welcoming and Affirming congregation, meaning that all people are invited to be a part of the mission and ministry of the church. The congregation supports organizations locally and around the world, such as the Franklin Food Pantry, the Santa Foundation, New Hope, the Boston Grow Clinic and Church World Service.

In keeping with the Franklin Federated Church's mission to give back to the community, a portion of the funds raised will be donated to the New Hope RESPECT programs. The RESPECT programs reach out to, and help restore, families in our community that are broken down by violence.

Franklin residents who have benefited from using the building over the years are invited to consider helping with the restoration effort. Contributions can be made via the website: ffcrestoration.weebly.com or checks made out to Franklin Federated Church can be mailed to Franklin Federated Restoration Campaign, 171 Main St., Franklin, MA 02038.

The church's history is entwined with the town's founding. The First Congregational Church was formed in 1738, when it broke off from the Congregational Church of Wrentham. This effectively marked the beginning of the Town of Franklin, which had previously been considered the West Precinct of Wrentham. The First Congregational Church joined with the First Baptist Church in 1941, forming the Federated Church. The two congregations had begun worshiping together after the hurricane of 1938 destroyed the First Baptist Church's building on School Street.

The current church building, constructed in 1895, features a sanctuary with a high vaulted ceiling, exposed wooden beams and large stained glass windows. The church building needs substantial work to repair damage from age and the elements, and to improve the accessibility and functionality of the space. Some necessary improvements include replacement of the heating system, work to both roof and foundation to stop the incursion of water, and the installation of upgraded fire safety and electrical systems. The parsonage, which sits next to the church and which was built in 1868, is also in need of new heating and drainage systems. The parsonage houses the pastor, Rev. Charley Eastman, and his family.

Franklin Federated Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches, USA.

For more information, contact the campaign co-chairs: Allen Sawyer, allen.sawyer@comcast.net or 508-346-3120; and Tom Pfeifle, nashpfeifle@gmail.com or 508 361-1954.

Annual Report - 2015: Police Department


I would be remiss if I did not thank the members of the Franklin Police Department for their fine work throughout the year. Once again, were it not for the hard work and dedication our Police Officers have for their jobs and the Franklin Community we would not be hailed as one of the Safest Places to Live in Massachusetts for the 2015 Year. This by the way is the third such distinction in as many years.

It goes without saying that you, the Community Members and Residents of Franklin play a very large part in this distinction. The phrase “voluntary compliance” comes to mind. The meaning is just that and it is a credit to all of you who live, work and travel through our Community. Town Government also plays a significant role in the designation as a “Safest City”. The decisions at the government level affect each and every one of us daily. There are those who may criticize, but the proof is in the pudding, Franklin is a fine community to live and raise your family in. We offer any number of extracurricular activities for our young people and with the most recent forming of our Opioid Abuse Coalition, Franklin has shown its willingness and concern to address the more serious issues faced by society today.


Police Station - 911 Panther Way
Police Station - 911 Panther Way

I’ve learned many things since becoming your Chief of Police. First and foremost is that there are more often than not three sides to any given story and that it is na├»ve to believe that any one person can satisfy or make everyone happy. I speak not only for myself but for my police employees as well, men and women that I work very closely with on a daily basis. We face head-on the challenges of trying to always “get it right”; something I say to you in all confidence that we do very well. To think differently of your Police Officers is a disservice.

If you have a question, complaint or misunderstanding I encourage you to call my office @ 508-440-2709 and we can have a discussion that will answer all of your questions so you may have a better understanding of the police department’s mission and position.

The dynamics of our Society have made us realize that arrest and detention is not the one and only answer for society’s ills. Don’t get me wrong because there are those incidents in which arrest and detention are the only answers, but to that end we need to listen, seek out appropriate resources for those in trouble and point them in the right direction. Policing has become much more of an “Outreach” style of profession as opposed to the old days of strictly being a Law Enforcing profession and that balance can oftentimes be very difficult. As we move forward time and experience will tell us if this approach has been a turn for the better.

I thank you all once again for a challenging and rewarding year as Chief of Police.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephan H. Semerjian
Chief of Police



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"Prior to November 1 of each year, the Town Clerk shall cause to be prepared and made available to the inhabitants of the Town an annual report for the preceding fiscal year which shall include: the annual Town budget, the reports of all Town officers, the records of all Town Council bylaw amendments and resolutions, an abstract of births, marriages and deaths, and the wages, salaries, or other compensation of all Town employees." [Added 5-2-2012 by Bylaw Amendment 12-681]


Shared from the full and complete PDF version of the Town of Franklin Annual Report for 2015


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For additional info on the Police Dept visit their page on the Town of Franklin website

Follow the Police Det on Twitter  https://twitter.com/franklinpolice



Sir Robert Peel 's Principles of Law Enforcement - 1829 (PDF)

Both FHS hockey teams close out 2015 with loses

In the last competition of 2015, the boys hockey team lost in the finals of the Mount St Charles Tournament and the girls hockey team lost to Westwood.
Thanks to Hockomock Sports for the results to share here.

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Boys Hockey


  • Franklin, 2 vs. St. Joseph, 4 – Final



Girls Hockey


  • Franklin, 1 @ Westwood, 5 – Final



For the remainder of the results around the Hockomock League on Wednesday
http://www.hockomocksports.com/wednesdays-schedule-scoreboard-123015/

Annual Report - 2015: Department of Planning & Community Development


The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) maintains a professional staff that provides the Town of Franklin with a wide array of planning services. DPCD’s mission is to plan and implement comprehensive policies and initiatives that work to fulfill the land userelated goals of the people of Franklin. We make every effort to maintain the character of the community while enhancing its economic vitality.

DPCD’s activities and services include, but are not limited to, comprehensive planning economic development, subdivision plan, site plan and conservation plan review, historic preservation, downtown revitalization, zoning bylaw and subdivision regulation development, brownfields redevelopment, affordable housing, open space and wetlands preservation, public transportation, transit oriented development, and sustainable development including use of smart growth and low impact development concepts. The Department regularly identifies and sources funding for various community development projects and activities. DPCD balances its approach to these initiatives through long-term planning and public participation.

Department Personnel

The DPCD’s staffing reflects the diverse skills needed to complete the many activities and roles the Department participates. DPCD’s staff consists of the following:

  • Bryan Taberner, Director
  • Beth Wierling, Town Planner
  • George Russell, Conservation Agent
  • John Allen, Program Coordinator
  • Kathy Celorier, Conservation Secretary and Administrative Assistant


The DPCD manages an Intern Program to assist DPCD staff and other Town departments with administrative and technical assistance. The work performed by DPCD interns is extremely important to the Department’s productivity. Interns work on a wide range of community development and economic development issues.


Support of Town Boards, Commissions and Committees

DPCD personnel provide staff support to several boards, commissions and committees, including the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Design Review Commission, Technical Review Committee, and the Town Council’s Economic Development Sub-committee. Approximately 60 to 65 percent of the Department’s total staff hours are utilized on Planning Board and Conservation Commission related issues. In addition, DPCD staff occasionally provide professional technical assistance to other public entities including Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, and various ad hoc committees including the Town’s Master Plan Committee.

Site Permitting and Guidance

DPCD is not a permit granting authority; its function during the permitting process is to integrate laws, regulations and plans with the Town’s goals to ensure that the best interests of the Town and its residents are served. DPCD personnel organize and attend meetings, provide technical assistance, offer professional opinions, and guide developers, businesses and residents through the Town’s various permitting processes.


Conservation

DPCD provides support to the Conservation Commission, as provided by MGL Chapter 131, Section 40. Conservation Staff, specifically the Town’s Conservation Agent, is responsible for speaking for the Conservation Commission when they are not present (see separate Conservation Commission Report). Although not a permit authority, the Conservation Agent does have limited police powers to regulate already approved Conservation Commission activities, stop unauthorized activities and to promote and develop the natural resources of Franklin and its wetlands, streams, brooks, ponds, lakes and watersheds. In addition, Conservation staff provides administrative support and reviews applications being presented to the Conservation Commission, as well as provides professional support to other Town Boards, Commissions and Departments.

Comprehensive Planning and Zoning

DPCD is responsible for traditional land-use related activities including updating the Town’s plans, and amending and creating zoning bylaws. A description of zoning and land use issues worked on by DPCD during the 2015 fiscal year is summarized below. During the 2015 fiscal year DPCD worked on amendment of several sections of Franklin’s Zoning Bylaw. This included Zoning Amendments 14-42, 14-743 and 14-744, which were needed to correct references and inconsistencies in the Town’s Zoning Bylaw. As a result of public meetings and a response to a Request for Proposals for sale and development of the Pond Street property, DPCD developed and submitted to Town Council Zoning Amendment 14-745, which added multi-family housing by special permit to the Office Zoning District. Since Town Council adopted the Town’s updated Master Plan in 2013, DPCD staff has worked towards implementation. During FY15 DPCD provided Town Council with an update summarizing the status of the Master Plan’s implementation.

The Town held a Zoning Workshop in March 2015 to review potential zoning changes, including Actions proposed within the 2013 Master Plan; issues discussed included the Neighborhood Commercial Zoning District; Senior Village Overlay District; Commercial I Zoning District; Multi-family Zoning; and Accessory Dwelling Units. DPCD was tasked with developing a zoning map amendment, which would allow multi-family housing in an
industrially zoned area along Dean Ave. A map amendment has been drafted and will be before Town Council for consideration during July 2015.

Planning and Implementation of Community Development and Economic Development Projects

Each year the DPCD works on many community and economic development initiatives. The Department develops strategies, proposes policies, bylaw changes and Town Council resolutions, manages projects, and seeks grants in efforts to balance Franklin’s community livability and its economic viability. DPCD encourages responsible community development that meets the goals and objectives of the Town’s various planning documents, and the State’s Sustainable Development and Smart Growth Principles. Some of DPCD’s more important recently completed or ongoing projects and initiatives are summarized below. Regional Planning. DPCD attends meetings and works on various regional planning issues with a variety of regional organizations, including Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Southwest Area Planning Committee, I-495/ MetroWest Corridor Partnership, and the I-95/495 South Regional Technology Economic Target Area’s Coordinating Council. In addition, the DPCD occasionally supports the initiatives of other regional organizations including the Franklin Bellingham Rail Trail Committee, Friends of the SNETT, the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and a workforce development advisory committee established by Employment and Training Resources in Framingham.

Downtown Revitalization

For several years the Town of Franklin has made revitalization of Downtown Franklin a major focus and has worked to improve the Downtown in a variety of ways. The revitalization of Downtown Franklin must be carefully planned to ensure that improvements positively impact the entire community. During the 2015 fiscal year DPCD worked on several projects related to implementation of the Franklin Center Plan, which was developed in 2002 and 2003 to provide Town officials with a vision and basic strategy for revitalization of Downtown Franklin.

One component of the Franklin Center Plan is Cultural Uses. The issue of cultural economic development has been a focus for DPCD in recent years. During FY14 DPCD worked with the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau and Franklin Downtown Partnership to develop a brochure map of Downtown Franklin; the map was printed and distributed in the first quarter of FY15. 

During FY15 DPCD continued to work with the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau on a variety of cultural economic development marketing activities. In addition, DPCD provided limited assistance to the Franklin Cultural District Committee, which is a group of individuals and organizations that are attempting to create a State designated Downtown Franklin Cultural District. 

A cultural district is a specific geographical area that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets. It needs to be walkable, easily accessible, easily identifiable to visitors and residents, and serve as a center for cultural, artistic and economic activity. The goals of a Cultural District are to encourage business and job development, attract artists and cultural enterprises, establish the district as a tourist destination, preserve and reuse historic buildings, enhance property values, and foster local cultural development.

The Town of Franklin’s Downtown Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project is an integral part of the Town’s strategy for Downtown revitalization. The improvement project includes improvements to the traffic pattern of Route 140 in the Downtown Franklin area,
installation of interconnected traffic signals with emergency preemption system, period lighting, traffic calming devices, resetting curbs where needed, ADA compliant sidewalks, resurfacing of streets, and landscape improvements and street furniture. The Project represents a substantial public investment in the Downtown’s future and economic viability, and is expected to spur on private investment. Construction of this important multi-year project began in 2014.

early on a December morning along West Central St
early on a December morning along West Central St

During the first half of FY15, DPCD provided substantial technical assistance towards implementation the Town’s Franklin Solar Challenge. The initiative is similar to the state’s Solarize Mass program, which provides discounts to encourage residents and small business owners to install solar panels. Public meetings were held in the first quarter of FY15 to inform and educate the public. 

During the second quarter of FY15 DPCD worked with a group of residents to obtain the services of a solar panel installation contractor, SolarFlair, who began installing solar panels late in the 2014 calendar year; the more people ordering a solar panel installation the better the unit pricing. As of June 2015 SolarFlair had already signed solar panel installation contracts for well over 100 kW of capacity.

Tax Title Properties 

As in past years, DPCD again worked with other Departments assessing the Town’s Tax Title Properties. Each year recommendations are developed for a number of these properties, and DPCD submits the work to the Town Administrator and Town Council for consideration.

DPCD works regularly on a wide range of economic development projects and programs, and is one of DPCD’s top priorities, second only to providing excellent administrative and technical assistance to the Town’s boards, commissions and committees. Potential benefits to the Town from successful implementation of DPCD’s Business Retainage and Attraction Initiatives are significant. These efforts focus on increasing the value of Franklin’s commercial and industrial tax base, filling the Town’s empty and underutilized industrially zoned buildings, and attracting the right mix of companies to the community.

As part of DPCD’s efforts to market the Town of Franklin, DPCD staff develops press releases, economic development marketing brochures, and various economic development advertisements for industry periodicals. During FY15 DPCD focused much of its efforts on the life sciences/biotechnology industry. Towards the end of the fiscal year DPCD staff began working with professors and students from Dean College and the Franklin Downtown Partnership’s Executive Director on development of a marketing program for Downtown Franklin. The project includes developing a distinct Downtown Franklin "brand", marketing and graphic materials, and a related implementation strategy, in attempts to attract customers and visitors to ensure the Downtown's economic viability during the construction of the Downtown Improvement Project.

In partnership with MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), DPCD developed and manages the MassDevelopment - MOBD - Town of Franklin Business Visitation Program, which is intended to make local research and development and manufacturing companies in Franklin aware of State technical assistance programs and financial resources that can be made available to further their development, and to raise awareness of DPCD as a resource for local businesses. In addition, DPCD works regularly with MOBD, MassDevelopment, and other agencies in efforts to attract the right mix of companies to Franklin’s industrial and commercial areas.

Franklin is part of the I-495/95 South Regional Technology Economic Target Area, and as such can offer businesses looking to start up or expand in Franklin one of the most attractive incentives a Massachusetts community can offer a business, a Tax Increment Finance Agreement. 

The Town of Franklin supports the use of this local tax credit for a wide range of development projects, including projects that create a significant number of livable wage jobs for Franklin residents, support innovative technology, and result in redevelopment of empty or underutilized industrially zoned properties, or development of new facilities. Once a business negotiates a tax increment finance agreement with the Town of Franklin it may qualify for a state investment tax credit for qualifying tangible/depreciable assets, as well as other significant tax incentives.

Working towards redevelopment of town-owned properties is a regular DPCD activity, and continues to be a high priority. During FY2014 DPCD developed a Request for Expressions of Interest (REI) for future redevelopment of 150 Emmons Street, site of the former Municipal Building. The Town’s goals for this important parcel are “Redevelopment of the site into a key gateway into Downtown Franklin, which will maximize short-term and long-term benefits to the Town and its residents. 

Expressions of Interest were due during the first quarter of FY15, which influenced the development and distribution of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for sale and reuse of the property, which included demolition of the former municipal building. Proposals in response to the RFP were due during December 2014. One Proposal was received, and the Proposer/Developer began performing due diligence activities; a final Purchase and Sale agreement will likely be executed in FY16.

Also during 2015 DPCD continued to work with other Town staff, consultants, and the EPA to move forward redevelopment of the Town’s “Nu-Style” Property. The Nu-Style Property at 87 Grove Street consists of two parcels totaling 1.2 acres. The property is contaminated with a variety of hazardous materials. Demolition of the main NuStyle building was completed within FY13; demolition was required in order to access and analyze soil and water under the building to assure that the full extent of soil and water contamination is known. 

Preparing the site for redevelopment is expensive, and DPCD has sought funding and technical assistance from a variety of sources in recent years. DPCD secured EPA technical assistance to assess the quality of ground water at the Nu-Style site; several monitoring wells were drilled and two rounds of water samples were analyzed. In addition, the EPA performed indoor air quality assessment activities in an adjacent privately held building to assure contaminated soil and ground water on the Nu-Style property is not negatively impacting adjacent properties. Building II, a smaller dilapidated mill building on the back of the Nu-Style property became the focus of DPCD efforts during the second half of FY15.

DPCD will continue to undertake a wide range of community and economic development projects, programs, and planning initiatives that will keep the Town’s goals and objectives current and representative of Franklin’s needs and desires. DPCD is proud of its accomplishments and welcomes public input on all of its efforts to improve the quality of life for the residents of Franklin.

Respectfully submitted,
Department of Planning and Community Development Staff.

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"Prior to November 1 of each year, the Town Clerk shall cause to be prepared and made available to the inhabitants of the Town an annual report for the preceding fiscal year which shall include: the annual Town budget, the reports of all Town officers, the records of all Town Council bylaw amendments and resolutions, an abstract of births, marriages and deaths, and the wages, salaries, or other compensation of all Town employees." [Added 5-2-2012 by Bylaw Amendment 12-681]

Shared from the full and complete PDF version of the Town of Franklin Annual Report for 2015


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Additional info on the Dept of Planning and Community Development can be found on their webpages


  • Open Space and Recreation plan is being updated

http://town.franklin.ma.us/Pages/FranklinMA_Planning/openspaceplan


  • Pond St will likely see another RFP (and oddly not mentioned in the summary above)

http://town.franklin.ma.us/Pages/FranklinMA_Planning/pondrfp


  • The Downtown Improvement Project is scheduled to completed in 2016

http://town.franklin.ma.us/Pages/FranklinMA_Planning/dtimprovement


  • What do you find the Master Plan? the current and prior one can be found here

http://town.franklin.ma.us/Pages/FranklinMA_BComm/Masterplan

Senator Ross: December 2015 State House Update



Senator Richard J. Ross, State House Update, December 2015
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State Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) proudly serving the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District.

State House
Room 419
Boston, MA 02133

Ph: 617-722-1555
Fax: 617-722-1054
Email:richard.ross@masenate.gov
Dear Friends,

Now that the year is coming to a close, we can reflect on the great progress we have achieved on the state level. With the leadership of Governor Charlie Baker, we will continue to move the Commonwealth in the right direction.

Please read my e-newsletter for information on the work my Senate colleagues and I have done over the past 12 months.

What is your New years Resolution for the Massachusetts Legislature in 2016? What issue do you hope gets addressed? Your thoughts are critical to the Commonwealth's success, so let me know by clicking here.


Sincerely,
The Massachusetts Senate entered 2015 with a goal of tackling many key issues head on. Committed to collaboration and shared leadership to get things done, we passed significant pieces of legislation aimed to better serve our constituents. These areas included:
  • Protecting taxpayers
  • Reforming our transportation system
  • Combating the opioid epidemic
  • Supporting children & families
  • Increasing transparency
  • Preserving our environment & resources
Ensuring my constituents have a government that is both effective and transparent is very important to me. This year was a busy one, but there is still much more ground we need to cover in 2016 concerning our public records, final opiate legislation, and countless others. The full list of Senate accomplishments can be found here.

I look forward to hearing your feedback as to what your priorities are for the second half of this legislative session.
      
You can read the full newsletter View this email in your browser