Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Part 5 - The full Residential VII timeline and lessons learned

This is Part 5 of the series to collect the development of the Residential VII Zoning history in one place. The Residential VII zoning bylaw was discussed, written, approved in 2013 and then applied to Cook's Farm in 2014. 

The Town Council meeting Wednesday January 18, 2017 has the agenda item to decide if this zoning bylaw should be applied to the Summer St parcel. 

The Cook's Farm timeline and the creation of the Residential VII

  • 2013
  • The developer was a consultant in a meeting with the Economic Development Committee (EDC) as they discussed the Pond St property Oct 2012.
  • The developer wanted to come back to the EDC with his proposal for Cook's Farm.
  • He didn't get notification of being on the agenda and reached out to the Town Administrator at the end of January 2013.
  • The Town Administrator advised the developer to put something together on what the bylaw change would look like so they (Planning) could review it.
  • The developer did put his proposal together and sent it in March 2013.
  • The Town Administrator replied in March 2013 with issues raised (incorporating feedback from Planning).
  • The developer continues meeting with different groups within Franklin eventually with the Citizens Committee, and then the Master Plan committee, before coming to the Council meeting June 19, 2013. (audio recording now available)
  • The Town Council, Planning, and Community Development Dept, Planning Board met for a bylaw workshop on July 31, 2013.
  • The drafted bylaws came to the Town Council at the Sep 11, 2013 meeting to be referred to the Planning Board. (audio recording now available)
  • The Planning Board reviewed the bylaws and due to a procedural error, needed to re-do their vote at the Sep 23, 2013 meeting.
  • The Town Council held the first public hearing and qst reading of the bylaws on Sep 25, 2013. The bylaws moved to a second reading by a 5-2 vote (with 2 recused). (audio recording now available)
  • The Town Council had the 2nd reading at the Oct 16, 2013 meeting and passed the bylaws by a 6-1 vote (2 recused). (audio recording now available)
  • 2014
  • At June 18, 2014 Town Council meeting, a Cook family member acknowledged meeting with the developer beginning in 2012 in the process of complaining that this was "taking too long".
  • At the Nov 5, 2014 Town Council meeting the math challenge was with three councilors recusing themselves (and one open position - due to a resignation) were the five remaining councilors sufficient to vote on the measure before them? They voted 5-0 and it did pass.
  • 2016
  • With short notification, the neighbors along Summer St find out about the proposed zoning map change to enable a single family residence on approx 11 acres to be re-zoned to allow approx 34 single family units instead of the approx 6-7 that it would be currently zoned for.
  • The neighbors turned out in good numbers but were apparently ignored as the Council moved the item to a 2nd reading by a 8-0 vote (one recused).
  • 2017
  • The Town Council is scheduled for the 2nd reading for the zoning bylaw map change for the Summer St property at their Jan 18, 2017 meeting.

Are there some lessons to be learned from this?
  1. The bylaw notification process should be looked at. Some bylaws call for notification of abutters, some don't. It is inconsistent and unfair to the abutters.
  2. The Town Council should develop guidelines on what factors should be considered for the next Residential VII zoning change to be approved? With out this, it is an open field for anyone that meets the requirements to come forward and get theirs approved.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

the dip in the outfield of the new softball field is being 'fixed' by  moving the fences in and shortening the outfield
the dip in the outfield of the new softball field is being 'fixed' by
 moving the fences in and shortening the outfield


  1. Thank you Steve for doing this. This project on Summer St. makes no sense and is only designed to make money. Clearly spot zoning at its worst.

  2. Thank you. It was time consuming but worth it!