Sunday, April 18, 2021

Recap: Town Council Mtg- Apr 14, 2021 - Sheriff McDermott, OPEB update, GATRA, zoning for parking, etc.

Quick Recap:

Four presentations and resulting discussions dominated the meeting
  • Sheriff McDermott highlighted services his organization provides
  • The OPEB funding status was updated; the actuarial funding requirements are required every 2 years, this is the 'off year'
  • The new Executive Director of GATRA appeared to provide updates on changes and answer questions on the service problems seen by the community
  • Downtown parking zoning requirements were reviewed, a revision to the current bylaw is expected to come through the Economic Development Subcommittee in the future

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #tc0414 

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album:

Audio segments for the meeting will be available in a couple of days

  • Minutes, none - Proclamation for Dr. Diane D'addario Cathy Liberty, Director of Public Health, along with Chief McLaughlin to recognize her for the support processing the vaccine clinics. #tc0414 Councilor Frongillo reads proclamation
License transaction
  • License transaction, Shaw's change of Manager for wine/malt license. #tc0414 motion and second, simple paperwork to acknowledge, Attny and manager present via Zoom; experienced but not previously manager of record. ServeSafe certified. Vote via roll call, 9-0
Sheriff McDermott 
OPEB update
  • Next up, the OPEB update. #tc0414 Dan Sherman provides the details
  • A great spot at about 10% funded level for OPEB #tc0414
  • Were at 7.7 last year not at 8.5% funded, a good position. #tc0414
  • We are chipping away at this, and being in the top 10% top 25% and that is good. Only one Community funded, Wellesley but they funded via prop 2.5 so they are still paying it off so he doesn't count that. #tc0414 OPEB board page for ToF 
  • There is no law requiring funding by a date, once Norfolk pension is funded then those funding amount can be shifted to OPEB and make greater inroads. #tc0414
  • Next item, GATRA leadership team. Mark Souza started Feb 2020 so his first year is likely a story. #tc0414 Mark has an issue with the audio connection, retrying.
  • Mark connected via the "old fashioned way" via phone #tc0414
  • Micro-transit; call on demand via an app like Uber or Lyft. Senior dispatch can still call the same number. Transportation opened up. Started in Dec with 489, reached 2000 in March. #tc0414 pilot allows to build the data to expand the program.
  • Not at full service; phone numbers haven't changed so they can still call. #tc0414 could go from Franklin to Gillette and then to Mansfield with two trips. Micro transit is on demand via an app, picking up one or two COVID, each ride is $2. It is public transportation
  • Oh, and there was mention of a radio show with Franklin Matters. No, not me. Did share the press release they made in Dec but that was about it. #tc0414 
  • COVID money revamped office operations, added barriers for drivers and passengers on buses, upgraded ventilation on buses, etc. #tc0414 there were federal guidelines for how used, and they stuck to it. We have the inventory to handle those trips.
  • #tc0414 Rep Roy asked about the other questions from the office hour meeting that hadn't been addressed yet in this session. Advisory board, there is a member they have been notified, email to member, posting to Town Clerk. Standard process for all 28 towns we represent
  • Some times before COVID we couldn't get a quorum for a board meeting, since COVID attendance has improved remarkably #tc0414 let me know of any issues, I will address them. We will figure that out to get rides to the senior center and advertise that.
Downtown zoning for parking
  • Next discussion item: downtown commercial zoning C1 parking #tc0414 there had been no parking requirements previously, a bit ago it was changed and may have gone too far.
  • Restrictions on sidelines and parking will hurt developers, would like to see the old C1 come back to the downtown to help. Per Bissanti #tc0414 is there something can explain what zoning is? Zoning is complicated, one of the most important decisions this body deals with
  • It is ok to spend time on these issues. Parking is in the driver's seat. If you can't find one, you need it. If you find one, you don't need more. We haven't nailed it yet, it will require work. Parking will always be an issue anywhere. It has to be a balance. #tc0414
  • Parking is one area where the Planning Board can waive it down as opposed to other areas. There does need to be some parking downtown. Transit oriented development is good but there will still be need for parking #tc0414
  • Zoning also available on the website, perhaps the Clerk can provide a copy of the zoning book (with a map) #tc0414 there was no zoning parking requirement and it was changed 3 years ago. We did have meters downtown not too long ago.
  • There is limited parking downtown. We are the only commuter rail stop on the Franklin line that doesn't have housing associated with it. There is room to expand parking, we need to be the Council to do so. #tc0414 we don't have an affordable housing stock
  • The only thing we can do is manage it to the best if our ability. A developer will only put in the parking that is feasible to make it work. They won't rely on the gratitude of the planning board. #tc0414 we're trying to make sure there is business downtown
  • Request to consider revision to parking bylaw, and take to EDC before coming back to the Council. The downtown parking is available after hours. Attny Cerel is using the whole hand to raise his notice. If there is a 0 requirement, the Planning Board would not be able …
Subcommittee updates
  • Joint budget Subcommittee did meet on Monday, spoke about the Davis Thayer building, Supt not ready to declare surplus at this time will be done during the transition plan to Keller. Next meeting to be posted soon. #tc0414 EDC did meet before this meeting, discussed ...
  • The Community grant program, and NuStyle. Possibly meeting twice in May to begin housing plan #tc0414 
Legislation for action
Town Administrators Report through to closing
  • Side discussion on how we could do this service internally? Foxboro has firefighters who are certified to service the engine equipment. Drive through window closed two days for the window work and their floor soon to follow. Contact the Board of Health if question on vaccines
  • It is clear there is misinformation on stormwater fee out there. I offer to meet with you to discuss further $1.9m state grants only, four and half years $10m; that is a lot! Small amounts and large amounts add up #tc0414
  • #tc0414 Bissanti heard about opportunity zoning, a fictional example of carrying forward a capital gain (my assessment) Could the Police chief show something in the use of force training?
  • Story walk downtown Main Street, enjoyed work by Councilor Frongillo Senior coffee hour Thursday AM, rail trail race virtually this year. #tc0414 school vacation week next please be careful. Light needed at the crosswalk where Dean students cross
  • #tc0414 water conservation measures coming with level 2 drought announcement. Apologies for a late meeting, good discussion tonight. Motion to adjourn, second, passes 9-0 via roll call That's all for tonight (finally), catch you next time!


zoning map of downtown for parking discussion
zoning map of downtown for parking discussion

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