Friday, June 18, 2021

Recap: Economic Development Subcommittee - discussion on housing plan and requirements for home based businesses

Quick Recap:
  • The housing production plan was reviewed and discussed. Key among the actions is to further obtain any and all citizen input/comment by June 25 and update this draft. The revised plan would then be approved by Planning Board and Town Council before being submitted to the State for acceptance.
  • Key to specific items to address the housing would be the zoning assessment. This analysis would provide an objective 3rd party view on what we have and what we could do to allow for appropriate and affordable housing
  • Discussion on home based businesses. Good to boot strap a concept, Health Dept is ok with food production as long as the ServeSafe and other related food prep requirements are adhered to. The wrinkle comes with handling the sewer waste and implementation of a grease trap which can be expensive.
  • The Town is not prepared for how to address this opportunity. More research is required which they will conduct during the next couple of months and bring back to Subcommittee for further discussion.
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  #edc0616 

Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one album

  • EDC meeting to begin soon, awaiting quorum #edc0616
  • Without quorum, may at least open meeting and have a discussion. #fincom0616
  • Quorum achieved (with virtual participation of Frongillo and Bissanti), EDC meeting opens at 7:09 PM. #edc0616
  • Chair Hamblen opens meeting, reads protocol statement, #fincom0616 First item, housing production plan for discussion if needed, plan can be found 
  • Feedback sought as part of the draft review process. #fincom0616
  • Cool to be back in Municipal Bldg, Planner Amy Love provides an overview of the plan, similar to what was presented earlier in Housing Trust meeting #edc0616
  • My notes from that (Municipal Affordable Housing Trust) meeting, for the record, can be found #edc0616
  • Difference in accounting between apartment and residential units, all apartments count if only a smaller # are affordable; for owned residential units only the # affordable apply to the housing rate (i.e. 6 of 30, only the 6 - if apartments, 6 of 30 all 30 count) condos ->
  • Condos count as owned units so only the # would count (like other owned residential, not like apartments). #edc0616 What is considered affordable for Franklin? Major issue
  • Development costs are hire, art zoning would need to have incentives to allow the developers to make the money back that they give up making some of the units affordable. #edc0616
  • Multiple discussion points on affordable and how to tackle it, the new housing behind Eaton Place will help but it won't be online soon (still needs funding) #edc0616
  • Motion to move housing plan forward to planning board and to Council for approval incorporating the changes and comments #edc0616 passes 4-0 via roll call.
  • Moving to home occupied businesses for next part of discussion. #edc0616
  • How do you permit a bootstrap business from a home, some i.e. kitchens can pose health concerns, others may have traffic/delivery issues for neighbors. #edc0616 permit some level of production up to which they're good, beyond that next level up. ZBA may be an option
  • In commercial areas, need to protect the sewer system, with grease traps, when blockages occur it stops things and that is not good. Title 5 systems are built for 3 or 4 bedrooms not commercial industry business. #edc0616 who acts the agent for volume?
  • We can't use the ZBA or planning board and their temporary benevolence, if something is good, let's make it right. #edc0616 strict guidelines on food prep, zoning is the issue in the case of chocolate bars (as the talking point example)
  • let's provide some time to research, see what others are doing, Boston is a whole different system. #edc0616 what might work, what would be some controls, there is no capacity at Charles River. we do need to consider the big picture of affordability
  • Motion to adjourn, second, passes 4-0 via roll call #fincom0616 

Audio file to be available in a couple of days

discussion on housing plan and requirements for home based businesses
discussion on housing plan and requirements for home based businesses

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