Showing posts with label development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label development. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

DOER has scheduled seminars to obtain feedback on stretch code proposal

 DOER Announces Public Hearings on New Stretch Code Proposal

Dear Building Energy Code Stakeholder,

DOER will hold five virtual public hearings to receive comment on its Straw Proposal for Stretch Code update and New Specialized Stretch Code released on February 8th. The following information can be reviewed in advance of the hearings at DOER's new Stretch Code Development webpage:

1.      The Straw Proposal     

2.      Recording of February 8 Webinar       (registration required to view)

3.      Summary of stretch code analysis informing straw proposal


Interpretation services will be provided at all hearings in Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.


Hearing Focus


Western Region

March 2, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Metro Boston and Northeastern Region

March 3, 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Environmental Justice Communities

March 4, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Central Region

March 7, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Southeastern Region

March 8, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm


DOER will provide a brief presentation to respond to clarifying questions received in advance of the public hearing, however the majority of the time is reserved to hear public comments. Public comments will be limited to 3 minutes per person to ensure all participants have a chance to provide comment.

To submit questions or to sign up to give public comment at a hearing please send an email to with the title ‘Comment for Public Hearing’ and include your name, organizational affiliation and municipality where you work or reside, as applicable. There will be four regional hearings and one additional hearing dedicated to Environmental Justice communities statewide. At each regional hearing, comments and questions from participants representing communities in the designated region will be prioritized. Visit the Green Communities webpage to find out which region your community is in.

REMINDER: DOER highly encourages written comments on the Straw Proposal for Stretch Code update and New Specialized Stretch Code to be submitted electronically to with the subject line “Stretch Code Straw Proposal Comments”. Written comments will be accepted until 5 pm EST on March 9th, 2022

Thank you,

Maggie McCarey, Director - Energy Efficiency Division

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What is Strong Towns about? (video)

What is Strong Towns about? 
This video is part of a series where the "Not Just Bikes" author comes to realize that Charles Marohn has come to the same conclusion via a different path. When someone does that, there is something there there.

So while I am continuing to read the Strong Towns book ( find out other info about them, this video series may help jump start your research effort too.

Again, this video is the second of a series. In the first ( reveals his approach. I have not yet viewed the others in the series. That effort is underway.

Thanks to Cobi Frongillo for sharing this link (


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Strong Towns Event @ THE BLACK BOX - 11/15/21 (audio)

FM #661 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 661 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Strong Towns Town Hall event with Congressman Jake Auchincloss, State Rep Jeff Roy, Franklin Town Councilor Cobi Frongillo, and Charles Marohn from Strong Towns. 

The event was held at THE BLACK BOX and broadcast via Franklin TV and Zoom. 

After a round of opening remarks, there is a question and answer period with audience participation. Each question asker identifies themselves so you should be able to follow along.


The recording runs about 1  hour and 14 minutes, so let’s listen to the Strong Towns Event on Nov 15, 2021. Audio file ->


My notes from the session 

More about Strong Towns can be found online ->


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Meeting Agenda - May 19

Franklin Town Council
Agenda & Meeting Packet
May 19, 2021 - 7:00 PM

a. This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon Channel 29. This meeting may be recorded by others.
b. Chair to identify Council Members participating remotely

a. Citizens are welcome to express their views for up to five minutes on a matter that is not on the agenda. The Council will not engage in a dialogue or comment on a matter raised during Citizen Comments. The Town Council will give remarks appropriate consideration and may ask the Town Administrator to review the matter.
a. Considering the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property, because an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the negotiating position of the Board.



Please find the agenda and connection info for the Meeting

Maple Hill Definitive Subdivision Plan (per submission to Planning Board)

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Meeting Agenda - May 19
Franklin, MA: Town Council - Meeting Agenda - May 19

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Toronto's urban center "grappling with a housing shortage and affordability crisis"

Before I retired I had the opportunity to visit Toronto a few times. As Canada largest city, they have rejected a technology based development to take a more human approach. As Franklin continues the discussion on development and affordable housing, their work may provide some ideas we can use.
"Canada’s largest city is moving towards a new vision of the future, in which affordability, sustainability and environmentally friendly design are prioritized over the trappings of new and often untested technologies.

In announcing its new vision this week for Quayside, Toronto has backed away from many of the previous plan’s most futuristic promises, a move experts say reflects growing skepticism over technology’s role in urban planning decisions."
What is the new vision?
"Waterfront Toronto today launched an international competition to secure a development partner for the Quayside lands. The first step in this effort is to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to identify potential development proponents with the proven experience, design portfolio, financial resources, and shared vision necessary to bring Quayside to reality.  

“The people of Toronto have told us that they want to see a bold vision realized on the waterfront that reflects the confident, welcoming, and imaginative civic spirit of our city,” said Stephen Diamond, Chair of the Board for Waterfront Toronto. 

“We are looking for leaders in the development field that will share our ambition to create a place that fuses Quayside to the water, and provides more beauty, utility, and originality than previously imagined. We want Quayside to be timeless, adaptive, and to propel us into our rightful place among the great waterfronts of the world,” Diamond concluded. 

Quayside will usher in a new chapter in Toronto development. It will remind people of everything they want from living in the city and demonstrate what is possible when vision, passion, and design excellence are brought together. " 
Continue reading about the development planning for Quayside:

Opening quote from The Guardian gets into more of the background on the rejected development approach:

Friday, March 12, 2021

CommonWealth Magazine: "Why is the state’s technology so bad?

“THE…DISASTER WAS completely avoidable, as administrators knew the system was not ready, yet decided to launch it anyway… Investigations cannot undo the taxpayer dollars wasted and the disruption of families’ access to health care.”

That comment could have been voiced recently by critics of the state’s troubled vaccine finder website – but it wasn’t. It was actually a critique of the state’s disastrous rollout of the Health Connector website in 2014, built under then-Gov. Deval Patrick. The speaker was then-gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker – now the governor in charge of the Vaxfinder website best known for the four-armed orange octopus that appeared when it crashed.

There are significant differences between the debacles. The Health Connector website failure cost hundreds of millions of dollars and, in its initial form, never worked. The state had to give hundreds of thousands of people temporary Medicaid coverage because it couldn’t figure out what insurance they were eligible for. The Vaxfinder website cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and ultimately, it has worked, with tens of thousands of people using it to sign up for vaccine appointments, despite the difficulties."
Continue reading the article online

The article goes into some history on problems with State systems. Let's take it this way: What State system actually works the way it should? Your answers welcomed in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter or email.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Projects underway out and around Franklin

In no particular order these are photos and links to the Planning Board documents for the approved projects underway in and around Franklin.

Amego on Washington St
Amego on Washington St

Bus facility on Panther Way

Bus facility on Panther Way
Bus facility on Panther Way

Mixed use development (residential, retails, coffee shop) 340 East Central St (Rt 140)

340 East Central St
 340 East Central St

Mixed use development (residential, retails, coffee shop)
Mixed use development (residential, retails, coffee shop)

On Sunday's walk, the auto dealer building is half gone
On Sunday's walk, the auto dealer building is half gone

What was proposed as Fairfield Residences on Dean Ave (now Station 117)

Fairfield Residences on Dean Ave (now Station 117)
Fairfield Residences on Dean Ave (now Station 117)

I have written in other places about my 'following the money' by focusing on the Finance Committee, the School Committee and the Town Council. In so doing, I do acknowledge leaving the whole "planning process" (Planning Board, Design Review, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Conservation Commission) out of the coverage. Frankly, I have only so much time. Someday, maybe if the 'cloning thing' works, I can do both. In the meantime, I'll repeat the offer:

If you have interest in reporting on any one (or more) of the planning process meetings, I'll gladly help you get set up. You do need the interest and a basic capability to write what you hear about and see. It does take time but does provide its rewards. 

PS - If I missed a project that you have a question about, let me know.

Economic Development Subcommittee - Agenda - Mar 3, 2021

Economic Development Subcommittee Meeting
Agenda & Meeting Packet
March 3, 2021 - 5:45 PM 

1. Tasting Room bylaw proposal
2. Franklin Business Guide (Draft Attached)
3. Food Trucks materials update

Agenda doc and meeting materials, including connection info for this virtual meeting

Economic Development Subcommittee - Agenda - Mar 3, 2021
Economic Development Subcommittee - Agenda - Mar 3, 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021

New Book Announcement | Boston Made

Announcing Our New Book

Boston Made: From Revolution to Robotics, Innovations That Changed the World

New Book Announcement | Boston Made

I want to share my excitement at finally publishing our book revealing Boston as one of the most prolific innovation centers in the world for more than four centuries. Built on 20 years of research by my co-author, Dr. Bob Krim, along with my insights from writing about the Massachusetts tech scene for many years, you will find this to be a fun and enlightening book that will change how you think about our region! 


Boston Made: From Revolution to Robotics, Innovations that Changed the World


Publication:  February 23, 2021, from Imagine Publishing, an affiliate of Penguin Random House.

Learn more about the book and reserve your copy:


As a friend, family member, or business associate, I hope you will consider purchasing the book or sharing this email with anyone you think might be interested!


Best Regards,

Alan Earls


Below is just one of the Boston innovation stories we cover in the book.

A Boston Made Innovation:
Basketball turns 130 years old

Hoops – the globally popular game of basketball was invented and first played in Massachusetts in 1891. Athletic coach James Naismith was given two weeks by his boss to invent an indoor game where football playing teens wouldn't hit each other – "not rough"- when kept indoors by wintery weather. Naismith did it and basketball was born.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

"it’s an idea that’s been ruminating for 50 years"

Interesting find via the BBC on rail trail development (hat tip to Marjorie Turner Hollman for finding this to share).
"Ryan Gardill used to love backpacking. Getting into the outdoors and covering ground was one of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, native’s favourite things to do. But as the 29-year-old former US Marine’s joints and back began struggling to carry the weight of a backpack, he decided it was time to get on a bike.

That opened up a whole new world.

“I’d always dreamed of doing a thru-hike or bike,” he said. “A guy from work talked about a trail going from Pittsburgh to DC. I said: ‘That sounds awesome!’.”

Continue reading the article online:

Sunday, March 22, 2020

MA Small Business Development Center Network: Prepare For Recovery

While focused on the small business owner, the advice can apply more broadly

By Cliff Robbins, MSBDC Senior Business Advisor
"NOW what do I do?" This is the question on every small business persons' mind. Well, this is the time to prepare yourself for a post-coronavirus world: Especially because you have probably been forced to shutter or otherwise change your business approach.

1) CFIMITYM - Cash Flow Is More Important Than Your Mother.
Conserve your cash. Act like you're in a turnaround crisis because you probably are [too]. If you haven't done so already, project your cash needs out for the next twelve months. (We can help with that.) Go to and contact an advisor.

Talk to your customers; communicate with your bank; invest in your social media; let them know that you're still around; keep them engaged. Try selling gift certificates. This is a great time to try that for future business. Send them emails to let them know you're still here and OKAY!

Most small business people don't continually create content because they say they just don't have the time. Well, now your schedule is a little more open today, so create some content. Create educational content about your products and services; create instructional videos; create stories that you can share in the near future to tell the world how great your business has been and still is!

If you work at people's homes, particularly for services like landscaping, or other home improvement services that are low-touch, get the word out that you're available. If people aren't ready today, the nicer weather will catch up with them quickly once this all starts to sort itself out.

5) PREPARE AND INVEST - Now's the time to get a leg up on the competition:
  • Get that new website started, it's going to take a little time to get going, and this downtime will help you modernize.
  • Optimize your business for local search, it takes a few weeks for optimizations to happen, so get the leg up once people are ready to leave the house again.
  • Sort out the back-end of your business: Your CRM, your customer databases, your online store. Make sure these are all up and running so that you are prepared for the future.

"This too shall pass."

Look at this period as an opportunity to get ahead, and stay focused on growth.

The region sure needs it!

Shared from the Southeast Regional Office MSBDC

MA Small Business Development Center Network: Prepare For Recovery
MA Small Business Development Center Network: Prepare For Recovery

Thursday, March 12, 2020

You ask - we answer: When will the Dean Ave. apartments start renting?

Q - When will the Dean Ave. apartments start renting? Are any for low income? Will there be a safe walkway to train?

A - The website for doesn't provide a timeline for rental.

1 - In my walks by the location, exterior construction is still very much in progress. Perhaps before the end of the year? You can sign up for their "Interest List" to find out. 

The Fairfield Residential webpage shows this opening "Early 2020".

2 - none of the units are designated for 'low income'

3 - There will be sidewalk along Dean Ave to Main St. As mentioned in the Facebook thread on this question, the Town and developer jointly are working to address the drainage at the Dean Ave corner with an EPA grant. Roadwork has been underway last year on the underground portion. Sidewalk and paving is scheduled for this year.

The website for
The website for

The Fairfield Residential webpage
The Fairfield Residential webpage

Monday, November 11, 2019

School Committee recap for Oct 29, 2019

Catching up to the 'last' set of school committee meeting notes that I had not yet posted. This set covers the Oct 29, 2019 session.

The Superintendent's report
There was recognition of the five committee members who were not running for re-election as this would be their last meeting. The two incumbents running for election were successfully re-elected so their 'recognition' event is postponed to some future date.

Kelty Kelly, Principal of the ECDC, previewed the "developmental summary" for the children at the center. This is an age and developmentally appropriate 'report card' for this age group.  The Developmental Summary 

There was a long discussion over the multiple resolutions before the MASC conference where the committee also voted to appoint Chair Anne Bergen as their representative. This listing and details for the text for the resoluteness can be found in the packet

The October 1 Enrollment Report was made available. This is a key piece of info as the Oct 1 report is the 'control' number for all schools for the year. Clearly, there are some minor move in and adjustments as the school year progresses but this the 'stake in the ground' for reporting purposes.

With this meeting, the School Committee has also implemented for the first time, a practice that the Town Council has been using for some time: Actions Taken:

Additional details can be found in my notes reported live during the meeting:
  • Live reporting: Discussion Only Items through to Closing.
  • Live Reporting: ECDC Developmental Summary and Discussion.
  • Live reporting: School Committee - Oct 29, 2019
a photo from walking around the grey day that Oct 29 was in Franklin
a photo from walking around the grey day that Oct 29 was in Franklin

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Franklin Hosts Resident Visioning Event on Business Development - Oct 22

The Town of Franklin and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) are undertaking a business development strategy to focus on promoting new development and redevelopment in three strategic growth locations: Downtown Franklin Commercial District; the Crossing (near Union and Cottage Streets); and the Mixed Business Innovation District (near Fisher and Hayward Streets). 

The main goal of this project is to increase the economic activity within these older commercial areas, and the Town as a whole. The resulting Market Analysis and Market Position Summary will guide the development of a business recruitment and retention strategy, including the future creation of business recruitment materials to capitalize on the market potential of these districts.

Franklin’s Department of Planning & Community Development and MAPC are partnering with Franklin’s Cultural District Committee and the Franklin Downtown Partnership on this important business development study. Officials are seeking resident, property owner, and business owner input on what can be done to stimulate Franklin’s economy, including insights into how to create jobs, support businesses, and strengthen the community as a whole.

A public meeting is being held on Tuesday, October 22nd, from 6:00 to 8:30 PM in Franklin Municipal Building’s 3rd Floor Training Room at 355 East Central Street. The public input session will feature a presentation by a representative of MAPC on goals of the project, and the current state of economic activity in Franklin.

All input and guidance provided by the public will be utilized to develop the Market Analysis and Market Position Summary, which will contain an updated demographic analysis for the Town, local and regional market assessments, specific recommendations for growth in the three key commercial districts, and an outline of a Business Recruitment and Retention Strategy.

For more information, contact Raul Gonzalez, Senior Planner at MAPC, at, or Bryan Taberner, AICP, Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of Franklin at

Download a copy of the event flyer:

Franklin Hosts Resident Visioning Event on Business Development - Oct 22
Franklin Hosts Resident Visioning Event on Business Development - Oct 22