“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."
Providing accurate and timely information about what matters in Franklin, MA since 2007. * Working in collaboration with Franklin TV and Radio (wfpr.fm) since October 2019 *
Friday, March 12, 2021
CommonWealth Magazine: "Why is the state’s technology so bad?
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|
Bus facility on Panther Way
|Bus facility on Panther Way|
|340 East Central St|
|Mixed use development (residential, retails, coffee shop)|
|On Sunday's walk, the auto dealer building is half gone|
|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
1. Tasting Room bylaw proposal
2. Franklin Business Guide (Draft Attached)
3. Food Trucks materials update
|Economic Development Subcommittee - Agenda - Mar 3, 2021|
Thursday, January 28, 2021
New Book Announcement | Boston Made
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
"it’s an idea that’s been ruminating for 50 years"
"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!’.”
|Great American Rail Trail|
Sunday, March 22, 2020
MA Small Business Development Center Network: Prepare For Recovery
PREPARE FOR RECOVERY
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 MSBDC.org/SEMass 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!
4) ADVERTISE YOUR LOCAL SERVICES
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|
Thursday, March 12, 2020
You ask - we answer: When will the Dean Ave. apartments start renting?
A - The website for LiveStation117.com doesn't provide a timeline for rental. https://www.station117apartments.com/
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 LiveStation117.com|
|The Fairfield Residential webpage|
Monday, November 11, 2019
School Committee recap for Oct 29, 2019
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 https://www.franklinps.net/district/meeting-packets/files/disc-d-resolutions
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. https://www.franklinps.net/sites/franklinmaps/files/uploads/enrollment_statistics_-_10-29-19_sc.pdf
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: https://www.franklinps.net/district/school-committee/news/october-29-2019-school-committee-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|
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Franklin Hosts Resident Visioning Event on Business Development - Oct 22
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Bryan Taberner, AICP, Director of Planning and Community Development for the Town of Franklin at email@example.com.
Download a copy of the event flyer:
|Franklin Hosts Resident Visioning Event on Business Development - Oct 22|
Monday, April 8, 2019
Planning Board - Public Hearings scheduled for April 22
"In accordance with the Town of Franklin Zoning By-Laws, the Franklin Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 7:30 PM in the Town Council Chambers of the Franklin Municipal Building, 355 East Central Street, for a Preliminary Subdivision Plan application titled "Maple Hill" prepared by Bay Colony Group, Inc., dated January 15, 2019 and submitted to the Department of Planning & Community Development on March 25, 2019, by Canoll Construction Corp., PO Box 395, Foxborough, MA.
The site is located at 469 and 441 Maple Street Rural Residential H Zoning District (Assessor's Map 234, Lot 012, Map 235 Lot 142 & Map 242, Lot 027). The applicant is proposing to construct fifty-eight (58) single family residential building lots, with access from Bridle Path and Kimberlee Ave. A Conventional Subdivision and Open Space Development plans have been submitted."https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/public_hearing_notice_maple_hill.pdf
Planning Board - Public Hearing - Apr 22 - "Highland Village"
"In accordance with the Town of Franklin Zoning By-Laws, the Franklin Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 7:05 PM in the Town Council Chambers of the Franklin Municipal Building, 355 East Central Street, for a Preliminary Subdivision application. titled "Preliminary Subdivision Plan Highland Village, West Central Street" prepared by Gueniere & Halnon, Franklin, MA, dated March 8, 2019 and submitted to the Department of Planning & Community Development on March 11, 2019, by Joel D'Errico, 72 Deer View Way, Franklin, MA 02038.
The site is located on West Central Street consisting of three parcels of land in separate ownership in the General Residential V Zoning District (Assessor's Map 278, Lots 31, 32 & 35). The applicant is proposing to construct a four (4) lot subdivision with a roadway and sidewalks."https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/public_hearing_notice_west_central.pdf
|Planning Board - Public Hearing - Apr 22 - "Highland Village"|
Planning Board - Public Hearing - Apr 22 - "79 Grove St"
"In accordance with the Town of Franklin Zoning By-Laws, the Franklin Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 7:10 PM in the Town Council Chambers of the Franklin Municipal Building, 355 East Central Street, for a Special Permit & Site Plan Modification application titled "Change of Use Plan and Special Permit for 79 Grove Street, Franklin Massachusetts" and submitted to the Franklin Department of Planning & Community Development on March 18, 2019 by Patrick Weidman, 79 Grove Street, Franklin, MA 02038.
The site is located at 79 Grove Street in the Industrial Zoning District (Assessors Map 289, Lot 001). The purpose of the Special Permit is to grant a change in use under Chapter 185 Attachment 3, Use Regulation Part II 2.7 (c) to allow the applicant to operate an auto and truck repair business with overnight storage of towed and damage vehicles within an Industrial Zone for the entire building (9,600 sq/ft)."https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/public_hearing_notice_79_grove_st.pdf
Friday, March 1, 2019
Franklin Annual Report - 2018: Department of Planning & Community Development
The DPCD’s staffing reflects the diverse skills needed to complete the many activities and roles the Department participates. DPCD’s activities and services include, but are not limited to comprehensive planning, economic development, subdivision plan, site plan and conservation plan review, open space and wetlands preservation, historic preservation, zoning by-law and subdivision regulation development, downtown revitalization, brownfields redevelopment, affordable housing, 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.
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 Cultural District Committee.
Approximately 65 percent of the Department’s total staff hours are utilized on Planning Board and Conservation Commission related issues. In addition, DPCD staff occasionally provides professional technical assistance to other public entities including Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, Town Council’s Economic Development Sub-committee, 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 and Land Use
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 promote and protect 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 and Departments. During FY19 DPCD worked on various conservation and land use related projects.
Chapter 61 Properties.
During FY17 and FY18 DPCD staff, headed up by Conservation Agent George Russell, assessed privately-owned parcels within Franklin that are known as Chapter 61 parcels.
Chapters 61, 61A and 61B of Massachusetts General Law outline programs that require municipalities to reduce assessments of farm, forest and open space lands, provided the owners make a commitment to keep their lands in one or more of those uses. Should the owner of any of these parcels decide to remove them from their current tax status and offer them for sale, the town would have the right of first refusal. The parcels were evaluated in order to gain a greater understanding of which may be more prudent for the town to acquire, and to ensure that the Town gains the greatest benefit from its open space and recreation funds by objectively reviewing proposed land acquisition projects using established criteria.
Conservation Commission Managed Land.
During FY18, DPCD staff, again headed up by Conservation Agent George Russell, assessed the 125 Town-owned properties that are managed by the Conservation Commission. One result of the study was to identify parcels that could be utilized for passive recreation purposes, including the possibility of connecting Conservation properties with other public lands. DPCD continued to implement the Master Plan for the DelCarte Conservation area, including beginning the second year of pond treatments, and worked to procure the services of a contractor to construct ADA improvements to access the canoe launch. In addition, DPCD began the process of amending the Conservation Commission’s regulations and standard operating procedures to help streamline the approval process for "minor" projects.
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 2018 fiscal year is summarized below.
Zoning Bylaw Amendments.
During the 2018 fiscal year DPCD worked on amendment of several sections of Franklin’s Zoning Bylaw. Zoning Map Amendment 18-795 amended Franklin’s Zoning Map by changing the zoning district of two dozen parcels in area near Union, Cottage and Saxon Streets. The Zoning Map Amendment eliminated the Commercial II Zoning District from that section of Town. Zoning Bylaw Amendments 17-797 changed the setback requirements for accessory buildings and structures. DPCD is undergoing a project to better define the Town's zoning districts by following parcel lines. Where parcels are within two or more zoning districts the subject Zoning Map Amendment will move the
Zoning District line so each parcel is only in one zoning district, in most cases based on the current land use. DPCD will develop roughly a dozen Zoning Map Amendments to complete this project. The first three, Zoning Map Amendments 18-802, 18-803 and 18-804, were developed in the last quarter of FY18.
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.
DPCD attends meetings and works on various regional planning issues with a variety of regional organizations, including Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Southwest Advisory 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. DPCD also provides support for the Charles River Meadowlands, an effort among citizens and officials from the Towns of Bellingham, Medway and Franklin, to work together and to work with Federal and State officials, to improve management and access of the Federally-owned meadowlands, and adjacent public lands.
For more than fifteen years the Town 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 2018 fiscal year DPCD continued to work on 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, including working with the MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau on a variety of cultural economic development marketing activities. As part of these efforts DPCD provided assistance to the Franklin Cultural District Steering Committee, a group of individuals and organizations working to increase the number of art and culture related events in the area, create a State designated Franklin Cultural District in Franklin center.
The Cultural District Steering Committee has accomplished much; this group of hard working arts and culture advocates has: assisted DPCD with the Cultural District application process including development of a strong cultural district Partnership; worked hard to support art and culture programing; and even organized the annual Franklin Cultural Festival. Lovers of the arts in Franklin owe them a great deal for their passion and hard work. During recent years DPCD prepared Cultural District marketing materials, coordinated efforts with local stakeholders, and performed outreach and educational activities, including setting up booths and displays at various events.
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, as defined by the legislative statute, 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 economic development.
In June 2017 Franklin Town Council passed two resolutions that accomplished the following: created the Cultural District Committee; formally expressed Franklin’s interest in establishing a state-designated cultural district; endorsed state-sponsored cultural district goals; and endorsed submission of a Cultural District application. During FY2018 the Cultural District Committee was formed. DPCD provides the Committee with administrative and Technical support; during June 2018 the Town submitted a Cultural District application to Massachusetts Cultural Council.
The Cultural District Committee’s responsibilities include applying for Cultural District designation, managing and marketing the District, assuring the Districts goals are obtained, and managing and strengthening the Town’s Cultural District Partnership.
Over the last few years a strong Partnership has formed in support of creating a state-designated cultural district in the Downtown area. The Cultural District Partnership includes many of Franklin’s well known organizations and businesses, including: Franklin’s School Department, Historic Commission, Public Library, Cultural Council, and Senior Center/COA; Franklin TV/Franklin Radio; Franklin Downtown Partnership; Dean College; Franklin Art Association; Franklin Performing Arts Company; the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse; and Franklin School for the Performing Arts.
DPCD regularly works with the Administration and other Town departments to assess and develop recommendations for Town-owned parcels of land, including Tax Title Properties and lands of low value. Each year recommendations are developed for a number of these properties, and the work is submitted 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. 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 efforts to market the Town of Franklin, DPCD staff maintains a site selection web page - franklinmasiteselector.com, and develops press releases, advertisements for industry periodicals, and economic development marketing brochures. DPCD regularly communicates with realtors, property owners and businesses to make them aware of State and Federal 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. DPCD works regularly Massachusetts Office of Business Development, MassDevelopment and other agencies in efforts to attract the right mix of companies to Franklin’s industrial and commercial areas.
Redevelopment of Town owned properties is a regular DPCD activity. In recent years much progress has been made with three important Town-owned properties. Redevelopment of the former Municipal Building property at 150 Emmons Street was completed in FY17. The Town’s so-called Pond Street Property, former sewer beds, was sold to a developer in FY16, and construction of a condominium housing development is well on its way.
The Town’s so-called “Nu-Style” Property on Grove Street, has been the subject of environmental assessment and remedial activities since 2006. The results of testing showed that to fully assess the property’s soil and groundwater contamination, a dilapidated former manufacturing building on site needs to be removed. During FY18 DPCD developed and the Town advertised a Request for Proposals, in attempt to find a company or individual to purchase, clean and redevelop the site. One proposal was received from an adjacent property owner, and the Town is working to execute a purchase and sale agreement.
DPCD will continue to undertake a wide range of community and economic development projects, programs, and planning initiatives that will keep the Town of Franklin’s goals and objectives current and representative of residents’ 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.
Department of Planning & Community Development Staff.
You can read the full Annual Report for 2018 online
The archive of prior year annual reports
|Franklin Annual Report - 2018: Department of Planning & Community Development|
Monday, February 4, 2019
Planning Board meeting starting at 6:00 PM tonight Feb 4
First up is the Mixed Business Innovation Zoning District proposed for the Clark, Cutler, McDermott area. The key change is to remove some of the more industrial and hazardous uses allowed currently while enabling the site for 'mixed business innovation'.
Second is a continuation on the 50+ unit development proposed for open space (former farm land) on Prospect St.
The letter to the Clark Cutler neighbors:
|"proposed new zone called Mixed Business Innovation (MBI)"|
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Franklin SEPAC: January 2019 Newsletter
| Franklin Special Education Parent Advisory Council|
355 East Central St.
Franklin, Massachusetts 02038
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