Showing posts with label historic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historic. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Reminder: Community Preservation Committee - scheduled to review draft of initial project list

Community Preservation Committee 
Meeting April 5, 2022 - 7 PM

Agenda:
1. Approval of Minutes
a. January 4, 2022
b. January 18, 2022
2. Discussion: Community Preservation Master Plan Sketch Draft v. 1

Please find the agenda and links for the meeting here:     https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2022-06-05_cpc_meeting_agenda.pdf


From the proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Project Recommendations (beginning page 18)

Open Space
Maple Hill purchase

Historic Preservation
Red Brick School House - Lead Paint Removal, Preservation and Paint

Affordable Housing
Franklin Ridge Affordable Housing Project

Budgeted Reserve
Town Clerk Vault Records Preservation 
Historical Museum Cupola
Nason Street Tot Lot


pickleball courts at King St Memorial Park
pickleball courts at King St Memorial Park

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Community Preservation Committee Meeting April 5, 2022

Community Preservation Committee 
Meeting April 5, 2022


Agenda:
1. Approval of Minutes
a. January 4, 2022
b. January 18, 2022
2. Discussion: Community Preservation Master Plan Sketch Draft v. 1



pickleball courts at King St Memorial Park
pickleball courts at King St Memorial Park

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Learn about zoning in Franklin! View the Forum March 7

Join the Town of Franklin and MAPC for our first public forum on Monday, March 7 at 7PM! This will be a hybrid meeting that takes place in the Council Chambers at Town Hall (please note the change in location) and over Zoom. Click the link below to register and tell us if you plan to attend in person or remotely.

Register for the March 7 Forum

History of Zoning in Franklin
Franklin Center's building stock is largely historic, with two-thirds of the buildings having been built before WWII, and many much earlier. Franklin Center was predominantly developed around the turn of the 20th century, in the late Victorian/early Edwardian period from 1860 until the stock market crash in 1929. Close to 60% of all buildings in Franklin Center were built during this time, although some date back to the mid 18th century. 

 

Source: MA Land Parcel Database, Franklin Assessor
Source: MA Land Parcel Database, Franklin Assessor

Zoning regulations throughout the United States, particularly in older communities, often result in conflicting goals between a zoning district's regulations and the existing development patterns of that area. Franklin's zoning code and associated districts were first adopted by the Town's Planning Board in 1930, after almost two-thirds of Franklin's current structures were built. As such, many of the most beloved buildings in Franklin Center could not be legally built today because of dimensional or use restrictions in the zoning regulations.

Prior to Franklin's zoning code being adopted, the primary modes of transportation for the average American would have been walking, bicycle, horseback, or using a streetcar transit system. In that year, there were roughly 217 cars per 1,000 people in the United States, a number that grew to 380 in 1955 and to around 800 in 2010. As family and individual car ownership continued to exponentially increase throughout the 20th century, so did a greater focus on zoning regulations to cater to the experience of motorists above all other modes of transportation. The below photo shows Franklin's Main Street back when its streetcar system was in operation
 
 

This meant that the physical form for urban, suburban, and rural communities was altered to fit the needs of car owners. Parking minimums for developments were established. Roads were built, widened, and then widened again to satisfy induced demand. As the world became more car-friendly, car ownership felt less optional and more obligatory. Jobs, schools, and places where people chose to spend their free time were further and further away from people's homes. Today, if a resident in Franklin or in countless communities across the country wants to get from their home to a place of business, they are most likely taking a car.
Zoning's Impact on the Built Form
Impact of Dimensional Regulations
The "look and feel" of a neighborhood depends on how a person traveling in the neighborhood is able to interact with their built environment. Zoning dimensional regulations dictate the size a buildable property can be, where building on that property can occur, and even the architectural design standards that dictate how those buildings must look. The diagram below shows the various dimensions that are regulated by Franklin's zoning code.
 
dimensions that are regulated by Franklin's zoning code
dimensions that are regulated by Franklin's zoning code

Two of the zoning regulations which dictate the size of a property are lot area and lot frontage (see the Zoning Glossary below for definitions). They are both usually regulated as a minimum amount whereby a property owner would need to obtain a variance to build on a lot that has a smaller lot area or frontage than zoning regulations for that district allow. As we consider what this means for people traveling on foot or cycling, properties with a larger lot area are likely going to have more frontage, and as a result, it will take more time to walk past that lot.

Yards, also commonly known as setbacks, are a type of buffer that prevents a property owner from building anything too close to their front, rear, and side property lines and are also usually regulated as a minimum amount. Large front-yard setbacks can impede to access to a building by putting it farther away from the street. In commercial spaces, these setbacks are often reserved for parking lots. In residential spaces, it means larger front-yards. From the perspective of those who are interacting with their built environment, this means a longer walk across a parking lot to get to a store, or many long walks up and down driveways for trick-or-treaters come Halloween.

Building height and number of stories are dimensional standards that regulate how tall a building can be. Taller buildings with multiple stories can better maximize limited available land than a single-story building and are generally easier to obtain financing for from a bank.

On the other hand, buildings that are too high can also be unfriendly to pedestrians and cyclists, blocking natural light and creating a feeling of being lost in a "concrete jungle". The zoning code should strike a balance to allow for buildings to be built in a way that feels appropriate for someone who is interacting with them at street-level.
Source: Downtown Great Barrington Cultural District
Source: Downtown Great Barrington Cultural District
A streetwall occurs when you have higher-density, multi-story development lining one (or both) sides of the street with little, if any, setbacks in the front and side. This creates a wall of buildings that offer storefronts with visual entertainment for pedestrians and awnings that provide shelter from harsh rain or sun. See the following photo from Great Barrington, MA for an example of a vibrant streetwall.
The streetwall creates an urban form that encourages people to want to spend their free time there and transforms the sidewalk from a place of transportation to a venue for both daily adventures and special events (such as winter ice sculpture displays or a cookoff). Creating an environment where people will want to interact with the surroundings helps to create an area that feels vibrant and active and will also support the local businesses.
Impact of Use Regulations
Zoning use regulations explicitly dictate what can be built where. For example, a factory of a big-box store cannot be built in a residential district, something most would support. Such a use, with its odors, noises, and inherent dangers, could affect the quality of life for residents in a negative way. Zoning regulations help keep these land uses separate, often with buffers and space between them, ensuring that quality of life and the value of one's home is not negatively impacted by other land uses.

However, what we have learned in the one hundred years of enacting zoning regulations in the United States is that too much separation of land uses can have profoundly negative impacts on quality of life as well. As a society, we have used regulations to separate where we live from where we work, learn, and play, preventing the creation of vibrant neighborhoods and encouraging vehicle use.
One of the things that we have learned is that a mix of uses in a downtown area, including residential, retail, office, and even light-industrial, helps to foster a wider variety of housing options and create a built-in customer base that will support local business. It is hard for downtown businesses anywhere to survive when there are no customers that live nearby. A mixture of uses combined with residents living near or above them helps to create downtown destinations, that in turn make a downtown more attractive to new businesses, shops, restaurants, and residents. The photo below is an example of a mixed-use development in Franklin with retail uses on the first floor and residential units on the floors above.
 
Source: Franklin Downtown Partnership
Source: Franklin Downtown Partnership

 
Impact of Regulations on Housing Costs
Zoning regulations that unreasonably constrain what can be built on a site are directly tied to increases in housing costs. Setback regulations make the developable part of a property smaller than its area. Height limitations mean a person can only get so much usable space on their land since there is a literal ceiling as to how high a building can be built. Parking minimums mean valuable space is taken up that cannot be built on. All of these factors, combined with market forces related to supply and demand and personal preference on where people choose to live, inflate the cost of land and make development more expensive.

Fact finding missions to de-mystify zoning codes fall in the hands of developers, who must spend time and money working with architects, planners, engineers, and attorneys who can help determine what can be built where, and what the stipulations are for building in a certain place. The local municipality is a part of this, who must review submitted plans with accompanying permit fees that pay for the municipality's staff time. These processes can add hundreds of dollars to a small project, and thousands of dollars for larger projects, while adding time and uncertainty to the development process. The longer a project takes to get built, the less likely it is that the project will ever be built, a situation that no property owner or financing organization wants to be a part of.
Zoning Glossary
Accessory Building: Any building on a property that is reasonably related to the principal building on that property, such as a shed.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU): A self-contained apartment on the same lot as a single-family residence, either attached to or detached from the principal building.

Accessory Use: A secondary use of a property that is reasonably related to the principal use. A home-based business is an example of an accessory use.

Building Height: The vertical height (in feet) from the street-side of a building to the highest point of that building. The building or roof type may determine how the height is calculated, however, any part of the structure that does not enclose habitable space (such as a chimney, TV antenna, etc.) is not considered when determining building height.

Building Story: The portion of a building between the floor and either the roof or the floor above.

District: An area on a zoning map with uniform regulations which specify how the land can be uses and what dimensions a new building must conform to. All parcels in Franklin are currently assigned to one of 17 base zoning districts that serve residential, commercial, and industrial uses of varying densities.

Impervious Coverage: Anything covering the ground that surface water cannot penetrate, such as pavement.

Lot Area: The total area (in square feet) within the lot lines of a property, excluding any street right-of-way.

Lot Depth: The distance between the frontage line and the rear property line.

Lot Frontage: The portion of a property where the front entrance faces the street, measured along the street from one edge of the property to another.

Multifamily Building: A structure that contains three or more residential units, either for rent or condominium ownership.

Mixed-Use Building: A structure that contains a mix of principal uses. Generally, it refers to commercial use on the first story with residential units on the stories above.

Principal Use: What any property is primarily used for, such as residential, commercial, or industrial.

Rezone: The public process by which a zoning district for a property or collection of properties is changed, culminating in a vote by the Franklin Town Council.

Special Permit: A permit granted by a public board (usually the Planning Board) to allow for a use or increased density that is not guaranteed by right, but instead considered on a case-by-case basis.

Variance: A granted exception from the use or dimensional regulations for a property by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Not all regulations can be granted exception.
 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Conversation on the Community Preservation Public Hearings - Jan 4/Jan 18 (audio)

FM #685 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 685 in the series. 


This session of the radio show shares my conversation with three members of the Franklin, MA Community Preservation Committee. We recorded this via the Zoom conference bridge Dec 20, 2021.  


We talk about the public hearings scheduled for Jan 4 and Jan 18, 2022. The two public hearings will start the process for the Committee to build the project listing and possible allocation of the Community Preservation Act funds that will be available in Nov/Dec 2022. We don’t need to spend the money all at once but these public hearings start the process on how we should spend the money.


The recording runs about 23 minutes, so let’s listen to this discussion of Franklin’s Community Preservation Act funding process just getting started.

Audio file => https://franklin-ma-matters.captivate.fm/episode/fm-685-community-preservation-cmte-discussion-12-20-21

--------------


The committee legal notice can be found ->   https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2021-12-20_cpc_legal_ad_.pdf


The public hearing dates are:

1. January 4, 2022 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street  Agenda = https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2022-01-04_cpc_agenda_-_hearing_1.pdf

2. January 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street   Agenda =   https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/agendas/2022-01-18_cpc_agenda_-_hearing_2.pdf


The Online application can be found at this link https://franklinma.viewpointcloud.com/categories/1097


Additional information regarding the CPC & CPA can be found at the following links:

  1.  Community Preservation Coalition -> https://www.communitypreservation.org/about

  2.  MA State Legislator - Community Preservation ->   https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleVII/Chapter44B

  3.  Secretary of State Page - Accepting the CPA ->   https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elecpa/cpaidx.htm


Please bookmark the Franklin CPC website: https://www.franklinma.gov/community-preservation-committee


--------------


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) 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 Franklinmatters.org/ or www.franklin.news/

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"


Conversation on the Community Preservation Public Hearings - Jan 4/Jan 18 (audio)
Conversation on the Community Preservation Public Hearings - Jan 4/Jan 18 (audio)


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Franklin Discussion - 10/22/20 (audio)

FM #374 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 374 in the series.

This session shares the conversation about the Community Preservation Act. The conversation was conducted on Thursday, Oct 22, 2020 via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The voices you will hear in order of appearance will be that of mine, Monique Doyle, Roberta Trahan, and Susan Speers.

The show notes contain links to the Community Preservation Act webpage and other social media links. 

The conversation runs about 22 minutes.  Audio file = https://www.hipcast.com/podcast/H1F15s2K


--------------

Community Preservation Act web page  https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/ 

Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/cpaforfranklin 

Instagram account  https://www.instagram.com/cpa_for_franklin/ 

Twitter account  https://twitter.com/cpa_franklin 

--------------

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) 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 Franklinmatters.org/

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"

Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Franklin Discussion - 10/22/20 (audio)
Community Preservation Act (CPA) For Franklin Discussion - 10/22/20 (audio)


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Community Preservation Act: Frequently Asked Questions - answered by CPAForFranklin

Question of the Day: 
"Is there really any open space left to save in Franklin?"
 
Question of the Day: 
 “I don’t mind paying more on my taxes for saving open space, but I don’t want to pay more for the other uses. If money raised gets split up, will it really ever be enough to do anything with?”
 
Question of the day:
"Does adopting the CPA mean there will be an additional tax when I sell my home?"
 
Question of the day: 
"How is the CPA amount calculated? Will the CPA surcharge be figured as 2% of my property value under the CPA?"
 
Question of the Day: 
"Doesn’t the Town have enough affordable housing for those who need it?"
 
Question of the Day: 
“How many communities have adopted the CPA? And have any revoked it?” 
https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/2020/10/question-of-day-how-many-communities.html
 
Question of the Day:  
How is the allocation of local funds prioritized? 
 
Questions of the Day:  
1 - Who decides how Franklin’s CPA funds would be spent? 
2 - How will Franklin decide which projects will be funded? https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/2020/10/question-of-day-two-questions.html

 

If you have a question about how the Community Preservation Act (CPA) works, please email CPA4Franklin@gmail.com.  
 
As additional questions are asked and answered they will be posted to the page here https://www.cpaforfranklin.org/p/frequently-asked-questions.html