Showing posts with label passport processing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label passport processing. Show all posts

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Annual Report Of Department Of Planning And Community Development: FY 2023 Report

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) maintains a professional staff that provides the Town of Franklin with a wide array of planning services. DPCD's mission is to plan and implement comprehensive policies and initiatives that work to fulfill the land use-related goals of the people of Franklin. We make every effort to maintain the character of the community while enhancing its economic, cultural and social vitality.

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, natural hazard mitigation and municipal vulnerability planning, 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. For the last four fiscal years DPCD staff has also had responsibility of operating the Town's Passport office.

Support of Town Boards 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, the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, and the Cultural District Committee. Approximately 60 to 65 percent of the Department's total staff hours are utilized on Planning Board and Conservation Commission related issues. Since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic DPCD staff has needed to spend much more of available staff time on running public meetings; in efforts to ensure citizen engagement and comply with open meeting law regulations, meetings have been conducted remotely using the Zoom platform.

In addition, DPCD staff provides professional technical assistance to other public entities on an as needed basis, including Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, Town Council's Economic Development Sub-committee, and various ad hoc committees, including the Master Plan Update Committee and Open Space and Recreation Plan Update 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 Natural Resource Protection 
DPCD provides support to the Conservation Commission, as provided by MGL Chapter 131, Section 40. Conservation and Natural Resource Protection Staff, specifically the Town's Conservation Agent, is responsible for speaking for the Conservation Commission when they are not present (see separate Conservation Commission Annual Report). Although not a permit authority, the Conservation Agent does have limited police powers to regulate activities previously approved by the  Conservation Commission, stop unauthorized activities, and promote and protect Franklin's natural resources, including its wetlands, streams, brooks, ponds, lakes and watersheds. In addition, Conservation staff provides administrative support and reviews applications being presented to the Conservation Commission, manages the Commission's peer review consultants, and provides professional support to other Town Boards and Departments.

During the 2023 fiscal year DPCD staff worked on various conservation and land use related projects, including continued implementation of the DelCarte Conservation Property Master Plan; this year work included coordination of the seventh year of pond treatments. A priority for DPCD's Conservation and Natural Resource Protection Staff during FY23 was working with the Conservation Commission and other organizations and staff to manage update of the Town's Open Space and Recreation Plan.

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 FY23 is summarized below.

Zoning Bylaw Amendments 
DPCD worked on several amendments to Franklin's Zoning Bylaw during FY23. Several years ago DPCD began a project to better define the Town's zoning districts by following parcel lines. Where parcels are within two or more zoning districts DPCD developed zoning map amendments to move Zoning District boundaries so each parcel is only in one zoning district, in most cases based on the current land use. During FY23 DPCD developed and Town Council approved Zoning Map Amendments 23-887 and 23-891, finally completing this multi-year Zoning Map update project. DPCD developed Zoning Map Amendment 23-899 that updates the Marijuana Use Overlay District map. The Amendment is expected to be approved by Town Council during the first quarter of FY24.

During FY22 DPCD worked on a planning/zoning study with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to identify a vision for downtown and surrounding neighborhoods and make zoning changes that will unlock development potential and foster a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. The "Franklin For All” Project was a community-driven three phased process. During the last quarter of FY22 MAPC developed a final project report in the form of four project status memos and an Executive Summary. The Vision & Zoning Recommendations memo contained eleven recommendations that was used during FY23 by DPCD and the Town Council's Economic Development Sub-committee to begin Phase III of the Franklin For All Project, Rezoning. Several related Zoning Bylaw Amendments were developed during FY23, including:

Zoning Bylaw Amendment 22-889 made several small changes to the Zoning Bylaw's use regulations, including allowing multifamily housing in the Commercial I and General Residential V zoning districts By-Right, up to 1 unit per 2,250 SF of lot area. The amendment also added multifamily with Three Housing Units to the use regulations.

Zoning Bylaw Amendment 22-890 added a new section to the Town's Zoning Bylaw, §185-51 Inclusionary Zoning. Multifamily developments with 10 or more housing units are now required to have at least ten percent of the housing units as affordable.

Zoning Bylaw Amendments 23-894, 23-895, and 23- 896 added a definition for Accessory Dwelling Units and related regulation to the Town's Zoning Bylaw.

DPCD developed Zoning Bylaw Amendment 23- 898R that makes two small changes to the Zoning Bylaw's dimensional regulations including increasing the maximum percent of impervious lot coverage in the General Residential V Zoning District. The bylaw amendment is expected to be approved by Town Council during the first quarter of FY24.

Additional zoning bylaw amendments are being developed including adding a 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District, which will be presented to the Town in the first half of FY24.

During the last half of FY23 DPCD staff took the first steps towards updating the Town of Franklin's 2013 Master Plan. DPCD staff provide administrative and technical support to the Master Plan Committee and its five subcommittees, as well as coordinate the efforts of the consultant team hired to develop an updated plan. The Master Plan update process will continue through FY24 and hopefully be completed by the summer of 2024.

U S Passport Application Acceptance Office
The U.S. Department of State designated the Town of Franklin as an official U.S. Passport Application Acceptance Facility over 20 years ago. For the last several years DPCD has managed the Town's Passport Application Acceptance Office, which is located on the first floor of the Municipal Building. The Passport Application Acceptance Office is open three days per week (by appointment only) to assist residents of Franklin and surrounding communities with passport applications. During FY23 Passport Office personnel reviewed/accepted DS-11 Passport applications for 785 applicants, and took 550 passport photos. Applicants utilizing the Town's Passport Application Acceptance Office services were hoping to travel to over 50 countries.

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 with 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.

Affordable Housing 
Since 2017 the Town of Franklin's most important affordable housing project has been the proposed 60-Unit Franklin Ridge Senior Housing project on Veterans Memorial Drive. DPCD has consistently worked with the Project Proponent, Town Administration, the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, and professional staff from the Town's Engineering and Water/Sewer departments to move this important project forward. During FY23 DPCD took the lead, working with Town of Franklin's Engineering and Water and Sewer Department professional staff, to develop a FY23 Community One Stop for Growth grant proposal that would pay for construction of needed infrastructure improvements. In October 2022 the Town received notice it was being awarded a $3.2 million MassWorks grant for the Veterans Memorial Way and Franklin Ridge Infrastructure Project. Funds will pay for final design/engineering and construction of the extension to Veterans Memorial Way, including roadway, sidewalks and all required utilities, and a booster pumping station that is required to enhance water pressure and fire protection for the Franklin Ridge Senior Housing Project, as well as the existing Eaton Place affordable senior housing development, Bright Hill Subdivision, and two additional Municipal Affordable Housing Trust owned parcels. This infrastructure portion of the Franklin Ridge housing development work, which is being managed by the Town, will begin in July 2023 and is expected to be substantially complete in 18 to 24 months.

Regional Planning 
DPCD regularly attends meetings and works on various regional planning issues with a variety of regional organizations, including Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the Southwest Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP Committee), and the I-495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership. Franklin's Town Planner Amy Love is currently very involved with regional planning issues as the Town's representative to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and the SWAP Committee. 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 the Charles River Watershed Association.

Downtown Revitalization 
For more than twenty years the Town has made revitalization of Downtown Franklin a major focus and has worked to improve the Downtown in a variety of ways. DPCD continues 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 important component of the Franklin Center Plan is Cultural Uses. The issue of Cultural Economic Development has been a focus for DPCD for many years, including providing assistance to the Town's Cultural District Committee in a variety of ways on a range of projects, including grant writing, grant management, and providing staff support in preparing for and running monthly meetings.

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. 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 with Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), MassDevelopment and other agencies in efforts to attract the right mix of companies to the Town of Franklin's industrial and commercial areas.

At the end of FY22 DPCD met with a representative from MOBD and representatives of Plansee USA LLC to discuss Plansee's plans to expand their operations at 115 Constitution Boulevard. The company was researching State and Local incentives that may be available to manufacturers looking to make major investments in their facilities. Plansee representatives agreed the company would work to obtain Investment Tax Credits from the State, and a Tax Increment Financing agreement (TIF agreement) from the Town. On June 30, 2022 Plansee provided the Town with a letter of intent to seek development incentives through the Massachusetts Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP), including a TIF agreement from the Town. DPCD worked with Plansee, MOBD and the Town Administrator during the first weeks of FY23 to assess the proposed expansion project, and develop a TIF agreement, which was approved on July 20, 2022 by Town Council approval of Resolution 22-44. In September 2022 the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council approved the ten year TIF, certified the company's economic development expansion project, and approved $125,000 in State investment tax credits. Plansee is a technological leader in high precision machining, and part of the company's expansion included a state-of-the-art Manufacturing Training Center, which opened later in the fiscal year.

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Department of Planning & Community Development Staff.

The Dept of Planning & Community Development report can also be found in one PDF ->

The full Town of Franklin FY 2023 Annual Report can be found online

Annual Report Of Department Of Planning And Community Development: FY 2023 Report
Annual Report Of Department Of Planning And Community Development: FY 2023 Report

Friday, February 24, 2023

Town Clerk Nancy Danello looks at the year ahead; local census, dog registrations, possible Tri-County vote & local election in Nov (audio)

FM #950 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 950 in the series. 

This session shares my conversation with Town Clerk Nancy Danello conducted in her office at the Municipal Building on Tuesday, February 14, 2023. 

We talk about the annual census, dog registrations due by April 1, and the election calendar for 2023 including the possible Tri-County school building special election.

The show notes include links to the Town Clerk page and to the Tri-County information.

The recording runs about 20 minutes, so let’s listen in.

Audio link ->


Town Clerk’s page -> 

Tri-County new building page -> 

Tri County School Building Project - Karen Maguire, Tri County Superintendent (presentation to Town Council)

Passport processing (by appointment)


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

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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"

Town Clerk Nancy Danello looks at the year ahead; local census, dog registrations, possible Tri-County vote & local election in Nov (audio)
Town Clerk Nancy Danello looks at the year ahead; local census, dog registrations, possible Tri-County vote & local election in Nov (audio)

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

New York Times: "What Are the Roadblocks to a ‘Vaccine Passport’?"

"With all American adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and businesses and international borders reopening, a fierce debate has kicked off across the United States over whether a digital health certificate (often and somewhat misleadingly called a “vaccine passport”) should be required to prove immunization status.

Currently, Americans are issued a white paper card as evidence of their COVID-19 shots, but these can easily be forged, and online scammers are already selling false and stolen vaccine cards.

While the federal government has said it will not introduce digital vaccine passports by federal mandate, a growing number of businesses — from cruise lines to sports venues — say they will require proof of vaccinations for entry or services. Hundreds of digital health pass initiatives are scrambling to launch apps that provide a verified electronic record of immunizations and negative coronavirus test results to streamline the process."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

The Heliix Health Passport is only one of many developers are working on as a way of sharing coronavirus vaccine and testing information quickly and securely. Credit...Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Credit...Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Franklin: Job Opportunities in various Office positions as well as Summer (part-time)

Job Opportunities

To apply for a vacant position, please submit a resume and cover letter to  Please put the job title in the subject line of your email.  

If you do not have a resume, you may send a completed Application for Employment instead =

To receive notifications of all job opportunities in the Town of Franklin, subscribe here

Franklin: Job Opportunities in various Office positions as well as Summer (part-time)
Franklin: Job Opportunities in various Office positions as well as Summer (part-time)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

"Mass. drivers have another two years to get a Real ID"


"The long-awaited federal deadline to get a new type of driver’s license or state identification that can be used to board domestic flights has been extended again, this time until May 2023.

The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced the 19-month extension from the current deadline of October, 2021. At that point, so-called Real IDs, which are issued by states but adhere to federal guidelines to verify personal information, will become the only type of driver’s license accepted to board US flights.

The rule dates back to the post-9/11 period, but had already been pushed back from its October 2020 deadline, as officials last year cited the coronavirus pandemic."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Info on the documentation needed to get the Real ID can be found on the RMV page (Note, they have not yet updated the date change to reflect the new delay to 2023).

Sample of a Massachusetts Real ID license from the RMV website
Sample of a Massachusetts Real ID license from the RMV website

Monday, March 29, 2021

Vaccine 'passports' (really 'certificates') will be difficult but are in development

"The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard way of handling credentials - often referred to as “vaccine passports” - that would allow Americans to prove they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as businesses try to reopen.

The effort has gained momentum amid President Joe Biden's pledge that the nation will start to regain normalcy this summer and with a growing number of companies - from cruise lines to sports teams - saying they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors again.

The administration's initiative has been driven largely by arms of the Department of Health and Human Services, including an office devoted to health information technology, said five officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort. The White House this month took on a bigger role coordinating government agencies involved in the work, led by coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients, with a goal of announcing updates in coming days, said one official.


U.S. officials say they are grappling with an array of challenges, including data privacy and health-care equity. They want to make sure all Americans will be able to get credentials that prove they have been vaccinated, but also want to set up systems that are not easily hacked or passports that cannot be counterfeited, given that forgeries are already starting to appear."

Continue reading the article online at the Boston Globe (subscription may be required)

Or where it originated with the Washington Post (subscription may be required):  

Friday, January 19, 2018

"October 2020, you will be asked for a passport or REAL ID"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"People who want to travel on planes throughout the United States will soon need a passport or what is being called a Real ID. 
Beginning on March 26, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will offer Real IDs, although they will not be required for travel until October 2020. 
The Real ID is a security standard created by the federal government in 2005 as part of measures after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. 
Everyone who is eligible for a Massachusetts driver’s license can obtain them, but there will be more stringent requirements, RMV spokeswoman Judith Reardon Riley said. "
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

For additional info check out the site for Real ID

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Town of Franklin: Passport Processing on hold until July 26; 2 Fire Fighters pass training


The passport acceptance agent (Cindy Elz) will be on vacation until Wednesday, July 26. No passports can be accepted at this facility during this time.

This was shared from the Town of Franklin webpage


Firefighter's Becki Carloni & Katherine Forest on their graduation from the Massachusetts Fire Academy — @FranklinMAfire photo
Firefighter's Becki Carloni & Katherine Forest on their graduation from the Massachusetts Fire Academy — @FranklinMAfire photo