Showing posts with label public meeting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label public meeting. Show all posts

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Franklin Public Schools seeks public input on proposed options amid redistricting analysis process

The Franklin Public School District invites Franklin residents to provide input on proposed options as part of the redistricting analysis process that was pioneered by the Franklin School Committee during the 2021- 2022 academic year. 

The district will host public forums on 
  • March 7 at Franklin High School Media Center from 6 PM - 8 PM  
  • March 13 virtually via Zoom from 6 PM - 8 PM
Both forums will present the same information.

Options proposed have been workshopped by district staff, the redistricting analysis consultant Applied Geographics (AppGeo) and the Redistricting Advisory Committee, which is composed of parents/ guardians, educators, district and building based administrators as well as school committee members. All options will be presented by the district and redistricting analysis consultant, a supplementary input survey will be distributed to collect additional comments.

The feedback provided during our upcoming public forums and input survey will inform the district's recommendation to the School Committee for a vote in the Spring of 2023. The decision to implement any recommendations, including potential changes to current boundaries, is a School Committee decision.

The following options will be presented in March.
Option 1 - Proposes that current district attendance boundaries remain the same while a Master Facilities Plan is conducted. ASMS/Keller spaces will continue to be used flexibly. Both administrative teams at the complex will continue to work together to utilize the available space to accommodate the needs of all students.

Option 2 - Proposes a change to district attendance boundaries in an attempt to balance enrollment while also maintaining geographic contiguity and undertaking a Master Facilities Plan, which may result in further redistricting based on the outcome.

Option 3 - While the current district attendance boundaries remain the same as Option 1, there is a consideration for including a "Buffer Zone" for designated areas of the former Davis Thayer attendance boundary, which could allow families to opt-in to Oak Street and/or Parmenter Elementary School for specific zones as a special consideration.
ASMS/Keller spaces will continue to be used flexibly. Both administrative teams at the complex will continue to work together to utilize the available space to accommodate the needs of all students. When necessary, small group instruction for Keller students may occur in nearby Sullivan spaces—understanding that the results of a Master Facilities Plan could reassign attendance boundaries for students in future years.

Buffer Zone Considerations in Option 3:
1. The District will not provide transportation, and parents/guardians of students who request to transfer must transport their child to and from school.
2. Requests are taken on a first-come, first-served basis based on room availability.
3. Families approved for the voluntary buffer zone opt-in may be subject to a reassignment of their district boundary pending the results of a Master Facilities Plan.
Additional information can be found on the Redistricting Analysis webpage of the Franklin Public Schools website.

For more information please contact Marketing and Communications Specialist Lily Rivera at

About the Franklin Public School District:
The Franklin Public School District strives to nurture a safe, supportive, inclusive and collaborative learning environment in each of our 10 schools. We believe in providing an engaging and rigorous curriculum with exemplary instructional practices that will support and challenge students to reach their full potential through personalized learning opportunities. Our goal is to develop the necessary social-emotional, academic, and career skills for each Franklin student, so that they will be a productive citizen in an ever-changing world.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Boston Globe: "A new master plan could help transform Boston Common into a ‘better version’ of itself"

When I worked in Boston, visiting the Boston Common or the Public Garden was something to do as a break during the workday on good weather. A new "Master Plan" has just been revealed to bring about some improvements to the space on the Common. 

All this to lead to holding a place for Franklin's Open Space plan and Mast Plan which both are supposed to begin an update process next year. There will be public meetings, survey's, etc. to craft our own Master Plan for what Franklin should be like in the future. Stay tuned. This will be an important effort to participate in and/or at least be aware of.
"The popular playground on Boston Common, which draws children from across the city and beyond, would nearly triple in size. A revamp of the equally popular Frog Pond would include multiple fountains, while a soccer pitch would be added to the athletic fields. More restrooms, everywhere. And, a place to get a beer or glass of wine.

Those are just a few of the big changes that could be coming over the next decade to the nation’s oldest public park, according to a new master plan for the Common that was released by the city and Friends of the Public Garden on Wednesday.

The grand reimagining calls for both ambitious new projects and more subtle improvements, with a goal of making the Common even more inviting and navigable. So, dog owners would have an enclosed park to let their pets run free. The Parkman Bandstand would have a ramp for people with disabilities. And the athletic fields would welcome soccer and basketball players for the first time."
Continue reading the Boston Globe article online (subscription may be required)

Boston Common "master plan"  ->

Open Space & Recreation plan ->  (the plan details are actually part of the Master Plan doc)

"A new master plan could help transform Boston Common into a ‘better version’ of itself"
"A new master plan could help transform Boston Common into a ‘better version’ of itself"

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Franklin MA: Town Council - Agenda - Nov 3, 2021

Franklin Town Council
Agenda & Meeting Packet
November 3, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Meeting will be held at the Municipal Building
2nd floor, Council Chambers 355 East Central Street 


2. ELECTION OF OFFICERS – Town Council Chair, Vice-Chair & Clerk

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 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. October 6, 2021


a. Franklin Cultural Council: Venus Senjam
b. Franklin Cultural Council: Patrick Kinner
c. Franklin Cultural Council: Shelley Green
d. Franklin Cultural Council: Jacob Juncker

8. HEARINGS - 7:10pm - None Scheduled

a. Residence Inn Boston Franklin, License Modification, Change of Manager, Officers/Directors/ LLC Managers & Change of ownership Interest, 4 Forge Parkway, Franklin, MA 02038
b. Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc. d/b/a Shaw's, License Modification, Change of Officers/Directors/LLC Managers, 255 East Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038
c. 99 Restaurants of Boston, LLC d/b/a The Ninety-Nine, License Modification, Change of Officers/Directors/LLC Managers, 847 West Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038

a. Presentation: Open Meeting Law, Public Records, Ethics and Conducting a Public Meeting - Mark Cerel, Town Attorney

a. Capital Budget Subcommittee
b. Budget Subcommittee
c. Economic Development Subcommittee

a. Resolution 21-65: Cable Funds in Support of PEG Service and Programming per MGL Ch. 44,
§53F3/4 - $18,500.22 (Motion to Approve Resolution 21-65 - Majority Vote)
b. Resolution 21-66: Gift Acceptance: Veterans Service Department ($3,295.00) and Fire Department ($965.00) (Motion to Approve Resolution 21-66- Majority Vote)




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.
i. Schmidt’s Farm, Prospect Street

Two-Thirds Vote: requires 6 votes
Majority Vote: requires majority of members present and voting 

Franklin MA: Town Council - Agenda - Nov 3, 2021
Franklin MA: Town Council - Agenda - Nov 3, 2021

MA Open Meeting Law: items of interest on public participation and SEPAC meetings

What about public comment, public participation, and public hearings?

"The Open Meeting Law does not require that public bodies allow public comment or public participation during meetings -- to the contrary, the Open Meeting Law specifies that nobody shall address the public body without permission of the chair. However, the Attorney General encourages public bodies to allow public comment and/or public participation when feasible.    
Because the Open Meeting Law does not require that public bodies allow for public comment or public participation during meetings at all, the manner that public bodies may choose to accept comment or questions is outside the scope of the Open Meeting Law.  
Public hearings, on the other hand, are governed by separate laws that impose additional requirements, and may require opportunity for public comment or testimony.  Those requirements are outside the scope of the Open Meeting Law and therefore do not fall within the Division of Open Government’s jurisdiction.  Public bodies and members of the public should consult with legal counsel for guidance on the requirements for public hearings. "

Are Special Education Parent Advisory Council (“SEPAC”) groups public bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law?
"While a SEPAC itself is generally not a public body subject to the Open Meeting
Law, the leadership group may be a public body subject to the Open Meeting
Law. Massachusetts law requires that membership in a school’s SEPAC be
offered to all parents of children with disabilities and other interested parties. See
G.L. c. 71B, § 3. In many cases, the SEPAC establishes or elects a leadership or
governing committee. That group of elected or appointed officers will likely
constitute a public body under the Open Meeting Law, and it is therefore
advisable that such groups comply with the Open Meeting Law’s requirements. 
Now that the issue has been formally presented to this office, and after review and analysis of the applicable statutes and regulations pertaining to the establishment of SEPACs as well as the structure and function of SEPACs, we conclude that the Brockton, Brookline, and Melrose SEPACs are not public bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law. We also conclude that whether a SEPAC’s leadership group is a public body depends on the structure and role of that group.  We find that the officers of the Melrose and Brockton SEPACs do not constitute public bodies;
and that the Board of the Brookline SEPAC is a public body for limited purposes."

Document link -> 

Learn about the Open Meeting Law or report a violation with the Attorney General's Division of Open Government.

Learn about the Open Meeting Law or report a violation with the Attorney General's Division of Open Government
Learn about the MA Open Meeting Law or report a violation with the Attorney General's Division of Open Government

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Mass. Municipal Assn: "Select board group discusses the future of public meetings"

Mass. Municipal Assn (@massmunicipal) tweeted on Fri, Jul 30, 2021:
Mass. Select Board Assn concluded its annual Leadership Conference series with a webinar on the future of public meetings w/ @TOFranklinMA Town Administrator Jamie Hellen & #Stow Town Administrator Denise Dembkoski. 

"The future of public meetings was the topic of the fourth and final webinar in the Massachusetts Select Board Association’s Leadership Conference series today.

Franklin Town Administrator Jamie Hellen kicked off the meeting with a discussion about how the town has transitioned from all-virtual to hybrid board and committee meetings that allow for a combination of virtual and in-person participation. Hellen showed how Franklin’s Town Council chambers have been set up to allow the council, staff, presenters and meeting participants to attend meetings in-person while the public joins remotely.

Hellen covered important aspects of the set up, such as room layout and the necessary technology, as well as the town’s partnership with its local access TV provider, Franklin TV. He also emphasized the importance of trial and error in order to develop a system that works best for the community."

Mass. Municipal Assn: "Select board group discusses the future of public meetings"
Mass. Municipal Assn: "Select board group discusses the future of public meetings"

Thursday, June 3, 2021

"create ways for state and local officials to participate in meetings remotely"


"FOR A WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS resident to attend a two-hour meeting in Boston, it’s an eight to 10 hour commitment, said state Rep. Mindy Domb, an Amherst Democrat. To get to Boston in the early evening, someone needs to take time off from work to drive into the city. They must have their own car and money to pay for gas and parking. They might have to pay a babysitter. They will get home at 10 or 11 p.m. 

“My neighbors, friends, coworkers won’t even consider participating in a statewide board or commission,” Domb said. “It’s not only cutting off people’s ability and capacity to participate. It’s reducing what government gets from Western Massachusetts and the Cape. Not just the regional perspective but the human perspective, the experience, the expertise of hundreds of thousands of people who live outside 495.” 

Continue reading the article online 

The Joint Committee page can be found ->

The recorded hearing as mentioned in the article is available for review

Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The stormwater story summary for Franklin

One of the key items in all of the budget discussions is going to be the stormwater utility question. This has been a topic that has developed since 2007 when the initial storm water bylaw was passed. The EPA and Mass DEP have continued to add requirements to how storm water should be managed. The costs for such mitigations have grown over the years. The introduction of the storm water utility fee would allow the Town to better manage the impact on the Town budget.

Why must we manage storm water?

We are part of the area feeding into the Charles River and hence are under the provisions as outlined in the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit. We have an extensive outflow system to catch and manage storm water. Check out the map here -> 

Did the Town of Franklin sue the EPA?

Yes, and while we ultimately ‘lost’ the case, we did gain concessions on the implementation timeline that benefit all under the MS4 permit requirements.

When did the storm water bylaw pass?

The Storm water bylaw originally passed in 2007. Check out the bylaw language here ->

What is the storm water utility fee?

Article IV - storm water utility was added in Jan 2020. Bylaw #19-846 approved 9-0 vote. Check out the language here -> 

What is the MS4? 

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems or by the shorter name MS4. The current storm water mitigation plan - updated in 2020 ->  Stormwater Management Plan (revised 2020)

Can I find out what my impervious coverage is?
Check out the impervious coverage map for your property ->

Finance Committee budget hearing scheduled to continue this discussion

  • April 29 Agenda  = Dept of Public Works


How did we get here?

Soak it up Franklin site introduced in 2014 

Find the “Soak it up Franklin” page here ->

Storm water mitigated by rain gardens 

The storm water utility was mentioned in the EPA response in 2015

“Full compliance with the 2014 Draft MS4 Permit is an additional significant effort that cannot be currently supported with the Town' s existing resources and funding within the next permit cycle, as specified in the draft permit. The Town wishes to continue improving stormwater management and water quality, but this effort needs to take into consideration the progress made to date and be balanced with future infrastructure demands town-wide and economic conditions. Additionally, the town feels that the most cost-effective approach for stormwater improvements is integration with redevelopment and capital projects as infrastructure needs to be upgraded and/or replaced.


Similar to many other communities, Franklin has considered creating a stormwater utility to meet the current and proposed additional costs associated with the updated MS4 permit. Attached are working budget sheets that are based on current costs to meet the existing MS4 permit compared to estimated short-term EPA proposed MS4 stonn water activities. These worksheets clearly show that the additional tasks proposed by the new MS4 permit would go up over l00%!


Presently the Public Work's General Fund Operational Budget (GFOB) is $3,996,424.00. It is estimated that 14% or $559,499.00 of the GFOB is used for  only stormwater tasks.  lf the new MS4 permit becomes effective as proposed, it is estimated that the stormwater program effort in Franklin would require an increase to 26% or $1,039,070.00 of the GFOB”


Find the full doc with this quote here -> 

Storm water info mailer in 2018 

The bylaw was discussed in Nov 2019 TC meeting

Received first reading and approval to second reading 

Actions taken Dec 4 move to 2nd reading

Dec 2019 TC meeting

Stormwater Utility fee structure was approved by 9-0 in Jan 2020

Actions taken Jan 8 2020 - approval to set the process for the MUNIS adjustments required to bill for an actual fee (to be determined later).

Info session doc 3/11/20 

Town council goals midterm

You ask, we answer

MS4 info session summary

Finance Committee meeting in June 2020

Town Council Budget hearing June 2020

Storm water ad-hoc committee meeting Aug 2020 (audio)

Storm water ad-hoc committee meeting Sep 2020 (audio)

Finance Committee meeting Jan 13, 2021 (Audio)

Town council Jan 20, 2021 (audio)


The stormwater story summary for Franklin
The stormwater story summary for Franklin

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In the News: "Open or closed? Town officials have to decide"

From the Milford Daily News, an article of interest for Franklin:  

"Franklin Town Manager Jamie Hellen agreed that the pandemic has spurred some innovations that are likely to continue after the outbreak subsides. For instance, he said the town has been conducting some inspections via photo or video, which has been successful so far. In addition, the Town Council and other boards are meeting in person at the Franklin Municipal Building, but broadcasting sessions and taking public comment virtually via video-conferencing.

Hellen said the town worked with the local cable access television station to outfit its meeting chambers for video-conferencing participation, and he doesn’t anticipate that format going away anytime soon, though Franklin is looking to reopen some of its facilities in November.

“Citizen engagement in our meetings has been at an all-time high,” Hellen said. “And I think the great thing is, because they’ve had more access through Zoom or Google Hangout or whatever technology, we’re going to end up continuing to use to be that portal for public participation, I think if we removed it, I think people would be disappointed.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Board of Health meeting conducted virtually in September
Board of Health meeting conducted virtually in September

Friday, March 13, 2020

DLS Alert: Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Order Modifying the State’s Open Meeting Law

Open meeting law regulations modified to allow public meeting to continue during this pandemic period

 Emergency Order Modifying the State’s Open Meeting Law
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Order Modifying the State's Open Meeting Law

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced an emergency order temporarily modifying the state's open meeting law in order to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions and operations during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

This emergency order suspends the requirement for public access to the physical location where a public meeting is taking place, provided there are other means of access available. This includes the use of a phone conference line for members of the public, social media or other internet streaming services, on-line meeting services, or methods of access.

Both the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have advised residents to take extra measures to put distance between themselves and other people to further reduce the risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, the CDC and DPH have advised high-risk individuals, including people over the age of 60, anyone with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system, and pregnant women, to avoid large gatherings.

Additionally, the order relieves the requirement that a quorum of members be physically present at a public meeting. During this period, members may all participate by remote or virtual means.

This order is applicable to meetings of public bodies including commissions, boards, and committees that engage in policy making at the state, quasi and local level, and it does not apply to Town Meetings or judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. It follows Governor Baker's declaration of a State of Emergency on Wednesday, March 11, and it will remain in place until rescinded or the State of Emergency is terminated.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue - Division of Local Services · 100 Cambridge Street · Boston, MA 02114 · USA

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"State officials estimated delays will be reduced by 91 percent with the preferred design"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The public next week will have the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the upcoming Mass Pike-Interstate-495 interchange reconstruction.

A public meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Marathon Elementary School cafeteria.

The report includes the status of project planning and design, the type and size of the project, requirements of state agencies and reasonable alternatives and methods to avoid, minimize and mitigate environmental impacts, according to the state Department of Transportation’s website. The project needs to dodge wetlands, the Sudbury River, Department of Conservation and Recreation land, train tracks and private property.

Residents can receive a copy of the Draft Environmental Impact Report by emailing Nathaniel Curtis at Those unable to attend next week’s meeting can provide written comments on the report. Written comments can be sent to Secretary Kathleen Theoharides, Attn: Page Czepgia, Assistant Director, MEPA Office, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 100 Cambridge St., Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114 or"
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Additional info can be found on the MassDOT page

Monday, October 21, 2019

Economic Development Subcommittee = Oct 23, 2019

Economic Development Subcommittee Meeting

Municipal Building - 355 East Central Street, 
3rd Floor Training Room, Franklin, MA

October 23, 2019 = 6:00 PM


This meeting may be recorded by audio or video.

1. Plastic Bag Ban Proposal

This was shared from the Town of Franklin page

Prior EDC meeting notes and audio recordings can be found

From the back of the room at the EDC meeting, Aug 14, 2019
From the back of the room at the EDC meeting, Aug 14, 2019