Showing posts with label rfp. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rfp. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Live reporting: Community Opportunities Grant

- Bridge Restaurant Group d/b/a Incontro Restaurant & Lounge – Change of Manager
motion to approve, seconded, passed 8-0

Community Opportunities Group-Housing Grant
Paula Stewart, Community Opportunities Group

Franklin, Bellingham, Hopedale
one of two awards by the State, expect to move forward with the work etc.
one is housing rehabilitation program
due to cut backs at Federal level
$894,0000 available for the three towns

  • 35,000 per unit to rehab, owned and/or occupied by low income
  • supplemental fuel assistance, will provide some additional resources after the basic coverage expires
can assist folks not previously covered by fuel assistance program

Nutting - we'll do more public outreach as things get ready
we're happy that the three towns collaborated and we were able to put it in

Stewart - there will be a lottery for the housing rehab program, applications will be posted to the town webpage

Bissanti - three proposals were received, one was asked for a resubmittal to take out the retail space
the point about only the two people in the room, there have been some flip remarks about that and we understand we are not going to get 35,000

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"another RFP (Request for Proposal) for hotel and commercial space" ???

Via Peg Forbes who participated in the Economic Development Committee meeting on Monday and provided this summary:

At 5:00 Monday evening, Franklin’s Economic Development Committee had a meeting during which three companies presented their proposals for development of the town owned land on Pond Street. Two of the proposals were from solar companies proposing solar farms, one proposal was from a real estate developer proposing an 85+ unit condominium development.  
The members did not like the proposals, so this will most likely go out for another RFP (Request for Proposal) for hotel and commercial space. The concerns raised about increased traffic congestion were dismissed, the reason given was that “A traffic study will be conducted by interested developers”. In relation to the existing and available 246,000 square feet of commercial/office space for rent in Franklin (a quick calculation/approximation made by adding up what is currently on, according to some members of the sub-committee, that inventory has no impact. The reason given was that if the land is sold to a developer, commercial space is built and then remains empty, the owner is still responsible for the taxes.  
The overall take-away that I got from this evenings EDC meeting was that the low community attendance (two) is perceived by a good amount of the elected board members as low community interest. (This was mentioned in relation to the meeting this evening as well as other town meetings.)  
They will ultimately make their decision based on what they personally view what would be best for Franklin overall, not taking into consideration the potential negative impacts the proposed projects may have on the immediate surrounding area.  
The only way to ensure that concerns are heard is better attendance by the community (significant, if at all possible), as well as communicating with the elected members via emails or phone calls stating the concerns about proposed projects.  
The fewer people that attend, the more they are seen as "squeaky wheels" who do not represent the community as a whole.
The Town Council is scheduled to meet on August 7th. Their agenda will be published later this week.

Pond St aerial view - Town of Franklin photo
Pond St aerial view - Town of Franklin photo

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Economic Development Committee meeting - July 27 - 5:00 PM

From Town Councilor Matt Kelly
"We have set up the next EDC meeting for Monday the 27th. 
Here is the schedule:
  • 5:00 p.m. Kearsarge Energy, Lease for Solar Proposal
  • 5:45 p.m. Solect Energy Development, Lease for Solar Proposal
  • 6:30 p.m. Baystone Development. Purchase and Develop Proposal
Each company will have 10 to 15 minutes to present their proposed projects, and then Town Officials will ask questions".

Franklin aerial photo of the Pond St Property
Franklin aerial photo of the Pond St Property

The RFP response documents can be found here

Prior meeting notes can be found here

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pond St RFP responses available for review

The documents for the three RFP responses for the Pond St property were posted to the Franklin website and are available for download and review.

Town of Franklin photo of Pond St property
Town of Franklin photo of Pond St property

The PDF file can be found here:

or download a copy of it here

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Now there are three proposals for Pond St

I got caught working late in Boston but John Pazniokas kept the Pond St group informed via Facebook and I can share his meeting summary here.

The EDC meeting tonight introduced the three proposals for the parcel: 
- A sale/development proposal from Baystone Development, proposing 85 townhouse condos and 14,000 square feet of "Office/Retail". (Unofficially, the developer indicated that they'd rather go full office space on that 14,000, but that's not in the proposal.) 
- A land-lease proposal for solar by Kearsarge Energy. 
- A land-lease proposal for solar by Solect Energy. 
The three proposals were presented at the meeting, with little if any prereading done by anyone. (Chairman Bissanti basically claimed a cursory reading; nobody else sounded familiar with any of it.) There was a three-page memo from the town summarizing them. 
Highlights from the meeting:
- Interestingly, Bissanti opened the meeting by stressing rules of procedure and an unwillingness to permit personal or professional attacks. Not sure what THAT was about.
- Vallee is disappointed in the response to the RFPs, referring to it as an "ideal parcel" to have only 3 proposals. He seemed to take 'the process' to task for not getting the word out enough, and suggested that he wanted to try to get more proposals. 
- Bissanti, again, brought up the specter of the anaerobic digester, which he, again, pointed out he had opposed. This was to warn us that these proposals were pretty good. 
- The Planning Board rep spent most of the meeting critiquing the solar proposals and insinuating that, if anything, the Baystone bid was waysuperawesomer than anything else. (I'm sorry, but I can't un-type that now.) 
- Bissanti, again, insinuated that everyone "but these seven people in the audience" were basically seen as in favor of whatever the council decides.
Town of Franklin photo of the Pond St property
Town of Franklin photo of the Pond St property

When the RFP responses are posted to the Town webpage, I'll share the links. It is likely they will be posted to the same page where the other info on the Pond St property is found.

In the News: Grant received, Pond St proposals

After applying jointly for Community Development Block Grants from the state Department of Housing and Economic Development, the towns of Bellingham, Franklin and Hopedale were awarded a total of $894,082 for housing rehabilitation and a fuel assistance program. 
The Baker-Polito Administration announced 33 grants totaling $26 million to 65 communities Wednesday. 
The federally-funded grants will help cities and towns provide housing, infrastructure improvements, childcare vouchers and other services, a press release said.
Continue to read the article here

The grant was applied for in early 2014 and reported on here

and here

The town is vetting three potential developments proposed for more than 30 acres of land on Pond Street that officials have been trying to sell for at least a decade. 
Two developers proposed solar farms for the property near Interstate 495, and the third submitted a commercial project with 85 condominiums and 14,000 square feet of office and retail space. 
The town’s Department of Planning and Community Development received the proposals July 9.
Continue reading the article here

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pond St RFP's responses to be reviewed

The next Economic Development Committee meeting is scheduled for Weds, July 15th at 6:00 PM. The meeting will review and discuss the responses to the RFP that was issued for the Pond St property and due to be submitted to Franklin as of July 9th.

At the Town Council meeting on Weds, July 8th, there had been at least one response submitted for solar. Reported to be from the same company that did the solar farm for the Mount St Mary's property. Franklin has an agreement with the solar farm there to purchase the electricity which effectively provides about 80% of Franklin's municipal requirements.

The meeting was discussed as being held in the Council Chambers as the 3rd floor training was unavailable. According to the Franklin calendar, the meeting will be held in the 3rd floor training room so something may have changed.

In any case, I do know the date and time of the meeting at the Municipal building. Worse case we show up to find out what room it is in.

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sidewalks, beer/wine license, and RFPs draw large crowd to Town Council meeting

There was almost a full house at the Town Council Meeting on Wednesday evenings. The coincidence of the agenda drew many members of the community for their particular interest along with the major department heads for their capital budget needs.

Neighbors along Chestnut St who had signed a petition looking for sidewalks got a commitment to be included in the design process. Sidewalks were approved for Pleasant St (from St Mary's down to Miller). The design study would look at a sidewalk from Griffin all the way up Chestnut to 140. Another phase of work would look at sidewalks along Washington St. These sidewalks were all identified as desired in the Master Plan published in 2013

Neighbors along Pond St gathered to see the discussion and vote by the Town Council to approve two RFP's. One to offer the land for lease for a potential solar farm. The second would be offering the land for sale for a multi use development including some residential but not apartments. Both RFPs were approved. This is the first of about an 8 step process according to Town Administrator Jeff Nutting. Responses to the RFPs will be reviewed by the Economic Development Committee before being brought to the Council for discussion and decision.

National Small Business Week
National Small Business Week

The Lenzi family and supporters of small business also gathered to participate in the discussion around a beer/wine license for the Big Y. After hearing arguments for an against the proposal, the Council voted 8-1 to award the license to the Big Y. Councilor Dellorco was the only 'no' vote. The 'yes' votes were essentially won over by the financial benefits that the Big Y has brought to Franklin (new construction, road improvements, and substantial tax contribution) as well as the license is only for beer/wine. The other two small businesses (Franklin Liquors and Davitas) have full liquor licenses. The argument of providing a convenience to the Big Y customers won the day. The Big Y is a MA based family owned company.

For the other license transactions on the agenda, British Beer Company did not show up so their item was continued to the next meeting. Guru now doing business as Chinese Mirch received approval for their DBA change.

The Council spent less time approving $1.7 million dollars for a variety of capital improvements. This continues the financial practice of using 'free cash' to fund the capital needs of Franklin. From putting money aside for new fire truck, adding money to the fund to replace the turf fields, to funding the removal of the modular units at Davis Thayer, protective vests for the police, emergency air units for fire fighters to highlight a few. In Capital Subcommittee Chair Matt Kelly's words, it was like Christmas morning. Everybody got something on their wish list.

In the last minute juggling of the agenda to make progress while waiting for the 7:10 time for the public hearings to begin, Alan Mercer provided an update on the Franklin Cultural District and this summer's Franklin Cultural Festival. 

Franklin TV was also scheduled for an update on the cable operations and ended up rescheduling for next time.

Tucked among the action items is a surprise rate reduction for the Trash/Recycling. The current rate is $216 and it will be reduced to $200. All the work with the single stream trash/recycling is continuing to pay off. Literally in our case with the savings coming to the rate payers. This is the lowest the rate has been in years. It may still go up some time in the future but not some much each time and maybe not for a couple of years. We all can enjoy the savings in the meantime!

My set of notes recorded live during the meeting can be found here

In the News: Bike week, RFPs issued

Massachusetts will be celebrating bicycling next week, as Bay State Bike Week will be held from May 9 to 17. 
Bicycling organizations, neighborhood groups and local governments are encouraged to host a local event or participate in an existing activity. The events "encourage bicycling as a fun, healthy, safe, and sustainable travel choice," according to a press release from the state Department of Transportation. 
“Our administration is pleased to support Bay State Bike Week and encourages our citizens to participate in local events as a fun and healthy activity for the whole family,” Governor Charlie Baker said in the release. 
Bay State Bike Week is now in its seventh year.
screen grab of Bay State Bike Week webpage
screen grab of Bay State Bike Week webpage

Continue reading the article here

For additional information on Bike Week,

The town has begun soliciting proposals to develop 33 acres off Pond Street after spending more than a month collecting feedback from nearby residents. 
On Wednesday, the Town Council voted unanimously to issue two separate requests for proposals for the town-owned parcels, which are bordered to the west by Interstate 495, to the east by Pond Street, to the south by commercial properties, and to the north by wetlands owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a residential subdivision. 
Previous attempts to sell the land for economic development have proved unsuccessful. 
The first request seeks developers interested in leasing the land for a solar farm. Already benefiting from a solar array near the Wrentham line, officials expect the developer to have an energy agreement in place with another community or business.

Continue reading the article here

For the Franklin Matters summary of the Town Council meeting including the rate reduction for trash/recycling, check here

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Live reporting: Legislation for action

one minute recess 

some of the crowd dispersed

The Cable TV presentation will be rescheduled


5. Resolution 15-21: Appropriation – Capital FY 15
listing of capital budget items read totaling $1,752,000
typically use 'free cash' for capital improvements

departments heads are here to answer any specific questions

The street have a problem with the intersection of Miller
also want to do Oak St in front of the high school
$100,000 for design work, phase 1 
next winter and spring would hear more details for doing sidewalks

Kelly - this takes us a while to get through, thanks to Pfeffer, Dellorco and Nutting for their work in getting this done
getting each department what they need, hope they are happy

Donna Grant, Longfellow Dr
residents off Chestnut St, concerned about walking on the Street
signed a petition and sent it to Nutting

Chestnut St will be included in the design?
Yes, it will. There will be another vote next year when we know how much it will cost

Clarification question on how much of Chestnut St would be done

motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0
just spent 1.7M dollars, 

6. Resolution 15-22: Appropriation - Sewer Enterprise Capital FY 15
will help with the capacity on the sewer line for Cooks Farm
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0 

7. Resolution 15-23: Appropriation – Water Enterprise Capital FY 15
water system improvements, Hill St, Lewis, and the streets in the neighborhood
will be coming to Council to extend the public way, so the whole project can be completed

motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

8. Resolution 15-24: Authorization to Issue Request for Proposals – Pond Street Property
lease of parcel for solar, recommendation from the EDC for two RFPs, if either or both are approved, would run for 6 weeks, see if there is a revenue stream available; the second one is more traditional development

Bissanti - thanks for the input, solar was a compromise for the neighbors
so we can put both out, see what comes back with for the Council to review

motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

9. Resolution 15-25: Authorization to Issue Request for Proposals – Pond Street Property
for the parcel to be sold and developed

this RFP would allow anything but exclude apartments 
does have a minimum of price, minimum set backs included in both RFPs

advertise, proposals submitted, reviewed by EDC, interview developers, brought before the Council for sale and requires a 2/3 vote, step one of about an 8 step process

Bissanti - thanks to Bryan (Taberner) for his work on this, worked hard to appease the neighbors and be good for the town

motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

10. Bylaw Amendment 15-747:Amendment of Service Fee Rates – Solid Waste and Recycling – 1st Reading

$216 -> 200

forgot when we discussed a few weeks ago that the rates will be going down due to the new negotiation with WasteManagement

motion to move to second reading, seconded, passed 9-0

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Live reporting: Economic Development Committee - Pond St RFP

Present: Kelly, Bissanti, Padula, Vallee
Halligan, Nutting, Taberner

meeting opening at 6:07 PM

Nutting provides an update on a meeting with MassDOT regarding the intersection of Grove and 140 as well as Pond and 140. MassDOT indicated that there is an issue they are planning to do some traffic timing in May (after Starbucks opens). They are hiring an engineer to do traffic counts and study and could have info as early as August. 

MassDOT District 3 has been cooperative and should have some additional info later this summer.

Q - How did the Starbucks get approved with such an issue at the intersection?

A - MassDOT had given a full okay to Starbucks including the curb cuts. The info since then has changed due to the info on the accident incidents there.

Taberner showing via the overhead some slides of the property maps (part of the handout)

one shows the wet land and the 25 foot no build buffer required

one shows the prime forest areas, designated by the State for forestry purposes

one shows the location of the sewer mains running through the site

one shows the location of the former sewer beds which have been covered over or removed

one shows the area of man made dumping by the Town (snow, etc.)

one shows an approximate location of a buffer set back for the neighbors consideration, roughly 200 feet

one depicted a possibility of a 1.6 acre parcel along Pond St that would be more 'marketable' and with less restrictions to deal with

last slide shows the prior 2009 proposal and how it fit into the space

Kelly explains the overall process of getting the RFP out to get something back that would make the most sense at the end of the day.

The property 'clean up' would be done by the developer. We don't know what the cost for that would be. The property is 'clean' today but some of the structures etc. would need to be removed to do what they need to do.

You want to give some parameters to the developers so they can make a decision and bring us a proposal so we can decide.

Proposals would be checked to see if the legalities were met, then brought through the Committee (and public review) before making a proposal to the Council. Where they would also have a public hearing before making the decision which requires a 2/3 vote.

We appreciate the buffer. Have the solar farms been ruled out? While the prior RFPs were unsuccessful, could we at least include the option?

It would likely be two proposals, one for the solar and one for the other options

Halligan offered that it could be $500-2000/acre for solar, so it wouldn't make to much sense to the Town

Kelly offered that he would like to see both options go out to see what we can get.

Halligan - offered that the tax revenues would be so much less.

Kelly - I don't see the reason why we don't put it out. 

Nutting - you wouldn't sell the land for solar, you'd lease it. If someone did buy it and put solar in, they could take the solar down at some time and have the 'free' land. 

Part of the lease deal would be how close to the intereconnect it would be to connect to the grid. The hotel would be significantly more than the solar farm.

I understand the desire to make money from the property. If the town loses the space to dump the snow, where would you put it?

The traffic is going to be a problem.

Do we wait for the traffic study for the RFP?

No, not really, the tax breaks for solar end in December. We need to move to find out.

All the questions will not be answered unless the RFP goes out and comes back possibly with a bid or two. It may be that we get no bids.

The rough frame work, hotel, office, medical building, and a residential component. We need to go forward with something to get something back.

Could get the solar component out now as it would not be affected by the traffic. When the numbers come back in the summer, we could incorporate the traffic numbers and do the two staggered?

Solar is allowed anywhere (by zoning), if doing a solar only (should be a lease deal as mentioned). Usually 30 days but we like to do 45 to give it time. Depends upon on the Council would like to proceed.

You would have a bit at the apple at every junction. What we craft would go to the Council so you could there.

Padula - I would move the RFP forward. Our board is charged with the duty to put something reasonable forward for the Council to decide. 

motion withdrawn, let's get the requirements together
200 foot on Pond, 150 on Walker

If you go with solar, those trees are going to go. The property is east west and you need the clearance for the sunlight.

Clarification that the access to the waterway, MIne Brook, would still be maintained?
Yes, it is there and needs to be there.

Halligan proposes to keep it open and have the developer come in to do a presentation.

It is the balance act for the council between revenue and traffic. What are they going to want to decide?

Question on where the building would be sited and how tall it would be. The zoning is 3 stories by right and 5 by special permit.

Verhagen - It is not just traffic but quality of life for the neighbors. One moved out today and one is in the process of doing so. 

Property value would decline when the area becomes undesireable part of town due to the traffic.

Bissanti - I got to think that an appraiser coming out there would negatively affect. I would caution on use of Zillow values, sometimes they are spot on sometimes they are not.

Padula - I am going to move for an open RFP. I am going to vote my conscience and make a good decision based upon what we know.

Motion to put out a general RFP, seconded

Question on where the document is that has the language agreed to?
Bryan can draft the document and if needed it can be amended at the Council.

all four members of the Committee voted for the RFP

second proposal

Motion to make a motion for a solar lease, seconded for discussion purposes
Can the buffer be reduced for solar?

Padula - I am not sure it is a great idea to do concurrent RFPs
Kelly - there should be no problem with doing both at the same time, they want it.  

Nutting - I think we should do the solar first and then come back with the second RFP

Someone could put solar in with the original RFP

move for a vote on this

Two separate RFPs would cause confusion among those developers who would make a response.

Padula - no, vote passes 3-1

the two RFP will be on the same Council agenda

meeting adjourns

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Economic Development Committee - meeting notes - Feb 3, 2015

Committee Present: Mr. Bissanti, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Vallee,
Committee Absent: Mr Padula

Town Representatives participating in meeting:  Mr. Nutting, Mr. Taberner, Mrs. Wierling

Also in attendance: Mr. Mercer, Mrs. Pfeffer

Notably missing: Anyone from the Planning Board

1. Mr. Nutting put together a package with information on the Pond Street background which was distributed to attendees

2. General protocol of EDC meeting was included in the packet

3. Mr. Nutting presented financial estimates based on 2014 proposal (same as presented at the Dec. 17th EDC meeting.) Estimates a hotel, business building and 50 condominiums would generate approximately $613,250 in tax revenue for the Town of Franklin

4. Comments were accepted in regards to the RFP. Comments or requests to include in RFP:
a. Limit on residential componentb. Why are we trying to sell?
  •  Answer given: Economic reason only.
c. Can we put in buffers?
  • 40 vs. 200 ft buffers
  • Fuss and O’Neill report recommend 200-foot “no cut” buffer
d. Idea of solar panels was brought up again.
  • Mr. Kelly suggested this be included as a possible use in the RFP
e. Can we include incentives for developers to build an attractive area that includes sustainable buildings, roof top gardens, open space for greater community.
5. Mr. Kelly called for a vote to table the discussion until the next ECD meeting. Meeting date TBD.

Thanks to Sandra Verhaegen for preparing these notes to share

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"We need to craft this in a proper way"

The Economic Development Committee (EDC) meeting was reported on the Milford Daily News in part by writing:

A wild, wooded property on Pond Street is bare, save for remnants of a wastewater plant. 
Some town councilors hope years from now, the scene changes, perhaps to a bustling development with a hotel and an office. They also want the revenue that would follow. 
Members of the council's Economic Development Committee on Tuesday discussed details of a request for proposals (RFP) for the 33-acre parcel. The committee is considering placing stipulations in the RFP that would limit the kind of developments allowed there.
Continue reading the full article here:

Friday, January 9, 2015

FM #108 - Emmons St RFP Discussion (audio)

The audio recording (podcast) for the Emmons St RFP discussion from Wednesday (Jan 7, 2015) night's Town Council meeting is available.

The run time is about 34 minutes.

You can also subscribe and listen to the audio on iTunes = search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes
subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes

My notes from the meeting can be found here

Note: If you have any suggestions/corrections to make, please feel free to let me know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Survey Says: Emmons St results

86 folks responded via the tool, two others did via comment for a total of 88 responses.

Survey Question Tally Percent
Sell the land for $500,000 w/o restriction 18 20%
Sell the land for $500,000 but restrict the use 44 50%
Sign a Land Disposition agreement 9 10%
Take no action at this time 17 19%
Totals 88 100%

The comments left with some of the surveys are here (these are unedited)

  • Would like to see a drive through option eliminated. This is not the spot for such a facility.
  • Why not keep the land but use it for downtown parking? How about a little park for downtown? Sure the town common is not too far away but this could help draw more people to downtown for leisure/fun!
  • What's the value of the property? Seems like it would be more than $500,000.
  • There is no way a drive-thru should be on that lot. Otherwise, as long as it fits in with the look of downtown I don't have an issue what goes in there.
  • There are other drive thru potentials very close by ;) Town may end up with two drive thrus
  • "The property will be worth more in 2 years after the Streetscape improvements. Why is the TC so anxious to sell.
  • The TC should follow the Town's Master Plan for the downtown. The goal is to increase pedestrian traffic, not car traffic. The Council should follow the advice of the Town's Planning Dept who have the expertise in planning. They recommend No drive-throughs in the downtown area."
  • Restrict use to NOT allow a food/coffee drive-through.
  • Please DO NOT allow a fast-food and/or drive-thru. This is a gateway property to downtown, and we can do better to preserve and improve pedestrian activity downtown.
  • No Food drive through!
  • no drive through
  • I would respectfully but strongly urge the TC to restrict the use of 150 Emmons Street by NOT ALLOWING ANY VSE'S Thank you.
  • I would prefer that there's a local-type establishment in that spot (ie not a chain store) that does NOT have a drive-through. Also, I would like to know what are the advantages and disadvantages of selling vs. leasing?
  • I like the idea of having slightly more control over what happens in that location since it is such a high profile part of our downtown. It could be such a key part of the development of downtown Franklin. Restricting its use to something that adds character to our town would be great.
  • I don't know what the town Council would find acceptable so I'm unsure on that choice I would like to see no VS Es because I wouldn't want a bank
  • Have mercy…please no more fast food chains or coffee places. There are already 5 plus coffee shops in town and a ton of fast food/drive thru. Franklin is losing it's charm and fast. It's just not an attractive place to live anymore. Turning more and more cityish as the years go by.
  • Has there been any discussion of this in the most recent Master Plan (not sure there has been one recently). I can think of many uses for the parcel that would NOT need a drive-thru but all will need some amount of parking.
  • Great time and care should be taken in filling that location. The town has a wonderful opportunity to enhance the downtown area and should not let it slip to a (potentially) financially lucrative but less culturally impactful resolution.
  • Franklin needs to move into the 21st century. The downtown is DYING. We need some new blood and new ideas.
  • Franklin needs a plan. Every effort to improve the downtown has only made it worse. We can do better. A quick sale might appeal to a shortsighted council but will prevent the downtown from fully living up to its great potential (A train station, a college, a museum, banks!!!)
  • Franklin desperately needs an activity center where youth and young adults can go to pass time instead of hanging out front of 7 eleven or looking for mischief.

The survey question post can be found here:

The full Town Council agenda can be found here

the Emmons St building in the discussion
the Emmons St building in the discussion

Monday, January 5, 2015

Public Hearing - Pond St zoning bylaw

The Town Council will hold a public hearing on Wednesday to discuss the proposal to change the zoning for the Pond St property.

The property was the subject of an RFP which did not receive any legal responses. It did receive one response but it arrived late and hence was disqualified. It did contain a proposal for more of a mixed use development including residential. The current zoning would prohibit residential. The discussion at the Economic Development Committee meeting concluded with the plan to propose the zoning change to include residential and then if approved, re-issue the RFP to see if there are more takers.

The owners abutting the property were sent the following information to help prepare for the discussion:

A whole lot of information on Franklin and, in particular, the Pond Street property can be found here

The Economic Development Committee meeting notes can be found here

The agenda for the Town Council meeting on Jan 7 (and all associated documents released for it) can be found here

Note: The meeting has a scheduled start of 6:00 PM. They will open the meeting, go to Executive Session with a return to open meeting after their discussion on the Fire Fighters Union contract.
Franklin Planning and Community Development photo of Pond St property
Franklin Planning and Community Development photo of Pond St property

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Options for 150 Emmons St decision

The Emmons St discussion is likely one of the key items on the Town Council agenda for their first meeting of 2015. The letter from Town Administrator Jeff Nutting to the Town Council lays out the current options for the discussion on the Request for Proposal (RFP) to sell the property.

As the Council is aware, we discussed an RFP for the sale of 150 Emmons Street with a minimum bid of $475,000. We did receive one bid for $500,000. The proposal submitted does not identify any specific use for the property. 
The Council has several options including:
1. Sell the land for $500,000 and allow the developer to construct anything on the property allowed by zoning. 
2. Sell the land for $500,000, but restrict the use. (The discussion at the Economic Development Committee was whether to allow for VSEs (Vehicle Service Establishments) for any use or not allow VSEs for fast food/coffee uses? 
3. Sign a Land Disposition agreement and allow the developer 180 days to find a tenant (s) acceptable to the Council. 
4. Take no action at this time.
If the Town Council chooses to sell the property, we will need until July 1, 2015 to relocate the Recreation Department.

The screen grab of the letter can be viewed here: 

screen grab of letter with options for decision on 150 Emmons St
screen grab of letter with options for decision on 150 Emmons St

150 Emmons St, Franklin   MA
150 Emmons St, Franklin   MA

The letter is found on page 25 of the 79 page PDF file released for the Town Council meeting January 7, 2015:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

don't call between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM

If you need to call for an emergency, don't call between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM Monday to Friday.

The frequency of simultaneous calls is raising a concern. The Fire Dept is barely staffed to serve two calls at one time. When the third one comes in, assistance from one of our neighboring communities is needed. It is not that they are not responsive, they are. The response time (travel time) from their departure point to the site in Franklin will be longer than if Franklin served the call.

Chief Gary McCarragher's presentation to the Town Council on Wednesday.

One other document provided to share is the marketing plan for the two RFPs currently out on the street. The Dept of Community Development and Planning is leading the efforts outlined here.

For the complete set of notes from Wednesday's Town Council meeting, check this link

Franklin - Fire Station #1 - West Central St
Franklin - Fire Station #1 - West Central St

Thursday, September 18, 2014

RFP goes with a drive through option

The Town Council meeting Wednesday was a relatively quiet affair. The agenda was changed to move the action items before the appointments. This was mentioned here earlier.

The resolution to add membership to the Franklin Advisory Committee needed to be voted on before the actual membership additions could be approved. Normally, the appointments are to standing committees where one or two people are replacing folks who have left.

In my seven years reporting on the Council, this circumstance had only come up a couple of times. The resolution was approved and the appointments were confirmed.

The change in agenda may have surprised some of the residents who could have spoke on the Emmons St property as only Lisa Piana, Executive Director of the Franklin Downtown Partnership, came forward to make two points on the RFP.

The Council acknowledged the two items but effectively dismissed them as something that could be handled later and proceeded to approve the RFP as written by a 7-0 vote. Councilor Padula was absent from the meeting and Councilor Kelly recused himself for the first time from this discussion item.
Franklin Municipal Building, site of the Town Council meetings
Franklin Municipal Building, site of the Town Council meetings

In a PR move, Ron Roux, the Cook's Farm developer spoke briefly about his intention to use local resources on the construction project. He could not commit to specific skills that would be open or keep for his standard group. He will be scheduling a meeting to present details of the project and needs to let those interested get more information and consider their involvement.

David McKearney, presented an overview of the operations of the Board of Health. The Health Dept is quite busy and their duties vary from beaver permits to food inspections of the more than 100 restaurants and food service operations twice a year in Franklin.

His presentation doc is supposed to be posted to the Franklin website. The outline used seems to be similar to their section in the Annual Report. The numbers would have been updated to reflect current activities (versus prior years).

My detailed notes reported live during the meeting can be found here

The Annual Report section for the Board of Health in 2012 can be found here

The Health Dept page can be found here

Monday, September 15, 2014

What will we do with the money?

The RFP for the former sewer plant on Pond St is out as well as the proposal to sell 150 Emmons St. With two RFP's on the street to sell town property, it might be time to start the discussion on what are we going to do with the money?

The money from either or both sales would qualify as capital funds and hence would have to be used for similar purposes according to what I recall the discussion on the sale of the Four Corners Building (now Walgreens). The funds can not be used for annual operational expenses.

The renovation and expansion of the Library I think would qualify. The buildout of the second floor of the Senior Center should also qualify.

What else would?

Is there a current plan to use the money or to just set it aside in the bank for future use?

Four Corners Building - June 2009 (just before demolition)
Four Corners Building - June 2009 (just before demolition)

Milford Daily News article on the Pond St RFP

The agenda for Wednesday's Town Council meeting includes the details of the 150 Emmons St RFP

Audio from the Town Council meeting January 19, 2008 on the Four Corners RFP