Saturday, September 28, 2013

"denied the request without further discussion"

The Library Book Sale issue made it to the Milford Daily News in this recap of what has been published already:
"Our thought was, ‘Why do you kick $6,000 to $7,000 out of the window?' " said Kathie Nosek, who has planned the sale for the last two years. "Why would you not take that in addition to your sales?" 
Five days later, Nosek said Friday, the decision still perplexes her. 
"I think the Friends are still in shock about it to be honest," she said. "We never assumed that someone could be so mathematically challenged as to not look at the figures." 
Lucier on Friday questioned why the board would cancel an event that is put on at no cost to the library or town and which results in revenue for a library that needs it.

Read more:

A new caption for what the Ben Franklin statue is doing outside the library is 'he is also trying to make sense of this!"

What would Ben say?
Ben Franklin statue in 2008

Respectfully, there is nothing new in this issue. If you read through the Library Board's meeting notes, this 'issue' has been around for quite a while. There is something deeply disturbing in the relationship between the two groups that has not been resolved. It does take two to tango, and if only one party is willing to come to the table. It will be a long time before there is a dance.

In case you missed hearing about this, here is the replay:

The letter to the Friends of Franklin Library (FoFL)

FoFL President Maria Lucier's update

My reporting on the September Library Board meeting

The Library Board minutes for the August meeting

Library: Pencil Pizazz

The Library craft for Monday is "Pencil Pizazz"

Pencil pizazz

This posting originated on the Franklin Library blog

In the News: Gatehouse Media Chapter 11

GateHouse Media Inc. files prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy

GateHouse Media Inc., owner of The MetroWest Daily News, the Milford Daily News and more than 150 weekly newspapers and Wicked Local websites in Massachusetts, has filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Delaware.

Friday, September 27, 2013

School Committee: MCAS and PARCC presentations

If you missed the School Committee meeting on Tuesday and want to review the presentations on MCAS and PARCC, the new test being piloted here in Franklin, you can view both documents here.

The overview on Franklin's MCAS scores

The overview on PARCC which is slated to replace MCAS

More about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) can be found here

More about MCAS can be found here

Farmers Market - Town Common - noon to 6:00 PM

The Farmers Market is open every Friday through October.

farmers market sign downtown

Stop by to get fresh produce!

farmers market on a sunny day

Great Weather for Autumn Hike on Saturday

The Autumn Trail Hike of the SNETT will take place this Saturday, from 10:00 to Noon starting at the trailhead on Grove Street in Franklin.

This free event is cosponsored by the Franklin Bellingham Rail Trail Committee and the Metacoment Land Trust.  In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation will be proving a professional guide.  Kid-friendly activities will be provided along a one-mile round trip hike.

This event is free and you can register at

SNETT sign on Grove St

in the News: Depot Plaza fire, new FinCom member, medical marijuana applicants

Fire at Franklin's Depot Plaza caught at right time

Firefighters early Thursday morning battled a fire inside Depot Plaza that was caught before it could inflict any major damage. 
The fire originated from an exhaust fan in one of the building’s bathrooms, Chief Gary McCarraher said, and flames spread to the ceiling and burned for some time. 
A piece from the roof fell to the floor, causing another fire that activated the buildings alarms at about 2:47 a.m., he said.
Read more:

New member appointed to Franklin finance committee

William Dowd, of Pine Ridge Road, will occupy James Roche’s empty seat. Roche, previously the board’s chairman, decided against seeking reappointment this year. 
"I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to contributing," Dowd said Thursday. "I’m looking to make sure the town gets the biggest bang for its buck."

Read more:

3 area towns listed in applications for medical marijuana dispensaries

Three communities are listed as possible locations for medical marijuana facilities, according to a review of the applications by the Massachusetts Municipal Association. 
In Norfolk County, four applicants are eyeing Franklin — Baystate Medical Enterprises Inc., Commonwealth Biopharm Inc., Mass. Compassionate Patient Care Corp. and Mass Relief Inc. — and one, Growing Health Wellness Center Inc., has identified Bellingham as a potential town to set up shop.

Read more:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Divided Council moves zoning bylaw changes to second reading

In my reporting on this current Council, there have been very few instances where a vote was less than unanimous. On Wednesday, the zoning bylaw changes put forward to allow development of the Cook's Farm property ultimately passed by a 5-2 vote. There were only seven of the nine Councilors voting as two recused themselves for connections to the property or family in some way.

It is telling that the two 'No' votes rose from Tina Powderly (who has approached everything she has done with professional integrity and intelligence) and Glenn Jones (the subcommittee chair of the Economic Development Committee). One of the key arguments against the proposal as outlined by Councilor Powderly was how this proposal did not fit with anything in the Master Plan which had been also presented on Wednesday and approved unanimously by the Council. Primarily it allows for higher density development when Franklin has been operating since the 1990's to managed its growth.

The population grew rapidly due to development of the farms, increasing the need for schools which we were fortunate to build with much State help while we were growing. That help (read funds) has dried up and instead of increasing to meet our current needs has flatten out and started to decline. Franklin is dependent upon State funds to operate. We do need to grow to expand our tax base. That is the only way we can get help. But putting in additional homes may not be the best way at this time to do so.

There are additional problems with this proposal. The Planning Board will re-do their vote on the changes. Apparently during the meeting on Monday, the motion to approve the bylaws was made before the hearing closed, comments on the measure were not properly solicited, and while the vote did pass, one member has retracted their vote due to the situation. Planning Board Chair Tony Padula explained these 'house keeping' steps were needed. He expects to be able to re-do the vote properly during their next meeting October 7th. This is still before the Town Council can take the measures up for their second reading on Oct 16th.

There was also discussion around the dead end calculation and how it should be handled. Why the fuss over this? A safety issue. If the streets are too narrow emergency vehicles can not get in and turn around to deal with an emergency. If the road in is also the only road out, it could create a situation where an emergency vehicle needing to leave to transport patients to the hospital can not get out of the development. This situation would be created by allowing higher density development in a smaller space allowing for profit to the property owners and developer but putting the residents at risk in case of an emergency.

I agree with the 'No' vote caste by Councilors Powderly and Jones. Rushing into this change in zoning bylaws can have a lasting effect on Franklin. The Master Plan was just approved. We should spend time putting those recommendations into place so that Franklin can be a place to live safely in the future, not just now.

Additional links with the "live reporting" from the Town Council meeting can be found here:

Pumpkin Carving Contest - Franklin Historical Museum

Here's a chance to get into the spirit of the season! The Franklin Historical Museum will be holding a carved pumpkin contest in conjunction with the Harvest Festival, October 6th. A flyer is attached. 
The contest is for school age children grades 2 through 8. Carved pumpkins should be delivered to the museum between 11:00am and Noon on the 6th. Judging will be at 2:00 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. Cookies and Apple Cider will be served.

Join us for a fun afternoon, see how creative the kids can be, and have a look around at some of Franklin's History.The Museum is located at 80 West Central Street, just two doors from the Fire Station, in the old Town Hall and former Senior Center Location.

For additional information about the Franklin Historical Museum visit their webpage

or the Museum Facebook page

For additional information on the Harvest Festival stay tuned here or visit the Downtown Partnership webpage

Flu Clinic - Oct 17th

The VNA and Hospice of Greater Milford, in cooperation with the Franklin Board of Health is sponsoring the following seasonal flu immunization clinic for the residents of Franklin. These clinics are for town residents over 6 months of age.

Thursday, October 17, 2013, 1:00 - 3:00 P.M. 
at the Franklin Senior Center
10 Daniel McCahill Street

"The process is over"

What happened to the teacher in the incident reported at the opening of schools? The update from the School Committee meeting on Tuesday as reported by the Milford Daily News is:
The Franklin High School teacher accused in August of serious misconduct was fired last week following an internal investigation. 
The school district’s attorney found that the instructor showed "conduct unbecoming of a teacher," said Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, who would not go into further detail. 
"The teacher was represented and had due process," she said on Tuesday.

You can read the full article in the MDN here:

When the video replay of the School Committee meeting is available you can view it here

"voted to repeal the new technology tax"

The Milford Daily News reports on the House action in Boston on Wednesday:
The House voted 156-1 on legislation geared toward repealing the tax. The Senate will likely take up the bill during its session Thursday. 
“To say I’m pleased is an understatement,” said Jay Fredkin, CEO of Cabem Technologies, a company with offices in Franklin and Newton. 
In calling for the tax’s repeal, Fredkin said, tech businesses throughout the state felt "blindsided." 
“They passed the law and days later it was implemented; no one had a clue what to do. Blindsided is exactly what happened,” the Franklin resident said.

Read more:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Live reporting - Closing

Harvest Festival - Sunday, Oct 6th - come on downtown to see everything, there will be lots going on
Senior Center Expo on Friday
Thanks to Beth and Bryan for their work on the Master Plan


Kelly - review all the facilities in town; can we review the 600 ft discussion to know more about it

Roy - I know the tour of the eleven schools take 5-6 hours

Mercer - tour of the new high school coming on the 7th of Oct at 5:00PM, time moved up due to daylight savings

Kelly - hope everybody goes to the Harvest Festival

motion to adjourn

Live reporting - Legislation

1. Resolution 13-69: Authorization for Intermunicipal Agreement with Town of Bellingham for Shared In-Home Respite Services
funded by a grant to hire a director and three part-time people
motion to approve, passed 9-0

Mercer and Bissanti recuse themselves

2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-719: Changes to Chapter 185. Attachment 9. Schedule of Lot, Area, Frontage, Yard and Height Requirements – 1st Reading
motion to more to second reading, passed 5-2 (Powderly and Jones)

Powderly will not be moving this to second reading, I don't feel it is in the best interests. We have had a growth strategy, we can't support higher density at this time. There is nothing in this consistent with the Master Plan. it is not a whole list of things that are in conflict with the future.

Kelly - I think quite the opposite. Unless we are looking at smart growth opportunities, we are going to be in trouble. We need to look at what we have left and how we are going to use it. if 40B went into this lot, we would have a huge problem with the schools.

3. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-720: Changes to Chapter 185-4. Districts Enumerated – 1st Reading
motion to more to second reading, passed 5-2 (Powderly and Jones)

4. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-721: Changes to Chapter 185-5. Zoning Map – 1st Reading
motion to more to second reading, passed 5-2 (Powderly and Jones)

5. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-722: Changes to Chapter 185-50. Residential VII Zoning District – 1st Reading
motion to amended, passed 5-2 (Powderly and Jones)
2nd amendment suggested by property owners, under sec 2b 1b
move to strike sec 2b 1b and reletter
motion passed 6-1 (Powderly)

6. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-723: Changes to Chapter 185. Use Regulations Schedule, Parts I through Parts VII – 1st Reading
motion to more to second reading, passed 5-2 (Powderly and Jones)

7. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-718: Changes to Chapter 185-7. Compliance Required – 2nd Reading
2/3rd vote required as this is a second reading
motion to approve, seconded passed 9-0 via roll call
eliminate parking lots in residential areas and allow this downtown

Live reporting - Master Plan

Jeff Roy provides an overview of the changes from the comment period and then reads the introduction to the final version of the report. (copy to be provided later)

Dear Fellow Residents 
We have long known that Franklin is a community committed to high-quality education and the superb delivery of public services. It is part of what drove us all here to live, work, and raise families. Indeed, our community has been recognized by Family Circle magazine as one of the Top 10 places to raise a family, is at the top of the 100 safest cities to live according to Neighborhood Scout, and was recently ranked 10th among the Top 100 places to live and launch a business by CNN/Money. Once a busy hub for the production of straw bonnets back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Franklin has diversified tremendously since then and hosts a 360-acre industrial park, a single tax rate for businesses and residents, trails for hikers and bikers, two commuter rail stations, and two exits off I-495 that offer easy access to Boston,
Worcester, and Providence, RI. 
Committed to continuously improving the quality of life for everyone in our community, Franklin has developed—over many months and with input from a wide array of constituencies—a vision for its future as well as goals, principles, and a plan to support and implement that vision. This undertaking, encompassed within these pages, is a comprehensive Master Plan that seeks to ensure that the Town of Franklin can continue to meet its current and ongoing economic, social, and environmental needs without compromising the future for succeeding generations. 
We began with a vision of Franklin as a vibrant community that supports the arts, non-profit organizations, higher education, and businesses in an atmosphere that allows growth and prosperity, while at the same time conserving our heritage, natural resources, and history. Also, we are committed to building on and celebrating that uniqueness as a community, maintaining the quality of life that is our strength and competitive advantage. 
This Master Plan is a blueprint for our future that will help to guide our choices and decisions as a Town. It is a report to the community that sets forth a policy framework to guide town decision makers in the future, and it advances an action agenda to achieve the town’s vision. Indeed, it is a plan for smart growth that balances preservation of our exceptional natural and cultural heritage and our quality of life with the pursuit of new and exciting opportunities for economic growth. 
The Plan was designed, in part, to fulfill the requirements of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 41, §81D, for the development of municipal comprehensive or master plans. Citizen participation was crucial to its development, and it will be vital to its implementation over the next five to ten years. Aside from the invaluable knowledge that residents bring to the planning process, citizen participation is the only way to ensure that both majority and minority perspectives will be heard, evaluated, and accounted for as the Plan evolves. It is a “living document” which is meant to address and respond to the goals and aspirations of the community for the course and direction of our town. 
The implementation tool included within the Plan is vital to its success. The goals and objectives can, in many instances, be measured by comparing actual performance with the quantitative targets included in the implementation component of the Plan. We trust that the Town’s decision makers, guided by an Implementation Committee, will use this as a structure for acting upon our recommendations. We realize that the goals, objectives, and actions outlined in this Plan are ambitious and comprehensive, but they were created to address the desires, needs, and concerns of the residents of Franklin. 
We have all enjoyed the opportunity to serve Franklin over the past two years, and we offer this Master Plan with our best wishes and intentions. We stand ready to help and assist with its implementation and look forward to continued success and good fortune for our friends and neighbors in Franklin.
signed - very truly yours
Jeffrey N. Roy
Master Plan Committee Chair

The document and sections thereof, can be found here

Thanks to the Planning Dept and their hard work, we could not have delivered this without their help.

Pfeffer - referring to the use of the term 'work force housing' the emphasis on the term is contrary to the way Franklin has grown. there is a recommendation to increase funding. No one would disagree with that but I have trouble with this phrasing.

Roy - we did spend time discussing this, the term is standard in the planning arena. It may be misunderstood. It is a term of art that we felt should remain in their. It is not to lower the quality. I do agree with you that where the money will come from is an issue. I have read multiple annual reports and I have one on my desk where the citizens are asking about where they are going to come up with funding for schools. These goals are lofty. The decisions will be left to you as leaders for this community. It is not a statement of what we are going to do, it is a goal. I appreciate your input. We felt it was important.

Motion to accept, passed 9-0

Vallee - We will set up a committee to work the actions