Thursday, January 8, 2015

Questions were raised, answers sought and opinions stated amid some tension

There was a full house in the Council Chambers on Wednesday evening. The meeting had officially opened at 6:00 PM and the Council went into Executive Session to discuss the negotiations on the fire fighter contract. Their meeting was held in the small conference room next to the Council Chambers to allow those arriving for the main meeting to enter the chambers. The Councilors filed in to the Chamber about 6:55 and got ready for the meeting.

The normal pledge of allegiance and moment of silence was skipped by Chairman Vallee as they "had already opened the meeting at 6:00".

The agenda was adjusted to include a motion by Councilor Kelly to officially vote on the Chairman. (Recall that the vote at the organization meeting in November was actually skipped at that time.

The minutes were approved from the Dec 17th session.

The change of manager for the liquor license for Artistry Kitchen was approved. As the use of the facility will be changing to a private function room until the new direction of the restaurant is ready to be re-opened, there needs to be an approval by the Planning Board. The use is different from that already approved. It is a minor deviation but does need to follow the process for approvals.

Former FinCom member Phyllis Messere Malcom was appointed to the Historical Commission.

"Community Development Grant"

There was a brief discussion on the possibility for Franklin to join in a "Community Development Grant" application. Bellingham is the lead community handling the paperwork and administration. Franklin and Hopedale are also possible partners. The measure will return to the Town Council in two weeks for approval.

Pond St zoning public hearing

The Pond St zoning public hearing opened. My notes from the long discussion are linked to. In brief, many of the questions and concerns raised were to gain assurances on what would be done. Right now, with the zoning change only, it is too early to say. Many folks don't understand the full process and the Council along with Jeff did not do a great job of explaining the process. My attempt at an overview would look like this:

  • There is a second hearing for the zoning change. 
  • If approved, the Economic Development Committee would then meet to draft the revisions to the new Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP is the official offer by the town of the property for sale. It would specify what could be done (within the zoning for the property) and what additional restrictions the Town may make to the purchaser.
  • The RFP would be posted for a period of time.
  • Responses, if any would be reviewed at the end of the period
  • Depending upon the responses, there would be additional meetings at the EDC to make a recommendation to the Town Council to proceed with the sale or not
  • If proceeding with the sale, then the Town Council would still hold meeting or meetings to decide (as done with the Emmons St property)
  • All that before the developer would go before the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals and other town organizations to obtain the necessary permits and approvals.

There were some tense moments during the discussion as some of the answers to the community were not appropriate and some of the community objected (rightly so) to the body language of some of the members of the Council. Councilor Kelly addressed this during the Councilor Comments at the end of the meeting but long after much of the crowd had dispersed.

The Town Council did approve to move the zoning change to a second reading.

The audio recording for the Pond St discussion can be found here

Emmons St
Emmons St
former councilor Glen Jones and Town Administrator Jeff Nutting
former councilor Glen Jones and Town Administrator Jeff Nutting

Emmons St discussion

The Emmons St discussion took a surprising turn. It was anticipated to be perhaps a more contentious discussion as the drive through option seemed to be a 'done deal'. However, as revealed by Jeff Nutting. A meeting by the developer, Mr Calarese took place on Monday morning and the proposal was changed to removed the food drive through. He would like to retain rights to a bank drive through. That revelation took the wind out of most of the sails and those that spoke appreciated the change in face of significant community objection.

How the change will really look as the 'final' negotiations take place remains to be seen. The deal will come back before the Council to require a 2/3 vote. We'll be able to see how well the legalese is drafted to meet the community desires and the need for the town to obtain additional revenue.

The audio recording for the Emmons St segment of the meeting can be found here

Town Administrator Reports

Almost lost within the events of the evening were the real drivers to the selling of the town property at both the Emmons St and Pond St locations. Jeff Nutting provides updates on the overall town goals and objectives for 2015, showing much progress and accomplishments. He also laid out the objectives for this year. He provided updates on the Master Plan and the Five Year Financial Forecast.

The forecast says FY 2016 should be ok but FY 2017 is another budget year where balancing the budget will present some problems.

This financial reason is the driving factor behind the moves to sell both the Pond St and Emmons St properties. The town needs to expand its taxable base to bring in additional revenue. The link to the agenda for the financial forecast can be found here

The set of notes recorded live during the Town Council meeting can be found here:

"We're happy to that the food drive-through is now no longer on the table"

The local developer seeking to purchase a downtown property has changed his proposal to only include retail space after concerns were raised about the possibility for a drive-through restaurant at the site. 
Roger Calarese, developer of the Franklin Village Mall, submitted a proposal to raze the current building at 150 Emmons St. and replace it with a 5,300-square-foot commercial property. He had considered building a drive-through on the property, but cut it from the proposal in response to complaints from downtown business owners and residents. 
Calarese, who bid $500,000 for the property, has since taken the prospect of a restaurant drive-through off the table. However, he could still have a drive-through business there, such as a bank. His negotiations with a possible bank tenant, though, had fallen through. And it is unclear what type of retail business he now has in mind.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here:

FHS Winter Sports Results for Wednesday

From Hockomock Sports we find that many of the Franklin High School winter teams were in action on Wednesday. Here are the results.

Boys Hockey

Franklin, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 1 - Final - Connor Anderson, Ryan Spillane and Joe Bourque scored the goals for the Panthers and Ryan Shea played strong in net, according to coach Chris Spillane. Tim Doherty had the goal for the Tigers in the second period that tied the game at 1-1, but Franklin added two goals, including an empty net goal, in the third period for the win.

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Girls Hockey

Franklin, 1 vs. Medfield, 7 - Final


Franklin, 57 @ Taunton, 22 - Final - In the loss, Taunton had wins from Reilly Powell (106), Cullen Machado (152), Nuno Camara (170) and captain Santiago Lopez (195).

Indoor Track - Boys

Franklin, 48 vs. Taunton, 52 - Final - Damion Theodule has been one of the top 55M dash runners this season and he continued that on Wednesday. Theodule clocked in at 6.89, tied for the top finish among Hockomock teams, and Brian Cherenfant clocked in at 37.09 in the 300M race - the second best finish on the day. Terrence Gibson also had a big showing, registering a 5-11.00 in the high jump. Franklin's Luke Gordon also registered a 5-11.00 in the high jump and finished the 300M race in 37.54.

Indoor Track - Girls

Franklin, 55 vs. Taunton, 45 - Final - In a close matchup, all results mattered. Freshman Jessica Kroushl had arguably her best day of the season, clocking in at 7.69 in the 55M dash, which was the second best time of all 12 Hockomock schools. Sophomore Meghan Doherty (1:42.52) did well in the 600M race while Brittany Robinson dominated the 1000M race in 3:11.75, the top time on the day. Taunton was able to keep it close because of Jessica Maki's finish in the 300M race (42.76) and three of the top five finishes in the long jump: Jillian Purtell (16-03.75, first), Mariah O'Gara (15-07.50, fourth) and Leishnaly Rosado (15-05.00, fifth).

Swimming - Boys

Franklin, 29 @ Taunton, 61 - Final

Swimming - Girls

Franklin, 55 @ Taunton, 39 - Final
For the remainder of the Hockomock league results you can find them here

Good Energy Newsletter: January 2015

Energy efficiency tips, news and advice. View as Web page.
NextStepLiving January 2015

An Advisor's Unusual Attic Find, Plus Winter Warmth Tips

Our latest Advisor of the Month shares how he made the leap from technician to advisor, his best winter warmth tips and how our team made a homeowner's day with a sentimental discovery.
Read More >

5 Ways to Stay Energy-Efficient in 2015

Home Automation: The Next Big Thing in Energy Efficiency?

The world of home automation systems are making the most out of our addiction to technology. Learn how home automation systems can help keep your energy-efficient habits on autopilot in our latest guest contributor piece.
Read More > NextStepLiving

Four Simple Ways to Avoid the "Flue"

Think you've avoided the winter flu? Temper the hot water heater flue with these tips on how to keep flue gases out of your home, courtesy of our Connecticut Team of the Month.  
Read More >

Whole Home Energy Solutions

Homeowner Cuts First Electric Bill in Half After Going Solar

Our latest success story proves that a trip to the DMV can be worthwhile. Learn how one homeowner slashed her electricity costs by going solar, plus get a peek at her sleek new rooftop panels. 
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Live reporting - Closing


1. Resolution 15-01: Acceptance of Gift – Council on Aging
motion to accept, seconded, passed 9-0

2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 15-745: Amendment to Chapter 185, Attachment 7, Part VI, Use Regulation Schedule, Residential Uses, Office Zoning District – 1ST Reading
motion to accept, seconded, passed 9-0

nothing more at this time


Bissanti - we need to vet the multi-family zoning, we don't have something
we need to reticfy the office zone on the west central corridor
we have a neighborhood area and we don't 

discussion on the 140; better to have a discussion at a workshop on this
Nutting - I don't see the road being widened
there never was a concencous to have a rezoning there

Rep Roy organized a meeting with Biotech folks and business owners, etc.
an opportunity has an opprtunity to help market Franklin at tradeshows
will look at a new brochure for more aggresive marketing of the industrial areas in Franklin

Kelly - I noticed the lady who had commented on rolling our eyes, we have to know some of the ins and out, there is no black and white, I apologize if you feel we were being rude. It is finding out a point of order on how to handle something. You elected us to represent all of us

89 million debt for OPEB. I appreciate that we are called out on it, we are not being sly. we are thinking of the best ways to answer your questions.

I watch the Facebook blogs, we are not paid. Come on down, we are not paid to do this. We work very hard for you.

I think you should have said that with the larger group.

Bissanti - I think part of the problem is understanding the process. Once they go out, we don't have a crystal ball as to what can come in.  Mr Calarese changing plans just didn't happen, he heard and made the changes.

Feldman - thanks to everyone who came out today, 21 residents signed contracts, 


Live reporting - Town Administrator annual report

  • Town Administrator’s Annual Update, Five Year Fiscal Forecast, Master Plan Update
still working on a fire fighters setllement, hopefully will resolve in a couple of months, and then get into negotiation with all the unions again

review and highlights of past accomplishment

portables to be removed at Davis Thayer this summer

a lot got accomplished, some things are still in progress

Pfeffer - hat would happen with the Charter School?
Nutting -it depends upon where they move, we could absorb some of the population but it depends upon where they move. if they stay close, we would get fewer, if they go farther, we would get more. The elementary population here is continuing to decline hence we could absorb some of them.

Feldman - do you see any changes with the new administration?
Nutting - they have huge debt issues, they need to resolve. it will be interestign to see what casinos will do with the lottery revenues. The Federal government will send less, as they have their own issues

Master Plan
zoning made changes, open 3 parks this year
will update every year
something will never get accomplished but many will

Pfeffer - is there any way to get rid of 'workforce housing'?
Nutting - no it is in the original and we have just carried it forward

Franklin Public Schools: 90 Minute School Delay


Good Evening- 
Based on current weather conditions and the concern for student safety school will open 90 minutes later on Thursday. 
FYI Bus drivers are prepared to pick up student walkers. Also any parent/guardian may choose to not send child(children)- please call  the school and let personnel know. 
Absence will be excused. 
All morning preschool programs  are canceled. 
All school offices will open at the regular time. 
Thank You and stay safe.

community entrance to FHS
community entrance to FHS

This e-mail has been sent to you by FRANKLIN PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. 

Live reporting: Emmons St discussion

Kelly recused himself from the discussion (but did not leave the room) (edited 1/8/15 based upon communication with a participant from the back of the room - Thanks!).

  • 150 Emmons Street 

nutting - providing overview/summary
we did get one proposal, offered to change the proposal to just retail space
removing the drive through, it might still get altered a little in the Planning Board process; there would be no fast food drive through, he did reserve right to a bank drive thru

i would recommend that the Council move forward with that

Attnorney Cornetta, Mr Calarese regrets he could not attend
one of the biggest concerns was with a special permit for the drive through from the Planning Board, it would be a burden to the area, he has considered that, would like retain the rights to considered an acceptable drive through for the area

Steve Sherlock - spoke of the Franklin Matters survey results made available to the Council and to the public just before the meeting

Lisa Piana - Downtown Partnership
happy to see that Mr Calarese has heard the concerns of the residents, we would prefer to have no drive through but are happy to see no food drive through

Glen Jones - former councilor, former chair of EDC
this particular piece of property is to be a gateway, I am not found of drive through as I live two blocks from it. All the walking traffic for Dean will be re-routed to this intersection, any drive through would clog this area immensely. I am pleased to see that the monument is kept and the drive through is removed.

Dennis - I came prepared to argue against the proposal but I am glad to see that the proposal has changed. The downtown is over represented by banks, and not a draw for enough diversity

Cindy Rich - clarification on the drive through specification

Nutting - the doc would be signed as they go through the purchasing and permitting process. It will absolutely be in writting

Lisa Buccella - I try to keep up and it is almost a full time job. I read Steve's Franklin Matters, I try to keep up. Just because we are not here, this doesn't always represent us. How did I miss this change?

Nutting- most of the council had heard long and hard that the folks don't want the drive through, Mr Calarese came to my office Monday morning and said it would change the deal. Please talk about the entrances and exits. it is very dangerous. It has to go through the Planning Board, get a traffic study, the entrances don't make sense to put anywhere else

Greg Chalk - Dean College
we are pleased with the plan that has come forward, we are opposed to any vehicle drive through or with a food drive through as a safety concern for our students.

Nutting - the good news about moving the cross walk, Dean has designed their campus to force everyone down to the corner instead of the middle. Over on Main St there will be a raised table to slow traffic and make it traffic friendly

Jane Curran - I want to thank the Councilors for your hard work. I am excited to see the food drive through has been removed. My one concern is the entrance for two way traffic on 140 

Nutting - this is a conceptual desgin, just because it shows this way, it does not guarantee it. It has to go through the site plan process.

Jim Schultz - want the opportunity to have my comments on the record, this is not a good place for drive through in this space. We don't need more development that encourages drive through, stop and go, we need to engage and bring folks to stay

Nutting - for the folks from Pond St, this should show that the Council does weigh the concerns, they took long and hard look at the matter.

Mercer - I was not in favor of a drive though for this property. I am concerned about the traffic at that intersection, that is the only way to get to Main St from that end of town. jeff stole a little bit of what I was going to say. You can see what the Council did to get the green space. Mr Calarese has increased the green space from 20% to 30%.

Padula - although I moved for this, in my conscience, if it could go to a drive through, I am not pleased with it and could not vote for it.

Nutting - vehicle service establishment is reasllythe term for a drive through

What are the requirements?

Nutting - part of the planning board process, the traffic studies are used. Dunkin would be different traffic pattern than that from a bank, need a by pass lane, etc. stack lane is shorter at a bank than it is at a fast food. Council can put a restriction on it for 30 years, but that is as long as it goes

Elaine Murphy - I am glad I stayed, this is very illustrative. It is on your own time and we do appreciate it. it would end up as some sort of collaboration and compromise. I have been here 41 years. The horse trough is unique but not esthetic. if this can't be the gateway? What would it be?

Nutting - the green space and the Horace Mann statue will be more presentable, that was kind of the compromise to get to the gateway

Elaine - I did remember my discussion, is there something that applies to Pond St

Cornetta - I will convery the comments to Mr Calarese, mr Calarese does want to reserve his right to have a drive through as a bank

Live reporting: public hearing - Pond St property

(Editorial note: with the video replay available as of 1/16/15, as I listen to the replay I can provide corrections to names and comments that had been taken live during the meeting on 1/7/15)

- Zoning Bylaw Amendment 15-745: Amendment to Chapter 185, Attachment 7, Part VI, Use Regulation Schedule, Residential Uses, Office Zoning District – 7:10 PM

Nutting - a single zoning district, the move would add the residential use to the area zoning

about 33 acres, about 20 is actually developable as the remainder are wetlands
looking to add multi-family housing, i.e. condominiums

not sure what kind of bids would be received, but it should improve the potential
would come back to the Council for sale agreement, and Planning Board for all the normal site implementation issues to be addressed

Paul Sager - Pond St resident
tremendous amount of traffic now on the street that been growing over time
anticipated increase in traffic and school requirements
Police are pulling folks over for speeding every night

Nutting - Once opened up to residential, the Council would make some requirements to limit the amount

Would need to add an extra access point for emergency access

Troy - how close would the building be to the drainage ditch, would there be buffer of tree, etc.

Nutting - we can't commit to that until we see what kind of proposal would come in. For a hotel, it would be minimal traffic (compared to other uses) and a greater income for the town.

What impact would it have on the neighboring land values?

if there was an industrial building that would be one thing. With additional

Glen Touhey - how many houses or condos would you allow on the site?

Vallee - it is a re-zoning issue tonight

Kelly - once re-zoned, it would go back to the Economic Development Committee and they would draft (with public input) the RFP

Glen Touhey - that is my concern, if it was Tokyo they could put a thousand...

Bissanti - I understand the gentleman's concerns, the RFP has been out a couple of times and the last time it did not meet what we needed. If the RFP comes back with a residential component, then it becomes part of the Planning Board process.

Padula - we need to balance the requirements

Glen - I am not opposed to development, I just would like to know what the limits are

Gail Ward - Question to the Council to see if anyone lives on Pond St or in the immediate area? (No councilors live in the immediate area.) I think there are ways to handle this. Make it valuable for us. We are not opposed to development but we want to make it valuable to us without making it a residential area. Why do we need more money as we did just raise taxes?

Nutting - we can increase your property taxes every year but beyond that we can do much. With costs going up, just like all your costs, the demands are much higher. Franklin doesn't like to vote for overrides, they are one for nine. Condos actually pay more money than it costs us. There were only 10% kids in the condos. Condos are less dense. It uses the space, softens the blow and bring in some income. We are looking for additional business taxpayers rather than residents.

Gail Irwin - I feel the due diligence is lacking. I heard about it from my neighbors. We have construction going on today with Starbucks and the Noodle company, what will that do to us. What will be the impact to the schools. We don't understand all the down stream implications of this decision. We want all the residents affected be informed.

Peg Helgaard - I am part of the community although far from the area. How does it affect our police and fire. I have sympathy with the folks on Pond St. If we really want to be a community, we have to be in this together.

Charles Otori - 
what about the old sewer beds? how much is that going to affect the construction?

Nutting - we have had an environmental study done, the sewer beds would be removed by the developer.

Otori - the trees would be cleared and that dims the highway traffic, if you take down the trees, we will hear them louder

Nutting - we own this land so we can control what gets put out to bid. This is a zoning change for a less dense use. Some people think this would be worse than what be by right.  One way or the other, it needs to be developed. We need to figure that out.

Otori - if we put in condos, we would need more grade schools. Apartments are a huge loss for Franklin.

Nutting - if you look at the stats for the other condos in Franklin

Padula - Come to the Economic Development Committee meetings, they are open so you can hear the due diligence we go through

Feldman - this is the first step, this is good input,. most of the times the seats are empty. We are not looking to develop every square inch of land. 

Glen Jones - what other zones are currently available on Pond St?

Nutting - it is already zoned for office, for bio-tech. If we don't sell the land, that is the council decision. It is no cost to get vetted in the public forum

John Pazniokas - What few people received the notice, they did receive them three days before the EDC meeting. Some folks could re-arrange the schedule to make the meeting. 

My major concern with a wide open RFP. Concerns of the neighbors would be outweighed by the dollars on the incoming RFP.

Padula - we don't have to sell this land 

Nutting - we broadened the notification 

Bryan Taberner - Planning and Community Development
there is no legal requirement for a zoning change, it could be an immense mailing effort, there were 63 letters sent out

John - I don't want to appear that we are stonewalling, we need the revenue, we need to be involved

Vallee - by law you have to be involved

Bissanti - by no means is the RFP wide open, there are three parameters in the RFP. Gauging the number of units based upon 2000 sq ft per unit. What this is doing is adding a carrot to the RFP to hopefully get better responses. This is all in keeping with the RFP that we already have. We like the hotel, we like the medical building. It is very restricted and the developer would have to be held to what is required.

Dellorco - we need to send it out for something, I am concerned about the traffic there. I don't want apartments down there. We should have workshops to get you involved, you have to be involved.

Stephanie Pazniokas - can you explain the restrictions on residential?

Nutting - multi-family can not be restricted, since we own the land, we can restrict it. If we decide we can restrict it to include condominiums

Stephanie - if we don't get something good, at what point does it become a change to get something sold? Doesn't have to be addressed here. 

"If somebody buys that land, those trees are going"

Stephanie - with no environmental impact now, with the removal of the sewer beds, there is a chance of other issues with that land.

Sandy Verhagen - reiterating what neighbors said, we want what is best for our town, we need the revenue. We are asking for us to get what is best too. it was discussed at the EDC, the rezoning would also be restricted. 

in the report, 2010, traffic accidents had increased due to increased traffic. That was then, what now. What about further down the line?

it is comments like Mr Halligan's that we could only widen the road to make it fit. Those kinds of comments get us scared. In discussion with a Franklin policeman, there are only 3 on duty over night. Is that part of the planning? Please take things into the consideration.

Jim Schultz - something is relevant, go to tri-county in rush hour, try to get out of the tri-county lot by making a left turn? I have to do that each morning and the thought of the impact is scary.

Elaine Murphy - abutter, I appreciate the non-abutters who are here. Good questions, good answers. I am happy to meet the Council. I almost didn't come tonight. It is America and there is hope. A mention was made about the horse and the carrot. We are the carrot, you are not the carrot that will feed the horse. EDC reports to you, the balance is being considered between the revenue to the Town and the residents with some impact. 

We talked about the woods, is it wide to diminish the woods. We have seen the sound barriers to go up elsewhere. Is it wise to encroach upon the wetlands? if we need a hotel and office space? there are places elsewhere. It is one of the few parcels that we could make some money on.

Why are we in such a hurry to put this out? before we see the effect of Starbucks and Noodles. The minutes of the EDC would be nice to have to help prepare.

Also at Monday's meeting buildings could be three stories high, it could be appealed to raise to five. It appears that the town is dancing to the tune of the potential buyers rather than to the residents.

I got to trust that the Council will not let bad things happen to the rest of us.

Troy - What about the wild life?

Nutting - it will go where ever they go. The wetlands would be covered by the Conservation Commission and other restrictions.

Peg, Oxford Dr - you answer could have been done a little more sensitively
I can address the noise. When the bridge was built, we can hear much more since the trees were taken down. Due diligence, it would be good for all of you to travel the roads during peak times for a week to see what it is like.

Phil Purvis, Pond St - traffic is horrendous. I have a 5 and 7 year old, the kids are not allowed in the front yard. It needs to be looked at more closely. Why have RFPs failed in the past? is it due to the wetlands, or the sewer beds? due to the cost? if that is the reason they have failed in the past, how large of a residential area needs to be built in order to make it worthwhile? How large are you going to build it up. it doesn't make me feel any better, with what happened in 2007, you want our input now but what about then.

Pfeffer - this is not being zoned residential. I learned how to ride horses down there. It is not going to be residential. We are trying to add a small residential piece to that.

Verhangen - That last comment is bringing up our concern, if you say that is not the goal, if you write the zone without a limit we could get something else later. 

Nutting - if someone builds a hotel and then in 40 years they come back and they come back to the Council, they may want to put residential there. There will be significant investment in the property. They might be separately owned.

Verhagen - for how long?

Nutting - they sign a development agreement

Cerel - it would be there are long as necessary for the purposes of developing the land.

Verhagen - If they are done building, after they have met the requirements, can they come back to look to add more? We would like some protection.

What was the response to the RFP?

Nutting - it came back with a hotel, medical building and 200 apartments; that didn't meet the requirements. The one in 2007 felt part due to the economy. We don't know what the responses to the RFP will be.

Padula - I asked that question, so you can see that we are doing the vetting to be concerned about what happens done the road

Colin Golin, Rolling Ridge Road - timeline? RFP how quickly will that be done?

Nutting - there is a public hearing, there is a second hearing, the EDC will likely take this up in Feb. That is where the discussion would take place.  The RFP process could be one or two meetings (Feb/Mar) 

Steve Quinlan - Pond St - what if we do nothing? what would be the impact? In terms of percentage wise or the budget?

Nutting - we would forgo the ongoing revenue of the sale and it could be about 1% of the property tax revenue ($600-700,000)

Paul Sager - we have grown from being 20 units to 50 units, to a building that might be five stories tall. If you're trying to keep it small to minimize impact, how much revenue would we get? So where do they draw the line? Without touching the residential part of it. You wouldn't lose that much income.

Troy - Why the need for office space there? With office space is available elsewhere and it is empty. I can see why a hotel would be desirable. Why not put something that would better the community?

Nutting - we don't control what the economy does with private property. We don't know what is going to be proposed. We are looking to see what they would propose? Parks don't produce revenue? If we can't afford to balance the budget, then services get cut.

Vallee - this is a conversation now, let's get get going.

Gail Irwin (again)
Shame on me for my first Council meeting, I am ashamed of your body movements, rolling of your eyes, letting us know of your expressions. I am very disappointed with you. We shouldn't have to feel we are judged by the people who are represented.

While audience was applauding, the motion was made to close the hearing. Catching the audience by surprise.

Live reporting: Artistry change of manager, Community Opportunity Group

- Artistry Kitchen – Change of Manager

approval for private function required by Planning Board

motion to approve, seconded, passed


Community Opportunity Group – Community Development Block Grant
joint application with Bellingham and Hopedale

need to adopt a community development strategy
possible funding for a food pantry or food assistance
State wants to see the doc to justify the fund request

ask for authorization for Town Administrator to work with them to develop the strategy
vote to join with the Bellingham for the application
an intra-local agreement

Nutting - the agreement itself to be on the agenda in two weeks

150 Emmons Street

Town Administrator’s Annual Update, Five Year Fiscal Forecast, Master Plan Update

Live Reporting: Town Council - Jan 7, 2015

Present: Feldman, Padula, Mercer, Kelly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Bissanti, Williams, Dellorco
Absent: none

make up vote to approve Vallee as Chair, seconded, passed 9-0

- December 17, 2014
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

– This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon channel 29. This meeting is being recorded by Franklin Matters.



- Historical Commission: Phyllis Messere Malcom
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

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

Franklin Public Schools: Weather Questions


Hello and Happy 2015 
We have had a few inquiries about canceling school tomorrow so I wanted to offer an update.  We anticipate school being open at the regular time. 
We have consulted with facilities personnel and our transportation provider and we do not anticipate any concerns with the heat in schools or our busses. However, if we experience an HVAC problem or our busses are running late it may necessitate a delay.  
I will be in communication with our transportation vendor at 5:00 a.m. If the busses will be running late due to the cold we will delay school- we want to avoid having any child standing at a bus stop awaiting a bus that may not arrive in a timely manner. 
In the interest of safety we have directed principals to open school doors early. We do not want any students waiting outside of a school in these temperatures. 
Also our bus drivers have been directed to pick up any students who may be walking. If the parent of a walker cannot drive a child to school please feel free to use the bus that runs near your home. If the situation changes we will communicate and respond as quickly as possible. 
Thank you and stay warm. 
public entrance to FHS for community walking
public entrance to FHS available Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu nights for community walking

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