Category Archives: Environmental

Warrant Committee on the stretch code

In one of the most contested issues at the 4/28/14 annual town meeting (ATM) the 400 or so residents present voted to not adopt the Stretch Code by a voice vote that I ball parked at 60% – 40%, which resulted in the Town of Medfield unfortunately not qualifying as a Green Community under the Green Communities Act, and more unfortunately in the town not receiving the $148,000 DOER grant available to the town if we did so.

The Stretch Code is a building code that contains requirements to make structures more energy efficient than under the then current building code.  The way it works is that every several years a new Stretch Code is created, and the state eventually makes that Stretch Code into the building code and adopts a new Stretch Code.

Since all of Massachusetts eventually adopts any Stretch Code, to me the issue was whether Medfield would be an early adopter of the forward thinking consensus rules that are designed to be both good for the buildings we put up (they will use less energy and rapidly pay back the extra costs incurred) and for our planet (using less energy reduces the building’s carbon footprint).  In fact, the current Stretch Code becomes the required building code this summer.

I am told that Massachusetts has become the model for the whole nation on what building codes should be used, as the rest of the nation has been adopting the building codes that Massachusetts initiates.

So, by voting down adoption of the Stretch Code, we lost the $148,000 grant money, and yet we still have to live by the Stretch Code.  For your information, what follows are the majority and minority reports put forward by the Warrant Committee members at the 4/28/14 annual town meeting on the Stretch Code.


 

Warrant Committee: Majority Report on Article 35
The Warrant Committee recommends dismissal of Article 35, and does not believe it is in the interest of the Town of Medfield to adopt the Stretch Code at this time. While we appreciate the efforts by the Medfield Energy Committee to obtain “Green Communities” status for Medfield, the costs of the stretch code to Medfield’s residents are not justified by the benefits to the town. In particular, we are mindful that these costs will fall most heavily on those of our citizens least able to bear them. Thus, even if the code may be a net benefit, we must consider its impact on our most vulnerable citizens.

First, the $148,000 grant is a one-time grant to be used only for energy-efficiency projects. It will not lower the tax rate nor can it be used to achieve other longstanding priorities.  We have seen no evidence that this amount will bring significant, long-term benefits to the town.

Second, the stretch code will increase costs on Medfield residents who wish to renovate or remodel their homes. The burden of these costs will fall primarily on those of our residents with the most limited incomes. The renovations at issue may be necessary, and not optional or cosmetic. We think in particular of seniors or others living on fixed incomes who made need to make renovations for safety reasons, or to accommodate physical limitations. Implementing the stretch code will increase their costs.

The supporters of this article have put out charts showing that the increased up front costs of the stretch code will be offset by energy savings later on. The Warrant Committee takes no position on whether these hypotheticals are accurate.

Even if those projections are correct, there is nothing to prevent homeowners from choosing to build to the stretch code or beyond to capture these savings. Indeed, we believe that if it is cost effective to built to the stretch code, the intelligent, well-educated citizens of Medfield will choose what is in their best interest, without it being forced upon them in the name of well-meaning paternalism.

Third, adopting the code will add uncertainty and there for cost, to commercial and residential development at a time when Medfield is seeking additional development and is looking to increased commercial development as a path to mitigate the need for additional residential taxes. Medfield already has its challenges as a site for commercial development, adopting the stretch code in its current and future iterations will only increase that cost and make it less attractive to commercial development.

Finally, we would be committing the town to future, yet-to-be-written versions of the Stretch Code whose costs may be higher than the code currently under consideration. The early adopters will be the ones left to work out the kinks before architects and builders have had time to adjust to the new rules and develop cost-effective means of compliance. Given that everyone will have the option to build or renovate to the code, or beyond, we do not believe it wise to make such an open-ended commitment. Even though we could, in the future, reverse course on this issue, in practice, that is unlikely ever to happen.

Ultimately, it is likely a relatively small minority of Medfield residents who will be negatively impacted by the Stretch Code. But, we must always consider how our decisions impact those least able to bear the costs of those decisions. For these reasons, the Warrant Committee recommends dismissal of Article 35.
H:\My Documents\Warrant Committee\Stretch Code Majority Report.docx


 

Warrant Committee Minority Report in Favor of Passage of Article 35

I wish to make clear that this article is not proposing the introduction of an Energy Code to the town of Medfield, as new buildings, additions, and renovations are presently required to adhere to an existing Massachusetts Energy Code.

The first energy codes in the United States was developed in the 1970s in response to the OPEC oil embargo and energy crisis of that decade. These first energy codes were meant to lessen and try to eliminate the United States dependence on foreign energy sources as both a national and an economic security issue. The energy used in today’s commercial and residential buildings account for over 40% of the total energy used in the United States. So the building energy codes are critical in controlling and conserving the consumption of the nations energy resources. The original intent of the national energy codes as a policy of national energy independence continues to this day but we have now realized that there are additional benefits that include money savings, water conservation, the reduced emissions and health issues related to pollution as well as reduction in man–]made green house gases.

The United States now uses the International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) that is then adopted by the different states. The 2012 IECC is the most recent published version but presently Massachusetts has only adopted the 2009 version of IECC. The present Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code was adopted in 2009 and closely mimics the 2012 version of the IECC. Massachusetts will be adopting this newer 2012 version of the IECC as its standard energy code as of July of this year (2014). This will make the required Massachusetts energy code and Stretch Code virtually the same until Massachusetts adopts a new Stretch Energy Code sometime in the near future. The arguments that the present Stretch Energy Code

The next Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code will most likely incorporate significant portions of the 2015 IECC which is due to be published later this year (2014). From published reports much of the changes in the 2015 IECC related to residential construction will include new performance paths to compliance that are easier for the public to understand and implement but will require homes to be only slightly more energy efficient than the 2012 IECC.

Without going into the detailed minutia of the energy codes, please also know that neither the new energy code nor the new Stretch Energy code will retroactively require existing buildings to comply with the latest codes. Only new buildings and when a minimum threshold for new additions or renovations is met will the new codes come into effect –]–] and then only on those portions of the building affected by the new work. Doing renovations or additions will not require the whole building or home meet the newest Energy code.

The voters should know that the adoption of the Stretch Energy Code will not have any additional affect on the costs any of the new town buildings being proposed for construction. It has been the Permanent Building Committee’s objective to design and build the town’s new buildings to meet the Stretch Energy Code because the Committee already sees the cost benefits of constructing buildings to the higher energy standards.

The vote on this article should not focus too much on the specifics of the present Stretch Energy Code or its costs. The present Stretch Code will become the required minimum energy code in 2 months. Codes related to the building industry are continually being changed, updated and adopted approximately every three years. As a consequence, the Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code will become part of the required Massachusetts standard energy code approximately every three years and a new Stretch Energy Code will take its place.

Much of the arguments against adopting the present Stretch Energy Code because of additional cost to the homeowner will also be moot in 2 months as these special requirements adding these most of these costs will become part of the standard Massachusetts Energy Code on July 1, 2014. These additional costs are also typically a fairly small percentage of the overall costs of the construction.

The minority voting members believe that as the new Stretch Codes are developed anare adopted their additional cost burden on the home owner will be lessen but will still create financial pay backs. The minority voting members of the Warrant Committee feel that the taxpayers should vote in favor on the adoption of the Stretch Energy Code because the higher energy standards and the required verification of the energy performance of our buildings and homes in Medfield provide us with the consumer protection that the buildings and renovations we pay for will perform as they should. The higher standards we implement by committing to adopting the Stretch Energy Code will have many tangible benefits to the individual homeowners, the community, and the entire nation.

Medfield will also be taking the philosophical stance that Medfield is doing more than the minimum requirement to conserve energy in the built environment and that this will help create a country less dependent on foreign energy sources and more control of our energy future.

Should Medfield own its streetlights?

This detailed report is from Medfield’s own Fred Davis on his company’s recent work for the Town of Dartmouth to install LED streetlights, and is taken from Fred’s company’s e-newsletter (see it here on-line if you prefer), documenting a 22% annual return on Dartmouth’s investment in LED streetlights.

Dartmouth is also the town using a system that I have been suggesting that Medfield copy, of making money ($2 m. in Dartmouth) by issuing RFP’s to buy solar power.  This year, until two weeks ago, I thought that I had an annual town meeting (ATM) warrant article coming up to give the selectmen the authority to contract for the 20-30 years required to take the next step to make that happen, but my article slipped through the cracks in the warrant preparation process without my noticing, so it will have to await the next town meeting. -

Time for Technology Upgrade:
 
Replacing Streetlights with High-Efficiency LEDs Saves Dartmouth Almost 70% 

The south coast town of Dartmouth may date to the 1600s, but in the 2000s it has been pursuing the most modern, smart, energy-saving technology. Town Administrator David Cressman adopted photovoltaics for Dartmouth’s municipal electricity. And in 2013, he converted all of Dartmouth’s streetlights to energy-saving LED fixtures.

Cressman had heard favorable reports about LEDs from neighboring Fairhaven as it began phasing them in along their roadways. So when Dartmouth’s maintenance contractor faced changing out many of the bulbs in the old high-pressure-sodium (HPS) fixtures, Cressman knew the time was right to make the change. He was able to complete all the steps to convert to LED technology in less than a year with the aid of recent regulatory and technological developments.

To make any changes to the old fixtures, the town had to first own them. Dartmouth had taken theirs over around 2000. (Since 1997, under MGL C. 164 s.34A, Massachusetts cities and towns may purchase their streetlights from their utility companies.)*

To purchase new LED fixtures, Dartmouth utilized State Contract FAC76 Category 6, which was put into place in 2012 by Massachusetts Operational Services Division in consultation with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The contract provides a procurement path for an eligible municipal entity to purchase LED streetlight fixtures without having to go through a separate bid process.

Cressman worked with state contractor Fred Davis Corporation (FDC), a lighting products distributor with thirty years of experience in energy-efficient lighting. FDC proposed state-of-the-art Cree XSP LED roadway fixtures in five versions to replace the various fixtures that had been illuminating the streets of Dartmouth.

These fixtures bring the best in high-tech engineering to street lighting. High-quality LED streetlights offer extraordinary efficiency by using many small, latest-generation light-emitting diodes, each of which projects precisely the right amount of light in the right direction. Cree XSP fixtures exceed 100 lumens of directed light  per watt of electricity. Fixture efficiency of a representative HPS fixture is only 56 lumens per watt, and even much of that light is wasted.

FDC’s analysis projected overall electricity savings of 68% for Dartmouth’s new streetlights. The striking energy savings are even more remarkable considering that so many of the town’s old fixtures were already low-wattage types.

The proposal to adopt LED streetlights proceeded as would any project of its scale in the town, gaining requisite committee approvals from Capital Improvement, FinCom, and Selectmen. Final adoption came at Dartmouth Town Meeting in June 2013. Purchase, construction, delivery, and installation of the customized fixtures followed over the summer and fall.

The new fixtures come with a 10-year warranty and are rated to last much longer than that, whereas the old HPS fixtures had a life cycle of about six years, with even more frequent lamp and ballast replacements. Cressman was thus able to dramatically lower the cost of the town’s fixture maintenance contract.

The new LED streetlights promise major financial savings in electricity and maintenance. Add to that a substantial energy-efficiency incentive from NStar Electric, and the switchover is projected to pay for itself in under five years.

Residents are very pleased with the way the roads are illuminated. And town officials are thrilled with the cost-effectiveness of the project.

In just the last two years, the best-quality LED streetlight fixtures have dramatically increased in efficiency, and their price has come down at the same time. The Dartmouth project came in costing 30% less, and saving about 30% more energy, than the town originally anticipated.

Upgrading streetlights to LED technology has proven itself a smart opportunity for any city or town.

Number of LED streetlights
1,658
KWH annual reduction projected
418,569
Total cost
$463,483
NSTAR incentive
$104,827
Net municipal cost
$358,656
Total annual Savings projected **
$79,600
Simple payback period (years)
4.5
Annual return on initial investment
22%

** Electricity at $.14 KWH plus maintenance
© 2014 Fred Davis

GCA stretch code forum 7PM 3/26

Green Communities Stretch Code Public Forum Wednesday March 26, 2014 7:00 to 9:00 pm

MEDFIELD TOWN HALL CHENERY ROOM

Green Communities and the Stretch Energy Code

For more information on Green Communities go to:

www.mass.gov/energy/greencommunities

Target Audience: Town building and development officials, local builders, property owners and all others concerned about the future of Medfield.

In 2008 the Massachusetts Legislature created the Green Communities program. The program encourages “Green” behavior by municipalities. “Green” behavior means efforts that reduce energy use. Reducing energy use saves municipalities money—so “Green” also means saving money.

All Massachusetts municipalities that meet the 5 Green Communities criteria will be eligible to apply for a portion of the $10 million annually set aside to make Massachusetts cities and towns even greener. Medfield is working to meet the Green Communities Criteria and would be eligible for $148,000 grant. Medfield is planning to apply for Green Communities status in the Fall of 2014.  To meet this timing, the Town must adopt the Stretch Energy Code at the April 28, 2014 Annual Town Meeting.

One of the Green Communities criteria is adoption of the “Stretch Energy Code” an optional amendment to the Town’s building code that will make all new buildings very energy efficient.

This forum is designed to allow you to get all your questions answered about what adoption of the Stretch Code might mean for you—as a builder, city official, elected official, property owner or just an interested person who cares about the future of Medfield.

7:00 —Welcome and Introductions

7:15 —Brief overview of the Green Communities program – Medfield Energy Committee

7:30  – What is the Stretch Code            – Mike Barry – DOER

7:50  – Affects of adopting Stretch Code in Medfield  -   John Naff, Building Commissioner/Zoning Officer

8:15  – Q & A

 

GCA forum 7PM on 4/3

Green Community Public Forum 4/3/2014 7PM

Green Community Public Forum

April 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM at Town House Chenery Room

The purpose of this forum is to provide an opportunity to learn about the Green Communities Act and the two articles on the Warrant in advance of the April 28 Annual Town Meeting. Voters will consider Article 35: Adopt Stretch Energy Code Bylaw and Article 34: Adopt Large-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Facilities Overlay District (POVD).  The Medfield Energy Committee and Town representatives will make brief presentations followed by a question and answer session. The agenda and related information is included below.

 

Adopting Articles 34 and 35 at Town Meeting are two of the requirements to become a Green Community through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).  The Board of Selectmen voted on ????? to support the Medfield Energy Committee recommendation to pursue a Green Community designation to qualify for a base grant of approximately $148,000, with additional opportunities available for competitive grants.

 

Public Forum Agenda

7:00 – 7:05     Introductions

7:05 – 7:15:    Overview of Green Communities Program

7:15 – 7:45:    Overview Solar Photovoltaic By-Law

7:45 – 8:00:    Overview of Stretch Energy Code

8:00 – 9:00     Facilitated Questions and Answers Session

8:55 – 9:00:     Meeting Conclusion

   

 

GCA for Medfield

This from the Medfield Energy Committee -

Summary:  Green Communities Act for Medfield

To encourage energy conservation and to increase the supply of renewable energy, the State of Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) enacted the Green Communities Act (GCA) in 2008. Since then, the State has qualified 123 towns as Green Communities. These communities have shared over $22 million in grants. Qualifying for GCA would provide $148,000 to Medfield to fund clean energy projects. To become a Green Community, Medfield would need to agree to five criteria:

Criteria #1 . Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.

Criteria #2. Adopt an expedited application and permit process  (one year maximum) for as-of-right energy facilities.

Criteria #3. Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.

Criteria #4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles.

Criteria #5. Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Energy Stretch Code.

The Medfield Energy Committee (MEC) and Town departments have been working for several years to reduce Town energy use.   MEC worked on applying for Green Community status in 2011, but the necessary By-Law changes were not presented at the 2011 Town Meeting so the effort was put on hold.

The MEC now recommends that the Town of Medfield apply to the State of Massachusetts DOER for Green Community Status in 2014.   To prepare the application to the DOER, the Town will be taking the following actions:

Criteria #1.  Adopt a By-Law for an overlay district for as-of-right siting for large-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic energy generation (minimum 250 KW or about one acre).  MEC and the Select Board are co-sponsors of this article on the Warrant for Town Meeting.  The overlay district is the IE district on the zoning map. Such a by-law will require 2/3 vote at the April 28, 2014 Town Meeting.

Criteria #2. Expedited permitting requirements are met by the current Medfield Zoning By-Laws.  Town Counsel must provide a letter attesting to the sufficiency of the current By-Law.

Criteria #3.  The energy use baseline for Medfield has been developed and tracked since 2008, but a plan to reduce energy 20% from 2012 would need to be developed and agreed to by the School Board and the Board of Selectmen.  Achieving a 20% reduction of energy over 5 years from 2012 will be a challenge.  From 2007, the Medfield schools have already achieved a 46% reduction in gas usage and 25% reduction in electricity usage.  MEC is working with the Town departments to prepare an energy reduction plan.

Criteria #4.  An energy efficient vehicle policy would need to be approved by the School Board and Board of Selectmen. A vehicle inventory and a policy for purchasing only energy efficient vehicles was partially developed in 2011. The inventory will be updated and the policy completed.

Criteria #5.  An article to adopt the 2009 stretch energy building code Is on the Warrant for the April 28 Town Meeting.  Effective July 2014, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) will adopt this code as the State energy code.  The DOER is currently considering what will replace the stretch energy code for GCA communities. By adopting the 2009 code, Medfield would also be adopting the new stretch code when it is finalized.  The aim of a new stretch code would be to continue improving life-cycle costs of new construction.  As before, it will include known, proven methods of construction and systems of measurement to reduce energy usage.  The investment in improved energy conservation methods during construction will be recovered by the reduced energy bills during the life of the structure.  It is likely that the newer stretch code would eventually become the State code within 5 years as was the case with the 2009 stretch energy code.

The MEC believes that Medfield is already a “Green Community” and should reap the benefits by becoming a designated Green Community to qualify for the available grants. MEC has just recently secured a small grant for initial assessment of three sites for municipal Solar energy generation. Green Community incentives could possibly be of great benefit to help fund the development of such capacity. The MEC stands ready to work with any Town Department to prepare the necessary information and develop the application to DOER for Green Community status.

Medfield Energy Committee

February 20, 2014

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Summary:  Green Communities Act for Medfield

 

To encourage energy conservation and to increase the supply of renewable energy, the State of Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) enacted the Green Communities Act (GCA) in 2008. Since then, the State has qualified 123 towns as Green Communities. These communities have shared over $22 million in grants. Qualifying for GCA would provide $148,000 to Medfield to fund clean energy projects. To become a Green Community, Medfield would need to agree to five criteria:

 

Criteria #1 . Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.

 

Criteria #2. Adopt an expedited application and permit process  (one year maximum) for as-of-right energy facilities.

 

Criteria #3. Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.

 

Criteria #4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles.

 

Criteria #5. Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Energy Stretch Code.

 

The Medfield Energy Committee (MEC) and Town departments have been working for several years to reduce Town energy use.   MEC worked on applying for Green Community status in 2011, but the necessary By-Law changes were not presented at the 2011 Town Meeting so the effort was put on hold.

 

 The MEC now recommends that the Town of Medfield apply to the State of Massachusetts DOER for Green Community Status in 2014.   To prepare the application to the DOER, the Town will be taking the following actions:

 

Criteria #1.  Adopt a By-Law for an overlay district for as-of-right siting for large-scale ground-mounted photovoltaic energy generation (minimum 250 KW or about one acre).  MEC and the Select Board are co-sponsors of this article on the Warrant for Town Meeting.  The overlay district is the IE district on the zoning map. Such a by-law will require 2/3 vote at the April 28, 2014 Town Meeting.

 

Criteria #2. Expedited permitting requirements are met by the current Medfield Zoning By-Laws.  Town Counsel must provide a letter attesting to the sufficiency of the current By-Law.

 

Criteria #3.  The energy use baseline for Medfield has been developed and tracked since 2008, but a plan to reduce energy 20% from 2012 would need to be developed and agreed to by the School Board and the Board of Selectmen.  Achieving a 20% reduction of energy over 5 years from 2012 will be a challenge.  From 2007, the Medfield schools have already achieved a 46% reduction in gas usage and 25% reduction in electricity usage.  MEC is working with the Town departments to prepare an energy reduction plan.

 

Criteria #4.  An energy efficient vehicle policy would need to be approved by the School Board and Board of Selectmen. A vehicle inventory and a policy for purchasing only energy efficient vehicles was partially developed in 2011. The inventory will be updated and the policy completed.

 

Criteria #5.  An article to adopt the 2009 stretch energy building code Is on the Warrant for the April 28 Town Meeting.  Effective July 2014, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) will adopt this code as the State energy code.  The DOER is currently considering what will replace the stretch energy code for GCA communities. By adopting the 2009 code, Medfield would also be adopting the new stretch code when it is finalized.  The aim of a new stretch code would be to continue improving life-cycle costs of new construction.  As before, it will include known, proven methods of construction and systems of measurement to reduce energy usage.  The investment in improved energy conservation methods during construction will be recovered by the reduced energy bills during the life of the structure.  It is likely that the newer stretch code would eventually become the State code within 5 years as was the case with the 2009 stretch energy code.

 

The MEC believes that Medfield is already a “Green Community” and should reap the benefits by becoming a designated Green Community to qualify for the available grants. MEC has just recently secured a small grant for initial assessment of three sites for municipal Solar energy generation. Green Community incentives could possibly be of great benefit to help fund the development of such capacity. The MEC stands ready to work with any Town Department to prepare the necessary information and develop the application to DOER for Green Community status.

 

Medfield Energy Committee

February 20, 2013

 

 

 

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“Love ’Em and Leave ’Em”

From Commonwealth Magazine -

Some towns are telling their residents to mow over their leaves rather than bag them, which is considered better for lawns and less costly for the towns, the New York Times reports.

Medfield has a big composting operation behind the Transfer Station.

Mulching leaves has worked well for me since getting the mulching mower two years ago, plus its way easier and faster for me to boot.  I have also stopped using chemicals on the lawn, except to kill the grubs when they appear, and the lawn seems to have adjusted to its new chemical and fertilizer free regime.

Santa photo op at Dwight-Derby House

From the Medfield Cultural District -

Dear Medfield Cultural District Steering Committee and Friends,

In the spirit of keeping everyone informed about upcoming cultural events, I wanted to let you know about Santa’s special appearance at the Dwight-Derby House to continue Medfield’s traditional annual “Free Santa Photo Op.”  He will arrive on Friday, December 6 immediately following MEMO’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and will leave for the North Pole at 9:30 pm. In conjunction with his visit The Dwight-Derby House Shoppe will be open on Friday, December 6, from 7pm to 9:30pm. It will also be open on Saturday, December 7, from 10 am to 3 pm.

 

I will be posting the event on the Medfield Cultural Council Events Calendar. Attached is an event flyer as a PDF and a jpg (for posting on Facebook). The press release  copy appears below and is attached.  We are hopeful that you will circulate the flyer and/or the press release to your various constituencies. Please contact Cheryl O’Malley with any questions.

 

Thanks very much. We hope to see you there!

 

Best regards,

Jo Ellen

 

 

Jo Ellen Collins

508-404-8023

www.joellencollins.com

www.linkedin.com/in/joellencollins

http://twitter.com/joellencollins

 

Press Release

 

Contact Information:

Cheryl O’Malley, President

Friends of the Dwight-Derby House

(508) 359-7264

cheryl.omalley@verizon.net

 

Santa Claus is Coming To… The Dwight-Derby House for Free Photos

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Medfield, MA – Yes, it’s true! Santa is making a special appearance at the Dwight-Derby House to continue Medfield’s traditional annual “Free Santa Photo Op.” He will arrive immediately following MEMO’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Baxter Park at 6:30 pm on Friday, December 6, which officially kicks off the holiday season in Medfield.

 

Santa will be available until 9:30 pm after which he will be heading back to the North Pole. Medfield photographer, Colleen Sullivan, will be taking the photos, so they will be of utmost professional quality—perfect for reproduction and gift giving. And she will email them to you—what could be easier? More good news?  When you arrive you will receive a number so you can browse and shop at the Dwight-Derby House Holiday Shoppe while you wait. No more standing in line.

 

The Holiday Shoppe, filled with fresh new merchandise and seasonal decorative items, will be open on Friday, December, 6, from 7 pm to 9:30 pm and Saturday, December 7, from 10 am to 3 pm. Handcrafted jewelry by Susan Gerow and Cheryl O’Malley will be available. Ribbon yarn scarfs and shawls by Susan McCarthy are back by popular demand. We have many new items created by Colleen Sullivan who has integrated her artistic photography into her designs. Do you have a bird lover in your family? We have the perfect gift for them—a handcrafted replica of their house transformed into a birdhouse. Come see it all. We have gift items for everyone on your holiday list.

Shop the treasure trove of delightful and creative gift items produced in our own community at prices that are sure to please. Bring a friend! We’re located at 7 Frairy Street in Medfield right behind Meeting House Pond.

Give a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will your purchase delight someone special, but you will be supporting local artisans and the ongoing maintenance, preservation and development of the historic Dwight-Derby House.

Election Monday 10/21

Medfield has an election this coming Monday, October 21, 2013 to determine  whether to purchase the 31 acre Red Gate Farm property for the price of $1.4 m. that was negotiated by developers with the owner, Robin Kenny.  The purchase passed at the special town meeting (STM) last week, but the purchase only happens if it also has passed at the election ballot on Monday.

I support the town’s purchase, and wanted to explain why.

The town has a right of first refusal to buy the property because of the fact that the property for years paid little real estate taxes because the Kenny family had placed it in G. L. c. 61 designation as forest lands – the state encourages forest holdings by providing for lower real estate taxes.  Then, in exchange for the lower real estate taxes, the town gets a right of first refusal when the property comes out of forestry designation, and that is what is happening now.

The developers have fully permitted a seven lot subdivision on the property.  I find it to be a nicely crafted and a sensitive development, but I have decided that the town will be better served by buying the property for the following reasons:

  • town residents will get greater rights of access to the whole 31 acres if the town owns the land, than if we only have the right of way across the land.
  • it is more important to me that the town own and control this land where it is adjacent to the 25 acres scout lands to the South.
  • the price seems remarkably reasonable to me, for what the town will get.

However, town ownership does come at a cost, and voters will have to determine for themselves whether they are so interested in the town ownership that they are willing to personally pay, albeit at a great price, to acquire the land.  For me, the benefits outweigh the costs.

I hope that everyone will vote on Monday.

Mass Hx to town – “Odyssey House stays”

Massachusetts Historic Commission letter to DCAMM below wherein Mass Historic refuses to permit Odyssey House to be demolished by DCAMM, as DCAMM had agreed to do for the town, as part of the mediated settlement of the environmental clean up.

==============================

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth
Massachusetts Historical Commission

July 18, 2013

Carol Meeker, Deputy General Counsel, DCAMM
I Ashburton PI, 15th FI
Boston, MA 02108

RE: Medfield State Hospital Demolition of Farm Dormitory (“Odyssey”), StablelMain Garage, & Laundry (Buildings #31, #42, & #56), 45 Hospital Road, Medfield, MA; MHC# RC.54413

Dear Ms. Meeker:

The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) is in receipt of a Project Notification Form (PNF) for the project referenced above, received at this office on June 20, 2013. The staff of the MHC has reviewed the information submitted and has the following comments.

This project proposes the demolition of three buildings at Medfield State Hospital. The former dormitory (“Odyssey” Building, Building #31, MED.126), stable/main garage (Building #42, MED.132), and the laundry building (Building #56, MED. 142) are contributing elements to the Medfield State Hospital (MED.C, MED.D), which is listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Demolition of these buildings will have an “adverse effect” (950 CMR 7I.05(a)) on the Medfield State Hospital Historic District through the demolition of three historic properties that are contributing elements of this State Register-listed historic district.

At this time, the MHC cannot accept the adverse effect to the former dormitory/Odyssey Building. Based on the structural analysis and MHC’s site visit, it appears that the former dormitory/ Odyssey Building is in fair condition on the interior, and the exterior envelope appears to be in relatively good condition. The MHC requests that DCAMM and the Town of Medfield explore alternatives to demolition in order to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the adverse effect of the proposed demolition.
The MHC suggests DCAMM and the Town of Medfield explore the possibility of leasing the structure to a 3′d party. Leasing the structure to 3′d party entities such as a Boys & Girls Club and/or recreation related commercial/retail entities could enable the building to be adaptively rehabilitated for compatible recreation-related uses, including concessions, retail, public recreation space, and public facilities among other potential uses. Through the use of certain types of lease, a 3′d party may be eligible for State and Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits to assist in rehabilitation expenses.

The MHC looks forward to receipt of an alternatives study and to consultation with DCAMM, the Town of Medfield, the Medfield Historical Commission, and the Medfield Historic District Commission in order to avoid, mmlmlze, or mitigate the adverse effect to the former dormitory/Odyssey Building
pursuant to 950 CMR 7L07.

The MHC understands. that the stable/main garage (Building #42) and the laundry building (Building #56) are in poor condition and that there are no feasible or prudent alternatives to demolition.

These comments are offered to assist in compliance with M.G.L. Chapter 9, Section 26-27C, (950 CMR 7LOO) and MEPA (301 CMR II). Please do not hesitate to contact Brandee Loughlin of my staff if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
BronaSimon
State Historic Preservation Officer
Executive DireCtor
Massachusetts Historical Commission

xc: -Town of Medfield  Board of Selectmen

Town of Medfield Plarming Board
Medfield Historical Commission
Medfield Historic District Commission
Taya Dixon, Epsilon Associates

Water tower & wellfields legislation

This is a section by section analysis of the draft legislation that the Board of Selectmen have recently been working on with the Medfield State Hospital Development Committee, to effect the transfer of lands, as part of the environmental clean up mediation settlement.  The lands are (1) on which the town can construct a new water tower at the MSH, and (2) the existing MSH tubular wellfields for a back up water supply for the town.  The new water tower land surrounds the existing water tower site.  The wellfields are about a mile from the MSH, located across the Bay Colony Rail line and are accessed by a right of way off of Colonial Road.

DRAFT

Medfield State Hospital – Water Supply Legislation

Section by Section Summary: Transfer of property from DCAMM to Town of Medfield, specifically, the Medfield State Hospital Water Tower, Water Tower Land and Abandoned Hospital Wellfield (a/k/a Tubular Wellfield), revising Section 32 through 37, of Chapter 7C of the General Laws, chapter 180 of the Acts of 2002, and chapter 269 of the acts of 2008 relative to the redevelopment of the Medfield State Hospital.  These parcels and easements were originally acquired by the Commonwealth, acting through the Department of Mental Diseases, for the purpose of providing the Medfield State Hospital with an additional supply of pure water.  See Acts of 1929, chapter 163.

Purpose:  The expedited transfer of water supply interests from DCAMM to the Town of Medfield.  As part of a mediated settlement between Medfield and DCAMM, DCAMM supports the expedited transfer of the Water Tower and related land, easements and tubular well field to Medfield.  See attached Comprehensive Executive Summary and July 11, 2013 letter from Commissioner Carole Cornelison to the Medfield Board of Selectmen.

Current Acts relative to the redevelopment of the Medfield State Hospital transfer interests in these properties to the Town after redevelopment.  However, the redevelopment plan envisioned in these Acts is no longer desirable or feasible and there are discussions between Medfield and DCAMM regarding a new approach to redevelopment.

The current water tower is beyond repair and the Town of Medfield needs the water tower and related interests to be transferred now so that a new water tower can be built to maintain the public water supply.  The tubular well field and related easements would be transferred for the future preservation of Medfield’s water supply.

Section 1:   Primarily for the purpose of the public water supply system, transfers from DCAMM to Medfield at no or nominal cost:

The water tower and the water tower land, totaling approximately 6.4 acres (water tower parcel).

A 25 foot wide parcel for travel and utilities extending from Hospital Road to the water tower parcel, totaling approximately 1 acre.  This parcel has been configured to run along the edge of the core campus parcel in order to minimize the impact on the development potential of the core campus.

Includes a standard reversion clause.

Section 2:  (a) Primarily for the purpose of the maintenance and improvement of the public water supply system, transfers certain property interests from DCAMM to Medfield at no or nominal cost, as identified in clauses (b) through (d):

(b)   The tubular well field property which comprises approximately 23 acres.

 

(c)    The existing rights of way or easements for the water main extending from the tubular well field to the Medfield state hospital property line.

 

(d)   A new easement for the existing water main, across that portion of the MSH property that is not being transferred from the Commonwealth, to the water tower parcel, 25 feet wide totaling .08 acres.

 

(e)   Reserves an existing easement to the Commonwealth for a right of way for travel that overlaps a small portion of the property to be transferred to Medfield as part of the tubular well field.  This existing easement is otherwise unrelated to the water supply and this reservation ensures that the Commonwealth can utilize the rest of the right of way for travel.

 

(f)     Directs DMH to transfer existing water withdrawal permits or registrations to Medfield. The Town is investigating whether there is any withdrawal permit or registration in effect and if none is found this section will be deleted from the legislation.

(g)    A standard reversion clause.