The second page of this letter did not scan as part of the meeting materials posted last week.
The second page of this letter did not scan as part of the meeting materials posted last week.
The Board of Selectmen was recently presented with a proposal for a fourteen unit rental 40B project at 93-95 North Street that the developer, David MacCready, was asking the town to approve as a friendly Local Initiative Program (LIP). There is currently a two-family house and a small barn on the site, which is about 0.8 acres in size. The proposal called for construction of a new ten or twelve unit apartment building at the back of the yard, and moving the barn behind the two-family structure, to perhaps house two units. There seemed to be some continuing flux as to the actual planned configuration and whether the barn would house apartments or not.
I had been told by Mike Sullivan for months that he had been meeting with the developer about some proposals, but I had no report on, nor knew any of the details, until I first heard the proposal presented to the Board of Selectmen. That meeting was well attended by the neighbors, who were uniformly opposed to the proposal per my poll at the meeting. The neighbors were also critical of the developer for storing construction debris at the site and for failing to follow directions from the Building Commissioner. I am not yet aware of the truth of those allegations. The neighborhood is now also replete with signs protesting the project.
I have been thinking about the proper density for the downtown ever since serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals, but more so when this same developer built a row of about ten townhouses on Brook Street, that to my eye looked too dense and too tall. However, that project was built as of right, based on the then zoning in the RU zone, the zoning district that encompasses the downtown. From memory, at that time, the first unit required 12,000 sq. ft., but additional units could be added for each extra 6,000 sq. ft. of area. Glover Place and Old Village Square were also built, as of right, based on that same density we then had in our RU zoning. I think that former zoning allowed about 6-7 units per acre.
At our annual town meeting (ATM) last year we increased the RU district density requirements so that now for any multi-family building, the first three units require 30,000 sq. ft. of land and each additional unit requires another 8,000 sq. ft. The zoning now would therefore only allow for about four units on the 93-95 North Street site, as of right, versus what might formerly have been 6-7 units. We as a community have made a choice via our zoning requirements, that such levels of density in the downtown are what we want.
I asked Mike Sullivan during a meeting if he had talked to the developer about the proposed density at 93-93 North Street, and Mike said that he had, but that the developer “had not followed his advice.” As I have considered whether, as a selectmen, I would vote to support this proposal, I find that at this time I am not so inclined at its current density. I would, however, reconsider if the density were closer to the as of right density.
Where this proposal is a 40B, it is exempt from our zoning. However, where the town is currently in a 40B safe harbor (due to both having a Housing Production Plan approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development and having actually permitted 21 Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) units this year), the only way that this current proposal can proceed is as a friendly 40B (i.e., as a LIP with selectmen support), unless the town falls out of its safe harbor next spring. And the Board of Selectmen and the Affordable Housing Trust Committee are working to make sure that does not happen.
The current expectation is that 93-95 North Street proposal will next be vetted by the Affordable Housing Trust Committee, and may then return to the Board of Selectmen for its consideration.
After listening to the last planning board hearings on the Medfield Children’s Center petition for site plan approval of its proposed new child care facility at 75 High Street, I concluded that the planning board will approve that petition, with the conditions discussed last night. The planning board closed the hearing last night, will next await any Board of Health action, and then the planning board will formally vote on the petition for site plan approval at its 12/4/17 meeting.
It is my understanding that the zoning compliance issues will need to be decided by the Building Commissioner, or the Zoning Board of Appeals if he defers to the issues to the ZBA. It is my understanding that the lot does not have the minimum width required of lots, that the parking will not comply with the bylaw requirements, and additionally the lot is subject to a 1975 variance that limits any use to one single family home.
The Medfield Children’s Center currently operates child care facilities in both the Baptist Church and Episcopal Church in the downtown, and I believe the churches are looking to reclaim their spaces. The Medfield Children’s Center looking to consolidate its operations in one location.
This was the crowd at the start of the hour long hearing before the planning board last night –
A child care facility has been proposed for 75 High Street, a fairly narrow lot on which the land slopes up steeply from Rte. 27. The area is zoned residential, but under the state statute, child care facilities are exempt from local zoning, just as are religious and educational uses, so the facility can locate there subject to reasonable health and safety strictures imposed by the Planning Board on site plan review petition.
Today I was provided a copy of the plans, and I thought that there will be many who will want to see those plans, so I uploaded them here.
The Massachusetts Historic Commission wrote the letter below to the Medfield Historic Commission about the LCB proposal –
This email was forwarded by Mike Sullivan this afternoon, which email explains that the coalition of towns appealing the new federal stormwater regulations is entering a litigation phase.
Dear MS4 Contributors,
The following update was provided to MCWRS members via our newsletter. I also wanted to share the latest information with those of you who have contributed to the appeal or plan to.
On August 24, 2016, MCWRS and the Town of Franklin jointly filed a Petition for Review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Final MA Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) General Permit with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Prior to the MCWRS/Franklin appeal, the Center for Regulatory Reasonableness (CRR) filed an appeal in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in Washington, D.C. Several events have occurred since these two initial filings. Three additional appeals were filed in the First Circuit – by the City of Lowell, the National Association of Home Builders/Home Builders Association of MA, and the Conservation Law Foundation/Charles River Watershed Association (CLF/CRWA).
The U.S. Department of Justice (on behalf of EPA) has filed a motion to transfer the appeals filed by MCWRS, Lowell, National Association of Home Builders, and CLF to the D.C. Circuit. The transfer request was triggered by the CRR appeal first filed in the D.C. Circuit, and EPA’s submittal of the Administrative Record Index to that court. The appeals are expected to be transferred. Meanwhile, in the First Circuit, MCWRS/Franklin filed a motion to intervene in the CLF/CRWA appeal on the ground that other parties in that case (i.e. EPA) would not protect the municipalities’ interests in that case. CLF/CRWA’s position is that the MS4 Permit does not go far enough. CLF/CRWA have filed motions to intervene in all of the pending appeals.
Our attorneys are prepared to submit briefs and oral arguments in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. We will continue to keep you apprised of events related to this critically important action to protect Massachusetts communities’ interests. Read the full press release on the MCWRS website for complete details on the announcement.
Going forward, now that the appeal is filed all communications between MCWRS and its attorneys are privileged and confidential. Additionally, since as public agencies you are all subject to public records laws, we do not want to supply updates via email that may include sensitive information and strategies. Instead, we think a periodic conference call may be the safest and best way to provide our supporters with updates. Of course, we would also not want you to share details of the call content via email with anyone else in your department or other town staff as they would be subject to the same public records regulations. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about our planned approach to keeping you updated.
As always, we greatly appreciate your support in this important matter!
Vice President for Public Involvement
Regina Villa Associates, Inc.
51 Franklin Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02110
This from Mike, in turn from Nancy Bennotti of the Board of Health this morning –
Please be advised that due to the low mosquito counts in the traps along with the on-going drought; the final spray application will be on Thursday (night), September 1, 2016. Trapping for virus will continue through September into October.
If you have any questions, please contact the office. Thank you.
Norfolk County Mosquito Control District
61 Endicott Street, Suite 66
Norwood, MA 02062