The Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday July 10, 2018 is all about the plans for the former Medfield State Hospital site.
The Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee will present its master plan (now 200 pages, down from 500 pages). I have been asked by the MSHMPC to not share its master plan yet. I expect I can share it after our meeting on Tuesday, and will plan to do so.
The Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Medfield voted to deny a special permit to the proposed LCB assisted living facility on Main Street, whose application has been pending for two and a half years. The entire decision is available here 20180621-ZBA.LCBdecision), and the essential excerpts appear below.
TOWN OF MEDFIELD
Office of the Board of Appeals on Zoning
NOTICE OF DECISION
APPLICANT: LCB Senior Living
DECISION DATE: June 21, 2018
DATE OF FILING DECISION: June 27,2018
DECISION NUMBER: 1339
While the Applicant has provided sufficient evidence to warrant a number of positive findings, the Board has concluded that it cannot make one of the key findings. Section 14.1 O.E(3) requires that we determine that the proposed use is architecturally and aesthetically consistent with other structures in the neighborhood.
Section 14.10.E(l) requires that we determine that the proposed use will not result in a public hazard due to substantially increased vehicular traffic or parking in the neighborhood. While the proposed project would provide 51 parking spaces, we are concerned that that level of parking may not be adequate. . . Section 14.10.E(l) requires that we determine that the proposed use will not result in a public hazard due to substantially increased vehicular traffic or parking in the neighborhood. While the proposed project would provide 51 parking spaces, we are concerned that that level of parking may not be adequate.
Section 14.1 O.E(2) requires that we determine that the proposed use will have no adverse effect upon property values in the neighborhood. . . we do not believe that we can make the required finding that the proposed use will have no adverse effect on property values in the neighborhood.
The permitting for the proposed LCB assisted living facility behind the Clark Tavern on Main Street with the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board is starting up again with a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on 5/23 at 7PM at the Blake Middle School auditorium. In advance of that ZBA hearing Town Planner, Sarah Raposa circulated the most recent peer review by the town’s engineering consultants, BETA Engineering, dated 4/19/2016, which gives a summary of where things stand.
Also, I believe that there are still two outstanding and as yet unresolved apeals by LCB of the wetlands determination issues by the Town of Medfield Conservation Commission. I understand those appeals are pending with the state DEP and at the Norfolk Superior Court. The ConCom determined that Vine Brook is a “perennial stream” (i.e. it flows year round) and as a result that building setbacks are subject to the 200′ Rivers Act requirements. I believe that LCB takes the position that Vine Brook is only “intermittent,” and that therefore the Rivers Act setback do not control.
Below is Sarah’s transmission email to town department heads –
LCB is coming back from continuance-hiatus next Wednesday night (5/23) with the ZBA. I wanted to refresh your memories on the project and where Beta is at with the reviews. The application and plans may be viewed here: Dropbox Link
Attached is the most recent civil and traffic engineering review from Beta.
For some departments, your predecessors submitted comments on the project. Previously submitted comments are HERE. You may wish to update departmental comments, if so, please provide written comments by next Wednesday at 10 am.
Looking closely, I don’t having anything from the Fire Department (though I know Chief Kingsbury reviewed the plan).
I did not include the COA and School Dept. in 2015 but feel free to submit if you have any comments for the ZBA.
I do have several documents from the Historical Commission that I didn’t attach here but are online. I know you’ll be at the meeting on Wednesday to submit comments in person.
All are welcome to the public hearing session: Wednesday, May 23, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Blake Middle School Auditorium.
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) sent the town a letter, received today (a copy of the letter appears below), approving Matt Borrelli’s Local Initiative Program (LIP) the Board of Selectmen approved at 80 North Meadows Road, called Hillside Village. It is to be located built into the steep slope to the left of the Godard School, on the same lot as the school and sharing the existing entrances and exits.
The sixteen units of Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) produced by this LIP, when combined with the eight units of SHI from Bob Borrelli’s LIP at 71 North Street, next to his already open LIP at 67 North Street, will give the town another year of safe harbor from unfriendly 40B projects.
The Affordable Housing Trust Committee continues to do an effective job of lining up enough Subsidized Housing Inventory units each year to keep us in a safe harbor.
We need to plan for the changes autonomous vehicles will make in town, and to new developments, such as at the former MSH site. I think this will be a boon to older residents who are no longer driving themselves, and also as a way to network various parts of town to the downtown and to one another, and, also, to link us to regional transportation hubs. This article is from Efficient Government –
They are not the future, in some cities, driverless taxis are taking riders now. Auto manufacturers are also ramping up orders and requesting Federal approvals for autonomous level four vehicle production.
Driverless taxis are already on the road in Pittsburgh, and GeekWire is covering all the details of what’s happening at the facility where 200 Volvos, equipped with LIDAR cameras, drive themselves in and out. According to Uber’s website, the test drives are collecting data with real passengers excited to take their self-driving selfiies:
We’re piloting a program now where you can get matched up with a self-driving Uber when you request uberX. When you do, you get a glimpse of the future AND access to the selfie machine. Mind. Blown.
But it’s not just Uber, and it’s not just Pittsburgh. Driverless taxis are operating in Phoenix, Arizona, and coming to Greenville County, South Carolina, and at least to the seven states that have already authorized autonomous vehicle operation.
According to the Greenville News, the Federal Highway Administration awarded the county $4 million to develop a public automated taxi system that would be the first of its kind in the nation.
These funds will help Greenville County lead the nation into a future with more driverless vehicles, which will improve mobility for some and reduce traffic congestion for all,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson said.
With the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we’ve moved from research and development, to operations and deployment,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo.
According to NBC News, General Motors (GM) plans is asking to sweep seven states with driverless taxis by 2019.
GM asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for waivers covering 16 regulations, said Kyle Vogt, the CEO of Cruise Automation, an autonomous technology company owned by GM. With Federal and state approvals, the company said it would produce 2,500 driverless Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles per year.
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.
I started this blog to share the interesting and useful information that I saw while doing my job as a Medfield selectman. I thought that my fellow Medfield residents would also find that information interesting and useful as well. This blog is my effort to assist in creating a system to push the information out from the Town House to residents. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how it can be done better.
For information on my other job as an attorney (personal injury, civil litigation, estate planning and administration, and real estate), please feel free to contact me at 617-969-1501 or Osler.Peterson@OslerPeterson.com.