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.
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.
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.