Category Archives: Downtown

Downtown Study Committee needs members

The selectmen feel that the Downtown Study Committee needs to be more active, and also needs more members.  If anyone is interested in serving on the DSC they can contact me and I will pass their name along.  Where there are such exciting projects going on in the downtown, it should be an interesting committee.

Straw Hat Park – 1 or 2 years

The email below today from Jean Mineo.  I favor building the park in just one year, not over two years, if we are agreed that we are going to spend the money to create the park.  And I agree that it makes sense to build this park in the center of our downtown.  It is an “extra,” but for me one well worth doing for what it will bring to our downtown.

Hello Mark, Richard and Pete,


I had planned to attend tonight’s Selectmen meeting but plans from last night were rescheduled to tonight due to the rain. I write with an update for your consideration and deliberation.


As a reminder, Straw Hat Park Committee members include the town planner Sarah Raposa, The Garden Continuum President Monique Allen, and representatives from: DPW (Bobby Kennedy), Parks and Rec (Kevin Ryder), businesses in the area (was Tim Larkin, now is Keith Maher/Starbucks), residents (Minta Hissong), Downtown Study Committee (Matt McCormick), and the Cultural District (myself).


The Straw Hat Park Committee has asked the Warrant Committee for an allocation of $70,500 to pay for the construction of the park, including the first year’s maintenance in order to get the plants off to a good start (if the Garden Continuum is hired for this work, they will guarantee the plants). In the second year, we anticipate the maintenance cost will decrease to $5,500 and decrease again in the third year. In the third year, the plants are established and begin to mature. The plants have been selected for year round interest, long term sustainability, drought tolerance, and to spread – thus reducing mulching, weeding and watering needs significantly in subsequent years.


The Warrant Committee will vote 5 – 2 in favor of $32,000 for the 2015 budget and they will be heard at Town Meeting.


With an allocation of $32,000 the park construction can begin sometime Aug – Oct. 2015. This allows us to take advantage of the planned DPW presence in the Green Street area this fall and realize some efficiencies in the use of heavy equipment when it is available and nearby. We can address drainage issues, contour the slope, trench for water and electricity, replace and widen the sidewalk and back asphalt (where a bike rack is planned). The site will then be covered with mulch and fenced off until the remaining funds are in place.


The Straw Hat Park Committee expects to make a brief presentation and a motion to amend the warrant article for the full allocation of $70,500. We have 3 reasons:


  1. There is no guarantee that funds will be allocated at Town Meeting 2016


  1. Construction site. IF funds are approved in two phases over two years at Town Meeting 2015 and 2016, this park in the heart of downtown will remain a fenced off construction site for about a year (infrastructure in fall 2015, finishing work in fall 2016 to include plantings, patio, seating). Planting is ideally done in the fall and won’t be done over the summer even though funds could be released in July 2016 if approved at Town Meeting.


  1. Price increases. As we’ve heard on all capital improvement projects in town, prices increase over time. A two phase project will also require some additional expenses not included in the single-phase budget (for example, mulching the site for year, additional labor, fencing). We anticipate an additional 10% increase of $7,050 or $77,550 overall budget in a two phase project.


While we will work with a two phased project if necessary, we do want people to understand the implications.


As you know, we were successful in securing all of our consultants (design, engineering and graphics) at no cost to the town at an estimated value of $9,000. The funds requested at Town Meeting are to actually build the park. The committee has taken on the added role of raising an additional $34,000 (over and above the $70,500 requested at town meeting) to bring in extra amenities of signage, planters and a fountain feature requested by residents. We have in hand over $18,500 from 20 families toward this goal of $34,000. Personal Best Karate should be recognized for their early and generous gift of $1,000. Other businesses including Rockland Trust, Zebras, Leuders, A&D Appliance, Hurley Testa, Starr and Glick Orthodontics, Berkshire Hathaway, and Needham Bank have already made donations. Local businesses including Larkins, Zebras, Starbucks, Brothers, and Honey’s have also contributed goods toward fund raising initiatives. We have additional fund raising initiatives and grants planned and are optimistic we can raise the funds for the enhancements.


We ask for your support of $70,500 in a single phase project to fund the infrastructure and basic park amenities – seating, grass, plantings, a patio, lighting, and ADA accessibility at the Straw Hat Park.


I am available until 2:30 today by phone to answer any questions.

Thank you for your consideration,




Juice bar coming

Stavros of Royal Pizza just allowed me to hang my Medfield Foundation volunteer of the year posters in the windows of the former Jenny Boston store for the next week until the 3/22/15 reception at The Center at 3PM a week from tomorrow honors the eight volunteers.

Stavros told me that his new tenant plans to run a juice bar, all natural and made from scratch.  Permitting is pending before the Zoning Board of Appeals.


Straw Hat Park

Attached below is the landscaping plan for the proposed new Straw Hat Park.  Jean Mineo of the friends of the Straw Hat Park, a Medfield Foundation initiative, reported to the Medfield Foundation board at its meeting last night that her group is looking:

  • for $70,000 of funds from the annual town meeting this April; and
  • to fund raise $24,000 for extras and special features planned for the new park, such as the fountain.

Construction will begin in August if monies are appropriated at the annual town meeting.  The really interesting extras will be included if sufficient funds are raised to allow for them.  Interested supporters can reach Jean at 242-9991.

Monique Allen of The Garden Continuum donated the design services, and Jean continues to donate countless hours to making Medfield more interesting – Jean was behind the Art Boxes that now decorate the traffic control boxes around town and the Thistle project coming this May to decorate forty trees at the Medfield State Hospital.


Assisted living facility proposed

LCB Senior Living, LLC of Norwood purchased land behind the Peak House in December and is proposing the construction of a 72 unit assisted living facility on the site.  LCB has reportedly also purchased a home on Main Street to provide access.  Assisted living facilities are a use permitted on the residential zoned land if the ZBA grants a special permit.

Mike Sullivan reports that LCB met with town officials last week about its proposal.  See LCB’s other similar facilities built by LCB at its website,

LCB reported that none of the units will be affordable, as the economics of including affordable units would require the facility to be many times larger.  That means the proposed facility would add 72 units to our housing stock, as each bed counts as a separate unit, and to reach our 10% affordable housing threshold we would need another 8 affordable units.  Per a presentation to selectmen Tuesday evening, we currently need another 136 affordable units to reach our 10% threshold if one includes the 92 units at The Parc that is now in construction.  Those 72 units LCB proposes would require another 8 to make us need 144 more to get to 10%.

Below are the Medfield zoning bylaws involved, and that list the findings the ZBA must make for it to grant a special permit.  The ZBA clearly has lots of discretion on this issue, neither to allow or deny any application, so the evidence presented at the hearings will probably be the determinative factor.

This is another example of how our town’s zoning decisions, as reflected in the bylaws we adopt at town meeting, allow different, non-residential uses to be sited next to homes in residential areas.

USES:            Hospice or nursing homes, convalescent and assisted living facilities and medical and dental offices   –  SP

14.10.5 After the public hearing required by Section 14.10.3 has been concluded, the Board of Appeals may grant a special permit if it concludes that a special permit is warranted by the application and the evidence produced at the public hearing and if it makes the following specific findings of fact:

a) The proposed use will not result in a public hazard due to substantially increased vehicular traffic or parking in the neighborhood. In deciding this, the Board shall find affirmatively that
the road’s structure, surroundings and configuration are such as will support the added traffic safely.

b) The proposed use will not have any adverse effect upon property values in the neighborhood.

c) The proposed use is architecturally and aesthetically consistent with the other structures in the neighborhood.

d) The proposed use will not create any hazard to public safety or health in the neighborhood.

e) The proposed use will not create any danger of pollution to public or
private water facilities.

f) The methods of drainage at the proposed site are adequate.

g) If public sewerage is not provided, plans for on-site sewage disposal systems are adequate and have been approved by the Board of Health.

h) That no excessive noise, light or odor shall be emitted.

i) That no nuisance shall be created.

j) There is an adequate supply of potable water approved by the Board of Health or the Water and Sewer Board.


“Giving Tuesday” in Medfield

From Jean Mineo (today the logo loaded)-

The third annual #GivingTuesday takes place TODAY, Dec. 2, 2014.

Please think about giving locally in Medfield.


The Medfield Foundation has lots of initiatives doing terrific work around town and all donations are tax deductible. Find them on-line at and consider supporting the short term initiative to renovate the Straw Hat Park in downtown (between Zebra’s and Starbucks), or to another of the great causes in town.

I want to also give thanks to all of you who help make Medfield a nicer place to live, work, and play through your time, talents, and treasure!



Downtown Sidewalk Design & Aesthetics Study Committee

The Downtown Sidewalk Design & Aesthetics Study Committee completed its work and reported its conclusions to the Planning Board on 10/20/14.  This was its report (the original has nice photos that did not copy here from the PDF, but which should be available at the town website) –


Downtown Sidewalk Design & Aesthetics Study Committee
Review and improve the aesthetic beauty of Downtown Medfield

1. Sidewalks

To incorporate bricks into the streetscape to maintain the historic
character of Downtown Medfield.

• To preserve existing solid brick areas in public/gathering
spaces (Town Hall, Baxter Park, Gazebo Park, UU Church)
• The cross section of the sidewalk in other areas: Granite
curbing with 2′ widths of brick accent in a “basketweave”
pattern (approximately 30% of the sidewalk width for
sidewalks less than 6′) > tree grates > variable widths (at least
4 ‘) of concrete
• Handicap accessibility is paramount. The above
recommendation may be superseded if HC accessibi lity is not

2. Street Trees

To ensure future plantings are aesthetically pleasing with proper site
analysis, site preparation, and tree selection. Prepare li st of suitable
street trees for the Downtown on the Town road layout as well as
acceptable trees for private properties adjacent to the road layout.

Street trees should be upright, vase shape with ascending branch
structure that can grow above the road and buildings and are easily
upbranched in the future to maintain needed clearance and visibility.
The trees should be as clean and litter free as possible as well as
drought tolerant and as insect and disease free as possible. With all
selections it is a series of compromises rather than 1 or 2 perfect

Trees that can be considered with these attributes in mind:
• Ginko Biloba “Magyar”
• Gleditsia Triacanthos Inermis “Shademaster” or “Skyline” Honey Locust
• Gymnocladus Dioicus “Espresso” Kentucky Coffee Tree
• Ulmus Parviflora “Allee Erner II” Chinese Lacebark Elm
• Zelkova SeITata “Green Vase” or “Ogon”

For areas with overhead lines, consider an ornamental upright shorter growing tree:
• Crataeyus viridir “Winter King”
• Parrotia persica “Vanessa”
• Syringa Reticulata “Ivory Silk” Japanese Tree Lilac
• Stewartia Pseudocamellia Japanese or Korean Stewartia

Tree Grates: #8854 Sunray 48″x48″ Tree Grate and Frame Set with 16″ Center Hole by EJ New
England Branch in Brockton, MA (

3. Crosswalks

To supplement the historic character of Downtown Medfield and
enhance visibility of crosswalks and increased pedestrian safety.

• Use a brick-patterned stamped concrete or alternative faux
o Main Street I South Street intersection
o Main Street I North Street I Pleasant Street
o North Street I Janes A venue
o Main Street I Park Street
o Main Street I Spring Street I North Meadows Road

For future consideration:
• Wayfinding signage
• Street lights
• Benches
• Public art
• Waste receptacles
• Planters

Design Guidelines Endorsed by Planning Board
October 20, 2014
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