22 Aug 2014
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LIVE BLOG: Framingham Town Meeting Night 10

Tonight, Town Meeting members will begin debate on Article 27 and open space plan, proposed by the Framingham Planning Board.

LIVE BLOG: Framingham Town Meeting Night 10
Tonight, Town Meeting members will begin debate on Article 27 and open space plan, proposed by the Framingham Planning Board, which was previously featured in a Framingham Patch article. 

Night 10 of Town Meeting is scheduled to begin tonight at 7:30 in Nevins Hall inside the Memorial Building or when a quorum is reached. 

Framingham Patch will be live blogging tonight.

Editor's Note: please excuse the typos while the live blog is in process. I will update the following day.


7:40 p.m. There is a quorum.

Moderator giving instructions. She is suggesting Town Meeting members do not Skype or Tweet during the meeting.

There are 44 articles -- some article has to be first and some has to be last -- all articles are important, says moderator.

Moderator encouraging Town Meeting members to attend all sessions.

Electronic test question

7:46 p.m. 

Starting with ARTICLE 27 -- a zoning bylaw change, proposed by the Framingham Planning Board that aims to preserve open space.

Planning Board Administrator Amanda Loomis speaking
New England seen an elevated rate of development

8 parcels in R3 and R4 that would qualify for this new open space proposal.
purpose of bylaw -- set cl;ear goals for open space protection
create neighborhoods sense of community
non motorized transportation
support the master plan and recreation plan

Highlights - need minimum 15 acres
be in R3 or R4 zone
60% must be reserved in open space -- 
conservation permanently
vegetation buffer.

difference between Article 26 was it was a 70-30 split and this open space is a 60-40 split in article 27.

Committee reports
Stephanie Mercandetti -- chair of Planning Board speaking - Board voted 5-0 in favor.

Standing committee on planning & zoning chair Stephen Shoal - TMM2 speaking - article proposed last fall -- initially asked to have this deferred - there was a request to consider both at the same time -- now recommend approval 8-0-1 vote.

Shoal made a motion to add the words "and wells" to article 27

Conservation Commission -- report

Jackie Meninino -- TMM1 - member of the agricultural committee  speaking - agricultural committee voted unanimously to support the article

Motion to amend article 27 -- (this is the second amendment) - offered by the conservation commission as a friendly amendment.

Town Meeting member discussion

Herb Chasan - TMM4 - speaking -- open space very near and dear to me as I grew up on a farm. Picking blackberries and experience beauty of natural environmental on a farm. In favor of open space. Lived in Framingham almost 50 years -- seen a lot of open space disappear rapidly. choice to make .. one prefer build everything out on one acre lots all through the development or preserve 60% as open space - seems like a no brainer to me.

Many communities have adopted this - it is a smart use.
Some people think that cluster development will invite more development - it will not. - it will require a super majority of the planning board for approval.
Please trust the planning board to do the right thing and support this article.

TMM17 - Richard Baritz speaking -- 

Amanda Loomis answering his questions --  the house can be clustered - they can be attached or they can be single families.

Baritz -- I still don't understand - does it rule on the size of the house?

Loomis -- They don't have to be smaller houses - they can be any size - it is an y opportunity to create townhouse or a cluster neighborhood.

Kathy Vassar - TMM1 - speaking -- as chair of precinct 1 - report on a vote of the precinct -- 9 members at caucus -- votes 8-0-1 to not support the open space bylaw at this time.

Vassar - rise to oppose this bylaw at this time --the open space bylaw has been on the table for a short point of time. the final bylaw proposed available the first day of Town Meeting

Issue of slope and measurement of slope -- issues with slope bylaw -- too easily misused by some developers.  Slope by-law has not been updated to get rid of loophole used by developers.

I'm skeptical -- if the bylaws don't spell something out - conditions are not enforceable.

Slope has been identified at numerous community meetings.
Residents want to be protected from further damage.

8:10 p.m. If this open space bylaw was approved now projects would be grandfathered.

Motion - move back to Planning Board - brought back in fall.

Peter Pleshaw - TMM11 -- speaking -- few questions -- acreage under R3 or R4 -- if 100 acres - could build 100 houses? What is the maximum number of houses?

On page 3 -- maximum number of attached units 3 - and maximum building height 3 stories. - apartments? can you explain?

How many units in the 40%?

At least 800 square feet per bedroom .. lost at what that means.
How many acres and how many houses? and how many children?

Loomis speaking -- dwelling unit -- same amount allowed in a conventional subdivision. 100 acre -- 1 acre lot -- so take out for infrastructure -- reduce no more than conventional -- unless a bonus is granted by the planning board - this is also a special permit.

3 stories or 35 feet -- 3 floors or 35 feet from the ground to the roof.
exterior -- entrances -- all units have to exterior doors.

800 square feet per bedroom -- minimum 

Traffic -- Loomis -- under the planning board review policy - any over 10 units - and school children community impact assessment required.

Pleshaw -- just a guy from Butterworth park area -- some common language -- how many kids? how many families? 

Dennis Paulsen - TMM17 -- conservation amendment - what are other resources?

Bob Boyce - TMM5 - Conservation Commissioners speaking - resources defined in wetland protection law, ie streams, rivers, vernal pools, etc.

Moderator -- going over the motions on this article ...8:22 p.m.

Judy Grove - TMM15 speaking -- I'm thinking about Cushing Park -- senior houses at the top and the rest of the open - I don't understand the disadvantage to this plan -- have a chance for open land that we will never get back.

Ted Anthony - TMM1 - speaking -- if I had been at the Easter week meeting of standing committee on planning zoning I would have voted no.

I think there are big difference between the agricultural one last week and this one - the prime issue is the slope -- various mud slides - no slope provisions or regulation in place - until that really happens -- make sense to defer this until the time being.

Everyone is is favor of open space - it is like motherhood and apple pie -- if we approve this -- it will expedite development in a lot of areas.

The easy areas to be developed have all been developed -- waiting until the fall does not seem a major inconvenience. Suggest refer fall back to fall special town meeting - planning board will bring back - with its new leadership - 6 months will not make much difference

Jeanne Bullock - TMM5 -- speaking -- questions -- section 4 - conservation restriction -- holder of the CR may allow passive recreation through consent of owner of land. .. Page 4 -- open space - minimum of two parking spaces should be provided for trail - one should be ADA compliant. hat is not a lot of parking spaces. recommend refer back to sponsor --

Richard Paul - TMM7 -- point of clarification -- this article is not re-zoning any land - this article just creating a district, correct?

Loomis speaking -- this is not the rezoning of land -- special permit - not by right - planning board would review. - not change the underlying zoning - stay as R3 or R4.

8:31 p.m.

Cheryl Tully Stoll -- TMM4 -- stand as an individual -- in support of the zoning bylaw - overlaw will allow us to preserve open space - Framingham has lost a great deal over the last decades - what little we have left -- opportunity to preserve space.

Mel Warshaw - TMM7 -- I'm quite concerned about the member in Precinct 1 had to say -- like to hear from Planning Board on slope issues. And if we don't do it -- what are the results?> If delay, is there a problem?

Loomis - speaking -- cases within Framingham public should not be accessing public space as they are habitats or watershed protection. Conservation commission weighs in.

Public hearing always held

Minimum of two parking spaces -- plan review -- Planning Board could ask for more parking spaces.

Slope -- review the zoning bylaw - working on town engineer on this -- preliminary plan is submitted to planning board - town engineer reviews the plans. This allows for added protection of steep slopes.

Only allow development on the 40%

Bullock - folo up question -- owner  of the land has to consent - is that true?

Loomis - landowner retains the 60% -- land deemed public use or habitat - there would be trail access - trail system would be established -- allow for public access - to connect to other parcels.

Does the owner -- yes - he still retains the ownership. A conservation restriction.

8:39 p.m.
Audrey Hall - TMM3 -- speaking -- questions -- and raise a concern -- this is really misleading -- it is for the purpose of creating cluster development ...
I support referring this back.

Barbara St Andre - town counsel - speaking -- provision under section 5F - limiting the variance granted. 

Ned Price - TMM17 -- I want to reassure myself -- my understanding - no waivibility of the 4/5th vote on the 60% - can not waive the 60% even by the unanimous vote, correct?

Loomis -- correct

8:44 p.m.

Hall - asked question -- about motion in book?
Moderator - there is a new motion 
Loomis - yes it was placed on the back table

Gloria Gellar - TMM2 -- just refresh everyone's memory -- wrote in a bylaw and plan - 80% occupied and 20% rental -- that was changed in precinct 3 - with the PUD -- I don't want this to happen again -- this is always open to opinions and actions - 

will this be owner occupied? or rental?

Loomis -- speaking -- can not set limitations -- can not state owner or rental.

St. Andrew speaking -- town counsel -- zoning regulates the use of land - it not does limit the ownership of land. 

St. Andre - speaking -- the only 80-20 percent is under the PUD which is an overlay district

Point of order -- TMM - I did not hear town counsel's response?

Moderator -- you need to listen -- but asked her to repeat it.

Move the question
4 people still wish to speak
2/3rd vote needed
8:50 p.m. - hand vote - passed.


Point of information -- Ted Anthony --wasn't motion to refer back for  specific time in the fall?

Moderator -- motion to refer back and to amendments to main motion. First vote on refer back.

Majority vote needed to refer back.
Motion to refer back to planning board - brought back fall special town meeting

Electronic vote -- 60-66-6 - motion fails - NOT referred back.

8:54 p.m. 
Amendment passed -- hand vote - passed - 
Conservation commission amendment -- hand vote -- passed

Action on main motion -- 2/3rd vote needed -- passed
electronic vote on article 27 -- 
87-41-4 -- PASSES -- zoning by law change approved

clapping by Town Meeting members in Nevins Hall
8:58 p.m.
Article 43 -- motion -- Bob Snyder -- associate member of zoning board
discussion on porticos
nice to have a roof over your head

Amy Weader -- point of order -- TMM4 -- I can't understand the problem. It looks like what it is in the book - with one clause added.

Committee reports

Chair of planning & zoning standing committee speaking - Shoal - TMM2 -- 
11-0-0 in support.

Phil Ottiviani - TMM1 -- chair of ZBA -- 7-0-0 in favor - porticos- we have never denied them - we do a pretty good job - we thought the citizens of Framingham not need to pay $300 to come before ZBA and leave at discretion of building inspection

Stephanie Mercandetti - chair of planning board  speaking - board voted 5-0- in favor.

TMM discussion

Jeff Cox - TMM14 -- question for town counsel  -- 

Town Counsel Barbara St Andre speaking -- when this amendment under consideration -- question about wording -- section E1 -- uncovered steps -- consistency -- add subsection 2 -- may be permitted with setback -- exceptions to set back rule.

Joel Winett - Tmm7 -- speaking -- word different should be highlighted on screen during presentation.

9:14 p.m. - 2/3rd vote needed
hand vote -- moderator - it passed unanimously said moderator. Town Meeting members objected -- moderator changed it to 2 people opposed.

ARTICLE 44 -- flood plain district -- amend ZBA bylaws.
Crotty -- making motion -- 

Amanda Loomis - Planning Board administrator making presentation
new 2014 maps for flood plan determination
if not voted in - not eligible for FEMA or federal help.

Point of information -- Gloria Gellar -- TMM2 -- do you have the map?

Moderator -- there may be a different motion to be made. Moderator, Loomis and town counsel talking.

Moderator -- asking town counsel how to proceed.

Town counsel -- can withdraw original motion and make a new motion

Crotty -- making the new motion -- 

Gellar --- would like to see the new flood plan map ...

Loomis - maps made available --not available to show here - as it is a series of maps. -- this is a requirement - for the town to stay required by FEMA

Gellar - almost impossible to look up the maps on the Internet.

Loomis - maps available through DPW - they can provide

Mercandetti -- planning board chair speaking - 5-0- in favor.

Shoal -- chair of planning and zoning speaking -- 9-0-1 in favor

Town Meeting member discussion

Richard Goodkin - TMM11 -- question -- how bulletproof reliable, confident -- anyone effected - has received notification?

Town has sent out letter to residence -- Loomis
All Town Meeting members notified of public hearing

9:25 p.m.

Kathi McCarthy - TMM10 - good to hear this year - folks were notified.
in past - we didn't know if property owners were notified.

question -- were these sent out certified? or postcard?
We as Town Meeting members - should have those maps somewhere in this hall. should not have to search. We should not vote it blindly.

This impacts properties and property owners

Halpin - it was sent out first class mail. 

9:28 p.m.
William LaBarge - TMM16 - speaking -- 
Brian LeFort - TMM3 -- motion to move the question
2/3rd vote - hand vote - passed

vote on article 44 -- passed - hand vote -- 2 in opposition.

9:29 p.m. ARTICLE 28
Crotty motion - Claudette circle as a public way - 

street acceptance discussion -- 
St. Andre -- going over the procedure

Move the question -- 
VOTE on article 28 -- requires a majority vote -- hand vote taken - passed


9:42 p.m. Article 29 -- motion by Crotty to accept Currier Drive.

Shoal - 11-0-0 in favor.

Michael Bower - Vice chair of Selectmen - 5-0-0 in favor

Town Meeting discussion - none

majority vote -- hand vote taken - passed  unamimously

9:44 p.m.
Article 30 -- Crotty motion -- Walkup Circle acceptance 
Shoal report -- 
Bower report - 5-0 in favor
majority vote -- hand vote taken - passed unanimously

9:45 p.m.
Article 31 -  Crotty motion -- petition general court -- subdivision plan -- construction

Halpin presentation -- speaking -- special legislation -- approved subdivision - can be streamlined -- originally planned to bring 12 roads and yet we brought 3 -- legal work to research - was absorbent and $10,000 - legislation -- modeled after Franklin, Agawam, Woburn.

still require a public hearing before selectmen - but streamline legal issues and title issues still requires planning board and town meeting vote.

hoping accelerate process here in town.

9:50 p.m. committee reports
Shoal -- speaking -- voted support 11-0-0
Bower - selectmen report - speaking - 5-0-0
Credit belongs to the Town Manager ....said Bower
Put together a task force  to expedite his process ...

Town meeting member discussion

Ed Kross -- speaking - TMM12 -- urge support - question -- likelihood state will act on this?

Halpin - near certainity -- late this summer or fall - approved same language in 4 other towns

VOTE -- hand vote -- majority vote -- 1 hand in opposition - PASSED

9:52 p.m. Article 32 - 
widening of Concord Road and School Street
Crotty motion

Bill Sedwitz - DPW speaking -- Eastern side of Concord and northern side of School street - signalization at A street - ADA wheelchair ramps. plus ornemental lighting.

No costs associated to this -- three parcels gifts to the town.

requires 2/3rd vote -- moderator

Committee reports
Dennis Paulsen - chair - standing committee Public works -- 9-0-0 in favor

Mercandetti - planning board chair speaking -- 4-0- in favor

Bower - Vice chair selectmen speaking -- 5-0-0 voted to sponsor and held a public hearing -- DPW provided a report -- urge your support.

9:56 p.m. Town Meeting discussion

Audrey Hall - TMM3 -- speaking -- cautiously optomistic about this project -- question -- two traffic lights? concord and A street and concord and school street?
timed properly -- with McGrath square?
Timing of the construction -- with central street bridge -- manageable - navigate the area?

Sedwitz speaking -- both intersections will have signals - will coordinate with McGrath square.

construction -- season - saxonville will receive its share onf construction
Central Street will likely be re-bid - schedule unclear
massDOt thinks later this summer.

Town work is out to bid now ... completed this fall.
Lot of work in saxonville
more control over town projects - working closely with the state

Dick Weader -- TMM4 - speaking -- It mentions Concord Road in book and on screen -- it really is Concord Street??

St Andre speaking -- opinion -- article could be amended to read Concord Street

Moderator -- so done.

Shelly - TMM3 -- I live near this area -- question -- wondering how far up school street the widening will be?? will it go up towards Walgreens? Impact to be on traffic while work is done?

Sedwitz speaking -- widening will not go as far as the Walgreen's will not even go as far as the bridge.

traffic -- some widening and turning -- will be done first -- intent to maintain two directions of traffic the vast majority of time. Need a contractor on board. expect to maintain two lanes of traffic vast majority fo project.

Norma Shulman - Tmm5  - speaking -- timing of the construction. question on precincts 2 and 5 landlocked - can't go west or south if central street bridge starts while this project ongoing

Memorial in the traffic island - removed? preserved?

Sedwitz -- still waiting to hear from the state -- once have more information -- we will update ..anticipate both projects will go on at the same time

memorial -- temporarily relocated -- part of process -- has been addressed.

2/3rd vote -- hand vote -- passed - one vote in opposition

Motion to adjourn made at 10:05 p.m.
2/3rd vote of town meeting needed

Town Meeting - night 11 -- will start Wednesday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.

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