21 Aug 2014
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Live Blog: Marist Hearing

Live Blog: Marist Hearing
Blog started at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Editor's Note: The ZBA requested an extension on the special permit hearing until Oct. 31 and received it Tuesday night. The next hearing will be held on Sept. 17 and will focus on traffic issues. A consultant, hired by the ZBA, at the expense of the applicant, will present his finds that night. If the extension was not granted, the ZBA was expect to rule by Sept. 28 on the special permit.

Framingham Patch will be live blogging during the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on the Marist property.

Walden Behavioral Care has requested a special permit for a treatment center. Framingham Patch was the first to report the request back in early May.

Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) chair Philip R. Ottaviani, Jr. will be calling the hearing together shortly. It is the only item on the ZBA agenda.

It is a full house tonight. Not a seat left in the Blumer room in the Memorial Building.

Robert Michaud of MDM Transportation Consultants for Walden Behavioral Care is speaking.

Michaud out of Marlborough is discussing what was discussed at the last hearing in July. he says he has some additional traffic information in regards to Temple and Pleasant streets.

Michaud said have conducting traffic counts and have historic data for that intersection.

More than 4,000 vehicle an hour travel through that intersection. If on Temple street in the morning - have to wait several signals to get through the lights. No surprise longer delays on Temple Street - both North & South.

Added Traffic to be added -- with this project -- focus on Route 9 & Temple - represents less than 1% of what travels through that intersection said Michaud.

Temple & Pleasant intersection can accomodate the growth in traffic. trying to identify what the realistic growth could be. Used an annualized growth rate documented by MassDOT ... said Michaud. Even with this traffic increase from the project and no change in how these intersections with function said Michaud.

7:12 p.m. 

Michaud - we understand there is safety and capacity enhancements that could be implemented today independent of this property.
some consideration of mitigation actions ... understand crash trends in that location. Talked to MassDOT -- one potential for a capacity & safety improvement.

PleasantStreet and Temple and Woodmere alignment -- widening of Plesant sT for an exclusive right turn lane is proposed - to make a right turn onto to Temple Street during commuter hours said Michaud.

This level of improvement would entail -- land acquistion along part of the applicants property to allow the widening to occur said Michaud. Recommend a real improvement for safety at this intersection said Michaud.

applicant -- nothing in this design that they would design. This is just a concept and MassDOT is supportive of this improvement said Michaud.

MassDOT has visited this site for traffic and safety enhancements - but nothing was ever proposed said Michaud - this wouldbe a giant leap forward to make change fr safety & traffic at this intersection.

Travel speeds on Pleasant St - radar speed study - east of Temple St - closer to Framingham center - folks approaching Woodmere said Michaud.

That intersection is posted at 40 mph of road - confirmed with MassDOT said Michaud. Based on speed radar - 85th percentile of 35 mph. Folks who travel this road are aware of the condition of intersection at Woodmere & Pleasant and slow down said Michaud.

based on observed speed - Michaud discussed with MassDOT -- have discussed posting additional warning signs -- speed advisory - suggest 30 mph or lower. DOT is receptive of this.

7:19 p.m. Presentation completed by Michaud

ZBA Vice Chair Susan Craighead asking questions about the traffic consultant's presentation

Walden Traffic would be minimum during the weekend said Michaud.

Craidghead asking about backups & traffic.

Consultant Michaud says he lives in town.

Michaud impact is adding one car about every 11 minutes to that intersection. Added benefit - applicant is willing to support a traffic & safety enhancement to the intersection

7:28 p.m. more questions from ZBA

When CVS was built at Temple & Route 9 -- MassDot has looked at what can be done at the intersection - there is a possibility of $2M to maybe change that intersection - including widening it - tweaking signals  MassDOT goal is to keep traffic moving on Route 9 not what is happening on templel street said Michaud.

Chair speaking -- hired consultant to review traffic consultant
review existing traffic and volumes. Impact traffic impacts. Recommend measures & alternatives. (Hired at cost of applicant)

Chair said when we got this traffic report one of my concerns was Route 9 and Temple. Went with beta engineering. Proposal will be ready in Sept, meeting - beta will go over the traffic report consultant presented.

Question -- Jennifer Mosche ask for consultant to review 3 p.m. time slot when school gets out and when Walden says there employees will get out?

Chair says traffic meeting will be Sept 17th
Chair says everyone can talk. They can talk until 11 p.m.

Chair says ZBA's traffic consultant will present on Sept. 17

ZBA member Stephen E. Meltzer speaking -- one concern - heading west to Pleasant street - have entrance turning left into driveway - will there be difficulty making that left?

Michaud -- said likely level of delay - analysis says very minimal delay.The driveway itself will be redesign - today's campus has only 200 feet from temple street. people use that for a u-turn now. That will be eliminated as a part of this project.

There is a crosswalk proposed ... we want vehicles to turn in before drivers hit that crosswalk said Michaud.

Chair speaking - says he has a pile of letters in support and against the project --  he is reading the names and addresses into the record and noting if in favor or not.

Editor's Note: Many of the addresses in favor of the project are addresses of residents who do not live in the precinct where the project is proposed.

7:42 p.m. Chair says name and addressed needed to speak

Editor's Note: I'll try to spell everyone's name correctly

Paula Jacobs - 10 Doyle Circle -- speaking - live there for 35 years. Must speak out tonight - a special permit - will dramatically impact the quality of life for those who live in the vinicity of Marist property. Petition was submitted by 300 neighbors at last meeting - against this project.

We have initiated another petition - signed more than 165 residents in Precinct 7 & 10 - said Jacobs. This is many hours of on the ground footwork - pounded the placement - committed to the future of our neighborhood.
We live in a quiet stable residential neighborhood - protected by long standing zoning regulations -- want it to stay that way. Walden is not the right suitor. We oppose walden's request for a special permit for Marist property. Respect the voices of Framingham residents. 

other issues that concern us -- the fact remains that this is a business and a commercial enterprise. (CEO Stuart) Komen's history makes us very nervous.

We can not predict the future - what happens if eating disorder treatment is not profitable? What would prevent them to selling to another medical commercial?

Walden behavioral care has no experience being a good neighbor. What message is Stuart Komen is transmitting when he announced that 10 abutters have asked to be bought out? Said Jacobs

walden will have a major impact on the surrounding area.
Koman has not been forthcoming on moving his HQ to Framingham - states additional programs will be added, when it presents itself. Drain on town services including police, fire and ambulance.

We ask the ZBA to carefully consider the long- term implications of walden's application on the future of Framingham said Jacobs.

Future of Framingham is important to us. We do not choose Walden - Jacobs.

Other residents in other neighborhoods have said if not Walden, then what. This is serious business and will seriously impact us who lives close to the Marist property said Jacobs.

We would welcome the opportunity to work with town officials and developers to find the right use of the Marist property - said Jacobs.

Applaud given to her when she finishes

7:53 p.m. Question from ZBA about scare tatics? Talked about if a non-profit to move in -- people at this non-profit would rape our children and rob our houses ... better take walden if not the alternative is worse. Said she saw it on FramGov.

582 Pleasant Street resident speaking - lived there for 25 years
Everyone here is interesting in Framingham - thetown. I am the abutter. My neighbors will be Walden. I'll look out the window and there they are.
Three things concerned about as a wife and mother and grandmother
I am loosing the safety I had in my own home - feeling of beng safe
Secondly, I'm loosing my privacy.  No shades on some windows. 
Third - Negative impact on my home. If I should try to sell it.
From the heart - I'm concerned.

Husband is now speaking -- I don't know when the traffic study was performed. It shouldn't have been done during the summer months.

walden has admiral plans -- Suggest Bethany Hill property on the south side of town instead for Walden. I'm opposed to it.

Chair says eveybody wants to send everything to southside.

Frank Holt - Berkley Road resident - lived there 12 years - plan to retire in Framingham - we like it here. I don't have any problem with this plan or this occupancy. My understanding is that they will pay taxes and have no kids that go to our schools. On the merits of what presented - I don't see it as a threat to my house. I don't think - from my experience - it is not One flew over the cukoo's nest. I walk through the neighborhood a lot. Very often I drive through that intersection. It is a good match of use and property.

8:03 p.m.
Bill McCarthy - Town Meeting member speaking - westgate road resident
Many very good reasons to vote against this. As a ZBA board you know the criteria on what to vote for on a special permit.

Hope before thefinal vote - that you look at the information given to you and make the right decision. Not many 29 acres - undeveloped parcels of land in this town - does the town care more about economic development than its residents? Your decision will answer that. Business more important? People more important? One of the last undeveloped portions of town.

Do we want commercial property in every neighborhood? It is zoned residential - hopefully it will stay that way said McCarthy.

It is Walden's intent not to have these kids go into Framingham group homes after discharge said Mccarthy. Most of these kids may end up in SPED program and cost us more said McCarthy. Hope you vote it down.

Question ZBA vice chair -- what type of group homes would they be going into?

Mccarthy said Walden has indicated that some do go 14-day inpatient to group home

8:09 p.m. Tom Winer - 13 Joann Drive resident speaking -- what did they do about the traffic from Genzyme n those roads? Woodmere is a zoo in the morning. I live there every morning. I have driven that road 38 years and many do not drive 30 mph.

My understanding that a builder - builder will build on the farm property -- why would you change the rules for a special permit??

Editor's Note: Sorry missed next speaker's name -- was checking on an alert for a car crash in town that does not have injuries.

8:16 p.m. he is against this special permit. I can't see how the ZBA can issue a special permit.

William LaBarge - Town Meeting member 16 speaking --- yes, southside residents he said.  It works both ways. I may be the one if this got turn down that state could put a reform school in there. I see nothing wrong with it. With 29 acres they could put 29 houses. I see nothing inappropriate on the use.

I know you will rule what the laws are currently on the books he said.
8:18 p.m. Chair they could not build 2-familyhouses there.

8:19 p.m. Sandy Hughes - Flanagan Drive resident speaking -- testify in favor of Walden  ... I'm sure we can all agree would love the Marist property to remain vacant forever... I feel that the real reason so people are so concern -- treat people with mood disorders ... think you live in a community with out behavioral imbalances you are wrong -- this will be a place of healing. Marist brothers in favor of Walden.

Walden has agreed to preserve the integrity of the grounds and make concession for the neighbors. Hope the campus will remain a peaceful setting. They screen out people - who would pose a threat to the community - my concerns are traffic related said Hughes

Pleasant & Temple & woodmere intersection has a higher crash rate that intersections like it. Perhaps 4-way stops or a light?

If condos or apartments build there - we would be miserable.
How will the ambulances impact that intersection? What will the traffic impact be while under construction?

Michaud speaking -- construction period -- detailed traffic management plan - that will outline restrictions - to minimize impact.

Ambulances - less speeding & sirens question?
Komen speaking now -- incidents of 9-1-1 serious incident - is very low. We are required to have physician on site 24 hours a day. In al likely hood patients stable before call made for ambulance. Framingham has its own regulation about how 9-1-1 is dispatched.

8:25 p.m. Consultant we have not started the construction planning awaiting for the ZBA special permit first

Lee Mendelhal (sp) - 40 year resident of Framingham (lives off Brook Street) - I support this project. I do have a family member who has been an inpatient in a Walden facility.

Effect on property values will be positive. Traffic impact will be minimal he says. I commute through here quite a lot he says.

Try to imagine a loved family member who is ask risk at this disease and scared what will happen to them. There is not many facilities that take care of people with this. Ask to vote positively.

Mary Ellen Kelley speaking (FYI she is the CFO of the town) speaking as a resident only -- 271 Temple St - we abut the eastern most corner of this property -- We oppose the granting of a special permit. Site should be developed within the zoning standards. Zoning is imposed for a reason to protect property values. It is adding 30,000 square feet of new building - expansion of 60% -- almost 50% of the new building is office space. Not permitted. This is not a permittablle and use in a residential neighborhood. 9,000 plus vehicles pass through there every day.. identifies faults with traffic study.
estimated increase in traffic ... is significantly understated.

walden facility will have an out-patient facility ... basic assumption of the study is flawed...  People already travel too fast -- 20X a day tires squeal at that intersection. ... People already race down Temple to Pleasant ... Trees on our property have been damaged near the intersection .. this road is already crowded and backs up ...

Can zoning put a limit of outpatients treated each day?

A left turn out of Marist property towards Tech park would be a difficult anytime of the day. Temple Street has several bus stops. Brophy Elementary is less than .2 miles away. Traffic delays been buses stay on the road longer and costs the town $$$

Make sure the feeder roads are included in the traffic study 

Walden will bring 110 existing jobs from Waltham.

All of Walden's other properties are in commercially zoned lots said Kelley. 

We encourage the ZBA to deny the special permit. It is clear we need more housing stock in town. - said Kelley.

8:45 p.m. Kevin P Crotty Town Meeting Member Precinct 7 speaking

stranger in my own precinct - live at 79 Pleasant St. - far removed from this situation at hand - however - I'm familiar with the area. Biggest problems I see here is the traffic .. traffic is horrendous .. cars fly past either way like they were f-16 landing on the carrier enterprise. I had a new speed limit sign put up - 30 mph ...no one goes the speed limit .. 40 mph up there is ludacrous ... personally I'm not opposed to the special permit - however - all the people seems to be against it -- as a Town Meeting member -- there are a lot of petitions -- Open space would be great - it will not happen - is this the best use - I don't know. Most people here I don't think so.

Jennifer Moshe speaking - I have big concerns. Services very useful. Not convinced it should be in a residential zone area. Brings up issues of safety. Komen is very short with answers.

Komen is not always forthcoming. Walden by its own admittance is licensed to be a lock-down facility. Seclusion is when a patient is involuntary confined to a room. 

Walden must have in place an AWA -- high-risk to harm self or others patient.

There are 3 elementary schools within walking distance of this property. Has anyone taken into consideration of the walkers to schools in that neighborhood?

I am impacted. ...Like to see the land used but not sure this is the right use  ... like to see something fit into what the land is zoned for ..residential 

I ask that you don't grant them a special permit

8:55 p.m. Bob Dodd speaking  with his wife  live at 46 Woodmere Road
retired school social worker - Komen has given incomplete details about his plan. 

First community meeting at the Aegean Restaurant -- questions asked about plans to move its facility? He said down the road it would like to move programs out of Waltham to Framingham

Dodd -- making an already difficult traffic situation worse.
Who wants to live across the street from a psychiatric hospital?
Wife & I live there for more than 40 years.... 
A Psychiatric hospital does not belong in any residential neighborhood. hope ZBA votes no.

9:01 p.m. Bob Bover (sp?)- 449 Pleasant St speaking -- I consider zoning to be a promise -- town promises to make uses residential only. A home purchase if for many people the biggest financial investment they canmake. Been living on Pleasant for 46 years....

Submitted to  ZBA two photographs -- from the speaker's driveway.
Three levels of concerns - first personal. How does it affect me. Value of my home will go down. Second is neighborhood and quality of life.
Pressure to change adjacent homes into business third - affect future of Framingham -- continue to erode residential areas.

Neighborhood should look like Flanagan ... if variance granted it will look like the Central Street near the Learning center for the Deaf. 

Talking about homes built there instead - taxes added to revenue, job creation, new homes add people who purchase TVs, beds, etc.. In summary to grant this variance would be a betrayal of zoning. 

9:07 p.m. This meeting is a great example of democracy in action - Howard Newell (sp?) - 980 Pleasant st - attorney speaking - lived here since 68. -- this is really a case of the zning. It is residential use. It is about the property and our town. 
There is 29 acres there - walden only want to use a small portion - have to look at the growth of Walden. ... does not belong on Marist property - it is a residential neighborhood. Let the 800 pound gorilla out of the box. 

You have to be thinking ahead to where they (Walden) will be going (in regards to expansion). said the speaker.

This is still abusiness. If you approve this it will likely look like MetroWest Medical center on Lincoln Street with apartments becoming businesses...

Now talking about former proposal about the Marriott proposal a few years back on taking that property and making it an assistant center. The land court -- back in the 90s -- intersection is functioning at a deficient level of service. says the speaker.

This property must remain residential ... says speaker.

If you build it they will come -- if they build walden behavioral on this property - I think they will have great success. They have potential to make this a great center for eating disorders. ..do we want this in Framingham/If it doesn't fit, you must deny it.

9;13 p.m. Sue Bernstein speaking -- 8 Marion Rd - a neighbor. Realtor for 35 years and 20 years experience on the planning board.

as a Realtor -- people have mentioned concern about property values. land across street plans to build 9-10 homes there - $600,000 plus asking for those homes. Developer bought this land knowing what would happen across the street.

9:15 p.m. People do not like change. They dod like to see their neighborhoods different than they are now. Gave example of Bj's. Gave example of gerald Farm. Gave examples of million dollar homes on Carter Drive. gave example of substance abuse facility on Winter Street. - Sue says speaking with her 20+ experience on the planning board. - she says no one is complaining about those projects now!

Nursing homes are in residential property - don't hear people complaining about nursing homes. says speaker. This project is no different than a nursing home.

Traffic - there is not an intersection in Framingham that is not backed up - says speaker. Most of the day intersections work fine except during peak hours.

9:19 now discussing the tech park. She said no one complains about those projects. 

Audience member -- said the tech park is business zoned.

9:20 p.m. Lastly says speaker -- strongest reason why this is the best use for this site -- my experience with the Dover amendment. Essentially if you have one of those uses - nothing you can do to stop it. Can't make any suggestions if any non-profit wanted this property.

Hope you will approve this special permit

ZBA on Break 9:25 p.m.

Editor's Note: Apologies - I have new "Patch" tools and both crashed tonight. The new modem crashed; thus I had to stop live blogging. The notes feature on the iphone, where I have taken notes while live blogging at both Town Meeting and School Committee meetings, and how I took notes at the ZBA meeting from 9:45 to 11:05 p.m. tonight crashed while trying to download. And by resetting the feature, it deleted the notes. Technology isn't always a good thing. Again. I apologize.

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