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.

Presentation on Article 27 at Framingham Town Meeting.
Presentation on Article 27 at Framingham Town Meeting.
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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