Monthly Archives: July 2011

Speeding – Comments on Query on Medfield Professionals on LinkedIn

The Board of Selectmen has been continually told that there is not much of a practical nature that we can do to have slower traffic, except greater police enforcement.

To set an official speed limit, I have historically been told we have to do a traffic study with Mass Highway and set the speed limit at 85% of what everyone is actually driving.  However, I followed Christian’s link and now see that the state’s materials actually say we can set the speed limit 7 MPH less than the 85% level, and that extra 7 MPH may well make it work.  The danger at the 85% level mandated by Mass Highway is that the speed limit determined may actually be higher than the 30 MPH speed designated for an unposted thickly settled area – i.e. – sometimes it is better to not have a posted speed limit, because the posted speed limit will be higher.

There are a multitude of traffic calming techniques that are supposed to work – e.g – fog lines painted on the sides of roads to visually narrow the street, elevated pedestrian crossings, indentations into the street like on Rte 16 in Wellesley, round abouts like in Norfolk, and speed bumps. I am told that Ken Feeney does not like speed bumps because of the plowing issues, and I have witnessed that Mike Sullivan has generally opposed them.  I have heard Ann say several times that everyone will want the speed bumps in front of their own homes, but not where they drive, and that can be a problem.  The Chief recounts how after the speed bumps were installed in Dover the neighbors soon wanted them out because of the noise generated by the bouncing truck loads as they went over the bumps.

When the Board of Selectmen studied speeding on Indian Hill Road, the registration numbers of vehicles and their speeds were recorded, and it was determined that it was indeed we Medfield residents who were the ones doing the speeding.

In Safety Committee discussions over speeding on Knollwood Road, the suggestion was made by a resident who is a police officer in a neighboring town to post yellow, unofficial speed limit signs as they do where he works – unofficial because they have not gone through the process to determine if 85% of the drivers actually drive slower.  I thought that technique was worth pursuing.  Interestingly, the Knollwood Road speeding was solved by the Chief speaking with the headmaster of the Xaverian School.

I believe that any citizen generated issues would be best addressed via a petition to or appearance at Christian’s Safety Committee.

Where Medfield is on Both Sides of Charles River

Apparently there is a small part of Medfield on the far side of the Charles River at the site where Rte. 27 now crosses the Charles River into Sherborn.  This anomaly occurred when the new section of Rte. 27 was constructed, I am told, because of the manner in which that bridge was built.  The bridge was built entirely on what was then the Medfield side of the then existing course of the Charles River.  Only once the bridge was built was the river then redirected from its original path to flow under the bridge.  The dividing line between the towns of Medfield and Sherborn was the center line of the Charles River.  Therefore, the far side of the Rte. 27 bridge stands on Medfield soil.

When Medfield’s well number 6 was being planned, Medfield needed to drill test wells on the far side of the Charles.  Ken Feeney did so and was chastened by Sherborn officials for not seeking permission in advance, and he was able to reply that he only drilled on the Sherborn side in what is Medfield.

Monitors for Swap Area

This morning I suggested to Mike Sullivan via the email below that we start appointing volunteer monitors at the swap area to police how it is run.  Thanks to Steve Catanese and Bert Rosengarten for sharing their ideas with me on Saturday on how to make the swap area work better.

For your meeting with the solid waste committee this morning, please ask them to consider implementing rules related to the operation of the swap area at the Transfer Station:
1.    Recognize a group of volunteer monitor for the swap area
2.    Appoint someone like Nancy Irwin as the first chair of that group
3.    Authorize that group to create a list of rules for swap area use, in coordination with the Transfer Station staff
a.    E.g. –
i.    Enforce the no CRT rule
ii.    Ask depositors to not leave broken items, items which should instead be tossed directly into the dump area
iii.    Segregate items by type
4.    Provide the monitors with vests that indicate their appointed status
5.    I suggest providing them with a CB radio by which they can call to the police detail person
6.    Explore allowing a trailer to be parked at the swap area, in which items could be stored for the next swap day

Oleana Foundation – College Propsed for Medfield State Hospital Site

I met this afternoon with Vincent Rocchio and Eric Terzuolo of the Oleana Foundation, who are looking to site a new liberal arts college and 100 units of elderly housing at the Medfield State Hospital site.

Their idea =
1.    Liberal arts college for 1,000 students at the Medfield State Hospital site
a.    $10,000 per year tuition, room and board
b.    Professors live at site and contribute to running the place
c.    Few administrators
2.    100 units of housing for the elderly at the site

Looking for collaboration with the Town of Medfield
1.    Use and contribute to the Medfield High School library
2.    Have Medfield Police Department provide security at their college
3.    Share bulk purchasing with the Town of Medfield and its schools

The three selling points of their concept =
4.    Innovative
5.    Access
6.    Green

Financial
7.    They feel there is grant money available for the uses they propose, particularly in the manner in which they propose it
a.    e.g. – green renovation of college buildings

TOWN of MEDFIELD to BEGIN OFFERING MONTHLY ELECTRONICS RECYCLING EVENT

The Town of Medfield and Electronix Redux Corp. of Norfolk, MA will now be offering television and electronic recycling to current Medfield Transfer Station sticker holders.  The town will be discontinuing its bi-annual CRT Collection Day in favor of these monthly events. The collection of electronics will be held on the first Saturday of each month between the hours of 9AM and 2PM at the Medfield Transfer Station beginning August 6th.  Televisions and computer monitors can be recycled for a fee of between $5 and $25, depending on size and type.  All other electronics including: computers, printers, copiers, scanners, cell phones, gaming systems, ink and toner cartridges will be accepted free of charge. For non-residents and residents without a Transfer Station sticker, drop-offs are accepted during normal business hours at Electronix Redux’s recycling facility or by calling them directly to schedule a pick-up. For more information, visit www.electronixredux.com, or call 508-384-1112.

Residents’ Suggestions for Uses of the Medfield State Hospital Site

Ideas for reuse of State Hospital site submitted on Medfield.Patch:
1.    State Park
2.    Conservation and nature center
3.    Anything but the H-Street Projects
4.    Nature Center
5.    Housing and Community Treatment & Support for those disabled by mental illness
6.    Bulldoze it and put in government subsidized housing
7.    Develop as a hugely haunted destinations
8.    A park
9.    Music school
10.    Concert venue
11.    Conservation land for the Trustees of Reservations
12.    Huge Park and conservation area with place for kids to play, bike/hike trails, etc.
13.    Cultural Arts Center: Artists studios and galleries, outdoor sculpture park, theatre space, dance studios and performance space, all mixed with some lovely shops, restaurants and nature trails.
14.    A family fun place, like Kimball Farms, with pitch & putt, mini-golf, driving range, ice cream, function areas, etc.
15.    Movie set for horror films
16.    Would make a great college or corporate campus –  bring some jobs and tax revenue into the town without overly stressing town services (two other people on Facebook liked this idea)
17.    Short answer is a little of everything: Housing, seniors, recreation and a lot of open space.
18.    Medfield College (two other people on Facebook liked this idea)
19.    Medfield College. Kids can go right from MHS to MC and never leave.
20.    Country Club –  a very nice one with golf, swimming and tennis.
21.    A working farm
22.    Small agricultural college
23.    Small agricultural college affiliated with the UMass System. Similar to UMass Medical in Worcester but the Agi in Medfield. The town would get state revenues to make it happen ad it would mean more jobs for the town.
24.    Umass-Medfield
25.    Medfield State College (just like Disney)
26.    It’s too bad they couldn’t use it for a small college campus or something of that nature. Although I think many people in town would prefer it was a convent or something where the residents are quiet and don’t demand services or create traffic ;
27.    Nancy Coakley, 10:57am on Friday, July 8, 2011 – I would like to see considered a mini mall, similar to Cobbs corner or a smaller version of Legacy Place. Business, Retail, some apartments and condos. It would bring tax revenue and jobs at the same time be less on sewer and water usage. The design could be an Old New England Town style. Traffic might be a small issue but the jobs it would create (including summer jobs for students) and tax revenue to the town seems like a good option.
28.    Colleen M. Sullivan, 11:24am on Saturday, July 9, 2011 – I would love to see that area restored and used for either a college campus or some sort of golf/recreation area….The history of those buildings is unique and they should not be bulldozed to be replaced with housing!
29.    Wayland Commons idea – affordable housing, 55+ housing, small business condos, restaurants, neighborhood shopping. Also like the idea of going to our roots: providing housing for the mentally ill, with agricultural facilities available so that they can work on the land. Also like idea of seeing if a portion of the land could be restricted for conservation/recreation with Trustees of Reservation oversight – Also provide for a youth/community center. – Posted 12:39pm on Friday, July 8, 2011 by Rachel Brown
30.    Open space. There is no tax revenue generating use that would not burden the town with demand for additional services. – Posted 7:44am on Saturday, July 9, 2011 by Steve Buckley
31.    I think that a private elementary school or college would be a great use of the grounds. I was up there in April. The buildings, while in a horrendous state of disrepair, are for the most part, architecturally stunning. The property itself is incredible.  The space would be great for a sporting facility as well. The town could use an indoor facility for swimming, baseball, basketball, track, and hockey. And the golf course idea had some merits as well.  I would rather face the potential runoff of fertilizer than the 2,000 plus residents that would occupy the current plan. We can always use “green” fertilizer. 😀  Definitively, not a facility that will increase the burden on our town services. And if it ends DCAM forces through the current development idea, then the state should be mandated to pony up for police/fire and school problems that arise from the inundation of people on our town. – Posted 7:55am on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 by Errin Chapin

Ideas for reuse of State Hospital site submitted directly to Osler L. Peterson

John Harney
Dear Pete,
Happened on your blog while searching about for any sound data on Oleana
Foundation.  You ask therein for readers’ positions re. the hospital
redevelopment.  You probably believe that you have a sense of mine but I  will,
nonetheless, suggest that priority should be given to The Commonwealth’s
obvious responsibility for a thorough clean-up of the entire former  hospital
site.  I would not accept a pass off of that responsibility  to a developer and
certainly not, in any part, to the Town.  We have  an obligation to see
that the environmental damages wrought and the threats  to health and safety
are fully assessed and professionally certified  remediation is effected.  I
include the buildings and infrastructure –  heating, water and waste lines –
to be among The Commonwealth’s obligatory  undertakings.

There is little doubt that the area, so abused over the century plus of
state ownership, would be best spared further heavy development.  Its very
location on the banks of a river and an aquifer, proximate to a residential
neighborhood and schools as well as a recreation area, argues for a  largely
“open space” resolution.  Failing that outcome, a  non-intensive development
with some tax benefit to the Town would be  reasonable.  The vague
suggestion of a college sounds attractive but gives  rise to many, many questions
over a range of concerns beginning with capital  assets of any proponent.  One
of the great concerns a number  of citizens have had over the past several
years if the failure of The  Town’s officials to propose a plan for the
property.  The state, with local  authorities cooperating, filled a vacuum with
unacceptable legislation  which now appears ripe for rescinding.

Your open approach to full and open discussion of Town issues is very much
appreciated – at least in some quarters,  Thank you.

Peace,
John
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Wally Hersee
Sturbridgecommon.com
Hersee@gmail.com
198.228.196.102
Submitted on 2011/07/07 at 6:16 pm

A portion of the land could be divided into agricultural packets to encourage farming. So many acres offered to those willing to work the land. Criteria could be set. A house, and “barn” to be built on the land. A particular type of farm would have to be established, such as dairy, orchard, vegetable, flower. Benefits are many. Folks would have to qualify, but land would eventually be at no cost if the person stayed on land that was productive for x amount of years. Taxes would be paid. This would be like a “development” from the 1960?s, but for farming.
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Jill Vollmuth
jvollmuth@gmail.com
71.174.126.242
Submitted on 2011/07/07 at 3:18 pm

I believe every attempt should be made to preserve the land and historic buildings at the State Hospital. It should NOT be a golf course, or a sports complex, both of which would consume enormous amounts of energy and water to run (and, in the case of a golf course, would no doubt add huge quantities of toxic fertilizers and herbicides to the soil.) It should NOT be a developed community, again putting a strain on our energy sources, school system, and town resources. Both of these ideas would completely change the landscape and greatly upset the natural environment and wildlife habitats. This land is one of the most beautiful, undeveloped open spaces in our area, and yet many people seem to want to “build” something on it in order to “improve” it. I don’t know enough about the buildings to make an informed recommendation about renovating them. I know it would be costly; but it seems that it would have a far greater environmental impact, not to mention the historical impact, to tear them all down and put up new buildings. I would love to see the hospital become an arts institute, or a small technical or agricultural/environmental studies college. It would seem that the elevation at the highest point of the property would be a perfect location for a few wind turbines, which would provide energy for the school, and the focus of work at the school could be conducted using sound, ecological practices. Where might we find someone to take on such a project? Large universities who it might interest as an extension school? Some environmental engineering schools or companies? I wouldn’t know where to start, but if this is a direction others wish to consider, I would be willing to participate in a search for prospective buyers. But, again, PLEASE!!!! NO HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS, SPORTS COMPLEX, OR GOLF COURSE!! Thanks.
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Karen Veit Scotti commented on your link.
Karen wrote: “What about a senior living community with step down options (independent apartments, assisted living, nursing home)? Affordable houseing units could also be located there to make the 10% we need as a town.”
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Rosemary O’Brien Pete, the housing use is being revisited? Should agriculture (other than hay fields) be in the mix?
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Hi Mr Osler,
I am just retrurning from vacation and got an email from Bill Masarro re your meeting tomorrow with the state.
He suggested we could email you with our thoughts re reuse of MSH.
One possibility mentioned was the town buying the land for its use. I think it would be prudent and essential that before that would be given any serious consideration that the full scope of any hazardous waste/toxins and the clean up and cost for doing so be completed so our town would not be left with that burden which could be a horrendous cost. Also any need for ongoing monitoring costs be identified.

The Oleana foundation sounds interesting but I only see a VERY basic web page that looks like this project is early in development/concept. Having just finished putting two children thru college I LOVE their mission statement!
Not much else avail to look at on the internet when plug in this org. It is not clear what their funding is or their present ability to operationalize their ideas. The idea of a place of higher learning is appealing but would also want to know what costs it would bring to the town. IE how much would services be-cost of water; sewer etc. Also assume this would be a tax free org; but the senior retirement village that is part of their proposal to help offset the burden to the town is interesting. Maybe when you meet you will learn that things are further along than their web site looks.

I think the housing idea proposed in past gives a very large number of units and would be concerned about the towns ability to support it.

I am not sure what else is being proposed. It is too bad a way to keep the majority of the land and its beautiful trees intact can’t be found.

I think the town needs to be open to any ideas that are brought up but wary of the potential costs to town. I feel we need to be very critical of cost projections both in terms of benefits to the town and impacts on the town.

Above all I want the clean up of the site to be thorough; complete and well done!! I don’t want to have to worry about the water I drink or the air I breathe.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Am looking forward to learning about what is brought up.

Sincerely
Donna Quinn
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Bill Massaro
Pete,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment in advance of your meeting with the Secretary on Monday.

As you know my main concern with the existing plan was the size of the development and the accuracy of the DCAM- provided cost/benefit analyses which made this shotgun wedding look like a made-in-heaven union. As I started challenging almost 3 years ago: underestimated costs–overestimated benefits.

I recognize the element of “it’s inevitable, so let’s enjoy it ” inherent in the acceptance of the Legislation, but I have never been one to accept anything as inevitable.  (I expect death is going to come as shock to me!)  At the very least I felt the Town ought to find some way to get the real costs in order to be fairly compensated for the unholy union.

I had previously raised issues  about  marketability of 200 senior housing units and the risk of all 440 units reverting to non-age-restricted and the subsequent increase in an already underestimated student impact.  I raised environmental issues.  I pointed out the high number of DMH units imposed on Medfield and the uncertainty of how their clients would be supported. I raised  the issue of free water forever.  I challenged DCAM’s wisdom in risking damage to the water tower by installation of antennas.  All of these were part of my concerns to identify and hopefully minimize  cost to the town and harm to residents.  The likelihood of a developer’s need to build more or different types of units to recover costs of unforeseen hazardous material remediation and building renovation was as significant a concern as changing real estate markets..

So, in broad terms, any acceptable  Alternative Use  proposal should :

1.) Be Town Cost/Revenue Neutral (at worst) and cover
-New sewers/utilities
-Highway improvements
– Sidewalks
-Water Tower
-Clarke Building demolition

2.) Indemnify the Town from existing known/unknown environmental hazards on site.
3.) Not risk new/greater exposure to environmental hazards
4.) Address the current condition of the buildings
5.) Not significantly alter the existing viewscape.
6.) Not significantly add to sound, light or other environmental pollution,
6.) Be Viable in its original design/form over the long term

Ideally, I would like to see the buildings re-surveyed to realistically determine their re-use potential, and demolition of everything that doesn’t make the cut. Buildings found structurally sound but sealed under the Administrative Consent Order  would be remediated by the State or demolished.   I would like the Town to then be able to purchase the property with indemnification from the State for environmental issues.  A significantly reduced number of buildings, more open space, lowered security costs….

Again, thank you for this opportunity.

Hope you have a great weekend and i wishh you ( and the Town) good luck on Monday,

Bill

More Thoughts on the Meeting Yesterday with the State’s Secretary of A&F and the DCAM Commissioner about the Medfield State Hospital

The representatives from the  state’s A&F and DCAM had no particular stated use or uses in mind for the Medfield State Hospital site when they met with the Town of Medfield representatives and suggested we all, together, take a fresh look at alternatives.

The only use specifically mentioned by them was a college, and that one only because Secretary Gonzalez seemed to suddenly recall having spoken to the Oleana person but had no real information about him and/or his concept.  Secretary Gonzalez asked if we had spoken with him too, and I shared my limited one contact, and my thoughts that his concept seemed to me to be pie in the sky due to the small sizes of both the proposed college and the adjoining housing component, both of which need efficiencies of scale in my experiences to succeed, after seeing Lasell College from its board of directors for twenty years and watching Lasell Village get built, operate, and grow.  Both Lasell College and Lasell Village purposely got larger to take advantage of those economies of scale that larger entities possess.  Oleana’s proposal strikes me that it has little real financial viability.  In any event, while colleges may look nice, they do not make the greatest of neighbors due to weekend parties that now start on Thursday evenings, and they pay no property taxes.

The state government officials offered up no ideas for specific potential uses.  Secretary Gonzalez suggested that the Town of Medfield should think of the possibilities as an “opportunity.”

I asked why they put the brakes on the housing proposal, and Carole Cornelison said she wanted to take a fresh look at all options.  I understood her to be saying that with a new commissioner comes a new look at what DCAM is and should be doing.

Link to the DCAM Agenda and Fact Sheet from the meeting yesterday –  http://ping.fm/t4mBc