Monthly Archives: October 2013

Shawn Dooley running for rep

Yesterday afternoon I met at the new Dunkin’ Donuts with Shawn Dooley, a Norfolk resident who is running as a Republican for Dan Winslow’s former seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  After telling Shawn about the Medfield State Hospital site’s future being the biggest issue currently pending in town, I then took him to the meeting of the State Hospital Advisory Committee yesterday evening.  SHAC was interviewing the consultant they have hired to run a visioning session for town residents to address the future of the MSH site.

Shawn is a former builder and current town clerk and school Committee member in Norfolk.  He was also  Dan Winslow’s campaign manager.  Shawn said he does have two opponents, one from Norfolk and one from Walpole.  His website is

BTW, from my now one visit each to Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, I give the latter a slight edge on décor, although the small table and chairs right inside the Dunkin’ Donuts door were quite comfortable.  I was also pleased not to have trouble exiting the Dunkin’ Donuts onto Rte 27, but it was after 7 PM.  We were leaving to go to the Town House, and even at that hour I saw no way to get out onto Rte 109 given the traffic backed up from the light.

Holding office hours this Friday

Selectman Peterson Office Hours

Selectman Osler “Pete” Peterson holds regular monthly office hours at The Center on the first Friday of every month from 9:00 to 10:00 AM (his litigation schedule permitting).  Residents are welcome to stop by to talk in person about any town matters.  Residents can also have coffee and see the Council on Aging in action (a vibrant organization with lots going on).  Peterson can be reached via 508-359-9190 or his blog about Medfield matters, where any schedule changes will be posted.

Visions and Voices: Community Art Project

From Jean Mineo of the Cultural District –

Visions and Voices: Community Art Project

Pocket park between Zebra’s (21 North Street, Medfield) and Starbucks

(Medfield, MA): The Medfield Cultural District Committee is pleased to announce the second and final installation of the community art project Visions and Voices in the pocket park between Zebra’s and Starbucks.

During Medfield Day, a chalkboard kiosk was set up in the park for visitors to write their ideas for the park. Medfield photographer Connie Thomson took portraits of visitors which were then printed poster sized. These paper portraits are now temporarily installed along the sidewalk through the park to further capture public interest in this public space. The posters are adhered with a natural wheat paste and the paper will be completely removed within a few weeks; the duration is weather dependent.

Project Coordinator Jean Mineo says, “this project provided a way for people to reflect on their community and share their ideas publicly. Over 150 comments were left on the chalkboards during the two weeks they were in the park.” The portraits are part of the global on-line art project Inside Out, a creation of the artist JR, recipient of the 2011 TED prize.

Medfield Selectmen are appointing a Steering Committee to manage a public planning process over the winter. Anyone interested in participating in planning workshops can contact Jean Mineo at or 508-242-9991 for more information.

Visions and Voices is supported in part by donations from Will’s Hardware and Photographs by Connie Thomson.

For More Information:

Contact: Jean Mineo



Survey on MSH

The State Hospital Advisory Committee’s subcommittee on the visioning process has a robust website and has also created and circulated a survey of residents’ desires with respect to the Medfield State Hospital site.

Alec Stevens says that the subcommittee wants people to answer the survey, and have them sign up on facebook or on the mailing list that is on the website so that the subcommittee can get a good contact list established to keep people informed as to the subcommittee’s progress, which they feel will be especially important as they soon get the word out about their visioning session.

SHAC surveys town on MSH

The State Hospital Advisory Committee (SHAC) has been tasked by the Board of Selectmen to look at the town’s possible purchase of the Medfield State Hospital property.  As part of that process, the SHAC’s Visioning Subcommittee has created a Reuse Survey to query town residents about their opinions for the Medfield State Hospital site.

The electronic version of the survey can be accessed through the State Hospital Advisory Committee’s website, or directly at:

Hard copies of the survey will also be available at

  • the Town House (the Planning Office),
  • the Medfield Memorial Library, and
  • The Center.

Forced arbitration

From the American Association for Justice, on how we are losing our access to the courts  –

Forced arbitration: US Chamber’s license to steal.

Most Americans do not realize they have forfeited their legal rights until it is too late. Buried in the fine print of many contracts – from credit card and nursing home contracts to employee handbooks and online user agreements – are dangerous forced arbitration clauses that eliminate access to justice and replace it with a secretive, corporate tribunal. The American Association for Justice released a new primer – License to Steal: How the U.S. Chamber Forced Arbitration on America, found at – detailing how the abusive practice of forced arbitration hurts American small businesses, consumers and employees.

What would the town do with MSH?

I was asked what the town would do with the Medfield State Hospital site if it would to buy the property, and the following was my response –
The whole dilemma or problem with the current offer by the state to sell the Medfield State Hospital to the town is that the purchase will likely have to happen before the town will have the opportunity to have a fully completed discussion on what to ultimately do with the property.  Despite that fact, I personally think the opportunity for the town to control its own destiny by the means of the purchase of the Medfield State Hospital site is just too important for the town to not pursue the purchase. 
However, if the town were to purchase the Medfield State Hospital site, then the town will then have to have an energetic discussion on what to do with it.  That is a discussion that the town’s State Hospital Advisory Committee (SHAC), that is currently meeting regularly to consider all the many issues related to the MSH and its possible purchase, will have to lead and a discussion that they are already starting to have.  The SHAC is currently planning for a town wide visioning meeting at which all residents will be invited to explore all options. 
To date the most likely uses at the Medfield State Hospital site have revolved around housing, because the experts say that most businesses and commercial establishments will not want to locate in Medfield, given our distance from major highways.  My personal goal would be to target housing of a sort where we currently have unmet needs in town and which would not add a lot of costs to the town budget (which ultimately unfortunately means not too many school children). 
I can imagine the town wanting to have
  • more housing for seniors, housing for empty nesters that does not currently much exist in town (so that they do not leave town),
  • assisted living and/or a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) (like a Foxhill, North Hill or Lasell Village, 
  • affordable housing so that we can get to the 10% threshold that would prevent 40B projects from locating anywhere in town, or
  • replicating the Old Village Square project (27 houses with only one school child, so that when that project is completed the town will receive $600,000 a year in property taxes compared to having less that $50,000 in municipal costs).

Medfield is perfectly located to make its primary business to be the providing housing, but if housing is what we opt to use to increase our tax base, the town needs to make sure that most of any new housing has to be of a type that will not add a lot to the town budget.

The town website has a section on the Medfield State Hospital and the State Hospital Advisory Committee’s website also lists a lot of the details.  The 2012 Jones Lang LaSalle report gives a good overview of the likely potential development options that the market would mandate, and repeats the same results about possible ultimate uses that several other studies over the years have concluded, namely that housing is the most likely use.

WSH purchase

The Town of Medfield’s purchase option with respect to the Medfield State Hospital site is modeled by the state (DCAMM) on its sale of the Westboro State Hospital site to the Town of Westboro.  The Westboro process is the first time the state has used this partnership process, and Westboro’s process  is slightly ahead of where Medfield’s is, as they just had a special town meeting (STM) that voted to buy the Westboro State Hospital site.

The following article is from their Patch –

So, What Parts of the State Hospital is Westborough Buying?

Some voters asked that question during Monday night’s special town meeting.

Posted by Michael Gelbwasser (Editor) , October 23, 2013 at 09:09 PM


What parts of the Westborough State Hospital site are Westborough actually buying?

Some voters asked that question during Monday night’s special town meeting before ultimately approving the borrowing of $2.2 million over 10 years, at 0 percent interest, for the deal with the state Division of Capital Asset Management.

The vote was 248-14.

“I think it’s a no-brainer to acquire the land, instead of having houses built there, as was originally proposed,” resident Dexter Blois said.

Town Manager Jim Malloy showed voters a map, and said that a “survey is being done right now.”

Hospital Road is wrong side of the map, for example, he said.

“There’s going to be some slight changes to the survey,” Malloy said.

“All you’re really looking to do is get an adequate description so the borrowing can actually happen.”

Resident Steve Doret said the town meeting warrant says about 95 acres are eyed for purchase, while the motion before voters was for about 90 acres.

“So, what happened to the five acres?” Doret asked.

Town Counsel Gregory Franks said town meeting’s role is “to authorize action, and not necessarily dictate every little detail that will happen.”

“There will be some changes to the survey that we’re working on. And we’d like to not have to come back to town meeting if it does change, and it will,” Franks said.

Earlier, Malloy noted that Westborough would have unrestricted control over the site’s redevelopment.

Westborough and state officials would look to close the deal in June 2014, Malloy said.

Special legislation would be introduced by Thanksgiving, and passed by February or March, he predicted.

Westborough plans to maintain the 12 to 13 acres of soccer fields at the lower end of the property, Malloy said.

The land deal was among five warrant articles related to the state hospital.

The other votes were:

·         Article 4 (special legislation for the purchase): passed, 230-3.

·         Article 5 (land disposition): 226-4 (defeated, at the request of selectmen).

·         Article 6 (creating a revolving fund for land sale revenue): passed, 215-11.

·         Article 7 ($50,000 from free cash for land maintenance): passed, 217-7.

McDonald’s hot coffee suit

The New York Times video with the real facts about the famous McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit –

Video examines McDonald’s coffee suit.

The New York Times (10/23, Subscription Publication, 9.61M) runs a video report on the famous suit brought by a woman over burns she suffered from a spilled cup of McDonald’s coffee.

MMA asks for long term bond bill for roads

This Alert this afternoon from the Massachusetts Municipal Association –

October 22, 2013


Cities And Towns Need A Multi-Year Ch. 90 Bill Now; Without a Long-Term Bill in Place, Next Year’s Authorization Could be Delayed Again

Even as the MMA and local officials across the state call on the Governor to release the full $300 million in Chapter 90 funds that the Legislature has authorized for fiscal year 2014, it is important to push for swift action to approve a multi-year bond bill to guarantee that Chapter 90 funds will flow on time for fiscal year 2015 and beyond.

Local officials across the state applaud the Legislature’s action to authorize $300 million for Chapter 90 during the current fiscal year.  We are extremely disappointed in the Administration’s unwise decision to withhold $100 million from cities and towns – the Legislature voted to fund Chapter 90 by a unanimous vote, and provided a broad tax and revenue package to significantly increase transportation investments, and communities are dismayed that the Administration is unilaterally deciding to deny Chapter 90 even one penny of the additional revenues, let alone the full amount embraced by local officials and every lawmaker in the state.

The MMA and local officials will continue to call on the Governor to release the full amount of Chapter 90 funding that is due cities and towns.  The good news is that the Legislature’s authorization will remain on the books, which means that this Administration, or any future Administration, can decide to release the $100 million at any point.

In the meantime, we are also looking beyond the fiscal 2014 authorization, to the passage of a multi-year Chapter 90 bond bill to enable cities and towns to plan for the future.  The passage of a bond bill (and the companion “terms” bill) requires a long journey along a very time-consuming pathway.  This lengthy process, coupled with the debate over the transportation finance bill, resulted in the Governor delaying release of final Chapter 90 allocation letters until July 30, rather than the customary and statutory date of April 1.  Provisional and contingent letters were sent in April and May, but these did not provide cities and towns with legal authorization to enter into road construction contracts or to start work.  Missing the April 1 deadline shortens the construction season and delays important projects in every part of the state.

In order to avoid another frustrating and costly delay in the start of local road projects for fiscal 2015 and beyond, please call your Representatives and Senators today and ask them to enact a multi-year, $300 million-a-year Chapter 90 bond bill as soon as possible before the end of the 2013 session on November 20.  It is important for the Legislature to enact a new Chapter 90 authorization before the end of formal legislative sessions on November 20.  Otherwise, using history as a guide, the fiscal 2015 authorization would likely be delayed again, and miss the April 1 notification date.  Please ask your legislators to commit to passing a 5-year Chapter 90 bond bill that provides $300 million annually, indexed for inflation.

We need the Legislature to pass a long-term Chapter 90 bond bill today so that funds will flow to cities and towns without delay next spring!


Please click here to download a copy of the MMA’s letter to the Legislature calling for passage of a $300-million-a-year, multi-year Chapter 90 bond bill before the Legislature adjourns on November 20.


Thank You Very Much.