Monthly Archives: August 2015

Cultural & arts at MSH

There has been a lot of information developed about possible inclusion of arts and/or cultural aspects at the MSH site.  Early on there was a highly polished, thoughtful, and well developed Cultural Visioning Presentation made to the MSH-MPC (see copy here).  There is also the nearby example of the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, which seems to be doing extremely interesting things in a town with similar demographics.

Earlier this month I asked one of the foremost proponents of integrating cultural and arts at the MSH site, Jean Mineo, about the issues, and she shared with me the following email:


Hi Pete,

Thanks for asking!

Louise Stevens, the consultant who met with us in December suggested the following to support our efforts considering where we were at the time:

  • Work with the Medfield and surrounding arts and cultural organizations and individual creative sector entrepreneurs to determine the ways in which the facility(ies) can meet needs and growth plans/opportunities:
  • Review of other prospective users from the creative sector within New England, done through on-line surveying distributed broadly to the cultural sector through available list serves, to determine if organizations and entrepreneurs from outside the Medfield area might potentially move to the campus.
  • Review of the facility in the context of space needs to determine viability and fit.
  • Comparison analysis of similar facilities (adaptive reuse of church buildings) and campuses (historic campuses) for the purpose of developing budgetary models as well as models of annual visitation/use, revenue sources, programming, and impacts on tourism and local economy.
  • Market analysis and competitive analysis to determine the geographic service area and niche for the proposed cultural center.
  • Gap analysis within a market area (size to be determined) to evaluate what could best fit into the facilities/grounds.
  • Partnership analysis to determine other potential synergistic user groups/uses.
  • Programming, financial, operating, staffing and governance modeling.
  • (Potentially) essential cost estimates for capital planning purposes.

This estimate at the time was $24,000 but she already did part of this when she met with us for the full day, and we’ve done some of this on our own. In addition, we’d now collaborate with VHB who could be helpful in the cost estimates. I’ve had follow up conversations with Louise about our progress. That’s where my estimate of $10-20k comes from. I think we’d be closer to the $10k if we are able to coordinate with VHB. If this happens after they are done with their analysis part, the price may get closer to the $15-20 range.

Gil and I read her work / plan she completed with the Hopkinton Center for the Arts and were both very impressed. The plan is the reason why they were able to raise $450k from the MA Cultural Facilities Fund. I’d say that’s a sound investment. The issue with funders (I’ve spoken to three about funding this) is that they have no commitment that culture will be included at this time.

If the preferred plan indicates SOME area / portion of MSH for culture, we (or the town) could apply for a grant from MA Cultural Facilities Fund (2014 deadline was Nov. 21), grants are announced the following March. Timing is definitely an issue when working with funding agencies. I’m not entirely comfortable with that strategy however, without some back up like the proposed market analysis. Louise also has a track record of finding partners on these projects – a valuable skill for us. However, I am open to using another consultant.

I know it’s not chump change – but it also seems like a small investment if we sincerely want something different from the MSH project and for our town.

I appreciate your helping to think about this and I’m happy to talk to anyone or present to anyone –

Jean

508-242-9991

JeanMineo@aol.com

@JeanRMineo

www.LinkedIn.com/in/JeanMineo

 

MSH survey #3

The MSH-MPC has issued its third survey per the weekly email below.  It is really encouraging that a substantial portion of the town has weighed in via the first two surveys (1,073 and 1,084 responses respectively), and from memory only 43% of the second set of respondents had participated in the first survey, so that about 1,500 residents have weighed in to date.

I read many of the comments shared in those surveys, and my concerns were raised over the disparate extent of the ideas expressed, and how the town would now move from the wide funnel of ideas that have been shared to the much narrower plans for any reuse, while getting true public agreement and consensus about what we, as a town, want to happen at the former MSH site.

My thinking about the site has moved from a focus on the possible real estate development to my main focus now being on how the town makes whatever we do there the most interesting for the current residents of Medfield.  I am not so much interested in the development itself for its own sake now, as I am in creating something that the rest of us in town will see as being interesting enough that the site will become a destination for us to seek out and to use.  However, i do think of some real estate developments being interesting, so I do hope we get a dense village like result (no subdivisions) that provides that sort of interest.  And I now think of the real estate development as being the economic engine that will allow us to do the things that will make the site interesting for the rest of the residents in town.

With regard to the “interesting” metric this week I have been looking at the possible cultural and arts opportunities for Medfield, with the Hopkinton Center for the Arts and its feasibility study (arts and culture can be economic engines and creators for municipalities) as examples of what is possible.  Integrating arts, culture, recreation, or education throughout the site might well be ways that would make the site interesting to the rest of Medfield residents.  To get better data on this for the MSH site, we would need to spend about $10,000 for a consultant study.  Hopkinton parlayed its study into a $450,000 fund raising for its facility.

Lee Chapel


Medfield State Hospital Master Plan Committee Update

Survey #3 is ready! This will be the last survey of the summer – prior to our public meeting on September 16th. The primary goal of the surveys is to broaden the number of people who are providing the committee with their insights and preferences regarding the use of the state hospital and adjacent town properties.

 

 

Photo from July 22nd walking tour of the campus courtesy of Teresa James

 

What is Your Vision?

Specifically the purpose of these surveys is to:

  • Ensure that a broad range of ideas are considered
  • Provide opportunity for public input from individuals unable to attend public meetings
  • Provide opportunity to gather input from residents in neighboring towns.
  • Understand community preferences for various uses in shaping alternatives for consideration in a public meeting on September 16th

The surveys are intended to be short and easy to complete. Survey #3 intends to query the public around statements from additional use categories heard from Survey #1. The question format was intentionally kept the same where respondents choose from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree with a variety of statements. Those who complete the survey will be able to see how their answers compare to the other respondents……so it should be interesting.

Share the link with your friends, family and neighbors. The second survey will remain open through September 3, 2015.

We thank everyone who participates for taking a few minutes of your time to make your voice heard.

SURVEY #3 LINK:  Click HERE to take the survey.

Walking Tour Available! John Thompson has generously agreed to host another walking tour of the MSH property on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 4:00pm and should last until approximately 5:30pm. Meet at the main entrance by the security trailers. Parking is available across the street from the property on the top of the sledding hill (Hospital Road).

 

To sign up for our weekly email blasts, get more information,or schedule a MSHMPC representative to speak with your Club or Organization please contact Sarah Raposa, Medfield Town Planner at sraposa@medfield.net

Planning Board vacancy

Medfield Planning Board Vacancy

The Town of Medfield Planning Board is seeking to fill a vacant Associate Member position.  Anyone who may be interested should submit a letter of interest to Evelyn Clarke at eclarke@medfield.net in the Board of Selectmen’s office by October 1, 2015.  For questions regarding the Planning Board or this specific position please contact Sarah Raposa, Town Planner at sraposa@medfield.net.

The Planning Board is an elected town board of five members, each with a five year term. The purpose of the Planning Board is to guide the development of the Town in the best interests of all its residents. The Board has very specific responsibilities and authorities as granted by Massachusetts General Laws and the Medfield Zoning By-Laws.

The Planning Board is responsible for the review and approval of all subdivisions (the division of a tract of land into two or more lots) through a comprehensive process involving review by relevant regulatory agencies, public hearings, covenants with developers, performance bonding, and ongoing compliance monitoring.

Under “Site Plan Approval”, in the Zoning By-Laws, the Board also has the responsibility to assure that prior to any new construction or significant changes to an existing structure, other than single family dwellings, such factors as community needs, abutters’ concerns, visual amenities, safety issues, and environmental and historic features on the site and in adjacent areas are considered.

Any requests for Zoning By-Law changes or amendments are also reviewed by the Board. Public hearings are held to allow input from any abutters or other interested citizens. The Board is required to provide a recommendation on any Zoning By-Law amendment at Town Meeting, where a two-thirds vote is required to approve the change.

The Planning Board serves as a resource to assist interested individuals with the process of proposing plans or projects under the Zoning By-Laws. Communications are maintained on an ongoing basis with related Town agencies including the Zoning Board of Appeals and other planning groups within the Town such as the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee.

Letters should describe your interest in the Planning Board as well as any professional experience or other qualifications that will complement the Board. Additionally, please contemplate the following in your letter of interest:

  • Do you have ideas about the direction the Board should be headed? If so, have you thought about integration of those ideas (meaning how the idea coalesces into existing regulations or whether new regulations would need to be created)?
  • Land use boards such as the Planning Board or ZBA do not always have the kind of discretion to approve or deny a specific project that residents often think they have. It is important to recognize and avoid any conflict of interest; not to pursue special privileges, and maintain confidentiality. Are you prepared for being thought of as a villain by some and a hero by others?
  • Planning Boards wear two hats, proactive and reactive, and the schedule is robust. The proactive hat is devoted to long-range planning and is often difficult to quantify as the effects aren’t recognized for several years, if at all. The reactive hat focuses on subdivisions and site plan review and the effects are more immediately seen and felt in the community. How would you rationalize your reactive hat with your proactive hat? Do you see an overlap?

 

Assisted living behind Clark Tavern

LCB Senior Living of Norwood, MA purchased land behind the Clark Tavern and  had previously indicated that they wanted to build assisted living there (about 70 units from memory).

This email below this afternoon from Mike Sullivan.  I asked Mike if he could scan the filing and put it online, where it is bound to generate great interest.


The Notice of Intent for the Assisted Living Facility proposed behind the Clark Tavern site was received yesterday. A copy was given to the Selectmen;s Office today and is available for any of you to review. Leslee tells me the Conservation Commission has [sic]

 

Housing Shortage in Medfield!

At the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee meeting last night Ralph Costello shared with me the piece below he wrote on the housing shortage in town.  Ralph is an experienced local high end real estate developer (Unique Homes, Woodridge Road, and Old Medfield Square), who seems quite thoughtful about our local market, its needs, and creating curb appeal.  Professionally he has been building homes for our residents for decades, and now he is sharing his learned on our local  market expertise with the MSH-MPC.

His Old Medfield Square is the paradigm I point to as showing how “housing” can be the new “business of Medfield,” as when fully completed Old Medfield Square will profit the town about $500,000 a year.  When completed the 42 units will generate about $600,000 a year in real estate taxes, yet cost the town only about $50,000 a year in the costs of municipal services, primarily because there are few residents opting to live there who have school children – there was only one school child in the first 27 units that were occupied.

Therefore, I see building the right sort of housing as Medfield’s way to both generate new tax revenues and to reduce existing tax bills, because we know that we are a desirable residential community, and yet we do not seem to be a choice for businesses and commercial uses.

Here is Ralph’s article:


Housing Shortage in Medfield!

Housing shortages exists when the demand for housing or certain types of housing exceed the available supply at affordable prices. For a number of years this has been the state of housing in Medfield. Essentially, demand for housing can be broken down into four distinct demographic groups: Baby boomers (born 1946 -1964), Generation X (born 1965 -1982 ) Generation Y-Millennials, ( born 1982 -1998) and Seniors (age 65 and over) with each group looking for something different in size, space, lifestyle, amenities, and price.

In the last 40 years real estate development in Medfield has been almost exclusively single family homes which have been purchased by the baby boomer generation and generation X . Single family homes were built for these groups on land subdivided into % acre, 1 acre or 2 acre lots creating the many enclave neighborhoods that make up most of the housing stock in Medfield. This type of housing filled the need for both baby boomers and generation X. They wanted to raise families in safe, quiet neighborhoods. They wanted 4-5 bedrooms, multi-bath homes, two and three car garages, sidewalks, good size yards, swing sets and swimming pools. And, they wanted the best education for their children. Medfield’s commitment to quality schools was a great attraction.

Four decades of land planning and home designs that focused solely on single family homes, and the preferences and lifestyle of the demographic groups with growing families resulted in an abundance of available housing options for baby boomers in years past and currently for the growing families of generation X, but it has left a short supply of suitable housing for the remaining demographic groups: seniors, millenials and ironically, baby boomers who now want to downsize into smaller homes. For these groups housing in Medfield is now quite inadequate.

This leads us to ask some important questions as a community. What type of housing is needed for these groups? Is there affordable land available and is it zoned for this kind of housing? And finally, why is it necessary and important for Medfield to have adequate housing for these residents?

Type of housing needed in Medfield

The types of housing needed to respond to the needs of our citizens is a function of the changing needs of specific demographic groups.

Baby Boomers (76 Million nationally, 51 – 69 years old) want to simplify their lives by downsizing to smaller homes with 1800 sq. ft. to 2400 sq. ft. with a 2 car garage, one level living with a master bedroom and bath on the first level, a minimum of 2 additional bedrooms which can be located on the first floor or second floor. Bedrooms are important as they want to have friends, family, children, and grandchildren visit and stay overnight. Boomers also want an open

 

floor plan with the kitchen, dining area and great room side by side without separating walls. And, they want a private outside space for gardening. They are also looking for maintenance free homes. A higher density of homes (6-8 units per acre) is perfectly acceptable to baby boomers if the site plan includes ample open space.

Generation X (32 – 50 years old), now the growing family generation is taking over where the baby boomers left off. They are now occupying the 4-5 bedroom single family homes in neighborhoods and have a choice of many housing options. There is no housing shortage here!

Seniors (65 years or older) want much the same as baby boomers with emphasis on one level living. The large number of seniors who are still working, or retired but mobile and active, need housing that supports their independent lifestyle. These homes can be more compact with 1200 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft., 2- 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 car garages. A density of 6-10 units per acre works for this group if there is a private outside space or access to a walkable open space. Some seniors who can no longer live independently are in need of assisted living housing.

Generation Y – Millennial (80 million nationally, 18 to 30 years old) want one or two bedroom apartment or condo living with anywhere from 800 sq. ft. to 1400 sq. ft. of living space, with adequate parking for one or two vehicles. Millennial want to be mobile and not tied to the place they live, with a good 80% wanting to live in an urban setting. Changes in jobs, travel, and putting off marriage keeps them on the move. Convenient access to public transportation , retail shops and opportunities to socialize with other millenials is important. Higher densities are possible with this group (10 – 25 units per acre).

Is there affordable land available and is it zoned for this kind of housing?

The housing shortage in Medfield did not happen overnight. For decades the low density zoning regulation of 1-2 units per acre only permitted development of homes on large lots with grids of expensive streets and utilities. This drove up the cost of land and depleted the developable land at a greater rate. Today, the amount of privately owned land that could be developed is close to nonexistent. Medfield has become a “mature market” where there are no large privately owned parcels available, and only a small number of single lots vacant. Land prices are now to the point where homes are being torn down for the lots they sit on! The short supply of land has kept new home construction low and prices high, making Medfield unaffordable for many.

The land at Medfield State Hospital is the only large track of land where a portion of it could be allocated and re-zoned for different housing types.

Why is it important for Medfield to have adequate housing for its residents?

Another important change has taken place in the last 25 years: As the real estate market in Medfield changed and matured, baby boomers matured along with it. The baby boomers have

 

driven markets for everything from diapers and baby food in the 1940s. 1950s, and 1960s to housing choices in the last four decades. They are now in another phase of life, and along with seniors, want smaller homes to suit new lifestyles. They no longer need or want the large homes and lots, and the big tax bills that go with them. Their children have moved from the family home, attend college or live independently on their own. Households without children are at an all-time high, accounting for over 70% of the population.

Most longtime residents think of Medfield as home! They raised their families here, established friendships, and enjoyed the comfort and friendliness of living in a small town. And, more often than not, their children, grandchildren and extended families live locally. So, they want to downsize, stay in Medfield and continue to be part of the community. Seniors also need housing for an independent life style and the option of assisted living housing if they are to stay in Medfield.

Lack of adequate housing has already forced many to relocate out of Medfield. This is confirmed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council statistics which show a 25 year net outmigration for baby boomers, seniors, and the generation Y population.

This generational flight from Medfield is not a temporary problem. It will continue if we don’t respond to our changing housing needs. It is imperative that we act now to ensure that different generations will be able to live side by side with family, friends, and children in a community they call home.

MSH-MPC’s newsletter

This is the   MSH-MPC’s newsletter this week  –

Medfield State Hospital Master Plan Committee Update

The MSHMPC is meeting August 19th with Judi Barrett of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. Our housing workshop is intended to bring the committee up-to-date with the various housing types and regulations in the State. Committee Member Ralph Costello, a local developer, has written up information on the current state of housing in Medfield – from a demographic viewpoint. Part One of Housing in Medfield is presented below.

 

 

 

 

Photos from the August 18, 2015 Community Workshop at the Medfield DPW.  Our official walking tour of the MSH property was rained out but a number of hardy souls braved the weather and joined us for the visioning session.

 

Current Housing in Medfield

In the last 40 years real estate development in Medfield has been almost exclusively single family homes which have been purchased by the baby boomer generation and generation X .  Single family homes were built for these groups on land subdivided into ¾ acre, 1 acre or 2 acre lots creating the many enclave neighborhoods that make up most of the housing stock in Medfield. This type of housing filled the need for both baby boomers and generation X. They wanted to raise families in safe, quiet neighborhoods. They wanted 4-5 bedrooms, multi-bath homes, two and three car garages, sidewalks, good size yards, swing sets and swimming pools.  And, they wanted the best education for their children. Medfield’s commitment to quality schools was a great attraction.

Four decades of land planning and home designs that focused solely on single family homes, and the preferences and lifestyle of the demographic groups with growing families resulted in an abundance of available housing options for baby boomers in years past and currently for the  growing families of  generation X,  but it has left a short supply of suitable housing  for the remaining demographic groups: seniors, millenials and ironically, baby boomers who now want to downsize into smaller homes.

The types of housing needed to respond to the needs of our citizens is a function of the changing needs of specific demographic groups.

Baby Boomers  (76 Million nationally, 51 – 69 years old) want to simplify their lives by downsizing to smaller homes with 1800 sq. ft. to 2400 sq. ft. with a 2 car garage, one level living with a master bedroom and bath on the first level, a mimiumum of 2 additional bedrooms which can be located on the first floor or second floor. Bedrooms are important as they want to have friends, family, children, and grandchildren visit and stay overnight. Boomers also want an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining area and great room side by side without separating walls. And, they want a private outside space for gardening. They are also looking for maintenance free homes. A higher density of homes (6-8 units per acre) is perfectly acceptable to baby boomers if the site plan includes ample open space.

Generation X  (32 – 50 years old), now the growing family generation is taking over where the baby boomers left off. They are now occupying the 4-5 bedroom single family homes in neighborhoods and have a choice of many housing options.

Seniors  (65 years or older) want much the same as baby boomers with emphasis on one level living. The large number of seniors who are  still working, or retired but mobile and active, need housing that supports their independent lifestyle. These homes can be more compact with 1200 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft.,  2- 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 car garages. A density of 6-10 units per acre works for this group if there is a private outside space or access to a walkable open space.
Some seniors who can no longer live independently are in need of assisted living housing.

Generation Y – Millennials  (80 million nationally, 18 to 30 years old)  want one or two bedroom  apartment or condo living with anywhere from 800 sq. ft. to 1400 sq. ft. of living space, with adequate parking for one or two vehicles. Millennials want to be mobile and not tied to the place they live, with a good 80% wanting to live in an urban setting. Changes in jobs, travel, and putting off marriage keeps them on the move. Convenient access to public transportation , retail shops and opportunities to socialize with other millenials is important. Higher densities are possible with this group (10 – 25 units per acre ).
Watch for more “Housing in Medfield” to follow.

Correction: Our email newsletter contained an error last week. The sentence “The only exception was a prior agreement allowing a 12 acre portion of the Sledding Hill area to be used for a single public building ” should read “The only exception is that the Town shall restrict development to a 12 acre portion of Parcel B (the Sledding Hill) area and place the remaining area in an Agricultural Preservation Restriction.[1]

Please accept our apologies for the error.

[1]  Land Disposition Agreement for the Purchase of MSH, January 29, 2015

 

To sign up for our weekly email blasts, get more information,or schedule a MSHMPC representative to speak with your Club or Organization please contact Sarah Raposa, Medfield Town Planner at sraposa@medfield.net

 

BoS on 8/18

Tuesday August 18, 2015 @ 7:00 PM
AGENDA (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

7:30 PM  Planning Board
Selectmen and Planning Board vote to elect candidate to fill vacancy

7:50 PM  Medfield State Hospital Building and Grounds Committee Update on activities

OLD BUSINESS
Vote to approve August 4, 2015 meeting minutes

Review Selectmen calendar; discuss topics for next meeting

Selectman Peterson wishes to discuss Selectmen’ s previous goals and accomplishments; give consideration to developing new goals

NEW BUSINESS
Vote to sign Chapter 90 – Reimbursement Request in the amount of $153,394.00. This pertains to the purchase of a Milton Caterpillar model 930M by DPW

Resignation notice received from Barbara Jacobs, Medfield Historic District Commission

Other business that may arise