Monthly Archives: December 2016

Bay Colony Rail Trail report

The Bay Colony Rail Trail presentation at the meeting of the Board of Selectmen last night by Christian Donner was excellent and the report the study committee submitted was even better.  Below is the executive summary.  $20,000 will be donated for the formal study,  the rest of the construction monies will be fund raised, and town will have a rail trial in 2018 – it strikes me as a no brainer for the town.

The picture of the train wreck is from the report, and especially interested me as it shows the water tower which was the structure that sat on the granite blocks in the woods along the RR right of way that I found while jogging, and ultimately got the MBTA to donate to the Town of Medfield, many of which are now installed at the Straw Hat Park.  It was either Bob Kennedy, Sr. or Ed Hinkley (both now retired from the DPW) who recalled that there had once been a water tower at that site, and they were of course correct.

Also, note how West Mill Street is a pretty narrow and sorry looking dirt road, and Dale Street looks not as steep as today.

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Group homes as SHI

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One strategy that I have been exploring for the Town of Medfield is the construction of group homes in town for residents with disabilities, partly because it is the right thing for we as a town to do, and partly because each bed in the group home counts towards our Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).

At the meeting of the Board of Selectmen last night we received data from the Department of Housing and Community Development indicating that the town currently has 283 SHI, putting us at 6.71% of our housing stock as being affordable SHI.  We need  to be at 10% to be protected from unfriendly 40B projects, so we are about 150 SHI short.

I have already met with Riverside Community Care and The Price Center about their agencies locating group homes in town, and this week I spoke with the director of the Towards Independent Living and Learning, Inc. (TILL) in Dedham which specializes in group homes.

Weeks ago someone suggested to me that I talk to TILL about group homes, and its director returned my call Monday.  I see TILL, like Riverside Community Care, as an opportunity for the town to consider whether it wants to donate some town owned land to make group homes work.  To get group homes built through TILL, there will apparently need to be financial assistance to close the financial model money gap, as existed for Riverside Community Care too.  Land donation by the town could make the financial model work, and town land donation would ultimately need to be a policy decision of the annual town meeting (ATM).  Town land donation could be sponsored to the ATM by the Board of Selectmen and/or the Affordable Housing Committee.

If the town opts to actively pursue group home construction, it would make sense to then have a more detailed discussion with TILL, Riverside Community Care and The Price Center about how we could possibly partner with them to make it happen.

If we are fortunate enough to avoid the Mega-B by permitting 21 SHI in 2017 via the pending Larkin and Borrelli 40B’s, then the town must get actively involved in planning the next steps for the following years until we build the rest of the 130 odd units of SHI that we will need to add to get to our 10% affordable housing safe harbor (and we need to add SHI at the rate of at least 21 per year).

I am hoping that, since my selectmen colleagues refused my proposal that the selectmen assign the task of producing affordable housing to our town administrator (to lead and accomplish), that that the task will instead be assigned to the soon to be retained affordable housing consultant.  The draft RFP for that affordable housing consultant (I received it this morning) calls for responses to be received by January 10, so that affordable housing consultant will be on board soon.  To make the consistent annual progress that is required, someone must be responsible and someone must be leading the process.  I see producing affordable housing in Medfield as currently a scattered, headless effort, crying out for leadership.

 

Brothers Marketplace sponsors volunteer awards

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Brothers Marketplace Sponsors the Medfield Foundation Volunteer Awards

Today it was announced that Brothers Marketplace will sponsor the 2017 Medfield Foundation Volunteer Awards and recognition reception at 3PM on March 19, 2017 at The Center to fete the many volunteers.

The Medfield Foundation (MFi) annually fetes at its Volunteer Awards those individuals, suggested by fellow residents, whose extraordinary efforts and activities have made a special marked difference in the quality of life in Medfield.  At the reception on March 19 the town will celebrate all the nominated individuals, and the MFi will name its Volunteer of the Year, Youth Volunteer of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2017.

The Volunteers Awards are based entirely on nominations submitted by the public, and solely on the information submitted.  Give recognition to your special volunteer on the form at www.medfieldfoundation.org.

 

Mass vs. US on property taxes

I was just reading the Lincoln Institute’s piece on how property taxes in Massachusetts shape up compared to the rest of how the states in the United States do things.  In general, Massachusetts cities and towns rely more on our property taxes, and less on sales taxes or fees to run our cities and towns than the rest of the states.  Massachusetts towns get just below the average state monies contributed to them.

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Bay Colony Rail Trail report

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Photo above is of the Bay Colony Rail Trail in Needham.

Bay Colony Rail Trail committee reports to the Board of Selectmen tonight

Read the Bay Colony Rail Trail report to the Town of Medfield that the study committee will present to the Board of Selectmen this evening.  It calls for approval at the 2017 annual town meeting (ATM) and completion of the construction by 2018.  The report is a remarkably thorough and detailed document.

Selectmen 11/15/16

Meeting Minutes November 15, 2016 Chenery Meeting Room draft PRESENT: Selectmen Fisher, Peterson, Marcucci; Town Administrator Sullivan; Assistant; Town Counsel Cerel; Administrative Assistant Clarke Chairman Fisher called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM. He announced this meeting is being recorded and we want to take a moment of appreciation for our Troops serving in the Middle East and around the world Executive Session at the close of meeting for the purpose of discussing pending litigation filed against Medfield Conservation Commission and to discuss potential land acquisition SPECIAL ELECTION MEDFIELD HOUSING AUTHORI1Y Members Lisa Donovan, Eldred Whyte, Robert Canavan and Brent Nelson are present this evening to vote jointly with the Selectmen a new member to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of member Neil Duross. The newly elected candidate will fill the vacancy until the Town Election in March. The only candidate is Eileen DeSorgher. According to General Laws Chapter 41, Section 11 election is by roll call vote. Selectman Peterson, Clerk of the Board asked for the roll call vote. The Board of Selectmen and the members of the Housing Authority voted unanimously to elect Eileen DeSorgher. The Selectmen offered congratulations to Ms. DeSorgher. POLICE DEPAITTMENT Chief Meaney explained that he is here this evening to request the Selectmen vote to appoint Kim Belskis as a Medfield Police Officer. She is a member of the Army National Guard and is a suicide and prevention officer. Ms. Belskis is an exceptional fit for the Town and will be a great asset to the department. She expects to enter the Academy in February. VOTED unanimously to appoint Kim Belskis as a Police Officer with the Medfield Police Department Chief Meaney continued saying that several weeks ago the Board voted Sergeant John Wilhelmi as Deputy Police Chief. Tonight I would like to present Deputy Chief Wilhelmi with his badge and he will have the honor of being pinned by his wife. The Selectmen extended congratulations to Deputy Chief Wilhelmi. MEDFIELD ENERGY COMMITIEE Fred Bunger, Committee Chair and Axum Teferra from the Metropolitan Area Planning Committee presented information about a five year plan that will reduce Medfield's energy consumption by 20% by the end of fiscal year 2020. Mr. Bunger explained that the Selectmen and Energy Committee have been working to qualify Medfield as a Green Community since November 15, 2016 Page two 2011. The Town has completed four of the criteria necessary for the designation leaving only one more, the energy reduction plan. The plan's goal will be to save us $250,000 per year. Proposed projects will focus on lighting replacement in town buildings, water usage and building insulation. Included in the school's plan to reduce energy is to teach students to turn off computers, electronics and lights when not in use. Any projects that may cost the town to institute may be done by applying for state grants. Mr. Bunger explained that Medfield's application must be sent to the Department of Energy by November 21. The Selectmen were impressed by the remarkable data presented as they know it was a lot of work. VOTED unanimously to adopt the Energy Reduction Plan as presented by the Medfield Energy Committee and further vote to authorize Town Administrator to sign letters that will be included in the package for the Department of Energy Resources Mfit?~~~&Rt'MFi~qW~'~z~;a~,tf~!lrg Toyii),,,qgyh~el,~~r~Lt~ro'.~t~~~i that the Town's draft letter was submitted to Jay Talerman for his review and comments. Selectman Marcucci advises that the letter should emphasize the developer's financial history at the beginning of the letter; the bullet points regarding the applicants names seem to be confusing. That should be made clearer. MASS Housing must be made aware of the applicants financial backgrounds; specifically request they conduct an investigation. Discussion ensued regarding plans to reach the goal of 21 units per year to keep the Town at safe harbor. Mr. Sullivan reported on discussions he has had with a few developers regarding housing plans. Resident Suzanne Siino was in the audience and a discussion took place regarding group homes as a way to add units to affordable housing; locations for them will be ongoing matter. The Board is requested to vote to submit a reserve fund transfer for $40,000 to hire a housing specialist to assist the Town with the various regulations of 40B and it was so voted. STATE HOSPITAL MASTER PLAN COMMITIEE Discussion ensued with Steve Nolan, Chairman regarding the committee's decision to end their contract with VHB Consulting. Another RFP has been published for consultants to assist the Town with the strategic reuse plan for the site. The Selectmen are requested to vote to approve a request for funds in the amount of $150,000 for this work and it was so voted. November 15, 2016 Page three ROAD SALT AGREEMENT At their previous meeting the Board was requested to award the road salt bid for the 2016- 2017 winter season to Eastern Minerals, Inc. DPW Director Maurice Goulet requests the Selectmen vote to sign the Agreement with Eastern Minerals and it was so voted. PHASE II DOWNTOWN PARKING VOTED unanimously to sign a grant application, amount up to $15,000 for Medfield Phase II Parking Study and as recommended by the Economic Development Committee CHIEF PROCUREMENT OFFICER VOTED unanimously to authorize Chairman Fisher sign Inspector General Appointment Notice naming Kristine Trierweiler as Medfield's Chief Procurement Officer WATER TREATMENT PROJECT VOTED unanimously to award the contract to Environmental Partners Group, Quincy, MA for Consulting and Engineering Services pertaining to the study and design of magnesium and iron from Wells 3 and 4 and as recommended by the Board of Water and Sewerage LICENSES AND PERMITS VOTED unanimously to grant Council on Aging a one-day wine and malt beverage permit for two events; December 1, Challenge Paint Night and January 11, 2017 Supper Club VOTED unanimously to grant the Medfield Music Association permission to post signs promoting Spaghetti with Santa on December 7; Jazz Band Cuba fundraising event on February 3, 2017; Orchestra event with Berklee Strings Group on February 15 and Jazz Night to be held May 5, 2017 VOTED to grant Basil Restaurant a time extension on their liquor permit to 1:00 AM Wednesday November 23, Thanksgiving Eve VOTED unanimously to grant permission to hold the 2nd annual SK and 1 mile Fun Run to honor Hunter Williams an 8 year old double lung transplant VOTED unanimously to grant Medfield Junior Girl Scout Troop 88192 permission to hold a Pet Parade in May 2017 November 15, 2016 Page four SELECTMEN REPORT Mr. Peterson extended compliments to John Thompson for his recent tour at the state hospital site; great opening ceremony of the new Public Safety Building; great group of friends and neighbors planted over 1000 spring bulbs at Straw Hat Park; Richard DeSorgher presented a terrific program for the Historical Society's anniversary. He attended the Veterans' Day Breakfast at the CENTER and gave kudos to Veterans' Service Agent Ron Griffin who did a wonderful job with arrangements. Mr. Marcucci enjoyed the Veterans' Day evening event at Baxter Park and received good information at a meeting arranged by Michael Sullivan and Mark Cerel on Friday afternoon Discussing 40B. Mr. Fisher attended the Veterans' Day Breakfast enjoyed listening to singer Dan Clark. He is happy to report that Medfield High School graduate Matthew Aucoin is assisting with the high school music program. EXECUTIVE SESSION The Board of Selectmen will be going into executive session for the purpose for the purpose of discussing pending litigation filed against the Medfield Conservation Commission and to discuss potential land acquisition with the expressed intent not to reconvene in open session. By positive roll call vote the Selectmen went into Executive Session at 9:15 PM.20161115_page_220161115_page_320161115_page_4

Selectmen 12/20

TOWN OF MEDFIELD MEETING NOTICE POSTED: 'd.-/fo--/0 0/Q,20161220-agenda_page_2

Mfi OPENS NOMINATIONS FOR VOLUNTEER AWARDS

 

2015-voty-nominees
GOT THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING DONE, MAKE A NOMINATION –

MEDFIELD FOUNDATION OPENS NOMINATIONS FOR 2017 VOLUNTEER AWARDS

Do you know someone in Medfield who volunteers countless time and energy to a worthy community cause or initiative?  If so, now is your chance to recognize that person as part of the Medfield Foundation volunteer awards.

Anyone interested in submitting a nomination for one of the 2017 Medfield Foundation volunteer awards can download the form at www.MedfieldFoundation.org.  Completed forms should be e-mailed to “MfiVolunteerAward@gmail.com” no later than January 31, 2017.

The  MFi’s 2017 volunteer recognition reception is scheduled for 3 -5 PM on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at The Center.

  • Chris McCue Potts was the 2015 Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Medfield Music Association, and also with Zullo Gallery, Medfield Afterschool Program (MAP), Skate Park Committee, Bay Colony Rail Trail Committee, Medfield Cares About Prevention, and the Mfi volunteer awards.
  • Binit Shah was the 2015 Youth Volunteer of the Year for his initiation of the Tech Club at the Medfield Memorial Library, and also for Medfield.TV, MFi Youth Leader program, and Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
  • Jeanne Bastanier Sullivan received a Lifetime Achievement Award for almost three decades volunteering in many roles at the Medfield Food Cupboard, the Church of the Advent, the schools, and the Medfield Animal Shelter.
  • Mike and Caroline Stanley received a 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award for six decades of volunteering for Medfield.  Between the two of them, they have served on the Library Board, Planning Board, Historical Commission, Historical Society, Historic District Commission, Master Plan Implementation Committee, Medfield State Hospital Reuse Committee, Medfield State Hospital Preservation Committee, Town Hall Renovation Committee, Conservation Commission, Open Space Planning Committee, Long Range Planning Committee, Committee to Evaluate Senior Tax Work Off Program, and Zoning Board of Appeals.

Eight Medfield volunteers received recognition in 2015.

The Medfield Foundation, Inc. is a volunteer-run private nonprofit, tax deductible 501(c)(3) corporation created in 2001 to raises private monies for public purposes in the Town of Medfield.  The MFi allows donors to designate their donations for particular purposes.  The MFi also allows motivated groups to raise monies for Medfield purposes under the rubric of the Medfield Foundation.  To date, the MFi has raised over $1,800,000.00 for the Town of Medfield and celebrated over one hundred volunteers.

MMA on marijuana law problems

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MMA letter to governor and legislative leaders calls for changes to recreational marijuana law

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His Excellency Charles D. Baker
Governor of the Commonwealth
State House, Boston

The Hon. Robert A. DeLeo
Speaker of the House
State House, Boston

The Hon. Stanley C. Rosenberg
Senate President
State House, Boston

Dear Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, and President Rosenberg,

With the passage of Question 4, Massachusetts became one of just eight states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Because of our population and our prime location in the center of a compact geographic region, our state will soon become the commercial marijuana industry’s East Coast base. The growing industry will certainly use Massachusetts as the retail platform for Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

Cities and towns have a responsibility to ensure that the new law is implemented locally in a manner that protects the public interest, including addressing public health and public safety concerns, and ensuring that the roll-out does not negatively impact residents, other businesses, neighborhoods, economic development plans, or other important considerations. As such, municipal officials are scrambling to get information and plan their own policy responses. This will be very difficult in the short term, as there are many unanswered questions and many significant flaws in the new law.

It is important to recognize that Question 4 prevailed and the issue of whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has been settled. Yet it is also clear that the new law has several significant drafting flaws that require fixing in order to prevent negative outcomes. Just as the Legislature and governor acted in 1981 to amend Proposition 2½ to make it workable, we believe it is both appropriate and necessary for state lawmakers to take action to address the shortcomings in Question 4. Doing so would benefit the public interest and every community.

While there are many smaller details that warrant attention, the major problems that must be fixed are: 1) deadlines that are too short to give state and local officials enough time to prepare for and administer the law; 2) the preemption and loss of local control; 3) the unregulated “home grow” provisions that could foster a new black market for marijuana sales; and 4) the inadequate tax revenues written into the statute.

An Unrealistic Timeline
Question 4 sets an unrealistic deadline, instructing the state to construct the entire regulatory framework for the commercial marijuana industry by January 1, 2018. That is too little time to recruit and appoint a first-ever, three-person Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and give the rookie commissioners the time to build a brand-new state agency, recruit and hire agency staff, draft initial versions of all regulations, solicit input from all stakeholders, promulgate final regulations, and provide enough lead-time for a rational roll-out that protects the public interest. If the state fails to meet the January 1 deadline, the industry has written Question 4 in such a way that the commercial industry would arise in a mostly unregulated environment, because medical marijuana operators would automatically be licensed as commercial agents for recreational marijuana, giving them a near-monopoly in the marketplace.

We respectfully ask you to act swiftly to extend these deadlines and give the state and municipalities more time to get the regulatory framework in place and adopt reasonable rules to govern this new commercial industry.

In the meantime, we request passage of statutory authority to allow cities and towns to enact a moratorium on new commercial marijuana facilities until the Cannabis Control Commission has promulgated regulations governing the industry. Because the deadline for regulations comes after the CCC is instructed to begin processing applications and licenses for commercial facilities, local governments will begin to see applications for commercial facilities before they know the full extent of the regulations under which those facilities will be operating.

Unwise Preemption of Local Control
A second major concern is the preemption of local control. The new law prevents cities and towns from making local decisions on whether to allow commercial retail sales in their municipalities. Here it is clear that the marijuana industry lobbyists learned a lesson from Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational use. The Colorado law allows local governing bodies to ban retail sales in their communities – and 70 percent of their cities and towns have enacted such a ban. Question 4 makes it impossible for selectmen, mayors, councils or town meetings to make this decision. Instead, communities are only allowed to enact a ban if 10 percent of local residents who voted in the last state election sign a petition to place a question on the ballot, and voters approve the question at a state general election in 2018 or later. This means the earliest that communities can even consider a ban will be nearly a year after commercial sales become legal – it is hard to imagine that this industry-friendly loophole was unintentional.

Further, Question 4 includes language that would allow the CCC to preempt or disallow any local zoning rule, ordinance or regulation that is inconsistent with their wishes – a concern made even more serious because the “advisory board” in the law is actually a pro-industry panel dominated by commercial marijuana interests.

We respectfully ask you to act swiftly to restore decision-making authority to municipal governing bodies on the question of commercial bans, and clarify that the CCC cannot override local zoning decisions and ordinances on the location and operation of locally permitted commercial facilities, including recreational marijuana. The broad preemption language must be eliminated.

An Unregulated Non-Commercial Market
Starting on December 15, the home cultivation of marijuana will be allowed through a totally unregulated “home grow” provision, which will allow individuals to cultivate up to 12 plants at any one time. Calculating the street value, that’s $60,000 worth of marijuana, and based on reasonable processing estimates, the 12 plants could yield approximately 12,000 joints, or thousands of “servings” of marijuana-infused edibles.

Local and state law enforcement officials are gravely concerned about the home grow language in the new law. The sheer volume of home grown marijuana will certainly incentivize a burgeoning black market that will hit the street at least a year before official, regulated commercial sales become lawful, creating a source of sales that could easily reach school-aged children and teenagers.

We respectfully ask you to delay the home grow provisions, and develop a structure to appropriately regulate and monitor this activity to safeguard public safety and health, and protect neighborhoods, residents and youth.

Inadequate Revenues
Another major concern is the rock-bottom excise revenue that would be generated by Question 4, where it is again clear that the marijuana industry learned a lesson from earlier experiences in Colorado and Washington state. In addition to state sales taxes, the Colorado law imposes a 25 percent tax on marijuana, and cities and towns can enact their own local sales taxes of up to 8 percent. The state of Washington imposes a 37 percent excise tax, and cities and towns can collect their own local sales tax of up to 3.4 percent.

Here in Massachusetts, the commercial interests behind Question 4 set the state marijuana excise tax at just 3.75 percent, and capped the local-option marijuana excise tax at only 2 percent. These would be the lowest rates in the nation.

Given the significant new burden of regulating and monitoring a new commercial industry (which will deal in a controlled substance that is still illegal under federal law), the state and local revenue rates are unreasonably low and damaging to public budgets. The state excise will clearly fall short, and we urge you to increase the state tax so that, at a minimum, resources will be available to provide statewide training of police officers and fund the CCC and other state agency needs. Further, cities and towns will have new responsibilities in areas of public safety, public health, zoning, permitting and licensing. At 2 percent, the local revenue in Question 4 will fall far short of local needs.

We respectfully ask you to increase the allowable state and local tax rates to bring them in line with Colorado and Washington and other “first-wave” legalization states. We recommend that cities and towns be authorized to implement, on a local-option basis, an excise of between 2 to 6 percent, to be determined by vote of the local governing body.

An Independent Advisory Board is Necessary
We urge you to improve the makeup of the Cannabis Advisory Board to make it a truly independent entity, instead of the industry-dominated panel that it is under Question 4. It is striking that the ballot question was written to give commercial marijuana interests control of a board that will be so heavily involved in regulating the industry. We respectfully ask that a municipal representative be added to the board, as well as a representative from municipal police chiefs and a seat representing local boards of health. We believe the addition of these perspectives is vital to ensure that local public safety and health concerns are considered when crafting the regulations.

Summary
Cities and towns have a responsibility to implement the new law in a manner that protects the public interest, yet communities will not be able to fulfill this responsibility unless the significant flaws detailed in this letter are addressed. Just as the Legislature and governor acted in 1981 to amend Proposition 2½ to make it workable, we respectfully ask the Commonwealth to take action to address the shortcomings in Question 4. Doing so would benefit the public interest and every community.
Thank you very much for your consideration. If you have any questions or wish to receive additional information, please do not hesitate to have your offices contact me or MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at (617) 426-7272 at any time.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO

NFL legal news

This today from my American Association for Justice update.  Interestingly the real problem, CTE is not covered, because it can only be diagnosed after death. That analysis may generate a new field, post-mortem litigation planning, to follow the already existing legal area of post-mortem estate planning.  Soon our after lives will be so scheduled that we will be marveling at how we ever had time to get things done while we were alive. –

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Supreme Court declines to review settlement between NFL and retired players.

USA Today (12/12, Perez, 5.28M) reports the Supreme Court declined to review a settlement reached between the NFL and retired NFL players, which will “allow payments to be made to those covered in a deal first reached more than three years ago.” Under the settlement, the “NFL agreed to cover more than 20,000 retired players at a cost that could surpass $1 billion in a reworked settlement approved by a federal judge in April 2015.”

The AP (12/12, Golen) reports Christopher Seeger, one of the attorneys representing the retired NFL players, said, “This decision means that, finally, retired NFL players will receive much-needed care and support for the serious neurocognitive injuries they are facing.” Under the settlement, players suffering from some neurological conditions are eligible to receive millions of dollars, but the average payment for the players is expected to be around $190,000.

Reuters (12/12, Hurley) reports some have criticized the settlement for not awarding payments to players suffering from CTE, which has been linked to concussions.

The New York Daily News (12/12, Red, 4.45M) reports the class-action lawsuit that preceded the settlement claimed the NFL covered up its knowledge of the long-term dangers “caused by football-related head injuries.”

Additional coverage is provided by: the Los Angeles Times (12/12, Fenno, 4.52M), NPR (12/12, Hersher, 1.92M), and the Washington Examiner (12/12, Weaver, 400K).