Category Archives: Charter & Bylaw Review

New cemetery & revised noise bylaws

The Town Bylaw and Charter Review Committee has proposed one new bylaw for the Cemetery Commission and one bylaw change relating to noise for the annual town meeting warrant.  The former would give the Cemetery Commission the authority to enforce its existing no dogs regulation.   The latter would prohibit commercial noise generation from 9PM to 7AM, with home owners exempted.  The proposed language is below. –


Insert new Bylaw Chapter:

CHAPTER 115

CEMETERY AREAS

ARTICLE I Use of Cemetery Land and Facilities

  • 115-1. Use and control of cemetery land and facilities

The Cemetery Commission is hereby authorized to promulgate written rules and regulations for the proper conduct of persons while on Town cemetery land and facilities under its control. Said Rules and regulations, once promulgated, shall be filed with the Town Clerk and posted in a conspicuous place in or at each Town cemetery facility under the Commission’s control to which the general public has access.

  • 115-2. Violations and Penalties

Any person who engages in conduct prohibited by said rules and regulations and not otherwise prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws or these Bylaws shall be subject to a fine of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offence, $300 for the third offense and $300 fir each subsequent offense. In addition, repeated violations may result in suspension or termination of access privileges. The Cemetery Commission or its designee and the Medfield Police Department shall each have the authority to enforce the provisions of this Bylaw.


PROPOSED AMENDMENT

Chapter 180-NOISE

Strike the following sections:

  • 180-3 §180-5 §180-7

Renumber the following sections:

Renumber: §180-4 to §180-3 Renumber: §180-6 to §180-4

Add the proposed following new language:

ARTICLE IV Prohibited Operations and Activities

  • 180-5 Prohibited Noise

Except in the case of an emergency, the following commercial uses and activities, which are determined to generate or involve excessive and/or unreasonable noise, shall be prohibited between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., unless otherwise authorized by rules or regulations adopted by the Board of Selectmen.

  1. Operation of earthmoving or other heavy vehicles or equipment;
  2. Start up or idling of any diesel-engine-equipped vehicle having a gross vehicle weight in
    excess of 15,000 pounds, or diesel-powered equipment;
  3. Construction, demolition or alteration of any building or structure, including excavation and
    other site work;
  4. Operation of any wood/brush chipper, pneumatic-powered equipment or tool, hammer,
    chainsaw, power mower, trimmer, blower or other construction, forestry or landscape equipment;

 

  • 180-6 Exceptions
  1. Exceptions. This Bylaw shall not apply to the following:

(i)       Snow removal; and

(ii)     Individual property owners personally performing regular maintenance on their residential property.

  1. The Building Commissioner or his designee may grant a waiver from the foregoing
    prohibitions upon prior application, if he determines that good construction practice requires that
    the proposed work be performed during the prohibited time period.

ARTICLE V Enforcement and Penalties

  • 180-7 Enforcement, Violations and Penalties
  1. Whoever violates Chapter 180, Articles II-IV of this Bylaw shall be subject to the
    following fines:

(i)      $50 for the first offense;

(ii)      $ 100 for the second offense;

(iii)     $ 150 for the third offense; and

(iv)     $ 150 for each subsequent offense.

  1. The Police Department, the Building Commissioner or designee shall each have authority
    to enforce the provisions of this section.

 

BoS goals (draft)

The selectmen annually designate their goals, and to that end about a month ago the three selectmen each individually penned his goals for our board for the next year.  Richard DeSorgher then took the three versions and combined them into this composite.


Draft Board of Selectmen Goals for 2014-2105

I. Communications

  1. Promote and encourage a collegial and supportive atmosphere for all volunteer committees and boards, ensure that their voices are heard and their work recognized. Promote and encourage supportive atmospheres with the Board of Selectmen and our Town Administrator, Superintendent of Schools and all department heads and employees
  2. Implement a push system to get residents town government information
  3. Improve the town’s web site

 

II. Planning

  1. Develop a town master plan, and review and/or expand what was called for in the Vision and Action Plan for the Downtown, adopted in 2006 by the Downtown Study Committee
  2. Work with the Town Administrator and Assistant Town Administrator to look at the future make-up of the management staff of the town
  3. get a five-year plan from department heads and committees
  4. Implement an affordable housing plan
  5. Get by-laws concerning future development of the former Medfield State Hospital
  6. Adopt Green Community Act
  7. Install solar PV sites, issue RFP’s to buy solar power and look at ways to develop power purchase agreements for PV power
  8. Work with the Solid Waste Committee to explore ways to increase recycling rates

 

III. Medfield State Hospital

  1. Continue to provide direction and leadership as the town and the re-development committee move forward with the clean-up and redevelopment of the former Medfield State Hospital.

 

IV.  Finances

  1. create a business office for the town
  2. Support the annual budget process and implement a three-year financial forecast
  3. Implement property tax relief for senior citizens
  4. Explore financial saving potential and pro and cons of ways to increase additional revenue including adopting the Community Preservation Act, selling town water and encouraging the Economic Development Committee to work towards bringing clean industry, business and housing (Old Medfield Square example)to the town, including development of Lot #3/Hinkley Lot off Ice House Road.
  5. Complete union contract negotiations before contracts expire and analyze all overtime expenditures.

 

V. Downtown

  1. Work to develop a robust, business-friendly and pedestrian-friendly downtown
  2. Meet with and review all boards overseeing downtown development and analyze and combine if necessary similar committees.
  3. Explore with the Planning Board the formation of a Design and Review Committee.
  4. Work with the Chief of Police on traffic and parking issues concerning
    1. Traffic and lights along RT 109 and RT 27 (RT 27 at both RT 109 and at South Street)
    2. Sidewalk expansion
    3. Upham Road
    4. Potential future parking sites

 

VI. Support for the new public safety building, through, hearings and town meeting action until final completion

Charter & Bylaw Review

Last night I attended the meeting of the Charter & Bylaw Review Committee, called because the committee had just gotten back from its publisher/consultant, General Code, the draft codification of the items that were submitted for codification, namely

  • the town charter,
  • the town bylaws, and
  • the zoning bylaws.

Hard copies of the draft were distributed to committee members for their review and the committee will meet again on 8/27/13 to discuss General Code’s apparent suggestions for edits.

Next the committee will collect all the rest of the town regulations from each department (e.g. – the schools, the Medfield Police Department, the Medfield Fire Department, the Board of Health, and all other departments), so that copies of those can be added as appendices, thereby putting all the town rules and regulations in one place.  A conscious decision was made at General Code’s suggestion, to codify only the three major items (charter, bylaws, and zoning), and to have the rest as attached appendices.  Once the result is worked through, the materials will be on-line for the public.

The committee appeared to refer to the Medfield State Hospital Advisory Committee the task of reviewing what new bylaws the town needs in light of the possible development of the Medfield State Hospital site.  Such rules and regulations could also assure that the town is properly positioned for other large developments, such as The Parc on West Street.

Examples of such possible new rules and regulations might include the following –

  • does the town want to be notified before hazardous materials are transported through town,
  • does the town want to be able to specify the routes that hazardous materials transported through town must use,
  • does the town want to be able to control the hours during which any work may take place
  • does the town want to be able to control the amount of noise created by construction work
  • does the town want to be able to control the amount of dust created by construction work

Someone needs to be looking into whether the Town of Medfield should have any such controls going forward, and if we want any, to recommend just which ones to have.  The annual town meeting (ATM) will then ultimately decide whether any such new proposed rules and regulations are actually adopted.

If any individual resident is interested in assisting the town by undertaking the needed review of what new bylaws the town should perhaps enact in light of the possible Medfield State Hospital site development and other developments in town, please contact me.  I think there is an opportunity for a motivated resident to do such a review for the town

  • by reviewing what other towns have done (much of that is already in hand),
  • by polling all the departments about what each sees as being needed, and
  • by brainstorming what would be best.

It could be an interesting time limited project, and one that will be extremely useful and important to the future of the town.

Selectman goals & objectives

I am being interviewed on Medfield TV on 6/18 by Jack Peterson and Theresa Knapp of Patch, and Jack asked me to bring along topics to discuss, so I updated the list of goals and objectives I prepared for the Board of Selectmen last September:

2013 Goals and Objectives for the Medfield Town Administrator and the Board of Selectmen

By Osler L. Peterson, Selectman
June 3, 2013

1.    Institutional good governance systems, such as
a.    Thorough planning,
b.    Government transparency, and
c.    Complete reporting to the residents
2.    Have the Board of Advisors (former selectmen) conduct a zero based review of our town government systems to determine whether we are using best practices and have the right systems.  Consider partnering with an educational institution to get interns for this task.
a.    Establish expectations, policies, and procedures for all town boards and departments.
b.    Evaluate staffing levels and positions.
i.    Consider hiring a Finance Director.
3.    Get written five year plans from the Town Administrator and department heads.
4.    Have Town Administrator use annual calendar for the Board of Selectmen.
5.    Hold a Board of Selectmen joint meeting annually with each town board and commission to review our shared purposes and goals.
6.    Report to town on DPW’s road and sidewalk repair plans and funding.
7.    Work with Water and Sewer Commission on its master plan.
8.    Study the possible purchase and/or control of the development of the Medfield State Hospital site
9.    Oversee the process of dealing with the clean up and reuse of the Medfield State Hospital site.
10.    Complete bylaw review, especially for issues related to the Medfield State Hospital site.
11.    Work with planning board for new economic growth; Town’s master plan and downtown zoning.
12.    Work on strategy for maintenance and renovation of all town buildings and a strategy to build a new DPW Garage, Public Safety, and Community Center.
13.    Examine opportunities for additional revenue streams, such as:
a.    Housing can be the “business” of Medfield (e.g. – Old Medfield Square)
b.    Power purchase agreements for PV power
c.    Selling Medfield bottled water
14.    Identify opportunities for regionalization of services, such as:
a.    Dispatch for public safety
b.    Board of Health
15.    Target completion of union negotiations before contracts expire.
16.    Create a three-year financial forecast of the town, working with the Warrant Committee and the School Committee.
17.    Implement succession planning for key municipal positions.
18.    Installation of solar PV arrays on town owned land.
19.    Become a Green Community.
20.    Solve Veterans Service Officer position issues.
21.    Perform an analysis of overtime use.
22.    Maintain town’s fiscal status.
23.    Determine whether our recycling rates can be improved, and our trash costs thereby reduced

Goals for the next year

Selectmen will discuss their goals for the next year next Tuesday.  These are my suggestions.  Let me know if you have ideas for different things the Board of Selectmen and the town administrators should be working on this next year.  I just sent these to Ann and Mark and asked for copies of theirs – as I hope to get them before we meet.

2012 Goals and Objectives for the Medfield Town Administrator
and the Board of Selectmen

By Osler L. Peterson, Selectman
September 27, 2012

1.    Conduct a zero based review and revision of our town government departments and their systems to determine whether we are using best practices.
a.    Establish expectations, policies, and procedures for all town boards and departments.
b.    Evaluate staffing levels and positions.
i.    Consider hiring a Finance Director.
c.    Consider partnering with an educational institution to get interns for this task.
d.    Reconsider using the former selectmen to perform this task.
2.    Have Town Administrator institute use of annual calendar for the Board of Selectmen.
3.    Hold a Board of Selectmen joint meeting annually with all town boards and commissions to review our shared purposes and goals.
4.    Determine road repair plans, priorities, and funding – Superintendent to outline.
5.    Work with Water and Sewer Commission on its operations and its master plan.
6.    Oversee the process of dealing with the clean up and reuse of the Medfield State Hospital site.  Complete the bylaw review for issued related to the Medfield State Hospital site.
7.    Annually get written five year written plans from the Town Administrator and department heads.
8.    Work with planning board for new economic growth, on Town’s master plan, and on  downtown zoning.
9.    Develop a strategy for maintenance and renovation of all town buildings.
10.    Develop a strategy to build a new DPW Garage, Public Safety, and Community Center.
11.    Examine opportunities for additional revenue streams.
12.    Identify opportunities for regionalization of services.
13.    Target completion of union negotiations before contracts expire.
14.    Create an evergreen three-year financial forecast of the town, working with the Warrant Committee and the School Committee.
15.    Implement succession planning for key town staffing positions.
16.    Installation of solar PV arrays on town owned land.
17.    Become a Green Community.
18.    Solve the issues about the Veterans Service Officer position.
19.    Perform an analysis of whether overtime is being used the way the town wants.
20.    Maintain town’s fiscal status.
21.    Plant street trees.
22.    Develop a historic house walking tour.

BoS asks town boards and departments to review their regulations

I got the following copy from the Medfield Energy Committee today.  My understanding was that the Board of Selectmen especially wanted this bylaw review done with an eye on the potential developments at the Medfield State Hospital, but that part got left out.

+++++++++++++++++++++

Memo
MEDFIELD BOARD
OF SELECTMEN
To: Department Heads, Boards, Commissions and Committees
From: Board of Selectmen
Dale: 8/6/2012
Re: Charter and By-law Review Committee

Last year, the Board of Selectmen appointed a Charter and By-law Review Committee to undertake a review of the Town Charter and By-laws and to suggest any changes or updates that might be appropriate. This Committee, chaired by Scott McDermott, has been meeting regularly and is in the process of hiring a consultant to assist with codifying the charter, by-laws and departmental regulations.
It has met with many town department heads, board, commission and committee members to obtain input as to what changes, if any, should be made. As part of this process, and in anticipation of future developments throughout the Town, the Selectmen would like you to review state and federal statutes, town by-laws and regulations for areas under your jurisdiction and suggest any changes which would
improve service delivery and would protect the interests of the Town of Medfield and its residents. This might include changes to existing statues, bylaws and regulations, as well as new ones which you feel
should be adopted by the Town. Such items as noise, air pollution, zoning, environmental quality, traffic, parking, or any other areas of concern may be appropriate for review. In the process of reviewing potential changes, you may wish to contact colleagues in other cities and towns, who might be able to offer some insight as to what would be helpful. The Committee has collected by-laws and regulations from several nearby communities. It would be happy to share them with you.

Please send any suggestions for additions, deletions and/or revisions to the Charter and By-law Review Committee by the end of September. Your assistance in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated.

Pros and cons of elected vs. appointed town clerks

Thanks to town clerk, Carol Mayer, I have posted a setof pros and cons of having elected versus appointed town clerks.  See https://medfield02052.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/town-clerks-elected-vs-appointed.pdf