Last Update for this page:  07/13/2012 06:05:42 PM

 Selectmen's Meeting

 

Town Hall landscaping to get a makeover

Questions about 40B project on top of old dump ~ And 500' road over wetlands

by Kevin Kohrt

 

Town Hall trees to come down.

 

July 11, 2006 — Deb Brug and Scott Richardson (Photo) from the Downtown Revitalization Committee presented sketches for a Town Hall Landscaping project. It involves improvements to the walkway outside of Town Hall, as well as removal of the two large trees that currently obscures the front face of the stately building. Weston Nurseries will be supplying replacement trees.

      “Not a magnolia—they are a dirty tree,” commented Selectman Mary Pratt.

      Selectman Len Holden noted that there have been complaints about the “leaves and bird droppings” from the current trees.

      “I love trees,” opened Selectman Ron Clark, but then asked, “Why would we want new trees?” Noting that in 25 years he’d expect the same problem, but also noting that the BOS should not be landscape architects.

     Selectman Mike Shepard reminded everyone that Weston Nurseries donated the current trees, and “they looked really, really great for the first 10 years.” Shepard was really interested in seeing a proper address on Town Hall. “You need a number on this building,” he pointed out.

     The Downtown Revitalization Committee has its own funding to get started, so the Selectmen simply voted to approve the plan as drawn up, and leave the details to the experts.

     The first step will be to install blinds in the street-side offices in town hall to replace the shade from the trees. Tree removal and landscape improvements will take place in late summer and into the fall.

    The ambitious plan includes an embedded town seal in the walkway, and, taken to completion, exceeds available funds, so donations will be accepted.

 

Throwing Stones

 

Hopkinton’s latest 40-B project, called “Fieldstone Farm” has been expanded from 60 units to 96 units due to “an additional 2.5 acres of uplands”, according to a letter from Sarah Hall of the Massachusetts Housing Financing Agency. The site is just east of the DPW garage on Wood Street, and wraps around a single residence at that location.

      A reply letter from the Planning Board noted that the number of units went up because of a redesign to pack in more units, as well the addition of 2.5 acres of land being used. They also noted that this flew in the face of the Boards request that the developer make the project’s clustered 3 story buildings more compatible with the neighborhood, claiming “a significant attempt has been made by the applicant to make the plan almost as bad as it can possibly be.”

      Another concern was the 500’ wetlands crossing created in order to reach the additional 2.5 acres of land, raising issues of safety as well as wetlands protection.

      Finally, the fact the site was the old town dump was noted as a request for an environmental assessment was made.

      “I used to shoot rats there after school,” noted Shepard.

      Pratt had attended Holliston meetings along with Selectman Chair Muriel Kramer to hear discussion on their 40-B project slated for the polluted Bird property adjacent to south-east Hopkinton. She felt that raising issues promptly had the most effect. Pratt recommended endorsing the Planning Board letter and raising a series of specific issues as well, including how storm water run off may effect both the Elwood Park office complex and the Elmwood school.

      Clark, though, himself a ten-year planning board veteran, balked at having the Selectmen take on what he saw as too much of a Planning Board role, especially since the BOS had not formally reviewed the revised plan.

      Gerri Holland, from the Selectmen’s office, noted that design plans had not originally been sent to the Selectmen, and she had a request in for a two week extension to the 30 day comment period to account for the delay.

      Nancy Peters, from the Board of Health, noted that the BOH had not received revised plans either, and had quickly fired off a letter yesterday after hearing of the new plans late last week.

      The Selectmen voted to send a letter supporting the Planning Board, and to reserve the right to comment further at a later time given the lack of information on the new development sent to the Selectmen.

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