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Posted on: March 5, 2019

Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer Addresses City Council Questions Regarding the Nobscot Plaza and Chapel

INTRODUCTION

  • Good evening, Council Members. As I said in my state of the City address, I am committed to moving the needle forward for Framingham in a collaborative way.
  • In furtherance of that goal, I’m happy to be here this evening to respond to your questions regarding the results of the Request for Proposals for the disposition of the land at 780 Water Street, and the relocation of the Nobscot Chapel to 881 Edgell Road.
  • As elected officials, it’s our shared duty and privilege to lead the City forward.  I’m sure that you agree with me that the City is served by a team of professionals who have worked hard and well to assist us in our tasks. 
  • My job is to implement legislation, and I will do so to the best of my ability.
  • We are in this effort together; neither you nor I can successfully carry out our respective roles without civility and respect toward one another.

 

RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS:

Question 1: Please discuss the history of the chapel and its historic significance to the neighborhood and why it is important to preserve the building for the neighborhood. (Richardson)

Response to Question 1:


As described in the background materials for the 2013 Annual Town Meeting, the Nobscot Chapel is a landmark of local historical significance at the intersection of Edgell Road and Water Street.

 

The Chapel was constructed in the 1880’s and while it does not appear on either the federal or state Registers of Historic Places it is listed as a cultural resource by both the Massachusetts Historic Commission and the Framingham Historic Commission.


The Chapel is one of the last remaining structures of the Nobscot village of the 19th century.  The Chapel has 1,798 square feet of gross floor area and sits on .22 acres of land.  The overall condition is considered poor to fair.


In May 2013, the vote of Town Meeting under Article 35 of 2013 Annual Town Meeting authorized the Board of Selection to petition for special legislation that would allow the Town to offer 780 Water Street-a tax foreclosed property—by a using a Request for Proposal – an RFP – process.


That special legislation became Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2013, enacted by the General Court on November 20, 2013.


In 2014, the Town issued its first RFP to sell the Chapel land.  The goals of this RFP were threefold:

  • to recover the sum of the unpaid water and sewer bills which were the basis of the tax foreclosure;
  • to return the land at 780 Water Street to the tax rolls by selling it to a responsive bidder with the financial ability and resources relocate the Chapel for reuse in Nobscot; and
  • to save the Chapel from demolition if possible.

Although the 2014 RFP yielded 2 bids, neither of them were considered “responsive”.


I took office as Mayor in January 2018, a bit more than one year ago, and as I will discuss in my responses to your questions, Nobscot quickly became a priority for my administration. 


In 2018, the City issued RFP No. 6592, which was withdrawn for lack of responsive bids, and RFP No. 6608, which received two bids, one of which was deemed by the evaluation team to be responsive.


Question 2: Please describe the improvements to the Edgell/Edmands/Water Street intersection and the land that the chapel currently is on and how the intersection improvement plan is affected by the current location of the Chapel. (Richardson)

Response to Question 2:

  • As you drive north from Framingham Center to the Edgell/Edmands/Water Street intersection, the right lane would become a shared right-turn and through-traffic lane.
  • A left-turn storage “pocket” will be created in the left lane in each direction.
  • Sidewalks will be brought into compliance with the Framingham General bylaws, which, as you know, requires a 5-foot width, which is greater than the 3-foot width required by the ADA.
  • The intersection will also be improved with new crosswalks, brick accent strips, ornamental street lighting and new traffic signals.
  • The intersection improvements at Edgell Road, Water Street and Edmands Road cannot be made if the Chapel remains in its current location.  The reason for this is that the improvements require that Water Street be widened by several feet to accommodate the widened roadway and increased curb radius to accommodate right turns from Edgell Road onto Water Street.
  • As the Chapel structure is located close to the intersection, it will be impacted directly.

If the Chapel cannot be relocated, the alternative would be to demolish it.

Question 3: How long ago did the Star Market vacate the Nobscot Plaza and the first time (if this information is available) that Mr. Rose reached out to the town expressing an interest in working with the town to develop the property? (Richardson)

Response to Question 3:

Question 4: Please provide a brief summary (if this information is available) of the amount of work the Town/Community & Economic Development Dept: has done with members of the Nobscot neighborhood to try and reach consensus regarding the future of Nobscot Plaza. (Richardson)

Response to Question 4:

  • From 2015 to now, Framingham’s government has been persistently trying to move from stalemate and stagnation as far as Nobscot is concerned.
  • In 2015, CED presented its Economic Development Strategic Plan for Nobscot and Saxonville, an EDIC-funded initiative to define directions to encourage new investment in Nobscot and Saxonville as called for in the Town’s 2012 Master Land Use Plan.
  • Held open community sessions on February 23, April 13 and June 8, 2015.
  • Created a website to track all the various initiatives in Nobscot and Saxonville at https://www.framinghamma.gov/Villages.
  • Created an informal steering committee that met in 2016, 2017 and 2018, to identify ways build consensus about the future of Nobscot.
  • Nobscot Steering Committee invitees and participants included:  Brett Peruzzi, Todd Robecki, Laurie Lee, Samir Parikh, Bob Halpin, Erika O. Jerram, Michael Gatlin, Kathy Vassar, and Art Robert.
  • Nobscot neighbors organized open community Nobscot Community Meetings to provide Nobscot residents with updates on related issues.
  • In 2018, after my inauguration, I met with Charles Sisitsky and Andy Rose February 23, 2018, to discuss Mr. Rose’s relationship with the City.
  • After that meeting, at my request, we organized the Nobscot Task Force, which was primarily an internal working group.
  • Invitees & Participants:  CED, DPW, Facilities, Planning Board, and Library representatives, as well as designees from the Mayor’s staff, CFO and City Solicitor as needed and directly affected city councilors – Pam Richardson and Charles Sisitsky - as well as the Planning Board Chair.
    • Near-term areas of focus include:
    • Disposition of Nobscot Chapel (through the RFP process)
    • Intersection improvements (which --it is hoped-will be funded in part by a MassWorks grant)
    • Updated Zoning & Design Guidelines (which is now before the Planning Board and is to be addressed by this City Council in the near future)
    • Shopping center redevelopment
    • The Nobscot Task Force met 5 times in 2018
  • From March 9th through April 27, 2018, the City hosted 13 sessions of Nobscot Community Hours to hear community ideas related to the redevelopment of Nobscot, attracting 96 people, for a total of 46.5 hours.
  • During the community hours, there was always at least one municipal staff member from the Division of Community & Economic Development and the Planning Board to speak with the members of the community.
  • To further collect Framingham’s ideas and thoughts about Nobscot, the City’s Planning Board hosted the Nobscot Community Survey from April 6, 2018 to May 30, 2018, which received 779 survey responses. A summary of the survey, with notes from the office hours can be found on the Villages website. https://www.framinghamma.gov/Villages.
  • To allow for members of the public to provide comments and input, ask questions, and/or learn about the proposed zoning, the City offered another round of Nobscot Community Hours commencing on January 18, 2019 and concluding on February 8, 2019.
  • During the Winter sessions of Nobscot Community Hours, there was a total of eight sessions, for a total of 17.5 hours, where over 185 members of the community attended. Sessions where held at the McAuliffe Library, with the exception of one which was held at the Shillman House.
  • Nobscot Center LCC has been clear that it would use the parcel at 780 Water Street for the development of a CVS.
  • The Exhibit B to the Nobscot Center, LLC’s response to RFP No. 6608 – which is a public document – includes a letter from United Bank to Centercorp Retail Properties with a proposed termination of the Master Lease between MK Investments, LLC and MTBE Ventures, LLC with respect to 881 Edgell Road and a proposed amendment to the Master Lease that would allow Nobscot Center LLC to create a larger parcel for its proposed CVS at the corner of Edgell and Water Streets.
  • I have no information as to what Shaw’s will do if the property is not tenanted.


Question 5: If this information is available, please share what we know about the lease with CVS currently and the prospect of what potentially could happen with the property if CVS vacates the Plaza (as the last tenant of the property) and to follow that, what Shaw's Supermarkets (current lessee) could do with the property if there are no longer tenants. (Richardson)

Response to Question 5:

  • Nobscot Center LCC has been clear that it would use the parcel at 780 Water Street for the development of a CVS.
  • The Exhibit B to the Nobscot Center, LLC’s response to RFP No. 6608 – which is a public document – includes a letter from United Bank to Centercorp Retail Properties with a proposed termination of the Master Lease between MK Investments, LLC and MTBE Ventures, LLC with respect to 881 Edgell Road and a proposed amendment to the Master Lease that would allow Nobscot Center LLC to create a larger parcel for its proposed CVS at the corner of Edgell and Water Streets.
  • I have no information as to what Shaw’s will do if the property is not tenanted.

Question 6: The special act from 2013 that was referenced in your letter to the Council provides the final approval authority to the Board of Selectmen. As you are aware, after the change in the charter some duties of the Board of Selectmen have vested in the Council and other in the Mayor. This special act is not among a long list of acts specifically documented in the Charter as an act that continues. Has there been an advisory opinion sought from the Inspector General that concurs with the apparent local interpretation that the special act is still valid in a city and the Mayor specifically assumes the power of the Board of Selectmen in this instance? (King)

Response to Question 6:

  • I am informed by the City Solicitor that the Inspector General does not provide advisory opinions of this nature.  Article X, Section 1 of the Charter, provides that “[a]ll general laws, special laws, town by-laws, town meeting votes, and rules and regulations of or pertaining to Framingham that are in force when this charter takes effect, and not specifically or by implication repealed by this charter, shall continue in full force and effect until amended or repealed, or rescinded in due course of law, or until they expire by their own limitation.”  (emphasis added).  The 2013 special act was not specifically or by implication repealed by the Charter.  It does not appear in the list “obsolete special laws” that were repealed in Article X, Section 6(b).
  • There are no provisions in the Charter which imply that the RFP process authorized by the 2013 special act could not still be undertaken, since the City government has the ability to acquire and dispose of property just as the Town did.
  • In the absence of contrary authority in a general law, which as you point out there are several examples, such as the sewer rate-making authority, any powers assigned to the Selectmen (the Town’s executive branch) vested in the Mayor upon Framingham’s transition to a city, while powers assigned to Town Meeting (the Town’s legislative branch) vested in the City Council.   There is nothing in the 2013 special act that gives the City Council (or any legislative body if Framingham had remained a town) any specific role in the disposition of the Nobscot Chapel property through the RFP process.
  • After obtaining the support of the Board of Selectmen and legislative approval by Town Meeting, the General Court enacted Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2013, which authorized the disposition of the land at 780 Water Street without further local legislative approval notwithstanding the existence of general or special laws or local bylaws or ordinances to the contrary, so long as the goals of Chapter 138 are satisfied.  Chapter 138 provides in relevant part as follows:

SECTION 1. (a) Notwithstanding section 43 of chapter 60 of the General Laws or any other general or special law, by-law or ordinance to the contrary, the Town of Framingham, acting by and through its board of selectmen, may, subject to section 16 of chapter 30B of the General Laws, dispose of certain real property located at 780 Water Street through the issuance of a request for proposals.

(b) The request for proposals and disposition of the property shall reflect the unique locally-significant historic, cultural and architectural quality of the building on the property within the Nobscot community of the town of Framingham, shall achieve the goals of recovering amounts due to the town, protecting the building from demolition or relocating the building for productive use and adding the building to the municipal tax base and shall include such other terms and conditions as the board of selectmen may determine.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

 

Question 7: What is your vision, role, plan, and efforts on the matters relative to Nobscot? (Cannon)

Response to Question 7:

  • My goal first and foremost is to have a Nobscot village that is vital and vibrant.
  • In addition, the City’s goal is to obtain guidance from the Nobscot neighborhood as to what is right for it, and to create economic opportunity founded on that information.
  • The Nobscot plaza has lain dormant for the last 25 years and it is time to restore it to productive use.  I sincerely hope that with collaboration and cooperation, we will come up with an equitable solution for Nobscot.
  • In 2014 the Town was trying to “understand what right looked like” and find ways to bridge any gap between what the community wanted and what was financially feasible.
  • The 2015 “Villages” plan laid out a framework including new zoning and public sector improvements that we have been following with a lot of transparency.
  • As for the rest of the development of Nobscot Plaza, it is important to advance new zoning that would be suitable for Nobscot.
  • Once the new zoning is in place, it will be up to the planning board to perform diligent review of any proposed projects for the Plaza.
  • However, the decision on the Nobscot Chapel does not advance or preclude development beyond the CVS project.
  • The redevelopment of the Nobscot area is a process and requires effort on multiple fronts to focus on which efforts the City can control and move the needle where we can.
  • Public outreach has been maintained through the City’s website, the various public meetings that I’ve described, and face-to-face conversations at community hours.
  • During the work week, I hold weekly community office hours. On Saturdays, I and visit different City neighborhoods to speak directly to as many of our constituents as I can.
  • This year the goal is to: 1) move forward on the Chapel relocation, 2) move forward on the intersection improvements and 3) to move forward on zoning to inform the plaza redevelopment where we can.

Question 8: What is your long-term vision for a successful Nobscot Plaza? Is Mr. Rose's latest plan, which calls for, among other things, a 4-story apartment building, consistent with that vision? (Steiner)

Response to Question 8:

  • My ultimate vision for Nobscot is new development that complies with high standards in the new zoning and design guidelines so that the Nobscot can enjoy future retail opportunities and better traffic controls.
  • As to your second question, RFP No. 6608 does not address the development of abutting land; the development of the Nobscot Plaza would be subject to review by the Planning Board.
  • Nobscot Center, LLC has not yet submitted a plan to the Planning Board for review, so I cannot comment on that.  
  • That said, when Mr. Rose does submit a plan, it will receive the due diligence of our permitting process and I have no comment on it specifically.
  • The Planning Board is the body responsible for making sure any development in Nobscot Plaza is in the scale and scope of what is reasonable for that area.
  • You, the City Council, will soon hold your public hearings to update zoning for Nobscot, which currently allows buildings up to a height three stories or 40 feet. 
  • The Planning Board and the City Council can address this during its public hearings on proposed amendments to the City’s Zoning Ordinances.

Question 9: Would you explain your strategy of the Nobscot Chapel decision as it fits into your overall redevelopment strategy for Nobscot Plaza and the Nobscot area? (Giombetti)

Response to Question 9:

  • The disposition of the Chapel -- by relocation or demolition -- is necessary to allow the Edgell/Water/Edmands intersection work to proceed.
  • This is because the intersection design includes placing portions of the intersection project within the Chapel building footprint.
  • Intersection improvements are intended to improve traffic flow and help create a sense of place in this neighborhood commercial center.
  • These intersection improvements necessary not only for the Nobscot and Framingham residents who travel through that area, but also for the ultimate redevelopment of Nobscot Plaza.
  • The RFP reflects an intent to, if possible, preserve the chapel when moving it away from the intersection project.

 

Question 10: Why after Mr. Robert, Mr. Halpin and other officials agreed that the only negotiating lever that the people of Framingham had regarding the Nobscot plaza was the Chapel and that it was decided not to do an additional RFP until a satisfactory solution for the blighted shopping center was approved was our only piece of negotiating leverage given away? (Tully Stoll)

  • What was the process surrounding the decision?
  • What was the justification for the decision?
  • Who made the decision?
  • And how is the decision in the best interests of Framingham?

Response to Question 10:

I can’t speak to what other public officials may or may not have said, I have to work with the information that I have today. In my view, the proper mechanism for a satisfactory solution for the blighted Nobscot shopping center is through rezoning and the diligent work of the Planning Board. To make that happen, it is necessary to address the Chapel decision and the intersection improvements as I have described previously.


The RFP was conducted in accordance with public procurement law, and Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2013. 

  • I am aware that we have heard many times over the years that there is a strong desire to see something different happen in Nobscot.
  • As the Mayor of the City of Framingham, it’s my job not only to carry out the vote of Town Meeting taken five years ago, but also to ensure the safety of the residents who live in Nobscot today.
  • As I state in my February 28, 2019 letter to you, the disposition of the land at 780 Water Street to Nobscot Center, LLC by the City is subject to the developer’s performance of certain defined future conditions and fully satisfies the requirements of Chapter 138 including by, for example,
    • (a) obtaining reimbursement of outstanding tax bills in the sum of $38,151 to the City by virtue of the $50,000 purchase price to be paid by Nobscot Center, LLC to the City,
    • (b) protecting Nobscot Chapel from demolition, and
    • (c) relocating the Chapel to another nearby location on the Edgell Road side of Nobscot Plaza for future productive use. 

  • Our efforts to date have been consistent with that message including efforts to preserve the chapel and consolidate the land for future redevelopment of the plaza. 

Holding up any improvements in the Nobscot area in order to leverage movement on the Nobscot Plaza has resulted in no progress in the past 20 years. Continuing to own this Chapel and the land underneath does not serve the City or the ultimate path to redevelopment in Nobscot. 

 

Question 11: What were the criteria and rationale by which the decision to either award or reject Nobscot bids? (Giombetti)

Response to Question 11:

  • Section 5 of the RFP required that bidders submit:
    • A price proposal stated in United States dollars without offers of in-kind services, grants of interests in non-locus real estate, or recitations of development costs or future tax revenue.  The minimum bid was $40,000.00. 
    • Bidders were also asked for letters from lessors, lessees, and secured creditors that it has obtained binding consents to allow the bidder to perform under its proposal.
    • Bidders were required to include letters from its banking institution or institutional lender(s) showing sufficient funds or borrowing capacity, to demonstrate that in the City’s reasonable judgment, the bidder is ready, willing and able to undertake and complete the relocation of the Chapel.
    • We required plans drawn to scale showing the site to which Chapel shall be relocated, indicating the current record owner and title references; all easements, rights, permits, and permissions (e.g. curb cuts) required for such relocation; and whether and when such rights and permits were sought or obtained; and
    • We asked for a narrative of proposed reuse of the Chapel; a zoning opinion prepared by the bidder’s counsel detailing whether the proposed reuse is permissible as of right under current zoning or if zoning relief in the form of a Special Permit, Variance, or amendment to Zoning Bylaws is required; and
    • We asked for the bidder’s representation as to timeline for
      • execution of Purchase and Sale Agreement and Land Disposition Agreement;
      • recording of Land Disposition Agreement;
      • preparation of site to which Chapel shall be relocated and whether such relocation is temporary or permanent;
      • closing and recording of deed; and
      • relocation of Chapel to temporary and/or permanent destination.
    • In addition to the purchase price, the Rule for Award in Section 6 of the RFP stated that A Highly Advantageous rating will be given to a proposal that, in the judgment of the evaluators, shows that the proposer:
      • 1) has exceptional financial capacity to undertake the project described in the proposal
      • 2) the proposer and its key employees and consultants have more than sufficient prior experience to perform the work described in the proposal; and
      • 3) whose proposal does not include conditions precedent to bidder’s performance other than obtaining insurance coverage and permits required for relocation of the Chapel.
    • The Nobscot Center, LLC’s proposal satisfied these requirements.

 

Question 12: Given the high value the property offers to the owner Of the Nobscot Shopping Center it was likely he would be a bidder. Why did the administration choose to bid this parcel at this time before the issue of the shopping center's future was determined? (King) 

Response to Question 12:

  • RFP No. 6608 was issued on November 14, 2018 to fulfill the requirements of Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2013 and the recommendation of the Nobscot Task Force.
  • The timing for this RFP was driven significantly part by the City’s desire to be eligible for a MassWorks grant to fund the intersection improvements.
  • The City’s DPW will re-apply for the Mass Works grant next year after we have reviewed the grant application with the appropriate agencies to determine what might be done to enhance the overall chance of success.


Question 13: Considering the cost of moving the chapel and the $50,000 purchase price, the city is selling the property substantially under its appraised value which is the mid-$300 thousand range. Why is the City willing to accept such a low price? (King)

Response to Question 13:

  • The outstanding tax title balance on this property is $38,151.
  • As stated previously, the goals of the RFPs issued to satisfy Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2013 were threefold:
    • to recover the sum of the unpaid water and sewer bills which were the basis of the tax foreclosure;
    • to return the land at 780 Water Street to the tax rolls by selling it to a responsive bidder with the financial ability and resources relocate the Chapel for reuse in Nobscot; and
    • to save the Chapel from demolition if possible.
  • In addition, we need to relocate – or demolish --the Chapel for intersection improvements.
  • Under the Nobscot Center, LLC’s proposal:
    • the Chapel will be preserved and returned to productive use in Nobscot—both fulfilling the requirement of Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2013 – and –opening the way for the improvement of the Edgell/Water/Edmands intersection, and
    • the City does not bear the costs of relocating or demolishing the Chapel; and
    • 780 Water Street becomes taxable land.

Question 14: What are next steps in the Nobscot Chapel award and what assurances does the neighbors have that redevelopment of the plaza will be put forward by the owner? (Giombetti)

Response to Question 14:

  • As to the next steps for the disposition of the land at 780 Water Street and the Nobscot Chapel:
  • On January 29, 2019 the CPO determined that Nobscot Center, LLC was a responsive bidder.
  • On February 13, 2019 counsel for Nobscot Center LLC was informed in writing that the offer to purchase the Nobscot Chapel land was accepted, and that closing would occur upon Nobscot Center LLC ‘s receipt of:
  • Planning Board’s “Approval Not Required” endorsement on a plan creating the Lot 3 at 881 Edgell Road, where the Chapel will be relocated; and
  • Decision on Major Site Plan Review pursuant to Framingham Zoning Bylaws/Ordinances Section VI.F.
  • On February 20, 2019, Attorney James D. Hanrahan formally accepted the bid award and the conditions on behalf of his client, Nobscot Center, LLC. 
  • As to the development of the Nobscot Plaza, the RFP No. 6608 does not address the development of abutting land; development of the Nobscot Plaza would be subject to review by the Planning Board.

Question 15: What guarantees do we now have that Mr. Rose will come forward with anything remotely suitable for the Plaza since he finally has what he has wanted all along? (Tully Stoll)

Response to Question 15:

  • RFP No. 6608 addresses only the Chapel and does not address the development of abutting land.
  • Development of the Nobscot Plaza would be subject to review by the Planning Board.
  • To date, the Planning Board has not received an application from Mr. Rose regarding the Plaza.

Question 16: What is to stop Mr. Rose from building a CVS on the corner and leaving the rest of the plaza as is? (Steiner)

Response to Question 16:

  • This is a larger question of that has to be answered through the Planning Board’s site plan review process.
  • RFP No. 6608 does not address the development of abutting land; development of the Nobscot Plaza would be subject to review by the Planning Board.

Question 17: Why after Mr. Rose changed a plan that was close to approval by the neighbors and then pulled out from under them by Mr. Rose with a plan for four story buildings closely abutting a residential neighborhood did the City not cancel the RFP? (Tully Stoll)


Response to Question 17:

  • If you are referring to the Villages presentation in January 2017, it predates my inauguration as Mayor.
  • To my knowledge, those plans were never submitted to the Planning Board for approval.
  • Secondly, RFP No. 6608 is for the disposition of the parcel at 780 Water Street and the relocation of the Chapel and does not deal with abutting land.
  • Any proposal for the development of the Nobscot Plaza will go through the Planning Board permitting process like any other project in Framingham.
  • As I’ve said previously, you are no doubt aware that current zoning allows buildings up to a height three stories or 40 feet.
  • The Planning Board and the City Council may wish to address this during its public hearings on proposed amendments to the City’s Zoning Ordinances.

Question 18: Is there a provision ensuring that the historic chapel will be sited on the former gas station property as was described in the RFP? What assurances do we have that there is no environmental contamination on this property? (Steiner)

Response to Question 18:


The City has accepted Nobscot Center, LLC’s proposal and has agreed to close after Buyer receives:

  • The Planning Board’s “Approval Not Required” endorsement on a plan creating the lot at 881 Edgell Road where the Nobscot Chapel will be relocated (an ANR plan is limited to a review of frontage and access by public way) and
  • The Planning Board’s Decision on Major Site Plan Review pursuant to Framingham Zoning Bylaws/Ordinances Section VI.F.
  • As to environmental conditions, the gas tanks and pumps were removed from the former Texaco station property in 1993. See link: https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/EEA/fileviewer/Rtn.aspx?rtn=3-0004005
  • Per Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Samuel Wong while “there is no regulation that mandate the soil testing, the Public Health Department plans to recommend the Planning Board in their site plan review to include a condition for environmental testing of soil around where the foundation will be installed.”

Question 19: Why has the City Council and the public been kept in the dark regarding the Nobscot Task Force? (Tully Stoll)

Response to Question 19:

  • No one has been kept “in the dark.”
  • In fact, the Nobscot Task Force is described on page 70 of the 2018 Annual Report.  https://www.framinghamma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/32766/FY18-Framingham-Annual-Report?bidId
  • If memory serves, Councilor Tully Stoll, you requested – and received --10 copies of the 2018 Annual Report.
  • Also, the Nobscot Task Force included:
    • Councilor Charles J. Sisitsky
    • Councilor Pamela M. Richardson
    • Arthur P. Robert
    • Nadia M. Ullman
    • Amanda L. Loomis
    • Peter A. Sellers
    • James J. Paolini
    • Mary Ellen Kelley
    • Michael Gatlin
    • Christine Long;
    • Eric V. Johnson
    • Erika O. Jerram
    • Paul G. Barden
    • Michael A. Tusino
    • Jennifer B. Doherty
    • Thatcher W. Kezer
    • Mark Contois, Library Direct and Library Trustees, Elizabeth Roy and Sam Klaidman (whose goals were to evaluate what could be done for the library/)
  • The Nobscot Task Force was specifically created to keep key parties informed on the following four interrelated issues and their respective timelines:
    • The Nobscot Chapel disposition and plans to save the chapel using the RFP process
    • The Edgell/Edmands/Water Street intersection improvements
    • Zoning and Design guidelines
    • The Nobscot shopping center redevelopment
  • The results of these discussions are seen in the following documents:
    • RFP for Chapel disposition—which was a public document
    • Plans for Intersection Improvements
    • Draft B-3 Zoning
    • Survey of 779 residents
  • The Task Force gathered public input on these four issues in various ways: surveys from last summer; “Community Hours” meetings, and public hearings on proposed zoning.
  • In addition, we expect that Councilors Richardson and Sisitsky received direct feedback as issues arose and represented their constituents’ sentiments in these discussions.

Question 20: Why when this decision was in the process of being made, did you not once hold Office hours in Nobscot? (Tully Stoll)

Response to Question 20:

  • Let me end with this:
    • At my request to capture public input in a meaningful way, I provided more than 64 hours over 21 sessions of Nobscot Community Hours, which 281 members of the community attended.
    • With the variety of Nobscot Community Hours offered I was able to attend and talk with members of the public during these sessions.
    • If members of the City Council were not able to attend these sessions, that is unfortunate.
    • Nobscot Community Hours were an excellent opportunity for members of the public to be heard outside of a large meeting format. Members of the community provided insight into the day to day life of residents in Nobscot, members of the community provided what they wanted to see, and what was missing.
    • Furthermore, during one of the sessions a member of the Nobscot community --a young woman in college-- talked about attending Applefest in Northborough, and how when she was a little jealous that when growing up here in Framingham there was not anything like this.
    • What we heard continuously was that there is a need to create a sense of place that allows for the community to interact, have an opportunity to watch their families grow up in a supportive village setting, in addition to being a place that our children can invite their friends back to and make them jealous that they did not grow up in Nobscot or in Framingham.
    • Although I did not attend every session of the Nobscot Community Hours, I was provided a Report of the Spring 2018, and will be receiving the Winter 2019 report shortly.
    • In addition to the Nobscot Community Hours; a Nobscot Community Survey was developed, which received 779 responses or 28.5 percent of those who subscribe to Nobscot Neighbors Facebook page.
  • I would request that members of the City Council work with me as the Mayor to establish an awesome village center that members of the community can support and be supported by. Together we can achieve more and put our energies towards making Nobscot a thriving village again.
  • Let us focus on the future and move towards this goal together.
  • I appreciate the invitation to respond to your questions tonight. In the spirit of transparency, I will be posting the questions and answers on the City’s website along with the relevant links. Thank you and have a good evening.


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