Wednesday, July 29, 2015

UPDATE ON ABBEY ROAD DEVELOPMENT

The Planning Board recently approved a modification to the special permit for Abbey Road, the 18-unit age-restricted development at the site of the former Peace Abbey. The development includes converting the former library building into a single family home, converting the residence into 2 units and constructing five 3-unit buildings in a circle  around the original residence.

The major change with the modification is the relocation of the driveway. Instead of  circling in front of the buildings, it will circle behind them. The primary benefit of this move is that it allows the creation of a beautifully landscaped courtyard between the buildings in lieu of a driveway with multiple garages facing the center space. It also allows most of the garages to be built below the living space with entrances that are essentially hidden from view, resulting in additional living space on the 1st level without increasing the footprints of the buildings. It also results in significantly less fill being brought on to the site.

With its location within an easy walk to the Town Center primary business district on North Main Street, Abbey Road represents an important boost to efforts to improve the Town Center. Construction is expected to begin in late summer or fall.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Second Green Communities Grant

The Town of Sherborn has been awarded a second Green Communities grant, this time from the competitive round of the program. The amount of the grant is $77,800. This brings the total value of grants from the Green Communities program to $215,250.  

The grant will cover 71% of the cost of three projects at Pine Hill School.and it leverages an additional $7700 in utility incentives so that the Town share of the total estimated cost of $109,731 is reduced to $23,931. The three projects are: Library and Gym air handler upgrades (estimated cost: $42,775); classroom unit ventilator upgrades (estimated cost: $36,533), and soffit insulation and air sealing (estimated cost:$30,423).

Like the lighting and other improvements made with the initial grant of $137,450, the improvements funded will result in additional savings due to reduced energy consumption while reducing Sherborn's greenhouse gas emissions. Since its designation as a Green Community, Sherborn has reduced its energy consumption by about 15%.

Monday, August 11, 2014

ABBEY ROAD DEVELOPMENT

As you may know, the former Peace Abbey and Life Experience School property on North Main Street is proposed for redevelopment as an age-restricted development. The proposal is to convert the existing brick building (originally built as the Town library and often referred to as "the Library building") at the front of the property into a single family residence, convert the existing house to the rear of the property into a duplex, and add five new triplex buildings for a total of 18 units. The plans and other information about the project can be viewed here

A Preliminary Development Plan for the project and rezoning of the property to EA was approved at the 2013 Annual Town Meeting. Now an application for a special permit for the project along with a Final Development Plan has been submitted to the Planning Board. The public hearing for the special permit opened on July 23, 2014 at which time an overview of the project was presented. The hearing was continued until August 27 (and will likely be continued again into September).All are welcome to attend the hearings or otherwise provide comments on the project.

The project will eliminate the property's two curb cuts on North Main Street and provide an access driveway from Village Way. The project also requires a land swap from the Town. Authorization for the land swap was also approved at the 2013 Annual Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen is currently in the process of executing that land transaction in accordance with state requirements.

The project also needs approval from the Board of Health (for septic system and wells) and the Conservation Commission (because part of it is within 100 feet of wetlands). An Environmental Health Impact Report (EHIR) has been submitted to the Board of Health. That report includes stormwater information which is also part of the review for both Planning Board and Conservation Commission. Consequently, the three boards have coordinated to select a single engineering consultant to provide peer review services for the project. That consultant is scheduled to be selected at the Board of Health meeting on August 20.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

PLANNING BOARD NEEDS A MINUTES CLERK

The Town of Sherborn Planning Board needs a clerk. The primary duties are to attend bi-monthly evening meetings for the Planning Board at Sherborn Town Hall; take, transcribe and distribute minutes; and additional minor clerical duties. The position averages about 2 or 3 hours per week. This includes attending evening meetings (2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, generally) and then drafting the minutes (which can be done at home the following week). Pay is $16.49/hr. Good opportunity for those interested in workings of local government. For more information call 508-651-7855. Apply to Town Planner, 19 Washington Street, Sherborn, MA 01770 or planning@sherbornma.org

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

GENERAL PLAN NEEDS VOLUNTEERS!

The results of the General Plan Survey of Residents are now in! They have been compiled into graphs in a draft PowerPoint report that is currently being edited. The report will be presented to the public shortly.

While that report is being finalized, the Planning Board is ready to move into the next phase of updating the General Plan. In order to ensure a wide range of perspectives and views, the Planning Board will appoint three committees to provide input on updating various elements of the Plan. This phase will follow the pattern of the 2001 General Plan when 34 citizens were organized into three committees to help develop the plan.

If you are interested in the future of Sherborn and/or wish to become part of Sherborn's history, you may wish to volunteer to serve on one of the General Plan committees. The work will consist primarily of reviewing the 2001 General Plan to identify information that needs updating, reviewing the results of the 2014 survey, and presenting ideas for consideration to be incorporated into the 2015 General Plan. Staff support, including researching and providing statistical and technical data  will be provided by the Town Planner. The effort is expected to be completed within 6 months to a year.

The three committees and the subjects that will be addressing are as follows:

Land Use -- Land use, open space and recreation, and natural and          cultural resources

Built Environment -- Town Center, housing and transportation

Fiscal and Economic -- Economic development and  public facilities         and services

Serving on a General Plan committee is a great way to become involved in the Town, to learn new information about the Town's recent and past history and to ensure that your views are represented as decisions about the Town's future are made. If you are interested, please contact a member of the Planning Board or the Town Planner at planning@sherbornma.org or 508-651-7855.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Survey of Residents -- Deadline Extended to February 28!

Sherborn residents will find a little something extra in their Town Census envelopes this year! With the assistance and cooperation of the Town Clerk Carole Marple, this year's census envelope also contains a survey form designed to solicit residents' opinion on a variety of topics related to Town services and facilities as well as quality of life.

The survey is among the first steps to update the Town's General Plan. The General Plan, adopted in 2001, is a document to provide guidance for the Town's future development. That General Plan  also started with a survey of residents. Three volunteer committees were appointed to review the responses and other data and then make recommendations. Similarly, several committees will be appointed to review the results of the survey and other information needed to make recommendations regarding the General Plan update.

A new feature of this year's survey has been added to make response easy: It can be completed online (the preferred option). Instructions are on the survey form. Thus, there are three options for responding to the survey: (1) online; (2) the paper form can be filled in and mailed in with the Town Census form; or (3) the paper form can be dropped off or mailed in separately from the Census form.

The Planning Board encourages all residents to complete the survey as input from the public is critical to updating the General Plan. It is a chance to express your opinions and it can be done quickly and easily online. THE DEADLINE FOR RESPONDING HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 28!

If there are any questions about the survey itself or how to fill it out, you can contact the Town Planner at 508-651-7855 or at planning@sherbornma.org

Monday, November 18, 2013

COMMITTEE MEMBERS NEEDED

The Town web site lists a number of committee vacancies. In particular, I would like put in a plug for the Energy Committee (of which I am also a member) and the Open Space Committee. Both of these are associated with the Planning Board so I am particular concerned with them.

The Energy Committee has accomplished some great work for the Town. We have secured Green Community designation by the state Department of Energy Resources and obtained a grant of $137,450 which is being used to implement a number of energy efficiency projects that will result in the Town saving more money while also reducing its carbon emissions.

It is also a good time to serve on the the Open Space Committee because the Town's Open Space and Recreation Plan is due for an update. That is always an interesting and fun project to be involved with. In addition to serving as a road map for the Town in pursuing the protection and expansion of open space and recreation resources, having a current plan means the Town is eligible for state grants for the purchase of open space and the improvement of recreation facilities.

Therefore, I strongly encourage interested residents to consider applying for membership in one of these committees. You should contact Assistant Town Administrator Diane Moores (diane.moores@sherbornma.org)  in the Selectmen's Office to express your interest.