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Selectmen Asked to Consider a Commute Rail from Worcester to Foxboro that Runs Through Medfield

Selectmen discuss a proposed rail line from Worcester to Gillette Stadium that could create 20 daily train trips through town. Selectmen also heard about a 98-unit 40B apartment complex proposed off West Street.

The Town of Medfield has been asked to support a move to create a rail line from Worcester to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

“It calls for a large number of trains to go through Medfield on the way from Worcester to Foxboro; I think it was something like 20 trains a day” at peak times, explained Town Administrator Mike Sullivan at Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting, adding the two or three trains that currently travel through town on a daily basis already have a significant negative impact on traffic.

Sullivan said the proposed commuter rail pilot study for the I-495 southwest region “was supposed to promote economic growth in the 495 corridor.”

Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, Osler Peterson and selectman Ann Thompson said they did not see how it would improve Medfield’s economy.

Sullivan noted officials from the towns of Walpole and Norfolk are very concerned about the project because proposed parking lots would be in their towns. 

Affordable Housing Project Proposed Off West Street

Sullivan noted the town has received a 40B proposal from Gatehouse Group, Inc. for a 98-unit affordable housing project off West Street, near the Potpourri property.

“What they’re proposing is 98 apartments, all 100 percent affordable – 25 percent would be three-bedrooms, 50 percent would be two-bedrooms, 25 percent would be one bedrooms,” said Sullivan. “They would have four [apartment] buildings with a fifth for a clubhouse.”

The land is currently zoned 'industrial.'

Medfield State Hospital PIP Meeting to Meet Thursday at Town Hall

Town officials, including Peterson, Sullivan and Assistant Town Administrator Kristine Trierweiler, met with members of DCAM in Boston on Dec. 2 to discuss the status of the cleanup at the former .  

“They updated us on the status of it and said they would encourage us to meet more frequently with them to improve communication,” said Sullivan.  

It was noted that Trierweiler is DCAM’s contact person in Medfield.

Peterson reported the Clark Building will be torn down in January; a new consultant has been hired to look at bioengineering for 300 feet along the Charles Riverbank; and a peer review will be conducted. DCAM will work with people from Charles River Watershed, SHERC, residents, and the town going forward.

No discussion was had regarding the redevelopment of the property but Sullivan said they are open to suggestions.

“They really have not done anything in terms of the development of the property,” said Sullivan. He said the state was open to suggestions. “They were not wedded to any plan and would be open to any plan for … reuse of the property.”

Sullivan noted the state expressed concern the town was sending conflicting messages regarding the severity of the contamination of the site.

“They said they were confused because at one time the town was saying it was a toxic waste dump and at the next time they said they wanted to walk their dogs and jog and ride horses there,” Sullivan said.

Said Peterson: “The reality is there is contamination in one spot but the rest of the property is fine.”

Residents John Harney, Bill Massaro, and John Thompson stressed the importance of acknowledging the severity of the contamination and expressed frustration the town has yet to come up with re-use proposals for the property. 

Harney said that that downplayed the severity of contamination did the town a disservice. Thompson assured the selectmen the contamination is serious and covers three acres, 12 feet deep.

Selectman Mark Fisher said the property is owned by the state, not the town, therefore it would be out of order for the town to suggest how the property is re-used. Harney, Massaro and Thompson strongly disagreed and urged selectmen to make suggestions in short order.

The Board of Selectmen also:

  • Approved the request from the Energy Committee to let the Sagewell company take digital thermal images of most homes in town to let residents know how energy-efficient their homes are.
  • Approved all alcoholic restaurant licenses for , , , and ; approved club license for American Legion Beckwith Post 110; approved all alcohol package store license for , Medfield Package Store () and Vet Package Store (); and approved wine and malt license to .
  • Did not approve an all alcoholic restaurant license for after town counsel Mark Cerel said the building owner owes taxes to the town.  Cerel said the tenant has paid the taxes to the landlord but that person has not paid the town. If the tax issue is resolved by the selectmen’s Dec. 20 meeting, it can be approved by the end of the calendar year.
  • Supported a plan by Stephen and Lynne Browne to create a conservation restriction on land they own that backs up against the Clark Tavern and Peak House and touches on Hinkley Pond. A trail easement is being discussed that would go all the way to . Medfield High School's track teams currently utilize trails on the property.
  • Received an invitation from Troop 10 to attend the Eagle Court of Honor ceremony for Daniel J. Piersiak on Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. at the
  • Authorized Peterson to execute a resolution stating the town wishes to pursue a state-authorized .
  • Approved request of DPW Superintendent Ken Feeney to award the bid for tree work to Davey Tree Expert Company for one year.
  • Approved the Nov. 15 selectmen’s meeting minutes.
  • Voted to sign the engagement letter with town auditor Malloy, Lynch Bienvenue.
  • Received notice from Comcast that they have a webpage for potential programming changes.
  • Selectman Thompson asked for a police report regarding speeding tickets in town.
  • Selectman Thompson and Sullivan met with NSTAR and local town officials in Needham on Tuesday. Communication between NSTAR and towns had improved between this year’s but communication from NSTAR back to the towns remained a problem. NSTAR is working with towns to address the issue.
  • Free cash has also been certified at $1,312,000 which is up about $300,000 from last year.
  • has approved the site plan for CVS expansion/renovation. Work is expected to begin soon.
  • The landlord of the old Friendly’s building is talking with several restaurants interested in leasing the property.
  • Sullivan said he hopes to have draft FY 2013 budgets to selectmen for their next meeting.
Errin Chapin December 08, 2011 at 01:55 AM
If the land is zoned industrial, how can they put in a housing project? Please do explain that. I would think that the voters in the town would have to approve a zoning law change. Let's put that to a vote in the spring. I vote no as the state hospital is about to inundate the town as it is. Secondly, it a train ran to Gillette from Medfield, I think it would be helpful to the many townspeople who currently attend sporting events at Gillette. Also helpful to the non drivers who would like to go to shop there. What a great reduction in commuter time and greenhouse effects. We all knew that the train lines were in place for a reason. How naive to think that the railways would not be used.
Will E December 08, 2011 at 01:24 PM
As to the housing project on industrial zoning, this is because of the 40B regs. Basically since Medfield has less than 10% of the town's housing stock considered "affordable", this developer is basically able to come in and usurp local zoning rules since he is putting in a certain number of affordable units. This is one reason why the Selectmen and Town Administrator have been advocating that a portion of the units in a future state hospital development be reserved as affordable - to limit future developments such as what is being proposed on West Street from popping up in undesireable locations all over town.
town mom December 08, 2011 at 04:01 PM
I am a non-driver and I doubt I would a train that runs from Worcester to Gillette very helpful. Perhaps it if went to Boston, and alleviated some of the commuter traffic, but I have no interest in supporting this. I am already woken up several times a night by the train that runs past my house.
town mom December 08, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Will this new apartment complex require us to beef up our Fire/Police stations? 96 units is alot in one space. Any idea on how much this will affect our school system? 96 units (especially units with 2/3 bedrooms) will bring a lot of kids with it. I know several families in the apartment complexes we already have in town who have 3 or more kids living in two bedroom apartments. If both these go through, prepare for your home values to drop like a rock.
Errin Chapin December 08, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Why can't the town prevent such onslaughts to our infrastructure? How can the state mandate such things as that when they won't be helping us deal with the inflow to the schools and to our police/fire teams. Town Mom makes an interesting point noting that the number of bedrooms in a unit does not restrict the renters from jamming as many as they can into a unit. I think that Milford has been in the news lately about that type of situation. And by the way, really, who would move to our town if it weren't to put their kids(existing or future) into the schools? The senior center is nice and all, but seniors seem to be moving out of here, not moving in.

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