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Option to Buy State Hospital for $3.1 Million, Clark Tavern, and More Selectman Notes

A brief synopsis of the Dec. 3 meeting of the Medfield Board of Selectmen by Selectman Richard DeSorgher.

Medfield Town Hall. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
Medfield Town Hall. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
The following email was sent out by Selectman Richard DeSorgher following the board's Dec. 3, 2013, meeting. 

By Richard DeSorgher

A suggestion was sent to me via e-mail asking if, at the end of each selectmen’s meeting, I could give a brief “bullet” summary of what took place at the meeting.  I will continue to expand on particular issues but here is a brief summary of what I observed taking place.

1. Selectmen held an open public hearing concerning the selectmen voting to exercise the town’s First Refusal Option to buy the approximately 31 acres of land on Foundry and Philip Streets, known as Red Gate Farm. Town Meeting and a Prop 2 1/2 override vote at the polls, both by large numbers, instructed the selectmen to make the purchase at the Purchase and Sale price of $1, 385,000. The selectmen unanimously voted to sign the purchase and sale.

2. Selectmen listened to Susan Parker of the Medfield Cultural Council who outlined the seven cultural events they funded this past year thanks to a $4,250 state grant. Because of the limited amount of funds, some ten other events that had requested funding went unfunded and so never took place. The Council asked the selectmen to place an article in the selectmen’s  budget to have the town match the funds received from the state. Making note of the good that comes from the events they sponsor, as well as the increased pedestrian traffic to the downtown and increase in town business, the selectmen unanimously voted to put such a line item request of $4,250 in next years budget to be decided by the town residents at town meeting

3. Selectmen listened to a presentation by John and Michelle Linnert, Medfield residents who have purchased the 1740 Clark Tavern and are making plans to turn it into a Sherborn Inn type tavern/restaurant and a 5 room Bed and Breakfast.  While the selectmen have no jurisdiction over the plans, the Linnerts wanted to keep the selectmen up to date on their plans. Town meeting zoning adopted a number of years ago permits such usage in historic houses.  The Linnerts responded to the issues raised by letters sent in by some neighbors and read by Selectman Peterson. Selectmen urged both neighbors and the Linnerts to work to address those issues. The Linnerts have held open houses and have been agreeable to meet with the neighbors to address all concerns.  It will be meetings held by the Planning Board on Monday, December 16 at 8:00 pm and by the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, December 18 at 7:30 PM that will decide if the proposal will become a reality or will be denied. Both will be open hearings with town citizens able to express their opinions on the Clark Tavern proposal

4. Selectmen listened to the Medfield State Hospital Negotiating Committee’s request that the selectmen give a “go ahead” to request that an article be brought to a special town meeting requesting the town citizens vote $3.1 Million dollars to purchase the approximately 132 acres of land in the campus area and sledding hill area of the former hospital. The town and state has entered into a partnership agreement giving the town the option to purchase the land. Saying that it is better to be master of your own house and being the ones to decide what will go there, rather than have the state decide, the selectmen unanimously voted to make the agreement, making way for the issue to be brought to the town voters. Selectmen also pointed out that after years of negotiating, all the work and efforts could be lost when the current Patrick Administration leaves the State House next year and a new administration may or may not value the partnership and the deal the town will be getting from the state. The cost of the land the town would be buying from the state comes out to $30,000 an acre while the cost of a building acre of land in Medfield today is going for $350,000. It was also pointed out that there are many other possible costs and many decisions that will have to be made as to what will go on the land if the town buys it. Public hearings and a public survey are taking place to gather resident input.

5. Selectmen re-appointed Ron Gustavson to the Cultural Council.

6. Selectmen approved all alcoholic licenses to Basil, Jing’s Garden II, Kingsbury Club, Noon Hill Grill, Takara, and Zebra’s, a club license to the American Legion and package store licenses to Bullards, Larkins, and Palumbo’s and a wiine and malt license to Medfield Wine Shoppe and Medfield Commons

7. MHS student Kathleen Lanzilla was given permission to post signs for a food drive to benefit the Medfield Food Cupboard, with items being able to be dropped off at the Needham Bank

8 The Pocket Park, so-called, between Starbucks and Zebra’s will be developed under a committee chaired by Jean Mineo and made up of newly appointed members: Matt McCormack, Tim Larkin, Monique Allen, Minta Hissong, Jim Snyder and Sarah Rapose.

9. Selectmen received a letter from Mass Historical Commission responding to the selectmen’s earlier letter seeking demolition of the Farmer’s House, also known as the Odyssey House, located on the former state hospital land. They had previously denied its demolition.  Mass Historical has now given the go ahead for its demolition. The stable and the laundry buildings had already been demolished; all three at the expense of the state.

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