Weekly News Update – 11/20/2022
Town of Hopkinton Accepting Economic Recovery Grant Applications from Residents Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic • COVID, budget among Board of Health topics • UCTC discusses CPC application for Segment 1 study, revisits Segment 6 controversy • Permit in place, plans for 83 East Main development move forward • Conservation Commission continues contentious hearings for Mass. Laborers, The Trails • Select Board roundup: Altaeros TIF moves forward; Friends’ Click recognized • Town of Hopkinton FY24 Comprehensive Budget Listening Session – Tues Nov 15 – 7:05pm • Parks & Rec roundup: Pickleball court plans under review • School Committee roundup: Educators decry proposed FY24 budget cuts to special education positions • Independent Thoughts: Barriers long overdue to fix West Main issue • Planning Board approves Box Mill development plan • Winter Parking Ban & Pushing Snow Into the Street or Sidewalk By-Laws • Main Street Corridor Project Update
Town of Hopkinton Accepting Economic Recovery Grant Applications from Residents Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic
Town Manager Norman Khumalo and Director of Hopkinton Youth & Family Services Dawn Alcott are pleased to announce that Hopkinton’s Youth & Family Services department is now accepting grant applications from Hopkinton residents disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Board of Health at its meeting Monday discussed how COVID-19 has become a more normalized part of existence after two years of coping with the pandemic, as well as how Hopkinton might be eligible for national recognition for how it has responded to the pandemic. Public Health Nurse Simone Carter explained that the number of reported cases of COVID-19, while very low, do not reflect the actual number of cases because people are less likely to report the results of at-home tests.
UCTC discusses CPC application for Segment 1 study, revisits Segment 6 controversy
The Upper Charles Trails Committee (UCTC) at its hour-long meeting Wednesday night discussed the group’s recent activities, including the submission of a request for funding to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for Segment 1 of the Upper Charles Trail. Peter LaGoy, chair of Hopkinton’s Trails Coordination and Management Committee (TCMC), continued to question the spending of MassTrails grant funding for an engineering study of Segment 6 of the trail, which has been proposed to go around Marathon School.
Permit in place, plans for 83 East Main development move forward
Plans for an open space mixed-use development (OSMUD) at the site of a historic house at 83 East Main Street are moving forward after clarification from town officials that the developer already has a permit noting that the proper infrastructure exists for water and sewer to serve it. Developer Roy MacDowell hopes to begin construction in the late winter or early spring. Three age-restricted units and the replication of the single-family home were approved by the Planning Board, and zoning allowed for it to be constructed by right. The site, part of the Village Center zoning subdistrict, is a small triangular plot at the corner of East Main Street and Legacy Farms Roads North, just west of Weston Nurseries.
Conservation Commission continues contentious hearings for Mass. Laborers, The Trails
The Conservation Commission at its meeting Tuesday night continued hearings on two cases it has been considering for several months: the Massachusetts Laborers Training Center property at 37 East Street and The Trails development. These were the two main cases under discussion in a 2 1/2-hour meeting. The hearing room at the Hopkinton Senior Center was packed with at least 20 audience members, several of whom said they were abutters to the Massachusetts Laborers Training facility who were not clearly notified about a potential gas line proposed near their property lines. The gas line hearing was the most contentious and the main focus of debate for more than an hour.
Select Board roundup: Altaeros TIF moves forward; Friends’ Click recognized
At Tuesday’s Select Board meeting, Town Manager Norman Khumalo presented the board with a draft of a tax increment financing agreement intended to encourage Altaeros Energies to relocate its headquarters to South Street. The board voted unanimously to move the TIF forward. It eventually will require support from Town Meeting voters. Friends of Hopkinton honors Click Friends of Hopkinton appeared before the Select Board on Tuesday to update the board on its upcoming plans, recap the Family Day event and pay tribute to outgoing president Ann Click.
Town of Hopkinton FY24 Comprehensive Budget Listening Session – Tues Nov 15 – 7:05pm
The Select Board, your Town Manager, and Department Heads invite you to share your thoughts and feedback on the Fiscal Year 2024 Comprehensive Budget, which the Town is developing.
November 15, 2022, will be the first of several listening sessions. First, the Select Board and Staff will outline the FY24 budget process. Then they will share preliminary information on the budget sources/uses, proposed FY 24 capital projects, and the 5-year capital plan.
Parks & Rec roundup: Pickleball court plans under review
At its meeting on Wednesday, the Parks & Recreation Commission discussed the designs for public pickleball courts, the town’s “all-hands meeting” as well as current and upcoming projects.
Consultant Andrew Leonard attended the meeting to present a design for public pickleball courts. The proposed design did not include a tennis court, which would be required based on the parameters approved at Town Meeting.
Department discusses goals
Last Wednesday, Guelfi attended the town’s virtual forum, also known as the “all-hands meeting,” to share the department’s vision and goals. The goals discussed included building a cricket pitch, engaging older adult residents and engaging the community at large to partner in the improvement and design of Parks & Rec programs.
Additional updates shared
Guelfi reported on the lacrosse wall progress, Pyne Field study, Sandy Beach boat dock proposal and EMC Park amenities building study. He anticipates the lacrosse wall renovation will be completed by next week.
School Committee roundup: Educators decry proposed FY24 budget cuts to special education positions
The School Committee met before a packed room Thursday night to discuss proposed cuts in the upcoming special education budget, where administrators stressed that they are already stretched thin because of increases in students and the complexity of their needs.
In the proposed special education budget, proposed staffing cuts included a 0.8 full-time employee (FTE) in physical therapy, a 0.8 FTE in occupational therapy, and a 0.5 FTE in speech therapy. This would provide funding for administrative positions.
Budget presentations made
Budget presentations were presented on special education, technology and buildings and grounds.
Director of Student Services Karen Zaleski noted that there has been a contractual increase in salaries of $258,949. Positions that previously were grant funded this school year, as well as new requests, total $446,275.
MCAS scores explained
Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey LaBroad gave a report on the district’s MCAS test results, noting that there are some reasons to celebrate.
He noted that 10th-graders had not taken an MCAS test since they were in the seventh grade due to the pandemic, as the test could not be administered in the traditional manner. He called the 2022 test a new baseline to judge achievements.
Construction underway on Marathon addition
Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh announced that work has begun at Marathon School to add four classrooms. She also noted that there is a need with K-1 playground structures because of increased demand. For example, there are only four swings for 600 students.
Independent Thoughts: Barriers long overdue to fix West Main issue
In case you missed it, the town last month announced plans to install barriers along West Main Street, between the two gas stations, in an effort to cut down on the number of accidents there — a section of roadway Police Chief Joseph Bennett previously noted is the most accident-prone in town.
Planning Board approves Box Mill development plan
The Planning Board at its meeting Monday night reviewed a couple of relatively unusual cases regarding subdivision plans.
Principal Planner John Gelcich explained that the request was to allow two lots on Box Mill Road to be deemed buildable. The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) previously approved Barbieri’s request that Box Mill Road be considered a right of way, he said. It would serve as frontage for the lots.
Morse Lane family subdivision proposal continued
The other somewhat unusual subdivision hearing focused on the Capobianco family subdivision on Morse Lane.
Attorney Timothy Nealon represented the applicant. He requested that a condition be removed from a plan approved in February 1992 that prevented the subdivision from exceeding four lots. The new proposal sought to allow for the creation of a fifth lot on the existing road.
Capital funding requests move forward
Trendel presented a recap of the pedestrian connectivity survey that previously was conducted by a Planning Board working group so that the board could gain perspective on a capital funding request that he submitted via the Planning Department in order for it to be eligible for this budget cycle. The goal was to implement the results of the survey into a phased approach that would allow for improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and runners via a capital funding request.
Winter Parking Ban & Pushing Snow Into the Street or Sidewalk By-Laws
The DPW wishes to remind all Hopkinton residents of By-Laws pertaining to the parking of motor vehicles during the winter months.
Traffic Rules and Orders, Town of Hopkinton, Article lV, Section 8 “It shall be unlawful for the driver of any vehicle, other than for an emergency, to park said vehicle on any street between the hours of 1:00am to 6:00am from November 15 through April 1.
Main Street Corridor Project Update
What to Expect for the Week of November 21, 2022, to November 23, 2022 Monday and Tuesday will be full workdays Work on Wednesday will end by 12 noon Detours
- The eastbound detour from Pleasant Street to Maple Street to Hayden Rowe will be used Monday-Wed
- The eastbound detour from Grove Street to Maple Street to Hayden Rowe will be used Monday-Wed
- Continue installing hardware in underground electric vaults
- Temporary paving of remaining sidewalk and driveway areas that do no have concrete from Wood St to the Muffin House – but not the sidewalk behind the bike lane (see below)
- Pavement for depressed areas around water gates and manholes
East Side of Project
- Continue underground service connections between the Muffin House and Church Street
West Side of Project
- Gravel and grading of the bike lane in preparation for pavement