Weekly News Update – 08/6/2023
Budget process, school proposal addressed by School Committee • Open Space Preservation Commission talks about boundaries • Main Street Corridor Project update: Grading of bike path continues • Board of Appeals: East Main property again denied permit for receptions; Winter Street resident OK’d to sell bikes • Momentum builds for Special Town Meeting article to abolish party designation on Town Election ballots • Save the Date – Elmwood School Project Community Forum 9 • Select Board roundup: UCTC to remain as separate but restructured committee; legislators provide update • Parks & Recreation Commission roundup: Sandy Beach drowning, procurement procedures discussed • Main Street project progresses, but transformer issue might cause delay • Water quality at Sandy Beach remains safe, testing shows • Main Street Corridor Project Update • Roadwork scheduled on multiple streets in coming days
Budget process, school proposal addressed by School Committee
Overviews of the budgeting process and issues associated with the Elmwood School replacement project were among the topics at Thursday’s School Committee meeting.
Presented by Superintendent Carol Cavanaugh and Assistant Superintendents Susan Rothermich and Jeff LaBroad, the administrators took the committee step-by-step through the budget process starting in September and described other sources of funding such as revolving funds and different types of grants.
Open Space Preservation Commission talks about boundaries
The Open Space Preservation Commission at its meeting Thursday night stressed the importance of delineating boundary lines on properties with conservation restrictions to prevent developer encroachment.
Trails Committee member Chuck Dauchy said that signage is required at the Chamberlain-Whalen property for trails that were moved by the developer. Now that the subdivision is being built out, he said erecting signage has become increasingly important to indicate that the trails are under the purview of the OSPC.
Desire for centralized source of information raised
Commission members spoke about the need to have a centralized source of information for all town-owned properties and those that are either available or were previously sought for town purchase. Member Nancy Peters started compiling this information. Their vision includes information such as deeds, conservation restrictions, dates of sale, prices and who was in charge of the transaction.
Mowing planned for Whitehall conservation land
Harrow said that the Whitehall conservation land is scheduled to be mowed “in the next week or so.” It was previously mowed in the spring but has since become overgrown with bittersweet and Japanese knotweed.
Need for budgets to be included in grant agreements addressed
Shannon Soares, the Land Use Department’s administrative assistant, told the committee that the Community Preservation Commission, under the advice of town counsel, said that all grants must include a budget with estimates and contingencies before any money can be spent.
Main Street Corridor Project update: Grading of bike path continues
As part of the Main Street Corridor Project this week, crews will continue grading the bike path between the Muffin House Cafe and Hayden Rowe Street. The contractor also will perform various on-site cleanup work, while a subcontractor may be on-site to work on street lighting.
On the west side of the project, workers will install foundations and posts for crosswalk beacons at Pleasant Street and Commonwealth Avenue.
Working hours for the Main Street Corridor Project are 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. No detours, one-lane closures or road closures are allowed from 7-9 a.m.
Board of Appeals: East Main property again denied permit for receptions; Winter Street resident OK’d to sell bikes
The applicants, Howard Roberts and Anna Dorcey, last year proposed this use for the barn but were denied. In March, they proposed adding an agricultural component on abutting land they purchased in addition to the previously proposed barn use, noting that receptions would be for fewer than 100 guests.
This action was denied in a letter from Assistant Building Inspector Michael Shepard on March 28, prompting an April appeal letter from the applicants. The appeal was denied at a July 12 Board of Appeals hearing.
Winter Street resident OK’d to continue selling bikes
A Winter Street resident will be allowed to peddle refurbished bicycles on his property, provided that they are placed at least 6 feet away from the street, after receiving unanimous approval from the Board of Appeals.
Todd Alving, who lives at 166 Winter Street at the intersection of Winter and Pond streets, has been selling refurbished bicycles on his front lawn for the past two decades. The property is zoned as being in an agricultural district.
Momentum builds for Special Town Meeting article to abolish party designation on Town Election ballots
An effort is underway to draft an article for a fall Special Town Meeting that would abolish the town caucus system in the hope of potentially limiting the influence of party politics in town elections, its organizers confirmed.
“We are trying to get rid of local party caucuses here in Hopkinton,” explained John Cardillo in an interview on Wednesday.
Save the Date – Elmwood School Project Community Forum 9
August 10 at 7:30 via Zoom & HCAM
Come voice your opinion.
Select Board roundup: UCTC to remain as separate but restructured committee; legislators provide update
After months of speculation about the future of the Upper Charles Trail Committee, the Select Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to keep it separate from the Trail Coordination and Management Committee, but with both committees modifying their structures and charges.
The vote also included a provision for the UCTC to resume meeting, but only for the limited purpose of preparing a presentation for a joint meeting with the TCMC (now to be called the Trails Committee), the Select Board and town officials.
Legislators provide update
Massachusetts Senate president Karen Spilka and Rep. James Arena-DeRosa updated the Select Board on the state budget approved earlier this week and addressed issues important to the town such as PFAS and school aid.
Town manager proposes Affordable Housing Committee
Town Manager Norman Khumalo proposed that the town create an Affordable Housing Committee to manage the creation of affordable housing. This would help to direct the allocation of the more than $4 million that the Affordable Housing Trust Fund has amassed for that purpose since its creation in 2010.
Parks & Recreation Commission roundup: Sandy Beach drowning, procurement procedures discussed
Interim Parks & Rec Director Pat Savage said she first was contacted by public safety officials about the incident at about 1:30 a.m. on July 22. Later that morning, she spoke several times with Gary Daugherty, the town’s interim fire chief, who told her that the beach had been closed and that rescue crews had gone into the search and recovery process.
Commissioner Seth Kenney, who lives in the Lake Maspenock area, said Lake Maspenock Preservation Association members are encouraging signage at the beach about the water’s depth. He is the commission’s liaison to the LMPA.
Resurfacing of public turf cricket pitch may move forward if material is donated
Savage spoke about the potential for resurfacing the public cricket pitch. The turf material was purchased for the project by the Hopkinton Cricket Club, but members were unaware that they should have gone through the town’s procurement process first.
School facility use fee increase considered
Terry said he communicated with School Committee chair Nancy Cavanaugh about the notification that the department received last month about fee increase for the use of school facilities. He noted that the proposed rate would triple to $45 for gym and field use as of Sept. 1.
Main Street project progresses, but transformer issue might cause delay
Walking up Main Street, tangible signs of improvement can be seen as the Main Street Corridor Project nears its anticipated completion date in the fall after three years of construction.
But a supply delay and project modifications likely will carry work into next year, according to town staff members familiar with the project.
Intersection of Hayden Rowe-Main Street sees changes
Daltorio added that concerns were raised recently regarding changes at the intersection of Main Street and Hayden Rowe Street that he wanted to address. The new curb was just set there about a week ago. Temporary striping had been put down, “but there had been no reference point for it because the curb had not yet been installed.”
Water quality at Sandy Beach remains safe, testing shows
While the upper and main beaches at Hopkinton State Park remain closed due to high bacteria counts, the water quality at Sandy Beach remains safe for swimming and boating, providing an oasis for Hopkinton residents during the weekend’s scorching temperatures.
“The water quality has been good at Sandy Beach all year,” McAuliffe said in an interview with the Independent Saturday morning, noting that it is typically tested every Wednesday.
The water quality at the upper beach at Hopkinton State Beach has been deemed safe for swimming after water quality testing Thursday revealed a decrease in bacteria levels for the first time in more than a month.
Main Street Corridor Project Update
What to Expect for the Week of August 7th to August 11th, 2023
East Side of Project
- Grading the bike path between the Muffin House and Hayden Rowe
- Various on-site clean-up
- Subcontractor may be onsite to work on street lighting
West Side of Project
- Installing foundations and posts for crosswalk beacons at Pleasant Street and Commonwealth Ave.
- Various on-site clean-up
- Subcontractor may be on site to work on street lighting
The town announced that roadwork is scheduled to begin on a handful of streets next week.
Work will consist of lowering and plating structures, cold-in-place recycling (CIR), adjusting structures to grade, paving 1 1/2-inch asphalt surface course with mono-berm, and adjusting driveway aprons.