Weekly News Update – 09/17/2023
Resident tip leads to cease-and-desist letters to illegal food operations in town • Conservation Commission focuses on violations at The Trails, Leonard Street • Planning Board roundup: Strength of inclusionary zoning bylaw tested by Keystone proposal; Whisper Way hearings continued • School Committee talks revised capital plan, Hopkins project • First case of EEE virus detected in Massachusetts mosquitoes this year found in neighboring county • Town of Hopkinton Shares Information Regarding State’s MBTA Communities Initiative • Hopkinton Cultural Council impacts town through arts • Commission on Disability seeks to educate community, businesses on importance of accessibility, equity • Main Street Corridor Project Update
Resident tip leads to cease-and-desist letters to illegal food operations in town
Health Director Shaun McAuliffe told the Board of Health at its meeting Wednesday that an email he received led to his investigation that uncovered five illegal food operations in town.
“We had received a complaint about a food service establishment that was operating out of someone’s home,” he explained. “We investigated it and learned that they were preparing food for about 300 people.”
While investigating this case, the search algorithm led him to the other illegal vendors. None of them were permitted, according to McAuliffe. Cease-and-desist letters were issued in all five cases. There were three home-based restaurants, a party platter business and an “establishment operating as a wedding and function venue.”
Conservation Commission focuses on violations at The Trails, Leonard Street
The Conservation Commission at its meeting Tuesday night reviewed violations incurred by several ongoing development projects, including The Trails and Leonard Street.
The Trails project engineer Peter Bemis was not present initially for the violation hearing to discuss fine assessments of $141,600, which was a continuation of a hearing at the previous meeting. The commission voted 5-0 to assess them.
Planning Board roundup: Strength of inclusionary zoning bylaw tested by Keystone proposal; Whisper Way hearings continued
The Planning Board met for nearly four hours Monday night in a marathon session where two contentious cases dominated the meeting. Several hearings were continued, including three regarding a Whisper Way development where land was slated to be conveyed as open space.
The meeting shed light on a couple of procedural errors that had transpired. A vote needed to be retaken on the findings regarding a proposed subdivision at 0-24 Chestnut Street by Keystone Development Corporation. This is the first case where the town’s new inclusionary zoning bylaw is being utilized. There was confusion as to whether the vote on the findings needed a supermajority of two-thirds to pass; only a simple majority was required. Another vote for a revised finding explaining the board’s previous vote had to be voted to be stricken after Principal Planner John Gelcich reported the error.
School Committee talks revised capital plan, Hopkins project
During a three-hour meeting Thursday, the School Committee heard updates on the district’s capital plan, solar panel installations and the Marathon School addition. The committee also chose the construction manager at risk delivery method for the Hopkins School renovation project.
Susan Rothermich, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, gave a presentation outlining how approval of the proposed Elmwood School replacement and Hopkins addition project would impact other capital needs recommended in the past.
First case of EEE virus detected in Massachusetts mosquitoes this year found in neighboring county
As residents enjoy the unofficial end to summer this Labor Day weekend, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Friday announced that the eastern equine encephalitis virus, known as EEE, has been detected for the first time this year in the state in neighboring Worcester County, prompting a warning to use mosquito repellent.
The presence of EEE was confirmed Friday by the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory in mosquito samples collected on Aug. 30 in Douglas and Southbridge. This discovery increases the risk level of EEE to moderate in the Worcester County communities of Douglas, Dudley, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Uxbridge and Webster.
Town of Hopkinton Shares Information Regarding State’s MBTA Communities Initiative
Town Manager Norman Khumalo and Principal Planner John Gelcich wish to share information regarding the state’s MBTA Communities Multi-Family Zoning Requirements.
As of the passing of the Economic Bond Bill, signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in January 2021, 175 MBTA communities are subject to the new requirements of Section 3A of the Zoning Act, including Hopkinton.
Hopkinton Cultural Council impacts town through arts
Now in her second term, Casady, the HCC chair, is looking for five individuals who want an experience similar to hers.
“We have two openings right now and will have three more by December when terms expire,” she said. “We are a super group of people who like being involved. HCC is a fun way to be part of the town by encouraging projects in the humanities, arts and culture.”
The group holds about six hybrid meetings, in person and via Zoom, during the year. The meetings focus on ongoing projects and awarding the $7,000-$8,000 earmarked each fall for artistic and cultural projects in Hopkinton by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. HCC terms are three years. Interested applicants may visit the Cultural Council page at HopkintonMA.gov for an application. Appointments are made by the Select Board.
Select Board puts police promotion requests on hold, discusses timeline for Special Town Meeting
Select Board chair Muriel Kramer, the Select Board liaison to the Police Department, asked the board to wait, stressing the need for the departmental review to be completed. Kramer anticipated that this review would be completed later in September. The department simultaneously is in the process of preparing its accreditation paperwork, which is due in March.
Member Irfan Nasrullah agreed, noting that he would like to have “all the information available to us” before making the determination. He also said that the town’s Human Resources Department should be present.
Vice chair Shahidul Mannan complimented the department for its service and said the board is “very supportive of supporting and promoting our talents.” But waiting a couple of weeks for further information would be prudent.
Select Board member Mary Jo LaFreniere disagreed with the others.
Said LaFreniere: “I think that they have been excellent police officers, I think they deserve their promotion, and they deserve it now.”
Police urge caution on trails after dog snatched by coyote on Whisper Way
The Hopkinton Police Department on Friday urged trail walkers, particularly those with dogs or children, to exercise caution when encountering animals after a dog was snatched by a coyote Thursday afternoon.
“Please use caution while walking with your dogs and kids on the trails in town, particularly in the areas of the Whisper Way trail, Yellow Trail and Red Trail,” reads a statement from the Police Department posted on Facebook Thursday evening.
CPC FY25 Project Funding Applications – Due Oct 25th, 2023
The Hopkinton Community Preservation Committee is now accepting Project Funding Applications for Fiscal Year 2025.Please submit your application no later than October 12, 2023. Projects allowable under the CPA include the creation and preservation of open space, the preservation of historic sites, the creation and preservation of affordable housing and the creation and preservation of outdoor recreational facilities. Please call (508) 497-9745 or email Shannon Soares Ssoares@hopkintonma.gov if you have any questions or would like an electronic application sent to you.
Commission on Disability seeks to educate community, businesses on importance of accessibility, equity
Nancy “Punky” Drawe is a lifelong Hopkinton resident. She is well known in town because of her outgoing personality and love of volunteering. She is the chair of the Council on Aging, the chair of the board of commissioners of the Hopkinton Housing Authority, and a member of the Senior Center’s Volunteer Advisory Committee. Her dog, Sally, an 11-year-old Morkie — a Maltese and Yorkie blend — is a town celebrity in her own right.
Despite her contributions, she is unable to enjoy all that the town has to offer because many of Hopkinton’s buildings, particularly in the downtown business district, are not accessible to people with mobility impairments such as herself. As a member of the newly formed Commission on Disability, Drawe hopes to change that.
Main Street Corridor Project Update
What to Expect for the Week of September 18th to September 22nd, 2023
East Side of Project
- Forming and pouring sidewalks
- Placing loam and seeding in various areas
West Side of Project
- Forming and pouring sidewalks
- Placing loam and seeding in various areas