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FM #949 - Economic Development Subcmte Mtg - 02/22/23
Episode 94923rd February 2023 • Franklin Matters Radio • Steve Sherlock
00:00:00 02:37:31

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FM #949 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 949 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Economic Development SubCmte meeting held in hybrid format on Wednesday, February 23, 2023. Some of the audience participated via Zoom, some were in person in the Council Chambers.

  • Chair: M Hamblen, C Frongillo, G Jones, P Sheridan
  • Town Administration: J Hellen, M Cerel, B Taberner, A Love, G Brown

1 - Discussion on the ins and outs of 40b. 

2 - Informational overview of “friendly 40b” development proposed for 121 Grove St

The recording runs two hours and thirty-six minutes, so let’s listen to the Economic Development SubCmte meeting held February 23, 2023.

Quick recap:

40b overview

  • The 40b legislation was enacted in 1969 to help expand the number of communities and neighborhoods where households with low and moderate incomes could secure a safe, affordable home
  • The 40b legislation is an "Affordable" housing production tool. 40B Projects must have at least 20 to 25% of housing units deeded as affordable
  • The permitting process of a 40B Project is through the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), not the Planning Board
  • The ZBA is formally a "Comprehensive Permit Process" which allows for a streamlined permit process. The ZBA may apply more flexible standards than the local zoning requirements
  • Note it is capital A “Affordable”, there are legal requirements built into either the home ownership deed or to the rental agreements to create “Affordable” units. This is not to say that the units are market rate ‘affordable.’ Affordability is a relative term but per 40b it does have legal requirements set at the Federal & State level, enforced locally
  • The Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) is the List of Affordable Housing Units that Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) uses to calculate a Community’s percentage of low-or moderate-income housing. Owned units are counted differently (i.e. condos) than apartments. A 100 unit proposal with 25% “Affordable” (note the capital A) if owned would add 25 units to the SHI. If these units were apartments, then all 100 (assuming the 25% “Affordable”) would add 100 units to the SHI
  • Franklin is believed to be above the 10% requirement. The census data from 2020 has not yet been processed by DHCD to determine the specific percent we are today. We were 11.96% with 2010 data, it is projected that we are above 10% but exactly where is not known today
  • Information on some of the presentation pages provide details on current 40b developments as well as proposed developments (as of today anyway)

121 Grove St (begins approx. 80 minutes into the recording)

  • The second part of the meeting was an overview of the proposal for 300 or so units at 121 Grove St
  • The slides shown are noted as “draft”. This is shared as part of the informational work of the “friendly 40b” process created by the Town of Franklin. Based upon the feedback received there are changes likely to the specifics to address the concerns or items raised. For example, there is an open Conservation permitting process underway where the back and forth negotiation could lead to changes in the number of or at least layout of the buildings on the land.
  • One point raised in the discussion that should be considered is the “loss” of land zoned as commercial industrial when we need that. This particular property overtime has proved the point that it is not fit for C/I development due to its terrain and wetlands. The residential proposal can work around the land in particular to create revenue that for years has not been able to be addressed in any other way
  • All the slide of the presentation as shown overhead in the Council Chambers were captured in one photo album and the link is provided below
  • The 121 Grove St proposal will be scheduled to come before the Town Council in the near future and assuming fairly received could begin the formal process by applying through the Zoning Board of Appeals as outlined in the 40b discussion


The agenda doc for the meeting can be found here -> 

40b overview presentation -> 

The Franklin TV replay for this session is available -> 

My notes via Twitter can be found in one PDF here ->     

121 Grove St slides (photo album) -> 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

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The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


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