Select Board Meets on August 8, 2022

Select Board Chair Ben Sparrell, promising a “streamlined” agenda, called the August 8, 2022, meeting to order a little after 7:00pm.  First up was a presentation by the engineering firm designing the public parking area at the site of the former 9 Green Street building.

Below, Alan Hanscom, VP of Pare, Corp. shared the final design to the Select Board for its consideration, questions, and possible action.

The grey shaded area below is the area involved in the public parking area, including green space of drought resistant vegetation and shade trees – one dedicated to Holliston Garden Club member Jill Malcolm.

The construction of the site will include the underground utilities such that up to six Electric Vehicle charging stations can be installed in the future.  Mr. Hanscom has worked closely with Facilities Manager James Keast and the architect re-designing Goodwill Park so the new public area ties nicely into the park across the street.

Funds for this project were approved at Town Meeting and have recently been offset by the awarding of a $194,000 State grant.

Pare is recommending that traffic flow from Washington St (between Superette and Bird & Bear) be one-way into the parking areas.  The Green St. entrance would be two-way to allow ALL traffic to exit onto Green St to use the existing traffic signal to access Washington St in both directions.

Joan Levinsohn, above, asked to confirm that there could be up to six EV charging stations and that she wholeheartedly supports the idea of drought-resistant grasses and wildflowers as ground cover.

Members of the Select Board confirmed that there would be 20 parking spaces in this public lot and that visibility and lighting in the area would be adequate to ensure safety. 

The Board took two actions:

  • Approved the final plan as presented and authorized the Town Administrator to requests bids on the construction phase as funded by Town Meeting and the State grant.
  • Authorized the Town Administrator to issue a Request for Proposals for a traffic study to measure the impact of routing traffic through the parking lot as recommended.

Governance Committee Discussion (Progress Updates)

Governance Committee (GC) Chair Sam Tyler (back to camera) outlined a timeline for the GC’s work.

  • Review and recommend by-law changes related to the Town Moderator and Planning Board.  Mr. Tyler pointed out that the current by-laws in these areas need more detail.  The GC expects to submit relevant article(s) for the October 2022 Town Meeting.
  • Research continues regarding the most effective number of members on the Select Board – 3 or 5.  Input has been solicited from current and former Town officials.  No specific time is set for a recommendation from the GC.
  • The GC is targeting the May 2023 Town Meeting to bring its recommendations regarding the role / duties of the Town Administrator.  Mr. Tyler said, “the Town needs to look to the future” in updating how our governance works.
  • Separately, Mr. Tyler appealed for a fifth member to volunteer to serve on the GC to bring it to its approved membership and distributing the work more broadly. 

The form to volunteer for a committee has been updated and can be found here -> Citizen Committee Volunteer Form

The Board thanked Mr. Tyler and his diligent committee for keeping the work moving along and that the Board agreed with the GC’s work plan.  It was noted during the conversation that many Towns have regularly planned by-law reviews for all by-laws.

Discussion of Holliston Bike & Listen Tour – Norfolk Street

Mrs. Hein shared with the Board an idea that she gleaned as our representative on the Metrowest Regional Collaborative.  In a nutshell – bike riders would leave Blair Square and ride along Norfolk Street – stopping at Patoma and Stoddard Parks – then returning to Blair Square.

At each stop, the riders would be asked about their experience along the route (pluses, minuses, etc).  These anecdotal data can be used when the Town applies for future State grants to improve traffic / pedestrian / bike safety.

Also, riders can hear about the Town facilities at each location.

Mr. Cronin applauded the creativity of this public engagement format.

The Board authorized the Town Administrator to submit an Event Permit for the 3-mile roundtrip on Sunday, September 18, 2022, from 3 – 4:30pm.

COVID-19 Community update / ARPA Programmatic update

There was no specific update for this meeting. Mr. Ahern noted that the ARPA Steering Group will next meet on August 18, 2022, at 1:00pm.

Warrants: The Board approved the warrant totaling – $1,003,080.32.

Public Comment:

  • Select Board review of Site Visit to NEAG in Franklin, MA.  Recently, Mrs. Hein, Mr. Sparrell, Mr. Ahern, Fire Chief Cassidy, Town Planner Karen Sherman, Principal Assessor Kevin Rudden toured the current New England Appliance Group (NEAG) facility in Franklin.

Mrs. Hein and Mr. Sparrell thanked NEAG COO Brian Bowen (below left) for letting them see and feel what goes on in Franklin and why the need to grow to a larger facility.  Mrs. Hein highlighted that a training facility is within the structure.

Mr. Bowen thanked the visitors and offered visits to other interested parties.  NEAG appreciates Holliston’s interest in the NEAG project – IF the proper financial and site plans can be negotiated.

  • Mrs. Hein – attending an advocacy program tomorrow at the Hopkinton YMCA with Mr. Ahern
  • Mr. Cronin – None
  • Mr. Sparrell:
    • Held a great meeting with several members of the HFD last week to gather input, “I learned a lot.”
    • The Envision Future Holliston survey closes Tuesday, August 9th.  You still might be able to squeeze in one more response -> Envision Future Holliston Survey  There have been just over 1,100 responses so far.
    • Held his second monthly “Select Chat” at the Holliston Senior Center.  He thanked those who came out to chat and ask questions (snacks are provided). He usually meets on the first Friday of each month at 9:30. Look for the date on the Holliston Happenings calendar.
  • Public:
    • Suzanne Adelman shared some questions regarding the NEAG project.  She was advised to submit her questions via e-mail through
    • Joan Levinsohn asked if she was not able to attend the August 15th meeting regarding the DPW facility could she send in questions / comments. Yes – via e-mail as above.
    • A Karen Circle resident asked if the DPW session could be postponed to a later date so more people could attend. The Board offered that the meeting will be accessible via Zoom and the comments can be sent via e-mail as outlined above.

The Board voted to Open the Warrant for October 17, 2022, Fall Town Meeting; with the intention for it to close on September 19, 2022, at 4:00pm.  Citizens’ Petition for articles to be included on the Town Meeting Warrant must be in by the closing deadline.  Access the form here -> Form to Submit a Citizens’ Petition for Town Meeting

Comments from Town Administrator:

  • Highland Street Traffic Pattern Update (at Prentice St.; at Hollis St.)

Mr. Ahern shared the photo below showing how the islands have been removed to make one stop at the intersection of Hollis and Highland Streets. 

The intersection has since been completed with all signage and striping in place.
Photos added on August 10th of revised Hollis St. intersection.

He thanked the Police and Public Works Departments for their extra effort to turn petitions, submitted to the T.A.C. and approved by the Select Board, into reality.  HPD and DPW continue to work to put the finishing touches in place well before schools reopen so everyone can learn to new flow.

  • Select Board & Finance Committee Joint Meeting on Capital Planning – Tuesday, August 9, 7pm

This meeting will be held in Room 105.  With 11 participants in the meeting, there will not be room for public attendance in Room 105 (a satellite location in the building is possible).  Public access via Zoom ->  Passcode: 13579

Public Comment can be sent to the Select Board in advance of the meeting to and be read into the record by the Town Administrator or Chair of the Board.

 Live Public Comment from outside of the Finance Committee or Select Board members will not be accepted during the meeting.

  • DPW Facility Feasibility – Public Forum on Site Selection Options – Monday, August 15, 8pm

DPW Feasibility Reports / Presentations (scroll down the list to see these)

Mrs. Hein asked Mr. Keast if the possible area behind Pinecrest was available for a site walk.  Mr. Keast (back to camera) indicated that the exact location has not yet been marked out.

Mr. Ahern pointed out that every site has its pros and cons – the goal is to find “the best site.”

  • There will be an update on the Town’s Marshall St. Solar project BEFORE the DPW discussion at next Monday’s meeting.
  • There will be a Dangerous Dog Hearing on August 16, 2022, at 6:30pm.

Board Business: The Board took the following actions

  • Approved the Event Permit for the 10th (and last) Tim’s Trot 9-17-22 (3 – 4 pm)
  • Approved the Event Permit Rolling Meadow Drive Block Party 9-24-22 (3 – 10 pm)
  • Appointed Diana Phillips to the Agricultural Commission (term expiring June 30, 2023)

Other Business:

Mr. Cronin noted that the Town website is full of useful information, something that was not the case just a few years ago.  Check it out ->

The meeting adjourned BEFORE 9:00pm, at exactly 8:47pm.

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Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Claire Bresnahan on August 9, 2022 at 9:30 am

    Thanks for the detailed reporting.