Select Board Meeting 10/30/23

In attendance: Assistant Town Admin Kathleen Buckley, Clerk Benjamin Sparrell, Vice Chair Tina Hein, and Chair John Cronin.

Introduction of Part-Time Economic Development Coordinator, Melanie Hamblen

Assistant Town Administrator Kathleen Buckley introduced Ms. Hamblen to the Board.  The plan to hire Melanie was proposed by the Economic Development committee. Their plan was to post the position (recommended) to provide overall support and better communication with existing businesses as well as attract new business opportunities. Interviewed with panel including Economic Development Committee, Planning Board, and Kathleen Buckley. In subsequent interviews, Town Administrator was involved. The position was filled just over a week ago by Melanie Hamblen.

She has extensive experience from Franklin and is a small business owner.  She indicated she spent several years in resear4ch science. including Children’s hospital. (managed labs). In 2016 she and her husband bought Franklin Hardware in.  In 2017 ran for Franklin Town Council and was voted in. She’s chair of the economic development sub-committee. One of her goals is to reach out to Holliston businesses to make the connection between the town and the businesses and guide them through the processes which may be complicated for the business. She was glad that Holliston had already completed the MAPC study. Some projects take longer (zoning, etc.). and she feels public input is important in these changes. The Envision Holliston makes things a lot easier. (more information may be found on the Economic Development website.

Ben: Talk a bit about your experience in the drawing business: – Hollisto has a lot of very interesting features including rail trail and golf course. It depends on what peoplw ant to see here – reaching out to real estate (commercial) – they hear what people are looking for and they can provide feedback. Creating a network of information will help

Likes hearing some of the things she is doing with small business, especially given that she has a farming background and it’s important in Holliston and here experience will be invaluable (she has a farm where she sells chicken/eggs). It was when she bought Agway in Franklin and learned more about what she could do to help so created Agriculture Committee. This helps establish trust with the farmers and the government of the town.

Please keep us in the loop and let us know where we can help to support you in your position.

Tina:  You’re a slow reveal and we’re still learning more. Phenomenal addition to Town Hall and I’m not sure what I responded to more – research (science) I find the most intriguing. Your approach to finding common ground will be of tremendous value to Holliston.

Where can people find you? Melanie’s Office is in the basement of Town Hall with Land Use Group (sitting next to them) – her email is:

You can also find her on the Economic Development Committee website information.  Businesses will be getting a letter.

John: Your background will be valuable. One of the missing components of this position has always been the lack of a bridge between business and government. Encourage you to build relationships between all the stakeholders.  Holliston is open for business. We want businesses to come here and thrive.

Your committee (5 or 6 people) your role is reporting to the Town Administrator. Ultimately, your first introduction to Holliston businesses will come from our board and we’d like to see that letter by next week if possible. We’re glad to have you here it’s a great beginning for this role.

Next: Ben presented warrant which passed unanimously.

Public comments: No public comments

Ben: My monthly select-chat will be at the senior center at 9:30 – you don’t’ have to belong to the senior center, come and chat and have a cup of coffee.

Town Administrator (Assistant) Kathleen: Sent out strategic draft plan all boards and committees. We also asked for feedback by 11/13. Town Administrator will be putting this on a future board meeting. 

5th Annual humanitarian awards coming up at Town Hall Monday November 13th (reminder only)

Event Summary: Very well attended police/pumpkin patrol this weekend where children and family – chief says most well attended ever. The Recreation Dept also put on a successful Haunted house, which was also well attended.

Citation from State Senate congratulating on the opening of Blair Square. John mentioned the community farm also had a successful event. Likely the weather played a significant role in the attendance at all these events.

DPW Side letter requesting side letters – this has bene planned for a while to get side letter agreement between town and DPW Union regarding hoist certification. Started conversation regarding new grounds crew (2 added) shared with schools and recreation departments.  This has been a huge success thanks to the staff we hired.  They come in very good standing and all departments who worked with them over the summer were appreciative. We would like to have authorization to pay for their hoist licenses which would last until the contract negotiations (it’s not currently in the contract which expires in June 2024).

Question (John) – cost of hoisting license – is that cost afforded under the DPW budget? Yes – how many are we talking about (2). Ben thinks it is a good opportunity for folks and thinks it’s a good investment.  Tina has one question “how do these employees get selected for the hoisting license”?  Kathleen – they are the only two who do not have license and it’s an area of growth we can support because it helps them grow and allows them to perform tasks they cannot currently do. John: Do you need a vote from the Board? Kathleen: Yes. Ben makes motion, Tina seconds – motion passes unanimously.

Motion for an appointment to the Golf Course Advisory Board – Associate Director

Zach Luczyk – Deb Moore elaborated: The candidate is an avid golfer, he’s new in town, he is a corporate lawyer. Great addition to the committee. Younger, whereas most on the committee have been there a while or are older residents. A young/new face would be helpful, and he has a lot of background. He’s excited about joining and we’re excited to have him.

Motion to appoint Zach as an associate member (Ben) (Tina) second – question: Does he have a vote: Deb says no vote, he knows that – we will accept advice and comments and will help if someone does resign, and this provides an opportunity for him to get to know us and us to get to know him. Passed unanimously.

Registrars Appointment Mary Kinsella, term to expire April 2026 Motion made by Ben, second by Tina – passed unanimously.

One day Beer & Wine permit for WSK located at 24 Water Street, Bartending service is Bayside Bartenders from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (during open house) Ben made motion,

This is the new commercial kitchen in town registered 509A provides two licensed kitchens for events located in Mills artist lofts. Open studios will also be held during this time.  November 4th — Their website is (here)

Ben made a motion to waive the fee for the One Day Wine & Beer Alcoholic Beverage Permit for the Holliston Lions/Veteran’s Luncheon, November 11, 2023 at upper town hall. Tina seconded – Passed unanimously.

Ben made the motion for a One Day Wine & Beer Alcoholic Beverage Permit, Holliston Lions/Veteran’s Luncheon, November 11, 2023 11:00 am 2:00pm. Tina seconded – passed unanimously.

Ben made a motion to accept a donation from Holliston Superette for $400 for the nutrition program at Senior Center. Tina commented on this as a great example how the businesses in Holliston support the community.  Passed unanimously.

Meeting minutes for the last two meetings approved and 2nd – John abstained since he was not in attendance. Passed.

Ben made a motion to approve Fatima Shrine one-day beer and wine from 5pm to 9pm 11/5.  Tina seconded – passed unanimously.

The meeting paused for 15 minutes.

Hearing scheduled for 7:45 Hearing Holliston Gas, 585 Norfolk Street, Wine & Malt application. Public Hearing:

Motion to pen hearing made by Ben to consider application. – Tina seconded. Unanimous

Owner:  Ed Chula – Business opened in 2019 So far so good and no violations because we stick to the rules with tobacco. We also have a good system regarding checking IDs to avoid problems the register automatically requests ID.

There is a lot of demand from customers regarding beer and wine and since there is more and more demand, we have decided to move forward. It will not be an issue with children because we have the proper safeguards in place, and we are hoping the town will agree. John quipped that coming in the same night as the Economic Development Coordinator may not have been a coincidence!  Mr. Chula assured him it was a coincidence.

Ben has only one question: Are you making changes to layout? No, there will be no changes, we’ll be using the existing storage behind the coolers. Do you have one employee on staff and another monitoring? Yes, we have cameras and sufficient staffing.

Is the locations where beer and wine will be stored will those be locked? Mr. Chula indicates they would be willing to add locks if preferred by the board.

Tina Hein: Do you have other businesses where you sell beer and wine? Do you have other locations where you do business at all? His partner has a facility in Mendon but there are not any current locations selling alcohol.

Tina: What are you looking for? Mr. Chula: We have submitted the application and are looking for an exemption from the town.  We also want to ensure that we are complying with town rules.

In the normal course of things, we have received the application from the Administrator. The town does have two off-premises beer and wine licenses which were given to the town by the ABC which can be assigned to a business.

John: All abutters have been notified and have had no feedback. Asked for feedback from anyone on Zoom, no comments.

We will leave the public hearing open for feedback and will revisit at a later meeting. John asked Ben to add this review to the meeting agenda in two weeks at a time to be determined.

Other Business: John: We received a comment regarding signage at a crosswalk.

Ben: Max Emory is asking about crosswalk signs at Central Street near fire station. Are those signs in the pipeline? They would go around Ahronian Way and to the Hardware store. Uncertain if they are in the pipeline and we need to make sure the signage does not impede the fire department’s ability to see in either direction.

John introduces Zach Luczyk  – Since you joined us late we have approved your appointment to the Golf Course Advisory Board– Deb Moore spoke on your behalf. We’d like to give you the opportunity to talk. Thank you for volunteering. Zach: Looking forward to the appointment is a good way to meet people, and the group is great and I’m looking forward to learning from them. John: As a Golf Committee Alum thank you for volunteering. Welcome to Holliston.

Doreen Martel


  1. Shaw Lively on November 1, 2023 at 7:45 am

    thank you for this summary Doreen

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