Town Development
Extracted from the Norfolknet Notes.

This page contains all the posts related to the on-going town square commercial development that appeared on the Norfolknet webpage in the Local Notes section. They have been gathered here for convenience, but are also logged in the archives as usual.

See also the post from the Conservation Commission describing their role and limitations.

  • 5/29  9:21am   An update on the downtown moonscape: according to a letter on file with the Town of Norfolk Board of Health, the proposed waste-water discharge facility was found ``technically deficient,'' (meaning not meeting requirements), since the septic system could sometimes discharge above ground. Apparently groundwater elevations as described in the proposal do not match the maps the DEP has on file; a comparison of predicted seasonal water table elevations measured at several monitoring wells ``suggests a high probability exists for a breakout to occur ... For example, the predicted groundwater elevation at MW-7 [monitoring well 7?] will exceed the ground surface elevation by 7.4 feet, resulting in the emergence of effluent downgradient of the system.'' Thanks, but no thanks.
    Borrelli has 180 days to respond by proposing engineering modifications to fix the system, or 45 days to continue with the application as it reads; the DEP reserves up to 200 days for their review. Construction may commence sometime in the next 13 months, it seems. Given how long we've already been waiting, I'm sure the time will just fly.
    - AR

  • 5/25  7:47pm   To BH - Thank you for the Civics lesson. I quite honestly had no idea how naive I was about how undemocratic the Town Manager style of government is. I don't know for sure, but I have heard that there are more than a few towns using Town Managers to run their town. Should we do something about this? Turn them in to the authorities or something? Also, I know you have not talked to everyone in town as you admit, because I have talked to folks who have expressed both of the aforementioned positions, as well as many others (remember, that is what democracy is all about)? that I did not mention. And frankly, if all positions have to be "tenable" to be held, who decides that? and isn't that just smite undemocratic thinking? And let's get serious for a moment about "Vision." Does the appropriate Board envision a smoke free town, seeing the issue as a public health issue, or do they envision the town as being whatever the business community wants it to be in regard to smoking? Both positions are tenable to some, and untenable to others. This is not a case of state regulations but rather one of the vision of the town board. I also suppose you meant me (and others I guess) when you lectured about putting in time, becoming informed, being willing to work with others etc. In my own humble way I try to make a contribution. I certainly was not knocking any board or member of any board. I was only noting, from my democratic prospective, that the town was having trouble finding its identity and that perhaps it is time for a change of government style.
    - PLG

  • 5/25  3:11pm   Re: post of 5/24 5:26pm:
    ``. . . The problem I have is the lack of uniform vision for the town by the town fathers and mothers. Everyone wants something different for the town, ranging from bringing back the farms to wide open development. The different boards in town reflect this diverse vision and so our government by committee has to be slow, cumbersome and sometimes self defeating. Perhaps it is time to consider government by Town Manager.''
    Regarding the last four sentences:
    1. Your problem "is the lack of uniform vision for the town". How would you produce a "uniform vision"? We have a democracy, wherein the majority prevails. This is as it should be.
    2. "Everyone wants something different for the town, ranging from bringing back the farms to wide open development." I don't know anyone who holds either position, since both are untenable. It is obviously impossible to bring back the farms. Wide open development is clearly undesirable, and I know of no informed individual who wants this.
    3. What boards reflect this diverse vision? All of our boards and commissions are constrained by statute. They cannot prevent development if a developer submits a plan which meets all requirements of the statutes, Massachusetts Regulations, and local bylaws and regulations.
    4. Government by Town Manager would be getting away from the democratic government that we have now. Certainly we do not need a more autocratic style of government. Our Town Administrator does a lot of managing of Town affairs, but he reports to and is directed by the elected Selectmen, who are responsible to the electorate.
    If you see something in Town government that you might like to change, why not study it, confer with the current members of the appropriate board or commission, and consider becoming involved? Our last election showed little interest in Town government. Be aware that involvement takes a lot of time and effort, a willingness to work well with others, and an understanding of the statutes, CMRs (Code of Massachusetts Regulations), local bylaws, and local regulations. Involvement is not just "common sense" and showing up at meetings, but rather a lot of homework and study. Also, some educational and experience qualification for the position is needed inorder to be elected or appointed.
    - BH

  • 5/24  5:26pm   Just an added note by way of house valuations. We've been in Norfolk exactly 10 years and recently remortgaged our house. Our house value is twice the value it was ten years ago. I can't say the same about the amount of money we have in the bank. Jack McFeeley is right when he notes that the tax rate increase has been very modest. The problem I have is the lack of uniform vision for the town by the town fathers and mothers. Everyone wants something different for the town, ranging from bringing back the farms to wide open development. The different boards in town reflect this diverse vision and so our government by committee has to be slow, cumbersome and sometimes self defeating. Perhaps it is time to consider government by Town Manager.
    - PLG

  • 5/24  8:14am   I would also like to thank Selectman McFeeley as well. Perhaps someone could pass this along to the local newspaper for all to see. Real numbers and facts are always helpful in dealing with hearsay.
    I would like to add one other issue that many people don't factor into the equation and that is the increase in our house values. On a personal basis I believe the value of our house has gone up between 20% to 30% in the 3 1/2 years we have lived here (this is a modest estimate). Even taking into account the tax increases, this is a positive return which as many of us know has been difficult to attain in these recent years.
    If I were in need of the money that I've invested in my home in order to pay taxes, there are products out there such as reverse mortgages that could help me tap into my home investment.
    - BS

  • 5/23  3:42pm   I was prompted to write this because of the comments last week from KS that ``I'm curious of the tax issue that seems to be a hot topic here on the board.''
    To KS: You will find that talking about taxes and many other subjects on this board is always a hot issue especially if your conclusions are not challenged. In reality the alleged large tax increases vanish when you look at real numbers. We have had several override or debt exclusion votes in recent years (to ask for more money) which give the impression of continually increasing taxes when, in fact, they have been offset by taxes coming off the books. The net increase is then much less than people perceive. Please note my response to JM.
    To JM: I find your math surprising, if not improbable. If your taxes went up 60% in the last five years and you say you live in Norfolk then the value of your house must have gone up 78.4% in that same period because taxes have not gone up significantly. In fact, in the last five years the tax rate actually declined almost 10%. The assertion that taxes have increased to unaffordable levels (you say ``taxes are increasing and, at this rate, I won't be able to afford it in 5 more years'') is a fallacy.
    Let me use my own house as an example. These are the actual numbers for my property tax for the last seven years:

    Year	Tax Rate	Property Tax
    FY95	$16.69		$4,491.28
    FY96	$16.14		$4,343.26
    FY97	$15.80		$4,379.76
    FY98	$15.97		$4,604.14
    FY99	$17.58		$5,173.79
    FY00	$15.86		$4,835.71
    FY01	$14.69		$5,104.78
    FY02	$14.32		$5,342.78

    These data show that my property tax rose only 19% in seven years! Coincidentally, that's an average of 2 1/2 % compounded per year. Two and a half percent per year is exactly what Proposition 2 1/2 allows. Most towns in the Commonwealth are significantly above this rate. Unlike your assertion, Norfolk isn't!

    Other houses will show increases more or less than this depending how their value is assessed each year. If your property value did indeed go up over 78% in five years, I would hardly consider that a bad thing. Can you imagine the Selectmen being asked not to try to increase a homeowner's property value because their taxes will go up as well? Proposition 2 1/2 is actually a restriction on the town wide average not an individual average. This means that for every house which increases more than the 2 1/2 percent level there is also a proportionate number changing less than that level.
    Now let me address your other comment. You say that your water rate has increased 100%. I find that unlikely as well. However, I think I can help you there also. Please note that there is a difference between the term "water rate" and the term "water bill".
    If you look at your water bill you will see that it has three rate brackets. The average family of four will fall into the first two (under 50,000 gallons) so I will limit my example to that situation. Most people in town will be within that rate. I presume that you are below 50,000 gallons per each bi-annual billing period since you mention that, ``I do not wash my car, cannot water my lawn, and have one bath''.
    Yes, the rates did go up at the Water Department. However, this is the first rate increase that I have received in ten years of being on town water. One rate increase in ten years is darn good considering the capital investments that have taken place at the Water Department.
    According to the bill that I received just two weeks ago, the rates are $38.50 plus $3.29 for each 1000 gallons up to 50,000 gallons. Previously, they included the first 7,500 gallons in the $38.50. The only change that took place is the fact that you are now paying for the first 7,500 gallons at the $3.29 rate. Therefore, everyone's bill will show a flat increase of $24.68. The percentage rate increase will then depend on your consumption.
    There is absolutely no way your rate could increase 100% on a yearly basis.
    I've done some additional math:

    Consumption	Before		After		Percent
    (gallons)	Increase	Increase	Change
    1,000		$38.50		$41.79		8.5%
    7,500		$38.50		$63.18		64.1%
    10,000		$46.73		$71.40		52.8%
    25,000		$96.08		$120.75		25.7%
    50,000		$178.33		$203.00		13.8%

    If you are an average adult you will use about 2,000 gallons per month and multiples of that number for each additional adult in your household. Teenage children will usually use more. A family of four will then fall into the 50,000-gallon range. However, since you also gave everyone a lesson on bathing in your posting you may fall into a different category. The table above says that an average family of four will see about a 14% increase. This is the first increase in over ten years. Compare that to your cable rates or your electric rates.

    Finally, please note also that the Water Department does not send out bills every six months. Meters are usually read in April and then September. Don't ask me why. So if you used exactly the same rate all year long, your April bill will be (7/5) higher than your September bill without a rate increase. That's a forty percent change right there. You might be confusing this bi-annual skewness as a rate increase when it is just a billing cycle anomaly. If so, feel good. You will now see a large decrease in your September bill.
    Two other final notes . . .
    Unfortunately, despite what I said above, there are large tax increases looming on the horizon and this is another reason why we worked hard to avoid an override this year. These increases will be coming from the King Philip School upgrades. The full impact of the Middle School costs that were voted last year will be hitting the books within the next two years and the High School upgrades, which are likely to be voted this year, will follow shortly thereafter. I don't recall the exact figures, but we're talking about percentage increases initially in the double digits overall with the biggest hit occurring around year four of each project.
    The road repair program will go into full speed this summer. There will be over $800,000 spent this year alone. The tentative list of streets and other engineering work are posted (or will be) on the town website at
    - Respectfully, Jack McFeeley [Board of Selectmen]

  • 5/22  10:34am   To WB: What I was able to glean from the May 20 webcast of the Board of Selectmen meeting and the Town Administrator is as follows. I'm sure some of this is repetition for many of you, but was new to me. The plans for the Norfolk Commons development are two phases: Phase I is the retail location next to the town hall property and is proposed to include a supermarket, bank, restaurant, pharmacy, and office space. If all goes well, building should start this fall (may be affected by the Waste Water Treatment plans you mention). Phase II is proposed to be 36 two bedroom apartment units (900-1200 square feet), which will be age restricted to 55+ and will be located further up the hill (mixture of apartments and condos). 12 of these units will be low income housing. The feeling is this complements the town in increasing the tax base without adding to much to infrastructure costs (schools, etc.). This post is intended for information purposes and not to spur debate!
    - PDM

  • 5/22  8:47am   To PDM: Thank you for your efforts. I guess I need to eat some crow of sorts. I saw the BOH meeting last night and apparently the DEP has rejected the general design of the Waste Water Treatment for Norfolk Commons. The redesign will require new hearings with the Board of Health at least, and depending upon if relocation of the plant is required, maybe other boards as well. At least the redesign is not being paid for by the Town, we just pay for it in other ways ; ).
    - WB

  • 5/21  1:34pm   WB: Thank you for the information. I didn't mean to cast any criticism, only to get information to find out what was going on. Per your suggestion I have requested an update from the Board of Selectmen and will post any information they are able to release. Thanks again.
    - PDM

  • 5/20  6:36pm   To PDM: Regardless of what you hear, there are no town boards that are holding up this project. I assume that the Planning Board waiting on Department of Environmental Protection is just academic. The DEP review is out of their hands. As noted earlier on this board, the Department of Environmental Protection is currently reviewing the design of the wastewater treatment system. This particular wastewater treatment system is known as an "Amphidrome Process." Information on the system and the current DEP pilot program for this process can be found at the website: Scroll down to: "Renewal of Piloting Approval for the Amphidrome Process."
    A groundwater discharge permit application was submitted to DEP almost 10 months ago, (anyone who wishes to discharge more than 10,000 gallons per day into the ground must get a permit from the DEP). This review and the separate review of using an "innovative technology" for treating wastewater equals a while more, probably a long while too. Regardless of that fact, parts of the development that are not serviced by the wastewater treatment plant could have been built already. Maybe the Board of Selectmen should ask for and then make public a status update from the developer and a time table for the project.
    - WB

  • 5/20  1:42pm   Is there any information on this site or elsewhere about the current plans/timelines for the center of town? I'm tired of looking at a big pile of dirt being pushed around!
    - PDM

  • 5/19  7:18pm   HPK, I hope the Island slows folks down coming and going from Main onto Boardman and from Boardman onto Main. Getting out of my driveway is a real test of patience almost any time of day, but especially with the morning and in the evening train traffic. Most folks think that the sign on the corner of Main and Boardman says "glance down Main and roar thru." On the other end, getting into the driveway from the center on Main St. is almost suicidal. If you put your blinker on before you reach Boardman, drivers think you're turning down Boardman; if you wait 'til you're almost even with Boardman they are too busy "GDMART" to realize you're turning into the drive. Those maneuvers put a different meaning to the phrase "Taking your life in your hands." For years we used to watch folks try to get through the turn in the winter without going into Cliffs for an unscheduled stop, but alas the new braking systems on cars have almost put an end to that. You're probably not grumpier than any other resident in Norfolk lately but a cup of tea will probably help.
    - JW
    [GDMART  1. vi Behavior of some car drivers, observable at the Main / Boardman corner, characterized by mis-reading the STOP sign to mean ``hurry through if there is a chance you can beat the cross-traffic'' 2. adj Term used to describe the behavior of drivers that do not exercise due caution. See also TYLIYH. [regional acronym] - Wm.]

  • 5/18  6:32pm   Actually, AR, what Boardman St. needs is a "local traffic only" sign, and the darn motorists from Franklin can drive through the center of town instead. Not to mention the large earth-moving vehicles, landscaping trucks, tractor-trailers...
    I was the only Boardman St. resident to attend a public meeting on this intersection about a year ago, and Butch Vito from the Highway Dept. said that the island and the reconstruction should slow traffic down as they're turning from Main St. onto Boardman. I hope so, since sooner or later they're going to encounter my blind driveway.
    - HPK, grumpy Boardman St. resident, needing a cup o'tea

  • 5/18  1:16pm   So what's the deal with the Boardman/Main St. intersection? Since I've lived in town, there were ``realignments'' at 115/Pine St. and 115/Union, and both are more difficult to navigate now than before they were ``fixed.'' Looking at the proposed redesign for Boardman/Main St., it's going to be 3 for 3. What that intersection needs is separate left and right-turn lanes out of Boardman, and a traffic cop at rush hour. What it is getting is an island. Gee, how pretty! but paying for a wider road without additional usable lanes seems pretty pointless. So, what is going in there?
    - AR

  • 5/17  4:06pm   To CP and MD: the area downtown next to the library (aka the moonscape/pebble beds/Norfolk Commons) is privately owned. 5 years ago, there was a large hillside there, much of which was hauled away after site approval for stores was granted. No specific lot plans have been approved, and nobody's quite sure what might be built there. At Town Meeting this week, the Planning Board indicated that the developer's waiting for DEP to approve plans for a wastewater treatment plant. Previous website discussions about this location are at [collected here].
    To KS: the tax issues are pretty much the same across this region of MA - lots of residential growth places more of a burden on the infrastructure than is supported by property taxes, leading to either cuts in services or Prop 21/2 overrides.
    - VR

  • 5/17  3:16pm   Looking for homes in Norfolk area... drove thru the other day and was curious what is getting built next to town hall... strip mall? grocery? Are there any development plans for the center or surrounding area that have been approved haven't begin? what are they? Thanks!
    - MD

    Norfolk's new Town Hall, 36K

  • 5/16  8:55pm   To CP: The moonscape is the area around the Town Hall, which is the building that looks like a hotel. To KS: Move to Medfield where you get more bang for your buck.
    - MSH
    [That's pretty funny; I laughed :-) And since apparently not all people recognize it on sight, I linked to a photo of the new Town Hall building. Click on the picture for the larger view. - Wm.]

  • 5/16  10:17am   No JW, I've lived here for 5 years and moving because my taxes are increasing and, at this rate, I won't be able to afford it in 5 more years. Resale ... shmeesale, I KNOW my property value has increased (it doesn't take a new library or a rocket scientist to figure that out) and I would love to stay in Norfolk. It is a beautiful town and the people are great and I love my house and planned on adding on instead of moving (as our family grows!). I know of many people who live in our town much longer than I have who are considering the same unfortunate fate ... move from somewhere you love because you cannot afford it. Inept decision-making is forcing this upon many of us. TMB is so right ... no accountability for the ridiculousness of projects or lack thereof. As for nothing to show for it ... I speak of the increases themself. We are promised new roads ... they have marked our street every year for repaving (which it so desperately needs) and never gets done. And just what, pray tell, will increasing the water rates 100% do to increase the supply available to EXISTING RESIDENTS???
    - JM

  • 5/15  10:28pm   My goodness, I really rattled your cage JM didn't I. You can be sure that anytime you are sitting next to me on a subway or any place else, you won't get a foul odor. You've lived in town for 5 years and are moving, gee, big surprise. Resale value must mean a lot to you, for me and mine it doesn't even own a small space in our vocabulary. This family has been here for nearly 50 years and we still aren't considered townies, but I wouldn't trade my space in this wonderful little town for anything. As far as nothing to show for it, look around, what else could you want. You travel to the city (I assume to work) and see what it is like there, most of my family works in Norfolk so we spend most of time right here.
    - JW

  • 5/15  3:56pm   TO JT: Those who are only interested in property values and not the fiscal well being of the town, show selfishness and not pride in the community.
    - MSH

  • 5/15  3:35pm   In reference to the low voter turnout in the recent election, my husband and I would have voted had we been aware that there was an election! We didn't see any signs (uncontested seats), and didn't receive any reminders that we could think of.
    In reference to water conservation, I think it's a good idea, and everyone's responsibility. I live on a street where half the homes, built in the 1960's, are on wells, and the newer ones, built in the 1990's, are on town water. I have sensed a different attitude among neighbors who have wells, they must think they have an unlimited water supply. One just installed an underground sprinkler system! I recycle my pool cover water, and am with the train of thought to run only full dishwashers and washing machines.
    - CR

  • 5/15  12:21pm   To MSH [ref]: You're right. A library alone does not help property values. As to the reference to Dover, they have one of the best school systems in the state. They must be putting money into it wisely. Perhaps we should follow their example?
    - JT

  • 5/15  11:07am   To JW: Please!!! We all know that water is a precious commodity but when it comes to general hygene you're taking this a bit too far. Let me ask you; have you ever sat on the commuter rail or the MBTA on a HOT summer day and felt sick from the smell of those around you? Well I have ... it is just plain gross, the stagnant smell of uncleanliness. Humans sweat, it is a biological fact ... and it must be counteracted by a thorough cleansing ... DAILY!!!
    Having said that, I will agree there are ways in which to conserve our water supply. Some can be accomplished by the citizens and some can be accomplished by our (ahem) elected officials ... Has the idea that all of these new houses in town with 2 1/2 or 3 baths and sharing EQUALLY the cost of water with Franklin concerned you? Franklin ... ripe with corruption of overdevelopment in the 80's is usurping most of the water from our supply, yet we (Norfolk residents) suffer!!! Hike their rates 100% see how they like it (I just received my bill and that was the increase from last year and I do not wash my car, cannot water my lawn, and have one bath!!!)
    I have lived in Norfolk only 5 years and have seen my taxes increase almost 60% and now water increasing 100%. You can empathize, having lived here 50 years, your taxes, I am sure, have increased many hundred times over. We are now looking to relocate to another part of the country with the fear of the elimination of Prop 2 1/2, constant increases in taxes with nothing to show for it, and now a suggestion that we carry a bucket into the shower with us!!! Too much.......
    Hey, here's a great idea for the town ... corporate taxes generate income...!!!!!!!!!!!
    - JM

  • 5/15  9:01am   I hear that even with all the rain we have had, there is still a water problem in our town. They have even discussed banning people with wells from using their water outdoors. "Well," we used our well until about 4 yrs. ago. Then we decided to get town water. We kept one outside faucet hooked up to the well for outdoor use. I just wanted to share a few ways that our family has conserved water since coming to town in 1953. Until recently, we had a saying, "Don't flush for everything." We have never owned a dishwasher, I do have a husband that does a decent job of doing the dishes and while doing the dishes we turn off the water between items being scrubbed. We do not take showers everyday and then they are only long enough to get clean. I can shower and wash my hair in less than 5 minutes. My family is a little more pampered their showers may last 7 to 10 minutes. Only very little children get baths. Oh that probably had a few of you swooning. When we brush our teeth, we shut off the water during the actual brushing. My washing machine has never seen anything but a full load. We have always conserved water and continue to do so with town water. Our water bill is a fraction of some other folks I know. So I guess what I am trying to say, is that everyone in town, well or town water, can and should do everything they can to preserve this precious commodity.
    - JW

  • 5/15  8:48am   To JO: The property on Seekonk Street is the Meadowbrook Farm. The new property owner will be pursing plans to develop up to 12 house lots. A hearing has been scheduled with the Zoning Board of Appeals for May 22nd. Alas, more local history soon to be gone.
    To JN: I urge caution with the use of the "" data base as the information is over 3 years old from 1999. Realize that a majority of the chemical usage in Norfolk is attributed to one location - Camger Chemical. Is this information correct, I'm not completely sure; is the information complete, I'm sure it isn't.
    - AB

  • 5/14  10:17am   In the Sun Chrono today there is a real estate notice of land being sold for $1 million on Seekonk St. Is this the area at the beginning of Campbell St.? - with a large outcropping of rock? How many homes are proposed for this area?
    - JO

  • 5/13  6:44pm   To JT [ref]: People who are only interested in the resale value of their home and not the fiscal well being of the town will probably only live in Norfolk five years or less and move out leaving the rest of us to solve the fiscal mess they and others leave us. By the way Dover has a much smaller library than the one Norfolk is going to build and I don't see home values dropping in Dover. Do you?
    - MSH

  • 5/13  10:46am   It's easy to blame town officials for the current state of Norfolk. And certainly, voter apathy is an easy and accurate target. For me, it is not whether there should be investments in town projects. Improvements to the town increase resale value as JT points out. What concerns me is the lack of quality in recent projects. Projects are started, but then corners seem to be cut & nobody is happy. Either that or the planning wasn't adequately done at the beginning. The town Center is of course the obvious example. But drive around town and you see many more. The intersection of Rt. 115 and Union Street? Somebody actually designed that? We built a new elementary school and within just a few years needed a prop override to expand it! The extensive (& costly?) planning that went into attracting businesses to Rt. 1A - resulting in 2 after several years. "Norfolk" Power Equipment? Water well #3 discussed on these pages? Drive 1A - compare Wrentham, Norfolk & Walpole.
    A small, but I suspect common example, of how good intentions without adequate planning & an expectation of quality end up producing results that hardly add value for any of us: I live near Union & King Streets and for FOUR years there has been a relatively minor re-layout of a section of Union & King street. The last steps? Pave the road - then dig a trench across the new pavement and unevenly patch it; place the intersection at such an angle that cars & school buses drive across the edges; stack stones for a rustic stone wall so some are already falling down; end the new pavement without evenly patching the old road where water lines were put in at the beginning of the project (4 years ago); dump loam and grass seed on the street corners - on a slope so the seed washes away & the soil runs off. If I produced this kind of "quality" in a project at work, I'd be fired.
    We have the potential for a beautiful town where it should be a delight to live & raise a family. Our tax burden is outrageous for what we have. And we continue to make investments but don't ever improve the core of the town. My suggestion? It is time to do the hard stuff. Should the library be expanded? Sure. Can we afford to? I'd say let's finish some of our other "projects" first. The same should be true for every budget line item. Show me the plan to finish the existing projects & we can talk about the next ones. The Town Center must be resolved - that will increase resale value. Business must be attracted (preferably to the Rt1A area) - that will ease some tax burden & increase resale value. I'm sorry, but if I couldn't manage my budgets at work, they may find somebody who could, but they certainly wouldn't increase and give me more to manage.
    - TMB

  • 5/10  5:20pm   To MSH [ref]: How can you call the Library Expansion "drunken sailor syndrome"? Expanding the library is a much overdue, necessary INVESTMENT in the town. It is right up there with putting money into the schools. Can you say "resale value"? ....
    - JT

  • 5/10  4:37pm   To TEM [ref], a few of the most recent examples of the drunken sailor syndrome are the library expansion, burying the utilities in the center of town, and 10% increases in certain town department budgets when the inflation rates are less than 2%.
    - MSH

  • 5/10  8:24am   Okay, MSH [ref], to borrow your metaphor, fire up the oven. Just what are and what have been those "unnecessary town projects" you speak of? This may be somewhat of an unreasonable request considering the space limitations of this forum, but your statements do require a few specifics, at the very least.
    - TEM

  • 5/10  8:21am   I also viewed the latest Water Dept meeting and I agree with NS. There were comments that were not germane to the issue. Putting a bucket in the shower as a conservation effort is beyond belief especially if one has to lug it two flights down. (My arthritic knee is already objecting.)
    What came out of the meeting is the lack of data (numerical) as to where we are, what is the supply on hand, limits of growth, etc. Perhaps we should be issuing a pamphlet to prospective buyers that we face some water problems in the town that they should be aware of.
    Let's push for a template that is meaningful and devote our effort to analyzing our base system.
    I am willing to devote time to this if we can compile what the current concerns are and the sources that promulgate the requirements
    - JO

  • 5/9  9:48am   Water Commissioners Meeting
    Just finished viewing the meeting on local access; it was a very informative meeting about water issues in Norfolk. The main issue that I came away with is that the Town would still have a water supply issue even if had rained every day for the last year. It seems that based on existing infrastructure we plainly cannot keep up. New housing does not help matters. I also learned that the town has had issues with permitting a new pump station that has been ongoing for ELEVEN years. I would like to find out more about that. We need to come up with long term solutions instead of band-aid approaches to this problem. Some band-aid solutions mentioned at the meeting were to introduce zoning for new housing to limit the size of a new lawn, another was complete ban on new private irrigation wells, and another was ban all watering even if you have a private well. They bantered about allowing landscapers and builders to only plant certain drought resistant species. What's next? Why limit it to that. Have the town tell us when and how long we can take a shower, what type of gas guzzlers we can drive, how many baths for your kids each week (insert sarcasm). My main point being is that its an infrastructure problem and a State Metering allotment problem. Band-aid approaches may or may not help. The water is there; let's focus on getting the long awaited station permitted. I'm in complete favor of water savings and by no means want this post to sound otherwise but the water problem in Norfolk has existed long before there was a lack of rain. We should all have low flow shower heads, (very cheap $$) shut off water while brushing teeth, shaving, washing pans. I have a private well and conserve every day, not because of water issues but because of electricity issues and the ever increasing skyrocketing bill I receive due to the fact the my well is very deep and need a high horsepower pump to operate. (not to mention deregulation). Let's do a rain dance :))
    - NS

  • 4/21  10:26am   I think that the recent discussion on this site regarding development pressures in Norfolk, and the Planning Board's plan for dealing with them, illustrates the need for a very public debate on the question of how we should go about attacking the problems being brought to us by escalating residential development. Mr. Fitzpatrick seems to suggest that his strategy is to "build our way out of it," by encouraging more commercial development. While there have been some successes so far in this regard, I think it is fair to say that the town center project is a dismal failure at this point, and the limited commercial development that has taken place has provided little restraint on the rapid rise of our tax bills. Also, encouraging commercial development obviously does nothing to alleviate the environmental and aesthetic impacts of residential growth. The other approach is to attack the growth itself. Can anyone tell me honestly that our existing laws and regulations restrain residential development to the greatest extent legally possible? If not, then this is a debate we need to have. I think NAGS is a great idea, and can serve as a catalyst for involving the broader community. As the process gets moving, various people involved in the effort may indeed choose to run for office, as Mr. Fitzpatrick suggests. We need at least a dozen volunteers to get this off the ground. Who will volunteer?
    - WB

  • 4/20  3:29pm   To TF: To say that meetings are held every Thursday evening is a typical response from members of the town boards. My experience is that board meetings have pre-set agendas and the topics may or may not be of interest to someone popping in. I would like to see the boards post their agendas so that town residents can attend those meetings which capture their interest. For instance, a person may attend a Planning Board meeting one week and a Board of Health meeting the next night or week. This post is not a criticism of TF or the Planning Board, but a request for all boards to post their agendas so that all citizens have an opportunity to share their thoughts on issues of particular interest to them.
    - RN

  • 4/20  8:09am   I have to comment with credit given to DAF about "the patriotism angle." What PR stated is certainly true, that as a land owner you have certain rights to develop a property. However, as I have experienced first hand, there is a wide and blurry line between property rights and the land owner's "claim of entitlement." The last time I checked these two are mutually exclusive. When a developer has a desire to balance development with common courtesy and a willinginess to work with a Town Board, what may be viewed as common sense development is really a Board and developer finding a middle ground where the property owner is flexible in his expectation of "entitlement." When someone wishes to wipe every single piece of vegetation off the entire limit of his development, entitlement becomes a point of contention and the general lack of common courtesy is evident by the seemingly defiant nature of a developer that he is going to do whatever he wants. If a Board denies the project as proposed, the Town gets sued. The question is who is out of line? Instead I'll pose a question to that question - If some developers can plan a development that is aesthetically pleasing and meets the requirements of a Town Board then why can't all of the developers? With more credit to DAF the point about ForeKicks is a great example of how things can work. The people and development team for ForeKicks had a good, solid plan in order to meet their goal of building this facility. They knew what they could compromise on and what they needed. If my memory serves me correctly, the total time to review this develoment by the Town Boards was less than 4 months. This development broke ground after CMGI Field and will be 100% complete before CMGI field (including the parking and other infrastructure improvements) is finally the mean time we still has a dust bowl in the center of Town.
    - AB

  • 4/19  11:32am   Response to Tony Fitzpatrick, Chairman, Norfolk Planning Board: Thank you for making us aware that the board has planning sessions open to the public. Could you post the time and place of these sessions on this website? It would be more efficient than having every interested person contact Lois.
    - RN

  • 4/18  8:14pm   A fellow goes out of town on business for week and look what happens.... Where to start. Basically, VR's post in my defense, was pretty much what I'd say. Maybe I should go away more often. :-)
    A couple of additions. I'm not sure if Tony was trying to draw me out of anonymity or if he was just jumping to conclusions, but as it so happens, I already volunteer for two town committees, although it shouldn't really matter, frankly. As a citizen I should be able to get straightforward answers to my questions about the Planning Board's intentions for our town. I definitely understand the defensiveness though - here you fellows give up your time trying to do what you think is right for the community and the darn community seems to be full of complaints. Been there.
    PR's argument is, I'm sorry to say, kind of shallow. What should I do if I don't like some aspect of a decision (or lack thereof) made by the School Committee or the the Board of Health, or the Council on Aging, or the Historical Commission? I should just join all of the boards? Isn't that something people in town have complained mightily about - that there are too many of the same people involved in the various aspects of our governance?
    As for the patriotism angle PR rolls out - it always surprises me when conservatives forget about the "conserve" part of their chosen ideological perch. Teddy Roosevelt, that dear old Republican, established the U.S. Forest Service and the 1906 Antiquities Act under which he proclaimed 18 national monuments. He also obtained Congressional approval for the establishment of five national parks and 51 wildlife refuges and set aside land as national forests. Tree hugger, I guess. Preservation law is a lot more of a grey area than the stuff you'd find on Law and Order or Judge Judy. It's often about interpretation.
    As for the NIMBY comment... if people used half of the energy they expend in coming up with derogatory names for people they disagree with and applied it to actual problem-solving, the town, and the world, would be a better place. How can a town with 2 and a half prisons be accused of NIMBYism? NIMBY originally was a name for people who seek to exclude housing developments because the residents would be homeless shelter clients, prisoners, poor, disabled, or because of their race or ethnicity. Well, that certainly isn't what NAGS is about. NAGS wants growth - just smarter growth. Growth with a plan.
    It all depends on where you start out. NAGS says we want to keep the best parts of our natural and historic environment and then fit the growth around that. Fore Kicks, which Tony raises, is a great example. I didn't hear a peep out of anyone arguing against Fore Kicks. Why? Because the project made sense -- it was using space that was essentially a "greyfield" and putting it to good use. That project zipped through the town boards and committees like Ex Lax through a frog.
    I'll call Lois this week and get NAGS put on the Planning Board agenda as soon as they can fit it into their busy schedules. Then I'll post here asking any fellow NAGS to show up.
    - DAF

  • 4/18  12:56pm   To DAF:
    I am glad to see that my reply to your note has evoked some response by the people who visit this site. I got involved with the Planning Board four years ago despite a busy law practice and having four young children because I viewed many areas of town to be a blank canvas. We have long had a need for commercial development and other sources of revenue that would not bring tax dollars with little impact on our schools, etc., such as age restricted housing, and the lure of being part of the process was just too strong.
    I hope that many of you will feel the same way about our little town. It's a great place to live and raise a family, but it cannot remain that way if the burden of town services continues to be placed solely upon its residents. The Planning Board has put considerable effort into zoning changes designed to make Norfolk more friendly to commercial development. So far these efforts have yielded Jofran, Fore Kicks, and two 55-plus developments that are presently before us. We continue to push hard for action in the town center and look forward to seeing other suitable projects as well.
    Norfolk continues to evolve. I encourage your attendance at our meetings and those of the ZBA, PBC, Board of Selectmen, Board of Health, etc. They are all public meetings which, unfortunately, only seem to be attended by immediate abutters of new projects. Even more importantly, the same faces (and very few faces, i might add) show up at town meeting. The result is that 10,000 people end up living with the rules set for them by 100 or less! By the time Town Meeting is in its latter stages, most of the people there are those who serve on town boards! Not everyone can find the time to be on town boards, but we owe it to ourselves to participate in the process. Norfolknet is a great place to start, but I urge everyone to talk to their neighbors and friends on the street, at the Post Office, Dunkin Donuts, wherever. Come to a meeting. Put Town Meeting on your calendar or your Palm Pilot... and get there. If you plan on staying in town, we need to hear from you. Thanks, DAF, for getting this started.
    - TF

  • 4/18  9:00am   The suggestion regarding NAGS (love the name) is an excellent one, perhaps one of those ideas whose time has come. Over the years, I have also heard how "hard" it is for developers to crack this town, yet, it seems to me, that every time I turn around another development or new house appears. Growth is a crucial issue and it's good to see that there are folks on norfolknet who are becoming more and more concerned. Has DAF's intention to meet with the Planning Board to discuss town development been scheduled? If so, I would like to tag along. Please advise regarding date and time. If it has already taken place, please let us know what was accomplished.
    - TEM

  • 4/16  2:46pm   There's a place in society for volunteer groups - and in the best of all possible worlds, it's a place that complements the work of elected officials. One does not, after all, say to members of the Red Cross that they should run for elected office in order to make a difference in the world. Nor does one say that to members of the ADL, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, or a host of other groups whose members donate their time to further a cause that's important to them and to what they see as the general welfare of society.
    Some of us may have served town government before, and some may run for elected office in the future, but we may not be able to make the significant time commitment required of a board member at this time in our lives. That does not mean that we do not care about our town, or that we're unwilling to work for its betterment. And a citizens' group of like-minded people may offer a vehicle for some to do just that.
    It's interesting, too, that the mention of a group is automatically seen as a challenge to the existing boards. Perhaps it's the acronym, which I assumed was set up in jest, that triggered this response. Otherwise, reading the posts that led up to discussion of forming such a group, one sees simple concern about where the town is headed, with a few basic questions repeated over and over again: What is going to happen downtown? What process allowed the development of the moonscape? What, if anything, can be done to prevent it from happening again? What's being done about the rate of residential growth in town and its attendant impact on our water and schools? What controls, if any, do the town by-laws place on such growth? Yet there's been no response by town officials, even in response to a direct request for comment via this webpage, leaving residents to wonder just what their position is on these matters.
    DAF and Mr. Fitzpatrick are both right - any concerned residents should first go to the Planning Board meetings to get a sense of where they're headed. Given the interest in these issues, it may well be that more than one resident (i.e. a group) will show up to learn what measures the town has already set up, and what else can be done as Norfolk continues to grow.
    - VR

  • 4/16  11:12am   Doesn't NAGS really stand for NIMBY (not in my back yard)? I certainly do not agree with some of the tactics some builders choose to develop their properties, but the last time I checked my birth certificate this was still America, the land of the free, the home of the brave, the land of capitalism. As long as someone works within the guidelines of the rules and regulations governing whatever endeavor they are undertaking, I say more power to them. I also agree with Mr. Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Planning Board. Instead of going off and creating these do-gooder groups, run for an elected office, donate the time, and assist in the due process we are all entitled. By the way, our little town of Norfolk is known in the developer circles as having the toughest regulations and process for permitting around. Many of them choose to stay away completely. Seems like our Town Government is doing the job of controlling growth as best it can.
    - PR

  • 4/14  10:17pm   AB's post suggesting repeaters on locations like the water tank is worth pursuing. Even monopoles can be camouflaged to reduce the spike appearance. The thought has come up before but hasn't been looked at.
    Who can be assigned to see if we have a potential revenue source? In the meantime, I don't believe these rights should be given to other than the town. What do you think??
    - JO

  • 4/13  4:15pm   To DAF: The Planning Board meets every Thursday evening at 8:00 PM. I suggest you contact Lois Boucher, the Board Administrator to find out when the next planning session is. The meetings are always open to the public. The Board has spent countless hours on its own and with its consultants in developing its growth management plan. The results can be seen around town in the form of open space developments. The new estate lot by-law is also garnering a lot of interest. If you believe that the Board's efforts are of such a low level of detail, here is a better suggestion than the formation of "NAGS" - run for office.
    - Tony Fitzpatrick, Chairman, Norfolk Planning Board

  • 4/11  10:46am   To DAF and VR - I have been thinking about organizing a group of citizens interested in working to moderate the impact of residential development on the environment and fiscal health of the town of Norfolk. I would like to involve members of several existing citizens groups that are fighting specific development proposals. My idea would be to examine the ways in which laws and regulations can be used to reduce the pace of development, the impact of that development, or both. Ideally, we would work cooperatively with the relevant boards and committees in town. If you, or anyone else reading this, is interested in being involved, please e-mail me at
    - WB

  • 4/11  10:45am   VR, Capping permits issued is definitely something that can be done. I know that Barnstable put one in place just last summer (see this page and the ordinance itself). It is too early to say what the result will be for that town. You'll note that the Planning Board was a sponsor, however. Which brings me back to my request for fellow concerned citizens who'd like to join me in meeting with the Planning Board to see what their vision is. It seems that the Planning Board always has lots of items for the town warrant that are, frankly, at such a low level of detail that I have no idea what their overall philosophy is.
    It only makes sense to allow these folks who generously give their time to the town the courtesy of letting them make their views known. Looking at what has been happening in town, one might jump to the conclusion that the Planning Board is turning a blind eye to these growth issues. But before we start petitions and so forth, let's give them a chance to make their stance clear. If they are asleep at the switch, or so mired in the minutiae that they can't come up with the high level strategy, well then I'll be right there with you collecting signatures, VR.
    What if we call our little group Norfolk Alliance for Growing Smarter - NAGS? :-)

  • 4/10  3:20pm   Sounds like a Golf Course would limit the growth of homes and even bring revenue into the town - JB

  • 4/10  11:48am   Has there ever been an attempt to limit the rate of residential growth in Norfolk? It's well known that each new house costs the town more in services than it pays in taxes; with that in mind, is there a reason to permit unrestricted development of the remaining open space?
    Some specific questions: Has there been, or would there be, interest in capping the number of building permits issued, for example, or in otherwise regulating development to slow down the impact on our infrastructure? Does such a concept of slow-growth exist in our current long-term planning? Does anyone have experience with this from other towns, or any idea of what it would involve? Could it be initiated by residents, perhaps on a referendum basis? I'd be interested in working on such an initiative
    - VR

  • 4/10  10:39am   Thanks for the thoughtful post Walter. That helps put it in perspective, and quells fears. I'm glad we have you on the Committee! In other news, I've made some contact with a speaker who can educate us on coherent regional planning, walkable neighborhoods, and attractive, accommodating civic spaces. After chatting with him a bit, however, it occurred to me that we should probably meet with the Planning Board first to get their take on development before we start bringing in experts to educate us. Heck, maybe they have the whole thing figured out. We can't take their silence on the subject here as meaning anything at all. So, who wants to join me to meet with the Board to discuss their vision on town development? I'll set up a meeting. Don't make me go by myself!

  • 4/10  9:51am   I am a member of the CPA Committee, and I would like to respond to the question posed regarding the tax title land. The CPA Committee has looked at the tax title land list. These properties are generally small, and many are not developable. I believe that those that can be developed would support only 1-2 houses. Using CPA money to purchase land to stop it from being developed is not at all an absurd idea. In fact, I am confident that we will propose exactly that to Town Meeting in the future. However, it is important that we maximize the "bang for the buck" with these purchases, and ensure that the citizens get a good return for the money they invest (along with state matching funds) in land preservation. Therefore, we need to act cautiously, and not to try to jump in and purchase every piece of land that comes up for sale. Also, we do not have access to funds yet, and I believe we will not have access until July. Finally, any purchase must be approved by Town Meeting. For these reasons, I don't believe that CPA money can be used [for] the tax title land about to be auctioned.
    - Walter Branson, CPA Committee

  • 4/9  6:08pm   It sounds absurd, but I wonder if the Community Preservation Committee could use CPA money to buy the tax title land from the town in order to preserve it as open space (if, in fact, that is what it is)? This is a win-win - the town gets the money to apply to immediate pressing needs and the land doesn't become another shoddily built subdivision.
    - DAF

  • 4/9  11:26am   If you watched the Selectmen's meeting tonight (4/8/02) you heard that development in Norfolk is not slowing down. According to Mr. Markel, last year there were 31 housing permits pulled compared to 19 already this year. While this development certainly brings in new tax revenue the continued strain on Town services becomes greater and greater. As you may have seen earlier in the evening that the Town is planning on auctioning off land that the Town has taken for non-payment of taxes. This auction is to raise revenues for the Town and would also add to the taxes taken in by the Town. The issue seems to be vaguely discussed but suggested that more money will be brought in through this auction if the property can be developed. To me, marketing this tax title land with this strategy is very shortsighted as the potential income the Town receives from the auction sales would never make up the differences for the cost of the related and required increases in Town services and taxes collected on this property in the future, if developed. The Town's Tax Collector made it known that there are no guarantees on the properties and that the interested parties must do their own due diligence. The last Selectmen's meeting made it well known that there is dwindling money for further legal expenses. As we have seen in this Town there are developers that will do and try anything. If a marginal piece of property is acquired by a developer in the auction, and a Town Board denies the project, for a valid reason, the results will be additional legal fees for the Town. It seems to me what would make the most sense would be for the properties being put up for auction should be offered to the abutters first with the provisions that the property can't be developed i.e.: with a house. However, a garage, barn, shed, or other lot improvements would be acceptable since it adds to the taxes taken in but doesn't impact the Town services.
    With the rate of house construction not slowing down, it seems that a user impact fee or a lot release fee should be implemented to increase the Town's revenues. There are some of the surrounding Towns that charge several thousand dollars to release a lot. Another idea that the Town could capitalize on is cell towers. The water tank in the center of Town is an idea location to locate several repeaters on the exterior of the tank without the visual impact of a lattice tower or mono-pole tower that line the highways. The potential revenue is 10's of thousands of dollars per year.
    - AB
    [Giving abutters first chance to purchase is a really good idea! It brings in some money to the town, and can possibly save much aggravation the abutters. And in a way, it's a simple courtesy. - Wm.]

  • 4/8  9:49pm   To DL: It is true that developers will go into a site, remove all the trees and gravel - for one reason only, GREED. I have been told by a reputable Builder that the price of the lot can sometimes be made up by the selling of the gravel and to a lesser extent, the wood. Also makes it much easier for construction vehicles, running pipe, putting in lawns etc. They really don't care about the aesthetics as the homes will sell anyway and they will be long gone when drainage problems, lawn problems arise, not to forget erosion.
    - [Name withheld]

  • 4/8  9:49pm   Response to TMB, dated 4/5, 9:08, I also would love to see a bakery as good as Iggy's; however, I beleive Iggy is doing incredible business in Watertown and might be reluctant to start a new place. He immigrated from a Slavic country, opened his first bakery in Hyannis Ma., where he sold his fine breads to restaurants, most on Cape Cod. I originally became addicted from eating his bread at Ciro and Sal's in Provincetown about 20 years ago. His reputation for fine foods grew and to our delight moved to Watertown several years ago. For those that have not been to the bakery, the store itself is smaller than the storefront in Norfolk, though the bakery itself is quite large. He continues to supply the better restaurants in Boston, Cambridge and surrounding towns in addition to the markets mentioned. All Bread and Circus Markets carry his products in addition to Pain D'auvIgnon (sp) which I've heard was a bakery started by a fellow employee of Iggy. It would be carbo-heaven to have an Iggy's in Norfolk. Oh the croissants! Let's go for it.
    - TM

  • 4/5  9:08am   TMB - some folks have called for another pharmacy to fill that space. Personally, I think an Iggy's would be great. For those who aren't familiar with it, Iggy's is a small bakery in Watertown that often gets Best of Boston awards. They sell "old-fashioned, naturally leavened, hearth- baked breads made from ingredients that have not been chemically treated in any way" and are available at a price "for all people." If you can't make it to the retail store in Watertown, Iggy's breads can be found at various stores in and around Boston (Bread & Circus, Savenor's, select Star Markets) or ordered by mail.
    On the other hand, I do think Norfolk could support an ice cream parlor (maybe it's just me, but I wince every time I drive past the closed-for-the-season Bubbling Brook on my way home on winter nights). Actually, I know it isn't me according to Brigham's, New Englanders enjoy a hearty 39 pints of ice cream annually, or about 14 pints more per year than the average American. In fact, in the delusional go-go late 90's, when I thought I'd soon be able to leave my job and start a small business, my dream was to open just such a venue in town. Alas, the dotcom bust, alas.

  • 4/4  3:51pm   Would people have a different opinion if they knew that the development engineer for the Preserve at Keeney Pond was the same as Canterbury Estates Phase II. The engineering firm, Commonwealth Engineers was the same for both developments, so what is the variable? Is it conscience or cash? Craftmanship or clear-cutting? In tune or out of touch? Attention to detail or just arrogance?
    - WB

  • 4/4  10:41am   Unfortunately, the discussion on tree cutting (or in Mr. Borelli's case 'clear cutting') is rooted strictly in economics. If demand is there for those types of developments, more supply will follow. I suspect Borelli's developments lie solely in black and white numbers. I'd be surprised if he ever personally visits the sites he 'un'develops. It's crystal clear some developers have a conscience about what they do (to some extent see Keeney Pond) while other are purely profit driven. In fact, for all I know, the Keeney Pond development may also be purely profit driven but the developer realizes people will pay a premium for privacy and trees and wildlife. Otherwise, why would anyone move to Norfolk? Personally, when I moved to town I was adamant with my real estate agent not to show me any cookie cutter developments wiped clean of trees. I don't see anything attractive about these areas. In my opinion, Borelli's development off of Grove is a blight on the area. However, I must be in the minority because the 'for sale' signs don't last long.
    - JP

  • 4/4  10:38am   I know there's been a lot of scattered discussion on the center of town, but please listen to one more question. What kind of store would be of interest in the empty store front? I don't think an ice cream store would do enough annual business to stay open during a "typical" New England winter. What about a bakery outlet, if the breads aren't cooked on the premises. Maybe something like an Iggy's? Or perhaps something like a Bread & Circus or Mediterranean specialties food store?
    - TMB

  • 4/3  4:33pm   To DAF:
    I was just kind of trawling around, I was waiting for the first blood-letting. Now I've bitten.
    Your post regarding the lone Selectman expressing support from CPA was great. As was observed, all of the right things were said ... for the TV camera. Ask for comment by the Advisory Board and and you would swear that in Norfolk there is a "parallel universe of good and evil." (Ok, ok, my only incendiary comment, but this is a quote from Star Trek).
    As for the land occupied by the new Town Hall, the land came from the previous owner, Carlo Musto. Land is land, land as a bargaining tool is simply so much more. I encourage you to research the recent court decisions in the Town of Bellingham regarding a "donation" from one of the companies developing a power plant. Look for the similarities and take keen note of the few differences. The endgame is - no one is going to win.
    - AB

  • 4/3  4:30pm   In regards to the post by NS - the matter of house placement does not rest solely with the Zoning Board; the solution to the problem really lies with all of the Town Boards - all the way up to the Selectmen.
    It is obvious to me from the posts on this board and the continuing coverage by the Boston Globe that how this Town is developed does in fact really, truly matter to the citizens of Norfolk. With the upcoming elections there are too many seats up for re-election that are being contested unopposed. This election is crucial, since the next three years will affect both the short-term and long-term development decisions in Town. Those unopposed seats include the Planning Board, Selectman and Board of Health. Ask these people running for office un-opposed, "What is their position is on the way the Town is being developed?" If you don't like the answer, remember that a write-in vote is a choice.
    If the majority speaks, those citizens can't be called "obstructionists;" they are the majority voice and as the cliches seems to get over used "majority rules".
    - WB

  • 4/3  2:27pm   Well, since we've still not heard anything from the Planning Board, and nobody rose to the bait on the Community Preservation Act [CPA], I may as well throw out an incendiary post connecting the moonscape, the CPA, and the current discussion around the removal of trees by Mr. Borrelli's company.
    The parcel of property that the Town Library expansion project will be built on was generously donated to the town by none other than Paul Borrelli of Medfield. It is my understanding that the land our own town hall resides on is also the result of a donation of land by Mr. Borrelli (maybe someone can confirm that). So what? Well, is it possible that our town is reluctant to take Mr. Borrelli to take Mr. Borrelli to task on the moonscape or the tree cuttings because of his philanthropy?
    I don't mean to imply that Mr. Borrelli gave the town the land with ulterior motives. Nor do I think our elected and appointed town officials have some kind of unspoken agreement with Mr. Borrelli about interference with his vision of Norfolk as an unsustainable suburban sprawl, ignoring historical precedent and human experience. Just recently, for instance, the Conservation Commission went to the mat (and the courts) to keep Mr. Borrelli from breaking conservation laws at Canterbury Estates. So ... it can't be a vast anti-community conspiracy, although there are plenty of folks - including at least one Selectman - who've argued against the ConCom's enforcement of the existing laws in this matter. Is it possible, though, that subconsciously we're not holding his feet to the fire on the moonscape and other issues outside of existing law because he has been generous to the town with two parcels of land? Happily, if the reluctance is subconscious, it is therefore not provable (or disprovable).
    What's this got to do with the CPA? Well, if we had had the CPA ten years ago, we wouldn't have had to rely on a handout from a benevolent subdivision developer. We could have used the funds to fix up Old Town Hall and upgrade the library (if my interpretation of the CPA is correct, it allows for the restoring or upgrading historic community buildings such as town halls, libraries, schools, town commons, park land ). And for those of you concerned about overdevelopment -- growing houses where plants and animals once grew -- the CPA funds are applicable to land or interests in land to preserve natural resources, maintain scenic views, build greenbelts and trail systems, and enhance active and passive recreational opportunities available to residents.
    With the CPA, we could buy the moonscape back and develop the land ourselves, as a town making choices about what we need in our town center, not hoping that whoever eventually takes it over from Borrelli doesn't put in something ill-advised.
    Well, my lunch hour is over now so, I'll leave it to someone else to pick this up.

  • 4/2  2:18pm   Apparently Borelli doesn't realize that studies have shown that home buyers are willing to pay more for homes with mature trees on the property. One study looked at homes with equivalent features-square footage, number of bathrooms, location, etc. and the value increased by about 5% for lots with trees. When this argument has been raised before, people have said "he clearcuts to sell the wood and remove and sell some of the gravel on the site". To me this doesn't seem to be worth it as the additional work of cutting the trees, excavation, trucking, etc. would not seem to equal doing less work and leaving things the way they were and letting the existing vegetation bring in the additional money. If you want to see a development that is trying to preserve the existing trees and topography-take a look at The Preserve at Keeney Pond in town. It was recently written up in the Country Gazette. Those homes can't compare to Borelli's as they are over million $, but they probably couldn't get that price on a clear cut site.
    - DL

  • 4/2  1:30am   Just read the article in the Globe. I too had many acres behind my house full of wildlife and could get lost roaming back there. Now I have a beautiful new house directly behind me and can see in their kitchen window. No backyard to these houses (nor mine) at all and they sell like hotcakes. I do NOT blame the developer in the least. He is laughing all the way to the bank. I would do the same. He has every right to build on his land and build in accordance with town laws. How unwise I was when I always reassured my wife "He's building $600K houses, they will never put the foundation close to our lot line, no one in their right mind would pay that kind of money to see us in our kitchen."
    I concur that restrictions should be made in % acerage that can be clearcut for purposes of a housing development, and setbacks should be farther than what they are if an existing dwelling is adjacent. Our town zoning board is where we should address our concerns.
    - NS

    [A person who clearcuts without a pressing reason has no soul, just takes joy out of our lives. Was there any conceivable reason to raze every single tree on every lot on Cress Brook Road? (...though now that I think of it, it must have been necessary to remove some topsoil for proper contouring... :-) For illustration, here are some before-and-after style pictures from 1 1/2 years ago; both pictures are of Sweetland Farms. woods, 38K house, 50K - Wm.]

  • 4/1  7:06pm   For those of you interested in the downtown moonscape saga, yesterday's Globe West had an article about the clearcutting practices of the same developer in another part of town
    - VR

  • 3/21  11:04am   Right on, VR! Bourque's is swell. Does anyone know if there is any relationship between Bourque's and the former Bruin's hockey star Ray Bourque? I hear a lot of hockey discussion there when I'm munching down a farmer's omelette every weekend.
    If someone knows a planning board member with email access, maybe you could give him a nudge and ask him to make a post here. Anyway, I'll contact the Mashpee folks and see what it would cost to get them to send a speaker.

  • 3/20  10:11pm   To KG: for a little small town family restaurant, at least for breakfast and lunch, try Bourques ... locally owned, pleasant staff, good food, great fries. It's the kind of place where the regulars chat with your kids, and where the cook remembers what you like; he puts our order on the grill as soon as he sees us walk in the door!
    - VR

  • 3/20  9:06pm   If we have to have commercial development in the center of town, I would love to hear from the Mashpee Commons developers. I've read a number of articles by DPZ and agree with their ideas. I also wonder if the people of Norfolk could just pitch in and buy the property back from Borelli. I know that sounds nutty, but if the property doesn't perc now, then what's it worth on the open market? (my husband is reading over my shoulder, saying "if we had a Trader Joe's here, we'd never have to leave Norfolk!" Yeah, and we'd have to institute a town-wide exercise plan!)
    - HPK

  • 3/20  6:47pm   To Wm. [re: the post by MA:] [ ... ] In theory, the Planning Board had probably hoped to have something like Mashpee Commons in the downtown area; instead they just got more of the same ... only bigger. - WB

  • 3/20  4:21pm   I think there should be a CVS uptown to walk to easily and a little small town family restauraunt ... something that you could walk uptown and have all day ... maybe a waterslide!! that would be awesome, only if there was no water ban - KG
    [Make that a Brooks, and I'll go along with that . . . We've not been particularly pleased with our CVS experiences - Wm.]

  • 3/20  2:53pm   To DAF, Ten plus years ago the planning board had the vision of making Mashpee Commons the model for Norfolk Center. Ten plus years later, what do we have, a larger moonscape. - MA
    [How so? I don't understand the reference. Ten years ago is before my time here; could someone elaborate? - Wm.]

  • 3/20  1:23pm   I agree that we don't need another large supermarket, but a Trader Joe's closer to us sure would be wonderful! And a bakery to give an alternative to all of the high-calorie stuff is a great idea. Love Panera Bread, I get there when I can, wish it were closer!
    - CR

  • 3/20  1:22pm   When we talk about bringing businesses to town to provide revenue, just how does the town benefit? Are we looking at just the real estate tax or are there other taxes that would come to the town and if so what percentage would the town get? What type of money are we talking about $100, $1000, or $10,000? Are there any hidden costs for the town associated with businesses, such as increased town services; highway department cleaning up trash, police response, water usage, perhaps town counsel for legal permits or other, street lights, road construction.
    In other words, if the center gets developed, do my taxes go down $10 or $1000. Let's just assume the money is not redirected to other projects right away!
    - SF

  • 3/20  12:14pm   DAF has made a great suggestion. Bring in a group who has had experience and visible results. A similar story was featured in the Boston Globe a few weeks ago that compared the positive changes made in Roslindale versus the falling apart of West Roxbury. Roslindale saved their center by bringing in small gourmet restaurants and cute family owned shops (BUSINESS BLUES IN WEST ROXBURY Published on March 4, 2002. Author(s): Corey Dade, GLOBE STAFF). Roslindale also had hired a group to help them make these changes.
    My wife and I often comment how ugly Norfolk center is. We can't believe how bad such a small area was made to look so easily. Norfolk center can be saved. Shops brought closer to the sidewalk invite people into their stores. Gardens and wandering paths get people out of their cars. If the area Borrelli is developing is used for larger stores and has a Mall feel you can kiss the town center good-bye. In my opinion the colorful store fronts across from the Library are not bad, more of that kind of construction would be beneficial. Also, as a supporter of some of the "Save the Ponds" groups (Kingsbury Pond is disappearing) I fear a large development will continue to demand resources we cannot supply without detriment to these beautiful and historic natural places. My family patiently went through a very long (2 plus years) process of acquiring the permits to build a home in Norfolk. I happily complied with Norfolk's strict adherence to MA conservation and building laws and codes. It was clear to me that preserving the natural beauty of Norfolk was important to town administrators. Let's not give way to the bigger pressures that big cash can add.
    Note to KG: Arcades don't work anymore. Kids get better graphics and game play on their TV's and computers. Most have gone out of business. But right Idea.
    - CS

  • 3/20  10:40am   I think SF should open a comedy club on the Borrelli land! I laughed out loud. Seriously though, I think NS hits the nail on the head - Borelli would have built it already if there were any takers. And we just witnessed the largest peacetime economic expansion in American history between 1993 and 1999. If we couldn't get a developer in there then, I doubt we'll see one until the next expansion . . . whenever that is.
    Has anyone been to Mashpee Commons on Cape Cod? This development is often cited as a model for approaching new development and suburban infill.
    Perhaps we could get someone who worked on Mashpee Commons to come and give a talk in our town? I'm willing to make the contact and set it up if people would be interested. Since they are charged with leading the town with respect to subdivision of land, site plan approval, and so forth, perhaps the Planning Board could weigh in on this issue in our public forum?
    - DAF

  • 3/19  11:25pm   To KG - The schools are where dances should be held. The new soccer place describes what you are looking for, place to eat, hang, talk, and watch indoor soccer games PLUS if your legal have a beer - NS

  • 3/19  11:21pm   If a supermarket were interested in that site then we would not be having this discussion. It would have been built long ago. The Globe article hints that Borelli has plans for a supermarket but doesnt say a supermarket is interested. Its simple marketing and we do not have the population to support one. IMHO, Borelli is going wait this out until someone from the Town approaches him to buy the moonscape. It looks like he has stopped mining there over a year ago. Any developer would not leave the land in its current state for that long without some ROI......unless he can't sell it or bring in tenants that want to be there.
    I disagree with the idea that it would be a good site for a pharmacy based on the same argument as the supermarket. CVS is the only one these days building. They do their homework and build where it makes sense. The just finished 2 in Franklin within the past 3 years. We also have a Brooks in Franklin.
    Way back when I said on this board that the new Patriots stadium project will start long after this project and finish long before this project... I was hoping I was wrong.....No such luck though.
    - NS
    [As to the lack of construction, there was something about not having enough soil left covering bedrock to meet septic requirements - Wm.]

  • 3/19  10:04pm   I would have to say that there definitely needs to be a recreation center or a type of place where teenagers can hang out, where dances for older kids could be held, or places where you can meet people and hang out. A tiny food court could be inside for when you get hungry. Pool tables, an ice cream shop, an arcade, etc. would be fun.
    - KG

  • 3/19  9:47pm   Does anyone in town know what is going on at the train station - specifically the portion with the handicapped ramp access?
    As a daily commuter on the train I have recently observed the following:
    1) Some type of discharge is being dropped in-between the tracks - dark color, slippery film? What affect can this have on our groundwater since most of us are on private or town wells?
    2) There has been some digging by the MBTA near the path through the woods. It looks like two short white pipes for perk tests have been put it. One to the right of the path (looking from the train station) and the other one near the woods left of the path beyond the gravel piles toward the bridge. Why are they doing perk tests? Or are they venting something?
    3) Some orange stakes have been placed (for surveying purposes?) - one close to the train tracks, a second on the path to the Kids Place, a third further up the path that is level with the ground. Again what is going on?
    4) The drain pipe at the overhead (the one closest to the bridge) has been missing for several years. Water from the overhead pours down and ices up in each storm. Is this ever going to be replaced or is someone just going to slip in front of a train some day?
    I would appreciate any input on these issues from town officials or committees. I would hate to see the MBTA create another Moonscape type fiasco on the other side of the tracks!!
    - WLS

  • 3/19  9:18pm   BRAVO, BRAVO, BH, my sentiments exactly. The comment about the Transfer Station not being there had me scratching my head, then I started thinking that maybe I just dreamed that the Transfer Station used to be, ah, "A DUMP" complete with vermin to be shot on quiet, lazy Sunday afternoons. The pungent odor was just swell (swill) on a Sat. morning when we drove there hoping not to get a flat or stuck while chucking our garbage and our lunch. It was no dream, it was real and I love the Transfer Station, where, by the way, the townsfolk seem to gather all the time selling, campaigning or lobbying. Recently someone said, "Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true."
    - JW

  • 3/19  4:36pm   I agree with everyone on the town center. I go the new Super Stop and Shop in Foxboro (RT140) and it only takes about 10 minutes to get to. A supermarket of any size would fail because the only people that need to go to it are Norfolk residents and there aren't enough of us (thankfully). Honestly, if the store was too limited I might still go to Foxboro. I've said on this board before that an ice cream shop/cafe type place would be perfect. They don't require thousands of weekly patrons to make a profit. Another restaurant would also be good (Horse & Carriage and Eaglebrook do pretty good business) and definitely a pharmacy. I think most people would want an area where you can go with your family and hang out and talk to other townspeople. Isn't that why town centers were created??? The best part (to look on the bright side) is that because nothing exists now, it can be done right - any kind of strip mallish look would be disgraceful.
    - JP

  • 3/19  3:56pm   To PLG: As you wrote: "As far as making the center of town a nontax generating, tax eating, grass-growing `greenery,' that we will have to pay someone to mow and keep up, I'd rather see something useful and attractive." Please explain how land owned by someone else would be non-tax generating and why would the Town be responsible for mowing it. Maybe I missed something, but the humor filled discussion talked about getting some green on the "pale emptiness" which is not owned by the Town. In all seriousness, if you look at the cycle of urban development in major cities across the U.S. there is a resurgence of reclaiming developed areas into open space, green space and common areas to replace old buildings that have been abandoned, burned or torn down. Maybe, just maybe Norfolk is ahead of its time. A point to make, over the past year the City of Atlanta converted over 2.5 acres of land in their downtown into green space and parks. Look at plans for the area in Boston now occupied by the Southeast Expressway. Most of the area is slated to be green space. I doubt Norfolk will go back to the point where cows will be grazing on a green or common but I do take exception that green space is not useful and not attractive.
    I put my vote in on the other issues . . . the jelly beans are so five minutes ago, I'll go back to deciding on gummy worms, gummy fish and gummy bears.
    - AB

  • 3/19  2:59pm   To DAF - I'm not sure what kind of business you ran, but $1,500 for rent for that space represents a great deal more than a pittance. It seems to be the single best reason for why that space is not now rented, along with the amount of work (and money) required to bring it up to presentable standards. But you might have gotten me wrong; with the new supermarket in Foxboro I don't have any great desire to have a supermarket in the center of town. Actually, it would never make sense to have a retail entity of that size on that property. But I do like the idea of an ice-cream, bakery, antique type of enterprise. And I believe it should be space that generates tax revenues which a park would not do. Let's be a little creative and stop making the choices just McDonalds or a park. At the moment the only location that I'm aware of that is available for a small business to take up residence in this town is the already mentioned old pharmacy. I know for a fact that if there had been other spaces available several years ago, I would have opened a business here myself. But $1,500 for that space was absurd and still is. Everyone wants what she/he feels what is best for the town. My hunch is if we could put hyperbole and fear mongering aside, we could come up with something really special.
    - PLG

  • 3/19  2:27pm   OK here's the solution to all our problems; well everything but the smoking issue!
    They say the soil at the old town hall is too soft to build a fire station. Well, move the topsoil from the old town hall site to the rec fields on Route 115 so those get finished and open; remember we need more than 1/2 inch of topsoil this time. Now move the moon rocks from the center to the old town hall site and build the new fire station. Then move the highway department to the center and build a golf course at the dump. Then, here's the best part, we open a store and sell the extra moon rocks covered with frosting and jelly beans to raise money to expand the library.
    P.S. Don't we already have a 'gray' field in the center of town!
    - SF

  • 3/19  12:59pm   Thank you to PLG for the clarification - but it doesn't change the fact that the shop space has been empty for years now. $1,500 a month is a pittance for rent for a business. As long as we're correcting my inaccuracies - I went to Star Market in Franklin last night and it is no longer be half empty - there is a sign in one of the long vacant spaces that says "Coming Soon! The Curtain Store." So that would leave only a few thousand more square feet to be filled in. But, my point still holds - Norfolk cannot support a shopping mall. We have vacant space as it is.
    Also, I'm not sure what a supermarket or pharmacy would do to solve PLG's lament: "there is nothing for a teenager, or adult for that matter, to do in this town." I for one would rather see my kids playing baseball or soccer or photographing the animals at Stony Brook rather than cleaning up trash from fast food franchises or hanging out at the local drugstore. That's how I grew up, and it sucked.
    I like HPK's idea (except for the rampant consumption part :-) ). Why not a bookstore/cafe/ice cream shop? Or, is that too "upscale?" Don't get me started on this...whenever I hear someone in town say "Hey, this isn't Dover" I get peeved. Just because we didn't pay more than $250,000 for our house doesn't mean my kids have to live in a town of McDonald's, CVS, and the other mass market crap. Norfolk Food Mart isn't "upscale." In fact, I get my coffee there every morning for less dough than my wife does at Dunkies, but she likes The Great One...I digress. Small shops like the Norfolk Food Mart are part of what small town living is all about. I like the smallness of it. I don't need a selection of 500 different types of caffeinated beverage and donuts with jellybeans on them. (By the way, what is up with that, anyway? Isn't frosting enough? Now we need jellybeans on our high fat donuts lathered with sugary frostings? I think, I've come up with a new Norfolknet debate that will bring out the people who don't get riled about the smoking/no smoking issue. Jelly beans/no jelly beans!. I say down with jelly beans!
    - DAF

  • 3/19  11:18am   Regarding the Transfer Station: When I moved to Norfolk, decades ago, there was no neat, clean, well-run Transfer Station such as we have now. We had a good old Town Dump, (in the same location where the transfer station is now only much larger) where we threw trash, paper, garbage, glass bottles, tin cans, and so on. We threw the trash where the dumpkeeper told us to throw it, while looking closely at things others had discarded, with a view to recycling on a small scale. The trash stayed in a heap until it was burned, or blew away in a mild wind, or until it was taken or bulldozed and covered. Much of the neighborhood had paper trash from the dump blowing around. Some of us reportedly brought guns to the dump, with the aim of improving our proficiency while reducing the rat population. Truly it was an adventure to go to the dump, partially because one had to be careful to avoid getting the car stuck in the mud and partially because, much as Forest Gump said, you never knew what you were going to get. The idea of upgrading the dump into a transfer station began just a place in the dump to load containers to be taken away, since open dumps were going out of favor. The trash was tossed up and sometimes over the high sides of the container. A public-spirited citizen designed the zig-zag walled locations for the containers. Now people threw their trash down into the containers, a vast improvement. Then the pavement was added, the compactor was put on line, much more organized recycling was done, and thus we had the neat, clean, fairly sanitary (compared to the open dump) transfer station. The Highway Department personnel do a great job running it.
    A suggestion for RB: Ask not what the Town can do for you. Ask what you can do for the Town. We need volunteers for organizations and committees. Consider helping.
    - BH

  • 3/18  9:14pm   We are reminded that the NCL's Nearly New Consignment Sale is approaching; it will be held at the H. Olive Day school cafeteria on April 6, from 9:00 to 11:00am, with a half-price sale following from 11:30 to 12:30pm. Read more here.

  • 3/18  8:58pm   To KC & JW: The Transfer Station was not there when I moved to town. By not following the proper public review process prior to its construction, the town deprived me and others the right to have input to the process and the opportunity to minimize the negative effect it could have on our neighborhood.
    The Highway Garage was there when I moved to town, so therefore I knew what I was getting into and have offered no comments regarding it.
    Although I was fairly certain that the rules were broken back about 12 or so yrs. ago, we can thank someone else for bringing the problem to light.
    - RB

  • 3/18  6:25pm   To my knowledge the reason the old pharmacy closed (not moved out or away) was because the pharmacist retired. The location is up for rent for more than $1,500 per month. I have checked on this three times in the past four years and the owner won't budge on the rental amount. I for one would love to have a pharmacy in town along with any number of other stores and amenities that some folks seem to think ruin rural towns. The fact is there is nothing for a teenager, or adult for that matter, to do in this town. Norfolk seems to be a true bedroom community that wants to stay as far away from the rest of the world as it possibly can. As far as making the center of town a nontax generating, tax eating, grass-growing "greenery," that we will have to pay someone to mow and keep up, I'd rather see something useful and attractive.
    - PLG

  • 3/18  4:57pm   If we build it in the center, I wish for a Trader Joes Market. A nice small whole foods store that would fit in nicely and attract a customer that would save a trip all the way to Bread and Circus This store is on a much smaller scale and would add and not take from current convenience stores in town.
    - PR

  • 3/18  4:03pm   If I had energy and vision, I'd start a little store that catered to kids and teenagers, on the site of the old pharmacy. A nice place to spend your allowance, buy a gift for a friend, get party favors or whatever the latest trend might be. In other words, different stuff than you can buy in a chain store, but still appealing. Demographically speaking, there should be plenty of teen and pre-teen disposable income in town. Ah, but then I think about the perils of a society bent on rampant consumption . . . Anyway, that's on my wish list.
    - HPK

  • 3/18  1:05pm   I'm with KG. Mr Borrelli mentions a pharmacy in the Globe story. Well, we had one in town center and they moved out. The place where it used to be (next to the Norfolk Food Mart) is still empty after several years. If Norfolk town center is such a great place to put a pharmacy, then why did they leave? And why has no business come to snatch up that space for some other purpose?
    If anyone wants to see what is in store for Norfolk town center if the Planning Board and Borrelli move forward, just take a ride to the Franklin Star Market (East Central/Chestnut Street). Poor Horace Mann must be spinning in his grave. They named a half-empty strip mall after "The Father of American Education." Franklin has around 30,000 inhabitants (about three times Norfolk) and they can't sustain that Horace Mann plaza -- and they get help from those of us in Norfolk and Wrentham who use that grocery store.
    A recent PriceWaterhouseCooper study finds that "greyfield malls" - that is, failed malls that become sad, empty eyesores, represent approximately 7% of existing regional malls in the US, with an additional 12% of regional malls moving towards greyfield status over the next 5 years. Which is to say - Borrelli is thinking that while other small malls are in decline, that somehow Norfolk will sustain a new one.
    This reminds me of the golf course. Some people wanted a golf course, so we did all sorts of gymnastics to try to elude logic and build it (and wasted taxpayers money on the way). Eventually, logic prevailed. When will logic win out with the moonscape?
    - DAF

  • 3/18  12:11pm   I have to agree with KG with regard to supermarkets. I believe that Medway will be getting a Shaw's in the near future. So that means all of the surrounding towns, except Wrentham, have at least one major supermarket. While some have commented on a Bread & Circus type store, I do not know if it would be feasible. In order to be successful it would need to pull from other towns. Bellingham and Franklin already have this type of market.
    Sometime ago, the NorfolkNet discussion had a 'wish list' of ideas for what people wanted in the center. Perhaps it would be interesting to do it again and see if opinions have changed.
    About the only thing I would like (not need) to see is a pharmacy on the scale we once had and a nice dinner restaurants like Tyler's, Horse & Carriage, or Eagle Brook. Yes, I know that the surrounding towns also have restaurants, but it would nice to take a walk up town and have dinner. Mind you I only suggest these ideas if there is going to be development. My first choice would also be a 'green center'.
    Who knows . . . maybe NorfolkNet could start selling moon-rocks to raise money for grass seed!
    - SF
    [I also like the idea of a green in town center, which is one reason I mind the loss of both the level space and the large maples to the library expansion. Short-term gains that work against our long-term interests . . . Oh well, if you'll stand with me on the corner selling rocks, I'll stand with you. Though we'll have to buy some topsoil first before we can plant the grass seed! - Wm.]

  • 3/18  9:13am   The problem with the 'town's center' is not Paul Borrelli's alone . . . coming from Franklin you first encounter a defunct package store then across the street a vacant lot before the Borrelli property. I don't like a developer telling the townspeople what we need. Why not spread the loam that was present (as topsoil) over the property and plant grass-seed and plan on a green center (rather than a populated one). Stores should develop from a real need - those stores remain in town. I fear having vacant storefronts (a couple years from now) that cannot find tenants. Why does the concept of a supermarket entice so many? What is wrong with having to travel 4 miles in any direction to shop (ie, Millis, Walpole, Foxboro, Franklin, Bellingham, etc.)?
    I believe this area is already saturated with supermarkets . . . and supermarkets thrive on volume. If you saturate the area then they start to weed out.
    - KG

  • 3/18  12:32am   I think I addressed the issue of the "Transfer Station" last year ah, the dump, the landfill, the transfer station. Let's please leave well enough alone. It looks fine, at least it looks different than it did 37 years ago when there were, I want to say, NO HOUSES, on the "Dump Road" but there may have been one or two. As for the Highway Dept. I agree with KC, they are a great bunch and do a great job from right where they are right now. Medway branch is a very nice, quiet neighborhood, with very nice people. Like the rest of this town, we all have issues that we have to deal with, theirs was there when they moved in. DEAL   . . .
    - JW

  • 3/17  11:46am   Wm.: The Highway Department fit just fine when it was built. If people did not like it when they looked at houses they should have looked twice - KC

  • 3/17  11:25am   Apropos development, today's (Sunday) Boston Globe has the article by Lisa Kocian about what's happening with our downtown. I loved the phrase ``pale emptiness,'' it evokes the perfect image.
    - Wm.
    [3/18 9:17am Update : sorry, I should have included the link to the archived Norfolknet posts on this topic. There have been quite a few over the last couple of years; like the Notes, the archives list posts newest-on-top. - Wm.]

  • 3/17  11:00am   To RP: The Keeney Pond Development is located off the end of Castle Road and loops around to Grove Street (off Union Street). Admittedly there are numerous ``trophy houses'' being proposed for this development but a majority of the lots are too small to build a million dollar home on every single lot. The developer - Professional Developers - is very in tune to the aesthetics of keeping large trees on the lot and working with the topography of the land . . . unlike another developer in town that seems to like to clear cut everything.
    - AB

  • 3/17  8:37am   Despite what the naysayers say about the slowing economy, our little town continues to grow. The recent issue of "The Country Gazette" reports a new 100 acre site for 48 $1Million-plus homes being developed. The area is being called "The Preserve at Keeney Pond". What part of town is "Keeney Pond"? Maybe if I hit the Lottery, I can move there!
    - RP

  • 3/16  7:10pm   TO RB - I think the highway department was there when you came to town. Why did you take so long? Now we should move it? You must want to sell. You must have had to do a lot of digging to find that old law. What should we do, move them out of town? Highway department, leave them be, they do a [terrific] job
    - KC
    [I don't think RB meant for the highway department to be moved, just to have it fit better in what has become a residential neighborhood - Wm.]

  • 3/16  2:34pm   Residents that live near the Highway Dept. and Transfer Station should be aware that there will be a meeting on March 20 @ 8:00 pm to hear comments on a Special Permit to allow for the continued operation of the Highway Dept. in a residential district. Apparently the Highway Dept. garage and the Transfer Station never obtained the required Special Permit(s) when originally constructed.
    This is an especially important meeting because it will allow residents the opportunity to request that mitigating measures be taken to minimize the impact of the use in a residential district. It is also conceivable that the ZBA could be convinced to not grant the Special Permit. I have written the board to request that measures be taken to deal with issues such as trash on surrounding streets, traffic, movement of unattractive structures like the guard shack etc. from view, planting of more screening etc. I recommend others do the same. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the appearance of our neighborhood and increase property values.
    - RB

  • 3/11  11:52am   Call for volunteers: Do you want to know what's going on downtown? The Boston Globe is trying to answer some of the questions that residents have posted on this site concerning downtown development. It would be helpful in writing an article to talk by phone with some residents who have concerns. Please call reporter Lisa Kocian at 508-820-4231.
    Thanks, Lisa

  • 9/27  10:18am   To JM - I have been trying to find out for over a year. One thing is for sure, the town should have a limit on time required to build something. I'll ask the board as well . . . . Does anyone know (no rumors) what is happening in Norfolk Commons? :)
    Click on this link for posts on Town Development subject matter. - NS

  • 9/26  4:16pm   I am sure I'll catch flak for asking a question which I am sure has been asked repeatedly in this forum, but I would like to know what business / development / or public works project is in the works above the MBTA upper parking lot. Honestly, I have lived here for three years and my neighbors have lived here ever longer and none of them are sure of what is going in there. I would like to fill everone on the street in on what it is / isn't!
    - JM

    6/21  11:25am   As far as the corner of Main and Boardman, Honey Dew Donuts is in the permitting process, according to two business people in town. - PA

    6/21  10:42am   To MF: Sorry if I offended you with my ``cookie cutter'' statement. I actually live in an older subdivision myself. However, it was a well designed development where a lot of trees were left, houses were not spaced exactly 25 feet from each other and various styles of houses were built, not just colonials. There are a few developers in this town that find it more cost efficient to clear cut a section of woods, build 25 houses that look exactly alike and plant a few trees that will take 30 years to grow. Also, they destroy the landscape by making the terrain fit the houses vs the other way around. Personally, I don't find this attractive. However, I must be in the minority because of the speed at which houses turn over in this town, regardless of where they are located. My neighborhhood has enough green open areas where we have red foxes, deer, turtles and other wildlife living happily. In some of these newer developments there is no place to hide for these and other animals. My comment was mostly directed to those few developers who only care about how much profit they can squeeze out of a house vs caring about the look and feel of a community. - JP

    6/20  1:21pm   To JP who said ``I'd rather have a golf course on the land than another cookie cutter housing development'' - I live in one of those, as you so eloquently put it, ``cookie cutter housing developments'' and I am rather offended by your statement. What is so wrong with people wanting to live in a nice community and have a new home?? I also was raised in what you call a cookie cutter housing development. Over the years, our neighborhood became a beautiful, friendly place to live - each house developed its own unique style due to each of the families that lived in them. I believe that the same will happen here. Just give it a chance . . . we all can't find completely different and unique looking homes in this real estate market. - MF

    6/19  4:16pm   I am a golfer so having a course in town would be great. I'd rather have a golf course on the land than another cookie cutter housing development. However, I've seen the golf committee's presentation and thought it lacked any depth of research. The site cleanup could be extremely expensive and delay the project for a long time (increasing the cost of the project). Remember, the Big Dig project was only supposed to cost $2 billion, not the $12 billion or so now. I think it worth spending a few thousand more to completely flush out any potential problems instead of hundreds of thousands more once they're found. I say let's delay it for another 6 months, get all the issues on the table and have an educated vote.

    On another subject, does anyone know what's happening with the road project at the corner of Union and King Streets? They started it last year and nothing been done since. - JP

  • 1/27  8:02am   Read about you in the newspaper. Had no idea you existed until then.
    Are others as appalled as I am at the idea of taking some of our scarce commercially zoned land for a fire station? Is anyone thinking about the future of this town and the fact that many years from now land will be needed for the stores and offices that even a so-called "rural" town requires? Giving lip service to the ecomomic development of the town and a desire to work more positively with potential businesses while depleting the resources necessary makes no sense to me.
    I'm one of those rare birds - I've lived in Norfolk all my life and love it. I have always wanted this town to be well developed to serve all of its citizens. To me this means a good balance between residents and businesses. It means a good balance in housing so that we have residents with a range of incomes and types of homes. It means being able to fund excellent schools and recreation for all without forcing older folks on fixed incomes and young people just starting out in their careers and marriages out of town. It means having a tax base that will allow the town to provide the best public safety and other services to its citizens.
    I didn't intend to get on my soap box when I started this note. However, I do feel strongly about these issues and hope others do too. - BB

  • 1/27  7:43am   To SF - As for the Town's responsibility on dealing with the old town hall. That would be the best situation for the Town, to unload it on someone who can develop the area and the Town can get business tax revenue in. However, in this day and age the developers are too sophisticated and financially driven to acquire "distressed property" even at a reduced cost. Any developer would look at development costs and abatement/demolition costs and look a payback period. I wouldn't be surprised if it cost the Town, even if the building and land were given away.
    Since the last post, I looked at a project I am working on taking down two older buildings with similarities of the old town hall each with similar environmental concerns . . . the price tag is over a quarter million. A change order we are looking at is that the fuel oil tank in the basement of one building leaked . . .
    What was not mentioned in the earlier post about that site is that unsuitable soil would have to excavated and disposed of and then suitable material would have to brought in . . . more cost. This is where the old town hall building is, and in the immediate area.
    The Lieb reports suggests that the building be set back from the road nearly 500 feet . . . I don't know if that is a good or bad thing. The lot gets wider as you go away from the road. One problem with that is the placement of the building and access road would be right where a drive to that proposed MBTA parking lot is supposed to go. I don't think that I would want the fire department having to deal with commuter traffic getting to an emergency.
    You and I are in agreement that Town can't run away from the problem.
    I know they looked at the existing fire station but that location had limitations as well. One of the other sites is the land across the street near the post office. The town could take the land by eminent domain and compensate at fair market value. I believe though that looking at that land, there is quite a bit of bedrock and blasting is not cheap . . . and acquiring the land would not be cheap.
    I also recall hearing about the regional police station but I can't remember why the plans went on the back burner.
    In regards to your comment about "State funding for the town hall because the police station was going to be located there" I still can't figure that one out.
    - AB

  • 1/26  11:16pm   To AB: I will take your word on the subsurface material. But as for the demolition and asbestos, isn't the town going to need to deal with that anyway. We can not run away from the problem. Would we simply try to 'unload' the property to a developer to handle?
    I believe at the meeting, the selectmen were concerned about the ability of acquiring the properties on either side of the fire station. There was discussion regarding adding a second level however.
    Another question (or question), didn't we hear about a regional police or fire department, either with Wrentham or Millis, a few years ago. And didn't we get state funding for the town hall because the police station was going to be located there. - SF

  • 1/26  10:42pm   To SF on the fire station at the old town hall. You can ask the Selectmen's Office for a copy of the study prepared by Allen M. Lieb Architects and this will list many of the reasons why the old town hall is a marginal location. The report summary is and I'm quoting.... "When considering the amount of environmental issues related to this property one would not consider it to be the most advantageous to develop, however, given it's overall size, the proposed facility could likely be design[ed] and engineered around any anticipated restrictions. Although it is also important to note that given these environmental issues this would be a more costly site to engineer and develop than the others."
    If you have been in the old town hall when it was open, the septic system had to be pumped nearly weekly. The subsurface material in the area is poor for drainage and poor for structural support. This area had been filled with "junk." A conventional foundation of footings and walls would not support a building with the weight requirements of a building housing a Fire Station, let alone a building that houses an 8 ton fire truck.
    A foundation consisting of pressure injected footings, grade beams, structural slabs, concrete piles or steel piles would put a price tag of mid 6 figures on the foundation alone. And you still don't have a building or a working septic system.
    The other unknowns for this site consist of the demolition of the old town hall. I know that there are asbestos floor tiles in the building, and who knows what else there is in the walls. I'm guessing on this but the building is so old that there would be at least one layer of lead paint in the building. The removal and proper disposal of any material with lead based paint is not cheap either (price tag is about $300.00 per ton).
    The other location that I know was studied was the existing fire station. I don't have the report but this was also ruled out for some reason . . . ask the Selectmen's Office for that report. - AB

  • 1/26  8:31pm   Ok. I'm trying to understand the issue with the new fire station. I can see the need to build a new one but I am concerned how our tax rate will look after approving a KP school improvements, Centennial school improvements, library improvements, and if as planned, we build a new fire station, then police department improvements.
    At the 1/22 selectmans meeting, I heard that the proposed space was zoned business hence we would be losing tax revenue.
    Perhaps the zoning is not right, but how about the following idea.
    Build a new police and fire station at the site of the old town hall. When completed, the current police/fire station could sold for business development. This plan would allow the town to realize business tax revenue from the propose fire station site and from resale and taxes from the current station.
    I understand the cost to develop the town hall property would be high, but are there any plans for this build that would not cost the town. Are we just going to let the build fall down or will someone be asking for more money in a couple years for another project. - SF
    [ This would be reasonable, but why not simply add on to the existing fire station, and if at some point the police station needs expansion room, move them to a new location? - Wm. ]

  • 1/25  8:52pm   We got curious, and sent an e-mail to to see what we could find out about their ice fishing policy. We were pleased to receive a quite detailed reply from Pam Musk, Sanctuary Director, detailing their actions in this matter. As she explains, it's out of their hands, as Kingfisher Pond is on Department of Environmental Management (DEM) land, and they have chosen to allow fishing:
    I just returned from vacation to see your message regarding fishing at Stony Brook. To address your writer's questions, let me give you some information about the history of Stony Brook.
    Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Bristol Blake State Reservation are properties co-managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society (MAS) and the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM). The property was donated separately to the two organizations with the understanding that we would work together to manage them. MAS has a no fishing policy on most of our properties. As such, we posted and enforced the policy on both the MAS and DEM property at Stony Brook/Bristol Blake. DEM is a state agency that allows fishing on all but a few of their properties.
    The point was recently made that fishing should also be allowed at Bristol Blake. Upon researching the gift of land to DEM and MAS, it was found that the donor specified that no fishing was to take place on the land donated to MAS but this was not specifically stated on the DEM portion of the donation. As a result, DEM decided that fishing would take place on the portion of land owned by DEM. Kingfisher Pond, the large pond visible from North St., is DEM property and so fishing and ice fishing are now permitted. Fishing is still prohibited on the MAS property located on the opposite side of North St. from the Nature Center.
    The fishing policy went into effect in October 2000. There are stipulations that go with the new policy. First, all rules and regulations of DEM and MAS must be adhered to. These rules are posted at the entrance to the Nature Center. Second, all fishermen must enter through the main entrance and either show their DEM season pass, MAS membership or pay the admission fee. Third, fishing is allowed from designated areas only. A map of these areas is available at the Nature Center.
    We will monitor the effect of fishing on wildlife and the people who visit Stony Brook/Bristol Blake. We will review this policy on an annual basis and make any adjustments deemed necessary by both DEM and MAS.
    I hope this has addressed all the concerns expressed by your email. I would be happy to speak to anyone directly who has further questions. I can be reached by phone at (508) 528-3140 or email
    Pam Musk
    Sanctuary Director

  • 1/25  8:52pm   Can anyone tell me if ConComm members are elected, appointed, or anointed? How come we never see their meetings on TV or read about them? Also, I'm an avid ice fishermen. Maybe they're sloppy in Britain, but here in the US of A, we love our land too much to leave miles of line behind. - CE
    [ The ConCom topic has come up before, and is most conveniently accessible on the town growth/development page. In response to your question in particular, the posts dated 10/15 1:06am and 10/5 10:09pm address the issue of how the board is formed (appointed) and when terms expire. The question of why ConCom meetings are not televised has also been raised, and was answered in a 10/5 3:45pm post by Paul Guertin, NCTV station manager (they need a volunteer to go and tape it every week). - Wm.]

  • 1/25  2:01pm   I have to disagree with LT's glib argument about ice fishing. Even the most conscientious and careful fishermen eventually lose tackle - fishing line easily snaps when it becomes tangled in tree branches during casting or when hooks get snagged on rocks in the water. And even the smallest amount of lost line can add up to a huge problem for animals: a U.K. study found that, in just two weeks, fishermen discarded or lost 36,000 pieces of line - totaling 6 kilometers - around a 2-kilometer stretch of embankment. So what? Well, birds and bats who fly into fishing line caught in trees become hopelessly entangled; most will slowly starve to death. Animals who get entangled in line that is on the ground can become trapped underwater and drown if it catches on rocks or debris. Baby birds can be strangled if their parents use bits of fishing line when weaving their nests. Unfortunately, the more animals struggle, the tighter monofilament line becomes - animals who don't die can suffer severed wings or feet. It is insane for the Audubon Society to allow fishing in a sanctuary. there are plenty of other places for fishermen to do their thing. - DF

  • 1/25  1:58pm   Can anyone tell me what the heck is going on with the Conservation Commission? I just saw the selectmen's meeting, and I'm personally appalled that they are looking to have all FUTURE actions ratified via a warrant at the next Town Meeting. [ . . . ] - TG

  • 1/25  1:57pm   I just saw the Norfolk Press and can't stop laughing. Can you believe the ConComm wanted to have an article on the spring Town Meeting warrant basically asking for support on all future issues? I thought the recall petition last fall was the most ludicrous thing I had ever seen, but this one might be even more inane. Give me a break. - PA

  • 1/24  7:30pm   Without ice fishing, the total number of fish in any pond, stream, vernal pool, etc. would be intolerable to themselves. As far as wildlife getting hooks in their feet, etc., any responsible fisherman would clean up after themselves and take their gear with them. On a personal note, if I see another deer run out onto Main St., I'm going to set my husband and his hunting buddies loose on it!! - LT

  • 1/23  9:17am   How can Stonybrook be a sancuary if they are allowing ice fishing now? Why are they allowing ice fishing? Are they going to allow fishing all year? What about the wildlife, fish hooks in their feet, bills etc. and fishing line tangled all over them. - WJ

  • 12/27  10:52am   Here's a rant: Is it conducive to a good ecological environment for our town to be dumping salt on the roads that abut vernal pools. - JC

  • 12/27  10:49am   Hi All.if I remember correctly, the only place an "adult store" can go in Norfolk is down by the 115/1A intersections. All towns must allow such a store but towns do have a say in where they can be located. Our selectman had the foresight to understand this and this is why it is zoned as such somewhere down by 115/1A. Btw, why would an adult store want to open here? This is obviously not the correct market. They would be out of business real quick! Happy Holidays! - NS

  • 12/20  6:37pm   I have two rants: Why is it my well-water wasn't approved (after I did an addition to my home) because I had a miniscule amount of sodium in it, but the town sends trucks all over the roads throwing salt on the snow???? Also, I work in Worcester and heard the same rumor about an adult video-book store opening up in town. - EA

  • 12/19  11:56am   I'd like to add my rant, if I may. I live on the Post Office side of Boardman St., and have increasing difficulty both getting out of my driveway and taking a left onto 115, especially around 8 a.m. There are cars coming from the Freeman-Centennial School and cars coming from both ends of 115, some turning toward the school and many using Boardman St. as a shortcut . . .   I know this is not a nice small-town idea, but how about a *traffic signal*? Not even a full-time one, just one that operates during school hours, or when the train departs the station? Or, for a low-tech solution, how about old-fashioned courtesy and letting some drivers go before you? I'm not even going to mention the big house-rattling construction vehicles from the development up Main Street . . .   I can understand that it wouldn't be great to have them driving through the center of town, either. Anyway, thanks for the open forum. - HPK

  • 12/19  11:54am   To NS: I live in town, and work in Franklin, and rumor mill in Franklin has an adult video/bookstore going into that location on Main and Boardman. I'm all for free enterprise and freedom of speech, but not in my town. - TG

  • 12/19  10:58am   I agree with VR. I consistently use the town gas station because the kids that work there are great and I want to support local business. I use the foodmart a lot and their meat section is also great. I feel bad that once the local ``mini'' supermarket comes in they will probably lose that business. I also feel that the hours of these businesses are more than reasonable. I prefer what we have to the neon lit Mobils and Store 24s of the world. I would prefer the new town center be populated by privately run businesses instead of the typical chain fare . . . but I'm not holding my breath. - JP

  • 12/19  9:02am   Some Rejoinders . . . Speaking only for myself, I've found both Norfolk Food Mart and Linda's to be open on most occasions when I've needed them, and to have a surprisingly large variety of the things one needs in a pinch. Their hours of operation *are* posted, and are fairly reasonable given their clientele and the type of town they're in. Best of all, the people there, as well as the people at the downtown gas station, have been unfailingly pleasant. I too have lived in town for 5 years, and I'm now a full-serve gasoline convert mostly so that I can continue to support a well-run family business!
    As for charm versus convenience, there really *is*, and should be, a price to pay for the former. Norfolk is, in many ways, a throwback to the days when people lived their lives in a small community, got to know their merchants, librarians, and public officials, and understood that these people also appreciated a chance to be home and with their families at nights and weekends. There already are several towns that offer convenience in the form of multiple strip malls and a gas station on every corner. Perhaps change in that direction is inevitable, but there are those of us who will much regret the passing of the old town and its people. - VR

  • 12/19  5:43am   Some Rants . . . . . Is it me or is the variety store by the train tracks hardly ever open. On the same topic, Linda's variety had strange hours . . . . I'm too lazy to drive down Rt.115 to Tedeschis. If I had some $$ I would put in a self serve gas station with a variety store open until 11PM and open on Sundays. I'd put in on the corner near the post office (where the eyesore of a building is) I have only purchased gas twice in Norfolk. I have lived here 5 years. I realize all us newbies bought here for the charm but by the same token we need s o m e convenience! Have a Merry X-mas and a Happy Hanukkah. - NS

  • 12/16  3:30pm   Hello:
    On the reported renovations of Norfolk Airport. Airports come under the juridiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) not the FCC (that is unless they are planning on putting up communication towers as well). Since the reported work to be done at the airport is being completed by a private company, not a state or federal agency, this is just like any other development in town. The buildings have to conform to local building codes as they pertain to the proposed use. If this was a state facilty it would have to conform with State Building Codes. If it was federal,.....I don't want to go there. Electrical codes have to be met, as with any renovation, the electrical system has to be brought up to current code. Board of Health would be involved if the sanitary system (more toilets, showers, sinks) requires a larger system to be installed. As for other matters with aircraft using the improved airport, and I expect that it will be jet traffic and prop traffic, noise is a concern....this falls under the Board of Health as the local authority having jurisdiction on noise. It should be noted that the noise of the air traffic may require a study to be done to investigate the impacts to the neighbors. If the landing paths require clearing of vegetation around the airport ot accomodate larger aircraft, the Conservation Commission would review the a filing if the work is within the 100 foot buffer zone of the wetlands bordering the airport. - AB

  • 12/16  7:38am   To NS: If there's a new Fenway Park before we see the Town Center completed, then we have problems!! (Maybe Manny Ramirez can help finance the new town center!!) - PA

  • 12/15  11:17am   Any updates to the Town Center project? Still very anxious to see what will be going there. Are the developers selling stone and rock from this site? This seems like the only valid reason this project is taking forever. Looks like they are trying to recoup their development costs.
    The new patriots stadium started a year after this project and it looks like it will finish before it!! - NS

  • 10/15  4:52pm   Thank you AB, I would be happy to meet with you. As I said, my husband and I have no issues whatsoever with moving the shed/fence . . . we just wanted to be sure of the property lines. I will be in contact with your office. - JC

  • 10/15  4:50pm   I've lived in town about 7 years and appreciate this message board. With all the public criticism of the town boards it is amazing that anything gets done. There was the note about the Board of health of the 1990's that caught my eye and I found this information. One of the current members has sat on the Board of Health since the 1980's, another member has been on the Board for about five years. The third member has been on the Board for less than a year. With a majority of the Board being intact for the last five years or so, what has changed in 1990's? I only get one of the local papers, but earlier this year it seemed that controversy surrounds this Board. - AW

  • 10/15  1:06am   This is a response to JC regarding your concerns.
    I have read the letters which you referenced in your post and I believe that a response from Norfolk Town Council maintains the shed must be moved if it is on town property. If a public apology to you is appropriate . . . this is a public apology. I'm sorry that was not my intent to make you out to be uncooperative. My intent was simple, I wanted to point out the abutters that have encroached on town land, they were informed of the situation and some of the parties that encroached removed the encroachments, some have not. The statement I used "that some have not been as cooperative" was indeed a poor choice of words.
    As you have indicated in your post, should the surveyor you have contracted document that the shed is in fact on town property then I appreciate, in advance, your efforts to move the shed in an expeditious manner.
    More importantly though, the confrontation you described, I believe requires that we meet. I would like to personally hear your side of the story and then again hear the events from the Con Com rep about this incident. In fairness to all parties, there are two side to an issue. I would ask that you call the Con Com office to set up a time when I can meet with you.
    To CJ: If you see my earlier posts about the Con Com from October 3, 2000 this is a good summary of the role of the Con Com. In regards to the Boston Globe coverage. Here are the facts. On October 5, 2000 a reporter from the Boston Globe new weekday West Section called the office to inquire about the Con Com meetings and their schedule. The reporter indicated that they would like to cover the October 12th meeting. When someone says that, I would assume (but you know what they say about assuming) they are going to cover the meeting. Why they didn't show up, I have no idea.
    As for sitting on the Con Com, the Commission is appointed. The appointments are for a three year period. The next appointments come due in June 2001 for appointments in July 2001. I've provided some other info in my earlier posts about serving on the Commission. I would like to point out again, that the regulations that the Commission is charged with are not random decisions by a group of people. These regulations are federal and state law and local bylaws.

    Thanks again for your interest in the Conservation Commission.
    Andy Bakinowski

  • 10/14  3:40pm   To Andy from ComComm, That's great that two local outlets showed up to cover your meeting. Now perhaps the rest of us can see EXACTLY what it is you people do. What ever happened to the Globe coverage you mentioned? Also, is your board elected or appointed? If the latter, how does one go about getting on. - CJ

  • 10/14  3:35pm   To AB: I would like to share with you and readers my side of the story. I am the owner of the shed you are speaking of in regard to the Lind Farm Land. I have written proof that my husband and I have have made several attempts to move this shed and cooperate with the ConCom. When this all started, you invited all the neighbors to 2 meetings at the town hall. We were told (on tape and in front of all my neighbors) that a corner of our fence and a corner of the shed had to be moved. We were also told that we could take our time because this wasn't in the way of the loggers or any work that was being done. My husband and I got estimates to move the fence and the shed. We then called the ConCom and offered to buy the 6 feet of you land or rent it, since the cost to move the fence and shed was expensive. We never eceived a repsonse. Two weeks later your registered land surveyor came back to the land and moved the property lines another 10 feet toward our home. Then we were told to move half our fence both sheds and a dog pen. Anyway, the loggers ran over two of the property stakes and we had the fence contractor come to our home and move the fence. He stated that he could find one of the stakes, and that he didn't want to move the fence in the incorrect area. So we called the ConCom and asked if they could have the surveyor come back and re-stake.(even though we were very skepitcal of his abilities). Two days later a rep from the Con Com came to our home and verberally threatened my husband and me and also accused us of removing the stakes. This person was yelling so loud our children who were in the house almost called 911. The next day we hired an attorney to protect our interests. Our attorney has been in contact with the ConCom and the town attorney. We are having the land survyed by another company, just for a second opinion. If the property lines are the same then we will move the fence and shed, no problem, we have plenty of land. To anyone reading this, wouldn't you want to know for sure? Now, AB, why did you negelct to put this info in your posting? Also, I have an interview with a certain media group about this issue and I printed your posting to bring with me. I find it very presumptuous and out of line to call us uncooperative, when we have never met or spoke to you. I have signed statements from neighbors who support my side and we are starting a local petition. - JC

  • 10/14  8:32am   Below are responses [from] the Conservation Commission about the Lind Farm and Woods Walk.
    To JC: I spoke with the Con Com Project Manager about this work and they are way behind schedule to complete the work. As you know having been to the meetings, the Highway Department was providing much of the manpower to do the final grading and restoration. I have been told that fence, ruts and bumps and much of the brush will be removed and/or cleaned up over the next two weeks as the Highway Department has time to complete the work. Admittedly the selective clearing of the lumber on the Lind Farm is pretty "raw." I've been up there to see it. As was outlined in the public hearing the regrowth of lower vegetation will be noticeable next spring and will continue to fill in. Please be patient.
    I would also like to provide readers with a summary of events which many may not be aware of. There are several reasons for completing the selective removal of lumber from the Lind Farm- two are to maintain the open fields that provide habitat for certain wildlife and the other to open up the upper tree canopy to enhance the growth of lower vegetation between the Lind Farm and houses which border on it. The Commission knew the property boundary was irregular on the Marshall Street side. The Commission contracted a registered land surveyor to locate the boundary lines. It was determined that after the survey (and this was checked more than once) four abutters were encroaching on Town property. These encroachments were a garden, fencing, buildings, and dumping of debris. Two of the abutters quickly corrected the encroachment, the other two were not or have not been as cooperative. A representative of the Commission was promised in August of this year that a shed in question would be moved by September . . . it is still there. The Commission continues to be patient working with this abutter, although our position is that the shed must be moved.
    In response to VR: You bring up good points and at this time there are no plans or future plans to do any logging on the Campbell Forest or Maple Street land. These lands have been managed by the Town for a while, so the trails are fairly well maintained (although I understand that since last year some brush had to be cleared to accommodate the woods walk on October 14th just to get into the land). The buffer between the Town land and neighboring properties is quite dense. As I expect that you know, selective clearing of certain species of plants creates a more diverse ecological system. The short-term consequences are a trade off, that for many people, are acceptable.
    In response to other posters . . . Norfolk Community Cable was in fact at the October 12th meeting as was the Norfolk Press.
    Thanks again for your interest in the Conservation Commission.
    Andy Bakinowski, Conservation Commission

  • 10/12  2:51pm   To TG: Good luck with the Concomm meeting you're going to. Wear something very warm, for if you are a first time visitor, or an outsider, you'll be greeted with a VERY cold shoulder. I also didn't see anything in the Boston globe today about Concomm, as we were led to believe. Why are the globe, the herald, the Norfolk press, the gazette, and even Norfolk Community Cablevision afraid to cover this board? - EK

  • 10/11  2:56pm   To TG: You are right on. The members of the Con Comm get their marching orders directly from their office and carry it out. The modern day Con Comm is so reminiscent of the Board of Health of the 90's, a runaway freight train running over ANYONE who gets in their way. Have fun tomorrow!!! - JT

  • 10/11  1:54pm   To VR, It sounds as though you've learned your 'ConComm lesson.' I've learned over the years not to take what they say seriously. They are all puppets to the queen. I will, though, take them up on their public invitation to go to the meeting tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/12) for I want to see this first hand. - TG

  • 10/10  6:30pm   To the ConCom: Are there plans to log more town-owned land, either in the Campbell or Maple St. forests? I saw a flier in the library describing an upcoming walk in these woods with the ConCom's forestry consultant, and I recall that such a walk preceded the logging at the Lind farm.
    If there are town-supported plans to log these lands, could they be re-considered? I understand that there are financial incentives to remove large trees, and that forest managers often try to encourage the growth of one tree type instead of having a mixed forest. But, as documented by JC at the Lind farm area, the short-term consequences of logging can be devastating; stumps, slash, and large muddy tracks bear witness for years to the destruction of trees and trails.
    Most people, when asked to support conservation activities, do so with the implicit understanding that this means that the land will remain untouched for them to enjoy in its natural state. Would it be possible to leave the town's forests unlogged? - VR

  • 10/10  4:11pm   I agree with SG. That recall petition was whimsical and I'm glad those who were for it were scared off. This town needs leaders, not tyrants. - ER

  • 10/9  9:07pm   The Fall 2000 Town Meeting Warrant is here! Town meeting will be at 9:00am on Saturday, October 28. If anyone has any insight into the whys and wherefores of some of the more interesting articles, we would be glad to host any comments you may have :-)

  • 10/8  11:03pm   I am one of the abbutters of the Lind Farm Land. I have lived in this home for 12 years. The Conservation Commission invited the residents of Marshall and North Street to the meetings, to discuss the plans for the trails and parking area. The Conservation Commission assured us that the stone wall which blocked the road that was used by the loggers would be restored. The bright orange plastic construction fence, which should have been removed months ago is still up.Finally, that the loggers would clean up the dead trees they cut and plant grass where they drove their trucks. It has been well over 10 weeks now and none of this has been completed. Also, I have taken videos of the destruction that the loggers did to the Lind Farm. We were promised that they would take care of the enviroment and that they were professional. They have left piles of dead wood, half broken pines and litter all over the woods. Who is going to take the responsibility for this? - JC

  • 10/5  10:09pm   This is a reply to several of the posters which directed questions to the Conservation Commission.
    To RL: I would assume, though I may be wrong, that a member has come up to your home or a neighbor's home in the past. I would liken the request to enter someone's property such as the Assessor's Office does to conduct a home evaluation. You have the right to refuse. It is common for the Commission to receive phone calls from citizens that they believe work at a property is being done in violation of some environmental regulation under the jurisdiction of the Con Com. Most people are more aware of their environment these days so it is the responsibility of the Commission to check out the complaints that are called in. Some of the calls are difficult to verify, others can be observed from the roadway, there are other cases where the Commission has permission given by an abutter. A property owner has a responsibility to understand the limitations on their property and abide by the environmental regulations.
    The question about the description of the stream changing on the Borelli development.... I'm not sure which stream you are speaking of since there are two in question; I will address both. On the Norfolk Commons Development there is an a stream that is classified as an ephemeral stream, meaning that it flows in response to precipitation or other short lived weather. The developer's engineer and Con Com have come to an agreement on this stream and the required setback as required by the state and local regulations. The other stream at the Canterbury Estates has been subject of much investigation and differing of opinion as to whether it is perennial or intermittent....meaning that the stream flows year round or flows part of the year (a simple explanation). Based upon a ruling by the courts, the courts have determined that the stream is intermittent in the area of the Canterbury Estates Development. This classification of intermittent could be different upstream and down stream of the development location. However, the court did not consider upstream or downstream areas. This means that the required 200 foot setback as defined by the Riverfront Protection Act is not applicable. However, the local Wetland Bylaws are still enforceable- the 50 foot no build zone.
    Lastly, in regards to the meetings being televised Paul Guertin has stated the reason better than I could (see post of 10/5). The Commission has been called by the Boston Globe to sit in on their meetings as part of the weekday "GLOBE WEST" Section. The Commission expects that the local papers will continue to cover the hearings as they have in the past.
    In response to AS: because the Lind Property was purchased with state funds it is classified as "parkland." This classification was not decided by the Con Com but by the requirement under which the funding was procured. This classification prohibits hunting.
    In regards to hunting of the deer... I agree that the need to control the deer population is necessary, the same can be said for Canadian geese. There are many reasons why the deer population is growing... abundant food in certain areas, displacement from other areas by development and lack of natural predators to name a few.
    The Con Com is always interested in speaking with residents that would like to serve. Over the past 18 months there were three seats on the Commission that were open....four people expressed interest, three people were interviewed and one person had an appointment scheduled but decided not to interview.
    Please contact the Con Com office at 541-8455 if you would be interested in serving as a liaison to other boards in town or an associate member. Follow this up with a letter of interest and copy the Board of Selectmen.
    In regards to other questions I received by e-mail and other phones calls.... I would like to point out that the regulations that the Con Com is charged with are federal, state or local bylaws. The Commission did not make up the state and federal laws that the Commission is charged with. The local bylaws mirror the state regulations and specific bylaws that are proposed by the Commission are reviewed and then voted upon by Town a democracy that's the way it works.
    Lastly, our next meeting is October 12, 2000 at 7:30 pm at the Town Hall second floor.
    Thank you all for your interest in the Conservation Commission.
    Andy Bakinowski, Conservation Commission

  • 10/5  10:06pm   JH -- I like the idea of not moving the train station, since we bought our house specifically to be near it! But I'm concerned about access to any large parking lot on 115, whether it is the one you suggest in lieu of Centennial Park, or any other that might come along in the future. Getting onto 115 is hazardous for pedestrians and drivers during rush hours; adding more turning and merging vehicles would just make it worse. I'm not quite sure what the solution is, though. Part of me wants to "close the barn door" and limit MBTA parking or make it more expensive to limit the commuters coming from other towns, but another part of me wants to encourage mass transit. This is the same issue all the MBTA towns struggle with. Apart from living within walking distance of the station, I like it in the town center simply because it is a visual anchor and it does slow traffic down. -- HPK

  • 10/5  10:03pm   Park(ing) ?? Is that really a park all I've ever seen is an overgrown cut-through. Train station parking idea sounds great . . . there's about 8 acres there and it comes right onto Rte 115. If this was paved over could the buses come right out instead of clogging Boardman - boy is that miserable during commuter hours. Love to hear more. - SK

  • 10/5  3:45pm   This is just a reminder to all those folks who would like to see the ConComm meetings broadcast every week. The key element is the camera person. Anyone who would like to learn (and it does not take long) how to tape a meeting should call me at 520-0407. NCTV would love to have the ConComm meeting and all other meetings taped and broadcast. The means to do it is available, all it takes is the will of the people. With the volunteers we have we are able to consistently broadcast live (and on tape) the Board of Health and the Selectmen, plus the ConComm when we have someone to do it. Getting involved with NCTV would also bring you closer to the action in town. So if you want to be involved in ways other than simply writing e-mails, call me and we'll set a time for you to come down and learn the ropes. - Paul Guertin, NCTV Station Manager

  • 10/5  3:43pm   Kudos to Bill Perron for innovative thinking; here's an idea: I think the Centennial Park ......the park that isn't .... (maybe some of you don't even know where it is) would be a great spot to alleviate the Train Parking from downtown..
    1. It is close enough to the station to walk,
    2. It wouldn't require relocating the station itself which is the major funding problem
    3. The traffic would be removed from Town Center.
    Think about it - JH

  • 10/5  2:33pm   Again - I understand the need to hunt for deer. And I even agree with it. BUT I don't want to be accidentally shot! I think that Lind Farm is conservation property, which prohibits hunting? Could the hunters, hunt on Saturdays and the rest of the week be non hunting time or the week days non hunting and the weekends hunting? I want to be able to walk my dog and not get shot at my accident. - DN

  • 10/5  2:21pm   I agree 100% with PC[.] Read the Norfolk Press today, and you'll start having HUGE doubts as to how the self-appointed Conservation Commission conducts themselves. This development that is doomed will mean a huge lawsuit. We should elect all of our officials, (and they should not have to worry about ridiculous recall petitions either.) - JT

  • 10/5  12:45pm   Reply to AS ----- The Selectmen are responsible for appointments to the Con Comm. You should contact them in writing. As an aside, any regulatory board with authority to affect people lives and property should be elected. Otherwise you have to live with the appointed individuals who utilize your tax dollars to forward their own agenda. Maybe its time to create a Town charter to get the ruling juntas under control. ----- PC
    [ Earlier I mistakenly mis-attributed the above post. I was misled by the same first and last initials and the same e-mail account; sorry for the confusion - Wm. ]

  • 10/5  11:42am   I am a hunter, and my tax dollars helped pay for the Lind Farm. We have a problem in this region with the growing deer population, and if us hunters don't take out some of the deer, they'll die a slow death due to starvation, or start killing each other. How do I, as a retired truck driver, get on the ConComm? I can bring to the table what the sales rep, journalist, and financial planner certainly bring. - AS

  • 10/5  11:33am   To the ConComm:
    1 - Is it appropriate for a member to come up to a resident's home and ask to look in his backyard?
    2 - Also, why is the description of the stream constantly changing pertaining to the Borelli development.
    3 - Lastly, why are your meetings not always on television or covered by the papers? . . . .
    - RL

  • 10/5  8:55am   This is for Andy Bakinowski - Thank you for the quick reply! The hunting in Lind Farm is very disturbing - we were walking there last hunting season, without knowing it was hunting season (!) and came upon a hunter with a gun. Will there be no hunting signs posted around the border and in side Lind Farm? I know that there are a lot of people, myself included, that walk their dogs there.
    Also, the trash is not just in the parking lot. There is trash all along the trail. Including half a wooden door deep in the woods! The whole place needs a good cleaning! It is such a pleasure and such an eye sore at the same time. Often, I have come across beer cans and bottles lying on the trails. - DN

  • 10/4  9:51pm   This is a reply to JN regarding the parking area next to the Lind Farm Property and other questions.
    I'll answer your question about hunting on town land first. Hunting is not permitted; that includes firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow. A press release will be coming out in the local papers regarding this issue since the Commission has received calls about hunters on the Lind Farm.
    The parking area which you described is actually not part of the Lind Farm parcel; it is actually in Wrentham. This parking area is used as an access point to the Lind Farm through cooperative efforts of the various clubs and organizations which use this area. It is distressing that the litter discarded there is as voluminous as you say. I can remember when there was a garbage can located there but due to residential waste being dumped there it may have been removed for that reason. The Con Com appreciates your initiative and efforts in cleaning up this area. The Con Com also works with the scouts on various projects on town land.
    The issues about after dark access and policing will be discussed on October 12, 2000 during our next meeting and we will address the problems (including the mattress!).
    Thanks for your efforts.
    Andy Bakinowski, Conservation Commission

  • 10/4  10:56am   I read the description of the role of the conservation commission. I was wondering whether the commission has the ability to force the town to maintain its own resource areas. The areas I am concerned with are in the Lind Farm reservation. The buffer zone along the edge of the stream that runs by the parking area is chronically full of litter. I have noticed a large increase in litter after friday and saturday nights. Last spring I pulled seven bags of trash out of the parking area and there was much more there. The other area is by the vernal pool. There is a mattress by the side of the pool and litter there as well. I am planning to organize a clean-up with the scouts but it would be nice if the town would consider increasing policing on the weekends, provide a trash can for garbage, close the area after dark except with permission, and generally act as good stewards. The other question I have is about hunting on town land and who regulates that? - JN

  • 10/3  3:14pm   We just received this excellent description of the role, responsibilities, and limitations of the town conservation commission. It's quite informative, and quite a bit of time must have gone into its preparation; thank you very much!
    Let me introduce myself, I am Andy Bakinowski, Member of the Conservation Commission. I have prepared this summary to provide readers of as to what the Conservation Commission does.
    ( . . . continued . . . )

  • 10/2  5:08pm   I can sympathize with ER, for while I lived in Wrentham and was waiting for my house to be sold, I had to wait for the same guy because he was in Norfolk!! Oh, the irony!! Also, I am a private pilot and in the latest issue of Aviator, the airport in Norfolk is being looked at by EMC as a new corporate drop point for their execs and visiting execs. If this happens, we'll all be hearing a lot of Cessnas taking off and landing. - JC

  • 10/2  12:06pm   To TG:  People can win all of the awards in the world, but in my opinion, if an individual has no people skills, or misses appointments by four hours, or makes up rules as they go along, or is in Wrentham when they should be in our town, the awards mean nothing. - ER

  • 10/1  9:54pm   I see much praise being lavished on certain people in this town, but what about someone like Joyce Terrio, who has been selfless in her duties for Norfolk, often making smart decisions that are not always popular with some folk. And remember, despite EF having, in his words "a bit of trouble" in dealing with the town many years ago, we have an award winning health agent in Bill Domey. Norfolk's well water should be considered as safe as any water anywhere. Let's not overlook Joyce and Bill. - TG

  • 9/30  12:59pm   I must agree with the previous post referring to the new regime of local pols. Bill Perron has been a breath of fresh air with his news ideas and willingness to bring them forth. John Hurley has also brought a new mindset to the board of health, and for once I see all of them (Gilbert, Chipman, and Hurley) working as one, rather than three (or two and one, as it once was.) Cheers to the new regime!! - EF
    7:16pm   When I moved here back in the mid 90's, I had quite a bit of trouble in dealings I had with two of the boards here in town. I found them to be rude, and their minds were locked into regulations they held dear to their hearts. In separate dealings with the Selectmen, and the Board of Health this past summer, I found a different attitude with both boards. Bill Perron might be the new guy on the block, but it's a block he's been around before. His ideas are great!! I wasn't sure about Peter Chipman two years ago, but he had a genuine interest in helping right something that was horribly wrong, and I even saw John Hurley at a soccer game, and he took the time to come over and inquire if everything had worked ou t. What I needed I was entitled to, yet five years ago I spent thousands in court costs to go after and never got it. I like the way our town government looks now. - EF

  • 9/30  1:01am  
    The world is ever-changing, to be sure, but not all change is equal. Some change is good, some change is not so good, some change is bad.
    Minorities were accepted into society, women got the vote, childhood mortality was eliminated, the paper dollar was re-designed (again), natural foods have become elitist, dust-bowl farmers were lured West for cheap labor, the Eastern old-growth forests were removed for profit, the buffalo were slaughtered for sport, children were forcibly taken from home for a proper Christian education, millions were ``ethnically cleansed'' for various manifest destinies. Jefferson brought change. Elvis brought change. Hitler brought change.
    There are always those that stand to benefit from change, be that a new invention, a new fashion, a new conecept, or a new development. They understandably lobby for more and faster change, change without delay, time is money, change without consideration, before the hot profit opportunity fades. Then there are those who see change as an inevitable consequence of the human struggle to make a better life, but one that forever alters the present, sometimes for the worse, sometimes the same present that we would have liked to leave as an inheritance to our children.
    I would like my daughter to know true darkness, and complete silence. Think about it, and you'll realize how truly rare these have become. Some things we've lost without even noticing.
    I would like her to have good clean water, healthy air, green trees around her, neighbors who are also friends. As one who's lived around the country, I no longer take these for granted, and have a special appreciation for what we have here in Norfolk. Do not assume that this is the only possible way of life - our out-of-state guests constantly worry when we leave our cars outside in front of the house. Some things we too could lose if we're not vigilant.
    And I would like to leave her a home town she can be proud of, one that remains a pleasant place to live, one that matures wisely without losing its character or its soul, without selling out for petty profit, and ultimately, one that would be woth moving to when she settles down to raise her own family. Some things we can only achieve if we try hard enough.
    Change is coming, not because change is good or bad, but because there is profit in change. Someone gives up something, someone else gains something, it's the way of the world. And while some would have change for the sake of change, sometimes more is given up than is gained. It's our responsibility to refuse to be rushed into every latest great deal, to pause and reflect carefully on whose long-term interest would be served. Although change is inevitable, no-one can rightfully force change. It's up to us to choose which change to welcome, and which to reject. So what if we take a little time - what is a year, or two, or even a decade when the consequences would weigh on us and our children for the rest of our lives.
    - AR

  • 9/29  2:33pm  
    [ . . . ] As a long time local politician, I can say that the new regime is about as good as they get, and I'm referring specifically to Bill Perron, Peter Chipman, and John Hurley. With new folks come new ideas, and innovative plans. These ideas are not always met with open arms by those who never want to see change, but we live in a world that is constantly changing. My statement to those who can't stomach the change is to either try to help out in whatever way you can, or simply stop complaining.

  • 9/28  5:17pm  
    I agree with DN, I don't want our town to look like a Franklin or Bellingham either. A friend of mine who lives in Franklin goes on about how Norfolk is a "middle town" and that she wouldn't want to have to travel to do get to the store.
    I, on the other hand, moved here to live in a "middle town". And with Franklin, Bellingham, Walpole, Norwood etc. all within a 5 to 15 minute ride who needs a super store.
    I'm all for a Coffee House, Bakery or some sort of scaled down retail store. The last thing I want to see is an over developed center creating traffic and reducing the charm of Norfolk to the charm of the Wal-Mart/Home Depot Rt. 495 overpass of Bellingham.
    I don't want to seem like I'm putting these towns down, they all have nice sections, but since they also already have these retail districts in place, why should we attempt to compete.
    It is obvious that a majority of people will go to the stores located off of the major roads where there is a larger concentration of choices . . . Wal-Mart/Home Depot/Super Stop & Shop. If we try to put a super store in the town center it will be more than likely doomed to failure and we will have an abandoned super store to add to our abandoned gas station . . . What a shame it would be. - PMD

  • 9/28  5:13pm   To HPK: It'll never happen . . . why, you ask? Because the town will empty our pockets with one over-ride after another. If the town was smart, they'd buy the airport and put up a casino (Norfolk is a sovereign nation, right?) - BS

  • 9/28  4:09pm   Just a zany thought: how many residents and how much $$ per person would it take for the townspeople to buy Town Hill and make it into a meadow of native wildflowers? Just call me a tree-hugger! - HPK

  • 9/28  2:18pm   To MMC: You are off base stating that Norfolk wastes people's time. Many boards, like ZBA or Conservation Commission, have to enforce many tough rules and regulations. They are not always popular, but they are always right. Those two boards are as fair as you can get, and have never been wrong in a decision.
    As far as your pothole question, potholes are now considered speed-bumps, and cannot be looked upon as wetlands. - MS

  • 9/28  2:17pm   To MMC: How ya doin'? In response to your post, Jack McFeeley works harder than anyone in keeping our town a good one, but he can't do it all. Bill Perron has brought fresh, new, creative ideas to Norfolk town government. I wish that could translate into other boards. I was watching a tape of the last ConComm meeting, and someone was looking for a variance of some sort. He had been before ConComm seven times prior, and one of the ConComm members had the audacity to state that eight visits means they are doing a pretty good job. Makes you wonder what the Con in ConComm stands for. - JG

  • 9/28  1:44pm   In any commercial development TIME is money and NOrfolk is famous for wasting people's time. Therefore your neglected Town Center is because of the abusive boards in Town. I thought Jack McFeeley's All-board meeting was going to address these concerns but nothing has been done. Question : is a road pothole filled with rainwater thus considered a Vernal Pool ?? . . . . just a thought ! --- MMC
    [ well, if the pothole had grass growing in it during most of the year, and was filled with water during springtime, it may well be :-) - Wm. ]

  • 9/28  12:09pm   To JP: You're right with most of your thoughts, but don't kid yourself when you wonder about the town's limitations when it comes to having their local boards control private development. Any of the boards in town can single-handedly stall, derail, or thwart any type of development, for any reason. The State has their own regulations, and then there's Norfolk. Amongst those who have tried and failed to build here, they all know that the first two letters on Norfolk are NO. - TG

  • 9/28  11:48am   The problem is that the town's center is not owned by the town so it has to bow to a private developer. Hence, you get nice looking grass by the library but a wasteland everywhere else. I'm new to town so don't know the history, but why the town didn't hold on to or buy the town center to develop it the way it wants is boggling. There's a limit to how much the town and its boards can control private development. - JP

  • 9/28  11:47am   What the town center needs, in my opinion, is a really nice coffee shop, a mom and pop bookstore and a nice pharmacy. Also it would be nice to have a bakery! I grew up with a small restaurant in my town, called Papillion's - they served salads, cheese boards, desserts, wine and beer and coffee and tea - they had live music on the weekends. I wish that the town center would have something like this!
    I don't want Norfolk to look like Franklin or Bellingham. There is nothing wrong with those towns, it is just not what I wanted from where I live. - DN

  • 9/28  10:32am  
    To SF:
    We've been residents of Norfolk for 15 years. We moved here because Norfolk seemed like a town we wanted our children to grow up in. It was a growing community and was sometimes even referred to as a "little Dover" in its character. But something has happened over the years. The town is looking rather neglected in its appearance. The roads that you say should be left in a state of disrepair in order to keep the speeds down actually are quite hazardous in their present condition. One rainy night, I hit a pothole that created two flat tires and left me stranded on a dark deserted road. Road work begins, and then is left unfinished for months, sometimes years. In addition to the roads, the town center needs desperate attention. I am embarrassed to live in a town that, in spite of its high per capita income, can't manage to have its town center look presentable. The garden club used to take more action in beautifying certain areas, but I don't see much evidence of that anymore. In terms of businesses, I am not an advocate of any kind of superstore but smaller, country type businesses such as a gift store/card store (there once was such a little business) or the like would bring some charm into the town. With all the requests for funding that our town needs and deserves to sustain its various public services, money needs to be generated from other sources besides our incomes. It is becoming burdensome. - MMB

  • 9/27  8:44pm   Norfolk Commons Phase I and Phase II were both advertised in at least two newspapers and posted at the Town Hall prior to the public hearings. Unfortunately once the first hearing takes place and it is not closed, the hearing is continued to a specific date and time. That is the only notification. Advertising every continuation would be very expensive. As each individual lot is developed the same process will occur. At every public hearing anyone in attendance is invited to comment. If you want any information of upcoming hearings just call the Planning Board there are plenty to choose from. - SM

  • 9/27  8:47pm   Conservation Commission has jurisdiction over wetland resource areas. period . . . although it attempts further intrusions with its aggressive stance . . . their authority is limited. They have no more say in knocking down houses and rebuilding than you and me. Don't be fooled by them. - MMC
    [ Personally, I don't mind that there is a town agency that cares about the land that is about to be bulldozed clear, even if they do lack the power to ultimately do anything about it. Somebody needs to look out for the little guy - the toads, dragonflies, and salamanders - Wm. ]

  • 9/27  9:20pm   To SM: I assume that the expense in notifying people of upcoming hearings is associated with paying for a legal notice in the classifieds? Doesn't the Norfolk Press print, for free, a listing of upcoming board meetings, and couldn't the board call them with a brief agenda to be included in that section? I'd guess that the local paper would be happy to publish information of interest to town residents, as would the local web site! The onus of notification should be on the agency involved (i.e. it should not be up to each member of the public to call and inquire about each meeting). - VR

  • 9/27  11:39am  
    Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand these comments.
    First, I'm fairly new to this town, only 11 years. However, I researched the town when we bought and I knew some development would take place. However, we chose to buy in Norfolk because of its character. Why does it seem that people need to change this. Look around at the surrounding towns. If you wanted more businesses you should have moved to Bellingham or Franklin. I personally think the town has done a reasonable job of maintaining our country charm. Do you really need a Wal-Mart in the town center? Is it really too difficult to go to neighboring towns? Most of you probably work outside of our town anyway, so to stop on the way home should not be impossible. Oh, the traffic you say. Wal-Marts parking lot is horrible and crowded. Well what do you think would happen in the town center.
    As for the roads, I see no reason to fill the pot holes and cracks. It keeps everyone going ONLY 10 miles above the speed limit. They paved RT115 and people now do 45-55 in the 35 mph zones. Last summer we had one child hit (not seriously injured) and one accident which closed the road by the gravel pit. Did we not learn anything two weeks ago about our hurried life styles?
    I really do not believe bringing business, at least the scale of which people are talking about, will do much to reduce our taxes and improve our infrastructure. Will a liquor store provide more tax dollars than the problems it creates. No, I am not 'anti-drinking' nor against the liquor store but we do need to think once in a while. Yes, it will clean up the corner which has been an eye sore for many years. Will a RoJacks provide more tax revenue? What will happen when Norfolk Food Mart and Lindas Variety go out. They still have not found a tenant for the old drug store.
    Some of you may say we need more conveniences, well we have conveniences in town that people do not take advantage of. We have a Food Mart, a couple of flower shops, a cleaner, a barber, a couple of auto service stations, banks, lawyers, library, restaurants.... Yes they may cost more and they do not have everything, but they have convenience. What will happen when you find RoJacks doesn't carry your favorite food. You'll find yourself going back to nearby towns and realize you might as well do all your shopping while you're there. Alas, the store finds it can not survive. Think drug store. We had a great drug store with a home town pharmacist at one point.
    - SF

  • 9/26  7:54pm   We are a culture that is obsessed with consumption! Bigger homes mean more fuel use, more water use, more drain on our natural resources. So people can have a 1000 sq. feet a piece! - DN

  • 9/26  6:18pm   More homes??? Doesn't anyone else think we could use a break on our tax bills? A couple of businesses wouldn't hurt a thing and could potentially bring revenue to the town. We could use that money in our schools and ROADS, perhaps. - MMB

  • 9/26  4:59pm   The Conservation Commission's role is to preserve the bucolic nature of this town, and they won't let any reckless construction go on where people are tearing down houses just to put up bigger ones. - AB

  • 9/26  2:55pm   I hope AM isn't serious. We should be building more homes in Norfolk, and bigger homes. - AC
    [I fail to understand this reasoning - not only does it negatively impact the quality of life for us residents, I suspect most new construction is a net negative on town finances as well - Wm.]

  • 9/26  2:55pm   If someone wants to tear down something, that should be their right. It seems as though we should be tearing MORE down in this town than less (that includes trees as well.) Also, Bread & Circus withdrew their offer and it looks like Rojack's is coming to town. - AM
    [I presume that was meant sarcastically ? - Wm.]

  • 9/26  11:08am   Has any one noticed the 2 new homes that are being built on Union Street, right near King Street? Are we now becoming a tear down town? Buy a house for a cool $200,000 and tear it down, and put up a $600,000 home? What is wrong with a smaller house? - DN

  • 9/25  9:42pm   Adding to the rumor fire.........for Norfolk Commons. I heard that it will be a Bread and Circus grocery store like the new one in Bellingham. My guess is the developers are shopping the lot to all grocery store chains to maximize their return. We will all know in due time. However it is taking a very long time. Work has slowed to a snails pace. - NS

  • 9/23  3:30pm   The liquor license for Cliff's Package Store has been transferred to new owners, evidently, and they hope to re-open with a drive-through in early October. It will be a Blanchard's and will also offer delivery. - AE

  • 9/22  7:06pm   Right on, VR!! Has anyone heard plans for the old Cliff's store. There's no way a tobacco store/adult bookstore would ever be allowed to open in Norfolk. I did hear, though, that a package store with a drive-through is hoping to buy that location. - TN

  • 9/22  7:06pm   To SM: Also thanks for clarifying some of the Town Center rumors. Certainly a Walmart is not what most people would want in the Town Center. It just seems that there is an opportunity to build a nice looking center that would complement the rural feel of the town. Fortunately, the town avoided a lot the 1970's and '80s bad development and has the opportunity to do it right. Because it's being privately developed, I did not know how much the town could influence the type of development proposed. I also did not hear of any public forum for the center. The town does need to promote these things better. - JP

  • 9/22  7:05pm   I believe, or at least hope, the Cliff's the author was talking about was the old 'Cliff's Package Store' which is located on the corner of Main and Boardman, not the motorcycle shop on 115. - SF

  • 9/22  3:24pm   To SM: Thanks for the clear explanation of the planning/zoning process in town. However, I can't help but feel that more people might have shown up at the public hearings if they'd been better publicized, for example via notices in the local papers. I know that I, for one, regularly scan the papers for information about the Norfolk Commons plans, and have not seen anything on the issue. And I'd say that most people in town are both curious and interested in what's going to be built there - a very understandable situation, given its prominent location - VR.

  • 9/22  10:41am   In response to postings from 9/20 and 9/21: GP stated Roche Bros. wanted to build a store in Norfolk but found they couldn't "hang a sign" so they withdrew their offer. There is a sign bylaw in Norfolk which last year at town meeting increased the sign size to 48 square feet so that is obviously an unfounded rumor. Who did they make an offer to? There is a size restriction for buildings in the Norfolk town center so a "Super-store" is not allowed so how could Wal-Mart be negotiating? Where do you hear these things? As far as knowing who is negotiating with the developer of Norfolk Commons, don't pay too much attention to the rumors the developer has remained very tight-lipped as to who he is even talking to.
    Norfolk Commons has obtained Subdivision Approval meaning the streets and lots are laid out. There has been no review of any individual sites. When Norfolk Commons Phase I and Phase II were before the Planning Board, citizens were asked at Town Meeting to go to the Public Hearings for input. Not one person showed up!
    As far as the look of Norfolk Commons, that is controlled through zoning. It has to have a village type appearance. - SM

  • 9/20   Two quick notes from the editor:

    Re: the earlier post about potential businesses downtown: I haven't been able to find the reference in my files, but I'm pretty sure that a couple of years ago, the town passed a zoning bylaw that restricts adult-only businesses to a very limited part of town. Such a business, if opened in Norfolk, would have to be located in the section of town near Sherwood Drive at the 1A-115 intersection, and would not be permitted on Rockwood Road - Ed.

    Re: the selectmen's meeting: According to a newspaper article about Monday's selectmen's meeting, two groups of town residents wanted to add an article to the town warrant. Each article would, under different conditions, permit the recall of town officials. Neither article had sufficient resident signatures to appear on the Fall town meeting warrant, but unless withdrawn, they will appear on the agenda at the annual town meeting next Spring. - Ed.

  • 9/20  10:57am   I work in the grocery business, and Roche Bros. wanted to put in a store but was told they couldn't hang a sign with their name on it. so they withdrew their offer. Walmart is negotiating to put in a super-store with grocery and dairy aisles. I've also heard that a combination adult bookstore/tobacco shop is going to open at the former Cliff's location. - GP

  • 9/20  9:35am   Does anyone have any info on the new town center? I've heard about a grocery store (Roche Bros?) and an assisted living facility but that's about it. It would be nice if it was designed like a traditional new england town center instead of your typical ugly strip plazas.   [Hear, hear! - Wm.]   I know the builder is not known for building aesthetically pleasing developments. Does the town have any control on building types, design, etc.?? Thanks. - JP
    The last time this question came up, 3 months ago, we got this information. - Ed.