Tuesday, March 5, 2019

20 questions about Nobscot for the Mayor tonight

So the deal has already been signed it appears. Contamination of the old gas station lot doesn't seem to have any effect on the deal to buy and move the church. And now, the council is asking the Mayor to answer per-submited questions. Call me out of touch, but what good is this now.. after the deal is signed? According to the Charter, the Mayor was to make this decision, not the council. The City is so ready to open the Water Street and Edgell Road intersection, the church deal couldn't happen fast enough. There is irony in all of this late hour Mayor bashing... 3 members of the current council were on the BOS and have had multiple years to make a deal that residents could live with and now that the Mayor has made the decision, a few members of the council are covering their butts, knowing full well, when this project is complete, very few in the area will be happy. The 20 questions are below:

1) Please discuss the history of the chapel and its historic significance to the
neighborhood and why it is important to preserve the building for the neighborhood.   (District 2 City Councilor Pam Richardson)

2) Please describe the improvements to the Edgell/Edmunds /Water St. Intersection and the land that the chapel currently is on and how the intersection improvement plan is affected by the current location of the Chapel. (Richardson)

3) ​How long ago did the Star Market vacate the Nobscot Plaza and the first time (if this information is available) that Mr. Rose reached out to the town expressing an interest in working with the town to develop the property? (Richardson)   

4) Please provide a brief summary (if this information is available) of the amount of work the Town/Economic Development Dept. has done with members of the Nobscot neighborhood to try and reach consensus regarding the future of Nobscot Plaza. (Richardson)

5) If this information is available, please share what we know about the lease with CVS currently and the prospect of what potentially could happen with the property if CVS vacates the Plaza (as the last tenant of the property) and to follow that, what Shaw’s Supermarkets (current lessee) could do with the property if there are no longer tenants. (Richardson)

6) The special act from 2013 that was referenced in your letter to the Council provides the final approval authority to the Board of Selectmen.   As you are aware, after the change in the charter some duties of the Board of Selectmen have vested in the Council and other in the Mayor.  This special act is not among a long list of acts specifically documented in the Charter as an act that continues.   Has there been an advisory opinion sought from the Inspector General that concurs with the apparent local interpretation that the special act is still valid in a city and the Mayor specifically assumes the power of the Board of Selectmen in this instance? (City Councilor George King)

7) What is your vision, role, plan, and efforts on the matters relative to Nobscot? (District 4 City Councilor Mike Cannon)
8) What is your long-term vision for a successful Nobscot Plaza? Is Mr. Rose’s latest plan, which calls for, among other things, a 4 story apartment building, consistent with that vision? (District 3 City Councilor Adam Steiner)

9) Would you explain your strategy of the Nobscot Chapel decision as it fits into your overall redevelopment strategy for Nobscot Plaza and the Nobscot area? (District 5 City Councilor Denis Giombetti)

10) Why after Mr. Robert, Mr. Halpin and other officials agreed that the only negotiating lever that the people of Framingham had regarding the Nobscot plaza was the Chapel and that it was decided not to do an additional RFP until a satisfactory solution for the blighted shopping center was approved was our only piece of negotiating leverage
given away? ( City Councilor Cheryl Tully Stoll)
a. What was the process surrounding the decision?
b. What was the justification for the decision?
c. ​Who made this decision?
d. And how is this decision in the best interest of the people of Nobscot and the rest of Framingham?

11) What were the criteria and rationale by which the decision to either award or reject Nobscot bids? (Giombetti)

12) Given the high value the property offers to the owner of the Nobscot Shopping Center it was likely he would be a bidder.  Why did the administration choose to bid this parcel at this time before the issue of the shopping center’s future was determined? (King)

13) Considering the cost of moving the chapel and the $50,000 purchase price, the city is selling the property substantially under its appraised value which is the mid $300 thousand range. Why is the City willing to accept such a low price? (King)

14) What are next steps in the Nobscot Chapel award and what assurances does the neighbors have that redevelopment of the plaza will be put forward by the owner? (Giombetti)

15) What guarantees do we now have that Mr. Rose will come forward with anything remotely suitable for the Plaza since he finally has what he has wanted all along? (Tully Stoll)

16) What is to stop Mr. Rose from building a CVS on the corner and leaving the rest of the plaza as is? (Steiner)

17) Why after Mr. Rose changed a plan that was close to approval by the neighbors and then pulled out from under them by Mr. Rose with a plan for four story buildings closely abutting a residential neighborhood did the City not cancel the RFP?  (Tully Stoll)

18) Is there a provision ensuring that the historic chapel will be sited on the former gas station property as was described in the RFP? What assurances do we have that there is no environmental contamination on this property? (Steiner)

19) Why has the City Council and the public been kept in the dark regarding the Nobscot Task Force?  (Tully Stoll)

20) Why when this decision was in the process of being made, did you not once hold office hours in Nobscot? (Tully Stoll)¿


At March 5, 2019 at 2:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the city council even have the right to ask the mayor these questions? Good for the Mayor for agreeing to come and answer them but you are right about it being a bit late to the party here. But then as you said some on the council had many opportunities to come to some agreement on this but chose to not do that and kick the can down the road to the Mayor but now that they have done that they seem to want to take back the decision making authority. Seems pretty childish of them to me.

At March 6, 2019 at 10:03 AM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

have a look at the council meeting with the Mayor answering the 20 questions. And now, the council is questioning, after nearly 2 years, who has the authority to sell the chapel. This whole issue has shown how dysfunctional our new form of government can be.
What I walked away with is: the expansion of the intersection wont happen until next year as it was not funded. DPW has some money to throw at it, but would need that grant money from the state to do the job.
The fun starts at 27:55 and ends with the Mayor walking out saying, "she's not answering any more questions" at 1:19:00

At March 6, 2019 at 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mayor walking out on them was freakin hysterical! The whole thing had the look of one of those government hearings you see on CSPAN where the people asking the questions are doing it for show. They gave her 20 questions and she answered them in writing and from a legal point of view. Staying there would have just turned into a political side show for all those running for office this year. It might have not been the most respectful way to leave the meeting but man watching Giombeti's reaction to the 'piss on you I did what you asked' at 1:19:00 is priceless! That's entertainment we should be charging for, forget the weed shops.

At March 6, 2019 at 2:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thoughts on the mayor's actions last night Jim?

At March 6, 2019 at 2:52 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

I was surprised... and then I wasn't. She answered the questions... with the help of Petrini and Associates... and wasn't going to take any shots from the council afterwards. I think she can stand in with anyone but I also think I see the animosity they all have for each other. I never got the feeling she (The Mayor) had much to do with this entire issue. She appointed a Nobscot Task Force, knowing full well what the outcome would be if the church was sold to Rose.
I don't see anything changing... the church will be moved and CVS will be built before the widening of Water Street and the grant from the State kicks in.

At March 6, 2019 at 3:12 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

you can read all the answers here:

At March 6, 2019 at 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So dad. It seem we are modeling the behavior of our legislative and executive branches in DC here in Framingham. Can you really not just remember that everyone deserves respect, even those who you don't agree with? Shame on both sides. You should all be put in timeouts until you can act like the adults you claim to be. Shameful

At March 6, 2019 at 4:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is going to be a long 3 years. From the get go it was clear that certain council members did not understand their role in the new government. The ways that the mayor and some city hall workers were treated were absolutely shameful and the Chairman did very little to stop it. And we should all wonder how that will impact the City's ability to hire new higher level talent in the future if they know they will have to publicly have put up with that bullshit.

It was inevitable that the mayor would start treating the council back the same way. That's not to say that gives her an excuse to be rude, more just basic human nature. I don't expect the relations will improve between the Council and the mayor. We will now have to watch the spectacle over the next 6 months as those Councilors that are running again put on a political show for us.


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