Rep. Dooley to host Norfolk forum on 40B law, affordable housing

NORFOLK — State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, is hosting a “Community Conversation on 40B and Affordable Housing” on Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m., in the King Philip Middle School auditorium, 18 King St., Norfolk.

Officials from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, MassHousing, and the town of Norfolk will make a presentation on Chapter 40B and the Comprehensive Permit Process. This will include a discussion of when a community is eligible for a safe harbor. In addition, there will be an update on the state of Norfolk’s Housing Production Plan as well as its Affordable Housing Trust.

“This is such an important issue form many of the communities I represent and I am so pleased that MassHousing and DHCD agreed to be part of this forum. I wanted to make sure that we were able to get the facts directly from the people and organization who are responsible for 40B and Affordable Housing in the Commonwealth as opposed to rumors and conjecture,” said Dooley.

Joining Dooley will be: Nancy McDonald, director of government affairs – MassHousing; Greg Watson, manager of comprehensive permit programs – MassHousing; Phil DeMartino, technical assistance coordinator – Office of Sustainable Communities, Department of Housing and Community Development; and Ray Goff, Norfolk town planner.

Dooley further added, “I hope that there will be a huge turnout, not just so everyone who is interested gets the most up to date information, but also to show the people from the state that this is a community that is engaged and truly wants to be part of the process.”

This is a free event open to any and all individuals who would like to learn more about how the affordable housing law works.

Shawn Dooley is the state representative for the 9th Norfolk, representing the communities of Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Walpole, & Wrentham. He can be reached at Shawn.Dooley@MAHouse.gov or at 617-722-2810.

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  • Written by William Rigdon

State to pitch in to repair Medfield bridge

Rep. Dooley and Lt. Gov. Polito with the two bridges in Rep. Dooley's district that received funds from the state's Small Bridge Repair program

Rep. Dooley and Lt. Gov. Polito with the two bridges in Rep. Dooley’s district that received funds from the Commonwealth’s Municipal Small Bridge Program.

By Alison Bosma
abosma@wickedlocal.com

A Medfield bridge that has been closed since the state declared it unsafe in October has been awarded $95,000 through the state’s Municipal Small Bridge Program.

“It’s not huge, but it’s huge for the people in that neighborhood,” Medfield’s state Rep. Shawn Dooley said, of the grant. He pointed out that emergency responders have to use the detour, and added, “From a public safety standpoint minutes matter.”

The Philip Street bridge was one of 36 bridges in 36 different towns awarded a total of $16 million in grant money under the program last week. The program targets bridges between 10 and 20 feet that often lose out on other state and federal funding.

“It’s nice when you can bring something … to the town that’s actually really tangible and legitimately affects people’s lives on a daily (basis),” Dooley said.

The Philip Street bridge is a short, wooden bridge that spans Mine Brook. When it was closed in October, Department of Public Works Superintendent Maurice Goulet said it was out of concern for heavier vehicles, like large trucks. He said he felt at the time that the bridge was still safe for walkers and bicyclists.

“I got concerned because it’s at the end of Medfield on the Walpole line, and, without the bridge, you really feel isolated from the rest of the town,” said Medfield resident Jim Chafel, who lives near the bridge.

Chafel said he and his family used the bridge regularly. The closure prompted him to call local and then state officials, something he’d never done before. In a press release announcing the grant, Dooley praised Chafel for “keeping this project on the front burner.”

“I think it’s important be vocal,” Chafel said, adding that the experience might prompt him to become more involved in local issues. The bridge is still concern number one, he pointed out. “While I’m very, very satisfied that the state has decided to fund the repairs, the next step is to get the repairs done.”

Goulet wrote in an email that he does not yet have a timeline for the rehabilitation or opening of the bridge, but noted that the town is meeting with an engineering company to work on project design. In October, he estimated the cost of fixing the bridge to be about $100,000.

“Although we are excited for the funding for this much needed work and (remain) optimistic in building a stronger relationship with MassDOT,” Goulet wrote in his email, “we still have a backlog of needs for future infrastructure improvements throughout the Town.”

Those other projects include, among others, improving Rte. 109 and North Street in Medfield, and reconstruction of two more bridges in town, on Main and West Main streets.

Dooley said another bridge in his district, the Mirimichi Street bridge in Plainville, also received money from the program. That bridge got $500,000, and the money is designated for replacement, while Medfield’s bridge is designated for rehabilitation.

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  • Written by William Rigdon

Local representatives support Senate Bill 1452

MILLIS— State Sen. Richard Ross, R-Wrentham; state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick; and state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, testified before the Joint Committee on Public Service hearing in support of Senate Bill 1452, an act exempting certain positions in the police department of the town of Millis.
This special legislation would allow all future officer positions with the town of Millis Police Department to be exempt from the commonwealth’s civil service law. The Millis Police Department is in need of several new hires, and currently has had to pay substantial amounts of overtime due to a lack of staff.
For information: 617-722-1555; Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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  • Written by William Rigdon