City Planning Board Approves Residential Treatment Program Proposal For Downtown Framingham

FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham Planning Board Monday night approved the final building plans for a residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse. The program would be located in downtown Framngham, a block from the main Framingham Public Library.

The vote was unanimous, with all four Planning Board members present approving. Planning Board member Stephanie Mercandetti was not present.

South Middlesex Opportunity Council had requested approval for plans to move Serenity House from its current location in Hopkinton to a vacant nursing home at the corner of Route 126 and Lincoln Street in downtown Framingham. Serenity House has been in Hopkinton for almost two decades.

The site plan review submission by SMOC was filed under a Dover amendment, a state law which limits the city’s ability to deny proposals for non-profits. Under a Dover filing, the Planning Board had little say in the project, compared to other submissins before the Board.

Attorney Katherine Garrahan, representing the applicant, said that since the last meeting, SMOC held a neighborhood meeting, where the program will be built.

Issues identified at previous meetings were resolved at the neighborhood meeting, she told the Planning Board Monday night.

The first Staff Review meeting on the proposal took place on Nov. 29, 2017.

Since the initial meeting, the plans have been revised and redesigned to include an accessible entrance, Garrahan said.

She said it also was determined the project will not use on-street parking.

The City of Framingham Planning Board expressed concern about cars potentially hitting the fencing,  so it was decided that stop walls will be installed.

The only disagreement at last night’s meeting was the number of on-site parking spaces.

The site plan did not contain a specific number of proposed spaces, a detail with which Framingham Planning Board member Tom Mahoney identified. He explained it was the builders’ job to propose the number, and to have the Board approve said number, not vice versa.

Mahoney requested a sentence be added into the proposal saying, “We believe 23 spaces are adequate.”

Eventually, it was decided that 22-23 on-site parking spaces would be sufficient for the program’s needs.

The program is one for “people that don’t typically have vehicles,” Planning Board Chair Christine Long said.

At the current program in Hopkinton, there are never more than 1 or 2 women with vehicles, and never more than six staff vehicles, according to SMOC.

The applicant said it was confident that 23 spaces will be more than enough parking. If overflow parking is needed, it was decided Bishop Street would be used.

No one from the public spoken at Monday night’s meeting. Several members of the public spoken at the previous meetings.


Shauna Golden

Since she was little, Shauna knew that she wanted a career in a field that would allow her to practice her love of writing on a daily basis. While attending Framingham High School, Shauna took several journalism and television production classes. It was during her experience in those classes that Shauna recognized her dream of becoming a journalist one day. She graduated from Framingham High School in May 2014. Now, at 21-years-old, Shauna is a rising senior at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. She is studying journalism with a minor in French language. Shauna hopes to use her passion for writing to better the world one day. She has a drive for delivering news and using all forms of journalism (print, digital, and broadcast) to deliver those stories. Shauna is expected to graduate from Quinnipiac University in December 2017. After graduation, she looks forward to entering the communications field and continuing to learn and grow both as a journalist, and as a person.

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