Franklin for All: Still No Consensus
The EDC – four Town Council members plus Bruce Hunchard from Zoning Board of Appeals, Greg Rondeau and Beth Wierling from Planning Board – met to rehash the Franklin for All process thus far, in particular reaction to the public show and tell at the Black Box run by MAPC, the consultant on the project, on May 16.
The group, again discussed some of the pros and cons of the project, what they hope to get out of it and areas where and why the public often still seems dubious or even hostile.
Wierling developed this point at length noting that an ill-prepared public was bombarded with a lot of information at the May 16 event. “They didn't understand that data; we're talking about density requirements, what is that?
“I don't think people fully understand what we're trying to accomplish or the terminology is scary.
“I'll speak for myself. I'm a very visual person, show me what it looks like. Show me a plan with pictures. Here's what it's going to look like if you have this density in your downtown, or this is what it could look like if you are going to add bike lanes, or if you want to improve the traffic, or you want to reduce the parking, how is that going to work?”
Later, Councilor Cobi Frongillo, echoing to some extent the comments made by Wierling, said it may be preferable to have more of the public directly involved in the discussions but that many people have trouble making the time and as elected officials, who are able to dig into the issues, it is incumbent “on us” to go out and connect with the public whenever possible.
The meeting closed with high hopes for engagement with the public at Friday’s Strawberry Stroll and an expectation the group would be able to narrow their thoughts into a package of recommendations for the Town Council by August.
[This article was updated at 10:30 Am on 6-10-22]