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Update Coming on Weiss Farm

Attorney to speak to officials, residents next week.

Signs urging action against "The Commons at Weiss Farm" are on lawns in Stoneham. Credit: Patch file photo.
Signs urging action against "The Commons at Weiss Farm" are on lawns in Stoneham. Credit: Patch file photo.

An update on the proposed “Commons at Weiss Farm” will be held next week.

The Board of Selectmen will hold a public update session Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 7:15 p.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.

Attorney Jon Witten is expected to update officials and residents on the proposed Commons project for Weiss Farm, located at 170 Franklin Street.  

Residents have spoken out against the project on Patch several times. In November, the selectmen viewed a proposal of the project and also deemed it “unfavorable.”

The November proposal included: a 264-unit apartment complex called The Commons, with 88 40B units, on the 26.6-acre plot.


Joshua Speed February 03, 2014 at 07:57 AM
Does anyone know if this plan (which I think a bad one) calls for shutting down the working farm completely, or was the plan to build on adjacent land, while retaining the Horse Boarding, Mulch Sales, Firewood sales, etc?
Paula B Sarno February 03, 2014 at 08:41 AM
There no longer will be a farm operation on the premises.
Joshua Speed February 04, 2014 at 01:51 PM
Thank you for letting me know. That makes this whoe thing even worse and sadder still to see one of the last small farms around, a touch of the old days in Stoneham, go by the way. Many relied on them for Mulch (we got ours from them), for Horse Boarding, etc.
robit70 February 07, 2014 at 08:23 PM
i think you should leave ms. weiss alone the surrounding residents bothered her when she was trying ti run a farm and after many years of fighting with the town she decides to sell and you neighbors are still giving her trouble she lost her husband is losing her farm and now has to deal with all this negativity let her sell and let the development happen more taxes more money how can it not be better for stone ham by the way i am a neighbor also but completely support the project
Paula B Sarno February 08, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Robit70 you may be a neighbor but are not well informed. I am a neighbor and when she was a farm I never objected to her operation even when she was doing mulching incorrectly and hazardous to the neighborhood. She definitely has the right to sell. No one is saying she doesn't. The problem arises as to a developer who has not met with town officials in good faith -come to a meeting of the minds as to the proposed physical structure. The issues are soil erosion, environment, Wetlands and services to a development of this size. This type of development puts in harms way all of Stoneham and our neighbor Melrose. The amount of revenue gained equals 1/3 of the amount spent by the town to service such a development. You as a neighbor will pay by loss of services, possible flooding or increased charges.
Mary Lou Bracciotti February 08, 2014 at 03:56 PM
Robot 70, you are ill informed or misinformed. This housing project will never be an asset to Stoneham. It will threaten the environment, over-burden town services, present a safety hazard for anyone using Franklin Street ( mainly school children), and never bring in the revenue you suggest. Mrs W can do as she pleases and I would like to think that we can reject this ludicrous plan that her developer ( with the aid of Mass Housing) is threatening to bring to Stoneham. I am not a neighbor. I live I close to the Reading line. This plan will bring a change that will impact the quality of life in a negative manner. Please join Friends of Stoneham and become informed.
Paul John Maisano February 09, 2014 at 07:57 AM
There is plenty of blame to meter out regarding the proposed Weiss Farm project. Historically, the Town of Stoneham has failed to extend its five year master affordable housing plan established in 1990. As in many elections, when a referendum ballot question on the issue appeared many voters remained absent. A community's future many times can be determined on what it has learnt and experienced in the past. Dialogue on any issue is healthy to establish a collective direction during reassessment period. Any dialogue that attempts to intimidate, or mute, an adverse minority opinion shall doom us to continue on a collective path of frailty and weakness. The fabric of any community is built on its ability to remain respectful of the diverse opinions. This principle is most complimented by our mutual assistance in the preservation of the minority opinion, even though we may disagree, the effort defends us all !!!
George Georgountzos February 09, 2014 at 07:01 PM
The problem with the Chapter 40B referendum was that it was an "all or nothing" proposition. Many people voted to keep 40B because it does play a role in providing affordable housing in communities that have purposefully kept such housing at bay. Stoneham is NOT such a community. I, for one, voted to keep 40B (and explained why when I ran for State Rep. in 2010) because there was no alternative. The issue before us now isn't whether we should have 40B housing or not; the issue is that the 40B developer really ought to provide an end product that fits in the neighborhood and can be absorbed by the town in terms of traffic, safety and costs. 264 units will generate some income, but the expenses to the town will be enormous...a net loss. Unfortunately, MassHousing does not take this information into consideration. Fortunately, though, we do have some serious and valid reasons for this project, as is, to be denied: Flooding and safety. No one--No one!--can argue with Donna Weiss' decision to sell her property. That is her right! And she has the right to sell it to a 40B developer! The developer should have taken the town's concerns into account, but it appears the project is being railroaded in full speed without valid concerns being addressed.
Russ February 10, 2014 at 11:33 AM
Paul, I agree with the need to learn from the past but I strongly disagree with the need to give credibility to inherently weak arguments in support of the project. I haven't heard one coherent, factual argument in favor of the project. Opinions vary on the reasons for the support of the project by local officials. Minority opinions should have a place in the analysis but we should not automatically elevate an opinion simply because it exists. One strong indicator of those putting forth weak arguments is that they use pseudonyms. So who is robit70? I'd love to see the resume.
Paul John Maisano February 10, 2014 at 04:23 PM
I believe the author was attempting to voice support for the property owners inherent rights. The property owner has chosen to sell the property to a firm that has experience in yielding the best financial gain, incorporating any, and all, existing legal mechanisms capable of achieving that end result. Had our town maintained its focus on its real estate housing stock master plan to address this issue, since a 40B last happened in 1990 in south Stoneham, all this would be mute. Incidentally, I do agree that the public safety danger here is traffic. The roadway servicing this area is extremely limited. Franklin street is barely capable of handling the current volume of traffic. It is most likely not capable of being expanded to accommodate expansion of substantial amounts of vehicular trips. With two educational buildings transporting students, a high volume business entity, complicated by a new assisted living facility not yet on line, in addition to hundreds of vehicular trips from the neighboring community, an in depth traffic study is essential. The study may prove that any additional vehicular burden placed on the current roadway configuration as designed may jeopardize the already overtaxed section. Without a viable re-construction option this alone may carry great weight within the appeal process from a public safety standpoint.
Melisa Passanisi Thorne February 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM
Question on the above sentence "Had our town maintained its focus on its real estate housing stock master plan to address this issue, ..." Does Stoneham have a Master Plan? Is it public? I couldn't find one published on http://www.stoneham-ma.gov/
George Georgountzos February 11, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Sadly we do not have a master plan. That is why people have been calling for a town planner for years....

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