Medfield State Hospital News - Traffic, Schools, and Fiscal Impact
The Land Disposition Agreement (“LDA”) between the Town and Trinity Financial is available for review on the Town’s website. The LDA sets out important terms of the transaction, including:
- Land to be acquired which is approximately 45 acres north of Hospital Road
- The Town will retain the areas known as: the Green, the Arboretum, the North Field, and the Water Tower Parcel
- Purchase price of $2 million
- Reimbursement of Town costs up to $500,000 during the due diligence phase and through construction, such as legal fees, Special Town Meeting expenses, and consultant fees
- Trinity’s responsibility for environmental remediation
- Trinity’s obligation to fund all infrastructure associated with the project.
In addition, Trinity will offer additional mitigation of the development’s possible impact, including improvements to three key intersections along Harding Street and a $1 million mitigation payment for the Medfield Public Schools.
- Saturday, June 18 at 9 am to 11 am: Breakfast with Trinity Financial at the Medfield State Hospital
- Tuesday, June 21 at 6 pm: Special Town Meeting at Medfield High School
During public information sessions over the last several months, the Town has received important questions about the proposed redevelopment and possible impacts on water and sewer, finances including education costs and capacity, and traffic. On Wednesday, we answered questions about water and sewer capacity.
The below FAQs address the traffic and fiscal impact in more detail, but in summary, we believe that:
- The project is revenue positive on an
- In addition to being revenue positive, Trinity has agreed to make a $1 million mitigation payment to the Medfield Public Schools in response to concerns about potential impacts to the school system.
- Traffic impacts from the project will be mitigated by Trinity’s commitment to fund the design and construction of intersection improvements at Harding and North, Harding and West, and Hospital and Harding.
Fiscal Impact / Schools
What will the annual financial impact on the Town be from this project?
The Town and Trinity anticipate approximate new revenues of $1,319,824 and new expenses between $642,150 and $845,380 associated with this project, resulting in annual new revenue between $474,474 and $677,674. The range accounts for potential fluctuation in the number of school aged children resulting from the project and alternative methods of estimating costs.
In addition to being revenue positive on an annual basis, Trinity will also make an unconditional mitigation payment to the Town for Medfield Public Schools in the amount of $1 million to address potential costs associated with an increase in the school population, even if this increase does not materialize in the future or is not attributable to the Medfield State Hospital redevelopment. After reviewing the proposal, potential impacts to the schools, and Trinity’s proposed mitigation payment, the Medfield School Committee voted unanimously to support the proposal.
In order to assess the potential fiscal impact of the project on the Town of Medfield, Trinity submitted a Fiscal Impact Analysis by its consultant Mark Fougere. To compile his findings, Fougere met with numerous department heads to review potential new tax revenue and potential expenses. The Town subsequently peer reviewed Fougere’s findings by our consultant Karl Seidman.
For revenue, Fougere’s analysis estimated a total of $1,319,824 from the redevelopment, of which $1.2 million is property taxes and $117,920 is motor vehicle excise taxes. This analysis was reviewed by the Town’s Principal Assessor and peer reviewer.
For expenses, Fougere’s analysis identified various added costs across several departments, including Police, Fire, Council on Aging, DPW, and the Medfield Public Schools.
Fougere’s analysis estimates that the potentially 61 to 66 school age children would live at the redeveloped Medfield State Hospital. On behalf of the Town and school department, these projections were reviewed and accepted by the New England School Development Council (“NESDEC”), which performs enrollment projections for the school department. Based on this number of potential school age children, Superintendent Jeff Marsden and Fougere estimate the cost to Medfield to be approximately $535,000 at the high end of the range of new students, driven by the following added costs:
If fewer school children result from the project, actual school costs could be lower.
What impact will the project have on traffic in the area?
In order to assess the amount of traffic that will be generated by the project, Trinity’s engineering team at VHB conducted a traffic study and submitted a Transportation Impact and Access Study (“TIAS”) to the Town for review. The TIAS evaluated existing traffic conditions then analyzed two scenarios: a “no build” scenario in which the Trinity redevelopment did not go forward and a “build” scenario in which the Trinity redevelopment was fully completed and reached full occupancy. Trinity also incorporated anticipated vehicle trips associated with the Cultural Alliance of Medfield / Bellforge’s cultural arts center, which is an independent project advancing separately from the Trinity proposal, into both the “no build” and the “build” scenarios.
The report identified impacts to three intersections in particular as challenging: Harding Street and North Street, Harding Street and West Street, and Harding Street and Hospital Road. The Town had already identified these intersections as requiring updates to improve safety and two of them (Harding and West, Harding and North) were studied on behalf of the Town by Nitsch Engineering in 2021.
On behalf of the Town, BETA Group, Inc. conducted a peer review of the VHB Transportation Impact and Access study. BETA Group confirmed that VHB followed standard industry practices in developing their traffic impact estimates and confirmed their findings.
The Land Disposition Agreement between the Town and Trinity requires that Trinity fund the design and construction of improvements at each of these intersections.
Catch up on our past issues before the Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, June 21 at 6 pm at the Medfield High School: