Town Hall Site Renovation
The following outlines the various components of the Town Hall project now underway. This responds to questions The Town Manager has received and is designed to provide additional detail and background information on why various aspects of the project are being pursued.
Parking Lot – Per Building-Zone Regulations, the Town Hall/Academy complex requires 285 parking spaces as compared to 214 before recent work, a significant shortfall. Under the recent Special Permit approved by TP&Z, parking is increased to 277 spaces with an 8 space waiver. This is much needed parking at Town Hall and more commensurate with requirements of the Special Permit process.
Parking Realignment – Approximately 19 spaces (including 3 handicap) will be available along the south side of the entrance drive with direct access to Town Hall by sidewalk. This reduces the need to cross the access drive when visiting Town Hall (particularly important for visitors with ambulatory and other challenges). The seldom-used circular drive constructed for school use is removed and replaced with lawn areas.
Exterior Lighting – Given the number of late night meetings, the lack of exterior lighting is a consistent concern. This has caused some slips-and-falls and safety issues, particularly when walking to the rear lot. The lighting improvements respond to this concern and satisfy Special Permit requirements. Town Hall is located within the Historic District and site improvements such as lighting require review and approval by the Historic District Commission. Energy efficient LED lighting is installed to match with re-lamping at other Town and School facilities.
Exterior Signage – The Town Hall/Academy complex can be difficult to navigate and visitors often cannot locate various offices. New signs are installed to be visible along Main Street and within the campus. Signs are consistent with similar installations along Main Street within the Historic District.
Paving – Repaving of the parking lot is consistent with similar work at other Town facilities and schools. The Capital budget provides annual funding for this purpose. To the Town Manager's knowledge, the Town Hall parking and access drive has not been repaved since 1983, with some even suggesting the late 1960s. The pavement is deteriorated (as are sidewalks, curbing, etc.) and repaving is a standard maintenance item. The repaving was cost efficiently coordinated with realignment and expansion.
Grants and Rebates – The project has received Energy Efficiency Grant funding and qualifies for utility rebates.
Entrance Drive – Alignment with Douglas Road was identified as a benefit many years ago and eliminates the offset intersection. This was highly recommended by Public Safety staff and supported by frequent building users. This also provides traffic calming to reduce speeds of vehicles traveling through the Town Hall parking lot to recycling bins, softball field, etc. (a number of near misses). Material cost for this realignment is approximately $13,000.
Entrance Door – The sliding entrance doors create a wind tunnel effect for offices on the lower and mid-level during winter months. This requires staff to, at times, wear heavy sweaters and coats. The revolving door is relatively common in office buildings and the Town Manager is aware of one area Town Hall making the same change from a sliding door to a revolving door. Ultimately, the revolving door's specific purpose is to reduce cold air circulation through the building.
New Work Space – The expanded work space to be constructed at the entrance will improve efficiency at Town Hall. The Customer Service Center will be at grade immediately available when visitors enter Town Hall. This will allow for transitioning passport applications from the Probate Office to the Customer Service Center. Annual revenues to the Town are estimated at $50,000. Other revenue opportunities will be evaluated.
Local Approvals – The project was unanimously approved by the Town Plan & Zoning Commission, Historic District Commission and Beautification Committee. The improvements to Town Hall are consistent with the standards and expectations of the Special Permit, PAD, and ARZ process.
Other – The project is designed to improve public safety, reduce potential for slips and falls (lost time, Worker’s Compensation, ongoing liability), reduce ongoing maintenance costs, and achieve a number of other ongoing benefits.