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161WVN Newsletter #155: Last-minute TC agreement

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  • waylandvoters1
    Apr 3, 2006
      Dear Wayland Voter,

      Now that the selectmen and the Planning Board have finally
      come to an agreement on a zoning article necessary to build a
      shopping/housing development on Route 20, what happens

      Voters will soon receive a mailed copy of the warrant for the
      annual Town Meeting and the May 3 special Town Meeting.
      There you'll find the zoning article and the accompanying
      agreement between the selectmen and the property developers,
      Twenty Wayland LLC.

      The language may be impenetrable to the lay reader, and
      supporters and critics of the $100-million project at the former
      Raytheon property will be busy offering explanations. Town
      boards and committees will do the same. Watch for

      Advocacy groups have already distributed emails cheering the
      latest developments. Save Our Services, which supports the
      proposed $2.1 million property tax override, argues that the town
      center "funds our future." OneWayland advises supporters, "Get
      a sitter now" for May 3.

      The project is 17 percent smaller than the one rejected at a
      November special Town Meeting. Questions raised last year
      about fiscal and environmental impact remain.

      The Planning Board, which is scheduled to meet April 3 and 4
      but may need only one night, will hold its required hearing on
      the mixed-use zoning on April 20 and will issue its report on the
      town center proposal before May 3. The Board of Selectmen is
      taking this week off and will hold its warrant hearing on April 18.

      ANOTHER DATE TO REMEMBER: Wednesday April 5 is the last
      day to register to vote in the annual election on April 25 and the
      annual and special Town Meeting beginning April 27. Call the
      town clerk (358-3630) if you have questions.

      Molly Upton recaps below the climax of months-long wrangling.


      On March 27 selectmen and the developer debated at length
      several items in the developer agreement. Although the
      selectmen polled boards and received written comments at the
      outset, there was no opportunity for boards to discuss the drafts
      or final version with selectmen. The outcome was a developer
      agreement finished at the last minute before the warrant went to

      On Tuesday, the selectmen appeared to spend as much time
      fretting over the Planning Board's desire to be the sole sponsor
      of the mixed-use zoning article as they spent reviewing the nearly
      final version of the developer agreement incorporating changes
      made on Monday. The selectmen dithered over this aspect,
      despite repeated assertions from Town Counsel Mark Lanza
      that the Planning Board as sole proposer was proper. Part of the
      issue was that the selectmen had inserted a "placeholder"
      article to guarantee inclusion in the warrant, and asked if the
      proposer could be different from the party inserting the article.
      This situation happens frequently, Lanza reminded the
      selectmen. Or, was the real issue that the selectmen thought its
      sponsorship would carry more weight with the voters?

      The only major discussion point on Tuesday evening was
      whether Wayland or the developer would handle road
      construction, and how much input Wayland would have in the
      process. A couple of road commissioners, speaking individually
      because their board hadn't had a chance to meet on the issue,
      indicated they thought the Board of Road Commissioners might
      want to be in charge of the process so it could take into
      consideration potential traffic impacts of roadwork related to the
      mixed-use district as well as other tow road work. The developer
      asserted it had more muscle to apply to the project because it
      wanted the roads widened before opening the development. A
      quick read of the final document indicates the BORC will be
      notified of the developer's road plans and have some ability to
      attend meetings and periodically inspect the work.


      Also on Tuesday evening, town building was abuzz over the
      applause garnered by plans presented by the road
      commissioners' traffic engineers for the redesign of the
      intersection of Old Connecticut Path (Route 126) and West Plain
      Road. The presentation was succinct, and the residents'
      questions were on point and thoughtful. The main issues were
      public safety, pedestrian crossing and drainage. The result will
      be a signalized intersection looking similar to that at Oak Street
      and Route 30, with a narrower turn onto West Plain as a traffic
      calming measure and an additional turning lane traveling south
      on Rte 126. Plans may be reviewed at the Library and the
      Highway Department Office (9 a.m.-3 p.m.). Written comments
      may be submitted until Friday, April 7, at 4 p.m. to
      skadlik@... The budget for this on intersection is
      $400,000, received as part of the town's settlement of litigation
      with the original developer of the Danforth Farms housing project
      just over our town line in Framingham. This leaves many asking
      how the $75,000 allocated by the mixed-use project on Route 20
      for traffic mitigation on neighborhood roads can be sufficient.

      Many residents mentioned the contrast in process between that
      of the road commissioners, with a public hearing and an
      ensuing comment period, and the process concerning the
      more significant town center development agreement. As of
      Tuesday, the Planning Board had not reviewed the development
      agreement. This is in contrast to the professed cooperative
      process the selectmen and Planning Board agreed was
      necessary to avoid the lack of support of boards. To some, it
      appeared the selectmen did not start the developer agreement
      process early enough, resulting in the same last-minute
      completion as in November. However, this time the selectmen
      did ask for and received comments from nearly all boards, and
      in many cases incorporated them. Time will tell whether the
      boards, once they have a chance to meet and discuss the
      signed developer agreement, will be satisfied that selectmen
      advocated strongly enough for their suggestions to protect
      the town. There was no public forum offered for citizens to
      discuss the later versions of the draft with selectmen before it
      was finalized.

      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to
      your friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive
      their own copy, they can send an email to
      waylandvoters@... and
      they will be signed up for the listserv. Or, they can sign
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      and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the subscription.

      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor