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189WVN Newsletter #178: Town center environmental study

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  • waylandvoters1
    Aug 8, 2006
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      State environmental officials are looking for more comments and
      concerns from citizens about the proposed town center
      development at the former Raytheon property. Molly Upton lays
      out details below.

      School administrators are preparing a preliminary application for
      state reimbursement for a new or renovated high school. Tom
      Sciacca reports.

      Also in this newsletter: There is strong interest in added
      positions on the High School Building Committee, and a
      vacancies remain on other appointed town bodies.


      With plans under way for the construction of Wayland's largest
      land use project, several state agencies will conduct
      environmental reviews. On a sweltering Aug. 3, Holly Johnson,
      the representative from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy
      Act (MEPA) office, held a site visit to help determine the scope of
      those reviews. She heard comments and urged residents to file
      written comments by Aug. 15 to bring concerns to the state's

      Johnson made clear that MEPA does not approve or deny
      projects, but rather coordinates reviews by other agencies. The
      redevelopment plan for the former Raytheon property triggers

      -- Transportation
      -- Wetlands
      -- Storm water discharge
      -- Waste water
      -- Possibly rare species

      Ten days after the Aug. 15 deadline for receipt of citizens'
      concerns, the agency will issue a certificate outlining the scope
      of work for further investigation in a Draft Environmental Impact
      Report (DEIR).

      There will be additional opportunity for public comment, followed
      by the final environmental report and public comment. However,
      Johnson made it clear that now is the best time to flag items of
      concern because subsequent comments will not expand the
      scope of investigation.

      Public Comment letters/emails should identify the project as
      Wayland Town Center, File # 13844 and be addressed to:

      Secretary Stephen R. Pritchard
      EOEA Attn. MEPA Office
      Holly Johnson
      100 Cambridge St. #900
      Boston, MA 01224

      Email: holly.s.johnson@...
      The MEPA fax number is 617 626 1181.

      Interestingly, the water supply was not on the MEPA list, although
      several residents mentioned that Wayland is in violation of
      Department of Environmental Protection standards for drawing
      too much water from its wells. Water pressure can be low in
      some areas of town during summer peak demand.

      Frank Dougherty of Twenty Wayland LLC, the town center
      developers, gave an overview of the project, saying he expected
      permitting separate from MEPA would take 12-18 months. He
      also said the housing would need to be in the western portion of
      the Route 20 property based on what they hope Raytheon
      will approve. (Raytheon is doing an environmental cleanup that
      will last for a number of years.)


      Ken Cram from Vanasse Associates (developers' traffic
      consultant) said there are now about 1600 cars an hour in the
      peak a.m. and p.m. weekday periods. Current plans call for
      aligning a signalized Route 20 project entrance with that of
      Russell's Garden Center. That curb cut will require a state
      permit. Plans call for additional widening of Route 20, wetlands
      replication, and signals at the intersection of 27/126 coordinated
      with those at 27/20. Route 27 would have a left and right turn
      lane and the infrastructure would be installed for a signal. No
      state permit is needed for a curb cut on Route 27.

      Some residents noted that the traffic study should consider the
      higher traffic figures that might arise from a community
      center/pool rather than a library at the municipal pad. The traffic
      data were taken in June for the study being done now, and in
      accordance with the requirements of the development
      agreement it will include determining impacts on neighborhood
      roads. Cram said there were formulas to take into account the
      lighter summer traffic. One resident called the previous traffic
      studies inadequate because they didn't consider the origin and
      destination of the autos.

      Dougherty said the developer would provide sidewalks on Route
      20 to the project although this is not required in the developer
      agreement, and Johnson stressed the importance of integrating
      this project into the rest of the commercial area and for safe
      pedestrian crossings.

      Johnson was concerned about what happens when the roads
      flood. The planned road widening that would affect wetlands
      could require other permits, perhaps involving the Army Corps of
      Engineers, Johnson said. She made clear that the studies
      should look at the cumulative impacts; i.e. how road widening
      might affect wetlands, etc. There was discussion about the
      difficulty in finding where to offset lost wetlands.

      Joe Laydon, Wayland town planner, observed that reconstruction
      of the Route 20 bridge is going out to bid in the fall, and
      wondered whether the design could be made to allow bike or
      pedestrian traffic, offering the potential for extending the
      proposed bike path.

      The developer's Environmental Notification Form
      ents/Wayland%20Tow n%20Center%20ENF.pdf indicates that
      the primary project entrance is from Route 27, and this should
      be corrected to Route 20, one resident noted.


      Representatives of various Sudbury River organizations noted
      the likelihood of increased eutrophication in the river from the
      simultaneous increased draw-down of the river and the added
      effluent being discharged to the river. This is happening in other
      towns as well as Wayland, and the cumulative effect on the river
      is not beneficial.

      In addition, several River officials indicated the wetlands are
      owned by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. Johnson
      indicated these boundaries need to be delineated to "ensure
      preservation beyond Wayland's jurisdiction." Brian Monahan,
      Conservation Commission administrator, indicated the
      commission has not accepted Raytheon's wetlands delineation,
      and needs a good riverfront designation.

      The extent of the floodplain also needs to be examined. It
      appears the town lacks a good idea of the total building
      envelope, or acreage that is buildable. Without this information,
      the town cannot calculate the floor area ratio, which is often the
      first step in deciding the total size of buildings on a given

      There were additional comments in the wetlands category. One
      concerned the potential visual impact to users of the river (as
      well as those on Route 126 and Route 20) as that impacts the
      "scenic" value of the Wild and Scenic River. Another questioned
      the impact on the wetlands of leakage of fluids from parked cars
      and particulates, including dust from car tires.


      Dougherty said the developer will fund a study on the status of
      the waste water plant, but that the Waste water Commission has
      asked it to delay the study until the new EPA National Pollutant
      Discharge Elimination System permit is issued. He said that as
      a user entitled to 45,000 gallons daily, the developer will bear 68
      percent of any cost for improvements and also will cover the
      town's cost.

      When asked about plans to extend waste water capacity,
      Dougherty said he doubts that the EPA would allow expansion
      "and we have no desire to expand." "But if we get extra capacity,"
      he added, "we can have more restaurants." He later mentioned
      plans for a 10,000-gallon septic field.

      Johnson also asked for a history of the building and its uses, as
      well as the waste water treatment plant.


      No storm water treatment plan has been submitted. Johnson
      urged the developer not to follow the storm water regulations for
      redevelopment, but rather design and treat to the highest
      Environmental Protection Agency level. Apparently there may be
      different standards for a "redevelopment" than for a new project.


      It is possible there are rare species on the property, but Johnson
      said the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
      has changed its list so the developer needs to file for a new


      Johnson also asked if the Massachusetts Historical
      Commission was copied on the developer's ENF filing, and the
      answer was no, although it is on the mailing list. There was an
      implication that the proposed historic railroad interpretive center
      could have an historic designation since some of Wayland's
      artifacts date back to at least 1881.


      Dougherty said the town's water consultant had confirmed
      available capacity last year. Several residents questioned this
      opinion. One person commented that in the summer some
      residents are said to have difficulty having enough water
      pressure to flush toilets. Johnson said the developer should
      seriously consider low impact development with native species
      plantings and green building design.

      One resident asked if MEPA would consider the cumulative
      impact from both the approved Wayland Commons 40B project
      and the town center project, as both parcels were once owned by
      Raytheon. The answer was that if the abutting 40B project by
      itself did not trigger a MEPA review, then the combined impacts
      couldn't be considered.

      Another report of this meeting may be found in the MetroWest
      Daily News at:


      The selectmen have endorsed the School Committee's plans to
      submit the first part of the application for state reimbursement for
      a new or renovated High School. New state regulations require
      school committees to involve boards of selectmen.

      After receiving approval at the Aug. 7 Board of Selectmen
      meeting, Superintendent Gary Burton said he hoped the initial
      "statement of interest" would be ready by the end of the month.
      Selectmen noted clerical errors in the draft, including the
      absence of necessary information about Loker School.

      Significant details including design concepts and schematics
      won't be required until the Massachusetts School Building
      Authority begins accepting formal application next July. In the
      mean time the School Committee plans to ask voters for several
      hundred thousand dollars in design funds.


      The July 17 regular meeting of the School Committee was the
      first chaired by Heather Pineault, replacing Jeff Dieffenbach as
      part of a normal rotation process.


      School administrators recommended adopting the high school
      mission statement in the short term for the district as a whole,
      but initiating a process to develop a new one. The committee
      voted to accept this recommendation, along with the adoption of
      a School Committee mission statement to guide its own actions.
      Both are available on the school web site.

      A resident with experience in strategic planning has offered to
      lead an effort to develop a plan for the Wayland schools, possibly
      culminating in an overarching mission statement. This follows
      an inconclusive special strategic planning meeting in June
      chaired by Dieffenbach, who admitted that the effort was beyond
      his range of expertise. None of the current members appear to
      have senior management experience. The committee agreed to
      meet with the resident at the next meeting.


      The committee reviewed a second draft of Superintendent Gary
      Burton's evaluation, written by Dieffenbach. As usual, it contained
      much praise and virtually no criticism. Member Louis Jurist
      attempted to insert a definitive statement that Burton had failed to
      meet one goal, for the creation of a five-year facilities plan.
      Several other members, however, offered excuses for the failure
      and insisted on softer wording. Dieffenbach agreed to modify the
      language somewhat, and the committee voted to approve the
      evaluation as amended without seeing the final version.


      The current projection for the coming year is 2870, with 933 at
      the high school, but that will probably drop, according to Burton.
      Next year was originally projected to be a peak year with
      approximately 1000 high school students, and that original
      projection was part of the rationale for the size of the high school
      proposal that voters rejected in 2005. The new state School
      Building Authority regulations are delayed, probably until the end
      of August. High School Building Committee chair Lea Anderson,
      attending as a guest, said, "The assumption that we will have a
      new high school by 2011 is very optimistic".

      Increased enrollment at the kindergarten level will require the
      hiring of two additional kindergarten teachers next year. A half
      science teacher will also be added at the high school, as a
      result of public comment (by this observer) objecting to the
      administration's original plan to restrict access to science
      classes next year. Money will be moved from currently undefined
      areas elsewhere in the budget to cover these personnel


      Director of Student Services (Special Education head) Doris
      Goldthwaite plans to retire in two years, joining an exodus of
      school administrators in recent years including the assistant
      superintendent, High School principal, Middle School principal,
      and some elementary school principals.

      Goldthwaite believes that the SPED program is in good shape.
      For the first time, she said, "I'm actually feeling it's not out of
      control anywhere".

      Last year six SPED students unexpectedly forced the town to pay
      for very expensive out-of-district placement, adding an extra
      $180,000 to the budget. Goldthwaite fought these placements

      Seventeen percent of Wayland students are in SPED, in line with
      nationwide averages, said Burton. Jurist asked how Wayland
      compares with other nearby towns. We spend more in town but
      less out of town than many others, replied Goldthwaite.

      According to the Board of Selectmen, 14 residents have
      expressed interest in being appointed to four new positions on
      the High School Building Committee, which is being expanded
      to 15 members.

      The selectmen appointed Phil Radoff and Mark Reiss (a
      Wayland High School student) Monday to the Cable TV Advisory
      Committee. Two vacancies remain. The committee will become
      involved if Verizon seeks to compete against Comcast for
      Wayland's cable business.

      There is a three-year position available on the Waste Water
      Management District Committee and another on the Community
      Preservation Committee. The latter opened up when Chairman
      Michael Patterson rejected reappointment and strongly criticized
      selectmen who assailed his position on legal issues.

      There is a vacancy until Sept. 30, 2007 on the Septage

      If you're interested in a vacancy, get in touch with Town
      Administrator Fred Turkington (fturkington@...).

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      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor