217WVN Newsletter #201:State questions on TC
- Feb 5, 2007Dear Wayland Voter,
If the town center project goes ahead, the developers face
hurdles under Massachusetts environmental regulations.
Among other things, the state wants more information on water
and the possibility of cars using the site to bypass Route 20
intersection traffic. Molly Upton reports.
STATE ASKS ENVIRONMENTAL DETAILS
The state has issued a certificate for Twenty Wayland's Draft
Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the town center project
at the 57-acre former Raytheon property. This paves the way for
the developer to file a final report (FEIR) but the certificate
requires more detail and commitment as well as clarification of
"factual inaccuracies contained in the DEIR."
WVN spotted several items of interest in the Jan. 12 certificate
from the Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles:
<sum> Mass Highway has expressed support for a bypass road to
divert traffic away from the 20/126/27 intersection.
<sum> The DEIR should outline recommendations for improvements
to the waste water treatment facilities "that will be implemented
before occupancy of the proposed project."
<sum> The developer has to clarify whether it can use the automobile
traffic figure claimed for previous office usage, and present
additional mitigation if required due to potential traffic study
<sum> The developer should provide "clear commitments" to
implement mitigation measures, estimate the individual costs,
identify parties responsible, and provide a schedule for
<sum> The developer needs to address each of the comments
submitted by Wayland boards and the public about its DEIR
The purpose of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act
(MEPA) is to gather sufficient evidence on the project and its
impacts so that the individual agencies can consider and
approve or deny aspects of the project.
For this project, MEPA has jurisdiction over "traffic/air quality,
wetlands, waste water, rare species and storm water," but the
certificate also includes serious suggestions about water usage
and requests information on the impact on the historic district
and impact on visibility from the Wild and Scenic Sudbury River.
The issue of one or two accesses to the shopping center is of
concern to many in town, and the zoning bylaw approved at Town
Meeting specifies this issue will be decided as part of the Master
Special Permit process. The certificate acknowledges that a
Route 27 access "will still require thorough review at the local
level by the Town of Wayland as part of the Master Special Permit
In the FEIR, the developer should provide thorough
documentation addressing each item of concern outlined within
Mass Highway's comment letter.
Suddenly, the issue of one or two accesses with what has been
portrayed as a Main Street with slow traffic has been recast as
an issue between the town and the state on whether the
potential road will be a by-pass.
The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) should detail any
changes to the project and environment impacts, and also
describe how "project phasing as described in the DEIR
compares to that mandated under the town's Mixed Use Overlay
District permitting process and the associated developer
agreement to ensure that mitigation measures and impacts can
be accurately assessed and timed appropriately."
"MAIN STREET" A BYPASS?
The letter from the Executive Office of Transportation states that
the design of the internal roadway and the Route 27 intersection
"should not detract from the attractiveness of this by-pass route.
The proponent should consult with the Town of Wayland to
determine the feasibility of designating the internal roadway as a
public way, which would increase its use as a by-pass."
Developers and residents imagined the project as something
like a village, not a short-cut between 27 and 20.
Mass Highway also wants backup data and assumptions
behind the estimates for by-pass volumes, more analysis of the
need for the proposed new light at the Route 20 entrance, along
with details on queue analysis. It also wants to review the design
of roadway improvements and the proposed traffic signal at the
intersection of Routes 27/126 (near the library) because this is
so close to the main 20/27/126 intersection, and asks the
proponent to meet with Mass Highway prior to submitting the
In the DEIR, the developer indicated the existing office park had
been occupied within the past three years. However, many
comments indicated the office park has been vacant for several
years, and submitted as evidence the property owner's
testimony before the Appellate Tax Board. (The higher the figure
on previous traffic, the smaller the estimated impact of
Furthermore, the developer needs to adjust its figures to look at
a higher use municipal building than a library, and evaluate how
recent improvements in the 20/27/126 intersection influence the
data already collected as some of the data was collected prior to
the start of the roadway reconstruction in the area.
Roadway widening is mentioned in several categories such as
historic districts, wetlands, and mitigation. The certificate asks
for alternatives that consider impacts to local historic districts,
and encourages the applicant to work with local historic groups
to discuss ways to mitigate impacts to historic resources.
For Route 20, the certificate said the FEIR should analyze
indirect impacts (i.e. changes in drainage patterns) on wetlands
as a result of the project, how flood plain compensatory storage
areas will be provided and suggests these be placed proximate
to the project site.
"As part of the FEIR, the proponent should strive to select a
preferred alternative for the Route 20 widening, and assess and
present potential impacts to the southern side of Route 20" (in
the area of the Unitarian church and town building).
Although mitigation of local roads is the province of the town, the
Secretary requests that the FEIR address mitigation measures
to offset impacts to local roadways.
"The mitigation summary should compare anticipated mitigation
costs to the funds promised by the proponent within the
Development Agreement and identify what mitigation costs may
be lost should the project not move forward or certain time
PUBLIC TRANSIT AND PEDESTRIAN ACCESS
Pedestrian access and movement from the current shopping
area is another topic mentioned in the certificate. "It is unclear
how local connections can be made to and from the project
sites, The FEIR should present potential locations for pedestrian
and bicycle connections to the surrounding areas through an
inventory of existing and proposed sidewalks, bike lanes, etc.
and clearly depict connections on a plan."
The certificate encouraged the proponent to "work with the Town
of Wayland to provide reliable transportation services for elderly
residents" and clarify any funding on transportation demand
management, as well as provide information regarding the
proponent's "willingness to coordinate with and participate in a
regional transit authority, should one be developed to service
Wayland and Route 20 within the Draft Section 61 (i.e.
transportation) findings." The Linden Street Development in
Wellesley includes some funding for elderly transportation.
WATER -- IN AND OUT
The state has provided a missing piece in the waste water
treatment facility plans by asking the proponent to outline
"recommendations for process or operational improvements
that will be implemented before occupancy of the proposed
project." It also wants information on the permitting process and
how the proposed waste water facility upgrade will "ensure
compliance with reasonably anticipated conditions of the future
NPDES (waste water) permit."
On the proposed 9,900 gallons-per-day subsurface disposal of
waste water, in addition to conforming to Title 5 and within a
Zone II, the FEIR should delineate the separate and distinct
flows to the waste water treatment facility and the septic area..
Water usage also comes under scrutiny. In the DEIR the
developer raised the projected amount of water usage from
45,000 gallons/day to 80,000 gallons/day including an estimated
25,000 gallons/day for irrigation. "The FEIR should clarify if
irrigation demands of this magnitude are permissible and
outline ways to reduce irrigation water demand" and the
certificate strongly encourages conserving water resources.
Further, the FEIR should "address how projected water
demands relate to existing permitted water withdrawals within
the Town of Wayland and provide updated data on water use" so
it can be determined if the project "will conflict with the
requirements of the MassDEP Administrative Consent Order"
(which constrains Wayland's water usage).
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor