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243WVN Newsletter #224: New TC developer threat

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  • waylandvoters1
    Nov 28, 2007
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      The path toward a Town Center bustling with shops, offices and
      housing continues to be full of potholes. As WVN reported
      earlier, Twenty Wayland quietly withdrew its Final Environmental
      Impact Report, which the state requires before approving the
      mixed-use project. State agency comments indicate that
      officials found the plan flawed. Another plan must be filed and
      time allowed for public comment. Molly Upton examines those
      comments in this newsletter.

      Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen squabbled with the Waste
      Water Commission Monday night over the Town Center and the
      developer again loudly threatened to abandon the project. How
      heated was the meeting? A man arriving for an unrelated matter
      next on the agenda joked, "I'm afraid to come to the table."
      ----------------------------
      IMPORTANT DATES

      Finance Committee Informational public forum on budget:
      Monday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., Town Building. The Fincom, which
      estimates a $2.6 million budget shortfall for fiscal 2009, plans to
      explain the budget process and the causes of the shortfall.

      Planning Board deliberates Town Center, Thursday, Nov. 29,
      7:30 p.m.

      Raytheon cleanup meeting: Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m., Town Building,
      Raytheon will update residents and answer questions about its
      environmental cleanup of the Town Center site.

      Voters have until Dec. 13 to submit petitioners' articles
      for the annual Town Meeting on April 10. Ten certified signatures
      are required to put an article on the warrant.
      -------------------------
      SELECTMEN, WASTE WATER COMMISSIONERS CLASH

      Selectmen declared themselves "nervous," "stunned," "upset."
      Three of them attacked the chairman of the Waste Water
      Management District Commission, saying that the town might be
      in "legal peril."

      The commission controls a waste water treatment plant that has
      served the 57-acre Raytheon site on Route 20 for decades. The
      town is legally obligated to allow Twenty Wayland to discharge
      45,000 gallons per day of waste water. The developer won't
      need that much capacity until it builds something. Beyond that,
      the commissioner and the selectmen don't seem to agree on
      much.

      Commission Chairman Blair Davies explained that state
      environmental agencies (DEP and EPA) control and license
      treatment plants. The commission has hired consultants to
      recommend options for meeting the needs of present and
      potential future users of the system. Replacing the plant and
      increasing capacity to serve for many years could cost upwards
      of $3 million. Davies argues that a short-term fix might ultimately
      be cost-inefficient.

      The two real estate developers on the Board of Selectmen, Bill
      Whitney and Michael Tichnor, said they were worried that
      Wayland could be in violation of the wastewater agreement
      signed in 1999. As a customer of the system, Twenty Wayland
      can claim its rights.

      When Davies outlined the commission's long-term strategy to
      achieve the best results with the least money, Tichnor replied
      that he sensed no "urgency" from the commission to do
      something immediately. "This thing can't wait," Tichnor said.

      As speakers interrupted each other and the discussion became
      more heated, Tichnor and Whitney rejected Davies' explanation
      that the commission will build adequate capacity as Twenty
      Wayland builds the project.

      Beyond that, Tichnor, Whitney and their colleague Joe Nolan,
      seemed furious that Davies had written as a citizen offering
      public comment to a Massachusetts Environmental Protection
      official. Though Davies wrote that the ideas were his own,
      Nolan said he might have acted improperly by identifying himself
      as the board chairman.

      The principal developer, Dean Stratouly, and his lawyer Adam
      Weisenberg were in the audience, well prepared when
      Chairman Whitney asked for their comment.

      TOWN COULD "END UP OWNING THE BUILDING"

      Weisenberg asserted that Davies had suggested in his email to
      MEPA that authorities delay issuing permits and called that
      "sufficient to breach the contract."

      "I don't like to threaten litigation," Weisenberg said, adding that
      the matter "needs to be resolved quickly."

      Stratouly began by accusing the commission of negligence in
      delaying a license renewal for five years. When Davies
      interjected that the application was filed promptly and the state is
      holding it up, Whitney shut him down.

      "I am very upset," Stratouly said, adding that The damage
      caused by Davies' memo "may be immeasurable."

      As a result, Stratouly said, he could abandon the project and the
      town could end up owning the (existing Raytheon) building,
      "which a lot of people in this town would like." (A few residents
      have suggested over the years that the town acquire the unused
      site and 400,000-square-foot building, perhaps as a location for
      the High School.)

      When Town Counsel Mark Lanza was asked to comment, he
      was noncommittal about the developers' and selectmen's
      contentions.

      The session ended with the selectmen agreeing with the
      commissioners' estimate that in early January the commission
      should have enough information and choices to discuss the
      best course of action with the selectmen.

      In the past Stratouly has threatened to walk out, and once did so.
      That set the project back several months. He is used to getting
      his way, and the majority of selectmen support him.

      Stratouly didn't explain how Davies' memo could have created
      "immeasurable" damage, but environmental concerns are
      clearly claiming much attention from Twenty Wayland.

      -- Michael Short


      BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN NEEDED?

      Several state agency responses to the recently withdrawn Final
      Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) filed under the
      Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) indicate
      improvements are needed when the new FEIR is submitted. The
      wastewater and traffic plans drew particular attention from the
      Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Executive
      Office of Transportation (EOT).

      The project in this environmentally sensitive area needs
      approval from both the town and the state. The project tripped the
      MEPA threshold because of the projected traffic volume. In
      addition, DEP governs regulations for the wastewater plant,
      which discharges into the Sudbury River. And Route 20 is a state
      road. MEPA is the coordinator for the state agencies.

      The comments appear to indicate the responses from the state
      agencies were the real reason for Twenty Wayland's withdrawal
      of its FEIR rather than confusion over the dates. The initial
      notification sent by Epsilon, the developer's consultant, cited a
      comment deadline of Nov. 15 when in fact it was Nov. 8.

      The FEIR was withdrawn Wednesday, Nov. 14 but the offices of
      selectmen and planning weren't notified until Tuesday, Nov. 20.
      The latest plan for roads was submitted to the town on Nov. 14,
      but cannot be reviewed by the state until the new FEIR is filed.

      Town boards and residents will need to file new comments
      based on the next FEIR because it will supersede the withdrawn
      FEIR. In addition, because the FEIR was withdrawn, it's doubtful
      the file of comments will be sent to those who responded.

      WVN's examination of the comments compiled by MEPA
      indicates that DEP is taking a serious interest in the capability of
      the town's wastewater plant.

      WASTEWATER

      DEP outlined its concerns about the amount of wastewater
      exceeding the permit, the condition of the current plant, and the
      lack of an assessment study submitted in the FEIR. On the
      septic plans, DEP said the system should use additional
      filtration beyond that planned as well as a pressure distribution
      system because the 9,600 gallon-per-day septic system is near
      a public water supply.

      DEP said it has has "major concerns related to the proposal to
      discharge wastewater to the Wayland Wastewater Treatment
      Plant (WWTP)." DEP noted "the current NPDES permit limits the
      average monthly discharge to 52,000 gallon/day. …The design
      flows to the plant from the Town Center project, in accordance
      with 314 CMR 7.15, are approximately 44,975 gallon/day." When
      combined with the current town usage of 8,400 gallon/day and
      the recently granted sewer connection permit to another user of
      8,700 gallons per day, "the permitted flows combined with the
      flows for the proposed project would significantly exceed the
      permitted capacity of the existing WWTP." These figures don't
      include the potential future town users of the system, such as
      the town building and the library.

      DEP also highlighted the fact the FEIR lacked the assessment
      report on the WWTP. In a letter dated June 12, DEP had
      emphasized its position requiring an assessment study of the
      plant, and that it was "not satisfied that our concerns would be
      addressed `at the local level' as" Frank Dougherty had
      suggested in an earlier letter. Dougherty's letter had also
      claimed that since "our flow is less than 50,000 gpd there would
      be no wastewater permit required for our project." Dougherty's
      previous letter had said "the town will not allow us to connect to a
      plant that cannot handle the total projected flow." Twenty
      Wayland didn't include the assessment study in its FEIR and
      had previously asserted the study did not belong in its FEIR
      because the plant belongs to the town.

      In reviewing the recently withdrawn FEIR, DEP indicated plans to
      "require a MassDEP sewer connection permit for this project
      prior to any construction or use of any sewer system to convey
      wastewater to the Wayland WWTP. MassDEP respectfully
      requests that EEA include this requirement in any certification
      issued on the FEIR." This requirement of a sewer connection
      permit under 314 CMR 7.04 would enable MassDEP to require
      an appropriate WWTP evaluation if necessary.

      Regarding the proposed septic system, DEP also notes that
      since the projected flow of 9,600 gallons per day is less than the
      10,000 that triggers the need for a permit from DEP, the
      Wayland Board of Health is the permitting authority. "However, a
      number of issues related to compliance with 310 CMR 15.000
      need to be addressed." These include use of a recirculating
      sand filter (approval by BOH) or equivalent technology in
      accordance with 310 CMR 15.200 (approval by MassDEP) as
      well as pressure distribution of effluent.

      Looking toward the future, MassDEP also said "If the buildings to
      be served or being served by the septic system are not owned by
      the same entity, a shared system approval shall be required in
      accordance with 310 CMR 15.292." The septic system is
      described as serving the grocery, retail building, and office
      building on the east side of the property.

      STORMWATER, WETLANDS

      Of key interest to residents passing through the Route 126/27
      intersection in the spring, "the FEIR has not explained how the
      project would meet the Stormwater Management Policy
      requirements to control the peak rates of runoff at analysis point
      5, which discharges stormwater in the vicinity of Sudbury
      Road/Route 27, despite the fact the DEIR… showed that there
      would be an increase in peak rates of runoff for the 2 and 10 year
      storms above peak rates."

      "As proposed, the project does not meet the Performance
      Standards in the wetlands regulations. In addition, the
      compensatory flood storage is not designed in accordance with
      the Performance Standards. There isno incremental flood
      storage for the area of filling between elevations 114-120, (Table
      4-5)."

      The report also cited the lack of information pertaining to total
      suspended solids in stormwater, including whether the
      stormwater management system "is designed to capture and
      treat one inch of runoff multiplied by the impervious area." The
      report also noted the developer might need to sweep the streets
      more frequently than twice a year.

      The DEP also wanted more information on the areas proposed
      for recharge to ensure that infiltration is not proposed "within an
      area of soil or groundwater contamination." It also requested
      specific information of wetlands impacts in tabular form.

      ROADS

      The Executive Office of Transportation said "there are a number
      of unresolved issues and concerns that were not properly
      addressed in the FEIR. Therefore, we recommend that a
      Supplemental EIR be required… and include a revised traffic
      impact and access study…."

      The EOT has been advocating the project's road should be a
      public bypass road.

      Citing the FEIR's intent for the road to remain private, the EOT
      stated: "Therefore, due to the uncertainty of the by-pass roadway
      designation and the limitation of the roadway to attract by-pass
      traffic, MassHighway will require the proponent to provide full
      traffic analyses based on a volume network without any credit
      being taken for the bypass."

      This may mean a major revision with wider roads at the
      intersection, and concomitant scrutiny on the
      environmental/historical impacts.

      Regarding the submitted plans for road widenings, the EOT
      report stated "The proponents' preferred alternative (Mod A3-1)
      as presented in the FEIR is substandard, with short receiving
      areas on Route 20 westbound and eastbound that result in only
      a small percentage of vehicles that can utilize the auxiliary
      through lane. While the proponent has identified constraints at
      this location, Routes 20, 27, and 126 are arterial roadways that
      are key to providing regional access; therefore, the proponent
      should provide additional concept plans that present the
      environmental impacts of providing significant improvements at
      this intersection. During the review period, the project proponent
      has submitted to MassHighway supplemental information for
      review. The SFEIR should include this additional information in
      order to give all of the interested parties the opportunity to
      comment."

      In addition, the document notes that it is unclear whether
      Wayland will approve access from Route 27. "If access from
      Route 27 is not allowed, the mitigation at the Route 20/Site Drive
      and Route 20/Routes 27/126 intersection will need to be
      significantly changed."

      -- Molly Upton
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      Michael Short, Editor