285WVN #254: Glezen suit settled, Bow Road concerns remain
- Jul 28, 2008Dear Wayland Voter,
The Board of Selectmen has settled a suit by Glezen Lane residents over traffic increases expected from the Town Center project. Bow Road residents' concerns remain.
Also in this newsletter:
-- Hearings continue on the proposed affordable housing project on Route 30 which neighbors oppose in its present form.
-- Officials are pursuing agreements on a new wastewater treatment plant, a project manager for a new or renovated high school, and a study to assess the fairness of property assessments.
The developer of the Town Center project, Twenty Wayland, will hold public comment sessions on the road plans it will submit to the Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD) in order to receive
required state permits. One meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18 at 7:15 p.m. in the Large Hearing Room. To further accommodate residents, Twenty Wayland will hold meetings on Aug. 13 from
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and on Aug. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. Please contact Selectmen's Assistant MaryAnn DiNapoli at 508-358-3621 to be scheduled. The plans will be submitted to MHD Aug. 20. Changes
are proposed on Routes 20, 27, and 126. The Conservation Commission is still holding a hearing on the roadway changes proposed in its jurisdiction.
GLEZEN SUIT SETTLED, BOW CONCERNS REMAIN
One of the major issues surrounding the proposed $140-million Town Center mixed-use project on Route 20 has been how to deal with the traffic "holistically." The neighborhoods, especially
Glezen Lane and Bow Road, the closest to the project, have many times asked the Board of Selectmen for assurances of relief.
Glezen Lane residents filed a suit which has now been settled, according to a press release from the Board of Selectmen. The lead signatory for the plaintiffs, Dave Bernstein, said he would withhold
comment until the settlement was approved by the court.
Bow Road neighbors asked the selectmen if residents would have been better off suing to get relief. Bow Road residents are still pleading with the BoS as they have for many months. To date, Bow
Road has received a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit and a truck restriction.
Notably, there was no mention during the last selectmen meeting with Bow Road residents of the request by Mass. Highway to declare the road through the Town Center a "public road." The MHD
wants to direct traffic to this road to relieve volume at the 27/126/20 intersection. If the road is "public," MHD can place signs on Route 20 directing cars to the shortcut.
However, the Planning Board clearly envisions a road on which folk stop to parallel park. Twenty Wayland has long spoken of a friendly gathering place where pedestrians can feel at home, and this
concept was endorsed by many citizens' letters to the editor in 2005. The plans reviewed by the Planning Board specify raised crosswalks and a sharp turn, intended explicitly to reduce traffic
Clearly there are differences of opinion between the town and the MHD. One major question is whether the BOS or Road Commission has the authority to declare this road "public." Town Meeting
approval is required when a town accepts a road and assumes maintenance. Twenty Wayland has reiterated its willingness to construct and maintain the road. So what label fits?
The Master Special Permit for the project reads: "The roadways within the (mixed use project) MUP may, but shall not be required to be public ways, but if they remain private, the Major Streets shall
be open to the public. In the event that any roadways in the MUP are established as public ways, the Applicant shall be responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair or replacement of such
way(s). Nothing herein shall limit the Town's right, on its own initiative, to lay out, accept and acquire any such roadways as Town ways."
There are essentially two philosophies of controlling traffic: encourage cars on the main arteries, or offload volume onto the neighborhood roads. The problem is that Wayland has very few
north/south or east/west roads. In reality, the community is dominated by dead ends. Thus, any change on one neighborhood road can impact the traffic on another, noncontiguous road. All the
more reason for designing mitigation for the town as a whole.
The Glezen suit settlement specifies initial mitigation measures and additional mitigation if certain thresholds of increased traffic occur for weekday and weekends. A permanent traffic monitoring
device will be installed on Glezen.
The initial measures call for a 25-mph speed limit and a full-time truck restriction, both of which are requests pending at MHD, and three speed tables. A speed table is about 22 feet long, whereas
a speed bump is about 1 foot long.
Glezen currently has a truck restriction between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. There will also be "no access to town center" signs on Moore, Glezen, and Training Field.
Other initial measures include signs at the exit of the access road onto Route 27 telling drivers to reach 126 (north and south) by turning right toward a new traffic signal at the Route 126/27
There also will be weekend left-turn restrictions from Glezen onto 27 and right turns from Route 27 onto Glezen on weekends between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wayland is to provide "directed police
patrols" to target speed and turning restrictions.
One interesting provision is the requirement to complete the road improvements and signalization of Route 126 and 27 intersection prior to "issuance of any building permit for the Town Center
Project " Some residents had asked that wiring be laid but installation of signal lights be delayed until the need is shown.
The thresholds for additional mitigation are an increase of 5 percent during weekday rush hours, and 35 percent over the baseline traffic on Saturday and Sunday and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
weekdays. The baseline measurements will be adjusted upwards by 1 percent per year.
If thresholds continue to be exceeded, additional year-around speed tables will be deployed in groups of three up to a maximum of nine. In addition, if weekday thresholds are reached, the turning
restrictions to and from the west end of Glezen will be extended to weekdays.
There is provision for permanent, 24-hour turn restrictions as well as physical restrictions prohibiting such turns if weekend traffic exceeds 40 percent above the threshold or if weekday rush hour
traffic exceeds 15 percent of the threshold.
Conversely, if the traffic falls below the specified trigger levels, Wayland may remove, one at a time, in inverse order, the traffic mitigation measures.
Wayland must set aside an estimated $140,000 for implementation of the mitigation measures. This is far more than the $30,000 provided in the town's agreement with the developer. Thus the $3
million "gift" from Twenty Wayland appears to be shrinking as some predicted.
The Wastewater Management Commission has selected engineering firm Tighe and Bond to design and oversee construction of a system to accommodate the increased flow from the Town Center, as
well as to comply with unissued regulations from the state and federal governments. Three bids were submitted.
HIGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE INTERVIEWING
The High School Building Committee is interviewing project managers to oversee any work done at the High School site. State Treasurer Tim Cahill has frequently called for cost-effective work for
school rehabilitation and new construction, with an emphasis on the former, as well as use of off-the-shelf designs for the latter. One of the requirements in proceeding as a candidate for any state
funding is to have a project manager, who must in turn be approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority
One of the ways in which communities can earn points toward receiving state funding is to raise private funds toward approved uses. There are no reports so far of a concerted Wayland fund-raising
effort for academic buildings. The state says it won't help to pay for field houses or swimming pools.
ASSESSMENT ACCURACY INSPECTION
An assessors' working committee has received three proposals. The selected firm is expected to conduct home inspections during August and September to assess the accuracy of assessment data.
This is a separate exercise from the recently completed cyclical inspections.
Ellen Brideau has resigned from the assessors' office effective Aug. 1.
COMMONWEALTH ROAD 40B
The Zoning Board of Appeals continued its hearing July 22 on the 56-unit affordable rental project at the former Kathryn Barton site. While the developers' team took considerable time and effort to
tout its changes, most were driven by the need to satisfy the fire chief.
The new plans lop off about 10 feet from the rear of the building (without reducing the number of units) in an attempt to convince the fire chief there is sufficient room for emergency vehicles. There
is more detail in the roofline, including some lower spots intended to enable fire personnel to reach the roof. In addition, the plans call for a commercial-grade sprinkler system that includes outlets
in the attic. The need for attic sprinklers was shown by a Peabody fire in which a large building was destroyed because the fire roamed uncontrolled in the attic.
Fire Chief Chief Robert Loomer hasn't yet commented on the changes.
Town engineering consultant Dan Coughlin explained that the foundation will penetrate all of the upper permeable layer. Because of this, the applicant now proposes a perforated foundation to
allow the flow of groundwater. The applicant team knew of no building that uses such a design.
If the foundation impedes the groundwater, the mound of groundwater would tend to rise, Coughlin said. The height of groundwater is important because a septic system must be 5 feet above the
groundwater. The applicant cited an engineering report indicating the 9,900 gallons-per-day septic system will be the required distance above groundwater.
Though developers provided illustrations of the proposed building front, the concern of many neighbors is the rear of the building, which will about 45 feet above ground.
Town Planner Joe Laydon gave a report from the Planning Board, which views the project as out of character with the neighborhood, with "site design pushing the property" limits. If the number of
units were changed, other issues could be ameliorated. The Planning Board is supportive of rental units, he noted.
There was widespread giggling from the audience when the developer's attorney, Brian Levey, cited the Goddard School next door in attempting to demonstrate that the building fits into the multi-
use nature of Route 30 with other large buildings, including the church across the street. The Goddard School escaped zoning review on the grounds that it was educational/nonprofit. In fact,
Goddard is a for-profit franchise day care operation. Some neighbors contend that because of the relationship of the owners of the Barton and Goddard sites, the impacts should be reviewed as a
Waivers Not Addressed Yet
The Zoning Board of Appeals did not address the three waivers the applicant is seeking from Health Department regulations that pertain to a more densely constructed septic system sized smaller
than Wayland regulations require. The waivers are expected to be discussed at the next meetings Sept. 9 and Oct. 14. It is generally agreed that if the waivers are not granted, the size of the building
would need to be reduced.
-- Molly Upton
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor