764WVN #557: CVS plan hinges on tiny street
- Aug 3, 2014Dear Wayland Voter,
The status of tiny, dead-end Hammond Road is a key to plans for a CVS drug store to replace Finnerty's Country Squire.
The restaurant building at the corner of Main and West Plain streets has been unoccupied since 2007. The Planning Board faces a decision on Aug. 5 that could create new complications.
Also in this newsletter: Two key town positions filled.
CVS SIZE MAY HINGE ON HAMMOND ROAD
If you make a right turn from Main onto West Plan you might not see the Hammond Road sign, posted beside the Finnerty's parking lot. The road bisects the parking lot and becomes visible at the north side of the parking lot where you find a narrow road, two houses and then a dead end. The developer has posted signs saying “Not a Public Way” and “Private Property -- No Parking”.
150 Main St. LLC, the company planning a 14,000-square-foot CVS, wants the Land Court to declare Hammond an easement, allowing the plan to be carried out as designed. But, if Hammond is declared a street accessible to vehicles, town bylaws require a setback from Hammond. In that case the plans would have to change unless the developer appeals successfully for a variance from Wayland's Zoning Board.
At its July 8 public hearing, the Planning Board took no action on the developer’s request to eliminate from its provisional approval a condition that requires a Land Court ruling favorable to 150 Main Street. The board anticipated a July 29 conference at the Land Court. But no decision was reached at that conference, and the parties are due to reappear at Land Court on Sept. 30. The judge urged the parties to work something out.
The July 8 Planning Board hearing, which offered a volley of attorneys’ arguments, can be seen at:
Judge Affirms Status
At Land Court, Judge Alexander Sands repeatedly affirmed that Hammond Road is a designated way on registered documents dating to at least 1927, and noted the importance of registered land. He disabused 150 Main Street of its plan to narrow the way from 40 feet to 24 feet and to allow the parking lot to encroach on Hammond Road: “Registered rights are sacrosanct.”
150 Main Street noted it owns all relevant parcels, including Hammond Road, except the one occupied by the home of long-term residents Anthony and Arlene Martino, and said it wants to consolidate its parcels. The judge suggested that 150 Main Street file additional motions so he can see the totality of requests.
Judge Sands further explored whether the way was a subdivision road, and wanted the town government to be represented.
Town counsel Mark Lanza said Wayland has no interest in the matter and that the Town never accepted Hammond as a public road but had plowed it in the past. He also noted that Hammond Road predated the town’s subdivision law, thus isn’t under subdivision control. The judge also asked about the impact on the Martinos if Hammond Road became an easement, leaving their residential property at 9 Hammond Road with no frontage. Lanza said the town grandfathers pre-existing nonconforming lots.
Charles LeRay of Dain, Torpey, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C. argued for 150 Main Street that Hammond Road is not a public way because the Town stopped plowing Hammond Road last winter when the owner, 150 Main Street, requested it.
Dain, Torpey is the firm that won a $1.2 million legal judgment against the Town and the wastewater commission in June 2013 on behalf of Twenty Wayland LLC, the Town Center developer.
Leonard Davidson of Schlesinger and Buchbinder, attorney for the Martinos, countered that Hammond Road had been used by Finnerty’s customers for years, and will also be used by patrons of CVS. Martino said in an interview with WVN that Finnerty’s recognized the designated road, maintaining painted lines on the pavement from the road itself to West Plain Street. Customers recognized the 40-foot-wide area as a fire lane and almost always avoided parking within it, Martino said.
At the Planning Board hearing, Le Ray contended that the Martinos’ right to pass, and for deliveries and visitors to the Martino home to use Hammond Way, does not qualify as public vehicular access because Hammond Way “goes nowhere.” Elizabeth Smith, a resident of dead-end Leary Street, commented that Leary also goes nowhere and yet is open to vehicles.
Town Counsel Lanza initially said that Hammond Road met the criteria of a street or way, which requires setback, but then four months later reversed his opinion, citing signage posted by 150 Main Street calling Hammond Way private.
Former town counsel Peter Gossels ruled in the past that Hammond Road is open to the public.
It is clear from the plans that a smaller building could meet the requirement for setbacks; the developers are pursuing the larger structure.
Many people have voiced a preference for the building to be on the corner in place of the Finnerty’s building rather than having a sea of parking lot at the corner. That might require a Zoning Board ruling.
The owners of 150 Main Street purchased the Finnerty’s property (business zone) in February 2011 for $1,137,500 , and a residential property in the rear, 11 Hammond Road, for $550,000 in May, 2013. The current mortgage, obtained last February, is a $3 million construction mortgage, assignment and security agreement.
In response to public comment, Planning Board Chair Colleen Sheehan indicated she would file a conflict of interest disclosure form after it was disclosed that marketing articles she wrote for her former employer’s client, CVS, are posted on the communications firm’s web site. Sheehan explained she has not been involved in that account for several years and was solely focused on a social media project. Residents questioned whether Sheehan should recuse herself from the hearing.
The Finnerty’s property had been on the market for several years; the existence of Hammond Road might have deterred other prospective buyers.
Provisional Board Approval
The Planning Board’s Condition 30 states: “Prior to exercising any rights under this decision, the Applicant shall provide written evidence to the Planning Board, in acceptable legal form as determined by Town Counsel, showing that the way (known as Hammond Road) shown on Land Court Plan No. 12716B has been eliminated by merging the fee in the way into the lot or lots adjoining said way, subject to an access easement for Lot 4 on said plan.”
http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_Planning/CVSDec06182013.pdf See Page 8.
The Planning Board explained the reason for the condition: “if Hammond Way was used as a private way open to vehicular traffic, then it meets the definition of ‘street’ under Section 198-101 of the town’s bylaw” and thus requires the setback.
The site plan is at:
150 Main Street’s request is at:
http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_Planning/150mainstapp2014.pdf See page 14.
Here’s your chance to participate in planning for the next five years. The Finance Committee is holding a series of forums to explore long-range planning with goals and procedures and improvements in mind.
The first forum session was held on July 16. The WayCAM recording is available here:
The next meeting will be held Sept. 10. http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_Finance/LongRange2016-2020.pdf
Potential topics include:
Evaluation of 2009 goals
Peer towns and demographics update
Development mix & zoning bylaw
Efficiencies in town government
Another topic mentioned previously at a FinCom meeting was a desire to create a more rational process for presenting major capital items.
TOWN ADMINISTRATOR SELECTED
The Board of Selectmen has agreed to offer the town administrator position to Nan Balmer, currently assistant town administrator in Eastham.
Balmer was assistant town administrator in Harwich for four years before assuming the post in Eastham in 2011 and previously held posts in Pennsylvania. She has also volunteered on the Eastham finance committee. Eastham is a member of a solar cooperative, and also has issues with eutrophic water bodies.
Eastham’s 2010 census showed 4,956 residents, although the summer population is surely larger. Eastham has an open town meeting and a town administrator and board of selectmen.
The second candidate interviewed was Joseph J. Domelowicz Jr., assistant to the town manager in Winthrop. A third candidate, Lee Staab, former president of Versar Engineering and Construction, withdrew after obtaining another position.
Domelowicz is the grant manager as well as assistant to the town manager in Winthrop. “He previously worked at a private consulting firm doing emergency-preparedness planning and training. He also worked at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in government regionalization and emergency- preparedness programs,” according to the Winthrop transcript. He also was a journalist.
Winthrop’s 2010 population was 17,497. In 2005, Winthrop changed from representative town meeting to a council manager form of government, in which the manager has responsibilities similar to a CEO in a private corporation.
-- WVN Staff
KADLIK APPOINTED DPW DIRECTOR
At the selectmen’s July 28 meeting, Interim Town Administrator Robert Mercier announced that Stephen Kadlik has been appointed as Wayland’s DPW Director, removing the word “interim” from his job title. The former director recently left to work in Natick.
Kadlik has worked in Wayland for 40 years, including as highway director and then as superintendent of the highway division when the town implemented the DPW in mid-2009.
Mercier spoke highly of Kadlik, as have numerous others in town government.
Effective July 28, the Wayland DPW Board of Public Works has implemented summer restrictions regarding outdoor water use for conservation and operational purposes. Details are posted on the town website:
AUGUST 1 PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT DEADLINE
If you missed Friday’s deadline for paying your local property tax bill, there’s some good news. A sign on the front door of Town Building says that “any real estate payments received in the Treasurer/Collector’s lock box before 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 will be posted as paid by Aug. 1.” That lock box is accessible 24/7 inside the building’s front door foyer, on the left.
MEETINGS CALENDAR: Unless otherwise noted, all meetings of governmental bodies take place in Wayland Town Building. To access agendas posted on town website meeting calendar:
Monday, Aug. 4
Board of Health, 7 p.m.
Wastewater Management District Commission, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 5
Planning Board, 7:30 p.m. Agenda includes 150 Main St. public hearing, town center new design plans
Wednesday, Aug. 6
Personnel Board, 7 p.m. Agenda includes new TA job description review
Recreation Facilities Subcommittee, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 7
Wayland Conservation Commission, 7:30 p.m.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor