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WVN Newsletter #139: Critical TC, budget meetings

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, Several important meetings are scheduled Feb. 1 and Feb. 2. First, the road commissioners invite you to share your ideas Wednesday night
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 31, 2006
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      Several important meetings are scheduled Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

      First, the road commissioners invite you to share your ideas
      Wednesday night about mitigating the traffic impact of a nearby
      housing project in Framingham. The good news is that Wayland
      officials aggressively negotiated to reduce the size of the project
      and won $1.45 million for mitigation including the traffic impact at
      the intersection of West Plain and Old Connecticut Path.
      Students as well as residents and commuters will be affected.
      See details below.

      Thursday night will be busy. The Planning Board meets at 7:30
      p.m. at the Town Building for what appears to be one last, hasty
      attempt to ask Wayland to vote again on a Town Center
      development. Molly Upton and Michael Short report below.

      The Finance Committee meets at 7 p.m. at the Public Safety
      Building to discuss the fiscal 2007 budget. This could be your
      last chance to tell the committee your concerns before the
      budget proposal is fixed.

      At 8 p.m. the School Committee will discuss its budget proposal
      at the Middle School Auditorium.

      REMINDER: 4:30 P.M. FEB. 1 IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLYING
      FOR A PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT. You don't have to have your
      case prepared by that time. The Wayland Library and the Senior
      Center have research materials that may be useful to you.


      ONE MORE SHOT AT TOWN CENTER PROJECT?


      After an intense three-hour meeting with the selectmen and a
      lawyer invited by the selectmen, the Planning Board agreed to try
      one more time to come up with a zoning plan for a
      residential/commercial development at the former Raytheon
      property on Route 20. The selectmen want to put the matter to
      voters again at a special Town meeting in April.

      The latest details aren't significantly different from the proposal
      voted down at a Nov. 1 special Town Meeting.

      A partisan crowd groaned when Planning Board members
      brought up traffic and environmental impacts and applauded
      move-ahead comments.

      The Jan. 26 meeting came three days after the developers
      presented their alternative: a 200-unit condominium project
      under the state's 40B affordable housing law which provides 25
      percent of the units at below-market rates. Though the larger
      units would be priced in the high six figures, a concept plan
      looked so forbidding that Selectman Doug Leard remarked that
      "the only thing the site is missing is a whistle and razor
      wire."

      Developer Dean Stratouly denied that the proposal was a ruse to
      coerce the town into further compromise on a mixed-use
      development. The developers can make more money with a
      mixed-use rather than a 40B development, which caps profit.
      Some selectmen say that a 40B would be costly to Wayland, but
      no tax revenue comparisons have been produced.

      Sitting at the head of of the table, principals of Twenty Wayland
      LLC outlined their requirements for abandoning the 40B plan.
      The demands would result in a development of about 387,500
      square feet, including 100 housing units. That's 5.5 percent
      smaller than the 410,000-square-foot plan rejected by Town
      Meeting voters.

      Planning Board members recently calculated that a commercial
      development of about 113,000 square feet containing mainly
      small stores would create the sort of small-town atmosphere
      that they say residents favor and the town's Master Plan
      sanctions. By the end of last week's meeting the total had grown
      to 180,000 square feet, including these elements that the
      developers consider essential:

      -- A 45,000-square-foot supermarket.

      -- Two 15,000-square-foot businesses, one probably a
      drugstore.

      -- Three of up to 10,000.

      -- Six of up to 7,000.

      Providing relatively large spaces for what he called "fun" retailers
      such as Orvis, L. L. Bean and EMS would attract the smaller
      retailers and offices that would make up the majority of tenants,
      developer Chuck Irving said. With commercial space capped at
      180,000 square feet, there could be less space for small
      businesses than in the plan that emerged from previous
      meetings of the selectmen and Planning Board.

      This is a compromise with the developers' 2005 plans for "junior
      anchor" stores of up to 30,000 square feet each that would have
      to attract shoppers from a considerable radius. That plan was
      estimated to generate up to 19,000 vehicle trips per day on
      weekends.

      Though smaller than the proposal that failed to attract the
      necessary two-thirds vote for a zoning change, the new scheme
      has many of the elements that some voters objected to earlier: It
      is not a village, or even an imitation village, but a rather imposing
      shopping center, the sort of thing that some upscale towns avoid
      and some Wayland residents consider out of character for a
      historic town. Supporters of the earlier plan will find most of what
      they said they liked before: places to get ice cream, coffee,
      a family meal, green space and a plot for a municipal building.

      The total commercial square footage, no matter how artfully laid
      out, represents a mass equivalent to a one-story building
      measuring 200 by 900 feet.

      Almost absent from last week's meeting was serious
      discussion about traffic, waste water, Raytheon's environmental
      cleanup, financial impact and other issues that were debated in
      the months leading up to the November vote.

      Mark Bobrowski, a lawyer hired by the town for the earlier
      proposal and invited to sit with the selectmen at last week's
      meeting, said that if town officials agree on the basic premise of
      building a development without the Master Special Permit that
      developers object to, the underlying assumption is that any
      problem can be mitigated. For example, he said, if developers
      and a town disagree over the size of signs, they will reach a
      compromise rather than abandon the development. But the
      Planning Board expressed concern about losing control over
      much more significant matters.

      In 2005 Bobrowski recommended the Master Special Permit
      procedure that was used for the November proposal.

      By the end of the evening, the selectmen had rehired Bobrowski
      to write guidelines on zoning and development documents that
      the Planning and Select Boards will discuss this week.

      What could emerge from this? The developers say they will not
      proceed if the Planning Board insists on the Master Special
      Permit process. They contend that this gives the town too much
      power to stop a development. A new Planning Board might be
      elected and scuttle the whole thing, said Chuck Irving. On the
      other hand, the developers always have the right to walk away
      from any development, leaving the town vulnerable under
      changed zoning.

      The selectmen, led by Chairman Michael Tichnor and Bill
      Whitney, argued for an approval process acceptable to the
      developers. Both men are real estate developers themselves,
      and Tichnor is a Sears Road neighbor of Irving.

      Planning Board Chairman Larry Stabile emphasized the difficulty
      of creating a zoning proposal and development documents
      strong enough to protect the town's interest in the time the
      developers are willing to wait. The Planning Board pointed to
      many alleged deficiencies and risks in the previous
      development agreement that Whitney and Bobrowski negotiated
      with Twenty Wayland.

      You might ask why the selectmen want voters to reconsider
      what is essentially the same project. In the aftermath of the
      November special Town Meeting, the board fretted about lacking
      the extra 12 percent of the vote that would have given them a
      two-thirds majority.

      At that exceptionally well-attended special Town Meeting, 745
      votes out of 1364 were for the zoning change. But 1238 Yes
      votes would have been necessary to achieve a two-thirds
      majority over the 619 who voted No.

      Only the selectmen had voted unanimously to support the
      zoning, and the Planning Board and several other elected
      boards opposed it.

      If the selectmen are hoping to gain additional voters, they are
      receiving considerable cooperation from activist groups, some of
      which also push for a tax override. Timely and detailed emails
      precede important meetings, sometimes casting the Planning
      Board as obstructing the will of the people. Proponents often
      imply that a majority of residents favors the development, but
      aside from the Town Meeting vote there is no evidence of that.

      One email, from a group called OneWayland, sent before the
      40B plan was made public, said "OneWayland has learned..."
      and went on to describe the proposal accurately. "A person who
      has seen the plans warns..." introduced arguments that a 40B
      project in this location would be detrimental to the town.

      Is that "person" a developer? A town official? The email doesn't
      say. The tactic of leaking information for political purposes is
      common in national and state politics.

      "For the Town Center to have any chance," said another email,
      "we need a groundswell of public insistence now." Activists ask
      residents to make their views known strongly, providing
      examples of what to tell town officials and the press.

      HOW TO SPEND TRAFFIC MITIGATION MONEY

      The road commissioners welcome public comment on how to
      deal with increased traffic that will be result from a large
      housing project in Framingham. The meeting will begin at 7:30
      p.m. Feb. 1 in the large hearing room of the Town Building.

      The Danforth project, just over the Framingham line, will
      increase traffic at the West Plain/Old Connecticut Path
      intersection. Commuters, nearby residents and students will be
      affected as soon as years-long construction begins.

      If you care about how this important intersection will work, this is
      the time to speak up. Steps to mediate the traffic influx could
      include sidewalks, speed-calming measures, one-way street
      and truck routes.

      The town sued the developers and obtained funds to be used,
      among other things, to improve safety at this intersection.
      Contribute your ideas to ensure that Wayland gets what it needs.

      For further information, contact Highway Director Stephen Kadlik
      at 508-653-4121 or skadlik@...
      Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to
      your friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive
      their own copy, they can send an email to
      waylandvoters@... and
      they will be signed up for the
      listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up by sending a blank
      email to:waylandvotersnetwork- subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
      Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the
      subscription.

      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor
    • waylandvoters1
      (This is a repeat. Apologies if you received #139 earlier. Because of Yahoo software problems at least some readers didn t receive it.) Dear Wayland Voter,
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1 8:26 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        (This is a repeat. Apologies if you received #139 earlier.
        Because of Yahoo software problems at least some readers
        didn't receive it.)

        Dear Wayland Voter,

        Several important meetings are scheduled Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

        First, the road commissioners invite you to share your ideas
        Wednesday night about mitigating the traffic impact of a nearby
        housing project in Framingham. The good news is that Wayland
        officials aggressively negotiated to reduce the size of the project
        and won $1.45 million for mitigation including the traffic impact at
        the intersection of West Plain and Old Connecticut Path.
        Students as well as residents and commuters will be affected.
        See details below.

        Thursday night will be busy. The Planning Board meets at 7:30
        p.m. at the Town Building for what appears to be one last, hasty
        attempt to ask Wayland to vote again on a Town Center
        development. Molly Upton and Michael Short report below.

        The Finance Committee meets at 7 p.m. at the Public Safety
        Building to discuss the fiscal 2007 budget. This could be your
        last chance to tell the committee your concerns before the
        budget proposal is fixed.

        At 8 p.m. the School Committee will discuss its budget proposal
        at the Middle School Auditorium.

        REMINDER: 4:30 P.M. FEB. 1 IS THE DEADLINE FOR APPLYING
        FOR A PROPERTY TAX ABATEMENT. You don't have to have your
        case prepared by that time. The Wayland Library and the Senior
        Center have research materials that may be useful to you.

        ONE MORE SHOT AT TOWN CENTER PROJECT?


        After an intense three-hour meeting with the selectmen and a
        lawyer invited by the selectmen, the Planning Board agreed to try
        one more time to come up with a zoning plan for a
        residential/commercial development at the former Raytheon
        property on Route 20. The selectmen want to put the matter to
        voters again at a special Town meeting in April.

        The latest details aren't significantly different from the proposal
        voted down at a Nov. 1 special Town Meeting.

        A partisan crowd groaned when Planning Board members
        brought up traffic and environmental impacts and applauded
        move-ahead comments.

        The Jan. 26 meeting came three days after the developers
        presented their alternative: a 200-unit condominium project
        under the state's 40B affordable housing law which provides 25
        percent of the units at below-market rates. Though the larger
        units would be priced in the high six figures, a concept plan
        looked so forbidding that Selectman Doug Leard remarked that
        "the only thing the site is missing is a whistle and razo wire."

        Developer Dean Stratouly denied that the proposal was a ruse to
        coerce the town into further compromise on a mixed-use
        development. The developers can make more money with a
        mixed-use rather than a 40B development, which caps profit.
        Some selectmen say that a 40B would be costly to Wayland, but
        no comparison tax revenue figures have been produced.

        Sitting at the head of of the table, principals of Twenty Wayland
        LLC outlined their requirements for abandoning the 40B plan.
        The demands would result in a development of about 387,500
        square feet, including 100 housing units. That's 5.5 percent
        smaller than the 410,000-square-foot plan rejected by Town
        Meeting voters.

        Planning Board members recently calculated that a commercial
        development of about 113,000 square feet containing mainly
        small stores would create the sort of small-town atmosphere
        that they say residents favor and the town's Master Plan
        sanctions. By the end of last week's meeting the total had grown
        to 180,000 square feet, including these elements that the
        developers consider essential:

        -- A 45,000-square-foot supermarket.

        -- Two 15,000-square-foot businesses, one probably a
        drugstore.

        -- Three of up to 10,000.

        -- Six of up to 7,000.

        Providing relatively large spaces for what he called "fun" retailers
        such as Orvis, L. L. Bean and EMS would attract the smaller
        retailers and offices that would make up the majority of tenants,
        developer Chuck Irving said. With commercial space capped at
        180,000 square feet, there could be less space for small
        businesses than in the plan that emerged from previous
        meetings of the selectmen and Planning Board.

        This is a compromise with the developers' 2005 plans for "junior
        anchor" stores of up to 30,000 square feet each that would have
        to attract shoppers from a considerable radius. That plan was
        estimated to generate up to 19,000 vehicle trips per day on
        weekends.

        Though smaller than the proposal that failed to attract the
        necessary two-thirds vote for a zoning change, the new scheme
        has many of the elements that some voters objected to earlier: It
        is not a village, or even an imitation village, but a rather imposing
        shopping center, the sort of thing that some upscale towns avoid
        and some Wayland residents consider out of character for a
        historic town. Supporters of the earlier plan will find most
        of what they said they liked before: places to get ice cream,
        coffee, a family meal, green space and a plot for a municipal
        building.

        The total commercial square footage, no matter how artfully laid
        out, represents a mass equivalent to a one-story building
        measuring 200 by 900 feet.

        Almost absent from last week's meeting was serious
        discussion about traffic, waste water, Raytheon's environmental
        cleanup, financial impact and other issues that were debated in
        the months leading up to the November vote.

        Mark Bobrowski, a lawyer hired by the town for the earlier
        proposal and invited to sit with the selectmen at last week's
        meeting, said that if town officials agree on the basic premise of
        building a development without the Master Special Permit that
        developers object to, the underlying assumption is that any
        problem can be mitigated. For example, he said, if developers
        and a town disagree over the size of signs, they will reach a
        compromise rather than abandon the development. But the
        Planning Board expressed concern about losing control over
        much more significant matters.

        In 2005 Bobrowski recommended the Master Special Permit
        procedure that was used for the November proposal.

        By the end of the evening, the selectmen had rehired Bobrowski
        to write guidelines on zoning and development documents that
        the Planning and Select Boards will discuss this week.

        What could emerge from all this? The developers say they will
        not proceed if the Planning Board insists on the Master Special
        Permit process. They contend that this gives the town too much
        power to stop a development. A new Planning Board might be
        elected and scuttle the whole thing, said Chuck Irving. On the
        other hand, the developers always have the right to walk away
        from any development, leaving the town vulnerable under
        changed zoning.

        The selectmen, led by Chairman Michael Tichnor and Bill
        Whitney, argued for an approval process acceptable to the
        developers. Both men are real estate developers themselves,
        and Tichnor is a Sears Road neighbor of Irving.

        Planning Board Chairman Larry Stabile emphasized the difficulty
        of creatin a zoning proposal and development documents strong
        enough to protect the town's interest in the time the developers
        are willing to wait. The Planning Board pointed to many alleged
        deficiencies and risks in the previous development agreement
        that Whitney and Bobrowski negotiated with Twenty Wayland.

        You might ask why the selectmen want voters to reconsider
        what is essentially the same project. In the aftermath of the
        November special Town Meeting, the board fretted about lacking
        the extra 12 percent of the vote that would have given them a
        two-thirds majority.

        At that exceptionally well-attended special Town Meeting, 745
        votes out of 1364 were for the zoning change. But 1238 Yes
        votes would have been necessary to achieve a two-thirds
        majority over the 619 who voted No.

        Only the selectmen had voted unanimously to support the zoning
        change on that proposal, and the Planning Board and several
        other elected boards opposed it.

        If the selectmen are hoping to gain additional voters, they are
        receiving considerable cooperation from activist groups, some of
        which also push for a tax override. Timely and detailed emails
        precede important meetings, sometimes casting the Planning
        Board as obstructing the will of the people. Proponents often
        imply that a majority of residents favors the development, but
        aside from the Town Meeting vote there is no evidence.

        One email, from a group called OneWayland, sent before the
        40B plan was made public, said "OneWayland has learned..."
        and went on to describe the proposal accurately. "A person who
        has seen the plans warns..." introduced arguments that a 40B
        project in this location would be detrimental to the town.

        Is that "person" a developer? A town official? The email doesn't
        say. The tactic of leaking information for political purposes is
        common in national and state politics.

        "For the Town Center to have any chance," said another email,
        "we need a groundswell of public insistence now." Activists ask
        residents to make their views known strongly, providing
        examples of what to tell town officials and the press.

        HOW TO SPEND TRAFFIC MITIGATION MONEY

        The road commissioners welcome public comment on how to
        deal with increased traffic that will be result from a large
        housing project in Framingham. The meeting will begin at 7:30
        p.m. Feb. 1 in the large hearing room of the Town Building.

        The Danforth project, just over the Framingham line, will
        increase traffic at the West Plain/Old Connecticut Path
        intersection. Commuters, nearby residents and students will be
        affected as soon as construction begins.

        If you care about how this important intersection will work, this is
        the time to speak up. Steps to mediate the traffic influx could
        include sidewalks, speed-calming measures, one-way street
        and truck routes.

        The town sued the developers and obtained funds to be used,
        among other things, to improve safety at this intersection.
        Contribute your ideas to ensure that Wayland gets what it needs.

        For further information, contact Highway Director Stephen Kadlik
        at 508-653-4121 or skadlik@...


        Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to
        your friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive
        their own copy, they can send an email to
        waylandvoters@... and
        they will be signed up for the
        listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up by sending a blank
        email to:waylandvotersnetwork- subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
        Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the
        subscription.

        Wayland Voters Network
        Michael Short, Editor
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