WVN Newsletter #152: Still seeking consensus on town center
- Dear Wayland Voter,
It's certain that Wayland will vote a second time on zoning
changes to allow a controversial $100-million shopping/housing
development on Route 20. But it remains to be seen whether
other town boards will join the Board of Selectmen in supporting
The selectmen hope for consensus but seem willing to tailor
zoning and the accompanying development agreement to the
wishes of the property owner, Twenty Wayland LLC. Other
elected boards worry about legal loopholes and financial,
environmental and traffic impacts.
Three important meetings this week concern the proposed town
center project. On Monday March 13 the selectmen will meet at 7
p.m. The agenda includes the development agreement that
accompanies the May 3 special Town Meeting zoning article.
(The board will also discuss ballot questions on a property tax
override and a debt exclusion. The override on the April ballot
would result in a permanent tax increase of about 7.5 percent.
The debt exclusion would have almost no immediate effect on
taxes because other debt is being paid off.)
On Wednesday March 15 the selectmen are scheduled to
discuss the development agreement with Twenty Wayland LLC
at 8 p.m.
On Thursday March 16 the Planning Board will hold a public
hearing on its proposed zoning changes. A regular meeting
begins at 7:30 p.m. The zoning hearing is scheduled for 9 p.m.
Because the Planning Board and the selectmen are at an
impasse, the warrant for the special Town Meeting includes the
selectmen's version of the zoning bylaw as well as the Planning
Board's. Bylaw language can be modified to some extent in the
next couple of weeks.
The planners and other elected boards recommended against a
zoning change for a somewhat larger project before voters
rejected it at a November 2005 special Town Meeting. Town
officials again raised concerns last week.
Many of the Planning Board's objections to the November
development agreement remain unresolved. For example, board
members want to see persuasive figures on the net financial
impact of the mixed-use development\ as opposed to an
all-housing project. And there is concern that present language
might not prevent the developer from building something
different from the present concept. (Many municipalities have
presented voters with extremely detailed procedures and
designs including a site plan.)
The waste water commissioners and the Board of Health are
concerned about the capacity of the aging waste water treatment
plant at the former Raytheon property. Selectmen expressed
reluctance to ask the developers to build a new system.
The road commissioners listed 22 concerns within their
Time is short, and unless the final versions of zoning changes
and the development agreement bring agreement on potential
problems and ambiguities noted by various boards and other
groups, voters may again have no clear picture as they consider
the largest development in Wayland's history.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor