WVN Newsletter #155: Last-minute TC agreement
- Dear Wayland Voter,
Now that the selectmen and the Planning Board have finally
come to an agreement on a zoning article necessary to build a
shopping/housing development on Route 20, what happens
Voters will soon receive a mailed copy of the warrant for the
annual Town Meeting and the May 3 special Town Meeting.
There you'll find the zoning article and the accompanying
agreement between the selectmen and the property developers,
Twenty Wayland LLC.
The language may be impenetrable to the lay reader, and
supporters and critics of the $100-million project at the former
Raytheon property will be busy offering explanations. Town
boards and committees will do the same. Watch for
Advocacy groups have already distributed emails cheering the
latest developments. Save Our Services, which supports the
proposed $2.1 million property tax override, argues that the town
center "funds our future." OneWayland advises supporters, "Get
a sitter now" for May 3.
The project is 17 percent smaller than the one rejected at a
November special Town Meeting. Questions raised last year
about fiscal and environmental impact remain.
The Planning Board, which is scheduled to meet April 3 and 4
but may need only one night, will hold its required hearing on
the mixed-use zoning on April 20 and will issue its report on the
town center proposal before May 3. The Board of Selectmen is
taking this week off and will hold its warrant hearing on April 18.
ANOTHER DATE TO REMEMBER: Wednesday April 5 is the last
day to register to vote in the annual election on April 25 and the
annual and special Town Meeting beginning April 27. Call the
town clerk (358-3630) if you have questions.
Molly Upton recaps below the climax of months-long wrangling.
ANOTHER LAST-MINUTE AGREEMENT
On March 27 selectmen and the developer debated at length
several items in the developer agreement. Although the
selectmen polled boards and received written comments at the
outset, there was no opportunity for boards to discuss the drafts
or final version with selectmen. The outcome was a developer
agreement finished at the last minute before the warrant went to
On Tuesday, the selectmen appeared to spend as much time
fretting over the Planning Board's desire to be the sole sponsor
of the mixed-use zoning article as they spent reviewing the nearly
final version of the developer agreement incorporating changes
made on Monday. The selectmen dithered over this aspect,
despite repeated assertions from Town Counsel Mark Lanza
that the Planning Board as sole proposer was proper. Part of the
issue was that the selectmen had inserted a "placeholder"
article to guarantee inclusion in the warrant, and asked if the
proposer could be different from the party inserting the article.
This situation happens frequently, Lanza reminded the
selectmen. Or, was the real issue that the selectmen thought its
sponsorship would carry more weight with the voters?
The only major discussion point on Tuesday evening was
whether Wayland or the developer would handle road
construction, and how much input Wayland would have in the
process. A couple of road commissioners, speaking individually
because their board hadn't had a chance to meet on the issue,
indicated they thought the Board of Road Commissioners might
want to be in charge of the process so it could take into
consideration potential traffic impacts of roadwork related to the
mixed-use district as well as other tow road work. The developer
asserted it had more muscle to apply to the project because it
wanted the roads widened before opening the development. A
quick read of the final document indicates the BORC will be
notified of the developer's road plans and have some ability to
attend meetings and periodically inspect the work.
APPLAUSE FOR WEST PLAIN/126 PLANS
Also on Tuesday evening, town building was abuzz over the
applause garnered by plans presented by the road
commissioners' traffic engineers for the redesign of the
intersection of Old Connecticut Path (Route 126) and West Plain
Road. The presentation was succinct, and the residents'
questions were on point and thoughtful. The main issues were
public safety, pedestrian crossing and drainage. The result will
be a signalized intersection looking similar to that at Oak Street
and Route 30, with a narrower turn onto West Plain as a traffic
calming measure and an additional turning lane traveling south
on Rte 126. Plans may be reviewed at the Library and the
Highway Department Office (9 a.m.-3 p.m.). Written comments
may be submitted until Friday, April 7, at 4 p.m. to
skadlik@... The budget for this on intersection is
$400,000, received as part of the town's settlement of litigation
with the original developer of the Danforth Farms housing project
just over our town line in Framingham. This leaves many asking
how the $75,000 allocated by the mixed-use project on Route 20
for traffic mitigation on neighborhood roads can be sufficient.
Many residents mentioned the contrast in process between that
of the road commissioners, with a public hearing and an
ensuing comment period, and the process concerning the
more significant town center development agreement. As of
Tuesday, the Planning Board had not reviewed the development
agreement. This is in contrast to the professed cooperative
process the selectmen and Planning Board agreed was
necessary to avoid the lack of support of boards. To some, it
appeared the selectmen did not start the developer agreement
process early enough, resulting in the same last-minute
completion as in November. However, this time the selectmen
did ask for and received comments from nearly all boards, and
in many cases incorporated them. Time will tell whether the
boards, once they have a chance to meet and discuss the
signed developer agreement, will be satisfied that selectmen
advocated strongly enough for their suggestions to protect
the town. There was no public forum offered for citizens to
discuss the later versions of the draft with selectmen before it
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor