WVN Newsletter #178: Town center environmental study
- Dear Wayland Voter,
State environmental officials are looking for more comments and
concerns from citizens about the proposed town center
development at the former Raytheon property. Molly Upton lays
out details below.
School administrators are preparing a preliminary application for
state reimbursement for a new or renovated high school. Tom
Also in this newsletter: There is strong interest in added
positions on the High School Building Committee, and a
vacancies remain on other appointed town bodies.
EVALUATING ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
With plans under way for the construction of Wayland's largest
land use project, several state agencies will conduct
environmental reviews. On a sweltering Aug. 3, Holly Johnson,
the representative from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy
Act (MEPA) office, held a site visit to help determine the scope of
those reviews. She heard comments and urged residents to file
written comments by Aug. 15 to bring concerns to the state's
Johnson made clear that MEPA does not approve or deny
projects, but rather coordinates reviews by other agencies. The
redevelopment plan for the former Raytheon property triggers
-- Storm water discharge
-- Waste water
-- Possibly rare species
Ten days after the Aug. 15 deadline for receipt of citizens'
concerns, the agency will issue a certificate outlining the scope
of work for further investigation in a Draft Environmental Impact
There will be additional opportunity for public comment, followed
by the final environmental report and public comment. However,
Johnson made it clear that now is the best time to flag items of
concern because subsequent comments will not expand the
scope of investigation.
Public Comment letters/emails should identify the project as
Wayland Town Center, File # 13844 and be addressed to:
Secretary Stephen R. Pritchard
EOEA Attn. MEPA Office
100 Cambridge St. #900
Boston, MA 01224
The MEPA fax number is 617 626 1181.
Interestingly, the water supply was not on the MEPA list, although
several residents mentioned that Wayland is in violation of
Department of Environmental Protection standards for drawing
too much water from its wells. Water pressure can be low in
some areas of town during summer peak demand.
Frank Dougherty of Twenty Wayland LLC, the town center
developers, gave an overview of the project, saying he expected
permitting separate from MEPA would take 12-18 months. He
also said the housing would need to be in the western portion of
the Route 20 property based on what they hope Raytheon
will approve. (Raytheon is doing an environmental cleanup that
will last for a number of years.)
Ken Cram from Vanasse Associates (developers' traffic
consultant) said there are now about 1600 cars an hour in the
peak a.m. and p.m. weekday periods. Current plans call for
aligning a signalized Route 20 project entrance with that of
Russell's Garden Center. That curb cut will require a state
permit. Plans call for additional widening of Route 20, wetlands
replication, and signals at the intersection of 27/126 coordinated
with those at 27/20. Route 27 would have a left and right turn
lane and the infrastructure would be installed for a signal. No
state permit is needed for a curb cut on Route 27.
Some residents noted that the traffic study should consider the
higher traffic figures that might arise from a community
center/pool rather than a library at the municipal pad. The traffic
data were taken in June for the study being done now, and in
accordance with the requirements of the development
agreement it will include determining impacts on neighborhood
roads. Cram said there were formulas to take into account the
lighter summer traffic. One resident called the previous traffic
studies inadequate because they didn't consider the origin and
destination of the autos.
Dougherty said the developer would provide sidewalks on Route
20 to the project although this is not required in the developer
agreement, and Johnson stressed the importance of integrating
this project into the rest of the commercial area and for safe
Johnson was concerned about what happens when the roads
flood. The planned road widening that would affect wetlands
could require other permits, perhaps involving the Army Corps of
Engineers, Johnson said. She made clear that the studies
should look at the cumulative impacts; i.e. how road widening
might affect wetlands, etc. There was discussion about the
difficulty in finding where to offset lost wetlands.
Joe Laydon, Wayland town planner, observed that reconstruction
of the Route 20 bridge is going out to bid in the fall, and
wondered whether the design could be made to allow bike or
pedestrian traffic, offering the potential for extending the
proposed bike path.
The developer's Environmental Notification Form
ents/Wayland%20Tow n%20Center%20ENF.pdf indicates that
the primary project entrance is from Route 27, and this should
be corrected to Route 20, one resident noted.
Representatives of various Sudbury River organizations noted
the likelihood of increased eutrophication in the river from the
simultaneous increased draw-down of the river and the added
effluent being discharged to the river. This is happening in other
towns as well as Wayland, and the cumulative effect on the river
is not beneficial.
In addition, several River officials indicated the wetlands are
owned by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. Johnson
indicated these boundaries need to be delineated to "ensure
preservation beyond Wayland's jurisdiction." Brian Monahan,
Conservation Commission administrator, indicated the
commission has not accepted Raytheon's wetlands delineation,
and needs a good riverfront designation.
The extent of the floodplain also needs to be examined. It
appears the town lacks a good idea of the total building
envelope, or acreage that is buildable. Without this information,
the town cannot calculate the floor area ratio, which is often the
first step in deciding the total size of buildings on a given
There were additional comments in the wetlands category. One
concerned the potential visual impact to users of the river (as
well as those on Route 126 and Route 20) as that impacts the
"scenic" value of the Wild and Scenic River. Another questioned
the impact on the wetlands of leakage of fluids from parked cars
and particulates, including dust from car tires.
Dougherty said the developer will fund a study on the status of
the waste water plant, but that the Waste water Commission has
asked it to delay the study until the new EPA National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System permit is issued. He said that as
a user entitled to 45,000 gallons daily, the developer will bear 68
percent of any cost for improvements and also will cover the
When asked about plans to extend waste water capacity,
Dougherty said he doubts that the EPA would allow expansion
"and we have no desire to expand." "But if we get extra capacity,"
he added, "we can have more restaurants." He later mentioned
plans for a 10,000-gallon septic field.
Johnson also asked for a history of the building and its uses, as
well as the waste water treatment plant.
No storm water treatment plan has been submitted. Johnson
urged the developer not to follow the storm water regulations for
redevelopment, but rather design and treat to the highest
Environmental Protection Agency level. Apparently there may be
different standards for a "redevelopment" than for a new project.
It is possible there are rare species on the property, but Johnson
said the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program
has changed its list so the developer needs to file for a new
Johnson also asked if the Massachusetts Historical
Commission was copied on the developer's ENF filing, and the
answer was no, although it is on the mailing list. There was an
implication that the proposed historic railroad interpretive center
could have an historic designation since some of Wayland's
artifacts date back to at least 1881.
Dougherty said the town's water consultant had confirmed
available capacity last year. Several residents questioned this
opinion. One person commented that in the summer some
residents are said to have difficulty having enough water
pressure to flush toilets. Johnson said the developer should
seriously consider low impact development with native species
plantings and green building design.
One resident asked if MEPA would consider the cumulative
impact from both the approved Wayland Commons 40B project
and the town center project, as both parcels were once owned by
Raytheon. The answer was that if the abutting 40B project by
itself did not trigger a MEPA review, then the combined impacts
couldn't be considered.
Another report of this meeting may be found in the MetroWest
Daily News at:
PROGRESS ON H.S. PLAN
The selectmen have endorsed the School Committee's plans to
submit the first part of the application for state reimbursement for
a new or renovated High School. New state regulations require
school committees to involve boards of selectmen.
After receiving approval at the Aug. 7 Board of Selectmen
meeting, Superintendent Gary Burton said he hoped the initial
"statement of interest" would be ready by the end of the month.
Selectmen noted clerical errors in the draft, including the
absence of necessary information about Loker School.
Significant details including design concepts and schematics
won't be required until the Massachusetts School Building
Authority begins accepting formal application next July. In the
mean time the School Committee plans to ask voters for several
hundred thousand dollars in design funds.
NEW COMMITTEE CHAIR
The July 17 regular meeting of the School Committee was the
first chaired by Heather Pineault, replacing Jeff Dieffenbach as
part of a normal rotation process.
School administrators recommended adopting the high school
mission statement in the short term for the district as a whole,
but initiating a process to develop a new one. The committee
voted to accept this recommendation, along with the adoption of
a School Committee mission statement to guide its own actions.
Both are available on the school web site.
A resident with experience in strategic planning has offered to
lead an effort to develop a plan for the Wayland schools, possibly
culminating in an overarching mission statement. This follows
an inconclusive special strategic planning meeting in June
chaired by Dieffenbach, who admitted that the effort was beyond
his range of expertise. None of the current members appear to
have senior management experience. The committee agreed to
meet with the resident at the next meeting.
The committee reviewed a second draft of Superintendent Gary
Burton's evaluation, written by Dieffenbach. As usual, it contained
much praise and virtually no criticism. Member Louis Jurist
attempted to insert a definitive statement that Burton had failed to
meet one goal, for the creation of a five-year facilities plan.
Several other members, however, offered excuses for the failure
and insisted on softer wording. Dieffenbach agreed to modify the
language somewhat, and the committee voted to approve the
evaluation as amended without seeing the final version.
The current projection for the coming year is 2870, with 933 at
the high school, but that will probably drop, according to Burton.
Next year was originally projected to be a peak year with
approximately 1000 high school students, and that original
projection was part of the rationale for the size of the high school
proposal that voters rejected in 2005. The new state School
Building Authority regulations are delayed, probably until the end
of August. High School Building Committee chair Lea Anderson,
attending as a guest, said, "The assumption that we will have a
new high school by 2011 is very optimistic".
Increased enrollment at the kindergarten level will require the
hiring of two additional kindergarten teachers next year. A half
science teacher will also be added at the high school, as a
result of public comment (by this observer) objecting to the
administration's original plan to restrict access to science
classes next year. Money will be moved from currently undefined
areas elsewhere in the budget to cover these personnel
Director of Student Services (Special Education head) Doris
Goldthwaite plans to retire in two years, joining an exodus of
school administrators in recent years including the assistant
superintendent, High School principal, Middle School principal,
and some elementary school principals.
Goldthwaite believes that the SPED program is in good shape.
For the first time, she said, "I'm actually feeling it's not out of
Last year six SPED students unexpectedly forced the town to pay
for very expensive out-of-district placement, adding an extra
$180,000 to the budget. Goldthwaite fought these placements
Seventeen percent of Wayland students are in SPED, in line with
nationwide averages, said Burton. Jurist asked how Wayland
compares with other nearby towns. We spend more in town but
less out of town than many others, replied Goldthwaite.
TOWN VACANCIES REMAIN
According to the Board of Selectmen, 14 residents have
expressed interest in being appointed to four new positions on
the High School Building Committee, which is being expanded
to 15 members.
The selectmen appointed Phil Radoff and Mark Reiss (a
Wayland High School student) Monday to the Cable TV Advisory
Committee. Two vacancies remain. The committee will become
involved if Verizon seeks to compete against Comcast for
Wayland's cable business.
There is a three-year position available on the Waste Water
Management District Committee and another on the Community
Preservation Committee. The latter opened up when Chairman
Michael Patterson rejected reappointment and strongly criticized
selectmen who assailed his position on legal issues.
There is a vacancy until Sept. 30, 2007 on the Septage
If you're interested in a vacancy, get in touch with Town
Administrator Fred Turkington (fturkington@...).
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor