WVN Newsletter #180: Special Town Meeting planned
- Dear Wayland Voter,
Be prepared for a special Town Meeting on Nov. 9.
And in the immediate future be aware that the selectmen and
road commissioners will meet with the Planning Board on
Tuesday Aug. 29 to discuss the sort of traffic studies that should
be done to prepare for the 372,000-square-foot town center
project on Route 20. If you live on one of the roads likely to be
affected by increased traffic, you might want to be there. The
meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Building.
Town center traffic was at the center of a discussion this week
between Wayland and Sudbury selectmen. Also on that agenda
was the future of the joint septic-treatment plan run for decades
by the two towns. Michael Short reports.
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
When the subject of a special town meeting came up at their
Aug. 21 meeting, selectmen refrained from seeming eager but
with little discussion planned one for Nov. 9. That means that the
board will probably vote next Monday to open the warrant for
articles on Aug. 28 and set a closing date of Sept. 7. This gives
little preparation time to boards that hadn't been planning on a
Selectmen named two issues: the housing project at the former
Nike site in north Wayland and a controversial request for
$300,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to augment
private donations for artificial turf at the High School football field.
Selectman Michael Tichnor said that, despite the cost, a fall
meeting would be a good idea in any case because the board
had adopted a recommendation from a special advisory
committee to experiment with two meetings annually. (That
recommendation, though, was to confine financial decisions to
the annual spring meeting if possible.)
SUDBURY CONCERNS ON TOWN CENTER
Some weeks ago Sudbury officials expressed dismay at being
left in the dark as Wayland planned the largest
housing/shopping/office project in the town's history. Wayland
certainly didn't keep the matter a secret, and in fact Sudbury
residents on Pelham Island Road received flyers from town
center opponents about the potential traffic impact.
On Aug. 10 Sudbury Town Crier columnist Richard Payne
criticized the project, saying that "the cost in terms of increased
traffic congestion will be ruinous."
Wayland selectmen invited their Sudbury counterparts for a chat
during Monday's Wayland meeting.
Wayland selectmen assured the visitors that the two towns
should stay in touch as the project progresses, and might even
collaborate on such things as a bike trail extending through both
Much of the discussion was about traffic. Michael Tichnor of
Wayland asserted that the project should not be a problem for
"The biggest draw on this development is Wayland," he said.
"People in Wayland need a place to shop...It's not a regional
development." Tichnor said that if Wayland has a Roche
Brothers market at the town center, traffic to the sister store in
Sudbury will decrease. Wayland Selectman Bill Whitney was
vague about the number of large stores, and Tichnor
considerably underestimated the size of the existing Whole
Sudbury officials speculated about a shopping draw extending
through several towns, something that the town center
developers have acknowledged from the beginning. Twenty
Wayland LLC has made it clear that the shopping center can't
survive without several large, financially strong businesses,
naming L.. L. Bean, Orvis and the Cheesecake Factory as the
sort of tenants desired. (L.L. Bean is opening a store in a
190,00-square-foot shopping center at Route 128 in Burlington.)
Sudbury selectmen said they had no intention of derailing the
project but said "a higher level of dialogue" is needed. Sudbury
Selectman Larry O'Brien suggested cooperation in seeking
traffic improvements at Route 20 and Landham Road in
Sudbury. (Increased cut-through traffic is expected to use
Pelham Island Road via Landham to reach Wayland, as
Wayland Police Chief Robert Irving has noted.)
JOINT SEPTAGE FACILITY
Sudbury and Wayland members of the joint Septage Committee
joined both select boards, laying the ground work to decide
whether to keep the 26-year-old plant open. The committee is
divided, and some decisions have to be made fairly soon.
The plant was planned, and encouraged by the state, as good
for the environment. It would process waste from septic
systems in the two towns at a reasonable price while supporting
The plant has met those goals. In the most recent fiscal year it
processed a record 10 million gallons from many communities
and earned more than $800,000. The question is whether it will
be able to support itself in the future.
Some committee members expressed grave worries. the
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will
require upgrades to new standards (drinking-water quality) that
could cost $700,000 or more. Slight deviations from those
standards could result in heavy fines. Ultimately the taxpayers
of the two towns might have to pay to keep the facility going.
Maintenance, regulatory and staffing problems may increase as
the plant ages further.
Those who want the plant to remain argue that if it closes, local
waste haulers will have to raise their rates to cover
transportation costs to more distant sites; small, local hauling
companies might be driven out of business; as prices rise,
householders might have their systems pumped less often,
potentially resulting in failing systems and new environmental
problems; closing the plant would itself be costly.
Wind River Environmental Systems has expressed interest in
taking over the facility. Committee members pointed out
questions this would raise: Wind River could drive small haulers
out of business; the company is reported to have its own
financial problems; processing would probably halt and the
250,000-gallon tank would be storage for a succession of
10,000-gallon-capacity trucks carrying the waste elsewhere.
Sudbury Selectman Larry O'Brien suggested a 10-year
business plan before making critical decisions. .
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor