WVN Newsletter #183: Will TC design change?
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The Planning Board continues evaluating the developers'
concept for the town center shopping/housing/office project on
Route 20. Molly Upton reports.
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. The Planning Board continues
discussing the concept plan for the mixed use overlay district.
Thursday, Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. Conservation Commission public
hearing on the controversial proposal to use up to $300,000 in
Community Preservation Act funds to help pay for artificial turf at
the high school football field.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. The Wayland DPW
Assessment Committee will meet to hear public comment on
establishing a public works department. The committee was
established by the selectmen last year to assess the advisability
of consolidating infrastructure activities in one department as
Weston, Concord, Sudbury and other towns have done. The
DPW Assessment Committee plans to make a recommendation
later this year to the selectmen.
All meetings at the Town Building.
PLANNERS EVALUATE TOWN CENTER CONCEPT
The Planning Board is moving ahead with evaluating the concept
plan for the mixed use overlay district (aka Town Center)
submitted on Aug. 1 by Twenty Wayland LLC. In the first meeting,
the developers explained the ideas behind the proposed design,
and the Planning Board's consultant, The Cecil Group, elegantly
pointed out that the design drew its heritage from the
neoclassical Beaux Arts style of planning new towns that
emphasized symmetry and scale rather than New England
townscapes that grew organically, often along curving roads.
The submitted plan stresses straight streets, long sight lines, a
formal-looking green space, and large condominium buildings
hugging the northwesterly area adjacent to the river.
The plans may be viewed at
The unspoken issue throughout this exercise is the cognitive
disconnect between the fact that most New England towns have
almost no large stores of 5,000 square feet or more, and a great
concentration of small stores of less than 2,500 square feet.
However, the plan presented opts for the maximum allowed
store size in nearly every category, so only 4 of 21 stores are at
2,500 or less. Thus the challenge is how to intermix stores of
3,000 square feet or more into a design that resembles a town
rather than a conventional shopping center.
The zoning bylaw requires a minimum of seven stores at 5,000
square feet or less; the current plan shows 12 stores in this size
range. There has been no discussion on the mix of store sizes.
Jody Kablack, the Sudbury town planner, voiced three concerns:
the view of buildings from the river, traffic, and impact on
directional traffic (she favors access from Route 27). She also
suggested a traffic light at Landham Road and Route 20 and
encouraged linking trails between the two towns.
In the second meeting, the Planning Board reviewed aspects of
Sudbury, Concord and Weston centers that might be
incorporated into the Wayland effort. Concord, for instance, has
signs jutting from the buildings to assist the pedestrian. In
Weston, the signs resembled "billboards," according to one
member. Several members liked the informal aspect of the
Sudbury green, which seemed to offer several smaller, distinct,
although connected spaces through the use of trees and
There was some difference of opinion on whether Twenty
Wayland LLC would offer a new design for the board's
consideration before moving to the next phase of site plan
approval. At the end of the meeting, Twenty Wayland
representatives urged the Planning Board to try to develop
different designs using tracing paper over the existing plan. The
board also mentioned marking off on the property major items of
the existing plan so they could grasp the scale.
Chair Lynne Dunbrack has repeatedly suggested creating
several buildings that look like single-family homes but are in
fact multifamily dwellings to help integrate residential with
commercial areas. In a previous meeting, Selectman Bill
Whitney observed that the current layout gives great visual
prominence to the 15,000-square-foot drug store at the end of
the main street.
After much deliberation by a joint meeting of the Planning Board,
Board of Road Commissioners and the selectmen, an RFP
(request for proposal) was issued for a peer review of traffic
studies to be submitted by the developer. The question remains:
if the developer's studies are incomplete, can the traffic
consultant be asked to fill in the missing data? The Planning
Board has been asking for the developer's traffic study and
expected to receive it this week.
Traffic was one of several issues covered by the Massachusetts
Environmental Policy Act letter requiring further information for
the Environmental Impact Review (See WVN #181)
Former selectman Linda Segal reminded the Planning Board
that as a result of a 2005 negotiated settlement, the town has a
substantial sum of money to be spent on mitigating project
impacts. In addition to upgrading the West Plain/Old
Connecticut Path intersection, money was earmarked for a
monitoring well on the Wayland side of the Sudbury River to
assess drinking water, both pre- and post-development, and that
Wayland should start implementing its planned activities before
building starts at the site. She also noted the concept design
plans presented at the latest Framingham Planning Board
hearing showed a large 26-unit apartment building adjacent to
Developer Pulte Homes is submitting its documents
electronically to Framingham, which should help Wayland
officials and residents remain informed. The project has been
renamed Danforth Green, and 525 new housing units will be
built at the New England Sand & Gravel site just over the
Wayland town line.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor