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WVN Newsletter #188: New TC designs

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, Responding to a public hearing earlier this month, town center developers have come up with design alternatives for the former Raytheon
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 24, 2006
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      Responding to a public hearing earlier this month, town center
      developers have come up with design alternatives for the former
      Raytheon property. Some designs are online, and you have a
      little more time to contribute suggestions. Molly Upton reports.

      Also in this newsletter: the Finance Committee says it isn't
      planning on a tax override for the fiscal year beginning next July,
      and the High School Building Committee is back at work.

      NEW DESIGN PROPOSALS

      After the public forum on preferred features of the town center
      mixed use overlay district (MUOD), Twenty Wayland LLC
      previewed three possible alternative designs at a subsequent
      Planning Board meeting that incorporated many of the items
      discussed.

      The deadline for review of the Concept Plan phase is Oct. 30
      unless the developer agrees to a Planning Board request to
      extend the date. Thus this may be the last opportunity for the
      public to make comments.

      You may email comments to jlaydon@...
      <mailto:jlaydon@...>

      Public comment is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. (Town Building) at
      meetings this week on Wednesday and POSSIBLY Thursday.
      The Planning Board will discuss the Concept Plan ON
      WEDNESDAY and the master special permit rules and
      regulations ON EACH NIGHT.

      Two of the newest drawings are posted on the Planning Board
      web site. See
      http://www.wayland.ma.us/planning/Towncenterproposal/MUOD
      _downloads.htm

      There is also a lengthy list of suggestions gathered at the public
      forum.

      Readers should bear in mind that things are still in flux. For
      instance, on the north side of the site, view 2 shows two
      buildings comprising town houses. View 3 shows one long
      monolithic building comprising "flats." Although one of the plans
      shows only 80 residential units, developer Chuck Irving said
      Twenty Wayland LLC is weighing the tradeoffs between some
      residential units and more restaurant seats in the shopping
      center. However, he said, for the time being the Planning Board
      should assume 100 residential units.

      This is one of those instances where a picture is worth a
      thousand words. Some new elements included: a curvy main
      street, a more substantial cross street, a more informal shape of
      the green space, and some residences above stores. In the
      latest drawings, the current building constructed for childcare
      would be maintained, and Irving indicated his company had
      received some interest from Eastern Mountain Sports for that
      building. There also appeared to be more small green spaces
      for informal gatherings, and the road, if it will exist, from Route 27
      has a more direct route to the residential area. There has been
      no discussion on whether there will be an access from Route 27
      pending more detailed traffic information.

      The "flats" still occupy the northwest corner near the river, and
      the grocery store the southeast corner near the historic district
      residences.

      In other Planning Board activities, the board began its review of
      rules and regulations regarding the implementation of the
      Master Special Permit Process. Past discussions included
      criteria such as how many drawings, and elements in the
      drawings.

      FINCOM EXPECTS NO OVERRIDE

      Wayland's Finance Committee is asking all boards and
      departments to prepare fiscal 08 budgets that live within the
      guidelines of Proposition 2-1/2 and does not plan to seek an
      operating override vote, according to a memo sent by Finance
      Director Michael DiPietro to all department heads, boards and
      commissions.

      The memo also put all departments on alert that the budget,
      rather than labor negotiations, will be the governing factor. "A very
      modest amount has been set aside in a separate account to
      cover new agreements," the memo says. "Any settlements that
      exceed this amount will require budget reductions in other areas
      to keep the overall budget in balance within the constraints of
      Prop. 2-1/2. Given this constraint, we ask that you continue to
      pursue the Ad Hoc Committee suggestions and to identify other
      areas of efficiencies and cost reductions." All labor contracts, for
      both the town and schools, expire June 20, 2007.

      The memo asks that all salary accounts remain the same as FY
      07 except for any step increases due during the upcoming fiscal
      year. All non-salary items should remain the same except the
      utility and gas accounts. All capital budget items should be
      included in the capital budget request, for which the FinCom has
      allotted about $750,000. "Amounts required and approved above
      that level would be subjected to a debt exclusion vote," the
      memo noted.

      The memo also requested that town meeting articles requiring
      free cash funding be kept to a minimum.

      There will be a budget hearing for all boards, committees and
      departments on Monday, Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The FinCom will
      discuss the town's financial outlook for FY08 and listen to all
      board, committee, and department questions and concerns.

      Proposed department budgets are due to the FinCom on Nov.
      30, including FY06 Expended, FY07 Appropriated and FY08 Level
      Funded Request.

      HSBC: NEW FACES, MODIFIED MISSION

      The High School Building Committee is back at work after
      adding four new members for a total of 15.

      At a meeting on Oct. 12 committee members discussed how to
      proceed as they deal with a new state reimbursement agency
      that is behind schedule and still feeling its way.

      Before Wayland voters rejected a $55-million plan for a new
      high school in January 2005, the brand-new Massachusetts
      School Building Authority warned that the town shouldn't proceed
      immediately unless it was willing to risk paying the entire cost.
      The Authority succeeded a loosely-run system that essentially
      went bankrupt and declared a moratorium. Today the situation is
      different. There is rigor in the procedures, though some of
      them aren't yet completely clear.

      Wayland's is one of 90 "statements of interest" submitted so far
      to the state. After July 1, 2007, the MSBA will begin choosing
      those allowed to proceed with detailed proposals. In line with its
      policy of taking a firm hand and avoiding politics, the MSBA will
      determine anticipated enrollment and appropriate square
      footage, then negotiate with municipalities on a final deal and
      percentage of reimbursement. Thus voters should have a clear
      idea of what they're deciding.

      Other innovations under the new system include extra
      reimbursement for eco-friendly building and some partial
      matching of private funds. Naming rights have been mentioned.
      Will some town one day have a Papa Gino's Cafeteria, a
      Genzyme Science Building?

      On the negative side, state rules are still being interpreted as
      municipal officials, architects and builders point out elements
      they perceive as impractical or unwieldy. As a result, it's hard to
      predict how soon anything would be built even if Wayland is
      among the first chosen. The state is committed to spending
      $500 million in the first year after it grants approvals, but is still
      reimbursing cities and towns for projects authorized under the
      old system, including the Wayland Middle School renovations.

      Still another concern: some buildings erected under the
      free-wheeling previous system -- even relatively new projects --
      are already falling apart. The MSBA will obviously have to take
      health and safety concerns seriously, and is committed to
      making decisions based on need. Wayland, which has frugally
      gotten more than 40 years out of its oldest high school buildings,
      could be at a competitive disadvantage. A preliminary state study
      placed all of Wayland's buildings above the neediest category.

      The Wayland School Committee has modified its instructions
      and now wants the HSBC to define needs and priorities and
      come up with more than one option for renovation or
      replacement. After that the School Committee says it will
      "determine the most cost-effective and appropriate course to
      pursue..."

      The four new HSBC members are Fred Knight, who has served
      on the School Committee and several building committees for
      school projects; David Lash, a business consultant; Jennifer
      Steel, a Wayland High School graduate and in 1996 Wayland's
      conservation administrator; Karen Talentino, dean of faculty
      at Stonehill College.

      All four said they applied because they are committed to getting
      something built. It would have been great to have more diversity
      of opinion, HSBC Chair Lea Anderson commented, but all 12
      applicants were generally supportive of the HSBC's mission.

      Superintendent Gary Burton told the HSBC that his department is
      working on plans to keep the buildings repaired for at least
      another 5 to 7 years. Roofs installed in 1992 are leaking, he
      said.

      -- Michael Short

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      Michael Short, Editor
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