WVN Newsletter #197: More TC discord
- Dear Wayland Voter,
Once again the developer threatened to walk away from the $100
million town center project as a meeting on potential traffic
impact ended with selectmen arguing heatedly with members of
TEMPERS FLARE AT TRAFFIC MEETING
"Town Center again in jeopardy" reads the headline in the
Wayland Town Crier story reporting the meeting on Jan. 10. That
may be so. It might also be viewed as developer tactics taking
advantage of town boards wrangling over authority. The
Planning Board and the road commissioners assert their duty to
act carefully in the long-term interests of the town. The
developers, though, can count on strong support from a majority
of the selectmen, who have pushed the project hard from the
beginning, haven't pressed the developers and haven't hesitated
to question the action of other boards.
Twenty Wayland's Dean Stratouly again reiterated his theme of
"my way or the highway" in an effort to get the town to allow two
roads into the former Route 20 Raytheon property prior to filing
for the Master Special Permit (MSP). Stratouly took a similar
posture when the Planning Board bowed to his demands for a
project of a guaranteed size. He also declared the project dead
after the zoning motion failed at town meeting in fall, 2005.
Selectmen said they revived the project by persuading Stratouly
and his partners to return for a second version and a successful
Stratouly spoke after the traffic portion of the meeting was
concluded and most attendees had left. The Planning Board
was not in the room or involved in the discussion that led to his
Selectman Bill Whitney was prolonging the discussion on next
steps by accusing "someone" of prohibiting the town's
consultant from collaborating with the developer's consultant as
the developer had asked. Both consultants asserted this was
not the case, but in fact there had been little contact between the
Such contact between consultants isn't forbidden, but it isn't
usual at this stage of the process. Some Planning Board
members fear that the developer could misrepresent any
comments its consultant might make about traffic mitigation and
then argue that a Planning Board objection is "unreasonable"
under the law. Though some selectmen say there should be
trust between boards and Twenty Wayland, that isn't the legally
defined mission of municipal adjudicatory bodies. Wayland
Planning Board members may recall that after Stratouly
negotiated an agreement with Quincy on a large housing project
he took advantage of a missed city deadline and built a much
different project, saving more than $1 million in promised
As shown many times in public meetings, Twenty Wayland can
be confident that at least three selectmen will support virtually
anything the developers propose. At last week's meeting
selectmen argued for Twenty Wayland's demand that the town's
consultant, TEC, go beyond the charter of "peer review" in
discussing matters with Vanesse, the developer's consultant.
Peer review involves evaluating prior studies. The discussion
also involved whether Vanesse should respond to the list of
missing or inconsistent items before meeting, and also whether
town staff should be involved in discussions. When the issue
was raised about the source of funds to pay for the consultants
to chat during this interim period, Stratouly strode to the
microphone and said that since this process started, he has
built two 25-story buildings, and that this project costs him
$11,000 a day.
"This town has a financial crisis,": he said. "I don't have a
financial crisis other than this project...We cannot advance this.
Our MSP is ready to be filed" and it includes two entrances.
When Road Commission Chairman Mark Santangelo asked
him what's preventing him from filing, Stratouly responded that
he doesn't have the money to do the filing one more time. It was
unclear whether he meant orienting the project with one
entrance if the Planning Board so decides or whether he was
referring to a delay that would occur only if Twenty Wayland
decided to withdraw from the MSP process and the Planning
Board deemed this "with prejudice."
"I'm not up for continuing this effort any further. We are of a mind
at this point to withdraw this project," he declared. "I'm not going
to do this anymore. I've had enough. At this point we are
withdrawing. For this board to try to grab another $3,000 (in fees
to consultants)... I've had enough." Stratouly said he could
re-use the existing 400,000-square-foot Raytheon office building
or build housing under the state's 40B affordable housing law.
Santangelo said that if Stratouly wants to advance the project he
should file. He also reiterated that the Planning Board has met
every threshold it had to meet and is ready to receive the filing
and has made an aggressive schedule to try to complete the
hearings prior to the April election (as desired earlier by the
Selectman Michael Tichnor then claimed that conditions
"agreed" a month ago haven't been met. That statement ignores
the fact the Planning Board provided a memo, citing its normal
practices as approved by town counsel Mark Lanza, in response
to the developer's demands for assurances that only full board
members would participate and the Planning Board would allow
a withdrawal without prejudice. Twenty Wayland wasn't happy
with the language of the memo.
Tichnor added, "Our town and boards need to act like they want
this project...The town needs to behave to give the developer
Anette Lewis, a road commissioner and Planning Board
associate member, said Twenty Wayland has repeatedly
delayed filing for the MSP by introducing a series of new
conditions. The latest developer request is that the Planning
Board reopen the concept phase of the application process.
The selectmen scheduled an update on the status of the project
for 7:30 p.m. during their regular meeting on Tuesday Jan. 16.
PURPOSE OF MSP PROCESS
Until the MSP process begins, the town has no assurances of
what the development layout will be, yet the developer wants the
town to make a decision on access roads during this interim
period. From the inception of the planning process, the decision
on access points was to be made by the Planning Board during
its review of the MSP application.
The development agreement states: "In the event that the Master
Special Permit includes a condition restricting access to the
Property from Route 27 to residential vehicles and emergency
access vehicles only, Developer agrees that it will not appeal the
imposition of such condition and if the (mixed use project) is
built, will comply with such condition."
To argue the need for two access points, Frank Dougherty of
Twenty Wayland showed a plan, resembling a conventional mall,
based on a single entry. Dougherty claimed that without a
second road to Route 27, the stores would need to be arranged
around a central parking lot, which he called the Derby Street
version, referring to the shopping center in Hingham.
The bulk of the Jan. 10 meeting of the Board of Selectmen and
the Board of Road Commissioners involved Dougherty's
presentation of the extensive traffic study by Vanasse Associates
and the response from the town's traffic consultant, Kevin
Dandrade of TEC Associates, who provided a critique of missing
or inconsistent elements and comments on the study.
The developer plans to pay for widening Route 20 beyond the
scope of the state's just-completed work. This would involve
diminishing the historic Mellen green and taking down two large
trees. Dandrade said the plan to extend the wider part of Route
20 by only 150 feet would not really achieve an improved level of
The consultants concurred that with a single entrance at Route
20 "there's little risk of increased cut-through traffic" from the
Currently, Glezen Lane has about 2,300 cars per day, with up to
400 during some peak hours, according to the figures.
Residents noted the development would add cars during the
weekends and during the day, affecting their quality of life.
The good news is that there seem to be mitigation measures
that might discourage some cut-through traffic heading east and
west to avoid Route 20. But there was general agreement that
any such measures should be taken only after looking at the
traffic flow throughout town.
Highway Director Steve Kadlik noted that the Massachusetts
Highway Department is trying to fine-tune the timing of lights at
the Route 20/126/27 intersection. The selectmen have
acknowledged residents' complaints that traffic has worsened
since the highway was widened.
The meeting itself was well attended, and quite civil, with public
comment occurring after the citizens had heard the
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT COMMENT
A number of residents, as well as town boards and
commissions, have filed written comments with the state or the
town on Twenty Wayland's Draft Environmental Impact Report,
indicating the complexity of the site, which is near wetlands, the
federally protected Sudbury River and recharging areas for town
The Board of Health addressed issues of waste water disposal
and protecting drinking water supplies. The Conservation
Commission enumerated threats to the environment. The
Historical Commission , the Historic District Commission and
the Wayland Historical Society decried the plan to further reduce
the historic green at the 20/126/27 intersection where the
historic Mellen law office is located.
Some resident comments noted that the developer originally
talked about using 45,000 gallons of water a day and now plans
on using 80,000. How will that affect Wayland's water system,
Several letters, some nearly 20 pages long, alleged
shortcomings in traffic estimates and analyzed the potential
traffic increase and the effect on feeder roads to Route 27. A
common theme was that traffic on Route 20 and roads leading
to it is already so compromised that no mitigation could deal
with increased traffic coming from other towns to support a
shopping center of about 170,000 square feet.
Some of the comments are available at the Planning Board
--Molly Upton and Michael Short
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor