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WVN Newsletter #206:Town center election link

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, In this newsletter, two things bearing on the April 24 town election: the revival of the town center project and chances for you to hear
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2007
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      In this newsletter, two things bearing on the April 24 town
      election: the revival of the town center project and chances for
      you to hear and question candidates.

      Also, a look ahead at the challenges facing Wayland in dealing
      with state law mandating affordable housing. What is being
      built, what is planned and what are the consequences and
      pitfalls? Molly Upton reports.

      DEVELOPERS: TOWN CENTER HINGES ON ELECTION

      The developers who abandoned the town center project in
      February now say they'll restart it if they like the results of the
      town election on April 24.

      Dean Stratouly of Twenty Wayland LLC said he and his
      co-director Chuck Irving dropped the project earlier this year
      because they believed the "leadership" of the Planning Board
      and Board of Road Commissioners was biased against the
      $100-million shopping/office/housing project on Route 20.

      Two seats on each board are on the ballot. Some say the
      developers' expressed fears were unfounded, and perhaps even
      negotiating tactics. Planning Chair Lynne Dunbrack has said
      repeatedly that her board lacks the power to stop the project as
      long as it conforms to existing regulations and agreements. The
      size and general concept are already fixed.

      How soon could Twenty Wayland resume?

      "We're ready to go," Stratouly told the Board of Selectmen on
      March 26 when he and Irving appeared to announce that they'll
      proceed if they like the composition of the new boards.
      Resuming the process toward a master special construction
      permit would be a matter of "days, not months," Stratouly said.

      As in the 2006 election season, the town center will be a litmus
      test for Wayland candidates. This year's candidates favor the
      development on the former Raytheon property. Even if Dunbrack
      is correct, the impression of a new, eager-to-please makeup of
      the two boards could give Twenty Wayland an advantage in
      thrashing out details. Town center partisans may vote for
      candidates they feel will be quickest tp approve Twenty
      Wayland's plans.

      William Steinberg faces no opposition to fill a Planning Board
      vacancy created when an incumbent moved away.

      The contested Planning Board race pits architect Harvey
      Montague against financial manager Kevin Murphy.

      Voters will choose two of three candidates for the Board of Road
      Commissioners: incumbent Stewart Millerd, appointed interim
      member Eric Knapp and Alan Jay Shubin.

      -- Michael Short


      HEAR -- AND QUESTION -- CANDIDATES

      If you couldn't attend the League of Women Voters' Candidates
      Night on March 28, you can watch a tape on Wayland cable
      Channel 9. There are eight scheduled times, and more may be
      added. Tune in at noon or 8 p.m. on April 6, 7, 13 or 14.

      For the ninth year, WayCAM presents "Meet the Candidates,
      Live," a chance for viewers to phone in questions to candidates
      for contested positions on three boards, Planning, Road
      Commissioners and Selectmen. Town Meeting Moderator C.
      Peter Gossels will be the host. Tune to Channel 9 at 7 p.m.
      Thursday April 12. This will be taped for rebroadcast.

      PLETHORA OF 40Bs

      Proposals for Comprehensive Permit (40B) developments in
      Wayland are growing in both number and size. The plethora of
      potential projects may prompt public officials to develop a
      strategy regarding optimal timing, placement and size of
      proposals that could give Wayland a temporary exemption from
      40Bs and also potentially limit the impact on the schools.

      For example, consultants such as Judith Barrett have told the
      town that dense projects are apt to appeal less to families with
      children than smaller, town-home style developments.

      Timing is also a key ingredient. If the town's Zoning Board of
      Appeals (ZBA) were to approve 37 units within a 12 month
      period, then it could deny comprehensive permits for a year.

      Despite the number of 40B proposals currently in Wayland,
      hitting that number within a year is a challenge without a large
      development, or an entirely rental development because ZBA
      hearings can be lengthy. The Comprehensive Permit process
      involves the ZBA seeking input from all relevant town boards and
      working with the developer for a safe, viable project. Wayland
      Commons took 10 months for approval, which was granted Jan.
      27, 2006. The state instituted the Comprehensive Permit
      process to encourage more affordable housing; it enables a
      developer to ignore many local zoning issues. The ZBA does
      have some say on health and public safety issues.

      So, the town currently is starting with a clean slate of no
      affordable units approved within the last 12 months

      A town may deny a comprehensive permit if it has "made recent
      progress on affordable housing," according to a primer from the
      Citizens' Housing and Planning Association. Because Wayland
      has an approved housing plan, it can gain a temporary breather
      from 40Bs if it approves 37 affordable housing units (0.75
      percent of the total housing stock of 4,934 dwellings) within 12
      months.

      Note: The state calculates on the basis of the U.S. census,
      which in 2000 said Wayland had 4,735 units. This WVN
      newsletter used the town's current number as a basis of
      calculations.

      Interestingly, if a development is entirely rental, the town can
      count all the units, including those at market rate, toward its
      affordable quota. However, several Selectmen were visibly
      shocked and dismayed at the density of the proposal presented
      on March 26 for a 55-foot-high, 60-unit apartment building (all
      rental) envisioned for the site of the former Kathryn Barton
      nursing home and the house next door on Route 30. The area is
      just over 3 acres. As a reference, the nearby and much larger
      site of Willowbrook has 44 units.

      Acknowledging that this number of rentals would buy the town a
      temporary breather from other 40Bs, Selectman Michael Tichnor
      said the project could be a Pyrrhic victory because there would
      be a small number of affordable units. (And the developer also
      owns an adjacent property where it plans a day care facility.)

      FAR FROM STATE STANDARD

      Currently, Wayland has 150 affordable units (3 percent of total
      housing stock) available and would need 10 percent, currently
      493 units, to be exempt permanently from 40B. It should be
      noted that with each 40B that is not a rental, more market rate
      units are added to the total number of town dwellings, making it
      harder to reach the 10 percent quota.

      In developments with 25 percent of units affordable, occupants
      need to have less than 80 percent of the median annual income
      for the Boston area. In 2005 the qualifying income was $66,150
      for a family of four. Or, for rental housing, a project can provide 20
      percent of units to households below 50 percent of median
      income.

      Here's a synopsis of other projects that are on the horizon in
      various stages.

      APPROVED

      Wayland Commons (aka Wayland Meadows) on Route 27/Old
      Sudbury Road, has been approved for 48 units, but to date the
      developer already has run afoul of its permit condition for
      landscaping (removed trees in town's right of way and onsite
      that were to be preserved). Twelve affordable units.

      APPLIED

      Wayland Forest at 137 Boston Post Road has applied for 16
      units. The public hearing began on Dec. 19, 2006 . Four
      affordable.

      Tripolis Circle has applied for 8 units on 225 Old Connecticut
      Path with the first ZBA hearing April 9, 2007 scheduled for 8 p.m.
      Two affordable.

      These three projects would total 18 affordable units and 54
      market rate units.

      OTHERS POSSIBLE

      On Route 30, in addition to the 60-unit proposal, 266
      Commonwealth (known as the former Carpenter property) has
      received a 40B permit. The Zoning Board of Appeals denied a
      comprehensive permit seeking 16 units, but developer Rocco
      Scippa appealed, the town litigated, and the state has now
      determined there can be 12 units on this site, which is close to
      Snake Brook. The land has been cleared, and there is a For Sale
      sign on the property. Three affordable.

      There is rumor that the Lee's Farm Stand property on Route 20
      could also become a 40B site.

      Although not being proposed under the 40B statute, Twenty
      Wayland LLC's plans for its town center project include 25
      affordable units out of 100 total housing units. The final result
      could differ.

      The town is taking steps to increase the number of affordable
      units. Part of the former Nike site in North Wayland is being
      developed. The current plan calls for 11 units at the affordable
      rate, and five at no more than 100 percent of the median
      income, but this ratio isn't cast in stone because there is
      currently a shortfall in funding. The latter five units would be less
      than market rate, but not count toward the state's quota of
      affordable units.

      And, according to a preliminary meeting with residents, the
      Wayland Housing Authority is planning to apply the regulations of
      40B on a development of about 16 units in the only sizable piece
      of vacant land in the densely populated Dudley Pond area.

      The lure to developers of doing a 40B is obvious. For example,
      225 Old Connecticut Path is 2.8 acres, and sold to a developer
      for $530,000, a price appropriate for a single family house. By
      contrast, the asking price for the former Carpenter property,
      about 1.6 acres, is said to be more than $2 million. Six-plus
      years ago, before securing a 40B permit, the asking price was
      said to be around $1 million.

      Recent newspaper accounts have indicated some developers
      have pocketed more than the 20 percent profit permitted for a
      completed project under 40B regulations.

      WHERE ARE THEY?

      The preponderance of affordable units is in Cochituate. Bent
      Park (56), Cochituate Village Apartments (55), and various HUD
      scattered sites (25) account for 136 units. Willowbrook on Route
      30 has 6 units. In other locations, Millbrook has 2 units,
      Greenways has 5. There is one on Plain Road. Because of the
      new cluster zoning bylaw, there will be 2 in the Covered Bridge
      development.


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