WVN #235: New Town Center environmental plan
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The Town Center developers have filed a revised plan to deal
with environmental concerns at the 57-acre Route 20 site. The
deadline for comments is March 21, as Molly Upton explains.
Also in this newsletter: March 17 hearing on the the $1.896
million override and $1.93 million debt exclusion.
TOWN CENTER DEVELOPER AGAIN FILES ENVIRONMENTAL
Twenty Wayland has again filed a Final Environmental Impact
Report required by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act
(MEPA). The previous FEIR was withdrawn in November 2007,
after Twenty Wayland had an opportunity to read comments
indicating the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
would set high bars for approval of the project, especially
The project is subject to MEPA review for traffic and air quality,
wetlands, wastewater, rare species and storm water. MEPA
coordinates comments to all the relevant state agencies.
Project proposal comments from citizens and boards are due
March 21 to Holly.S.Johnson@.... The full report is in
the Wayland library. There have been several changes in the
proposal over time, many in response to comments submitted
by Wayland boards as well as citizens. To name a couple,
irrigation consumption is reduced, and trip credits for former
occupancy of the office building (part of traffic impact estimates)
have been eliminated.
The recent FEIR filed Feb. 15 gives the impression of more
methodically attempting to answer the outstanding issues
outlined in a Jan. 12 Certificate and Scope of Work from the
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA)
under which the MEPA review is conducted. However, many
issues remain unanswered. In going through each point in the
EOEEA letter, the FEIR creates the impression it has answered
all the issues. But in fact it either answers the issue or employs
the technique of omission by referral by directing the reader to
other sections of the document that often don't really answer the
concern of the EOEEA director.
Outstanding concerns, many of which are exacerbated by the
site's contamination and location adjacent to the river and within
the Zone II of the Baldwin wells, include:
The wastewater plant
The septic system
Drainage details or lack thereof
Storm water control
Changes to historic district
Road widening and impact on flood storage
Traffic the eternal issue
Still up in the air is how the proposed Town Center is to be
connected to the rest of the center of Wayland for pedestrians
and cyclists. Twenty Wayland says the town can use its $3.03
million developer's `gift' to construct sidewalks. Twenty Wayland
also indicates the town can use the gift to supplement the
$75,000 allocated to town road mediation. The questions about
the costs of specific traffic mitigation measures remain
unanswered, other than an estimate of $4 million cost for the
Route 20/126/27 intersection and 126/27 intersection.
New items in the FEIR include a two-acre meadow management
area to the north of the site, a reduction in irrigation volume, a
large retention basin to the northwest of the site, more
descriptions, but rather vague commitments, to LEED
techniques other than energy efficient lighting.
Responses from agencies such as DEP to the first FEIR are not
included in this latest round of documentation, which resets to
the original draft EIR. However, Twenty Wayland has chosen to
answer selective issues.
One example is the response to DEP's mention in its November
response to the first FEIR that it might require "a MassDEP
sewer connection permit for this project prior to any construction
or use of any sewer system to convey wastewater to the Wayland
WWTP." In the latest FEIR, Twenty Wayland emphasizes
wastewater "will be discharged through an existing sewer
connection from the existing on-site improvements to the MWTP
(municipal wastewater treatment plant)."
But the applicant did not address other pertinent issues. The
DEP letter accompanying the withdrawn FEIR also said "If the
buildings to be served or being served by the septic system are
not owned by the same entity, a shared system approval shall be
required in accordance with 310 CMR 15.292." The septic
system is described as serving the supermarket, retail building,
and office building on the east side of the property.
Twenty Wayland and DEP clearly disagree whether Twenty
Wayland may start discharging to the existing wastewater
treatment plant. The January DEP letter states that "any
recommendations (from the study evaluating the plant) for
process or operational improvements should be implemented
before occupancy of the proposed project, so that NPDES
(National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit
violations will not ensue. The FEIR should also include any
written agreement between the proponent and the town of
Wayland to upgrade and/or modify the plant before the Wayland
Town Center project begins discharging to the treatment plant."
In the new FEIR, Twenty Wayland states that after an initial
`multiparty' discussion, "it appears likely that at least some
discharges from the Project will begin before a replacement
facility is permitted, built, and operational."
Twenty Wayland reiterates its earlier plans to place the septic
system beneath either the town green or the northeastern
parking lot, with the caveat that "other locations may be identified
as design and permitting efforts proceed." The northeastern
location has been cited by many as problematic due to its
proximity to the town's Baldwin wells. The FEIR now
acknowledges mounding may be required if the site is the town
green and says, "that will addressed with landscaping as may
be approved in the MSP (Master Special Permit) Phase I Site
Plan Review." The earlier report had maintained that "the use of
the Town Green for active and passive recreational activities
would not be limited if the septic system were located beneath
The FEIR dismisses Wayland's septic requirements that are
tougher than those of Title 5. "However, since wastewater from
the Project's proposed residential and restaurant uses will be
directed to the MWTP (treatment plant), these added Wayland
Board of Health design features are not applicable to the
proposed septic system." For the proposed septic system,
using Title 5 and Wayland requirements, the capacity for the
office, retail and supermarket is just under the limit requiring a
MEPA permit. Wayland Health Director Steve Calichman had
recommended that the waste go to the treatment plant.
Some aspects of the proposed low impact development (LID)
techniques of water quality swales, rain gardens, and
bioretention basins come under DEP's scrutiny because of the
contaminated nature of the site. "The DEP Stormwater
Management Policy recommends stormwater basins should be
sealed or lined when within areas of higher potential pollutant
loads if also a critical area," the FEIR states. But it continues,
"due to the level of pre-treatment proposed and the Town of
Wayland's goal of a low-impact development stormwater
management design, the basins are proposed without a liner or
As in November 2007, the DEP also wanted more information on
the areas proposed for recharge to ensure that infiltration is not
proposed "within an area of soil or groundwater contamination."
"The FEIR should present a stormwater management plan that
considers alternatives to stormwater infiltration in accordance
with SMP (Stormwater Management Policy) guidance, based on
consultation with MassDEP," DEP wrote.
The proposed catch basins will have sumps no less than 4 feet
deep. But slab construction is proposed specifically to avoid
disturbing potential contaminants, so the question arises
whether DEP will approve the sumps. The recharge volume of
water is projected to be 23,810 cubic feet, far exceeding the
requirement, 580 cubic feet.
There are three sizable retention areas. The northwest retention
area is also within a habitat and close to a non-state wetland
area and may be within the designated conservation area. (The
features aren't all on one map, so it's hard to tell.) There are two
on the northern side, between this project and the proposed
future phase of Wayland Commons housing development. A
smaller area is at the southeastern portion.
There is considerable discussion about the widening of the
north side of Route 20 and the impact on the wetlands and the
implementation of compensatory wetlands farther east and/or to
the south of the Town Building. DEP has been asking for some
time whether it is possible to widen the southern portion of the
The Board of Health's comments concerning the impact on air
quality from the demolition of the existing 400,000-square-foot
buildings remain unanswered. Health Director Calichman
wrote: "The last time we had a major demolition and remodel on
this site we had to respond to a major problem of particulate air
pollution and concerns of potential water pollution from the water
spray that had to be instituted to deal with the excessive dust."
The answer to the question of the ownership of the bypass road
through the mixed-use project requires careful reading. Mass
Highway had expressed preference for a public road through the
project, to reduce traffic at the intersection of 20/126/27.
However, Wayland's Planning Board wanted a private road.
Twenty Wayland's FEIR tries to please both: "The MSP issued by
the Wayland Planning Board and the Board of Road
Commissioners approved a two-driveway access. Discussions
with the Town indicate that this will be a public roadway,
maintained by the Project Proponent." That appears to be a new
definition of public roadway.
The FEIR also requested backup data and assumptions made
in estimating the bypass volumes diverted from the intersection.
The Master Special Permit hearings were closed at the end of
October before the development of additional traffic calculations
and plans. The FEIR contains no fewer than seven alternatives
to changes in roads at the center of town. Traffic data is complex,
making it difficult to determine whether the FEIR submission is
the same as that considered under the MSP process.
There is no quantification of how much of the historic Mellen
Green will be taken by the proposed widening of Route 20.
The FEIR reflects the reality of Wayland's Chapter 191 bylaw for
irrigation systems and reduces the required daily flow during
"grow in" period to 5,000 gallons per day from 25,100. The
average seasonal high usage is expected to be 4,200 gallons
per day. Domestic demand is calculated at 54,900 gallons per
day but no real information is given about how this usage might
impact the town's water supply other than a June 7, 2007 letter
from the Water Department's consultant based on hydraulic
simulations conducted in June 2005.
Monday, March 17, 7:30 p.m., Town Building. Finance Committee
public hearing on the fiscal 2009 property tax operating override
of $1.896 million and debt exclusion of $1.896 million. Q&A will
follow FinCom presentations. (An operating override increases
taxes permanently. A debt exclusion lasts for the life of the loans;
new debt is added as old debt expires.)
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Michael Short, Editor