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WVN #235: New Town Center environmental plan

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  • waylandvoters1
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 11, 2008
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      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
      REPORT

      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 The previous FEIR was withdrawn in November 2007,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
      regarding wastewater.

      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
      Demolition
      TrafficÂ… 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.

      WASTEWATER

      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."

      SEPTIC

      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
      that area."

      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.

      STORM WATER

      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
      seal."

      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.

      ROAD WIDENING

      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
      road instead.

      DEMOLITION

      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."

      TRAFFIC

      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.

      IRRIGATION

      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.


      OVERRIDE HEARING

      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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      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor
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