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WVN #247: ConCom considering new CVS building

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  • waylandvoters1
    Dear Wayland Voter, CVS has planned for several years to relocate its small drug store beside Whole Foods to a new building farther west on Route 20. Shoppers
    Message 1 of 1 , May 20, 2008
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      Dear Wayland Voter,

      CVS has planned for several years to relocate its small drug store beside Whole Foods to a
      new building farther west on Route 20. Shoppers would have a more spacious CVS, and
      Whole Foods officials have expressed interest in expanding when space becomes available.
      CVS now needs approval from the Conservation Commission.

      Also in this newsletter: The selectmen want greater influence over Wayland's public access
      TV channel, WayCAM.

      CONCOM ASKS SMALLER CVS PROJECT

      Although the Wayland Conservation Commission maintains conservation areas, manages
      the Community Gardens on Route 27 and provides conservation activities such as the
      nature walks led by Barbara Howell or Brian Monahan, the bulk of its work involves
      protection of wetlands when new buildings are being constructed.

      Any new construction near wetlands must be approved by the ConCom. Wetlands help to
      prevent flooding, purify water and provide animal and plant habitat.

      CVS has come before the Conservation Commission with its plans to build a new CVS store
      on the property now containing Caraway's restaurant at 325 Boston Post Road. At a May 8
      public hearing CVS resisted suggestions to scale back the project for environmental
      reasons.

      The property is on the south side of Route 20 between the shopping center with Whole
      Foods and Russell's Garden Center. This property is entirely within a 100-year flood plain
      and is bordered by wetlands on three sides. These conditions have
      created a number of problems for the Conservation Commission.

      The new store will cover 13,013 square feet and include an additional 2,900 square feet in
      a mezzanine.

      The plan is to demolish Caraway's and an adjacent small office building. The new building
      will cover approximately the area now covered by the restaurant and the restaurant
      parking lot. New impervious parking areas will be constructed to the south and west of
      the building with a drive-through window with impervious surface at the east end. The
      western part of the parking lot will extend almost to the existing gazebo, and will
      require destroying a small part of the wetlands near the gazebo, which will be covered by
      the new parking lot.

      Since the new building and parking lot will cover land near wetlands, the regulations of
      the Wayland Wetlands and Water Resources Protection Bylaw (as well as state regulations)
      must be followed. These regulations enable builders to get quite close to wetlands as long
      as they provide the proper buffers, wetlands replication or restoration and stormwater
      management "best practices." Let us look at a few of these regulations and how they
      apply to the CVS plans.

      When a property has new construction, the regulations specify that there must be a
      vegetated undisturbed area of not less than 30 feet adjacent to the wetlands. The
      vegetated area must consist of "plants that require little or no maintenance and is not
      mowed more than once a year". So this could be wooded, or if mowed once a year, a
      meadow. But it cannot be a lawn. It has to include native shrubs and trees and no invasive
      species. The requirement of this vegetative buffer has caused the most problems.

      In the CVS project, the borders to the east, west and south include such undisturbed land
      as well as two "pools" or "stormwater infiltration basins".

      At the May 8 meeting, two issues were discussed involving the undisturbed vegetative
      buffers. One was whether or not dumpsters could be placed in the buffers. This was
      declared unacceptable. The other was whether the stormwater infiltration basins could be
      counted as part of the undisturbed buffer. This issue is still unresolved. One suggestion
      made by a Conservation Commission member was to make the store smaller. Then the
      stormwater basins could be moved farther into the property, away from the vegetative
      buffer. However, CVS resists this suggestion.

      On the west side of the property (where there is now a parking lot for the existing office
      building) the roof runoff of the new CVS building will be routed through a "constructed
      infiltration building basin". This basin partially lies in the "undisturbed vegetative buffer"
      as it is adjacent to a brook running under Route 20. The runoff from the new parking
      lot to the rear of the site goes to an "extended detention basin" This second basin is also
      partially in the "undisturbed buffer".

      Another suggestion by a Conservation Commission member was to remove the drive-
      through window and its associated impervious driveway. This would enable the
      constructed infiltration building basin on the west to move closer to the new store and
      give more room for the undisturbed buffer on the west. CVS objected to this idea as well,
      citing a need for parents with small children to drive though to pick up prescriptions. (In
      the existing CVS nearby, parents must park the car and take any children they have with
      them into the store to pick up prescriptions. Many stand-alone drug stores have drive-up
      windows; some are open 24 hours a day for pickups )

      The runoff from the western part of the parking lot goes to a "stormwater quality unit". All
      runoff to the south, east, or west, is eventually discharged to wetlands after infiltration.
      Runoff from the roof is infiltrated back into the groundwater. Runoff going north hits the
      Route 20 gutter.

      Another issue has to do with wetlands replication/restoration. Any time wetlands are
      destroyed by filling (as will be done under the western parking area near the gazebo) 1.5
      times the area of the destroyed wetlands must be newly created or "replicated" . This
      raises the question: If you have a parking lot or other structure which comes right up to
      the wetlands border, should you fill the wetlands to make a 30 foot vegetative border, and
      replicate wetlands elsewhere, or can you try to avoid filling the wetlands, even though it
      would violate the vegetative border requirement?

      The current CVS plan on the west, near the gazebo, has the parking lot meeting the
      wetlands containing the gazebo. Many Wayland residents remember often seeing the
      gazebo in a flooded area in the spring. Part of the gazebo wetlands will be filled and will
      lie under the western parking lot in the current plan. To satisfy the vegetative border
      requirement and still have the all the parking spaces, CVS must fill more of the gazebo
      wetlands to construct the vegetative border there. Conservation Commission members
      suggested removing about six parking spaces from the design instead, thus using that
      space for vegetative border and not having to fill more wetlands. This was also resisted by
      CVS, which does not want to give up parking spaces.

      The next hearing to discuss this issue will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 5. Call the
      Conservation Commission or look online to see when the CVS plan is scheduled.

      -- Betty Salzberg

      SELECTMEN SEEK MORE POWER OVER WAYCAM

      The selectmen want to increase their influence over WayCAM, the town's public access
      cable channel.

      At their May 12 meeting, selectmen urged WayCAM to increase grants to the schools and
      give the selectmen and the schools the power to appoint a majority of the WayCAM board.
      WayCAM spokesmen said they'd consider the ideas at a meeting in early June.

      Wayland Community Access Media is not a town board or committee but an independent,
      non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation formed to serve public needs. It operates with revenues
      from Wayland's cable TV providers, Comcast and the newly arrived Verizon. WayCAM
      broadcasts a variety of public meetings and other events and offers locally originated
      programming. Based in a studio at the High School, it also serves students interested in
      TV production and technology. About 100 students are expected to take part during the
      next school year.

      Revenues from Comcast ($68,900 in the past year) support one professional and pay
      additional expenses for the otherwise all-volunteer operation. The new 15-year Verizon
      contract will begin providing additional operating revenue in the second year and has
      already given Wayland the first installment of a $300,000 grant for for capital needs over
      six years. The capital grant and recent operating expenses caught the attention of
      Selectman Michael Tichnor, who at the May 12 meeting continued his earlier questioning
      of WayCAM procedures.

      Tichnor tacitly accused WayCAM of deficit spending. WayCAM Board President Ken
      Isaacson responded that reserves from previous years support operations. Isacson says
      future revenues will create new reserves by the end of 2009.

      The selectmen passed a motion urging WayCAM to increase its planned capital allocation
      to the schools over the next four years from $40,000 to $48,000. Verizon's first capital
      payment totals $62,500, of which $10,000 was earmarked for the schools. According to
      WayCAM, the schools hadn't asked for more.

      Isaacson said his board hasn't met yet to discuss the allocation. A meeting is scheduled for
      4:30 p.m. on June 3 at the studio or the High School Commons. The Board of Selectmen's
      request for WayCAM appointments will be discussed also.


      The Board of Selectmen created the WayCAM board in 2001 with three members appointed
      by the selectmen, one by the school superintendent and one by the Cable Advisory
      Committee. (None of the current selectmen were on the Board then.) In 2006 WayCAM
      changed its bylaws, adding two WayCAM-elected members for a total of seven. It
      informed the Board of Selectmen, which didn't respond within the 45 days specified for
      comment on bylaw changes. Now the selectmen want WayCAM to change the bylaws again
      to add two members appointed by the schools or the selectmen. That would give majority
      control of this independent organization to appointees of the selectmen and the school
      system. The goal is consistent with other initiatives in recent years to centralize power
      under the Board of Selectmen.

      The selectmen waited nearly two years before objecting to the makeup of the seven-
      member board

      -- Michael Short

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      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor
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