WVN #268: ConCom busy on Town Center
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The Conservation Commission continues its busy schedule of meetings to consider environmental impacts of the projected $140 million Town Center on Route 20. Discussions are technical but vital. Among other things, they could affect
the start of construction and the location of the supermarket and a municipal building.
In the special meeting of the Conservation Committee on Nov. 10, a draft peer review of regulatory compliance of the NOI (Notice of Intent) plans for the Town Center project and its associated traffic mitigation was presented by Ben
Gould and David Faist of CMG Environmental, town consultants.
Several points which had appeared months earlier in comments to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) or even earlier in comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) resurfaced.
The FEIR and DEIR are documents which were presented to the state by Twenty Wayland, Town Center developers as part of the state's environmental review of the proposed project. The DEIR was written in January 2007 and the FEIR in
February 2008. Comments from town board, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other organizations appeared shortly after the reports.
Copies of the FEIR, the DEIR, and the comments referring to them are posted on the Planning Board's website.
INTERMITTENT OR PERENNIAL STREAM
In a letter dated Jan. 5, 2007 in response to the DEIR, Brian Monahan, Wayland's conservation administrator, noted that "There is a stream along the southeastern corner of the property. The Commission left open the question as to the
status of the stream, perennial or intermittent, under the Town's Wetlands Bylaw. No field evidence has been provided to document that the stream flows intermittently. "
This question resurfaces in CMG's draft peer review where the town's consultant notes that Twenty Wayland "does not provide the evidence required ...to rebut the presumption that a stream is perennial along its entire length".
Intermittent streams are not rivers because surface water does not flow within them throughout the year. If a stream is perennial instead of intermittent, it is subject to the Rivers Protection Act which limits development within 200 feet
(and forbids development within 100 feet).
The southeast corner of the Town Center Development is where the new Stop and Shop grocery is to be built. If the stream is not determined to be intermittent, the plans for this grocery store at the Town Center would have to be
changed since as noted in the January 2007 ConCom comments, the loading dock and service area of the grocery are in the vicinity of the stream.
In order to prove that a stream is intermittent and therefore not a river, according to state regulations, Twenty Wayland is obligated to use dated photographs or video. These dated observations must take place over four days in any
consecutive 12 month period, during a non-drought period.
The dates on the photographs are required to show that on four different non-drought days there was no water in the stream.
At the Nov. 10 meeting, Andrew Magee of Epsilon Associates, working for the developer, Twenty Wayland, claimed that there were indeed some photographs of the of the stream not flowing during a non-drought period. However, he said
there were no dates on the photographs.
LINING OR PRETREATING BIORETENTION BASINS
In a letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection dated March 20, 2008 responding to the FEIR, DEP notes "If the bioretention is proposed in a formerly contaminated area or where there is potential for groundwater to
mobilize contaminants downgradient, the bioretention ...should be sealed or the bottom should be impervious. ...lining/sealing basins is a requirement...for runoff from an area of higher pollutant load."
According to the draft peer review, site parking areas are considered to have a higher potential pollutant load.
The draft peer REVIEW states that Twenty Wayland must either pretreat runoff before sending it to proposed rain gardens in the middle of the parking lot, or else the rain gardens must be lined with an impermeable barrier.
Rain gardens are bioretention vegetated areas that collect, treat, and infiltrate rainwater. They are sometimes called bioretention basins. Lined basins do not infiltrate stormwater. Lined basins are not considered to be rain gardens.
If the developers are unable to use rain gardens as an infiltration device, they do not have all the LID elements they have claimed.
The draft peer review also points out where there are several other proposed bioretention basins on the NOI plans where pretreatment and lining are required and do not appear in these plans. Again, once lined, these basins no longer
satisfy the definition of a "bioretention basin" because they do not infiltrate stormwater.
A theme which reappears often in the draft peer review is that of inconsistent data. This may be unavoidable in large projects with multiple updates to plans. However, it is now very late in the game and plans for a December
groundbreaking may be put on hold if these inconsistencies cannot be resolved soon.
For example, two systems of measuring sea level are used and the location of the 100-year flood plain depends on sea level. Due to this ambiguity, the draft peer review asks for clarification of the location of the flood plain.
The draft peer review asks for detail to illustrate that compensatory flood storage is not part of the stormwater basins. This echoes the remark made eight months earlier (March 20, 2008) in the Conservation Commission reply to the FEIR
that "Detention basins cannot be presumed to provide increased flood storage."
Compensatory flood storage calculations may not take into account water sent to stormwater basins.
A large number of comments in the peer review ask for clarification of incorrect or ambiguous calculations. Comments such as "Calculations should match information shown on current site plans" and "inflow calculations ..should take
into account two separate sub-catchments" and "applicant should update their area calculations to reflect changes to the plan..." illustrate this concern.
NEW MEETINGS SCHEDULED
As a result of the numerous points from the DRAFT peer review presented at the Nov. 10 meeting and the pressure to finish before the end of the year, new meetings were scheduled. Conservation Administrator Monahan and the peer
reviewers and Twenty Wayland were to meet on Nov. 13 and then the Commission scheduled another meeting dedicated to the Town Center on Nov. 19 at 8 pm. Twenty Wayland agreed to pay the town consultants for the additional
-- Betty Salzberg
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Michael Short, Editor