WVN Alert: Town Meeting OKs Town Center zoning change
- Dear Wayland Voter,
On an unusual second try Thursday night, special Town Meeting voters approved a zoning change billed as essential to keep the troubled Town Center project alive. Debate on Article 3 brought emotional exchanges and unruly behavior when it began Wednesday night, and the mood didn't improve much the next night.
There were 640 voters on hand for a vote on another article about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. When the zoning article came up for reconsideration an hour later as the last item, the voter total had risen to 767. Emails during the day from supporters of the proposed commercial-residential project had urged voters to be on hand when selectmen planned to introduce a motion to reconsider (vote again).
The first night of Town Meeting had ended with a controversial revote that immediately reversed an approval. Debate had been cut off with voters waiting to be heard on each side of the proposal to reduce the amount of affordable housing as requested by Twenty Wayland, developer of the proposed 370,000-square-foot project. See:
Moderator Peter Gossels allowed a motion to reconsider the Wednesday night decision. The vote to rescind the No vote was 534-234. Then, after extended debate on the original article, the Yes vote was 531-251, a margin of 68 percent to 32 percent. A two-thirds majority was required for both votes.
The next WVN newsletter will report on Town Meeting in detail. Below is a summary.
On Wednesday voters approved a higher charge for paying tax bills late and approved borrowing for a new $71-million high school.
On Thursday voters authorized $10,000 to preserve historic town documents, adopted a local meals tax, defeated restrictions on registered sex offenders and passed over (set aside) three articles, two of them with no explanation from the sponsoring boards. Whatever the intent in passing over the articles may have been, the time saved allowed voters to finish Town Meeting by about 11:30.