WVN #356: SchoolCom chooses audit rep; progress on Town Center permits
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The School Committee chooses its representative to a financial audit committee that Town Meeting voters approved -- and it's not the one who campaigned for the audit.
Also in this newsletter:
-- The protracted process of approving permits to build the Town Center project clears another hurdle, but more work lies ahead.
-- Two upcoming events for those who care about the environment.
SCHOOLCOM SELECTS AUDIT REPRESENTATIVE
Shawn Kinney, who on May 11 became the first School Committee member in recent memory to be elected after voicing any criticism of the schools, was rejected by his new colleagues as the Committee representative to the independent audit he had campaigned for.
Kinney was the lead petitioner for Article 6 at the recent Town Meeting, which calls for an audit to look for administrative efficiencies. The committee will consist of 1 Board of Selectmen appointee, 1 from the Finance Committee, 1 from the School Committee, and 2 independent members appointed by FinCom. At the May 24 School Committee meeting Kinney volunteered to be the SchoolCom rep, but Chair Louis Jurist questioned whether a longer-serving member more knowledgeable about school operations would be more appropriate.
Member Jeff Dieffenbach commented that none of the members know very much about operational details anyway, but member Malcolm Astley voiced a preference for an older member. Jurist and others opined that the Fincom would probably appoint Kinney as one of its independent members anyway. Astley moved to appoint member Barbara Fletcher, who has a finance background, to the post, and the committee approved the motion 4-0-1, with Kinney abstaining.
High School Building
A ceremonial ground breaking will be held on June 22 at 9 a.m. The goal is to have the building shells in by the end of spring 2011. The buildings will be ready for occupancy by the end of November 2011, Superintendent Gary Burton said.
Given the failure of the Town Meeting article seeking to rezone the landfill area to allow school bus parking, Town Administrator Fred Turkington is meeting with Building Commissioner Dan Bennett and Public Buildings Director John Moynihan to try to figure out a way to deal with the buses while the new high school is being built. Burton said he had approached the owners of the former Raytheon property -- site of the proposed Town Center project -- asking for permission to park the buses there, since the zoning is appropriate for such use and the property has been vacant for years. But the owners had no interest in allowing such use, he said.
The committee will issue an RFP (Request for Proposal) to search firms and then choose a consultant to find candidates to replace the retiring Burton, with a goal of having a new school chief in place by July of next year. The formal process to choose the best candidate in the fall will include community input, the committee agreed.
This year's process will include a public discussion of the superintendent's performance on June 21, followed by an executive session to write the formal evaluation. The evaluation will not be made public, per the committee's understanding of court rulings issued last year.
The town clerk's office confirms receiving the resignation effective Friday at 5 p.m. of longest serving School Committee member Jeff Dieffenbach, who was first elected to the Committee in 2000.
-- Tom Sciacca
CONCOM APPROVES TOWN CENTER ON-SITE WETLANDS PERMIT
In the wee hours of May 28 the Conservation Commission voted to approve an amended Chapter 194 wetlands permit for on-site work at the Town Center project. Town Counsel Mark Lanza indicated after the vote that he will make final edits to a 29-page version used that evening containing multi-colored track changes, apparently provided by Brian Levey, attorney for the developer, Twenty Wayland. The public hearing had closed on May 12.
That voted approval came in the wake of the developer's appeal of the initial May 2009 ConCom permit, followed by a January 2010 Department of Environmental Protection's Superseding Order of Conditions. The matter was then remanded by the court (at the request of both the developer and the Commission) back to the ConCom in April 2010.
It is the Commission's charge to protect Wayland's wetlands, buffer zones and related water resources. Twenty Wayland had filed Notices of Intent in June 2008 for on-site and off-site issues related to the proposed mixed-use development on Route 20. Public hearings began later that month. The developer requested various continuances in the months that followed, and the ConCom agreed to some waivers requested in November 2008. CMG Environmental, Inc., has been providing technical consulting services for the ConCom.
One change in the amended draft before the ConCom last Thursday evening was the substitution of a chart instead of detailed prose to reference each page of plans to which the revised Chapter 194 decision needs to be tied. Commissioners were reminded that it is their customary standard that each page being approved identify the professional engineer certifying the technical sufficiency of the design and the date on which each plan sheet was prepared. The newly added chart was missing that level of detail, which had been included in the deleted prose. Such clarity about exactly which plan sheets are being approved is important for long-term, complex projects that have already undergone various design changes, appeals and further revisions and/or are likely to do so in the future.
Town counsel opined that the document was not legally deficient without that information. The ConCom vote, taken after midnight, was 3-1.
Off-Site Hearing Continued to July 1
The ConCom's long-postponed public hearing for off-site wetlands issues finally resumed last Thursday evening. No new plans were available for the public to review. The town's engineering consultant working with CMG, David Faist, had met with Twenty Wayland's project manager and representatives of the ConCom earlier in the week and was given little lead time to review new material for Thursday evening's hearing.
Faist walked through four pages of quickly generated preliminary notes and comments based on his review of supplemental information submitted by Twenty Wayland on May 13 and 14 and a Stormwater Management Study submitted on May 21. Roadway changes associated with the Town Center project are proposed along Routes 20, 126 and 27. Faist indicated he will provide additional detailed comments for the Commission.
A difference of opinion remains as to whether or not the proposed new asphalt for roadway widening in various locations constitutes "new development" or "redevelopment." New development requires strict and complete compliance with stormwater standards. The Commission has not heard yet from DEP on its request that the state weigh in on that distinction.
Twenty Wayland asked the ConCom to accept its word that FEMA has approved its required flood study (not submitted to the Commission until January 2009) and not to spend time and resources evaluating it further. The developer reported that the proposed work is designed for the 25-year storm, the minimum standard. The flooding Wayland experienced in March and April has been referred to as a 100-year storm.
The opportunity for public comment was offered at 11:40 p.m. Topics included groundwater elevations, location of stormwater structures, flooding scenarios, requiring financial performance assurance, concerns about impacts to the already problematic Public Safety Building, availability of documents for the public to review, etc. In response to a question, Twenty Wayland stated it would not seek required MassHighway permits to allow the proposed roadway changes until after completing the permitting process with the ConCom.
The off-site hearing was continued to July 1. Twenty Wayland's project manager agreed to provide a new set of plans blending together the information contained in various submitted documents before the July 1 hearing session.
In addition to ConCom permits, other local and state approvals are required before construction can begin. Town Meeting adopted zoning changes in 2006 to enable the proposed mixed-use development.
-- Linda Segal
RIVERFEST IS COMING
The Ninth Annual Riverfest is coming on June 12-13. The celebration of our Wild and Scenic Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers will include 34 events from Southborough to Lowell, all free and open to the public, including two here in Wayland. See www.sudbury-assabet-concord.org and click on Riverfest for a list of events, or pick up a flyer at the Town Building, Russell's, or the Village Bank. Wayland's Saturday morning event is the History Paddle with Brandeis Professor Brian Donahue, who will tell stories of the environmental history of the river and our town as he leads us on a peaceful paddle through the Great Meadows. Bring your canoe to Sherman Bridge at 9 a.m. Call 358-2980 if you don't have a boat (or have extra space in your boat) and for more information.
On Saturday afternoon, 2-4 p.m., is a new family-oriented event, The River Comes Out of Your Faucet, sponsored by the Wellhead Protection Committee. Thanks to a grant from the Wayland Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, this interactive program will show the vital connections between the river and our drinking water. Because of its hidden beauty and historical significance, The Old Town Bridge, off Route 27 at the Wayland Country Club, was chosen as the site for this presentation. This is where the first settlers crossed the river nearly four centuries ago, and where seven colonists died defending our town against the Indians. Please watch for the balloons on Route 27. In case of rain, it will be held at Russell's Garden Center.
FORUM ON ENERGY-SAVING INITIATIVES
Wayland lags behind dozens of communities that have adopted building code changes leading to a chance to apply for state aid on energy-saving initiatives.
The Wayland Energy Initiatives Advisory Group is sponsoring a public forum on Wednesday June 9 at 7 p.m. in the large hearing room of the Town Building to discuss the proposed Stretch Code.
That's stretch as in stretching dollars through energy-efficient building. Communities including Acton, Lincoln, Lexington, Newton, Sudbury, Natick and Concord have adopted the Stretch Code. Wayland plans to put the proposal before voters at the fall Town Meeting. It's part of the process to gain state Green Community recognition and become eligible for grants. That process includes devising a plan to cut energy costs by 20 percent.
For information on the Stretch Code:
For information on the Green Communities Program:
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor