WVN #362: New faces as ConCom continues on TC permits
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The newly reconstituted Conservation Commission is at work on the Town Center developer's newest version of applications.
Also in this newsletter:
-- Town wins grants for outdoor projects.
-- Police seek help on veterans memorial theft
NEW CONCOM FACES
With three new faces on the Conservation Commission, old issues regarding the Town Center mixed-use project reappeared at the July 22 meeting.
The meeting began with an introduction of two newly appointed members, Ted Harding and Markey Burke. Both work in human resources, Burke at Boston Power and Harding as a recruitment consultant. New members had been issued copies of State and Town conservation laws and regulations.
Continuing members Barbara Howell, Roger Backman, Andy Irwin and John Sullivan introduced themselves as well, all noting their long years of service on the Commission. New member Larry Kiernan was unable to attend the meeting.
Andy Irwin was elected chair of the Commission, replacing Backman. Irwin began the meeting by explaining some issues the ConCom must face.
Irwin explained to the new members that the duty of the Conservation Commission is to minimize impact on resource areas such as rivers and wetlands by enforcing state and town conservation laws and regulations.
Irwin pointed out that a gray area occurs when applicants choose to use non-standard types of designs. A number of standard designs are available and when an applicant chooses one of them, there is normally no controversy. But when an applicant does not choose a standard method of dealing with a problem, it is the burden of the applicant to show that the new method is likely to be effective. This had been an issue with the project permitting for onsite work. The current applications involve road changes outside the Route 20 property.
Irwin pointed out how much more difficult it is to act efficiently if applications are incomplete or if there are several versions of applications. This had also been an issue with the onsite town permit process.
Irwin described how applicants normally have informal meetings with Conservation Administrator Brian Monahan before applications are submitted, so that their hearings can go more smoothly. Applicants are given checklists and instructions.
The first few items of business concerned returns of performance guarantees. Irwin explained that when a permit is issued, a monetary deposit is required which is returned when the project finishes and has satisfied the requirements or conditions set by the Conservation Commission. When only some of these are satisfied, only a portion is returned, with the remainder of the money kept by the town until the rest of the conditions are satisfied.
Sometimes conditions take a while to be fulfilled, for example when plantings must survive two growing seasons. Irwin explained that the money is sent back to whatever applicant wrote the check, even if the land had changed ownership.
Old and new members voted in general to follow the recommendations of the conservation administrator on the performance guarantee returns. Similarly, in the next section of the meeting where certificates of compliance were requested, which occurs when construction is complete, votes were unanimous and followed Monahan's recommendations.
After this introduction to Conservation Commission business, the public hearing for the offsite (road widening) part of the town center project was opened. A new NOI (Notice of Intent) had been submitted. However, the NOI application was incomplete. It was missing the standard first two papers, which include naming the owner(s) of the property, their signatures and other essential information. These documents must be provided to the town, the Massachusetts DOT (Department of Transportation) and any other property owner involved. Frank Dougherty of the developer, Twenty Wayland, agreed to provide these papers as soon as possible. The Department of Environmental Protection has not designated a new file number yet for this application.
In addition, a question arose regarding the transfer of monies set aside for the town's consultant on the old offsite NOI to be used on the new offsite NOI. The consultant, David Faist of CMG Environmental, who had worked on the earlier NOI, was in the audience. Previously, payment of work done by Faist and his colleague Ben Gould on both the onsite and offsite applications had not always been paid in a timely manner. The applicant agreed that $6,000 of unused monies remaining in the $15,000 account established by Twenty Wayland would be applied toward paying for needed peer review for this new hearing. Dougherty agreed to sign papers so the money would become available.
Dougherty then began a Powerpoint overview of the proposed road widening.
Basically, road widening is proposed at an entrance to the project at route 20 near Russell's Garden Center, at an entrance on route 27 near Wayland Commons and at the intersections of route 20 and Route 126/27. The latter intersection is flooded during significant flood events, with excess water entering and heavily damaging the Public Safety Building. The 126/27 widening would include land near the First Parish Church.
Because stormwater washes oil and debris from roads, laws require the construction of devices to clean the stormwater before it gets to natural resources. The devices proposed in this project were oil/grit separators and stormwater basins. Stormwater basins are depressions which clean water by trapping oil and debris as the water sinks into the ground. Oil/Grit separators are mechanical devices, used when there is no suitable land available for a basin. Studies of such devices by the University of New Hampshire, the national experts on the subject, show that oil/grit separators are only between 20 and 40 percent effective, and then only if scrupulously maintained.
Dougherty asked to be told he would get a permit before doing detailed plans for one of the proposed basins near the railroad tracks off Millbrook Road. Irwin and others in the ConCom told Dougherty that the plans come first, and reminded him that there had been no objections to the location of that proposed basin (north of Mill Brook on town land on the east of the parking lot for the Public Safety Building). The town plans to hire Peter Fletcher to delineate this land first. Dougherty agreed to this plan. (Town consultants such as Fletcher are always paid for by the applicant.)
As in the onsite Town Center NOI, the question of what is new development, (which must be constructed to a higher standard), and what is "redevelopment" was again discussed. Dougherty's contention that widening a road up to10 feet is "redevelopment", not "adding a new lane," which is "new development" resurfaced. No decision was made and the DEP hasn't ruled on this question.
Dougherty made a number of statements about what the DOT would and would not allow, but also said that he could not get this in writing. Faist was asked to opine on these assertions in his forthcoming report.
Dougherty pointed out that he is negotiating with the Wayland Commons housing developments to see if he can use some of their land to construct a wet pond stormwater basin which would be beneficial to both projects. Dougherty said he would only do this if Wayland Commons gave him an easement to do it for free. He said that Wayland Commons would not agree to this. It was reported during public comment that there has been an ongoing disagreement between the developers of the two abutting projects over easement access to the Town's wastewater plant. Until Twenty Wayland grants Wayland Commons access to the plant, agreement on the wet pond may not be promising.
If the Wayland Commons land cannot be obtained, a less effective oil/grit separator would be constructed by Twenty Wayland further north on route 27 on town-owned land.
This reporter asked if it was true that the only devices Twenty Wayland proposed to maintain were the "oil pillow" part of the two proposed oil/grit filters and one of the several stormwater basins, as outlined in the O and M (Operation and Maintenance) part of the NOI. This proposed O and M plan would have the town of Wayland (DPW) and the DOT maintain all the roadways and most of the stormwater devices.
Dougherty said that was correct, but that that was only what he proposed, not the final version of the O and M plan, which needed to be discussed with the Commission and needed input from Faist.
Anette Lewis, a former road commissioner, said that the proposal for maintenance by town should be checked with the town departments being asked to do it and that in her opinion it was an unreasonable town expense.
Other comments from the audience included one from Chris Hagger, who lives in the area, asking that the existing undersized drainage pipe be enlarged as part of the reconstruction of the intersection to help reduce future flooding. Dougherty said he would do it only if the town paid for it.
Some requests for waivers included in the NOI were substantial, and discussion of them was postponed until the next meeting, Aug. 5. These included requests to use a different elevation standard and a different scale on plans and to omit a requirement for colored plans. All of these had been bones of contention on the onsite NOI.
In addition, one waiver request asked that evidence of Board of Health approval before beginning of construction be waived as no construction requiring BOH approval was needed. On the onsite NOI, the same question came up and an alternative condition was suggested that no work requiring BOH approval take place. Dougherty then objected to that condition as he had found that he needed BOH approval after all.
Dougherty agreed to provide all hearing documents electronically to the Commission so they can be posted on the town website, similar to how Twenty Wayland handled its materials during permitting with the Planning Board.
-- Betty Salzberg
WAYLAND RECEIVES TRAIL GRANT
The state has awarded $22,560 to Wayland for a wheelchair-accessible trail near the former Nike missile site, now an affordable housing development in North Wayland. The trail will connect to the Bay Circuit Trail, which extends through 34 communities and links parks and open spaces surrounding Boston.
The grant announced this week is part of $1.17 million distributed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation for 41 trail projects.
The 16-unit development at 89 Oxbow Road and abutting recreational land was the result of years of work by Wayland boards and committees.
The town is required to provide a 20-percent match in funds or in-kind services. Town Administrator Fred Turkington said town staffers are providing design, layout and construction services.
-- WVN Staff
AND SCHOOLS RECEIVE ANOTHER GRANT
The Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Wild and Scenic River Stewardship Council recently announced the successful applicants to its Small Grants program, designed to attract community resources to enhance the 29 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord rivers federally designated Wild and Scenic.
Wayland High School environmental science teacher Emily Norton won a grant to partner with MADOT, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Sudbury Valley Trustees and a turtle expert to locate and design fencing along Water Row and River Road to keep turtles from crossing the road and eliminate unnecessary wildlife deaths. Students from the high school will work on placing the fencing and undertaking inspections and evaluations. The number of worthy proposals this year exceeded the budget of the Council, so partner USFWS (owner of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge along the river) agreed to kick in an extra $3000 to fund the entire project.
-- Tom Sciacca
VETERANS MEMORIAL PLAQUE STOLEN
Wayland police are investigating the theft of a bronze plaque from the World War II memorial at the Lokerville Green at Route 30 and East Plain Street.
A member of Wayland's Veterans Memorial Committee reported the plaque missing on July 18.
"This is the kind of thing you just shake your head and wonder who would steal something like this," Police Chief Robert Irving told the Wayland Town Crier. Irving said there have been similar thefts in other communities, including Belmont, Newton and Watertown.
The plaque carries the names of 15 Wayland residents who died in the war.
Police are asking scrap dealers to watch for this plaque or something similar. Residents are asked to report any other plaque thefts to police at 508-358-4721.
-- WVN Staff
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor