WVN #366: Town Center application incomplete
- Dear Wayland Voter,
Twenty Wayland says it wants to break ground this year on the first 94,000 square feet of the projected Town Center mixed-use development. The developer's application for a permit from the Historic District Commission has been bogged down since Twenty Wayland filed a lawsuit more than a year ago. But selectmen have said that another required permit, from the Conservation Commission, should be finished soon.
However, Twenty Wayland has yet to file documents necessary for the ConCom to consider the application.
Also in this newsletter: A roundup of things to watch for in the near future, including changes at the Transfer Station.
TWENTY WAYLAND FILE STILL INCOMPLETE
Twenty Wayland promised at a Conservation Commission hearing last month to complete the NOI (Notice of Intent) application for the offsite portion of the Town Center project. At the next hearing session on Aug. 5, important information was still missing. It hadn't appeared by the deadline for this WVN newsletter.
Significant progress on the hearing cannot begin until the NOI application is complete. As of Aug. 5, the first two required pages with key information about which parcels of land are affected, who the property owners are, who is the actual applicant, whether or not the applicant has authorization from each landowner, the size of the proposed alteration and proposed replacement area for each affected resource area, and whether or not abutters had been notified were still missing. The NOI must be signed by all identified property owners.
In addition, it was reported at the hearing that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had no information about the submission of this NOI. Thus, no DEP File number was available. The file number would be evidence that the NOI is filed with the DEP with payment of Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act Fees. The DEP's online public access database shows no listing for any Town Center project filings in the last two months: http://public.dep.state.ma.us/wetland/wetland.aspx
Commission Chair Andy Irwin reiterated the necessity of having a complete application in order to proceed. He then reminded all present that when the applicant submits a possibly deficient NOI, the process is delayed and the Conservation Commission is unfairly blamed for the delay. Frank Dougherty, Twenty Wayland's representative, said he would make the application complete as soon as possible, the same claim he made at the previous meeting.
Commissioner Barbara Howell also added that the incomplete application she had seen had several outdated items from the previous 2008 application, now withdrawn, which should be removed from the new application. She said that what she had seen was a combination of new and old information so that it was unclear which parts were the "new application."
Conservation Administrator Brian Monahan reminded Dougherty to include a list of all trees over 6 inches in diameter in the affected areas. Dougherty agreed to do this.
Conservation Commissioner Roger Backman asked for a clear definition of the so-called "railroad area" where a flood compensation basin is to be constructed on the north side of Mill Brook, upstream from the Public Safety Building.
Then the requested waivers were discussed. It was explained to the audience that these were all waivers to what was required to be included in the NOI applications, not waivers of substance yet to be discussed. For example, the requirement to have all maps in a 20 foot to one inch or 10 foot to one inch scaled was waived, but the Conservation Commission still has the right to request more detail for certain areas which may be necessary for technical review.
Most of the requested waivers were granted. However, there was some discussion on the request to waive the state Wetlands Protection Act application fee. This is not a waiver that the Wayland Conservation Commission has authority to grant.
In some cases, waivers requested to list where activities were not allowed, instead of specifying where they would take place. These waivers were granted.
Dougherty agreed to provide a table summarizing and identifying proposed new impervious areas, temporary alteration areas, resource impact areas and proposed mitigation areas subject to state and local regulations.
Some other missing items cited by the town's consultant, CMG Environmental, in an Aug. 3 letter include supplemental information to document that the current Mill Brook channel and design modifications (from the information submitted previously for the 2008 NOI) still address standards, narrative that explains why the current design will not have a significant adverse affect on resource areas, wetlands flagging and delineation, soils and groundwater elevation information for the "railroad area" and a final design plan.
In addition, CMG noted that town officials who may be responsible for maintenance of some of the stormwater devices proposed must be so notified, and there is no evidence that this has been done. A budget for operation and maintenance was also not included. Further, documentation about the effectiveness of proposed non-standard "alternative" stormwater basins and devices may be required.
The NOI application cannot be acted on until missing items are provided. The Conservation Commission agreed that only one full paper copy of the complete new application need be provided. A resident in the audience suggested that if the developer also submitted his complete new NOI application in electronic format, it could be placed on the commission's web page, saving trees.
Dougherty requested having Twenty Wayland representatives and engineers meet with CMG without having Commission members present. Irwin asked that Brian Monahan be present at as many of these meetings as he could, and Backman asked that the Commission be told what the subject of the meeting is. It is normal to have the conservation administrator present at these meetings unless it is for very minor technical issues.
-- Betty Salzberg
ISSUES TO WATCH
During the supposedly lazy days of summer, work continues on many things of importance to voters. Here are some things to watch:
-- WASTEWATER PLANT. The town is publishing bid opportunities beginning this week for the construction of the town's new wastewater treatment plant, according to the commissioners' discussion at their meeting last week. They disclosed that the Town Center developer, Twenty Wayland, still does not have a sewer connection permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, and the project is the plant's biggest customer. The developers' ongoing dispute with the state agency centers on the developer wanting more plant capacity than the agency has been willing to give them.
Town meeting voted to appropriate $5.6 million a few years ago for a new plant, money has been borrowed and plant customers have been paying to carry that debt. Commissioners also disclosed that another point of contention is that 20 Wayland insists the town pay for the project to hook up to the town's new plant, which will require engineering (such as a pumping station) because the new plant is being sited on the highest spot on the former Raytheon property. Increased costs and uncertainties have prompted at least one customer to leave the wastewater plant and use his own septic system.
It is not clear what would happen if other plant customers opt out, or if Twenty Wayland's disputes will be resolved before the town wants to start plant construction. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent already. Meanwhile, Twenty Wayland is not agreeing to give the abutting condo project, Wayland Meadows, easement access to cross its property to hook up to the plant. Wayland Meadows has already paid $600,000 to the wastewater commission for its 7,200 gallons-per-day allocation.
-- WAYCAM STUDIO. Meetings have been held throughout the summer to find a solution to keep the studio on the campus when the new high school is built. The state won't reimburse for it, but interested groups are investigating various possibilities.
WayCAM, the local public access cable channel, has taken advantage of its on-campus location to provide unique hands-on training to many students in TV and video production. Four recent graduates went on to study communications at Boston College, Syracuse, UConn and Emerson. WayCAM also sponsors scholarships.
-- PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS UPDATE . After Town Meeting voted to appropriate funding for a full list and measure in 2008, seeking fairness and equity in Wayland's property assessments, the Board of Assessors is now working on the request for proposals process. Changes in office staff and operations have provided needed improvements, but there is more to be done to meet voters' expectations.
-- FLOOD STUDY. The town has selected Tighe & Bond, the same engineering firm working on the new wastewater plant, to investigate the flooding that affected several Wayland neighborhoods this past spring. A Rolling Lane flooding victim expressed concerns to the Board of Public Works on Monday that the town be prepared for heavy rains that are possible during hurricane season. She was assured that hose has been purchased and FEMA has authorized funding to help the town improve drainage.
-- ECONOMIC RECOVERY. Wayland Business Association is taking steps to make residents more aware of local Wayland businesses. Check out some new opportunities online at:
-- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE. After the selectmen voted in June to expand the new committee to nine members, the committee met on July 14, chose its chairman, and then brainstormed an organizational strategy to best meet its mission of helping the Town increase commercial tax revenue. Ideas discussed included adding zoning overlay districts, adding design review as part of permitting, sprucing up the appearance of properties along major roads, increasing quality of existing assets, providing incentives to re-tenant empty retail locations, maximizing existing commercial properties, and improving communication with business community. Members volunteered to work on specific topics. Next meeting: Aug. 25, 7 p.m.
-- RECREATION FIELDS STUDY. The Recreation Commission plans to discuss a recently completed draft Athletic Field Master Plan study at its first meeting in September with the intent of presenting findings and recommendations at a public forum soon after.
-- HOUSING TRUST. A group of citizens has been meeting to develop a bylaw for fall Town Meeting that will enable a Housing Trust to be nimble, yet retain the need for Town Meeting approval for larger projects.
-- DUDLEY WOODS. Representatives from the Board of Selectmen will meet Sept. 1 with supporters and neighbors of Dudley Woods to attempt to develop common ground. The town has received a $35,000 grant from Mass. Housing Partnership to "develop" this property. The MHP is selecting the consultant and running the project. No advisory committee has been formed. The grant award does not mention assessing the best use of the land, as was the understanding at Town Meeting. The meeting is tentatively scheduled at 7:30 a.m.
-- TRANSFER STATION CHANGES. The towns of Wayland and Sudbury are in the process of inking an agreement that would mean Waylanders would use the Wayland transfer station Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the Sudbury transfer station on Thursdays. The start date is not yet certain; probably the end of September. The Public Works Department is shorthanded at the moment and this sharing of facilities will mean Wayland won't replace these positions as rapidly,and the town gains the ability to assign one person on one day a week to other duties, according to Don Ouellette, DPW director.
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor