WVN #378: Special Town Meeting preview
- Dear Wayland Voter,
The 16 articles on the warrant for the special Town Town Meeting on Tuesday Nov. 16 may strike you as dry and procedural, but some of them represent steps toward significant change.
Town Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Wayland Middle School gym. Doors open at 6 p.m.The location is a change caused by the construction of the new high school buildings. Use the side entrance door. WayCAM will broadcast live.
You should have received an orange copy of the warrant by mail. Copies are available at the Town Building and the Library, and you can read it at:
Some of the articles are genuinely routine, 1 and 2, for example. ARTICLE 3 could lead to discussion. Voters will be asked to authorize spending money approved last spring at the annual Town Meeting, but for a different project.
The Department of Public Works says that water main tests during the summer showed that water pipes on Stonebridge Road didn't need to be cleaned immediately after all, but that partially clogged pipes on Old Sudbury Road and Glezen are delivering a reduced flow from the new Baldwin water treatment plant. At the selectmen's warrant hearing on Nov. 8, Wayland DPW director Don Ouellette defended the change. The situation is "absolutely" an emergency, he said. The cost approved last spring is $510,000.
If you have questions or concerns, Town Meeting is the place to raise them.
ARTICLES 4 and 5 involve the proposed new home for WayCAM, Wayland's community access channel, which must be moved as part of the high school building project. In addition to broadcasting public meetings and other local events, WayCAM trains high school students in broadcasting. Article 4 will be passed over because the School Committee has another plan to pay for upgrading exterior walls in the former weight training room. ARTICLE 5 is needed to enable the town to lease the space.
ARTICLE 6 proposes spending money to create the possibility of making money from the site of the recently decommissioned septage treatment plant on Route 20. There could be questions from voters. The article authorizes the town to buy out Sudbury's remaining interest in the jointly run facility for $130,000. Because Wayland owns the land, it could then try to create town revenues from the property. Developing it for lease could involve costs of building renovation or demolition. A similar article failed in the spring. At the warrant hearing, in response to citizens' questions, selectmen claimed the site is not contaminated, and future uses of the property have not been decided.
ARTICLE 7 could stir debate again about the future of vacant land near Dudley Pond. Neighbors proposed an article at the spring Town meeting to preserve what they called Dudley Woods as the last open land in a densely populated and environmentally delicate area. Housing advocates wanted the chance to consider mixed uses. That petitioners' article failed by a narrow margin to get the required 2/3 majority.
Article 7 would approve $75,000 to pay for land studies, $35,000 from community preservation funds funds and $40,000 from town free cash. A separate state grant from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership for $35,000 for further study of the same land for housing, open space and septic has been put on hold until after the town study results are evaluated. Even this has resulted in some dissent.
ARTICLE 8 would appropriate $8,000 from community preservation funds for renovations at the historic Vokes Theater on Route 20.
ARTICLE 9 would appropriate about $40,000 in community preservation funds for appraisals needed to decide whether the town should try to acquire a conservation restriction for the remaining land in the Mainstone Farm area. A map is promised to be provided at Town Meeting to make it clear what land is involved.
ARTICLE 10, for about $80,000 to acquire open land at 41 River Road, will be passed over. The town continues to negotiate with the owner.
ARTICLE 11, Pages 18-71 of the warrant, bring zoning bylaws up to date. The proposed changes are not supposed to be substantive but rather to clean up inconsistencies, improve definitions, etc. The entire Special Town Meeting might consume less time than it would take voters to study this article carefully.
ARTICLE 12 suggests creating a municipal services overlay district and is essentially a "second bite" at the Town Meeting apple after a different version was passed over last spring.
The wording of the article was changed since it was submitted in September, from singular to plural municipal uses. The town planner also showed a new map for this article at the Nov. 8 warrant hearing. The area of the district proposed is much smaller (8.5 acres rather than 83 acres) than that originally proposed in the spring Town Meeting. It no longer abuts the Sudbury River or any private residence.
ARTICLE 13 would adopt a Stretch Energy Code as a bylaw, a step toward becoming a Green Community eligible for grants for energy projects.
ARTICLES 14 and 15 appear to be "housekeeping," and they include detailed site plans for voters to review.
ARTICLE 16 was first recommended by the Wellhead Protection Committee, which is supposed to be listed as a warrant article co-sponsor. It updates Wayland's bylaws to match state law.
-- WVN Staff
In WVN Newsletter #377 of Nov. 12, the article on the Conservation Commission's hearing on the Town Center project incorrectly said that under certain conditions a special Zoning Board permit is needed. In fact the special permit must come from the Planning Board. The paragraph should have read:
Zoning Board of Appeals Decision 02-25, which gave final approval for construction of the Public Safety Building in 2002, found that after construction the ratio of impervious surface to upland area of the Public Safety Building lot would be exactly 30 percent, leaving no leeway for future reduction of the upland area. In addition, if a developer changes the ratio to greater than 20 percent in an aquifer protection district, a special permit is required from the Planning Board.