WVN #504: Senior housing named key committee goal
- Dear Wayland Voter,
As officials continue working toward a possible fall town meeting, a key committee has declared senior housing its most important goal and money is approved to keep working toward a new public works garage.
Also in this newsletter:
-- A legal opinion could affect plans for a CVS at the Finnerty's restaurant site on Main Street.
-- Warnings about mosquitoes and rabies.
-- And on the brighter side, plans for Memorial Day celebrations and special events in June.
HOUSING PROJECT GOAL
Senior housing with an affordable component was named the top goal of the Economic Development Committee at its May 16 meeting. The vote capped a lengthy and thorough discussion. Other contenders remain as considerations in decisions, but less important than providing senior housing. They include: helping mitigate other 40Bs in the community, enhancing net revenue to the town, preserving the character of the community, and being a viable project.
As presented in the warrant at the 2013 Annual Town Meeting, the plan is to request bids for 66% senior housing and the option of returning for another town meeting vote if the bids are for a lesser proportion of senior occupancy. The package under Article 17, which voters recently rejected at Annual Town Meeting, included pre-approved permitting and assumed a negotiated agreement can be reached with Sudbury to terminate an existing agreement that would otherwise not expire until 2017. The two towns decommissioned the septage treatment plant on Route 20 in 2009 that became the proposed housing location.
On May 20, George Uveges resigned from the committee, which now has two vacancies. As constituted, it is a seven-member committee. There was some discussion of making it a five-member committee.
The committee entertained comments from the audience about the possibility of locating the housing project on River Road, but some members felt the traffic would be unpopular with the neighbors. However, the size and nature of the project have not been determined. An assisted living component would decrease the number of vehicle trips, for example.
Members of the committee have spoken with the Jewish Community Housing for Elders (JHDC), which runs the Shillman House in Framingham, but it has not appeared yet to share thoughts about the River's Edge project as three developers did on May 10.
The committee plans to submit an article for a possible fall town meeting, which might be in October.
-- Molly Upton
ADDITIONAL DPW PROJECT FUNDING APPROVED
On May 14 the Finance Committee voted to approve the transfer of $170,000 from the Fiscal 2013 Reserve Fund as requested by the Permanent Municipal Committee to complete studies, designs and permitting for a new public works facility.
FinCom Chairman Bill Steinberg's May 15 email to the Board of Selectmen confirming the vote included conditions which selectmen took great exception to during their May 20 meeting. Among other things, the email required the selectmen to vote by at least a two-thirds majority to support the development of the DPW "as currently designed on the River Road site."
Selectman Ed Collins, an attorney, referring to state statute (M.G.L. ch. 40, section 6), declared that the FinCom had overstepped its authority by adding a caveat and therefore introduced a motion thanking the FinCom for the reserve fund transfer, which was approved unanimously after discussion. Collins indicated it is the Town Accountant's job to effectuate the transfer.
See WayCAM's May 20 recording, fast forward to elapsed time 02:16:30.
To assuage the FinCom's concerns that selectmen support the River Road location, the selectmen reaffirmed a board vote taken a few months before. That second motion passed 4-0-1.
While those votes reflected support by selectmen for moving the project forward, there also was considerable debate about comparing the River Road and Route 20 sites, as the public understood would be done, based on statements made at the April 22 televised selectmen's meeting.
WayCAM's recording of the selectmen's April 22 meeting:
Fast forward to elapsed time 00:43:50, when the town administrator framed the discussion about DPW project next steps. He later recapped at around elapsed time 01:35:15, both times including mention of an evaluation of the two site locations.
Speakers that evening including town board members and employees also offered comments or questions about the two site locations. There were assurances that more due diligence would be done, with the opportunity for stakeholders to weigh in.
On Monday night, Selectman Joe Nolan continued to disagree strongly about comparing the two sites or any notion of a land swap. Nolan, a former road commissioner committed to seeing a new DPW facility, made it clear that in his view the EDC's housing project is not a factor.
A chart comparing the two sites for a new DPW and the impacts had been attached to the Facility Director's May 1 funding request on behalf of the Permanent Municipal Building Committee. That proved problematic as the content of that chart, including details about the EDC's housing project, had not been reviewed and agreed to by boards and committees. In fact, EDC Chair Rebecca Stanizzi separately prepared a chart similar in form for her committee's May 16 meeting, but no conversation between committees about the different sites had occurred.
The selectmen and town administrator ultimately agreed Monday night to try to pull together existing information in a more meaningful way to compare pros and cons and decisions made about the two site locations.
Permanent Municipal Building Committee members do not believe it is their role to consider events predating the existence of the committee, such as choosing the building site. Posted meeting minutes show that from its first meeting in December 2011, the committee has focused only on the River Road parcel.
When the decision was made in 2004 to build a new salt shed at River Road, the Route 20 parcel housed a fully functioning septage facility that provided a valued service to town customers. The Route 20 parcel was therefore not considered as a possible location for a salt shed or a future DPW facility.
Successful renegotiation of the intermunicipal agreement regarding Sudbury's interests in the Route 20 septage facility remains a missing puzzle piece. Town Meeting was told by the Economic Development Committee that it had reached an agreement in principle with Sudbury. If there is a draft document, it has not been made publicly available.
The FinCom wanted assurance that boards -- and ultimately voters -- would support the River Road location. Board of Public Works chairman Tom Abdella tried to assure the FinCom that the $170,000 would be well spent to mitigate risk and to ensure there are no fatal flaws at River Road. He added it would cost at least $300,000 to evaluate the Route 20 site. That would add even more delay; the building committee estimates that the delay as a result of the failed April vote will add at least another $500,000 to the ultimate cost of the project.
While staff may draft a better site comparison document, the consideration of which project for which site makes best land use sense appears to be a hot potato that no town board really wants to touch.
-- Linda Segal
FINNERTY'S AND HAMMOND WAY
Is Hammond Way a street? The answer could affect plans for a CVS at the former Finnerty's restaurant site.
Town Counsel Mark Lanza, in a rare written opinion, has stated that Hammond Way "is a `street' within the meaning of the Town's Zoning Bylaws in that it is a private way used as public way for vehicular traffic. It is accessible to the public. It is not posted as a private way restricted to abutting residents only. The way is shown as a way on the Land Court plan and is not depicted as an easement."
According to Wayland's Zoning Bylaw 198-801, the proposed CVS building would have to be 55 feet from the middle of Hammond Way. This roadway cuts through the former Finnerty's land parcel.
The map submitted with the original application to the Planning Board in March for the public hearing for site plan approval for a single building does not show Hammond Way. http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_Planning/150mainstspa04232013.pdf
The Planning Board is scheduled to continue discussing the proposed CVS plans on May 28 at 9 p.m. However the plans recently submitted do not comply with the required distance from Hammond Way.
Attorney Lanza indicated the applicant can go to the Land Court or modify the building so it complies with the required setback.
The Board of Health says it will be prepared to protect the public from increasing incidences of EEE and West Nile Virus, illnesses spread by mosquitoes. The idea is to have a plan in case the health threat as determined by the state in a given year reaches a level to warrant targeting adult mosquitoes.
In the past, Wayland has focused efforts on larvae, but given the proximity to Wayland of a case of EEE last year as well as the 13 cases of West Nile Virus in Middlesex County, the board held a public hearing May 20 to educate the public about adult mosquito control. Residents may opt out of having their property sprayed with Anvil, an insecticide containing Sumithrin, by registering annually with the town clerk. Those who forego Anvil would be following the practice at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge along the Sudbury River.
Dave Henley, from East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project, explained the additional services he offers. The Board of Health budget already funds Project services, such as monitoring and testing mosquito pools and the use of larvicide. One larvicide application occurred recently in Wayland by helicopter, and in a few weeks, catch basins will be treated. For more information about the Project:
Henley said crews would avoid spraying school properties where Wayland's IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program prohibits the use of pesticides. They also avoid drinking water zone I areas and surfaces of water bodies.
Handouts were provided at the public hearing, including a map showing which neighboring towns sprayed the adulticide last year, detailed specifications about Sumithrin, and an explanation for how mosquito-borne illness risks are evaluated towards a decision to spray.
Spraying Sumithrin from trucks on weeknights at ground level would be more effective in reducing EEE risk than West Nile Virus because the mosquito responsible for the latter spends nights in trees and comes down during daylight hours. Sumithrin is listed as toxic to fish and bees in some publications, although Henley reported that the state has monitored the chemical's use and found no harmful effects or lasting residue.
A future decision by the Board of Health to spray Sumithrin will depend on specific risk criteria and circumstances. Henley reported the state has authorized spraying five times in recent years. The Project and the Town would provide advance notice about such a decision to spray.
Owners of bee hives and ponds/pools may want to cover them. Residents would be cautioned to stay indoors, keep their pets indoors and close windows.
For more information, see a summary of the 2012 Mass DPH Arbovirus Surveillance at: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/arbovirus/2012-summary.pdf
and the board of health web site http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_Health/mosquito
WayCAM's recording of the public hearing begins at elapsed time 00:00:55:
The Wayland Health Department reports that a raccoon found on Happy Hollow Road tested positive for rabies.
"When an animal tests positive for rabies it is likely that there are other animals in the area that are carrying the disease," according to Public Health Director Julia Junghanns. " Residents should not approach any wild or stray animals, and report any animal that behaves oddly to the Police Department. Also, ensure that your pets are up to date on their vaccinations against rabies, keep pets in a fenced yard or on a leash, don't feed or water your pets outside, and keep garbage securely covered. Open garbage will attract wild or stray animals."
For more information:
MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Unless otherwise stated, town government meetings are held in Town Building with meeting agendas posted on the town website:
Memorial Day weekend, Sat., May 25 through Mon., May 27: Free admission all weekend to Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Memorial Day, Monday, May 27: The Public Ceremonies Committee has prepared a full program of special events for our community with ceremonies at various cemeteries beginning at 8:30 a.m. and a parade from the Middle School forming at 10:30 a.m. http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_BComm/Ceremonies/MemEvents
Tuesday, May 28:
Board of Public Works, 7 p.m.
Zoning Board of Appeals, 8:20 p.m.
Planning Board, 9 p.m. CVS Site Plan Approval hearing for former Finnerty's property
Thursday, May 30:
Conservation Commission, 7:30 p.m.
SAVE THE DATES:
June 15, Opening event for Wayland's 375th Anniversary Celebration includes a wide variety of exciting activities: http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/WaylandMA_TownNews/01AFD632-000F8513
Volunteers are needed to help with some events. Contact information: http://wayland375.com/
June 22-23 Annual Riverfest celebration
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Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor