WVN #530: $12.7M public works proposal
- Dear Wayland Voter,
WVN #529 summarized Special Town Meeting articles 1, 3 and 4. In this newsletter we focus on Article 2, the most complicated and costly item of the evening.
Article 2 would get work started on a $12.7-million replacement for the dilapidated public works garage. The building plan is essentially the same as the one voters narrowly rejected in the spring except for the location of the access.
In April and the following months there were concerns about the planned access road because of environmental factors and the possible presence of protected Native American cultural resources. Now the plan is to reach the facility via River Road, which isn't popular with some residents in Sudbury as well as Wayland.
The cost was listed at $11.4 million in the spring. This time the Route 20 access road is not included and construction costs have increased. The Permanent Municipal Building Committee is prepared to explain the cost increase at Town Meeting.
Also in this newsletter:
-- An environmental appeal by residents is no longer a factor in plans for a new DPW facility, but it could affect the existing transfer station.
-- Progress toward finding a new town administrator.
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
7:30 p.m., Nov. 20, Wayland High School field house. Doors open at 6.
Seniors can reserve free transportation in advance by contacting Council on Aging, 508-358-2990.
RESPONSES TO DPW ACCESS ROAD CHANGE
After the Nov. 6 warrant hearing, revised motions were posted on the town website for the four articles coming before voters at the Nov. 20 special town meeting. The motion for Article 2 finally makes it clear that the address of the proposed DPW facility is 66 River Road.
The decision to change the primary access roadway from the Route 20 transfer station entrance to the River Road entrance has prompted negative reactions and revived concerns. River Road is narrower and winding, without sidewalks.
Before the 2012 Annual Town Meeting, River Road neighbors tried to work out an agreement with the selectmen to protect their residential area and designated scenic road from additional DPW facility truck traffic. Then-Chairman Tom Fay convened a board meeting, in part to discuss the neighbors’ concerns. The first speaker during public comment was a Sudbury resident concerned about traffic impacts to her community, particularly to new condo residents on Old County Road.
Wayland neighbors preferred that use of the River Road entrance be limited to emergencies.
The selectmen discussed having town counsel negotiate directly with the neighbors towards an agreement for the Board’s consideration. Then-Town Administrator Fred Turkington cautioned there would not be enough time to get that done before town meeting. Selectman Steve Correia noted agreements worked out years ago with Glezen Lane and Bow Road residents to mitigate Town Center traffic impacts as examples of good solutions. Outgoing selectmen Fay and Sue Pope added that the River Road neighbors had been a pleasure to work with.
There appears to be no record, however, of a spring 2012 agreement with River Road neighbors.
The motion for the non-binding resolution approved by April 2012 town meeting voters contained protective language:
(See bottom of page 126)
“........NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this Town Meeting designates the River Road parcel as the future site for a new DPW facility to be constructed at such time that this or a future town meeting appropriates funds for the project, provided that any access to said facility from River Road shall be discreet, well screened, restricted with an electronic gate and used only for fire, police and/or medical emergencies, as long as the access way from Boston Post Road is open.”
With sponsoring boards concluding a few weeks ago that the Route 20 access to the proposed new facility is not available at this time, the plan to use River Road prompted Sudbury selectmen to send a Nov. 6 letter to Wayland expressing concerns about negative impacts to Sudbury residents and businesses.
Sudbury Reaction, Bus Parking
Sudbury selectmen have asked Wayland to commit to a right-turn-only sign for vehicles exiting the DPW facility onto River Road and that vehicles heading to the new DPW will always use Wayland roads and not Sudbury’s Old County Road. Sudbury’s letter ended with “.....please take this letter as notice of our intention to investigate and discuss at upcoming Selectmen meetings other enforceable options that would be available.” Wayland selectmen have included this matter on their Nov. 18 meeting agenda:
Sudbury was the first party to appeal the Wayland Planning Board’s January 2008 Master Special Permit for the Town Center project, after expecting (in vain) some traffic mitigation.
Sudbury is now questioning Wayland’s use of the decommissioned Route 20 septage facility to park school buses. The shared use of the land has been governed by a 1997 Intermunicipal Agreement. After several years of bus parking there, including cautionary signage posted on Route 20, Sudbury now contends that Wayland needs Sudbury’s permission for the use. The attorneys for both towns exchanged legal opinions last week. Wayland town counsel Mark Lanza provided historical background but did not specifically address the two towns’ shared liability for what happens on the land.
Voters had approved Article 12 at the November 2010 Special Town Meeting creating a Municipal Services Overlay District that partially covers the septage land parcel. It was an enabling act, similar to the 2006 Mixed Use Overlay District enabling the Town Center project. The 2010 article and motion did not specify particular municipal uses or mention school buses, but the published warrant booklet made it clear that town officials had school bus parking in mind.
(see page 71)
Negotiations behind the scenes have occurred at times between officials in both towns towards possibly terminating the 30-year intermunicipal agreement before it ends in 2017, most recently for the Economic Development Committee’s proposed affordable housing project in that area. No draft termination proposal has surfaced yet for public discussion.
Town Traffic Consultant Weighs In
The Planning Board’s public hearing for modifying the Site Plan Approval for the proposed DPW facility to accommodate the recent change in roadway access is rescheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19, the night before the special town meeting.
In preparation for that hearing, the Permanent Municipal Building Committee and DPW had the town’s traffic consultant, Kevin Dandrade of TEC, assess traffic considerations on River Road. TEC’s abbreviated assessment dated Nov. 13 includes data showing low traffic counts taken a week before at the existing DPW facility.
Dandrade believes most vehicles exiting 66 River Road will turn right, and then turn right onto Route 27 southbound to avoid traffic on Route 20. Dandrade finds that River Road is used as a cut-through to other parts of Wayland and Weston during peak traffic times on Route 20:
“The peak hour traffic (7:15 to 8:15) on River Road eastbound was 106 vehicles in May 2006; the same movement is currently 121 vehicles. For all intents and purposes, the same.” Most DPW employees start their workday before 7 a.m., and except for weather emergencies, their workday usually ends by 3 p.m.
TEC’s recommendations for traffic accommodations on River Road include clearing vegetation at two locations to maintain clear sight lines, new stop signs and painted stop lines, and a double yellow centerline. TEC says “....River Road can safely and efficiently accommodate the limited traffic associated with the proposed DPW facility.”
Town Meeting attendees will find a new handout on the literature tables from the project proponents - Appendix B Supplemental - a map that more clearly labels roadways and land parcels.
-- WVN Staff
WVN #529, in the section on the Lincoln Road conservation restriction, incorrectly said that the public could be excluded on the 14 days permitted for civic and social functions. There is no such exclusion. Furthermore, the chairman of the Community Preservation Committee says that as a practical matter any social event held by the property owner is likely to be at the eastern end of the fields near the residence and not at the western end where trails are located.
SUPPLEMENTAL RULES FOR TOWN MEETING
At the selectmen’s Nov. 6 warrant hearing, Moderator Dennis Berry provided copies of his “Supplemental Rules of Procedure for the 2013 Special Town Meeting.” Article proponents had asked for the ability to project visual images on a large screen during the presentation of motions in the Field House. Two companies submitted bids to provide this service, and Thistle Communications was awarded the contract. Their bid for video projection was $1,650.
Those wishing to use the projection equipment are to follow the moderator’s special rules, also posted on the town website, which include submitting the content to him in advance by Nov. 18 at the selectmen’s office:
STATUS OF TOWN ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH
Wayland selectmen have met regularly with the Personnel Board in their efforts to fill the town administrator vacancy and to provide interim support for the front office. The selectmen interviewed two candidates for the temporary interim position. Richard Kerbel and Robert Mercier are both retired municipal managers with varied backgrounds. Both seemed eager to fill in and provide needed transition assistance. Neither one lives nearby.
Contrary to reports in other news media, Wayland selectmen have not voted yet to hire anyone. They did authorize Acting Town Administrator John Senchyshyn to initiate discussions with Mercier and gather information that had not been covered during the interview. Senchyshyn is expected to report back to the board on Monday night.
Mercier has served in Massachusetts as executive secretary, town administrator and town manager.
For the town administrator search, the selectmen and Personnel Board have been evaluating recruiting firms who responded to an RFP (request for proposals). The Personnel Board used a detailed scoring system to discuss and narrow the choices. A representative from The Collins Center at UMass met with the selectmen, and on Monday evening two other firms from the New England region are expected to be interviewed.
Last Friday, the local press reported on the town manager search in Cohasset, one of our Finance Committee’s identified peer towns.
-- WVN Staff
ROUTE 20 ACCESS ROADWAY IMPROVEMENTS DECISION APPEALED
Residents have appealed the Wayland Conservation Commission Order of Conditions which allows the access road from Route 20 to the current transfer station to remain and be extended around the landfill to the rear of the River Road site. Twenty residents signed the appeal to the Department of Environmental Protection which was proposed by former ConCom member and current WVN contributor Tom Sciacca.
While the Town Meeting warrant cites issues with archeological findings along the route of the road extension, the wetlands appeal focuses on the initial 800 foot section built in 1978 as strictly temporary access to the then-new landfill. That portion of the road cuts off 12 acres of the Sudbury River marshes and, all parties agree, seriously impacts many of the values protected under the Wetlands Protection Act dating from the 1960’s.
The ConCom issued its Order in mid-October with requirements for an extensive set of mitigations which it believes adequately compensate for the damage. The appealing residents contend that the only way to completely compensate for the damaging effects is to remove the road, as promised in 1978. Both the ConCom and the residents agree that action has to be taken independently of the road’s use for access to the new DPW building.
Serious major policy issues were raised in the appeal, largely stemming from changes in both the law and the marsh ecology since 1978. As a result, the appeal may not be resolved for many months.
If the appeal succeeds, the transfer station will have to be moved. Two obvious possibilities: the front of the Route 20 site or across the road. The Board of Public Works never sought permission from the Conservation Commission to site the transfer station at its current location after the decision was made to close the landfill, as required by the Order of Conditions issued in 1978.
Costs for road work remain unclear. When being considered as DPW access, the cost estimates escalated from $50,000 at the 2012 Annual Town Meeting to about $900,000 at the 2013 Annual Town Meeting to just under $2 million before being pulled from consideration for next week’s Special Town Meeting. No estimate has been made public for doing only the mitigations required by the ConCom for the 1978 road or its removal. Since the mitigations involve recreating the lost wetlands and flood storage displaced by the road, a similar amount of earth moving may be required in either case.
-- WVN Staff
MEETINGS CALENDAR: All meetings of town governmental bodies take place in Town Building unless otherwise indicated. Click on the date in the calendar posted on the town website to access posted meeting agendas: http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index http://www.wayland.ma.us/Pages/index
Monday, Nov. 18:
Selectmen, 6:30 p.m.
Personnel Board, 6:30 p.m.
Board of Health, 7 p.m.
Recreation, 7 p.m.
Board of Public Works, 7 p.m.
School Committee, 7 p.m.
Assessors, 7:15 p.m.
Housing Partnership, 7:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 19:
Planning Board, 7:30 p.m. Public Hearing to modify DPW project site plan approval
Board of Public Works, 7:30 p.m.
Surface Water Quality Committee, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 20:
Library Trustees, 8:30 a.m. (MORNING), Library Raytheon Room
Special Town Meeting, 7:30 p.m., High School Field House, doors open at 6 p.m.
Finance Committee, 6:30 p.m., High School Field House, agenda includes STM articles, FY15 budget requests, tax classification hearing plans, executive session
ELVIS (Electronic Voting Committee), 6:30 p.m., High School Field House
Wastewater Management District Commission, 6:45 p.m., High School Field House
Board of Public Works, 7 p.m., High School Field House
Thursday, Nov. 21:
Housing Authority, 7 p.m.
Conservation Commission, 7:30 p.m., agenda includes wetlands delineation request by Sarkis Sarkisian for 8 Hill Street (off East Plain St)
Historic District Commission, 7:30 p.m.
You can read all previous WVN newsletters at:
To be sure you continue to receive WVN newsletters optimally and in your inbox
(instead of bulk or junk folders) it may help to add to your address book or
safe sender list:
waylandvoters1@... mailto:waylandvoters1%40yahoo.com .
Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to your friends and
neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive their own copy, they can sign themselves up by
sending a blank email to:
Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the subscription.
If you have questions, email mmshort1@... mailto:mmshort1%40comcast.net.
Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor