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Thread: Town Center Project Abandoned (again)

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Exclamation Town Center Project Abandoned (again)

    In case anyone missed it in today's Globe, here is an article on the Town Center project: http://www.boston.com/business/artic...to_be_dropped/

  2. #2
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    Mar 2008
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    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
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    Question Yes (Again)

    Kim,

    On Jan 18th, 2007 there was an 'explosion' at a co-meeting between the BoS and BoRC which was filmed by (I believe) a representative of the developer and was published as a YouTube... remember this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8iOiFJJKc4

    Shortly afterwards the BoS pleaded with the developer to come back to the table after they said they were "Outta here".. The threat that came back was a 40B that was going to look like a rather tall white prison.

    This created a firestorm and the log jams that were preventing the project at that time were miraculously freed up. The project went back on line.

    Times are different now, much different than Jan 2007 but this looks and reminds me of what happened in the past. Its possible that this could be a technique to get what is needed to bring the project on line... this is possible.

    Two others things to consider

    -- A friend of mine who works for Raytheon was noting that in a recent meeting (Raytheon) was wondering where they should open another facility to deliver on a new Patriot Missile system... Why not Wayland and why not that property?

    -- More than one person has mentioned that the building there now could be refurbished to be a high school with much more sq footage than what is planned. Perhaps the new high school could be that property and that the town could purchase that property to take it off the hands of an unhappy developer who cannot justify building those residential units or get tenants in this environment. Sounds like a win-win.

    Anybody have any feelings about this?

  3. #3
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    Mar 2008
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    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
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    Thumbs up Crier Post by Former Selectman Brian O'Herlihy

    Since I first entered Wayland politics (2004), I have never seen a post by Former Selectman Brian T O'Herlihy. Brian is a highly knowledgeable public servant, he has a detailed understanding of the Wayland processes, its history and was a well respected member of the Wayland BoS during his 6 years on the board.

    Brian was the 'goto' person on the BoS in legal, procedural and financial matters.

    I was stunned to see Brian now posting under the Crier article
    http://www.wickedlocal.com/wayland/h...lt-big-setback

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    I am going to assume that btoherlihy is Brian both because of the name he used and because of the content of his post. I know Brian well and I am confident that this is Brian talking.
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    What Brian did in his post was to give a credible crystallization of the politics and the process's surrounding the evolution of the Town Center Project and he directly addressed issues like:

    -- "Town volunteers [who] are continuing to be vilified by the developers of the proposed Town Center and by a minority of vocal supporters of the proposed Town Center project (including, unfortunately, a number of current and past members of the Board of Selectmen and other Town boards and committees)."

    -- A warning he personally made to developer Dean Stratouly "would likely undergo intense scrutiny due to environmental and traffic considerations and knowing how the Town of Wayland's permitting process worked."

    -- A realization that "he and his partners did not heed [Brian's] advice and the project has taken much longer to permit than it might have taken had they sought to treat all of the volunteers with respect rather than vilify them."

    Such that Brian's post will not disappear or be off-archived, I am memorializing it here directly for all to read....

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    Wayland Town Crier April 26, ~9AM

    btoherlihy

    Since the Town Center project was first presented to the Board of Selectmen in 2005 (while I was still a member), I have remained out of the debate over whether or not it is a good idea. My decision to remain silent about the project had to due with certain 'conflicts of interest' that existed at the time and have existed until October 2008 when I changed employers.

    While I still plan to remain silent on my personal position on the proposed Town Center project, I feel it important to express my opinion on the way in which various Town volunteers are continuing to be vilified by the developers of the proposed Town Center and by a minority of vocal supporters of the proposed Town Center project (including, unfortunately, a number of current and past members of the Board of Selectmen and other Town boards and committees).

    Having helped get the Nike site affordable housing project permitted and built, I can attest to the fact that the process in Wayland (and other communities) is long, difficult and, at times, frustrating. However, it is my view that if you treat those charged with the responsibility for permitting such projects with respect and respond to legitimate questions and concerns, you can achieve your objective ... even if it takes longer than you might like.

    Back in 2003 or 2004, I met with Dean Stratouly, who until recently was connected with the Town Center development team, to discuss various options he was considering for the site. At that time, I told him that the vision he (and others in Town) had for a Town Center project would likely undergo intense scrutiny due to environmental and traffic considerations and knowing how the Town of Wayland's permitting process worked. I told him that he should expect a long process and that the best approach, if he wanted to be successful, was to work collaboratively with all boards and committees in Town.

    Unfortunately, he and his partners did not heed my advice and the project has taken much longer to permit than it might have taken had they sought to treat all of the volunteers with respect rather than vilify them.

    I have great respect for the members of the Conservation Commission and the Historic District Commission and know that they will not bow to pressure by the developers, the Board of Selectmen or the vocal minority in favor of this project. They will do their jobs and protect the Town's interests. Whatever the outcome of their deliberations, I know they will have approached their reviews independently and with the Town's best interest in mind. We owe all of these volunteers our gratitude for volunteering their time to do the Town's business.

    As for the project, it will get built if it was meant to get built. If not, the office buildings will be leased and the Town will begin to receive large commercial tax payments once again ... without having to endure the same potential consequences to its environmental resources, roadways and historic district that will be seen with the proposed Town Center.
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  4. #4
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    Default

    Interesting. My only comment is to question whether it's a vocal minority that supports the project, or opposes it. I guess that both could be true given the number of people who participate versus not.

  5. #5
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    Default A Vocal Minority on both sides

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Interesting. My only comment is to question whether it's a vocal minority that supports the project, or opposes it.
    It was always my feeling that there was a vocal minority who did not oppose the project but rather wanted a smaller project and one that did not have the traffic, wastewater, historical impact etc... on the town. That vocal minority wanted what Brian was saying, for the developer to have worked more closely and ultimately more slowly with town boards. That was his warning and that didn't happen.

    The 80% who voted for the project on that night at town meeting. Did they vote for a project that had to have and dual access road and its resulting traffic impacts? Did they vote for a project that was going to dramatically widen roads and impact the historical district? Did they vote for a project that was going to shove $2M in wastewater plant upgrades on 26 users? Did they vote for a project which was analyzed by consultant Judi Barrett to be $445,774 / yr (Ref: Judi Barrett Memo092005 to Joe Laydon) net to the town (which is a drop in the bucket against our actual budget)?

    Or rather, did they vote for a 'fits our town funds our future' slogan where they had hopes and dreams that this project would provide override type funding consistently going forward with minimal impact to Waylands traffic, environmental resources etc...

    Because I stood up and voted YES on that night because that was what I was voting for. Remember, we voted on an 'envelope' that night with precious little detail and no precise knowledge of what the actual 'funds our future' was going to be. These details were only known later on... much later on.

    Clearly a majority at town meeting that night... but now in the aftermath has it become a vocal minority who still holds onto 'fits our town and funds our future' dream?

    Perhaps Jeff, you are right... a vocal minority on both sides.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 04-26-2009 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Added document for reference

  6. #6
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    Jan 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    It was always my feeling that there was a vocal minority who did not oppose the project but rather wanted a smaller project and one that did not have the traffic, wastewater, historical impact etc... on the town.
    From the start, the developers have played "bait and switch" with this Project's traffic impact. Compare, for example, the Draft Environmental Impact Report submitted on 2006-11-30 with the Final Environmental Impact Report submitted 2008-02-15. Before its approval, the Project was advertised as requiring no significant change to the intersection of routes 20, 126, and 27 at the center of Wayland's Historic District. The reality is that the Project requires a major expansion of pavement and infrastructure to handle the increased load.

    Each time they get caught, the developers throw a tantrum, threaten to quit or build an ugly 40B, and demonize town officials they view as in their way; here we go again. The goal of these tawdry passion plays is to stir up righteous wrath. Long-serving, hard-working, volunteer town officials are trashed and thrown under the bus so the developers can have their way. These actions are tearing the town apart.

    A well-executed Town Center that fits Wayland's infrastructure would be great, and could be accomplished with straightforwardness and honesty. That's not the approach being taken.

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