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Thread: Town Center Project Abandoned (again)

  1. #16
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    Default What if it were voted today?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Bernstein View Post
    Whichever way it turns out, even the most ardent "Town Center At Any Cost" partisan would have to admit that the developer's credibility is at this point completely gone.
    Dave, you bring up an interesting point.
    We know that on a second try and at a second, specially arranged town meeting, 80% of those attending voted for the project under the proffered envelope.

    Based on your statement above, if that vote were to occur again today what would you think that vote yes percentage be?

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Dave, you bring up an interesting point.
    We know that on a second try and at a second, specially arranged town meeting, 80% of those attending voted for the project under the proffered envelope.

    Based on your statement above, if that vote were to occur again today what would you think that vote yes percentage be?
    I don't know, Alan; there are far too many variables.

    I do know that a Town Center designed to fit Wayland's infrastructure -- one that doesn't present a nasty tradeoff between paving the Historic District and threatening the safety of residential streets -- would pass with flying colors and high spirits.

  3. #18
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    Default Wheee!!! Seems like a nerve has been struck



    Ah well... no surprises on the responses.

    Sorry Alan - didn't mean to get your dander up like that. I was merely pointing out that your training is in marketing, and that you are an excellent student. You have learned precisely how to present data in such a way so as to support whatever point it is that you're trying to make. You are a master at it.

    The Teradyne reference was actually meant to enhance the credibility of your ability to (as this board seems to have latched on to) "torture the data". You are also the king of the Martin Luther "I Have A Dream" rhetoric, punctuating all of your ridiculous questions with a smarmy "How about you, Carl?". I'm not going to waste my time responding to your silly attempt to undermine my point because THAT would just give credence to your backhanded accusations... which they do not deserve. (BTW Dave, I hope you don't think I was trying to take credit for the "torture" expression. You seem to imply that by posting lots of uninteresting links showing use of the same expression. I didn't make it up, I just used it as it was used frequently at Teradyne where I enjoyed an extremely successful 23 year career before deciding to move on to other challenges. OOPS! Silly me. I guess I did respond to one of Alan's innuendos!)

    Teradyne was a great place to learn, as it was filled with smart people (like Alan) who taught me all kinds of things about how to create. In any event, one thing I learned is that people who negotiate for a living have 4 possible outcomes in any negotiation.

    The most favored outcome is the 'win-win'. This is the fabled one where both parties come away from the transaction feeling as though they have 'won'. Everyone talks about this one, but very few are willing to negotiate in good faith, so it's a rarity.

    The next one is the 'win-lose'. This is the one that Wayland is hell-bent on achieving in the case of the Town Center. Or at least there seems to be a minority group that is negotiating this way. This outcome is the second best (to the 'win-win') as far as desirability is concerned, as at least you come out ahead of your 'opponent'.

    Next is the 'lose-win'. No one in their right mind would intentionally try for this outcome as it provides your 'opponent' with a preferred outcome to your own. Again, the minority contingent consistently implies that this is how the BOS are negotiating with the developers. I don't think so. Why would they? Simply doesn't make sense.

    Finally, we have the 'lose-lose' scenario. The absolute rock bottom least desirable of all possibilities for any negotiation but for some reason, a very common outcome (at least here in Wayland, and certainly in this case we're "discussing"). The developer has lost because they have wasted 4 years arguing with a town, spending money all the while (presumably in good faith). They are now stuck with an impasse, a bad taste in their mouths, and no desire to be good citizens any longer. Wayland has lost because we have an eyesore in the middle of town that COULD have been a real asset, arguably bringing in a measly $500k in extra income (yes, I know, it's "a drop in the bucket"... any time you want to drop in my bucket, please feel free), and MAYBE creating a place where town citizens could hang out in a politically neutral (yeah, right) friendly (yeah, right) atmosphere.

    I like Kim's Python analogy, but I'm afraid at this point, we really have reached the end, so why bother arguing these meaningless points any longer?

    Once again Alan, sorry if I ruffled your 'political' feathers, but hey - I think it's still a free press, and if you re-read what I wrote I don't think anything in there was aimed at politically disenfranchising you. If that's what you read, then I apologize for that, but really... this isn't about you personally. Really!

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    :
    Ah well... no surprises on the responses.
    You shouldn't be surprised when you post assertions that are so readily debunked with publicly-accessible facts.


    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    :
    The next one is the 'win-lose'. This is the one that Wayland is hell-bent on achieving in the case of the Town Center. Or at least there seems to be a minority group that is negotiating this way.
    As described in http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/ne...n-not-dead-yet there are four impediments to proceeding with the Town Center:
    1. the Historic District Commission rejected the project by a unanimous vote a month ago
    2. The Conservation Commission issued a draft permit that the developer views as a significant obstacle
    3. the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has informed the developer and the town that there is a capacity issue with the existing wastewater plant and that DEP has the right, if the wastewater plant isn't functioning properly, to limit discharge to it
    4. the DEP permit is being appealed by the United States Department of the Interior and a Sudbury conservationist


    Please explain how these 4 impediments are the work of a single minority group seeking to stop the Town Center.

    Does anyone understand why the developer considers the Conservation Commission's draft permit to be "a significant obstacle"? Ever since the developer announced that they needed this permit by January 15th 2009 or else, I've been planning to attend a Conservation Commission meeting to learn first hand -- but each time, the Town Center agenda item is annotated "applicant likely to request a continuation". As of this moment, Town Center isn't even on the agenda for this Thursday's meeting:

    http://www.wayland.ma.us/conservation/agenda.html
    Last edited by Dave Bernstein; 04-29-2009 at 01:08 AM.

  5. #20
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    Unhappy I don't feel complimented at all, I feel ashamed for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    and if you re-read what I wrote I don't think anything in there was aimed at politically disenfranchising you. If that's what you read, then I apologize for ...that, but really... this isn't about you personally.
    I guess it was difficult for me not to take it personally when you said:

    "Alan, but you are a master of fabricated statistics!"

    Fabricated: ' To concoct in order to deceive' was one of the definitions that I saw.

    So one might take that as 'Alan puts statistics together in order to deceive'. Carl, that sounds like a back handed way to call me a liar and you understand that that hurts my feelings and it defames me. So you decided to call me a liar in public and then use that in context with my professional life and in reference to some information that you think you know about me.

    In your previous rant you, in one fell swoop, stereotyped unnamed people, created guilt by association, called me a liar, associated me with some expression that I previously had no knowledge of, brought my personal employment into the picture, told an entire class of waster water connectees that they had no reason to complain and insulted an entire neighborhood street by accusing them of having a 'Not in my backyard' mentality when all they were trying to do was to protect their lifestyle, their environment and their children.

    Thats quite a bit for one post... ya think?

    As a former member of the BoRC you should have been aware of the data, the documents and the order of events surrounding the traffic projections and the ensuing mitigation negotiation between the good intentioned families of Glezen lane and the Town of Wayland.

    I was part of that negotiation and I can tell you that the BoS took their plight very seriously and we thought long and hard about a rollout scenario that would trigger with specific events of buildout and traffic volume measurements. I am glad that the families of Glezen lane had the foresight and the guts to have put themselves in financial harms way to have been able to have reached an amicable solution. And by the way, if that solution is, in fact, amicable then I'll leave it for Dave Bernstein to comment and be the final judge on that.

    On wastewater the costs have ballooned well beyond the 2005 projections which were not even on the radar at that time and certainly not a factor in that town meeting vote. I've spoken to representatives of those 26 entities who now are faced with funding a $2M+ overage and they are scrambling now to get off the treatment plant and to create their own septic systems albeit above ground if need be. How tense their lives must be right now.

    Carl what is a 'naysayer? Is that a person who does not agree with you because you would be the 'naysayer' to that other person at exactly the same time. Rather then throw that useless and divisive term around, it would have been better for our town if people (and in this case you) would respectfully communicate and stop the blaming and accusing. This is what your rant was doing and you still don't even see it.

    I will tell you what I learned. Being smart is not as important as listening and caring about the concerns of others. The process of putting a Town Center together in Wayland was going to be a long, concensus driven process and it only started with that town meeting vote. There were boards, customs, rules, neighborhoods and competing interests who all had a voice and in many cases legal rights to create speed bumps along the way. This is what former Selectman Brian O'Herlihy told Dean Stratouly. If the process gets rushed its going to get slowed down. It did get slowed down as predicted and then the economic meltdown kicked in. In one sense, 20Wayland LLC should thank their lucky stars that they didn't break ground on those 100 condo units 18 months ago just because the process was supposed to be fast-tracked and the BoS wanted their $3M gift. If that would have happened then 20Wayland LLC would be staring at a lot of unfinished and unsold units. How many units do you think have sold at the Natick Condo Collection to date? Its single digits.

    In your last post you just tried to convince me that your language was somehow a compliment to me.

    I don't feel complimented at all, I feel ashamed for you.

    I hope that if you do come back to this thread or we communicate on another thread or in person someday then we would have a dialogue that is respectful and doesn't throw around inflammatory terms.
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 04-29-2009 at 08:13 PM.

  6. #21
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    Default Trying not to intervene...

    Boys, boys, this is a place to debate issues, not personalities. Please keep all the personal stuff off this site. If any of the participants would like any of the above discussion edited, please let me know what you would like edited, and I will attempt to make judicious changes. As all participants know, I prefer to leave posts unedited, but will make publicly visible adjustments when necessary.

    Kim Reichelt
    posting as Administrator

  7. #22
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    The Metrowest Daily News came out with an editorial on this topic. It will be interesting to see if the Town Crier follows suit.

    http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/editorials/x289631594/Editorial-Delay-can-kill-good-projects

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    The Metrowest Daily News came out with an editorial on this topic. It will be interesting to see if the Town Crier follows suit.

    http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/opinions/editorials/x289631594/Editorial-Delay-can-kill-good-projects
    It's interesting that this editorial places the blame on the local permitting process:

    "Another important MetroWest development project has died, the victim of an interminable local permitting process and an economy in recession."

    "Town Center has cleared multiple hurdles, and officials say the remaining issues with the Historical Commission and Conservation Commission can be resolved."

    In contrast, the MetroWest article you posted yesterday, Kim, cited four impediments:

    1. the Historic District Commission rejected the project by a unanimous vote a month ago
    2. The Conservation Commission issued a draft permit that the developer views as a significant obstacle
    3. the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has informed the developer and the town that there is a capacity issue with the existing wastewater plant and that DEP has the right, if the wastewater plant isn't functioning properly, to limit discharge to it
    4. the DEP permit is being appealed by the United States Department of the Interior and a Sudbury conservationist


    Furthermore, this article quotes project manager Frank Dougherty as saying that the biggest issue is that the state Department of Environmental Protection has informed the developer and the town that there is a capacity issue with the existing 46-year-old plant.

    "What DEP is saying is they have the right, if the wastewater plant isn't functioning properly, to limit discharge to it," said Doughtery. "We clearly have a contractual right to 45,000 gallons."

    So if Twenty Wayland says the biggest obstacle to completing the Town Center is the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection refusal since November 2007 to issue the required sewer connection permit "due to capacity issues at the Wayland wastewater treatment plant, as well as significant concerns about the age and condition of the plant"*, why do this MetroWest editorial and the "Town Center At Any Cost" contingent place the blame on "an interminable local permitting process" and a "vocal minority who oppose the project"?

    Have the regulations governing wastewater plant effluent changed since the Town Center project began? If not, then why is this showstopper issue still unresolved at this late date? Every competent project manager knows that if you do not attack your risks early on, they will attack you when you can least afford it.


    *from letter sent by Eric Worrall, Deputy Regional Director, Mass DEP, to Frank Dougherty, Twenty Wayland on 2009-04-10
    Last edited by Dave Bernstein; 04-29-2009 at 06:57 PM. Reason: denote quote from Mass DEP letter

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    Yeah I agree Kim. I'll try not to tickle anyone's funnybone again... but it isn't easy! Not sure why it's so hard for people to accept change, but I guess it is. Dean summed it up nicely in his last 'shot' regarding this towns dysfunctionality and inability to accept change. I know that it is politically incorrect to say something direct without couching it in innuendo or veiling it in sugar, but frankly, I find it faster to just say what you're thinking, so I do that. If it ruffles feathers, and people read WAY more into it than there is, I guess I'm the jerk then, and should be thankful that someone else can be ashamed FOR me.

    Carl

  10. #25
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    Actually, Carl, the way this really works is that two or three forum participants conspire to get into a scuffle. The combatants and spectators then take wagers to see how long it will take before the Administrator feels compelled to step in.

    I'm a bit bummed about this one, as the Over/Under was three on this one and I had Under. Frankly, I think Kim was slacking. Alan, I'll pay up the next time I see you.

  11. #26
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    Talking I have but one "thing" to say to that Jeff!

    Grin! Well done!

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    Dean summed it up nicely in his last 'shot' regarding this towns dysfunctionality and inability to accept change.
    Carl
    No. Stratouly is blaming the town, when in fact Twenty Wayland's incompetent project management is responsible for the delays:

    1. Twenty Wayland's initial plan for the 20/27/126 intersection was woefully inadequate. When this was exposed, Twenty Wayland was forced to develop a new plan, which took time, and which dramatically increased the intersection's footprint and infrastructure requirement. This converted the Historic District Commission from supporters to opponents, and created a conservation issue given the need to widen route 20 into what are currently wetlands.

    2. Twenty Wayland's refusal to design a Town Center that fits within the constraints imposed by state and federal regulations governing what Wayland's wastewater plant can dump into the Sudbury River has kept the Project from moving forward. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stated in November 2007 that Twenty Wayland can't begin construction of the Town Center without a sewer connection permit, which will not be issued until the capacity and reliability issues with Wayland's wastewater plant have been resolved to DEP's satisfaction. The United States Department of the Interior has brought suit to prevent the proposed discharge into the Sudbury. As recently as April 10 of this year, DEP sent a letter to Twenty Wayland suggesting that they stop stonewalling if they're actually interested in building a Town Center. The wastewater issue, not local bureaucracy or foot-dragging, has been the long pole in the tent; according to Town Center Project Manager Frank Daugherty's comments in a MetroWest article published earlier this week, it remains the biggest impediment.


    I understand how clueless editors and reporters can be bamboozled by the smooth-talking Stratouly. What I don't understand is why the "Town Center At Any Cost" gang endorses Stratouly's nasty and damaging characterization of our town, when it's Twenty Wayland's continuing incompetence and intransigence that's been delaying -- and quite possibly killing -- their beloved project.
    Last edited by Dave Bernstein; 05-01-2009 at 06:23 PM.

  13. #28
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    Red face Not afraid of change

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    I know that it is politically incorrect to say something direct without couching it in innuendo or veiling it in sugar, but frankly, I find it faster to just say what you're thinking, so I do that.
    Carl,

    I do not believe that the people or groups who you referred to earlier are afraid of change. I am certainly not afraid of change.

    I don't think the issue was having a TC vs not having a TC. Virtually all who saw the concept liked the idea of having a centralized place with shopping, with living space, with green space and with a municipal pad.

    The issue was two fold:
    1. The size of the project (and YES, it could have been smaller) which created traffic, wastewater, environmental and historic district issues.
    2. The whole marketing effort which aggressively tried to move the project to completion in a timeframe that Wayland could not accept. It marginalized people, left dead bodies and threw board members into the audience.

    All of the affected groups who perceived themselves as being harmed tried to protect themselves the best they could. And this did not mean that they were against the project, but they did want protection in some way.

    The Glezen Lane situation is the most concrete example where the Glezeners know that a TC will change their lives but at least now, they have some control over how much it will affect their lives. I don't think the Glezeners were against the idea of a TC.

    On the marketing side, the amount of incremental money to the town is relatively small for the impact it was going to have on Wayland. If you have a different proof of this then please let me know, but I've not been shown any contrary proof on this since 2005 and Ms. Barrett's report.

    Even given that, I was for the TC because I thought that it was a good use for the 57 acres and had an asthetic appeal that the town needed. I wish it could have been more like the Weston or Concord TC concept but this is what we had to work with. We didn't have that long bypass connector (like Weston) or that established multi-block build up that happened historically as it did in Concord.

    Discussions like this usually go down a rathole when labels and stereotypes are applied in a broad sense. I've learned that its not the way to have a discussion that solves problems.

    I will tell you that I present data which I try to back up with documentation and I try to present logical arguments around that data. I never lie with statistics... at least NOT intentionally. I understand the limits of statistics in a proof and I always present those statistics with the best of intentions. If somebody has better data or a better argument then I am open to it.

    Jeff Dieffenbach and I have had a number of heated exchanges and some were based on numbers and other were based on legal arguments. In some cases, I made points with my numbers and in other cases he made points with his legal arguments. But Jeff and I never resorted to name calling... not once.

    I'm trying to turn down the temperature on this as you have generously done above.

    So I hope that you accept this that way.

    Alan

  14. #29
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    Default I don't know why I keep coming back to this...

    ...but for some reason, I feel compelled. Must be the same phenomenon that causes traffic slowdowns when a bloody accident happens on the highway.

    Here's my view on the TC. You can agree with me, disagree, think I'm brilliant, or find me irritating and obnoxious. It's all the same to me, as I really don't believe there's any way to please everyone, especially the way that the sides puff up and present their "data" on this topic.

    1) I don't know how much money Wayland will receive in increased taxes from this project. No one does. More importantly, I don't care how much.
    2) I also don't know how much additional traffic this will generate. Once again, I really don't care.
    3) I also don't know what the "impact" on our precious water disposal process will be. Once again, I really don't care.
    4) Finally I don't know whether or not two points of entry/egress will create a big problem that one point will avoid. Guess what? I don't care about this either.

    Now that I have your attention, let me tell you why I don't care. It's not that I'm an elitist snob (sorry to take that one away so quickly). It's also not that I'm a Gen "Y" that only cares about himself (hopefully this doesn't offend all the Gen "Y"'s out there reading this -- I know how you feel about broad generalizations). The reason I don't care about any of these things is simply because the Town Center is a great concept that is badly needed by this town. It's needed to create a true feeling of "town". It's needed to provide a reason for new families with young children to want to move here. It's needed to take 40 minutes a week off many residents round trip commuting time to Sudbury to pump their money into Sudbury's tax base so that they can buy groceries. (No, Whole Foods or whatever it's called now is NOT an acceptable substitute, nor is Donelans). So, why don't I care about any of these "hot" and "important" issues that a (yes, dare I say it?) relatively SMALL minority of people who are personally adversely affected by them are using as a way to kill this project? Simple. There are solutions for them all, that will come if the change is allowed to happen. The tax question will be answered with time. And so what if we get $500K vs. $1M in net tax benefits? As you point out, neither of these numbers are significant percentages of our overall budget. So who cares? And why is it SO important that we know the exact number up front? As for the water issues, guess what? We have the problem anyways EVEN IF THE TC IS NEVER BUILT. So, let's stop using that as a tool to beat down a valuable project, and just solve it. The cost is the cost, and we either need it, or we don't. If we need it, stop whining, and let's just do it already. Traffic is NOT going to become unbearable because of the existence of the TC. You can produce all the reports you want from partisan traffic engineers, but I can (and have) done the same using different partisan traffic engineers, and the results are not conclusive. Will traffic increase? Sure. Will it take some time for the new traffic patterns to settle down? They always do. Will we wind up with a reasonable homeostasis that allows the town to function? I'm willing to bet a significant sum that we will. Assuming that we get this silly debate off the table and actually build the TC.

    Feel free to bash me personally professionally and politically if you'd like. I've had enough of this debate, and will peacefully watch from the sidelines from this point on. (Yeah, I'm probably lying -- it's just too tempting!! )

    G'night all.
    Carl

  15. #30
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    Wink Thank you for your candor

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Rosenblatt View Post
    Feel free to bash me personally professionally and politically if you'd like. I've had enough of this debate, and will peacefully watch from the sidelines from this point on. (Yeah, I'm probably lying -- it's just too tempting!! )
    Carl
    Dear Carl,

    I would never think of calling you an elitist snob.
    I would never think of calling you a Gen Y.
    I would never think of calling you a liar.
    and I will only bash if I get bashed first.

    I appreciate the candor in your last response. I now understand why the presentation of facts showing all of the problems to the various stakeholders really didn't make a dent in your opinion. You just don't care and I didn't realize that. For that I apologize.

    [We do agree on one thing here. I'll take the $500K in tax revenue (albeit small for the scope of the effort) if we had a TC that 'fits our town' at least. Over the desolate 57 acres we have now.]

    But this time you didn't come at me or others with various unsavory titles or bring up one's previous employer and I appreciate that too.

    This time you stated how you feel and why you feel that way and I respect that.

    So I am ok with Carl and Alan agreeing to disagree on the details of the issues with the TC as to whether the TC actually does 'fit our town'.

    Good night to you too.

    Alan

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