We received the following letter from Twenty Wayland for publication on our Discussion Forum:

An Open Letter To The Wayland Historic District Commission

Last fall, I promised to provide periodic updates on the Town Center Project. Since then, we have been working through a key permitting issue with the Historic District Commission (HDC). In fact, we are currently engaged in litigation with the HDC and we think it’s important that Wayland residents understand why.

The Certificate of Hardship issued by the HDC imposes certain conditions that are outside the HDC’s jurisdiction; does not recognize current agreements and permits; and provides obligations that prevent the development from moving ahead. Notwithstanding our objections to the Certificate, we are willing to work with the HDC to address their concerns, even though many of the issues are outside the WHDC’s jurisdiction. However, two basic issues require modification before the development can proceed - installing the Rt. 27/126 traffic light.

We have agreed to relocate the planned traffic control box from in front of the Grout-Heard House property to a location closer to the high tension wires at the library. The HDC requested that change to improve the aesthetics in the area. We agreed to incorporate the change if the redesign was technically possible and we could secure the 2/3 town vote necessary to obtain the easements to place the structure on town land. The HDC Certificate did not recognize those contingencies as we requested. If the HDC would agree to modify the condition to take those two parameters (which are out of our control) into consideration, we would have no problem agreeing to the change.

The second issue relates to when the Rt. 27/126 traffic light and improvements are installed. The HDC is concerned that we may never build the project to warrant the improvements. If that is the case, then why should the changes to the historic district be made? We understand the concern. The traffic light is required to correct existing dangerous conditions based on three independent town traffic reports. The intersection was deemed unsafe by the town in 2005 when the first study was commissioned and traffic volumes have not decreased. Not installing the light at such a dangerous intersection that is designed to be pedestrian and bicycle friendly does not make sense.

The HDC Certificate requires us to install the traffic light after we occupy 94,000 sf of commercial space. This requirement conflicts with the Town’s agreement with resident of Glezen Lane to require the traffic light to be installed before we secure a building permit for the project. The HDC’s approach effectively blocks the project because it conflicts with the Glezen Lane agreement and, more importantly, will result in additional traffic flowing through an intersection that is currently a safety problem. We offer this compromise - we will agree that the traffic light and corresponding improvements will not be installed until we have commenced demolition of the 400,000 sf office building and have applied for a building permit for at least 95,000 sf of commercial space. Clearly, we would not demolish the building and spend more than $2 Million on roadway improvements if we were not going building the entire project. This approach will allow for compliance with the Glezen Lane agreement, satisfy the concerns of the HDC reflected in their certificate, and meet the conditions of all permits secured to date.

The resolutions we have proposed will resolve the and greatly improve the likelihood we can begin demolition of the existing office building in the near future. Overlooked in the dispute is our agreement with HDC on more than a dozen conditions including some that are outside the HDC jurisdiction. We look forward to resolving this matter quickly with the HDC. I have commented that some HDC members simply don’t want the project and are ignoring the vision of an overwhelming percentage of residents who voted at three separate town meetings to approve the project. I respectfully request the HDC to sit with us and resolve the two critical issues and prove me wrong.

- Frank Dougherty