"Ask the Town Administrator!" - Question & Responses

*Note: questions may have been modified for brevity and/or to capture similar questions being asked


MISCELLANEOUS

8.21.2021A partially dead Town tree has been dropping very large limbs onto my driveway and has damaged my picket fence. I have reported this to DPW and the debris is quickly removed -- but the threatening tree has not been taken down. I know such work must be contracted out -- and in the past, DPW was quite responsive about such things. There is a hold-up somewhere. When my husband was on the DPW Board just a few years ago, he was very impressed with how much DPW accomplished well on a limited budget. I hope DPW is not being unduly restricted from doing what they normally would do well. In particular, town trees should be removed when they prove to be a liability to the Town and a danger to people and property. – Margery B 

Hello Margery thank you for your question.

The Department of Public Works keeps an inventory of Town owned trees and identifies those that will need various work performed on them that range from simple trimming to full removal. They identify these trees in various ways, with the most common being from their annual tree hearing where they identify trees that are especially hazardous.  As you can imagine, they prioritize these trees for removal most of all.  This current year, there has been many trees that have required work performed on them and they are hard at work ensuring they get to every tree that has been identified as potentially hazardous.  With that said, I was able to speak with someone at the DPW regarding your situation and they already have your tree identified and expect to address it sometime in the coming weeks.    I hope that answers your question. 

8.21.2021Why is the town beach closed so much? Camps can use it but paid public cannot? I will not accept answer regarding water quality or invasive growth as Framingham keeps their parks open. – Brian S 

Each town and city conducts its own testing of water quality, in conjunction with Massachusetts’s Department of Public Health (MDPH). Test results vary depending on the location of the beaches of certain bodies of water.  The North Pond of Lake Cochituate, where the Town Beach is located, gets regularly tested by both the Board of Health and the State to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.  Earlier this summer, results came back from testing of the Town Beach with levels of Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae bloom) higher than the guideline level set by the MDPH.  These high levels are deemed unsafe for both people and pets to swim in and ingest.  In order to protect the health and safety of beach users, and under the instruction of MDPH, the Recreation Department and Wayland Health Department closed the Town Beach for all activities. The camps continued, however, because they are fully staffed and officially licensed by the MDPH to operate at the Town Beach (they do not enter or go near the water). Unfortunately, in the subsequent weeks, the lake water at the Town Beach failed to pass the next consecutive tests, one week apart. The advisory, therefore, was not lifted. Starting August 11, the Recreation Department reopened the Town Beach to the public.  The park area and amenities will be available but swimming will continue to be prohibited.  In addition, the Recreation Department has already begun refunding 50% of the fees to all 2021 beach season pass holders and have provided free day passes for all Wayland Residents free.  Click the link below for more information regarding the test results and availability of certain amenities at the Town Beach.  It is our hope that you understand that the Town did not make this decision lightly and were following the instructions provided by MDPH. 

https://www.wayland.ma.us/town-beach/news/update-town-beach-re-opens-park-areas-lake-cochituate-remains-closed-until-further

8.9.2021 – Hello, I would like to thank the various building, gas, plumbing, and electrical inspectors for their professionalism and assistance with the projects we have done on our home. We absolutely recognize their work and the building department represent an important resource for homeowners to ensure work is being done properly and safely by contractors for our protection. I am sure they have to deal with a lot of grief in trying to protect the homeowners’ best interests so I wanted to convey my sincere appreciation for the work that they do. – Donald W 

Hello Donald, thank you so much for your comment!  The Building Department works hard to get through the dozens of applications and inquiries that get submitted to them every day and I am glad your experience with them was so positive.  I have forwarded along your comment to the Building Commissioner and staff and they are very appreciative to hear that their hard work does not go unnoticed! 


OPERATIONAL & CAPITAL BUDGETING

8.21.2021 - How come we aren't harvesting weeds from the Town Beach? I believe this should be part of the rec budget every other year or so. – Linda M 

Hello Linda. Thank you for your question.

Extensive vegetation removal does indeed occur at the Wayland Town Beach. The timing of when it occurs is dependent on many factors including weather and severity of the growth to name a couple. More often than not the removal occurs in mid-June and may be done again later in the season if the vegetation returns. 

The funds for the cost of this vegetation removal comes from the user fees (season and day passes) that are generated every year for the use of the Town Beach.


LOKER FIELD & FIELD PLANNING

8.11.2021 - Hello, I’ve been reading a number of disconcerting posts on social media regarding the future of the playing fields in town, including something about a back channel effort to raise private funds to build an artificial turf field with a vote to accept a gift by the Board of Selectmen.

It’s hard to know what is fact and what is fiction.

Can you let the us know what the short and medium term plan is to ensure our kids and fellow residents have sufficient fields in town, which are sorely lacking?

Thanks
– Scott W

Hello Scott, thank you for your question.

In reading your question; I understand you to be asking about the Loker Field Project. On May 16, 2021 Wayland Town Meeting voted against the article that would have funded the construction of a Turf Field at the Loker Site.  The article, which would have required a 2/3 vote, failed by a vote of 340 – 383. 

It is important to note that the permitting application and process for the Loker Field started before 2021 Town Meeting. The decision to continue with the permitting process, after the decision at Annual Town Meeting, was at the request of members of the Recreation Commission. The 2017 Special Town Meeting authorized the Town to expend funds for design services for the development of a turf field at the Loker Recreation Site.  These funds included construction documents for the lighting, drainage, landscaping, access and parking at the Loker Site which would then require permitting from various boards and committees in Town, including the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for a special permit for the illumination of the field.  This most recent undertaking to obtain permitting was actually the second time this project went through the process, with the first special permit application being withdrawn without prejudice due to the pandemic and the changing of membership within ZBA. With the ZBA membership again changing, and the possibility of undertaking the permitting process for a third time, the decision was made to complete the process now. 

Even though the permitting process has now been completed, there has been no decision or short term plan made on the future of the project and what it will possibly consist of moving forward. 

Additionally, there is no effort, either public or private, that I am aware of to raise funds privately to pay for the construction of the field at Loker. While it is possible for private funding to be raised to build an artificial turf field, the process would be difficult and would require many hurdles to be overcome. This would include obtaining the Board of Selectmen’s approval to accept any such funds as a gift for the purpose of building an artificial turf field. 

On August 30, the Board of Selectmen will hold a virtual and in person forum to discuss current and future field needs and how we can address those needs successfully and in a timely manner.  This forum will solicit feedback from all stakeholders, including members of the public, to assist us in developing a short term and long term plan moving forward. We invite any and all persons interested to please come and provide their feedback.  We will advertise this event and send out an announcement on our website in the coming days so all those interested in attending are aware.  


CLIMATE ACTION GOAL

7.15.2021 - Has the Town looked into the potential switch from Town Owned Gas powered mowers to Electric powered mowers? – Lana C

Hello Lana, thank you for your question and being the first to utilize this new tool for residents to be heard and have their questions answered. 

This is a very interesting suggestion that the Energy & Climate Committee has already identified as a potential option for the Town to pursue in the future.  The Department of Public Works (DPW) is aware of the desire of the community to be green in more daily Town operations and we continue to monitor the product landscape as new technology becomes available. Currently, we utilize a number of gas powered mowers of various sizes, two of which have the capability to cut a width of 16 feet, to maintain Town owned properties, including conservation sites, cemeteries, municipal buildings and recreation fields.  In the coming weeks I will ask the Energy & Climate Committee to look into this further and provide some viable options moving forward.  I will ask their report to focus on:

  • Product research to identify what products, if any, are available that can accomplish the tasks required by the Town
  • Energy-benefit analysis of any potential switch

We will use this report to determine whether and when to implement the use of electric powered mowers.


COMMUNICATION AND DIVERSITY EQUITY & INCLUSION

7.15.2021 - Could you provide an update to the Town Administrator’s Racial Advisory Group and the Police Chief Search?  How can a person interested in the search be involved in the process?  - Jeff K

Hello Jeff, thank you for your question.  The Town Administrator’s Racial Justice Advisory Group (RJG), specifically the Policing subgroup, held an integral role in developing the survey that will be used to gather community input in the Police Chief Search. With the creation of the new Human Rights, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (HRDEI) Committee, the RJG has successfully completed the goals set out for them by the Board of Selectmen and will no longer be needed to meet.  We thank them for all their hard work this past year and hope they continue to devote their time to make Wayland a more inclusive community. Some former RJG members have already chosen to continue to serve by becoming a part of this new HRDEI Committee.

The Policing survey will soon be distributed and made available to the community.  The information gathered will assist in identifying the priorities of the community as it relates to the profile of the Wayland Police Chief and police interaction with residents, businesses and visitors. This information is particularly important as we work to hire a new Police Chief. A public community forum will be held in early September to discuss the details of the Police Chief search and gather public input to present to the interview committee to use for final interviews.  Please check the Town website where we will plan to provide more information as the process continues.  


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

7.15.2021 - Hello and thank you for welcoming questions from residents. My husband and I moved to Wayland in 2015 - we love it! We’re concerned with the number of vacancies in Town Center as well as the small shopping center where Water Lily and Wholefoods used to be. Wayland is a central spot, connects many great towns and is a pass through to Sudbury and points west. So, why are we so challenged with bringing in shops and restaurants? – Jennifer J

Hello Jennifer, thank you for your kind words and we love that you and your family love Wayland!

There are many factors as to why some buildings along Route 20 have remained vacant.  These factors include cost of rent, private leases not being exercised, and infrastructure challenges including wastewater. 

The Town completed the sale of the River’s Edge Development at 490 Boston Post Road early this year.  With its expected completion sometime in 2022, the 218 unit development will bring a new boost of residents to the Route 20 area as well provide a substantial user to the Wastewater Management District which may lower the wastewater usage rate for all users as well as expand the discharge capacity allowing for new businesses to come in.   

Your question touches on a larger goal that the Town and Board of Selectmen have identified as a priority, which is to look at the entirety of the Route 20 Corridor and find ways to revitalize and improve that section of Wayland. In the coming weeks a survey will be distributed and made available to the community.  The information gathered will assist the Town in identifying the priorities of the community as it relates to the Route 20 Corridor.  These priorities will then assist the Town as it works to identify potential projects and obtaining grants to help make this section a more desirable location for businesses and residents alike. 


PFAS

7.15.2021 - What is the status of the PFAs treatment facility? Thank you! – Jennifer J 

The Board of Public Works voted at its meeting on June 30, 2021 to move forward with a short term lease of a PFAS treatment system for the Happy Hollow wells.  By short-term, I mean two to four years while we work on a long-term solution.  The Town has already completed the Request for Quotes (RFQ) process and is negotiating the contract with the preferred vendor for the implementation of the PFAS treatment system. The treatment system must still be approved by DEP prior to implementation.    If approved by DEP, the Town expects having the treatment system fully operational and online by mid-October. 

In the meantime, residents who identify as part of the sensitive subgroups (pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants less than one year old and people with compromised immune systems) may apply for our Water Rebate Program that applies a credit to their water bill.   Please visit the Town’s PFAS webpage to receive the most up to date information and to apply for the rebate. 

https://www.wayland.ma.us/pfas