Tuesday night's Planning Board public hearing drew significantly fewer residents than previous sessions regarding the redevelopment plans for 150 Main Street, also known as the Finnerty's site.
Still, passionate response to the project emerged.
Planning Board Chairman Kent Greenawalt explained that the town's traffic expert had not had sufficient time to review the traffic studies and Main Street curbcut request, so the hearing would not address those items. Instead, the hearing focused on the developers' request for a reduction in required parking and approval for parking in a residential zone as well as some design elements of the buildings.
When it comes to parking, attorney Ann Sobolewski explained, the developers are seeking approval to construct fewer spaces than would be required under Wayland's bylaw. Under Wayland's parking requirements, the proposed project requires 176 total spaces, with two of those spaces going with the relocated residence being proposed and for which no special allowance is being requested.
For the 174 commercial spaces, however, the developers are requesting that number be reduced to 136 spaces. There are 119 spaces with the current Finnerty's building and several of those are located on residentially zoned land, a special allowance that developers Matthew Levy and Jesse Adelman are seeking for their project as well.
The reduction request was one that members of the Planning Board seemed pleased to see, with Colleen Sheehan saying the board members, "know that the town has an extremely high parking threshold," and adding that she couldn't see how reducing the amount of asphalt at the site would be a bad move.
The board, in fact, asked whether developers would consider land-banking 17 spots in a far back corner and constructing only 119 parking spaces to start, with the right to construct those additional 17 should they be deemed necessary.
"I’m in favor of going lower," Greenawalt said. "Approving 136, land-banking 17 and having 119 built." He added that the site would provide an opportunity for Wayland to "test and experiment" with what the town's parking ratio should be.
Several members of the public spoke up not to protest fewer parking spaces, but to question why a development that required so many spaces under the town's bylaws would be permitted at the site to begin with.
"Make the entire project smaller so that maybe it could all be done by right," resident Paul Bernotas said.
Bethann Monahan, an abutter to the project, said she was attending her first hearing on the matter -- having not been notified by the town about the project -- and found that she was "shocked by the size of the development on this tiny corner."
But another resident, LeeAnn Yolin, said she was pleased with the project and just wanted to see it move forward.
"I like the project," she said. "It will advance us economically, and it will advance us socially. I think this is a huge benefit to the community."
In addition to the parking discussion, project architect Andrew Cohen explained some of the design features for both the proposed CVS and the mixed-use building, many of which have been adjusted through conversations with the Design Review Advisory Board.
He said the CVS, an 11,990-square-foot building, features Colonial style elements and will be dark taupe in color, though the trim color is pending.
The second building, a mixed-use building featuring a restaurant and some other food-based retail on the first floor and professional office space on the second floor, was designed to look like a couple of smaller buildings rather than a "monolithic mass," Cohen said.
Each floor of the second building is about 7,100 square feet for a total building area of about 14,200 square feet.
"It echos, to a certain extent, some of the features that were in Cochituate Village around the turn of the century, specifically Grange Hall," Cohen said.
The Design Review Board is awaiting some additional color palette decisions before it conducts a final vote on the project, but those decisions are expected soon.
The Planning Board did not take any votes on the project Tuesday night, but will continue the hearing on Jan. 15, at which point it hopes to discuss traffic and landscape elements for the project.