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Finnerty's Redevelopment 'Moving in the Right Direction' Even With Postponed Hearing

The continuation of the public hearing for the Wayland site has been postponed until Dec. 4.

The continuation of the public hearing for the Finnerty's redevelopment has once again been postponed, this time until Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Developers Matthew Levy and Jesse Adelman first met with the Planning Board at a public hearing on Sept. 4. The continuation of that hearing has since been postponed on several occasions.

The delay in the hearing, however, doesn't mean that work hasn't continued.

Two veteran restaurateurs have signed an agreement to open an as-yet-unnamed restaurant at the property located on the corner of Main and West Plain streets. Additionally, Levy and Adelman have been working on the overall site plan, which has been proposed as a two building development: One building a CVS and the other a restaurant with some additional commericial and office space.

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"Working off the feedback from the Planning Board in our first public meeting, we have been making changes based on public's and Design Review Committee's feedback," Adelman explained in an email. "These changes require us to partner with our tenants and take some time. We are moving in the right direction and look forward to being back in front of the Planning Board shortly."

The continuation of the hearing is currently scheduled to take place Dec. 4.

Jesse Adelman November 29, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Next round... Curb Cut RT 27 continued-Pedestrian safety: A car would like to enter the Finnerty’s center, if there is no curb cut on RT27 the cars heading south towards the light that would like to take a right into Finnerty’s are going to need to travel through the light and turn right on West Plain St. This brings them through two pedestrian cross walks and across a curb cut on West Plain. The bottom line is cars traveling on RT27 south will intersect with more pedestrians at more distinct points than they would if they could enter on RT27. From a “right out” perspective this is more about distribution of traffic and reduction of “high risk” maneuvers. If you force a car to head out a WP street curb cut and they are heading North/South on 27 or continuing down East Plain Street they have a forced left. Given the queuing that can happen during certain hours those cars are going to have to cross a traffic lane…this can and does create frustration and bad behavior that creates more risk of accidents and pedestrian interactions. If you can give drivers a right-out option it creates better flow and a safer exit through the curb cuts….also why would you route all your traffic out across from the fields. We believe that our site creates the safest and best engineered corner at that intersection. Our amended site’s curb cuts
Jesse Adelman November 29, 2012 at 01:08 AM
all sit significantly back from the lights, each curb cut will be marked with a clear cross walk, our sidewalks are elevated, our cuts are narrower and the line of sight between cars and pedestrians is optimal…no obstructed views, cars can see people and people can see cars. Furthermore we will try and do a few strategic things that create additional improvement such as create a walkway that “cuts the corner” at the light so that pedestrians/bikers traveling 27 to WP street don’t have to progress to the corner and can cut the angle if that makes sense. This is the contention of our traffic engineer, the logic and counts are currently being peer- reviewed as commissioned by the town. If the two engineers are not in agreement we will of course reconsider.
Jesse Adelman November 29, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Drive-thru Well we are not totally on the same page regarding the effects of the drive-thru but I guess you can’t argue air quality…bottom line the issues we were trying to solve for the drive-thru were more about aesthetics than air quality. The design review group asked us to get it off RT 27 and move it to the back or side of the building. Without getting into details; with two buildings on the lot this became very problematic. Our solution for this was to remove the drive-thru all together. So based on the two building plan the drive-thru is not part of our new plan.
Jesse Adelman November 29, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Traffic Finnerty’s has been closed for a long time; over 7 years so there is no question that a closed business generates less traffic than and open one. I am actually waiting on the final comparison numbers from our traffic engineer currently, should have them soon but what I do know is that the traffic generated by the new Finnerty’s development will be about the same as the Finnerty’s restaurant. I realize some will read this and have their doubts but the numbers are no conjured and based on state guidelines. At any rate this will also be reviewed by the town’s traffic engineer and discussed. I think traffic that is in and about the same as the previous use is a fair ask on our part.
Jesse Adelman November 29, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Signage: I am going to have to punt on signage as I have a few things to research for CVS. We are shooting for a plate and blade signs on the mixed retail building. The blade signs are not in Wayland Zoning code so they require approval by the zoning board. Since they are in line with the village effect and will not be overly large I anticipate ZBA would be willing but we’ll see. Also to be clear the overall lighting of this site will be consistent with community of which it sits…i.e. not RT20 but a village. No outdoor fluorescents just high efficiency LED’s that are meant to accentuate building details and not create the feeling that a spaceship is landing….You will also get a sense for the signage when the updated renderings are released.
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I appreciate your substantive comments. Let's stay off the silly discussion regarding anonymity, I have demonstrated its legitimacy and historic roots in American debate. Admit when you are simply wrong.
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:22 PM
The trucks need both lanes to turn around upon return, traffic exiting and entering the site will impede the southbound lane. The frontage on Route 27 is minimal, so a curbcut will be directly across from the firehouse, I do not see how the right turn only solves the problem. I agree that it is better than cars exiting the site seeking to turn left, but is still creates congestion and an obstacle for emergency vehicles.
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I think we can assume that the patron traveling to the site from the north will need to proceed north from the site to return home. So when he exits he will turn left on Plain and cross the same crosswalks and make a left on 27. Traffic may access the site from 4 directions east on Plain which crosses 2 crosswalks at intersection of Plain and 27, west on Plain which crosses proposed crosswalks for ballfields and development, north on 27 which crosses 2 crosswalks at intersection of 27 and Plain and south on 27 which will not cross crosswalks if you have the curbcut. That logic seems tortured, why does crossing the pedestrian access matter for the southbound route 27 driver, but not for drivers coming from the other three directions? In terms of routing traffic out across from the ballfields, I am not a fan of this, but it is less dangerous than the alternative. What is really demonstrated by the discussion is that a site situated across from ballfields on one side and a firehouse on the other side (with no other point of ingress or egress) is ill suited for a project creating this volume of traffic.
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:37 PM
good
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:50 PM
I find it hard to believe that an 11,000 square foot CVS and an ancillary building will create a similar traffic flow to that of Finnerty's. As I understand it you want to have a restaurant and other retail and office space in addition to the CVS. The restaurant alone will duplicate finnerty's, but the bigger issue is CVS. Restaurants are busy between 12-2 pm and 5-10 pm. CVS has traffic all day and at a greater volume than a restaurant. I read the traffic study, the additional volume from your study (which is probably erring on the low end) is estimated to be 1650 vehicle trips per day. I don't think Finnerty's served that many people in a week and restaurant patrons, as opposed to CVS patrons, usually ride together. Eating a meal at a restaurant is a social event, getting a prescription is a personal matter.
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
There is basically no illuminated signage in the village now. So illuminated signage, no matter how efficient, is not consistent with the area,
Jeff Baron November 29, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Wrong is an opinion. Anonymity is wrong, IN MY OPINION. I, personally, put zero value on the opinions of those unwilling to stand up for them in an identifiable way. I hardly think the disucssion is "silly". That being said, kudos to Jesse for taking as much time as he did to respond to your points regardless of how he felt about the "anonymity" issue. As previously hypothesized, these guys are more than willing to work as hard as possible to make this project work for all of Wayland while still making it work for them.
Wayland Resident November 29, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Mr. Baron, "wrong" is sometimes an opinion and sometimes a fact. For example, 2 + 2=5. Wrong and a fact. I think what you are trying to say that in this case the conclusion that your inflexible and hyperbolic position, that an anonymous opinion is "worthless, of zero value etc." is wrong, and constitutes an opinion. I beg to differ, particularly in light of my specific examples to you. I have demonstrated that anonymous opinions have been quite valuable and of great value historically. As such, one must conclude that your opinion is wrong. If not, then you are dismissing the Federalist Papers and Poor Richard's Almanac, among other writings, as worthless and of zero value. Is that what you believe? Or is it that anonymity is ok sometimes, but not in this case? You cannot have it both ways.
Jeff Baron November 29, 2012 at 09:17 PM
I have been restricting my comments to anonymity here. I really haven't given much thought to other venues. Without really thinking it through, I'd say I favor ID over anonymity because it legitimizes the commentary more. However, I guess I don't see any problem with "Or is it that anonymity is ok sometimes, but not in this case?" It is NOT OK in this case (in my opinion) -- even though permitted by the rules.
Cynthia Hill December 02, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Mr Baron, you are like a broken record...if you don't wish to engage with the "Wayland Resident", then why do you continue? I speak only for myself, but I don't really care what you think. I care about another CVS in Wayland and where it plans to be located. For some reason, surely financial, the developers won't budge from CVS, even though nobody wants it...it's not a question of no developing, it's what's going to live in their village. They deserve to get what they want, they should all be heard, and above all, they must be respected.
Donnie Gladu December 02, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Bet yet the Town center project will have no air quality issues ?? And who told you that it will be dangerous with an entrance from the fire station ? Wasn't a problem when the restaurant was open. How do I know you ask ?? Because I grew up in Cochituate. I look at the signs in the yards and I can tell you that most of those residents did not live there or grow up here. So I am guessing that no matter the fight at hand you will not win the battle. Plus it just amazes me that you spend lots of your hard earned money on signs and the like to try and fight something that is going to happen anyways. The small town look and feel have gone with the wind. Sorry but true. P.S. I hear some parts of NH. and Vermont still have the small town feel you are looking for and the taxes are lower also. Not afraid to have my name shown.
Doug Alongi December 02, 2012 at 03:48 PM
My name is Doug Alongi and I live on Bogren Lane in Cochituate. I have been following the events related to the development of what use to be Finnerty's and am looking forward to attending this weeks meeting in order to learn more about the proposed development. A few things which intitially come to mind: - The current land is zoned as commercial property - Residents who live near the property, I have to assume but do not know, were and have been aware the property is and has been zoned as commercial property - Traffic often appears on many streets, especially those named Main Street - Any and all of us had the opportunity to purchase the land, myself included and decided against doing so for various reasons I have met with the developers, in an attempt to educate myself and walked away with the following thoughts: - Reasonable people who are trying to bring something nice to Wayland - Town residents who are looking to capture a ROI (this in my mind isn't a bad thing) I look forward to having a walking desitination for all Cochituate families to enjoy. Also, Natick has a mall, what is being proposed here isn't what most consider to be a mall. Again, I am looking forward to Tuesday's meeting as it will serve as another opportunity to further educate myself on this project.
Jesse Adelman December 02, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Hi Cynthia, The reason for CVS is a financial one. When we say it needs to be CVS it is not out of disrespect we are not being indignant we are just trying to bring the project forward. Building commercial is expensive, in Wayland especially. We have no town sewer so it is all septic, our septic regulations, as you know, are stringent. The buildings, site work, septic, landscaping is expensive. To build a commercial property you need to borrow money. Banks lend money based on the credit of the leaseholders, the larger or more stable an organization is the better the financing situation. We started this project to create an outdoor gathering space, create smaller retail and amenities for the area and that is what we are trying to move forward. Can’t a project has a CVS and still be respectful? Fit the neighborhood? For a site like Finnerty’s a credit worthy anchor tenant is in many cases is going to be a bank or pharmacy…that is why they keep popping up in Wayland and they do serve a purpose. We came across no others in over a year of effort as we have spent a lot of time speaking to many types of tenants. This mix we brought forth represents the best compromise and does achieve our initial objectives in many ways. Our site from a density (lot coverage), frontage, and roof heights etc ….is all is very much in scale with the neighborhood and the other commercial projects in Cochituate. We have done the analysis and I promise you this is true.
Jesse Adelman December 02, 2012 at 04:37 PM
The progress we have made with the design review has been great, the look and feel of the buildings works and is line with the architecture in the neighborhood, the CVS is custom and the mixed retail takes characteristics from the old Grange Hall that occupied the site in the late 1800’s. We are bringing over 2.5X the green space presented to the street that Finnerty’s had. We are planting over 60 Evergreen and Ornamental Trees, 328 shrubs, 460 perennials, grasses and groundcover and installing over 440 linear feet of stone walls to the site. We have signed a great “best of boston” restaurant and would like to offer outdoor seating, we are shooting for other small retail for the project and there is no question in my mind that we will find it if this project gets permitted. Our mixed retail building has bike racks, benches and patio area, grassy space to congregate, the CVS will have a large grassy area and stone walls and likely a walkway connecting 27 with West Plain St. Our buildings are built closer to the street with parking in the back to foster the “village feel”. The sidewalks abut the buildings to foster a walking environment. All of our sidewalks are elevated, our crosswalks are clearly marked and there are no obstructed views between drivers and walkers/bikers. It will be the best engineered and safest site on that corner with curb cut’s set furthest from the intersection as compared to other properties.
Jesse Adelman December 02, 2012 at 04:37 PM
We have worked incredibly hard on the looks, the approachability, scale and fit. On Tuesday we will be updating on the overall site plan and then taking comments from the public. Very shortly following we will be back in front of the design review for a public meet with updates from the building and again taking public comment. I urge you to give this a chance before you pass judgment…..
Jeff Baron December 02, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Talk about lack of respect..."I don't care what you think"? Guess what, Cynthia, I pay taxes in Wayland like everyone else who lives here. I have one voice. Each person in Cochituate has one voice as well. All view points have equal merit. Just because one lives near the site does not give said person more of a voice than mine. I respect anyone who has a point of view AND is willing to own up to it. Wayland Resident does not fit that description. You do, however, despite your disrespectful approach. I just vehemtly disagree that those in the "village" deserve anything more than any other person paying taxes in Wayland. They deserve an equal voice, but not a greater one.
Wayland Resident December 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The comments of the Design Review Board are scathing. The Design Review Board does not feel that the proposal is in keeping with the area or well conceived. The argument that "we need CVS or we can't get financing" is hollow. That is a consideration to be made before acquiring the site. What the developer is really saying is that one cannot get non-recourse financing with higher loan to value ratios without a high credit tenant. Again, consideration to be made before acquiring the site. A local development with not national retailers would be financable with lower leverage and personal recourse. Again, the goal is a windfall at the expense of the safety of the town residents and the esthetics of the area. Mr. Alongi, I agree with your comments for the most part, however, bear in mind that the proposed project requires multiple forms of zoning relief. Therefore the analysis of "coming to the nuisance" (i.e. you bought near a commercially zoned area) is not the end of the analysis. As I have said before, if the developer proposed a plan which did not require special permits for parking and a variance for an ill advised curbcut, there would be no position to the contrary, as the project would be allowed as of right. In this case, the developer is seeking special treatment in order to maximize profits. That is the objection.
Wayland Resident December 02, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Mr. Baron, please note that abutting landowners are afforded greater rights under the law than town residents. Only abutters have standing to appeal the granting of relief by a municipal zoning authority. Therefore the statement "Just because one lives near the site does not give said person more of a voice than mine" is incorrect, to the extent that "one" is an abutting landowner.
Jeff Baron December 02, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Fair enough, but a legal distinction. I was speaking in the more global sense. Nobody in town owns the "village" and nobody deserves their viewpoint any more than another. That was my point.
Wayland Resident December 02, 2012 at 11:37 PM
While each is entitled to his opinion, only the abutters, who are village residents, have standing in certain instances. Therefore their opinions actually are afforded more import under our legal system. Certainly though you are entitled to your opinion.
Jeff Baron December 03, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Ok. But they have no right to stop a project that needs no relief. CVS needs no (or incredibly minior) relief if it is the only thing on the property. My fear is that is exactly where we're heading. They can appeal, delay, etc. However, eventually, CVS goes in. I continue to vote for a multi-use project as opposed to a stand-alone CVS...
Wayland Transparent December 03, 2012 at 02:01 AM
What about the neon lights at the dry cleaner...it makes the area look seedy and the store look like a tattoo parlor.
Wayland Resident December 03, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Mr. Baron, you once again advocate the false dilemma of a CVS only or a CVS plus 14,000 square feet of additional retail and office space. The former has NEVER been proposed. Only the latter, including the curb cut (which requires a variance), commercial parking in a residential zone (which requires a special permit), oversized illuminated signage (which requires a special permit and a drive through (which requires a special permit). A standalone CVS with no curb cut, illuminated signage or drive through still requires a special permit for parking. Although I would not favor this concept, it could be screened and setback and would not create the eyesore of the proportion density and signage. Moreover, without the drive through or curb cut it would not pose the safety issues of the current proposal. That said, the CVS alone has not been proposed, merely threatened as a less attractive alternative to extort zoning relief for the larger project. In reality, I do not think you see CVS without the curbcut and signage. That is why we have not seen the CVS only proposal. If the current plan is not approved it clears the path for ONY the desirable ancillary uses. Despite the groaning a of the developers, this type of project could be financed with lower leverage and some personal recourse. That type of project should be the goal. Again, CVS is only in the equation to maximize loan proceeds and eliminate developer exposure to recourse.
guess who December 03, 2012 at 06:01 PM
You all need to get a life and I WANT CVS.......You others can go to Rite Aid where it smells dirty and gross........
DP December 03, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I agree – this is great news! I am excited for a new restaurant and for the CVS. The drive to the Wayland CVS takes about 20 minutes one-way and that is before the upcoming huge traffic of the New Town Center (which will be a nightmare). I understand the apprehension of some neighbors but also find that there are only signs in a few yards against this development. As a matter of fact, I walked my neighborhood and found on 7 streets with about 130 houses, there are only 2 yards with signs. This sounds like the same arguments when Starbucks wanted to set up shop in Wayland and now it is a great business strip and not a mall. Starbucks and Einstein’s have a nice setup outside for people to enjoy and I haven’t heard of any major problems. I applaud the developers in cleaning up the area. I am tired of looking at the rundown Finnety’s building. Let’s move forward and bring in some businesses that can help with our taxes plus our conveniences.

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