The Wayland Town Green Design Advisory Committee decided Thursday morning that it was comfortable moving forward with landscaping and grading design ideas for the public green in spite of a septic reserve area under part of the area.
Julia Junghanns, Wayland's Director of Public Health, explained that the reserve area is a state mandated space that exists in case the leeching fields, which are located under nearby parking lots, fail.
Junghanns explained that no permanent structures can be erected on the reserve area and that the area would be cleared down to the original soil, including the removal of plantings and any grading material, should the reserve be needed.
"The risk would be how long the soon-to-be existing leeching area will last," Junghanns said, pointing out that restaurants with their kitchen grease "are the No. 1 reason for premature failure of a leeching area." She said with a flow as large as that proposed at Wayland Town Center -- 9,990 gallons per day -- a failure in about 10 years isn't out of the question.
Still, should the system present a problem, Junghanns said, it doesn't necessarily mean that the reserve area will be commissioned into service. If the issue can be mitigated in other ways, that will be considered and the town will have some say in how that mitigation is accomplished.
The Town Center Green Design Committee said that they understood the potential risk and wanted developers to investigate whether the shape of the reserve area could be modified while maintaining the necessary square footage. Re-orienting the reserve area could preserve the ground where the committee hopes to plant trees and create sidewalks in the Town Green.
Either way, the committee said it's comfortable with its current plans and design.
"It is a risk, we understand the risk," said committee chair Colleen Sheehan, "but we want to move ahead.”
Once the decision to move ahead was made, the committee turned its attention to the specific design elements.
Twenty Wayland, the developer of Wayland Town Center, has agreed to plant 25 trees with calipers of 3.5 to 4 inches in the public green space.
Committee member Kathy Schreiber suggested that the developer be consulted to determine whether they would be willing to plant fewer, larger trees as long as the bottom line budget was respected.
"We need to find out whether he cares if we buy a larger tree," Schreiber said, pointing out that varying the size of the trees would give the area a more developed look.
Twenty Wayland has agreed to create the grading of two hills with a flat area between that the committee suggested. The plan at this point is to create the hills using fill from the greater Wayland Town Center project.
In addition to the trees the developer will install, an additional $100,000 from the developer is available, Town Planner Sarkis Sarkisian said, for the town to use in the development of the public green.
“Trees obviously are important," Sarkisian said. "I think we should use the $100,000 we have and get the trees in.”
He added that the first phase would be the work the developer has agreed to complete, Phase 2 could involve spending the additional $100,000 to continue developing the space, and Phase 3 could call for a Town Meeting vote to appropriate additional funds needed to fully develop the space.
Long-term plans for the public green include a non-plastic equipment play area, some benches, walking paths, a bandstand and other ideas.
Confusion remains over who controls the programming of the public green as well as a larger question of who owns the space: Twenty Wayland as the developer or the Town of Wayland.
Recreation Director Nancy McShea said the Recreation Department would be capable of handling the scheduling and programming for the space in the same way it does for other town spaces, but it was critical to know who owned the area.
McShea pointed out that the developer could have different insurance expectations or rights to the space in mind than the Town of Wayland has for its owned recreational areas.
She said she would draft a recommendation to Twenty Wayland, to be looked over and potentially approved by the Recreation Commission on Monday, that would request programming rights and outline the Recreation Department's desire for control of the space.
The committee's design plan for the Public Green is on display at the . An additional display will soon be available at the .