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Danforth Developers Seek Updated Mitigation Plan with Wayland

Baystone Development has purchased the land once planned for the Danforth Housing Project and is moving forward with plans for the site.

Selectmen Monday night said they wanted to "percolate" before making a decision about accepting a reduced financial settlement related to a proposed housing project on Old Connecticut Path just over the Wayland line in Framingham.

Baystone Development has completed its purchase of 150-plus acres once proposed for the Danforth Housing Project. Baystone is currently working with Framingham officials to complete preliminary permitting and studies to begin construction.

Roy MacDowell Jr., representing Baystone Development, appeared before the Wayland Board of Selectmen Monday to provide board members with an update on the project now that the purchase of the land is complete. When , the land had not yet been purchased as the company wanted to gauge the support of both Framingham and Wayland before moving forward with the purchase.

The housing development itself isn't in Wayland, but the project will likely affect Wayland's traffic and possibly its water supply, as well as the Pod Meadow Conservation Area.

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The possibility of those effects was such that, in 2005 under the previous plans, Wayland secured a $1.45 million settlement to cover the cost of traffic mitigation, maintaining the nearby conservation land at Pod Meadow, and preparing for well and water issues in Wayland connected to the settlement, among a few other things.

That original project and developer have been scrapped, however, and Baystone has significantly different ideas for the property. Namely a much smaller development -- reduced from more than 500 units to just 360 -- without any commercial element. The smaller development could allow for a renegotiatied settlement, MacDowell explained.

MacDowell emphasized his desire to address the concerns of Wayland officials and residents, but said "over-promising of mitigation not only to Wayland, but much more so to Framingham,” made the project unattainable for the prior developer.

A preliminary traffic study, MacDowell explained, indicated that the new development would add 70 cars in the morning and 90 in the afternoon traveling through the Old Connecticut Path and West Plain Street intersection. It's an increase of 5 or 6 percent.

According to MacDowell, $500,000 would allow for the widening of that intersection as well as the installation of traffic signals and turn lanes.

“This intersection here needs to be done and needs to be done at this scale,” Selectman Joe Nolan said, adding that he is pleased with the reduced size of the development as well as the plans overall. “I’d like to help in any way I can. The West Plain Street corridor in particular, I want to see protected.”

Selectmen said they wanted to spend some time considering the project and the needed mitigation before putting their support fully behind it.

"Given the concerns that have been raised by the public as well as some of the questions from the board, we’re just not in a position to vote on anything tonight,” Chair John Bladon said. "We want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing and not jumping to conclusions. We will be expeditious on our review of this. I think it’s headed in the right direction. I think we can work something out; we just need to do our due diligence.”

MacDowell said that his company hopes to begin work on the project late next spring.

“Our feeling is, if we can’t make a deal with you, we’ll rethink what we’re doing with Framingham," MacDowell said. "We’ve gotta have an understanding with Wayland, we’ve gotta have an agreement with Framingham.”

A website for the project has been established at DanforthGreen.com.

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