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Stop the Monster: Two sides of the debate

WSPN's Naomi Lathan and Julia Callini present two sides of the debate over the new apartment complex coming to Wayland.

WSPN's Naomi Lathan and Julia Callini present two sides of the debate over the new apartment complex coming to Wayland.

WSPN's Naomi Lathan and Julia Callini present two sides of the debate over the new apartment complex coming to Wayland.

WSPN's Naomi Lathan and Julia Callini present two sides of the debate over the new apartment complex coming to Wayland.

Stop the Monster: Two sides of the debate

October 2, 2017

Opinion: For the Monster

A new invasive species has been introduced to Wayland, Mass. “Stop the Monster” signs have grown like weeds in what feels like every yard in town.

What is “the Monster?” It’s an apartment complex of affordable housing. I know, the audacity….

Because the new apartments would be classified under affordable housing, people with an income below Wayland residents’ median income would be able to pay for the housing. I believe that more affordable housing could enhance Wayland as a community.

Wayland schools are some of the best in the country, and affordable housing would provide a wider range of students with the opportunity to attend good schools.

Not only would the introduction of affordable housing offer opportunities to more people, it would also improve the experience of those who already live in Wayland. I consider myself a minority in Wayland, not only as a black student in the school system, but also as someone who doesn’t come from a long history of wealth. My mother always worked — something completely normal for most of America, but out of the ordinary for kids in Wayland. People never understood why my mom didn’t have time to cut up 50 oranges for my soccer games because everyone I knew had stay-at-home moms. The inability of my friends to understand something that is so normal to most Americans revealed to me how out of touch many of the people who live here are. The introduction of more affordable housing would make Wayland less isolated.

As plans for the new housing development continue further and further on their path to realization, Wayland residents have found many reasons to be against it. There have been complaints about everything from more traffic to a possible increase in calls to the fire department, but the real issue lies in the effect that the new development would have on the image of our historical town.

There are real problems with the development. It would have a damaging effect on the surrounding environment, and concerns about the effect on the water and the sewage of the town are understandable. While these issues are on the edge of people’s radars, they are seldom what drives the passion that most people possess about the development.

The signs in people’s yards don’t read “protect our environment.” The giant red words say “bigger than Walmart.” People fear that it would destroy the small-town feel of Wayland.

When I realized that one of the biggest arguments against a structure that could increase the economic and cultural diversity of this bubble of a town is that it “might make the town look like Framingham,” (a concern voiced by the Protect Wayland coalition) I realized that the residents of Wayland are truly teetering on the line of elitism.

This invasive species has gone too far. It’s time to kill the weed.

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  1. H. David Thoreau on October 6th, 2017 2:52 PM

    It sounds as if the author of this letter has a personal axe to grind because their experience growing up in Wayland wasn’t as optimal as it was for others. The author states “The introduction of more affordable housing would make Wayland less isolated.”

    If you’re feeling “isolated” why don’t you move out of Wayland and into the city? The solution isn’t to bring the city to Wayland!

    Some people want to see everything go wrong for you because nothing is going right for them. Jealousy, Greed, & Envy won’t get you far in life, because you will always feel discontent & unhappy about yourself, your life and the people around you.

    We live in Wayland because we like living in a small town out of the hustle&bustle of the city!

  2. Mark Hays for Protect Wayland on April 6th, 2019 11:13 PM

    With all due respect to Ms. Lathan, Wayland residents are not opposed to affordable housing. The “Monster” 40B apartment complex is designed for developer profits, not people. That is why so many “Stop the Monster” signs have been posted across town. For example, our members proposed a much smaller development with 24 units that would all be affordable; the Monster apartment complex would only provide 15 affordable units.

    The author also appears to have overlooked the key problems the Monster apartment complex would create. Pine Brook crosses the property, and is the #1 habitat for native Eastern Brook Trout in the entire Boston Metro area according to MA Fisheries & Wildlife. Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is just 1 mile downstream, so everything that affects Pine Brook will also affect the Wildlife Refuge. The Monster apartment complex would generate 3.9 million gallons of sewage every year — equal to the volume of 20 New England Aquariums dumped on this small site. The water table is high, so where would all of this sewage go? Into Pine Brook. The developer’s own ‘hydrogeo study’ showed that raw sewage would break out (reach the surface) in a number of places along Pine Brook — so this isn’t simply an allegation. See: Watch the underwater video that Scott Sweeney shot of Eastern Brook Trout in Pine Brook.

    … and what is a short distance downstream from the site? YMCA Camp Chickami, where hundreds of kids play in and around Pine Brook every summer. Our scientific experts showed that viruses and bacteria from all of that sewage would flow into Camp Chickami — obviously a serious risk to health and safety. How many Wayland High School students enjoyed summers at Camp Chickami? Our son did, and this development is a clear threat.

    In summary, Wayland’s opposition to this developer’s Monster apartment complex is not simply NIMBY or “elitism”. We want to protect Wayland from developers who focus on profits -not people.

    For more info please see:

    Mark Hays for Protect Wayland

Opinion: Stop the Monster

Suburban America is growing in size. Whether it be portion sizes, waistlines, or housing, Americans love oversized everything. This includes “The Monster,” a four-story, eighty-nine bedroom apartment complex that would cause severe social, economic and environmental damage to Wayland’s community.

If this monstrosity of a building goes up, the stream of traffic would be endless. Traffic is miserable on the weekend; between The Islamic Center of Boston, Temple Shir Tikvah, The Carriage Houses and Prime 13, it’s already backed up enough in that area, especially on the weekends. Traffic backs up all the way to the Sandy Burr on weekends, and if one hundred more cars are added to the mix, it will only increase the gridlock. This would not only be frustrating to the citizens of Wayland, it would also frustrate anyone who takes Route 20 on a regular basis.

If The Monster’s construction continues, the price and value of houses around The Monster, along with other houses in Wayland, will drop drastically. According to an estimate on the 2016 Wayland annual report, values will decrease as much as five percent over the next five years. Take away five percent from the price of the average house in Wayland, which is $700,100, and houses in that area drop to $665,095; that’s almost a $40,000 decrease. That’s $40,000 away from college, insurance and 401k’s. There are 170 homes on Boston Post Road, where The Monster will be built, and all of them will likely lose value. Homes within a mile of The Monster would retain the majority of their value, but lose some of it due to the new, high-tech development going up in their town.

The water supply in Wayland has been deteriorating for the past decade. To throw another 90 bathrooms, kitchens, washing machines, sprinklers and other water-products into the mix would throw off the entire water system, and possibly create water bans more frequently.

“The Monster” is next to Pinebrook Waterline, which connects to the Great Meadows National Refuge and Sudbury River. The 100+ toilets that will be placed in these buildings will spew over 10,000 gallons of nitrogen-filled sewage a day. It would literally dump crap into our water supply, not to mention the potential runoff it would cause.

The sewage would also run into and affect the wildlife, especially endangered species such as the Wood turtle, the Blue-spotted salamander, and the Copperhead snake, just to name a few. This would affect the ecosystem in ways such as overpopulation of other species, flooding and possibly leading to the extinction of other animals.

If this complex was to go up, it would have an irreversible effect on Wayland and its surrounding communities. We need to stop it before we regret the consequences of this monstrosity.

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  1. Karl Marx on October 3rd, 2017 10:23 AM

    What a load of malarky! Clearly the bourgeois Wayland property owners fear their estates will be devalued by the new affordable housing unit which they have ironically deemed “the Monster”, when they are the monsters themselves. The gentry also want to bar working class folks from immigrating here since they want the town to remain upperclass and white! Even a child could see through the “protecting the environment” smokescreen they’re spewing out when the truth is so much more sinister!

  2. SP on October 9th, 2017 11:23 AM

    I am right in the area of the monster, I know certain areas of Wayland will be backed up such as from Brothers in Weston up to the Town Center if this goes through, if this goes through there MUST BE a traffic light/turning lanes at the Rt-20/Old Conn Path intersection.

  3. Frederick Engels on October 14th, 2017 12:29 PM

    Amen, brother

  4. Stephanie Smoot on November 11th, 2017 10:23 PM

    Good argument, Julia. There will be many impacts and the traffic will be intolerable.

    I’m sorry to say that I have no love for the statewide Affordable Housing Program promoted by Naomi. In my opinion, the rules are way too inflexible to be helpful to many local residents who need housing.

    Despite that, were it possible, I’d rather see smaller clusters of housing, maybe ten units at a time, that are more in scale with other buildings in the area.