Opinion: For the Monster

Naomi Lathan

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.