Top 5 Things You Need to Know
1) Special Town Meeting:
TUESDAY, November 29th at 7:00 p.m. in the HS Auditorium. The meeting warrant is online:
- Know the Issues - the warrant is broken down per article with links to additional information and meeting videos so voters can be informed of the requests prior to debate and voting
- Consent Agenda - in an effort to streamline the evening's proceedings, it will be requested that five articles on the warrant (5, 6, 14, 15 & 16) be voted in a single vote. These articles are anticipated to be non-controversial; however, if any voter at Town Meeting wants to pull an article off of the consent agenda so it can be discussed and voted upon separately, the voter simply needs to make the request, and at least ten people must vote to “hold” the article
2) Town Center Improvement Project and Zoning Bylaw Amendment:
These two issues appear on the November 29th Special Town Meeting warrant and are anticipated to be debated.
- Town Center Improvement Project - design and engineering fee requests have been broken out into three different articles so voters can decide how much, if any, of the Town Center should be improved. Learn more about the Level Service, which is the previously deferred upgrades to the road and sidewalks that include necessary ADA and drainage improvements; the Master Plan draft, which is the conceptual design that offers improved pedestrian access and traffic calming solutions; and the Master Plan "Plus" draft, which adds burying the utility lines to the master plan concept. Approval of design and engineering fees for the Master Plan draft will allow the conceptual designs to be further developed through additional public input. Visit www.weston.org/TownCenter for more detailed information and visual renderings of the conceptual design, as well as total project costs and average tax bill impacts
- Proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment - this amendment is seeking to define an allowable minimum rental period for rooms within a single family residential district. This issue arose from neighborhood concerns with the impacts of short-term rentals present to a neighborhood, which our current Zoning Bylaw, as written, cannot appropriately regulate if problems occur due to ambiguity. The Planning Board held a public hearing on Nov. 16th to receive public comment, the video of which is online (mm 08:00)
3) New Smoke Alarm Regulations:
A new set of smoke alarm regulations will go into effect on Dec. 1st that apply to one- and two-family residences built before Jan. 1975 that have not been substantially altered. If built or altered after that date, the smoke alarm requirements are established by the state building code. Working smoke alarms installed prior to Dec. 1, 2016 (that met requirements) can continue to be used until they are 10 years old or have exceeded the manufacturer's recommended life. More details are available online.
4) Upcoming Meetings Regarding the Abandoned Rail Line:
Eversource, which maintains power lines along the right-of-way of the abandoned Mass Central Rail line (3 miles of which bisects Weston just north of Route 20), will be appearing before the Conservation Commission on Dec. 6th at 7:40 p.m. to discuss wetland impacts from its proposed Access Road Improvement Project. This project includes removing the the existing rails and ties and creating a 16’ wide gravel drive for maintenance use. Abutters have been notified and any residents with questions regarding the wetland impacts of this project are encouraged to attend. The Notice of Intent documents, which contain details on the proposed work and impacts within the wetland areas, are available online at www.weston.org/Rail-Line
On December 7th at 7:40 p.m., the Board of Selectmen will hold a public meeting to discuss Eversource's project in greater detail and how it relates to development of a Rail Trail in Weston in the future. Residents with non-wetland related questions are encouraged to attend the Selectmen's meeting to learn more about this project as well as what this will mean for the town as the exploration of utilizing the access road as a rail trail begins.
5) Boston Properties Development at 133 Boston Post Road:
Weston's housing needs and goals were identified in the Housing Production Plan, which noted a shortfall of 246 units of affordable housing and a need for family and senior rental apartments. The property development firm Boston Properties was approached to investigate the possibility of developing rental housing through a friendly 40B process at its Biogen/Monster site so the Town would not have to bear the entirety of the cost to increase affordable housing.
Boston Properties has met with the Planning Board, the Affordable Housing Trust and the Board of Selectmen to begin the discussion of the possibilities and realities. The School Committee is involved, as well. Boston Properties is interested in a friendly process, but did ask for a letter of support so it may continue its investigation. At their meeting on Nov. 15th, the Selectmen approved a First Amendment to the Declaration of Restrictions that was enacted in 2008. This document provides support for the continuing investigation and describes conditions that must be met, which include traffic, school, and fiscal impact studies and school bus analysis. The conceptual outline and the First Amendment to the Declaration of Restrictions are available online.