Fall 2016

Quarterly Newsletter

We offer this digest of Town news so residents can keep current on what's happening in Town Government more easily. Be sure to check out the "Stay Informed" section on www.weston.org for subscription options and to follow the work of many of the Town's committees.

New to Weston? Welcome! You can learn more about how Weston's Town Government works at www.weston.org.

Top 5 in News

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.

Nov. drought map

We're Still in a Drought?!

Despite the rain in October, much of the state is still under a drought warning as declared by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Over 80% of the state is experiencing historic drought conditions and several months of significant precipitation is needed in order for water resources - reservoirs, groundwater and stream flow systems - to return to sustainable levels. Governor Baker is asking for communities to continue efforts to conserve water. 

Weston is a part of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), which has a separate drought management plan from the state and to date has not issued any mandatory restrictions. However, because of the state's drought condition the Selectmen issued a mandatory water conservation restriction in July and it is still in effect. 

Due to the continued lack of necessary rainfall, the MWRA is now reporting a "Below Normal" status and is asking consumers to do more to conserve water, both indoor and outdoor. MWRA tips for outdoor water conservation and indoor water conservation are available on its website. 

Weston DPW

Weston's DPW Updates and More

Did you know Weston's Department of Public Works issues a weekly update of completed and ongoing work and projects. Subscribe for email or text notification on the Town's website under "Stay Informed"

Have you seen Weston Media Center's video about the history of Weston's water? There's even a taste test at the end! You can watch it online through Weston Media Center.

Recycling fact

Recycling Facts

Recycling has environmental benefits at every stage in the life cycle of a consumer product—from the raw
material with which it’s made to its final method of disposal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a methodology to communicate the benefits of recycling into concrete terms that are easier to understand, like the one to the right and below. But how does recycling paper and cans equal a gallon of gas?

recycle fact
The EPA begins its comparison by finding the total greenhouse gas emissions of baseline and alternative waste management practices, such as source reduction, combustion and recycling. It then calculates the emissions in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or British thermal units (Btu) to compare against more easily relatable consumptions. For instance, the recovery of 43 million tons of mixed paper results in a reduction of 149 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTOCO2E) emissions. That doesn't mean much to the average person. But the greenhouse gas emissions saved is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions reduction of removing 31 million cars from the road for one year - something the average person can better understand and will hopefully think about the next time they use a piece of paper or a cardboard box. 

Want to learn more about how greenhouse gases affect the earth and how recycling and composting more can help? Visit the EPAs website.
shredded paper

Resident Shredding Day

Weston Police Department is offering a free shredding service to residents so they may safely dispose of old documents with sensitive information. Go to the police station on Nov. 30th from 9:00 a.m. to noon. (yes, the shredded paper will be recycled)

MetroWest Adaptive Recreation Collaborative

The Weston Recreation Department is happy to announce that they are now a part of the Metrowest Adaptive Recreation Collaborative, which will be offering inclusive recreational programming throughout the year for people with physical disabilities and their family and friends. Watch for upcoming announcements from the Weston Recreation Department by subscribing to Recreational Happenings at www.weston.org


All Committee Meeting

On November 5th, the Selectmen hosted a breakfast meeting for all elected and appointed committee members serving the Town of Weston, as a means to share current and upcoming projects in order to foster communication among the various Town bodies.

There are 39 appointed and elected boards and committees comprising over 190 volunteers, with more than 30 of them serving on multiple committees! Do you want to be a part of a strong Weston tradition? Volunteer to serve Town Government. Visit www.weston.org/Volunteer for current opportunities and subscribe to receive notification when new opportunities arise!


Coburn Meadows Restoration

If you have driven along Church Street lately, you may have seen recent clearing of this meadow. The clearing project is part of the Conservation Commission’s plan to restore the wet meadow to provide early succession wetland habitat, which has been declining in eastern Massachusetts.  In addition, this project will restore the meadow to its historic appearance, thereby preserving the historically open aspect of this scenic and well-preserved part of Weston, and provide a vivid reminder of our agricultural heritage.

The loss of open meadows in eastern Massachusetts has resulted in the disappearance of the creatures that live there. By reclaiming a parcel of wet meadow that would otherwise revert to forest, Coburn Meadows may provide habitat for grassland birds such as Bobolinks and Woodcock (pictured right).   Birds of prey, such as American Kestrels and red-tailed hawks can hunt for small mammals living there.  Butterflies such as Tiger Swallowtails, Monarchs, and Fritillaries may feed on wildflower nectar found in meadows. Want to know more about what our Conservation Commission is up to? Subscribe to Conservation Connections for the monthly update.

Stay Informed

Don't miss out on important Town news and information.

Subscribe today for a variety of topics and newsletters.

Follow project progress or just follow committee work by subscribing to receive agendas and minutes of different Town committees and boards.

Watch this short instructional video about how to sign up for email or text notifications.

Powered by CivicSend - A product of CivicPlus