Zieff offers to reduce his plan by 25% -- far from enough for safety
During the mediation session with the attorneys for Wayland and the West Suburban YMCA, Mr. Zieff showed his first sign of flexibility. He apparently offered to reduce the number of units by ~25% - from 60 to roughly 45. This is far from the reduction needed to avoid sewage contamination in Pine Brook and YMCA Camp Chickami, plus Zieff still hasn't delivered a flood zone study. The safety of hundreds of kids should not be negotiable. Click here to see our letter to the ZBA and Wayland Town officials and managers.
Zieff appealed to HAC on 1 February
Mr. Zieff, the developer behind the Monster 40B apartment complex, refused to reduce the size of his huge 4 story, 89 bedroom apartment complex. He appealed the Wayland ZBA's decision on 1 February to the MassHousing 'Housing Appeals Committee' (HAC). Click here to see a PDF copy of Zieff's appeal.
We are coordinating with the Town of Wayland and the West Suburban YMCA to defend the Wayland ZBA's fair and reasonable decision.
The Mahoney Family supports Zieff: We contacted the Mahoney family before
Mr. Zieff filed his appeal and encouraged Tom and Susan Mahoney to choose a better alternative. The amended 'Purchase & Sale' agreement runs month-to-month, so they could end the deal with Zieff. We told them that other developers were interested in their property, for a smaller building that will match the limitations of
the site, preserve Pine Brook and protect Camp Chickami. Tom Mahoney refused, "We do not plan on negotiating with any other developers at this time."
The Wayland ZBA voted on Mr. Zieff's 'Cascade' 40B proposal at their final hearing on 8 January. Click here to see a PDF copy of their decision.
Five key points:
The ZBA denied all of the significant waivers Zieff requested, which will force a significant reduction in the size of the building, number of units and sewage load next to Pine Brook. In short, the ZBA did not approve Mr. Zieff's plan for a huge four story apartment complex with 60 units and 89 bedrooms -- at the former site of Mahoney's Garden Center on Route 20 in Wayland.
The decision emphasizes threats his plan would create to Pine Brook, public safety and YMCA Camp Chickami.
Section 5 on pages 5 and 6 was added after the last hearing, (apparently drafted by Thomas White and David Katz) and highlights key issues behind the ZBA's decision. They did an excellent job.
20 days to file an appeal: Mr. Zieff has 20 days to file an appeal, from the day the ZBA's decision is filed.
We should all say "Thank You!" to the volunteer members of our Wayland ZBA: Jonathan M. Sachs, James Grumbach, Thomas White, Aida A. Gennis, David Katz and Shaunt Sarian. They spent 18 months reviewing Mr. Zieff's plan and arguments, hearing evidence against it, and patiently dealt with repeated delays. These volunteers brought significant expertise, which was essential with this complex 40B application.
Mr. Zieff told a reporter from Metrowest Daily News, " the board’s conditions and waiver denials are “burdensome” and exceed the panel’s authority" and he plans to appeal." That said, an appeal to the MA Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) would be costly, requiring attorneys and scientific experts. Mr. Zieff would need to raise additional funds to cover this cost -- between $50K and $100K. Rattling sabres is easy and cheap; fighting another battle would not be.
Thanks to donations from families across Wayland, Protect Wayland hired an attorney and a number of environmental experts and delivered testimony and reports to the ZBA during the 40B hearing, so Wayland's costs to defend an appeal will be significantly reduced. Mr. Zieff's team never attempted to rebut any of our scientific reports, so he will need to find and pay for new scientific studies to support his appeal. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection wants to preserve Pine Brook, the #1 stream for native Eastern Brook Trout in the entire Boston Metrowest area. Plus, the West Suburban YMCA is strongly opposed, hired their own expert, and delivered multiple reports during the hearing. Mr. Zieff would continue to face significant opposition on multiple fronts.
Let's hope Mr. Zieff decides to end this Quixotic battle and looks for a new property without all of these issues.
8 January, 2019: ZBA votes on the 40B Monster!
The ZBA reviewed all of the options and voted on each waiver plus conditions that govern and restrict Mr. Zieff's plan under 40B rules. They agreed to add an important section to be drafted by Thomas White and David Katz, which became Section 5. Finally they voted
18 December: Next to last 'deliberation' session
This became the next-to-last ZBA meeting on Zieff's Monster 40B plan. ZBA members reviewed their options and strategy under 40B rules -- and decided to schedule one more meeting to review the final draft.
4 December: ZBA deliberations - rescheduled
Chairman Sachs could not attend so the deliberation meeting was rescheduled, as noted above.
15 November: ZBA deliberations - important meeting
The "public hearing" was closed so no one could submit more evidence, including Zieff and Protect Wayland. So why was this hearing important? The
ZBA deliberated -- to decide how they wanted to vote.
16 October: Last public hearing on the Monster -- good results
The last public hearing was held on Tuesday, 16 October. As we hoped and expected from the sharp volunteers on the Wayland ZBA, they clearly want to
"keep this in Wayland", subject to review by our Conservation Commission and Board of Health. If they voted down Zieff's 40B plan, he would simply appeal to the Massachusetts Housing Appeals Committee (HAC), which has a mission to promote more "affordable housing". Then off to the MA courts. So this was the best outcome by far.
12 October: Building Commissioner agrees - a flood zone study is required
The Wayland Building Commissioner sent a letter to the ZBA confirming that
a flood zone study is required for the Monster site -- which is covered by a
FEMA 'Special Flood Hazard' area. Mr. Zieff can no longer say, "No!"
> Click here to see a copy of his letter
11 September: Major ZBA hearing on the Monster!
Please join us for this major hearing on Mr. Zieff's plan for a huge apartment complex on Route 20: Tuesday, 11 September at 7pm in the Town Building.
ProtectWayland will make a big presentation.
> Click here to see a copy of our presentation.
14 August: Trout Unlimited letter to the ZBA - require a flood zone study
Greater Boston Trout Unlimited sent a letter to the Wayland ZBA, emphasizing
the need for a flood zone study to protect public health, safety and the unique
Pine Brook environment. GBTU also made a generous donation to our review
of the hydrogeo study. > Click here to see GBTU's letter
14 August: Water quality expert letter to the ZBA -- fix the hydrogeo report
Scott Horsley, the well known water quality expert, sent a letter to the Wayland ZBA highlighting the need to fix basic problems in Zieff's hydrogeo study.
> Click here to see his letter
8 August: ProtectWayland letter to the ZBA - require a flood zone study
The building site for the Monster 40B apartment complex is covered by a 'high
risk' FEMA flood zone, which threatens hundreds of kids a short distance down
stream at YMCA Camp Chickami. We sent a letter to the ZBA emphasizing the
need for a flood zone study -- which Zieff now refuses to deliver.
> Click here to see our letter
26 July: ProtectWayland delivers initial review of hydrogeo report Although
hydrogeo reports are very complex, ProtectWayland's team of experts quickly
found major problems with the data and the way the model is configured. Basic mistakes were made. This review was sent to the ZBA and fowarded to Zieff.
> Click here to see our initial review
17 July: Zieff flip-flops on flood zone study After months of promises that a
flood zone study would be delivered 'soon', Zieff's team announced that "a flood zone study is not required" -- even though the property is in a 'high risk' FEMA flood zone with hundreds of kids at Camp Chickami a short distance downstream. The Wayland Town Attorney and Building Commissioner disagree
with Zieff's claims, along with ProtectWayland's attorney.
10 July: Wayland Building Commissioner - flood zone study required Geoffrey Larsen, Wayland's Building Commissioner, sent a letter to the ZBA stating that
a flood zone study is required by federal law and Massachusetts regulations,
and that Zieff should have delivered it earlier in the 40B hearing process.
> Click here to see the letter
27 June: Zieff finally delivers hydrogeo study After months of promises that the hydrogeo study would be available 'very soon', Zieff finally delivered one. Wayland's peer reviewer quickly found that major pieces are missing, and Protect Wayland experts found major problems with the data and model. (See our list of issues above.)
27 June: ZBA hearing CANCELED at last minute The developer behind the Monster 40B, Steven Zieff, canceled the ZBA hearing on Thursday, 28 June.
His new excuse was flimsy at best.
26 June: OARS sends new letter -- vote NO on the 40B Monster The president
of OARS sent a new letter to the Wayland ZBA highlighting the threats created
by Mr. Zieff's huge apartment complex -- asking our ZBA to vote NO.
> Click here to see the letter
19 June: Trout Unlimited sends new letter opposing the 40B Monster
The president of Greater Boston Trout Unlimited delivered a new letter to the Wayland ZBA opposing Mr. Zieff's plan. > Click here to see the letter
18 June: Powerful new letter from the YMCA re threats to Camp Chickami
The president of the West Suburban YMCA, Jack Fucci, delivered a powerful letter to the Wayland ZBA and Town department heads, highlighting risks to Camp Chickami and the behavior of Mr. Zieff. > Click here to see the letter
14 June: Next ZBA hearing is now TBD! After thee ZBA hearing cancellations
in a row, you might think Mr. Zieff wants to be fully prepared for the hearing on
28 June. The Wayland ZBA required three documents: (1) The long-awaited hydrogeo study, (2) The final list of waivers from Wayland zoning rules and regulations, and (3) A flood zone study. Mr. Zieff's attorney agreed to these requirements and the documents were supposed to be delivered by Thursday, 14 June, two weeks prior to the hearing on 28 June.
Nope! Mr. Zieff did not deliver any documents by the close of business on Thursday, 14 June -- and did not notify the Wayland Building Department or ZBA of delays or problems. At 6:48 pm he sent an email: no hydrogeo report due to a "mathematical issue." No flood zone study because Zieff now claims it is not required. He did include the final list of waivers -- but refused to answer most of the questions from Wayland departments. This deprives our Wayland ZBA of the evidence it needs to make an informed decision.
> Click here to see a copy of Mr. Zieff's email and documents
Key point: In February, Mr. Zieff blamed unavailable and busy contractors for repeated delays with the hydrogeo study in Wayland. Now the delay is due a "mathematical issue." He delivered the hydrogeo study for his 40B in Milford before he filed the 40B Comprehensive Permit. No problems in Milford, but 11 months of delay in Wayland? Mr. Zieff's rolling excuses are threadbare.
April: Board of Health votes against the Monster 5-0: "...Eden Management as of this date has failed to provide data and access that permits the Board of Health to grant the developer's waiver requests." Click here to see the Board's April 11 memo to the ZBA along with letters describing their concerns.
March and April: Zieff cancels ZBA hearings -- twice! Steven Zieff, the developer behind the 40B Monster, canceled the ZBA hearing in March because he was not ready. Then he canceled the April hearing, because he was still not prepared. Then Zieff promised to deliver an "outline" of the missing reports he plans to deliver to the ZBA and when. Did it arrive as promised? Nope. The next ZBA hearing will be Tuesday, 22 May, maybe! We will let you know if he cancels again: contact us
February 27: ProtectWayland experts and attorney made powerful presentations at the ZBA hearing and delivered new evidence of serious health risks to children at Camp Chickami. Click here to see our presentation and letters to the ZBA.
January 25: ProtectWayland presented major problems with Monster V2 at the ZBA hearing. Click here to see a copy of our presentation.
December 20: 40B developer Steven Zieff unveiled "Version 2" of his plan at the ZBA hearing. We were hoping that he listened to Wayland's concerns, understood the risks to children at Camp Chickami, read the Wetlands and Rivers Protection Acts -- and reduced the size of his development. Nope.
His Monster V2 is just as big and bad as the first, and worse in some areas.
Click here to see how Zieff's New Monster will look.
December 20: Temple Shir Tikva delivered a significant letter to the Wayland ZBA highlighting the value of Pine Brook and threats to children at YMCA Camp Chickami. Click here to see a copy of this letter.
November 29: Protect Wayland environmental scientists, civil engineering firm and attorney made a major presentation at the ZBA hearing. We finally had
an opportunity to present our evidence against the Monster. Click here to see
a copy of our presentation and expert reports.
October 27: OARS sends powerful letter to the ZBA on risks to Pine Brook
Alison Field-Juma, Executive Director of OARS, sent a powerful letter to the
Wayland ZBA describing the risks to Pine Brook and wildlife. Did you know
that Pine Brook is one of the last, and the best, streams for native Brook Trout
in the entire Metrowest area? Click here to see a copy of the OARS letter.
October 26: Developer delivers a 'traffic study' -- full of errors
Zieff hired a company to do a traffic study to prove that his big apartment building will have no impact. Wayland residents laughed when they heard the results at the October ZBA hearing. Guess what they claim your average speed
is on Route 20, eastbound toward Boston during the peak of the morning commute? Stop-and-go? 5mph? No -- 28 mph! Unfortunately, the 'peer review' that Wayland paid for was also inadequate. Click here to see our review of the basic problems with Zieff's traffic study and the peer review.
YMCA sends letter to ZBA highlighting risks to children at Camp Chickami
Jack Fucci, President of the West Suburban YMCA, hired an engineer to review
the Monster plans and sent a letter to the Wayland ZBA highlighting the risks to
hundreds of children at Camp Chickami. Mr. Fucci also spoke at the ZBA
hearing in September. Click here to see a copy of the YMCA letter.
August 22, 2017: Large crowd shuts down first Wayland ZBA hearing!
Great job Wayland! Despite the summer vacation season, more than 170 Wayland citizens turned out for the first Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on
the Monster. We filled the 'large' meeting room in the Town Building -- with our crowd spilling out into the hallway outside. We exceeded the capacity of
the room, so the ZBA had to open the hearing, immediately shut it down and reschedule.
July 25, 2017: Zieff filed 40B 'Comprehensive Permit' app for huge building
The developer, Steven Zieff, submitted his application for a 40B Comprehensive Permit to the Wayland Zoning Board of Appeals. This started the clock on the fast and developer-friendly 40B process. Click here for more information on Zieff's huge new 'Cascade' plan -- this would be the largest building in Wayland, more massive than Wayland High School, and the biggest building on Route 20 for 35 miles, from Worcester to Watertown. Click on "Learn More" to see detailed information on the 40B process.
June, 2017: Tom Mahoney confirms the sale to Zieff was extended
The original Purchase & Sale agreement between the Mahoney family and Steven Zieff expired in early July of 2017. Tom Mahoney confirmed that they
extended the term of this agreement. We hoped to talk to the Mahoneys about
our positive proposal, but they are bound by the purchase & sale agreement
May, 2017: Public hearing with the Wayland Conservation Commission
Two sessions were held with the environmental engineering company hired by Zieff, and final boundaries for the wetlands along Pine Brook were agreed to.
This 'ANRAD' plan is critical; it is the basis for the set-backs (resource areas)
that must be protected from development. (A copy can be downloaded from the
'Documents' page under "Learn More'.)
April, 2017: Public meeting scheduled with Zieff - but he canceled
We wanted to meet with Mr. Zieff so that we could learn more about his plans and he could hear Wayland's concerns. Zieff agreed, we scheduled a room in
the Town Building, and arranged for WayCam coverage so everyone in Wayland could see it. A "Come to the meeting" notice was broadcast on 28 April, but Zieff canceled later the same day, saying, "...we will get back to you to coordinate a better date at a later time." We have heard nothing from him since.
February, 2017: Public hearing with Wayland Housing Partnership
Zieff presented his plan for the 'Brookside' development in a public hearing.
His behavior led to a note at the end of the WHP's minutes: "Post meeting note: Upon hearing of Mr. Zieff’s behavior at the meeting, the Wayland Police Chief suggested that any such future behavior on the part of Mr. Zieff would warrant a call to the police
and his removal from a public meeting." (A copy of the meeting minutes can be downloaded from the 'Documents' page under "Learn More.)
July, 2016: Wayland Board of Selectmen respond
The Wayland BoS sent a letter to MassHousing asking them to oppose Zieff's
initial application for site approval. (A copy of this letter can be downloaded from the 'Documents' page under "Learn More.)
June, 2016: Zieff filed his initial 40B application
Zieff filed his initial 40B 'site approval' application with MassHousing. This is a preliminary step; the real 40B grind begins when a developer files an application for a Comprehensive Permit. This is what we are currently awaiting from Mr. Zieff. The initial application includes a wealth of useful information, however,
e.g. the size of the buildings, number of bedrooms and parking spaces, etc.
(A copy of this application can be downloaded from the 'Documents' page under "Learn More'.)