Legislator halting progress on Westwood Station store

Candace Hall

Incensed that the developer of Westwood Station is not doing its part to improve traffic infrastructure around Route 95, Rep.William Galvin is holding up a bill that would grant a wine and beer permit to its anchor store, Wegmans.  

“I intend to hold it up until the end of the session, at the end of January,” Galvin, D-Canton, said.

Westwood Station is under construction now, and is mostly based in Westwood along University Avenue, but a small section of it is located in Canton. 

Though the developer—Cabot, Cabot, and Forbes—says about 90 percent of its retailers are booked, it has yet to get a final commitment from Wegmans grocery store, which would provide its biggest draw. 

In order to seal the deal, the Town of Westwood needs to get a home permit for a beer and wine permit. That means the town, which was dry until several years ago, has to get approval from selectmen, other town officials and Town Meeting before it can grant liquor licenses to retailers.

Galvin has been holding up the bill (H4832) in the state legislature by doubting the presence of a quorum, a tactic that automatically ends informal sessions in the House.  

Though Galvin says he has no ill feelings towards Wegmans or Westwood, he is upset the developer has failed to negotiate a reasonable deal for Canton concerning traffic. He says traffic right now is very heavy, and the town would like to see more improvements.

“Right now, my responsibilities are to my constituents,” he said.

Selectmen Chair Robert Burr has said he could not comment on negotiations between the developer and the town, and he said he is waiting to get approval from town council before he can comment. But Galvin said the town and the developer have been in litigation, and they made an informal agreement for traffic improvements, but that the developer refused to put the agreement in writing.

Galvin says the disagreement is based on the construction of a multi-lane bridge to alleviate traffic. He says the station is expected to generate about 60,000 additional cars.

Cabot President Jay Doherty says he would not comment on the negotiations with the town, but noted he’s not worried about the holdup. He said he is confident the bill will pass when the State Legislature goes into formal session

The project is scheduled for completion in 2017, but the first phase is likely to be complete in 2011. 

Galvin says the development does not get final approval until the state issues a final permit and he says the Town of Canton can appeal the decision and delay the project a couple of years.