By Dot Bergin
After more than two years of discussion with the General Services Administration (GSA) on the Town’s proposal to purchase the former Coast Guard houses on Pine Hill Road, Mickelson Lane, and Lewis Road Pine Hill Road (16 units in total), there is finally progress to report.
At the Bedford Housing Partnership meeting on February 25, Assistant Town Manager Michael Rosen reported that the Town had received a letter on February 17 from the GSA requesting Bedford to put in a bid for the five acre property. The Town has 60 days from that date to submit a purchase price.
As Rosen explained, it has now been two years since the property was appraised and real estate values have changed. Rosen has requested a re-appraisal, or update, to determine an accurate purchase price. The appraiser commented to Rosen that since 2014 real estate prices have gone up.
If the process goes as anticipated, Bedford will submit its purchase price to the GSA. If accepted, the actual purchaser would be the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT), which has the authority to buy and sell land without Town Meeting approval. Simultaneously, the Town would sell the property to a developer. If all goes as anticipated, the Town will issue a Request for Proposal to developers and would then select one to develop the site.
On March 16, there will be a back-to-back meeting of MAHT, with a Bedford Housing Partnership meeting immediately following, in the Second Floor Conference Room of Town Hall to review the timeline. The MAHT meeting will begin at 7 pm, and interested townspeople are invited to attend the non-executive session parts of the meeting.
The Bedford Citizen first began writing about the so-called Coast Guard housing in October 2013, when the Town made its initial inquiries about the property. For years, residents have speculated about the unoccupied homes, many expressing the wish that these modestly-sized units could be made available to seniors or to young families. Then in the spring of 2014, two design charrettes were held to allow citizens to express their wishes about the development of the Pine Hill property.
Consensus was that townspeople would prefer cottage style, cluster housing on the site, rather than large, single family homes. The charrettes identified the need for senior housing and housing for young families; homes of modest scale and good design, with amenities such as community gardens were preferred.
The Bedford Citizen first published a story about the Coast Guard housing in December, 2012:
Correction, on March 1, 2016: The March 16 MAHT (Municiapal Affordable Housing Trust) meeting will take place at 7 pm instead of at 6:30 pm as previously reported, and while the public is invited to the part of the meeting that is not in executive session, it will be a regular meeting, not be a public hearing. According to Assistant Town Manager Michael Rosen, the time for public hearings on this matter will likely be some time in the future.