Planning Board Supports a Revised Site Plan for Ultragenyx Facility

A major new local employer moved one step closer to realization Tuesday when the Planning Board approved a revised Middlesex Turnpike site plan for a production facility for the biopharmaceutical company Ultragenyx

The so-called Bedford Woods location, a four-lot industrial park that was first addressed by the Planning Board in 1999, is at the northern extremity of the turnpike, near the Billerica line. The board approved plans for one of two undeveloped lots.

All five members – Chair Jeffrey Cohen, Jacinda Barbehenn, Steven Hagan, Shawn Hanegan, and Amy Lloyd – supported the proposed two-story, 100,000-square-foot structure.

Planning Director Tony Fields said after the meeting that the developer, Gutierrez Co., intends to break ground in a few weeks and has about a year to complete the building shell. Then Ultragenyx will take another year to “fit it out for very specific needs.”

Before work can begin, the developer needs to meet with the Department of Public Works to project short- and long-term water and sewer demand, as well as the Fire Department for discussion of hydrant placement, water pressure, and possible additional emergency access.

Scott Weiss, Gutierrez vice president of development, explained the project and answered questions and concerns. Also on the panel of the Zoom webinar format was Alyssa Sandoval, the town’s director of economic development who was instrumental in getting Ultragenyx to commit to Bedford.

Long-rage plans call for the construction of an adjacent building. Asked by the board about the timing of this phase, Weiss said it will be dependent on the success of products by the California-based company. Ultragenyx makes treatments for rare diseases.

Board members addressed a number of details with the developer. Lloyd called for replacing proposed ornamental trees with taller shade trees. There was also concern about the impact of some of the trees on driver visibility.

The current plan is for 250 parking spaces, which are fewer than in the 1999 approval. Barbehenn suggested that the firm affiliate with the Middlesex 3 traffic management association. The plan also includes bicycle accommodations and equipment pads for generators and air handling.

Hagan, who is also a member of the Conservation Commission, was concerned about the potential of snow removal into surrounding wetlands and encouraged a snow storage plan. Other topics included safety signage and a bus shelter in the access road.

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