Final Permit Clears the Way for South Road Apartments

January 30, 2023

The Bedford Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday unanimously approved a comprehensive permit that clears the way for building and repurposing a 20-apartment residential development at 330 South Rd.

The vote culminates a process that began in April 2018, switching to a Local Initiative Project (LIP), and stretching over a series of Zoning Board of Appeals meetings that began in late August.

Once that board finished writing the decision, the law provides for a 20-day appeal period.

“We appreciate all the effort of the board, and look forward to seeing it all come to fruition,” Atty. Pamela Brown, representing owners Jennifer and Scott Soillis, told the board. Chair Robert Kalantari replied, “It’s a good project for the town – wishing you the best.”

The so-called Village at Merriam Farm is designated a LIP under a state law that expedites multi-unit developments that include affordable housing units. The Board of Appeals is the last stop in the LIP process after the plan is endorsed by the Select Board and the Housing Partnership and cleared by the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

The Village at Merriam Farms comprises four buildings on close to a two-acre tract on the southeast corner of South Road and Summer Street. Three of the buildings – two barns and a house – are to be repurposed, according to the proposal. There is also a new two-unit townhouse with a garage. Unit size ranges from 460 to 1,960 square feet. 

Traffic and parking were major considerations during the months of negotiations. The plan now provides a second access onto Summer Street.

Thursday the Zoning Board addressed two outstanding issues in the text of the 19-page comprehensive permit.

Members approved waiving water and sewer connection fees for five of the 20 apartments. The fees are about $3,500 per unit. Brown originally requested waivers for all the units; the five reflect the percentage of affordable units required under a LIP. This has been the practice in past smaller developments, according to the code enforcement office.

(There are four affordable units in the Village at Merriam Farm because the owner agreed to rent them at a lower eligibility threshold.)

Also included was allowance of a sign at the main entrance, no more than 20 square feet in area and no more than five feet high.

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