A proposal for 17 residential units at a former horse farm on Old Billerica Road has been reduced to 13.
The revised plan was presented at a continued Bedford Planning Board public hearing last week. The hearing, which began back on Sept. 27, 2022, will continue on April 10.
Attorney Pamela Brown, representing Bilca, LLC, shared updated concept plans, in which units were reduced and moved to create additional distance and buffers with abutting properties. Bilca is seeking a special permit for a planned residential development at 251A and 251F Old Billerica Road.
Answering a question from board member Chris Gittins, Brown said the revised plans reflect additional efforts to preserve open spaces and address neighboring residents’ concerns regarding density. She acknowledged that the new plans would eliminate two affordable units.
The development comprises two existing houses, including one at 229 Old Billerica Road which is considered the oldest house in Bedford. The 10 new buildings include a townhouse with two units.
The site is part of a four-property syndicate agreement dating to the 1950s. Brown noted that the other three syndicate members are “committed to making this work one way or another.”
Board member Amy Lloyd asked if the parcel will remain part of the syndicate. Brown stated two units will because they form an access point, but the other units will be removed from the syndicate through a revision to the agreement.
Board Chair Steven Hagan offered general approval for the revisions and expressed his appreciation for the consideration of both the board’s and residents’ concerns.
Several area residents presented specific questions and concerns.
Larry Croes said he and other abutters were asking that the crosswalk be moved, but not the entire sidewalk. Brown explained that the current positioning of the crosswalk as listed in the plans was considered to be the most feasible option.
Lloyd and Gittins shared Croes’s concerns regarding sidewalk placement. Gittins ultimately determined that sidewalk placement was beyond the scope of the Planning Board’s authority and recommended that it not be considered a factor in the decision to grant the permit.
Patricia Lennon requested that an exterior lighting plan be provided to abutters and asked that she be included in any conversation regarding landscaping. Lloyd agreed that an exterior lighting plan would be helpful. Brown confirmed that the snow storage area has been moved per the Board’s previous request.
Abutter Don Kennedy requested that greater consideration be given to water discharge and tree removal and asked that he be included when abutters are permitted to walk the grounds. Paul Schuman asked if residents should approach the landscapers directly with their landscaping concerns. Brown agreed that it made more sense to approach the landscapers directly.
Schuman also asked if it would be possible for the electrical line near his property to be placed underground. Hagan clarified that any electrical-related questions would be better answered by the developers at a later time.