Lengthy Hearing on Old Billerica Road Proposal Continues

May 26, 2023

Landscaped buffering and exterior lighting were on the table as the Bedford Planning Board on Tuesday continued its prolonged public hearing on a 13-unit subdivision proposed for a former horse farm at 251A and 251F Old Billerica Rd.

And the board voted to again continue the hearing, this time to June 13.

The meeting began with a presentation of revised concept plans by Daniel Carr and Jay Miller. Carr stated that his team provided additional information regarding the stormwater drainage in response to the Department of Public Works’ request.

Miller presented changes to the landscaping plan, including adding trees to the evergreen buffers separating the development and abutters. He further noted that evergreen buffers have been added between the individual units. 

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Miller also highlighted his team’s efforts to preserve as much vegetation as possible, and described efforts to minimize the impact of exterior lighting on neighboring properties. He additionally emphasized that the size of the lights was chosen in an effort to ensure roadway safety and prevent vandalism. 

Neighbor Michelle Puntillo argued that the road does not need additional lighting as there is limited pedestrian traffic. Town Planning Director Tony Fields explained that there are lighting standards that must be adhered to in order to maintain consistent illumination and roadway safety. 

Resident Stephen Andress expressed concerns that the evergreen buffering may overlap with the planned snow storage space. Miller said that his team moved the trees in question during their latest revision, but also explained that trees can be placed in a snow storage area. 

In answer to a concern, Fields explained that the buffering will need to follow the requirements of the Board and the DPW, which will be enforced by the Code Enforcement Department. 

Planning Board member Jacinda Barbehenn asked that abutters at the Bedfordshire condominium complex consider “their development’s failure to impose buffering standards” that abutters are now asking the Board to implement. Andress replied that it was unfair to conflate the development’s past actions in 1986 with the proposed plans that are under consideration today. 

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