Heritage Commission Satisfied with Changes in Workforce Housing Project

The Heritage Commission is satisfied with changes to plans for a proposed workforce housing development on Stonehenge Road that serve to enhance the residential look of the complex.

Changes to the architectural design of the Residences at MacGregor Cut, which were based on recommendations the Commission submitted at its design review of the development in December, include a switch to more durable, higher quality materials; the addition of about 1,100 feet of stone walls; and the addition of a sidewalk from the end of the parking lot out to Stonehenge Road, where school pick-up is to be.

Architect Dennis Mires said in speaking with the School District, he learned they would prefer the small bus stop shelter planned for construction along Stonehenge be closer to the street, but under town ordinances the structure must meet setback requirements.

Member Pauline Caron asked if parents will be permitted to park along Stonehenge Road and wait for their children’s bus, creating additional traffic issues on a road that is already congested during the morning commute.

Fougere said there will be 10 parking spaces near the bus stop where parents will be able to park and wait.

“We aren’t interested in creating a problem on Stonehenge,” he said. “If it becomes a problem, it’s something management will just have to take care of.”

Property owner Samir Khanna said they will have staff working in an office in the development’s clubhouse to address maintenance or other issues as they arise.

Plans for the workforce housing development include the construction of 12 buildings with 24 units each.

The proposal features three primary building types, each to house one- and two-bedroom units.

The 12 buildings are to be broken into neighborhoods, with each of the buildings in the smaller groupings to feature a different color.

To make the large apartment buildings look more residential, Mires said they enhanced the trim around windows and added molding.

Additionally, they varied the proportion of shingle and clapboard and reorganized the porches, flipping the original design so porches are facing public areas to help break up the façade.

“There’s no doubt you listened and these changes are a step in the right direction and much appreciated,” Geographic Information Systems Manager John Vogl said.

Addressing concerns over trash collection and the need for storage space, Khanna said there will be a trash compactor to the rear of the site featuring a sensor that will alert the waste collection company when the receptacle is full.

And to address Commissioner Jim Butler’s concern that there won’t be enough storage for tenants, Khanna said they plan to make arrangements with a local storage facility.

“In our experience, on-site storage has led to a number of problems, such as tenants leaving items and us having to remove them as trash, things being stolen and the spread of things like bed bugs,” he said. “At a property we built in Epping where we have a storage facility half a mile away, we got a discounted rate for tenants we referred to them.”

The Heritage Commission was satisfied with the changes in the project to address their concerns and agreed to recommend the plan to the Planning Board.

Fougere said they have had their Technical Review Meeting and hope to see the Planning Board in March.