Planning Board Unanimously OKs Senior Assisted Living Facility

The Planning Board granted with a 6-0 vote final approval for a senior assisted living facility, which members noted is greatly needed in town.

“We have a lot of people asking us for assisted living. We’re glad you brought this to us,” Mary Soares said.

The Board additionally granted waivers to the site plan regulations related to the maximum scale of the site plan, which will allow the site to be illustrated on a single sheet; as well as requiring the plan to indicate and label all monuments.

The 58,000-square-foot building will feature 58 units, including two-bedroom assisted living units and 13 apartments in “special care,” as well as common spaces, such as a living room, dining room, a commercial kitchen, and an elevator, according to Stephen Humphreys of EIA Architects in Massachusetts.

In August, the Zoning  Board granted the developer relief to allow the construction of the 58 units where 27 are allowed, due to the difficulty of developing the 5 acre site.

“In order to develop a meaningful project, we’ve taken a look at the other projects that the client has successfully developed and what size you need and how many rooms you need to operate a facility of this type, and come up with a plan that fits on the site appropriately. That plan reflects 58 units,” Atty. Morgan Hollis, representing Senior Housing Development, LLC, told the Zoning Board of Adjustment in August.

The Planning Board additionally granted an exemption to residential phasing requirements.

Traffic was taken into account in planning for the facility, and the developer will fund proposed road improvements, including an upgrade of the shoulders on Route 102 (Nashua Road) and the widening of Meadow Drive, Geographic Information System Manager John Vogl told the board.

Golen Drive will become the private common driveway for the site and the elderly housing approved on the lot to the east.

Town Planner Cynthia May told the board the developer has agreed to enter into an agreement limiting the facility to 150 seniors.

The developers previously met with the Heritage Commission and the Conservation Commission.

George Chadwick of Bedford Design Associates told the board the Conservation Commission had no comments regarding the proposal, and the Heritage Commission “praised the developer.”

The board expressed concern regarding what would happen in an event where power is lost.

Ben Wells, vice president of business development for Senior Housing, informed the board the facility has a generator and could arrange other living situations in the event of a prolonged emergency.

“We have made do in the past,” Wells said, noting Senior Housing has 14 other facilities, one of which operates in Massachusetts.

Moving forward, Senior Housing must prepare an agreement certifying the project will be utilized and restricted to elderly occupants over the age of 55.

No construction or site work may begin until after the pre-construction meeting with Town staff.

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