The Planning Board met Oct. 12 for a conceptual discussion of the current Woodmont Commons Phase 1 Site Plan with Pillsbury Realty Development, represented by Attorney Ari Pollack of Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell and Jeff Kevan from TF Moran, a Bedford engineering company.
Woodmont is a proposed 600-plus-acre Planned Unit Development (PUD).
Pillsbury hopes to formally submit the Phase 1 Site Plan for approval in November. The company also plans to ask for a conditional use permit at that time.
The permit would “allow some encroachment into the wetland buffer along what will become our connector roadway and what we have been naming Michels Way,” Pollack said.
Retail and residential use of the site is projected to begin in 18 months.
On Aug. 3 of this year the development company showed the Planning Board an initial version of the site plan. Before the Wednesday, Oct. 12 meeting they worked on refining their proposal after having received recommendations for approval from the Conservation Commission.
According to Kevan, “the layout has not changed dramatically” but has gone through modifications.
The site plan now includes 20 additional housing units. A previously proposed assisted living facility has been removed from the project, to be added at a later date.
“An additional commercial area” has also been added, Pollack said, with allocation for a new 66,000-square-foot office building behind Market Basket with a “substantial amount of parking area.”
Planning Board alternate member Ted Combes asked if there was a lack of demand or interest in the assisted living facility.
“No, actually, there is demand for that type of facility and we are pursuing those discussions, but it wasn’t ready to move forward in Phase 1,” Pollack said.
According to Pollack, Pillsbury didn’t want to slow down the rest of the plans because the plans for the assisted living facility piece of the project were not ready.
“There’s more of an engineering issue there we’re dealing with. It’s not a lack of interest,” Pollack said.
Other concerns raised by the board included sidewalks and traffic patterns for the proposed roads.
Alternate board member Ann Chiampa asked whether or not a light or stop sign would be installed at the intersection of the two proposed roads, Michels Way and Garden Lane.
“There isn’t a proposed light. When we’re completed, there will be two lanes in each direction and a turn pocket,” Kevan said. “I think right now a traffic engineer is still working out exactly what that configuration will be as far as who’s stopping, who isn’t.”
Changes to the original plan have also been made in regard to the site’s environmental impact. Pillsbury will no longer be cutting existing trees and will instead be cutting back into the apple orchard area, Kevan said, noting that the change negates the need for a wetlands permit.
“In addition to that as part of the PUD reg (regulation), we’re preserving three rows of the apple trees adjacent to Pillsbury Road and then going in and implementing various landscaping and whatnot to enhance that. We feel this will be a good passive recreation area for the development,” Kevan said.
At the end of the discussion Pollack praised the town’s efforts in regard to the project.
“It’s a large project and it’s a large phase of a large project and I have to say the process has been agreeable, I think, for all parties and certainly for us. The town staff has been very accommodating in terms of our desire to move what is a large project along quickly,” Pollack said.
Planning Board Chairman Arthur Rugg spoke positively of the project as well.
“This is our first project of our first PUD, so it’s like new waters for all of us. So far, so good,” Rugg said.
In other business, the Planning Board approved an application for construction of a 702-plus or minus- square-foot uncovered deck to be built on the second floor of Twins Smoke Shop at 80 Perkins Road. The deck will be accessed seasonally from the cigar lounge.
The proposed deck will be built on the easterly end of the building. The traffic pattern will remain unchanged. Traffic generated by the smoke shop is also expected to remain unchanged as well.