By Debra Parkhurst
Representatives for Carleton-Willard Village came before the Selectmen on November 7 to introduce a proposal to construct 10 additional independent living units at 62 and 66 Old Billerica Road.
Those parcels, purchased in 2006, were not part of the permitting and Declaration of Restrictions signed by the Selectmen in 1990 which allowed the construction of Winthrop Terrace at that time. The 1990 Declaration of Restrictions said there would be no additional units, and capped the number of residents at 146.
Attorney Tom Swain explained that this initial meeting with the Selectmen is the beginning of the permitting process, and said Carleton-Willard hopes that the Selectmen would support eliminating the Declaration. The two lots are not now in the Nursing Care District.
Doug Miller, engineer for the project, said that certain areas are under conservation restrictions, and the number of people living in the facility was directly related to the amount of upland on the site. The wetlands have expanded from 11 acres to 19 acres during this time, while uplands have decreased.
The proponents are filing an abbreviated Notice of Delineation with the Conservation Commission to update the wetlands, mostly located in the rear of the property. Access to the new units would be from the same main entrance through an internal driveway.
Selectman Margot Fleischman said there is a need for senior housing in Bedford; she recognized the early and successful model that Carleton Willard represented. Rather than eliminating all restrictions, the Selectmen indicated that they might support a different or amended restriction proposal.
Attorney Swain indicated Carleton-Willard is requesting eliminating the restriction. He also said that the original proposal had more nursing beds, but now the norm is increased independent living units. He indicated that the number of residents might not go up, while he also suggested that an absolute number could be based on total acreage, not on upland versus wetland.
Before moving forward, Carleton-Willard must also present its case to several land use boards including the Conservation Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals, as well as to Town Meeting. Pending approvals, they hope to start construction in 2018.