Planning Board Approves Chelmsford Road Cluster Development Project

A plan for the subdivision - Courtesy image (c) 2016 all rights reserved
A plan for the subdivision – Courtesy image (c) 2016 all rights reserved – Click image to see it at a larger size


By Bob Dorer

On March 15, Planning Board chair Jeff Cohen reopened the public hearing continued from January 6 for the cluster development proposed for 30 Chelmsford Road.  It calls for a cluster of  4 houses on a lot of not quite 5 acres.(For a description of the earlier portion of the hearing,see a  previous Bedford Citizen article: .)

The engineer for the project reviewed the various issues previously raised by the board, Planning  Department staff, the DPW, the Conservation Commission, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), abutters, and other concerned citizens.  Items of particular concern included:

  • Assurance of adequate sight distances where the new road intersects with Chelmsford Road
  • The steep vertical slope near the Chelmsford Road exit
  • Various drainage concerns related to protection of sensitive areas and safety on the development road
  • Operations and maintenance plans for sewage ejector systems for each house,the pervious sidewalk, bioswales,and rain garden drainage
  • Protection of existing trees and landscaping that buffers adjoining parcels
  • Possible expansion of protected open space for the Cluster Development

During the board comment period, concern was raised about the need to assure the quality of the project and adequate construction supervision due to the complexity of some aspects of the project.  The role and importance of a legal entity, such as a homeowners’ association, which is required by the town’s zoning bylaws, was discussed at some length. That entity mustensure proper protection and maintenance of common areas of the development,such as drainage systems and sight distance maintenance.

During the public comment period, abutters raised concerns about protection of trees in areas where landscaping is not identified and also about maintenance of adequate sightlines at the exit.  A question on the adequacy of the turnaround dimensions for emergency equipment serving the property was also raised. It was pointed out  that the submitted site plans have notes to ensure the trees will be protected and that the turnaround dimensions have been reviewed and can accommodate all fire department equipment. Determining that  there were no additional comments from the board or public, Cohen closed the hearing.

The board concluded that all outstanding issues and commitments to meet various comments should be noted as conditions for approval of the application.  The board then voted unanimously to approve the Cluster application with the conditions to be incorporated into the special permit. Those conditions include all the items noted in Planning Director Garber’s memos to the board as well as information from the DPW, Conservation Commission and the TAC.

Finally, to avoid street name confusion for emergency services,the developer agreed to change the proposed name of the road from “Elina Road” to “Gregory Road.”

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