Sharing a Timeline and Answering Community Questions about the Coast Guard Housing on Pine Hill Road

Members of Bedford's Municipal Affordable Housing Trust
Members of Bedford’s Municipal Affordable Housing Trust – Lisa Mustapich, MAHT Chair Christina Wilgren, Irma Carter – with Town Manager Richard Reed and Assistant Town Manager Michael Rosen (rear, l-r) and Selectman Liaisons Mark Siegenthaler and Mike Rosenberg (front, l-r) discussed the Coast Guard housing on Pine Hill Road at their meeting on November 1 – Image (c) JMcCT, 2016 all rights reserved

By Dot Bergin

Town Manager Rick Reed presented the “Coast Guard timeline” at the November 1 meeting of the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust. The schedule shows 180 days from the purchase and sale agreement between the Town and the Coast Guard for acquisition of the 15 Pine Hill Road houses to selection of a developer to a closing date of April 25, 2017, when the developer officially acquires the property.

During this six-month period, there are several key events:

  • October 27, 2016-purchase and sale agreement between Town and Coast Guard executed for $3.9 million; Request for Proposal issued.
  • November 30, 2016-developers who have responded to the Request for Proposal will meet for a pre-bid conference and site.
  • December 28, 2016-responses due from developers
  • January 13, 2017-MAHT meetings to review and select finalists; interview finalists and select developer.
  • January 17, 2017- Request for Proposal awarded.
  • February 6, 2017- purchase and sale agreement will be executed between the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (the actual purchaser of the property) and the developer.  At this time, a 10 percent deposit of $390,000 is due from the developer to the Town.
  • March 27, 2017-annual Town Meeting.
  • April 25,2017-closing date. Payment of remaining $3.510 million.

As Reed emphasized to MAHT members and to several Pine Hill Road residents who were in attendance, Bedford has long supported re-development of the site.  At two design charrettes, in which more than 220 people took part during the spring of 2014, a “vision” evolved for the way in which townspeople wanted to see the property developed.  It was clear from the design exercises that “cottage style” homes that would blend in with the neighborhood were the preferred mode, to meet the needs of those who are downsizing or of young families requiring entry level homes.  The RFP specifies that a minimum of 10 percent of the total units be eligible for inclusion on the Massachusetts Subsidized Housing Inventory.  Million-dollar-plus “McMansions” were not the design choice for the five-acre property. The developer who submits the winning bid will have firm guidelines to follow, as specified in the June 2014 Executive Summary of the charrettes: (https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/bedfordma/files/appendix_b.pdf)

Selectman chair Mike Rosenberg, who serves as the Selectmen’s liaison to the MAHT board, commented: “The community has demonstrated that it values a diverse housing stock as a way to help ensure a heterogeneous population and to avoid becoming a de facto gated community.”

When the meeting opened to questions, one resident asked what would happen if the “developer goes belly-up.” Reed answered that-as spelled out in the RFP- the Town will look carefully at the finances of the developer. A financing commitment is specified in an appendix to the RFP.  Another person had serious concerns about traffic on Pine Hill: could there be a stop sign at the intersection with Hancock Street?  Reed assured the questioner that there will be ample opportunity for neighbors to have input into a developer’s proposal. The developer who is selected will need to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals, if a change in zoning is required, and there will be presentations to the Planning Board, all of which are public meetings.

For Bedford, the Coast Guard housing development is truly a unique venture, in the sense that such a collaboration with the federal government has never been done in town before.

The RFP is posted on the Town web site:  https://www.bedfordma.gov/town-manager/pages/coast-guard-housing


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