By Dot Bergin
Fran DeCoste, the project manager for the Pine Hill Crossing development, came before Bedford’s Housing Partnership meeting on September 14 to review progress at the site and to describe the two units to be designated as affordable.
The two units that need approval as affordable are located at 35 Pine Hill Road and 2 Lewis Road. The Pine Hill Road unit will have three bedrooms and one bath; 2 Lewis Road has 1.5 baths and three bedrooms. After hearing DeCoste’s report on the status of the project, the Housing Partnership voted unanimously to recommend approval to the Planning Board of 35 Pine Hill Road and 2 Lewis Road as affordable units.
DeCoste presented an optimistic report on the rehabilitation and construction timeline at the former Coast Guard housing site. On Phase I of the project, work is proceeding on schedule and DeCoste expects renters to begin moving into the rehabbed units within a few weeks. In six houses, kitchen appliances have been replaced, new countertops installed, and upgrades have been made to the electrical system and windows. When necessary, DeCoste’s crew has replaced vinyl siding on the exteriors of some units.
On seven units, DeCoste did more renovation than originally planned; kitchens were expanded, with a laundry closet and half bath added. To bring the units up to code, “egress-rated” windows were installed in the bedrooms. The original buildings had high windows, too small to allow a person to exit if need be. DeCoste also created a two-bedroom plan in one unit. The rest have three bedrooms.
Although specific elements have not yet been pinned down on Phase II of the project, DeCoste gave Housing Partnership members a brief overview: the design calls for cottage style clusters on a 700-sq. ft. footprint with two baths and first-floor master bedrooms. The upper floor could be either a second or third bedroom. All units will be accessible. The goal is to design units that will appeal to seniors and to families. The development is not deed restricted to seniors. Two of the new units will also be designated as affordable.
DeCoste appeared before the Planning Board for a hearing on September 12. The first step is a zoning amendment to allow the density of the project (six units per acre, on the 5.2-acre plot) and the mix of housing. The developer is working with the Planning Board on the appropriate language and will meet with that Board again in two weeks. After that, there is a special permitting process. Shawn Hanegan, Planning Board liaison to the Housing Partnership, said the Board is considering an overlay district, specific to this location. If the zoning change and permitting process go as planned, DeCoste hopes to begin construction on the new units in the spring of 2018.
Correction on September 17, 2017: The decision to name the affordable units came during a Housing Partnership meeting, not a Municipal Affordable Housing Trust meeting as originally reported.