By Nick Giglio
The planning board met on the Tuesday after a long and productive special town meeting to talk about two new developments proposed along North Road between Bedford Farms and Northside Convenience store.
The first, at 36 North Road is the current site of Fitzy’s Package Store. Attorney Pamela Brown spoke on behalf of Dana Strayton, owner of Prince Street Café, currently located at 200 The Great Road.
Strayton has purchased the property and hopes to relocate the Café to North Road. The big driver of the relocation is foot traffic. Excited for the move, Strayton is looking to make her business thrive by tearing down the existing building and constructing a brand new restaurant and bakery.
According to the plans presented at the meeting, Strayton wants to make her restaurant and bakery more inviting to her patrons by providing bike racks, picnic tables and a green space. She is aiming to get more customers that would walk to the other retail stores nearby. Strayton wants to add glass garage doors on the front of the new building that can open and close in warm weather. The Planning Board was very excited about the new development because business development is often overlooked in the area.
With all of their praise, the Planning Board had many questions and concerns. Amy Lloyd was curious about parking. She doesn’t want too many curb cuts for such a small property on a main road. Currently, the lot can accommodate 11 parking spaces, which, according to building code, would allow the restaurant and bakery to have 44 seats. According to the plans, the restaurant and bakery has 23 seats but the owner is looking to expand to a possible second floor patio seating or extra outdoor seating when the weather cooperates.
Prince Street Café will add more offerings with its new location. It will open at 6 am instead of 7 am and offer a greater variety of food and baked goods. There will be two different kitchens, one for the culinary side and the other for the baking side. “It was tough to bake during the day at our current location,” Strayton said. “I would often stay and bake until way after midnight because the kitchen just couldn’t accommodate baking during the day.”
Shawn Hanegan, Chair of the Planning Board, said “This is the type of thing we are looking for here in Bedford.” His words of encouragement were echoed by the other members of the Planning Board.
The second development under discussion is at 30 North Road, the current site of the Bedford Motel. The proposal is brought forward by Barry Patel, the current owner of the motel, along with Rob Matthews and Lou Dakoyannis. The trio are “happy to coordinate with Dana Strayton’s plans,” according to attorney Pamela Brown who represents both interests.
The second proposal would demolish the existing motel and construct 42 condos that average 1,000 square feet each with studio, one and two bedroom units in the mix. These condos are for sale not rental and the developer is looking at a price point of about $400,000 per unit. Ten percent of the units would be available as affordable housing. The new building would be L-shaped, with a maximum height of 37 feet, in accordance with Bedford building codes. This allows for the building to have three stories. Multiple members of the Planning Board asked if elevators would be added to the development to accommodate an aging population and downsizers in Bedford. The developers agreed that elevators would need to be added and are willing to add them.
The new development is being called “North Road Village” and there will be about 52% of open space according to the developers. The development would also provide spaces in the front of the building to house small shops. Planning Board chair Hanegan suggested retail shops instead of office space because it would look more inviting to people.
For the building to meet code, there needs to be a second egress road. The only logical place would be to connect the new development with the building where Callahan’s Karate is located. The road would be only for emergencies to reduce use of Callahan’s parking lot
David Powell, a member of the Finance Committee, commented that the Finance Committee is concerned about dense residential areas because of the impact on the school population.
The Planning Board next meets at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, November 21 in the Selectmen’s meeting room