Lights Up on the Great Road and New Housing Around Town

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By Jordan Stewart

Emerson Dental and Verizon Wireless, two businesses incoming at 168 and 170 Great Road, appeared in front of the Zoning Board of Appeals on June 13 seeking a special permit for illuminated signs. Both companies described their proposed signs as architecturally pleasing, explaining that they fit in with the numerous neighboring businesses with illuminated signs. Both were granted special permits per Article 39.5 Section 1 of the Sign Bylaw, allowing them to put up the signs, with Verizon also calling upon Article 34.5 (A)(1) of the Sign Bylaw, permitting their signage to be split into two different signs, with one in the front and rear of the building.

Michael Scott Property Investments, LLC, was the next to make an appearance in front of the ZBA. This meeting was a continuation from previous talks, in which the Board denied a permit to the developers. They plan to tear down the previously existing house on 17 Putnam Road and replace it with a new house, one which will be much larger, albeit extend less towards the neighbors’ properties. The Board feared the proposed house would be too large for the neighborhood, which features many ranch-style homes, and so had requested at the previous meeting that they create a new proposal for the home.

When the developers returned with plans for a slightly downsized house, the Board was pleased to see changes had been made. Board member Carol Amick expressed concern that the home was still too large and questioned why the listing size of 3960 sq. ft. did not include the top floor, when the space was livable. Amick and the developer disagreed upon whether or not the space was, in fact, livable, but eventually a permit was granted for the newly sized home to proceed in development.

Concluding the night was a proposal from the Village at Bedford Woods seeking to add 26 additional units to their condominium village, bringing the total up to 56. The new units were described as ‘townhouse’ units, as opposed to the ‘garden’ units which make up the currently existing condos. Fitting with MassHousing standards, which require that 25% of the added units be affordable housing, six of the 26 units will be made affordable housing options. As for the styles of the new condos, 20 will be 3-bedroom units, with the other six to be 2-bedroom units. Residents and trustees from the Village came to the meeting with questions and concerns about the project at the ready.

Among the fears expressed were a lack of space for guest parking (15 spots would be added to the previously existing 15), additional costs for snow removal, and green space in the area. The developers working on the project felt frustrated that small concerns were holding back progress on the new units. The developers had already conceded their initial proposal to add 80 units, coming to an agreement on 26, and felt that both sides needed to be prepared to compromise.

Although concerns persisted to the end of the discussions, the residents and trustees conveyed the message that they were in support of the project, and the Zoning Board gave the developers permission to proceed.