The Planning Board last week held a preliminary fact-finding session on a proposed 16-unit residential development on a former horse farm at 251F Old Billerica Road.
The site is approximately 16 acres stretching from Old Billerica Road easterly and southerly to the Shawsheen River near Route 3. The proposed development would utilize a little over half of this land, with the tract closer to the river remaining as open space.
The proposal includes 12 single-family homes and two duplexes. Thirteen new buildings are planned, while the existing 6,000-square-foot home would be converted to a duplex. Two of the units would be categorized as affordable, in accordance with the zoning bylaw. The property is classified as agricultural land.
The current owners are Jenny and Michael Ceppi. Planning Director Tony Fields said after the meeting that “we believe there is a purchase and sale agreement with a group of investors who attended the meeting: Cynthia First, Ali Khaledi, and Medhi Khaledi.” First and Ali Khaledi are developers of First Village in East Acton.
At the Planning Board discussion, member Cindy Barbehenn asked what the houses might look like.
George Dimakarakos, a civil engineer with the firm of Stamski & McNary, noted that, while planning has not been done for the units themselves, they would likely be similar to the homes recently built on Evergreen Avenue. Those homes range from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet. He added that the homes would be similar in style to the existing house, described as a “cottage feel.”
Barbehenn also noted her appreciation for the possibility of creating a public crossing underneath Route 3 from the rear of the property to the Rice Conservation Area.
There is no frontage on the street. Planning Board Chair Jeff Cohen raised a question about the shared driveway shown on the plan. The proposal depicts a loop off of the existing driveway with all units surrounding it. Dimakarakos said the Fire Department would likely want to see the driveway be 20 feet wide, which the current driveway is not.
Amy Lloyd, Planning Board, commented later that the other homes sharing the access road at 251 Old Billerica Road would see a large impact on the traffic through their current shared driveway.
She also noted that, alongside the construction of the homes, a road with added utility lines would need to be built to connect to the new development.
Lloyd suggested using a parcel of land adjacent to the road that is shared by all property owners at 251 Old Billerica Road to construct a new connecting driveway while keeping the other road as an emergency through-way. This solution, she noted, would clear up some complexities in how the property rights are currently shared.