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Opinion

August 12. 2014 11:14PM

3 waivers granted for Wayfarer property in Bedford

BEDFORD — The proposed shopping center at the former Wayfarer Inn property was granted three waivers Monday night pertaining to the subdivision of the property.

The planning board meeting focused on two requests by property owner Wayfarer, HIR Realty, LLC: one for final approval of subdivision of one lot into five for a multi-use development; and another for final approval of a site plan for a 48,800 square foot retail building, 2,900 square foot bank, two restaurants, 7,564 square foot spa/personal training space, and a four-story, 73-unit apartment building with associated access, parking, and site improvements — all at the 121 South River Road property.

Chairman Paul Goldberg and board member Karen McGinley recused themselves from voting, leaving Vice Chairman Jon Levenstein in charge of the meeting.

Levenstein told Jeff Kevan, civil projects supervisor and principal at Bedford-based TFMoran that the board would not be voting on either item that evening.

Kevan said his goal was to focus on nine waivers associated with the project and receive action on the waivers from the board, citing their “significant impact on the design” of the property.

Kevan gave an overview of what TFMoran would like to do with the Wayfarer property, which would include removing or razing all existing buildings on the property, with the exception of what is known as the “mill building.”

After extensive discussion of the property and directing traffic, Kevan asked for feedback on the waivers that had been requested.

“If the board’s not in favor of some of these waivers, the design doesn’t work,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of easy changes or fixes to this.”

The board then opened the discussion to public comment. Dave Gilbert, of 40 Maple Drive, was concerned that the plan did not include a walkway for people to get around the shopping center.

“People are going to have to drive around to go to different places,” he said.

Kevan said that the plan provided a walkway along the back of the property’s driveway and another adjacent to Route 3.

“There is a complete loop around it,” he said. “We’ve done interconnecting walks to the Bedford Mall and a couple different locations.”

Nina Dolishny Regan, property manager of the Bedford Mall, said she had struggled to get her tenants to “agree to different things” in the past, alluding to a walkway connecting to her property.

“But we’re here to be good neighbors, and we’ll work with you,” she told Kevan.

After the comment period, Levenstein told Kevan the board would not discuss the signage waiver at that time. The board opted to focus on waivers associated with the property’s subdivision.

“Some of the site plan waivers are a make-or-break on the development,” Kevan said, adding that the goal was to have access between the Wayfarer project and surrounding developments, including the Bedford Mall and Macy’s.

The board voted in favor to grant three waivers for not having covered parking behind the apartments, a setback from the proposed Whole Foods Market store, and land use for the Wayfarer property.

The board tabled voting on the final approvals to a later date.

cswanson@newstote.com




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