Sebbins Brook Crossing apartments

Sebbins Brook Crossing is a new conceptual development being eyed for South River Road in Bedford.

BEDFORD — Conceptual plans for a 300-unit apartment complex to be constructed along South River Road have been downsized by the developer.

Circle Drive Associates first introduced conceptual plans last month for Sebbins Brook Crossing, which initially included six apartment buildings for a total of 300 units, a three-story medical office building, three-story general office building, drive-thru restaurant and pool.

Last week, Bedford Design Consultants submitted revised conceptual plans that downsize the scope of the proposed project on two parcels totaling 27 acres across from Iron Horse Drive, according to paperwork on file at town hall.

“First, we removed one of the buildings, going from six buildings to five. This decreased our units from 300 to 270,” wrote Katherine Weiss, project manager with Bedford Design Consultants. “Second, we listened to members of the (planning) board when they requested workforce housing and elderly components on the site.”

As a result, Weiss said one of the apartment buildings will include 54 units for senior housing ages 55 and older, with 25 percent of those reserved for workforce housing. The other four apartment buildings will also include workforce housing for 25 percent of the units, she explained.

By removing one of the apartment buildings, it allows developers to rearrange the site and eliminate an area of wetland fill from the project, according to Weiss.

“This wetland was a main concern to the Conservation Commission,” she added. “Lastly, we removed one story from the apartment buildings. They were originally five stories with an additional underground garage for a total of six stories. They are currently four stories with an at-grade garage for a total of five stories.”

Each building, under the new conceptual plans, will have 54 apartment units, with a lower parking level accommodating 42 parking spaces.

Residential units are not currently permitted in the town’s performance zone where the property is located, meaning a waiver will need to be approved by the planning board in order for the project to move forward — if a formal site plan application is submitted.

“This project requires various waivers,” explained Weiss.

Two medical or general office buildings are still included in the plans, as well as a drive-thru restaurant.

“Our client is open to phasing this project,” she said, adding three apartment buildings could be constructed in the first phase of the development, followed by the remaining two apartment buildings in the second phase.

“The commercial portion of the site would be free to be built at any point,” added Weiss.

The planning board is set to review the newly revised conceptual plans at its next meeting on Nov. 18.

Residents have already expressed concerns about the large size of the proposed apartment complex, as well as a separate conceptual proposal at the existing Market and Main development, also along South River Road, to construct additional apartments there.

Mark Connors, assistant planning director, said earlier that the Sebbins Brook land represents one of the largest remaining undeveloped parcels in Bedford’s performance zone.

The vacant site was previously approved for various projects, including a funeral home, retail development and warehouse and manufacturing building, however none of those plans ever came to fruition.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019