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Bedford medical site design disappoints planning board

BEDFORD — There may soon be a medical urgent care facility at the intersection of Nashua Road and Route 101, but the Planning Board has some strong objections to the design of the building, calling it bland and disappointing.

After hearing plans to change the project from a bank to a 5,100-square-foot Convenient MD urgent care facility, the Planning Board agreed to approve the site plan, but told architect Dennis Mires to go back to the drawing board.

“It looks like the back of somebody’s warehouse,” said Town Council representative Bill Dermody.

“This is nothing like any of the buildings in that area or in Bedford,” said alternate member Lynn Healy. “I’m very disappointed with this.”

That comment prompted the architect to display photos of other buildings in the area, many of which have been in town for many years. Healy replied that the idea is to refrain from building uncharacteristic buildings in Bedford.

Jeff Kevan, of TF Moran engineers, presented the new concept for the site at the board’s Jan. 27 meeting. The new plan calls for the consolidation of two lots into one 2.25-acre site for the proposed center and the existing Coldwell Banker building.

Kevan said by consolidating the two lots, the side yard setbacks are eliminated, providing enough space to accommodate the urgent care facility, which would be situated in the middle of the site. Convenient MD would be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Max Puyanic, CEO of Convenient MD, said the facility is similar to the company’s centers in Windham and Concord and will offer full-service urgent care for cuts, coughs and colds, flu shots, vaccines, sports injuries, a full emergency room with a physician on site during office hours, as well as free educational programs for school nurses as part of its community service.

“But nothing life-threatening like heart attacks,” he said.

Mires designed the building with a flat roof with raised and peaked roof areas to emphasize the entrance. The wall sections are 20 feet high with a high parapet section to conceal the rooftop HVAC system. The rooftop over the entrance area is dark red, seamed metal, which is also used as an awning. The front is a stone facade up to the roof line with cream-colored cement clapboard siding.

Planning Director Rick Sawyer said this is one of the first buildings to be proposed within the former Historic District area.

Puyanic said medical waste will be contained inside the facility and will be removed by a professional company. Kevan said using the site as a cut-through is not easy because of the landscaping and the parking lot.

The plan has gone before the planning and zoning boards for several years and was initially approved as a bank, as noted by a construction sign on the site until recently. On Dec. 16, 2013, the Planning Board granted a one-year extension to obtain a building permit while site work continued. On Jan. 21, the Zoning Board denied a request for two 60-square-foot building signs, but allowed one 32-foot sign for the front of the building. During the project, ledge and site work have created problems on the site.

In approving the site plan, the Planning Board said the applicant must have final architectural drawings approved by the board before a building permit for the urgent care facility is issued. The applicant is scheduled to return for an architectural review at the board’s next meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., at 10 Meetinghouse Road.

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