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Route 101 plaza unanimously granted two variances for improvements to property

BEDFORD — The owners of the 101 Plaza were unanimously granted two variances by the Zoning Board Tuesday night after making the case their proposed changes would enhance the character of the area.

Steven Keach, president of Keach-Nordstrom & Associates in Bedford, spoke before the board on behalf of owner 209 Route 101 Realty, LLC. The owner was requesting two variances from the board: first, to construct a building six feet from the front yard property line, where 60 feet is required, at 209 Route 101; and second, to construct a structure 18.9 feet from a wetland where 50 feet is required, also at 209 Route 101.

Keach said that the Conservation Commission had already viewed and expressed support for the proposed variances. Last week, the Town Council granted discontinuance on Bedford Center Road in front of the plaza, in order to widen its driveway. Keach said the Traffic Safety Committee also expressed support for the project.

“The petitioner asserts that granting of the variance will not prove contrary to the public interest,” Keach said regarding the front yard variance proposal. “The planned construction is but one element of the comprehensive site improvement plan, intended to both modernize and improve the aesthetic quality of the subject property.”

Keach said other planned site improvements included improvement of the paved parking area to include landscaped islands; creating significant interior green space; installation of modern exterior LED lighting fixtures, which would reduce glare; and removal of excess pavement around the site’s perimeter.

Keach said these improvements were “intended to improve both the essential character of the site, as well as the adjoining neighborhood,” and that they would not pose a threat to public health, safety and welfare.

As for the proposed building, Keach said it would be a two-story, wood-frame structure and would have “a very residential scale…of a colonial nature.”

Keach noted that the proposal, when “constructed and realized…will actually bring vitality to the area. It may actually cause property values to go in…a favorable direction.”

Keach said that the variances sought would likely be temporary, so that the owners would not have to wait until the conclusion of the Department of Transportation roadwork on Route 101.

During the public comment period, resident Susan Tufts-Moore, of 27 Bedford Center Road, asked for more detail on how water that runs off the roof of the new building would be treated. Keach replied that all water would be infiltrated by crushed stone.

Chairman Eric Barnard said he believed that the economics of the property would do the board “substantial justice” to grant the variances.

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