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Some remnants of the Wayfarer Inn, including the footbridge, will be removed by TFMoran in the renovation process. Others, like the mill building, will remain. (Courtesy/TFMoran)

Proposed development on Wayfarer site gets green light from conservation group

BEDFORD — The new John Goffe Plaza, a mixed-use development being built on the site of the former Wayfarer Inn and future home of the Bedford Whole Foods Market, is one step closer to fruition after receiving unanimous approval for a dredge-and-fill application from the Bedford Conservation Commission on Aug. 26.

Jeff Kevan, civil project supervisor of Bedford-based engineering firm TFMoran, appeared on behalf of Brockton, Mass.-based Jiten Hotel Management. Jiten’s requested improvements included culvert replacement and temporary construction impacts.

Kevan said the access driveway in the back of the property is in poor condition and that there have been sinkholes on the property. There is also a seven-foot concrete drainpipe on the property, which sits directly beneath the town’s sewer interceptor.

“What we’re proposing to do is replace that [pipe] with a six-by-12 bottomless box structure,” Kevan said. Temporary stone enclosures would be installed upstream and downstream in Bowman Brook, along with bypass pipe to allow water to flow through while footings for the bottomless box are being put in.

As for the rest of the work on the property, the hotel, conference center, a wall along Bowman Brook and the footbridge across the brook would be removed.Commissioner Ken Peterson asked if there were plans to have the two upstream dams removed, and if doing so would have a negative or positive effect. Kevan said removing the dams would likely have negative effects, “primarily for historic purposes.”

“They’re substantial structures and in reasonably good condition,” he said, adding that the Department of Environmental Services Dam Bureau said the dams could be left in place.

TFMoran also plans to leave the mill building on the Wayfarer property in place and replace its siding and roof, and to install signage on the property about its historical significance as a former hotspot of the presidential primary season in New Hampshire.

Kevan said there would be a park-like area on the property containing walking paths, landscaping, and sitting areas. The signage will be displayed in this area.

Commissioner James Drake asked Kevan what the total encroachment would be into the flood plane, and if there would be a need for compensatory flood storage. Kevan said that the new culvert would provide more carrying capacity, allowing water to pass through and lower water surface elevations. He added that the amount of water storage lost would be “minimal.”

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