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An artist rendering presented to the Bedford Planning Board recently by TFMoran depicts a newly proposed assisted living facility on Old Bedford Road. (COURTESY)

Assisted living facility proposed in Bedford

BEDFORD — One of the state’s largest assisted living facilities is being proposed for a 17-acre lot along Old Bedford Road — the same spot where a contentious mixed-use development project was nixed earlier this year.

Last week, Old Bedford Road Realty, LLC presented a conceptual design plan for a 150-bed assisted living facility on three properties at 18, 20 and 24 Old Bedford Road.

The proposed three-story, 87,000-square-foot building would sit on a site that currently houses three residences and abuts The Grand at the Bedford Village Inn.

“The Old Bedford Road project is looked upon as an opportunity to offer exceptional residential care services, aka assisted living, to the community,” Eldon Munson of the New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Homes told the Bedford Planning Board.

Although the operator of the proposed facility has not yet been disclosed, Munson said the demand for assisted living beds is expected to increase about 50 percent by 2025.

“We do have some preliminary indication that there is a demand,” he said.

Chris Rice with TFMoran said the proposal includes 105 units, with some of those including two beds for couples. The project also includes a memory care unit with an interior courtyard and 129 parking spaces, some of those positioned underground, according to Rice.

Up to 35 employees are expected to work at the new assisted living development if a formal site plan is submitted and approved by town planners.

“It is a 24-hour care facility,” said Rice.

Several neighbors expressed concerns about the size of the proposed building.

Describing the facility as a “monstrocity,” Fritz Morgan of 9 Arrowhead Drive suggested that some of the underground parking be eliminated and that the building be reduced to two-stories.

“The major issue, though, is the size and scope of the development,” agreed Beatty Hunter of 15 Arrowhead Drive. “ … It is monolithic. It is huge.”

A separate proposal for the same three lots on Old Bedford Road was conceptually presented last year by Old Bedford Road Realty, LLC, but was ultimately withdrawn after one abutter described the process as neighborhood poaching.

That proposal included a mixed-use development with elderly housing apartments, cottage-style units, workforce housing and retail.

Rice acknowledged that there was strong opposition by neighbors to the earlier proposal, but stressed that the newly recommended assisted living facility is a permitted use within the residential and agricultural zone.

Mary Jane Beauregard of 23 Arrowhead Drive says she has great compassion for those who need assisted living care. Still, she said the magnitude of the project is overwhelming.

“The enormity of this building and the amount of additional resources our town is going to need to service them, along with the noise pollution and the obtrusive nature of this project, I would beg the board to consider a little bit the impact that this size building is going to have on all of us,” she said.

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