Issues & Initiatives
Current Issues & Initiatives
1440/1450 Main St Development (Symes Development)
These lots of land on Main St bordering Highland Ave (just before reaching Fowler library coming from Acton/Maynard) were put under agreement in 2018 with plans for a significant residential development. The developer, Symes Development and Permitting, LLC, originally went down the path of proposing a Planned Residential Development (PRD) which allows for more density of units if some alternate design choices are made for public benefit (see the Town’s Zoning Bylaw Section 10 for more information). Significant time was spent iterating and getting public feedback on those designs. There was strong opposition from some members of the community. The plan was recommended to the Zoning Board of Appeals by the Planning Board with modifications. The Zoning Board of Appeals discussed the recommended modifications with the Applicant, who informed the Board that they were not willing to make all of them. Additionally, the Board determined that they did not believe they would be able to make the findings required for the issuance of a variance to the maximum height limit. The Board accepted from the Applicant a withdrawal without prejudice its application for an Earth Removal Special Permit and a Variance. The Board voted to deny the PRD special permit.
In 2020, the developer has returned to the Planning Board with a conventional subdivision plan of 16 lots, which does not provide the same level of approvals or negotiations on project elements as the PRD. The developer will still need to obtain from the Zoning Board of Appeals an Earth Removal Special Permit for the removal of more than 60,000 c.y. of earth from the site. Documents with more information can be found on the Planning Board’s Current Meeting Documents webpage.
Gerow Park (Warners Pond)
Described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, the Town acquired 6+ acres on Warner’s Pond in July of 2018. This property lies on the north side of the pond next to the new Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. The site is planned for development into a public recreation area. While there were originally discussions of public swimming, both the challenging topology of the site and the unexpected acquisition by the town of the existing swimming beach at White Pond has removed this from the current plans. Major aspects of the design include walking paths, fishing and boating access and a covered structure for public use and Recreation programming.
A good overview of the history and current state of the project can be found in this summary from the August 4th public meeting. Current feedback from WCAC includes a general recommendation to consider design modifications to reduce the parking and number of trails, hoping to preserve more of the natural features of the site.
Brookside Square Residential/Retail Development
The last parcel (13B Comm Ave.) is approved for 6000+ sq. ft. of retail. Through a couple of years of design reviews, the latest iteration has planned a mixed residential/commercial building with 2 floors of apartments over the retail. The developer listened to community feedback on initial presentations and the concept design underwent an exciting revision that is now inspired by a multi-story West Concord building that used to occupy the corner where Salt Box Kitchen now stands. To allow for the mixed use development, the developer has applied to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a modification to the original special permit. This modification will require a recommendation from the Planning Board. Documents with more information can be found on the Zoning Board of Appeal’s Current Meeting Documents page. The WCAC eagerly awaits this exciting addition to this important site at the entrance of our cultural district.
Junction Village Assisted Living Development
An 83-unit assisted living just behind the village along the Assabet River with 40 units designated low-income. Current work on the committee surrounds planning for the open space part of the project to create new public walking trails along the river. (More details)
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
We have all been excited to see the majority of the Concord trail open from West Concord center to Powder Mill Road. Work on Phase 2B to connect it northwards to the trail in Acton, including the bridge over Route 2, has begun and is scheduled for completion in early 2022. See more details about the project at the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Committee’s page.
Pedestrian Bridge to Baker Ave
The goal of this project is to create a pedestrian throughway connecting businesses on Baker Ave and Baker Ave Extension to the Village center. An initial study was performed in 2017 (document | video). WCAC is in favor of making this connection to both promote foot traffic for Village businesses and allow residents of the Village access to the businesses on Baker. An additional $250K was approved from CPC funds in 2020 to create construction drawings and the Town received a MassTrails Grnat for $135,000. These funds will be used to advance the final design, engineering and permitting for the project. WCAC continues to work with the town Planning Division in support of the project.
Past Issues and Initiatives
Rideout Park Improvements
This project was proposed by the Recreation Department and was primarily aimed at improving the safety and capacity of Rideout parking by constructing a new lot on acquired land adjacent to the park. Improvements were also made to the road frontage and ball fields and a covered pavilion is to be added in the spring of 2018, the latter being an addition approved by voters in the CPA funding at 2017 Town Meeting.
Summer Events in the Village
The Recreation Department has sought input from WCAC on ideas for bringing more community events to the Village. Since 2016, they have been trying summer outdoor movie nights at Rideout Park and in 2017 we tried an outdoor music concert (unfortunately rained out). We will be trying the music again in 2018, so stay tuned for more info.
West Concord Cultural District
WCAC did substantial work with the Planning Division to help West Concord achieve a “Cultural District” designation from the State of Massachusetts. In addition to promotion through their website and materials, this also qualifies the village for grants such as the one that produced the new mural on the side of Twin Seafood.
Concord Teacakes/Twin Seafood Plaza
This new seating area between the 2 businesses is now complete, including the fantastic new mural make possible by our 2017 MA Cultural District designation. (More details)
Assabet River Trails
This initiative involved trying to form a walking trail in several sections along the Assabet River from Main St. west of the Village, behind Thoreau School, to Pine St. and the Rail Trail and finally over to Dino’s. See a version of proposed trail map.
Issue & Initiative Details
Concord Teacakes/Twin Seafood Plaza
Otherwise known as the “Twin-Cakes” plaza, this new outdoor seating area is an extension to the project to create safer “bump-out” crosswalks in the village, which improve line-of-sight for both pedestrians and drivers. By closing off the lane between the two restaurants to traffic, a new seating space was created. The space was further improved by our first Cultural District grant to paint a large mural on the side of Twin Seafood. After a friendly competition for the commission, the mural was painted by a pair of local artists (with a little help from the community!).
The project was first detailed in the Implementation Plan of the 2010 West Concord Master Plan. The project was completed on November 17, 2017 with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony on the plaza.
- Photos of community mural painting (5/27/2017)
- Mural Painting Press Release (5/19/2017)
- 2014 Town Meeting Article 33 (WC Infrastructure Improvements) Presentation (2/24/2017)
Junction Village Assisted Living/Affordable Housing
This property is 12.8 acres located at 6X Winthrop St., which is on the right off Commonwealth as you are leaving the village headed towards the rotary. The land is owned by the CHDC and is designated for affordable housing and open space.
The residential portion, on 6 acres, will be leased to the Grantham Group for the development of Christopher Heights of Concord. Christopher Heights of Concord will be an 83-unit assisted living facility serving low to moderate income seniors. All units are restricted in terms of income eligibility and rents, from very low income to a higher moderate income.
In order to make the $17M project financially viable, Grantham is seeking $5M in state subsidies and $2M from the Town of Concord. After much thoughtful discussion and debate leading up to and at 2017 Town Meeting, citizens of Concord approved $1M in cash and the first $350K of 3 years of CPA commitments totaling an additional $1M to support the project. The project was recommended for approval by WCAC at their Jan 4th, 2017 meeting (minutes), recommended for approval by the Planning Board at their April 11th, 2017 meeting (minutes) and a Comprehensive Permit was approved by the ZBA at the May 11th, 2017 meeting (minutes).
The WCAC is very interested in the plan for publicly accessible open space on the property, which has a large amount of natural landscape and river frontage and will be directly connected to the Village center and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Conservation restrictions and access were built into permit approvals, and WCAC is now actively working with the Planning Division to participate in the design of the open space, including trails or spaces and planning for their maintenance.
- CHDC Presentation to WCAC (2013)