NewBridge on the Charles received permission to add 91 parking spaces, approximately 1.4 acres, in their employee lot at a Planning Board meeting Wednesday.
Attorney Peter Zahka said that there are dozens more health care workers working part-time at the facility than originally anticipated.
The approximately 60 extra health care workers currently park wherever they can find a spot and that is problem.
"They are parking on the streets," he said, adding that on-street parking was not part of the development's original architecture.
Currently the employee parking lot is at the front of the campus before the cottages. It has 31 spots and employees who park there must take a shuttle bus that runs every 10-12 minutes to the main campus.
Zahka informed the Planning Board that the units are "almost one hundred percent full." He said out of 262 out of 268 beds in the nursing home are occupied. Out of 91 beds in assisted living, 89 are occupied, and out of the 256 available beds in independent living, 236 are occupied.
"The short term solution is parking at St. John's," Zahka said. But added that is a solution that won't work forever, considering that the church has functions in need of parking.
Joe Geller, architect for the new lot, said once it is built, the lot will have 128 feet to the nearest abutter with a wooded buffer in between, and 530 feet to the second nearest home, also with a wooded buffer in between.
"We tried to make it as least visible as we could from outside the site," said Geller. He added that the edges will be fully landscaped and the lot itself with be paved with a pervious pavement that allows water to pass through.
"We are also trying to be as sustainable as possible," he said, and they have planned for storm water runoff and snow removal.
The lot will not be part of the main campus, Geller said.
Robert Aldous, chairman of the Planning Board said, "I'm concerned about the amount of ledge beneath that lot," meaning that the water may drain through the pervious pavement, but not through the impervious ledge.
Geller responded saying that they have tested the area and there is soil that is the equivalent of beach sand beneath that area and it will drain well.
Mary Keough, an abutter said, "I am opposed to the expansion after the facility is so newly opened … 1.4 acres is not insubstantial."
She added that she does not believe they have looked at enough alternative options and suggested NewBridge use the lot at Dedham Corporate Center and have a shuttle employees from there.
Zahka responded that when NewBridge was built, they told the town there was a potential for more parking and had informed the town planner two months ago.
Sean McDermott, a Bridge Street abutter to NewBridge, asked if the 91 extra spots would lead to more build up. He feared that if the Planning Board approved this now, it might set a precedent for more construction in the future.
John Bethoney, a board member, was then prompted to ask Zahka and Geller, "Is that it? Are you OK with an acknowledgement that the chance of you coming back is nil?" Adding that he believed this project is not as much an expansion as a need.
Zahka assured that there will be no more structures in the future.
The board voted unanimously to approve the parking lot plans.