Concord Orthopaedics rezoning request heads to planning board

  • Robert Fishwick points to the area where Concord Orthopedics wants to put in a new medical facility along Pleasant Street. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 2/14/2017 10:37:08 PM

Concord’s city council sent to the planning board Monday a request by Concord Orthopaedics to rezone a residential neighborhood on Pleasant Street for institutional uses.

About a dozen residents, including former congressman Paul Hodes, appeared at the council’s meeting to see what would be said about the proposal, which alarmed the people who live in the pertinent district.

Mayor Jim Bouley urged them to “pay attention and watch the process” as it unfolds at the planning board, which will eventually make a recommendation to the city council.

“The planning board is a very public process,” he said. “I encourage anyone and everyone who’s interested in this to be engaged with the planning board.”

Concord Orthopaedics’s request would change a medium-density residential zone on Pleasant Street to an institutional zone, similar to the districts that border it to the east and west, which include the hospital and St. Paul’s School, respectively.

The rezoning would make it easier for Concord Orthopaedics to implement its plan to build a 20,000-square-foot surgical facility on the property it bought in October at 297 Pleasant St.

Residents of the residential zone, including Robert Fishwick, have said they fear the change would alter the character of the neighborhood and eventually drive out the families who live there.

“We’ll fill the chamber with as many bodies as possible,” Fishwick said of his plan for Monday’s meeting and the hearings that will follow it. “We need to be at every possible turn in the road.”

Richard Uchida, the attorney for Concord Orthopaedics, has said the district is the best possible place for the city’s expanding medical community to turn.

“We fear that if the rezoning doesn’t occur now, you’ve checkmated the medical campus, and some of these practices could go elsewhere,” he said.

City Planner Heather Shank said she expects the planning board to hold a public hearing on the subject at its March meeting. Bouley said the council will hold its own public hearing, too, after it receives a recommendation from the planning board.

“This is a very long process we have before us, but I think it’s great you all came out tonight,” he said.


(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)

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