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Bedford Select Board prioritises fire station construction

December 14, 2023

The Bedford Select Board has identified two primary objectives for the current fiscal year: compliance with state-mandated rezoning for multi-family housing and the construction of a central fire station.

These goals are set to commence immediately, with progress assessments planned around July 1, to determine if they will extend into the next fiscal year​​.

Compliance with housing law

The board has emphasized the importance of complying with state laws requiring rezoning to facilitate multi-family housing.

The law mandates zoning at least 50 acres for multi-family housing with a minimum density of 15 units per acre, without age restrictions.

This compliance is seen as having a significant long-term impact on the town.

The Planning Board has been actively working on this issue, with the compliance deadline set for December 31, 2024​​​​.

Focus on the fire station project

The construction of a central fire station has been a long-standing project for the board, with Member Emily Mitchell leading the initiative for two years.

The realization of this project is seen as a crucial goal for the board, with the aim to avoid any sense of complacency surrounding it.

A design team and building committee are reportedly making progress on this front​​.

Balancing priorities

The board has discussed the possibility of treating both the housing law compliance and the fire station construction as equal priorities.

This approach reflects a significant shift, as housing compliance was not even considered a top priority a year ago.

The board recognizes the long-term implications these zoning changes will have on the town​​.

Other considerations

While these two projects take precedence, the board has also decided not to prioritize the completion of the Great Road Master Plan in the current fiscal year.

This decision is influenced by budget constraints and the complexities surrounding the historic bottleneck at the junction of The Great, Concord, and North roads.

The board acknowledges the need for extensive public input and deliberation to determine the best course of action for this area​​.

Additional goals

The board has set other significant goals, including the implementation of a municipal space inventory study, long-term planning for Springs Brook Park, and reviewing staffing commitments requested by various boards and committees.

Additionally, exploring the possibility of allowing non-citizen legal residents to vote in town elections and meetings is under consideration, a proposal aimed at those with permanent residence status in the U.S​​​​.

FSJA Comment

The Bedford Select Board’s prioritization of housing law compliance and fire station construction reflects a strategic approach to addressing key community needs.

The focus on housing law compliance demonstrates a commitment to adapting to state mandates and enhancing the town’s residential infrastructure.

The emphasis on the fire station project highlights the importance of public safety and community services.

These priorities, alongside other goals like municipal space inventory and Springs Brook Park planning, illustrate the board’s multifaceted approach to improving town infrastructure and services.

The exploration of voting rights for non-citizen legal residents also shows a progressive stance on civic engagement.

Collectively, these initiatives signify the board’s dedication to fostering a well-rounded and inclusive community.

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