By Kim Siebert MacPhail
At their meeting on June 17, the Selectmen unanimously appointed Don Drouin, Bedford’s former Regional School Committee representative, to an associate’s seat on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). Because of the ZBA’s practice of moving associate members up to full positions when openings occur, Drouin was given an associate’s position at this time, with the expectation that the ZBA will move a veteran associate member into the current full member vacancy.
The Zoning Board of Appeals consists of five full members and three associate members who are appointed by the Selectmen for staggered three year terms. The purpose of the ZBA is to hold public hearings to review petitions for variances or special permits. It also holds public hearings on appeals brought to the Board by anyone aggrieved by a decision of the Zoning Enforcement Officer or the Building Inspector.
In his interview for the seat on Bedford’s ZBA, Drouin—a criminal and mental health attorney by profession—recounted his years on the Burlington ZBA during the time that the mall was being built and the town was undergoing transformational commercial and residential growth.
“At the end of the 1960’s I was living in Burlington and I was on the Board of Appeals for three years. That’s when there was a lot of building activity going on. We were very busy; it was interesting and very challenging,” Drouin said.
“You’ve served Bedford well for a long time [as Regional School Committee Representative],” said Selectman Mike Rosenberg. “We are grateful that you want to continue, getting into something that you know is probably one of the most challenging positions because you can’t win. You have to make decisions many times that are tougher than what this Board [of Selectmen] has to make. Sounds like you’re ready to go in there, based on your experience.”