MassDOT’s Salt Shed – Selectmen Discuss Next Steps at January 20 Meeting

SelectmenBy Joan Bowen
Dateline January 20

The Selectmen discussed what action they should take to ensure that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) explores alternative sites for the salt shed at their meeting on Tuesday, January 20.  With over 80 neighbors of the current proposed site, members of the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission and other interested residents showing up for the discussion, the Selectmen’s meeting was moved to the Multi-Purpose Room to provide adequate seating.

Speaking on behalf of the Bedford Historic Preservation Commission, Don Corey stated that the Commission has prepared a letter to the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) challenging a recent ruling by the MHC that there would be no historical impact from the siting of the salt shed.  In mid-December MassDOT filed its plan for a finding on whether or not there would be any historical impediment to proceeding.  MHC ruled earlier this month, well within the 30 days allowed for such rulings, that there would be no historical impact to the area across Route 62 from the Wilson Mill histori site.

The letter to MHC will challenge this ruling, given that the site is an untouched forested area in a previously identified area of Indian encampments. The MHC will be asked to reconsider this decision, including revisiting their own files for prior findings for the Wilson Mill project which is located nearby, a project that faced several delays due to findings on the site.

The Selectmen approved a motion to consult with Town Counsel regarding the potential for legal action at a minimum to stop the current MassDOT plan to begin construction in April.  In addition, Chair Margot Fleishmann was authorized to send a letter of opposition to the proposed location due to the adverse environmental, traffic and historic impacts.  The motion was approved unanimously.

The Selectmen expressed their commitment to continue to provide opportunities for public input.

Addendum:  To correct some misinformation that has circulated, the transaction for the current salt shed on Crosby Drive was not with iRobot, but with The Davis Companies, owner of the Bedford Business Park.

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