Shawn Hanegan Announces His 2014 Candidacy for the Bedford Planning Board

Submitted by Shawn Hanegan

Planning Board candidate Shawn Hanegan - Courtesy image
Planning Board candidate Shawn Hanegan – Courtesy image

I am writing to formally announce my candidacy for re-election to the Bedford Planning Board, a Board I have served on since May 2012.

I’ve lived in Bedford with my family since 2011. One thing that I have learned and become convinced about during that time is that Bedford is a great town. With its fabulous school system, large number of interested citizens, and its small town character, I couldn’t be happier with a place to raise my children in.

Being a great town, however, is not something that is earned once, put on the shelf, and automatically kept forever. It must be constantly renewed as times change and new challenges are faced. I am proud to have been a part of that process the last four years, and ask for your support to continue on into a second full term on the Planning Board.

It has been a true pleasure serving on the Board. My fellow Board members are conscientious, caring, and ultimate professionals, and I am very proud of the way we function together.

When I first started on the Board we were in the process of gathering input for the Comprehensive Plan, a long-term vision for what we the people of Bedford want our town to be like in future years. After extensive outreach and herculean efforts from our talented and diligent staff, the report was finalized and approved in 2014. Ever since then, we have been busy taking action to implement the vision set forth in the Plan. You have already seen some of this effort in the revamping of Industrial Mixed Use zoning, and will see more as we address Industrial base zoning and building height regulations in the upcoming Town Meeting.

With a second term on the Board, I plan to continue the work of implementing the Comprehensive Plan. In some ways, the implementation is harder than the crafting of the plan. For laws and regulations are complex and intertwined with many other factors, and often lead to unintended consequences. Oftentimes, we see situations where a law is on the books that intended to perform one function, or achieve a certain goal, and it is either ineffective or even counterproductive to its desired ends. We also see situations where certain developments can encourage follow-on projects that can change the character of neighborhoods. Itis an important role of the Board to look beyond the immediate issues at hand and understand what the long-term consequences of our decisions will be.

My fellow Board members represent a good mix of backgrounds and skills, providing differing but complementary perspectives. For my part, I will draw from my background in housing related volunteer work and my paid work in the engineering of systems to help understand the consequences of changes in zoning laws in order to ensure that changes we propose will adequately provide the basis in law for the vision of the Comprehensive Plan to unfold. I will continue the work of ensuring we have an adequate business base to relieve pressure on residential tax rates. I will continue to work on making the town more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I will also never forget that a person’s primary home is their most important investment, and work to help ensure new developments are compatible with neighborhoods.

People sometimes ask why I want to serve on the Planning Board. It does take a certain time commitment, and I appreciate the understanding of my wife and two daughters in that regard. I want to serve because I very much enjoy being a part of this town’s government, and I want to help make sure that someone will stand up here 5, 10, or 20 years from now and also state that Bedford is a great town. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve and I ask for your vote on March 12. Thank you.


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