Finance Committee Recommends Approval of Six Zoning Articles at Annual Town Meeting

By Meredith McCulloch

FinanceCommitteeThe Finance Committee voted March 3 to support nearly all of the zoning bylaw changes coming before voters at the Annual Town Meeting on March 28.

Three concern Bedford’s industrial districts where the bylaws date from the 1950s and 1960s and are seen as inadequate for today. Three of the proposed articles would change the zoning bylaw to clarify language, correct grammatical errors and to make bylaws more appropriate for current needs. Planning Board member Jeff Cohen and Planning Director Glenn Garber reviewed the articles for the committee.

The three industrial zoning bylaw changes, warrant articles 9, 10, and 11, are closely related and can be difficult to understand, so the Planning Board has created two explanatory documents for voters (note that the second document is large and may take a long time to download):

  1. A Simplified Summary (see: https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/bedfordma/files/summarycategorizedindarticlesmarch2016.pdf)
  2. For a detailed analysis see:https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/bedfordma/files/file/file/annotatedindarticlesrev2-18-16rev1.pdf

The Finance Committee voted to recommend approval of all three.

The Finance Committee also voted to support Article 12, which reduces the maximum heights on residences from 37 feet to 35 feet and clarifies the way residential building heights are measured.

Two zoning changes on the warrant did not originate with the Planning Board. Article 14, an article submitted by the Zoning Board of Appeals, allows the ZBA to approve a variance of up to 4000 square feet for the limited business zone, which is currently limited to 2000 square feet. This is seen as a temporary change until all business zoning along The Great Road can be revised. Funds for a planning consultant for the project are on the upcoming warrant. When asked if this would approach “big box store” size, Garber responded those stores begin at about 50,000 square feet.

Article 13, which incorporates the updated Flood Plain map into the zoning bylaw was also recommended for approval. The map is used for Federal Flood Insurance.

After some consideration, the Finance Committee decided to delay a vote on Article 8, proposed by the Page Place Condominium Association, noting that the Selectmen have not yet taken a position.


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