By Ben Oleksinski
At their June 24 meeting, the Bedford Planning Board held a public hearing on rezoning the southern portion of the ‘Navy Hangar’ property. Now, the parcel is zoned as an Industrial A district. The Planning Board discussed whether the best use for the 16 acres of land would be a Residence C, B, or D district.
There is currently a limitation on residential zoning in place for water contamination — traces of TCE, a harmful volatile organic compound, have been found near this southern portion. With a limited use restriction, a residential development is prohibited but could be resolved through remediation of the contamination.
Such restrictions are but one part of the consideration. The Planning Board is looking for big picture uses, protective measures being a priority. The public hearing was held in anticipation of acquisition, which is a possibility but not an eventuality. Purchase would give the town some control over the future use of the property, effectively making it known it doesn’t want it to be sold and become a private property. Being able to measure the impact on the town, not promoting residential and economic development, was of clear importance to all members present.
The hearing mainly consisted of assessing a Residence C development scenario against Residence B. The current recommendation on the Special Town Meeting warrant is C; any changes would add complexity on the meeting floor.
The Planning Board, with only three members present, did not close the public hearing but instead continued it to the day of town meeting when all members would be present to make a final recommendation. The Special Town Meeting will be held on July 30 at the Bedford High School Auditorium, and the GSA auction of the property is delayed until August 13.