Finance Committee Hears Planning Board Articles on Town Meeting Warrant

By Jordan Stewart

On February 28 Planning Director Tony Fields and Chair of the Planning Board Amy Lloyd presented the Planning Board articles for the March 26 Annual Town Meeting to the Finance Committee.

Article #12: Zoning Bylaw Amendment – Life Science Uses in Commercial District
A change in the zoning bylaws in the Commercial district has been proposed. Currently, buildings under the frame of ‘Life Science’ companies must obtain ‘Mixed Use’ special permits from the Planning Board, requiring that two companies must share the building. Finance Committee member Tom Busa supported the change, explaining that the current by-law discourages new life science companies, which includes biotech and software, from entering Bedford. After some discussion as to the reasons for the creation of the initial limitations, the Committee moved to recommend the change at the ATM.

Article #13: Elimination of References to General Business Districts

Proposes that all references to the General Business District in zoning bylaws be removed, effectively terminating the usage of the term. Finance Committee voted to recommend.

Article #14: Zoning Map Amendment – Rezone 9A Benjamin Kidder Way from Limited Business District to Residence B District
Proposes that 9A Benjamin Kidder Lane be changed from a Limited Business District to a Residence B District to be consistent with adjacent zoning. The land, located between North Road and Reuben Duren Way, is wetlands, and cannot be built on regardless. Finance Committee voted to recommend approval.

Article #15: Zoning Bylaw Amendment – Restaurants over 5,000 Square Feet in the Great Road Districts
Proposes that the current zoning bylaw for restaurants be changed to allow restaurants in this district to be granted permits to expand to over 5,000 square feet Currently, the Posto Restaurant Group is planning to open in a location in the Marketplace Shopping Center in this district, and would like to expand its space (where Comella’s is located) to exceed 5,000 square feet. Lloyd explained that the current regulations were put in place to discourage chains from entering the area, but she does not feel new restaurants like Posto should be discouraged from opening there. Finance Committee voted to recommend.

Article #16: Zoning Bylaw Diagnostic and Reorganization
Proposes that the town use $40,000 to bring in consultation services to review the zoning bylaws for consistency with updated state laws. Finance Committee member David Powell pondered if updating the bylaws could be attractive to businesses seeking to enter Bedford, as clearer and updated language could please businesses. Finance Committee voted to recommend.
These Articles will be presented at the Annual Town Meeting, March 26 beginning at 7 pm in the Bedford High School Auditorium.

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