Basic contact information
Email shawnforplanning @ gmail.com.
Answers to The Bedford Citizen’s candidate questions
What inspires you to keep volunteering in your current role, and how do you plan to keep your outlook fresh? I very much enjoy serving on the Planning Board, and especially the interactions I’ve had with fellow Board members, others in town government, and with the public. Now that I have been a member for over six years I can see the impacts that our Board’s decisions have had on the town, and want to continue being part of the process.
I keep my outlook fresh primarily by listening to others’ perspectives and incorporating their ideas into my work on the Board. Even after serving six years, there are still items coming before the Board where I can say “I haven’t seen something like this before.” For me, planning work is always interesting from the high-level visioning we do to promote zoning law changes down to the details of a site plan.
What challenges do you anticipate in your coming term? In the next term, I expect to see the first proposals come in under the new Great Road Business Zoning. These proposals will challenge whether the vision we intended with the zoning bylaws is coming to fruition. As needed, we will propose adjustments to the zoning bylaws to ensure they are functioning as intended. We will similarly see proposals come in under the recently refreshed industrial zoning.
As I mentioned in my candidate statement, we will undertake a significant examination of accessory dwelling units, and intend to propose zoning bylaw changes in Special Town Meeting in the fall this year. Also, at the Planning Board we always see items come in before us that we couldn’t have expected. So, there will be some challenges I can’t predict.
Final campaign statement
Thank you once again to the voters of Bedford for having given me the opportunity to serve you on the Planning Board since 2012. I also want to thank the Planning Board members and staff both past and present who have made serving such a positive experience for me. I ask for your support again as I seek a third full term on the Board.
As I mentioned in my campaign statement, I worked with the Board and others in town to create the Comprehensive Plan, which was the result of extensive public outreach and analysis. The Plan presents the Bedford that we the citizens want for our future and details steps on how to achieve it. Following the Plan’s adoption, the Board has been diligent about fulfilling the actions called for in the Plan, developing and gaining Town Meeting approval for key changes in zoning law to allow the vision of the Plan to take effect. With many of the actions we have done to fulfill the Plan, the effects of what we’re doing now will take years or even decades to unfold. As time goes by, we will examine how these laws are working and make adjustments as needed.
Changing the bylaws around accessory dwelling units to better address demographic gaps in our town’s housing, a top-to-bottom revision and streamlining of our zoning bylaws, re-examining the cluster and planned residential development provisions in the bylaws, and modernizing the rules and regulations regarding special permits and site plans are a few of the long-term items I plan to work with the Board in addressing during my next term. In addition, I expect to see many new proposals for redevelopment within town. Our to-do list is long- it’s going to be a busy and productive three years coming up.
In my position on the Planning Board, I always strive to serve the best interests of the town. In some cases, it is not possible to completely satisfy everyone, but I always try to make sure to take into account the interests of every party before the Board and ensure they are treated fairly. I also welcome ideas and feedback from citizens and do my best to incorporate them into my work on the Board. Upcoming hearing notices and other matters of interest are posted on the Bedford Planning Department home page (www.bedfordma.gov/planning) as well as the Facebook page “Bedford MA Planning Department and Board”.
I greatly appreciate every vote at the polls, and I conclude by once again asking for your support at Town Election on March 9.