Net-Zero, Special Town Meeting, and 5G Featured on Selectmen’s Agenda

At their October 21 meeting, the Selectmen reviewed and approved committee appointments, Net Zero improvements, continued editing their warrant review, and enacted 5G regulations.

Net Zero Update
Energy and Sustainability Committee Chair Dan Bostwick and the CEO of Peregrine Energy Group Paul Gromer updated the Selectmen over the current state of the town’s Net Zero policy.

The presentation included a warning that 76% of Bedford’s total CO2 emissions are from non-residential buildings. Increased regulations, including a mandated energy-use information from non-residential landlords, were discussed as possibilities to reduce this percentage.

Bostwick and Gromer touted the estimated greater decrease of emissions by 2030 under Net Zero when compared to the current state plan. They raised interest in many goals for municipal initiatives, including the investment in Net Zero compliant town construction and the creation of a Sustainability Coordinator position.

Special Town Meeting Warrant Review
In preparation for Special Town Meeting on November 4, the Selectmen continued to finalize the Town Meeting Warrant.

They raised concerns over the Finance Committee’s disapproval of Article 10, Zoning Bylaw Amendment for Accessory Dwelling Units. Finance Committee Chair Ben Thomas explained that his committee’s decision was over the lack of information about the economic impact of accessory dwelling units. Clarification from FinCom Chair Ben Thomas on 10/23/2019: The Finance Committee has not yet taken a position on Article 10. One of the discussion points that I mentioned was that FinCom was hoping for more information on the impact of ADUs in a number of areas. It’s expected that members of the Planning Board will attend this Thursday’s FinCom meeting and help us to better understand the impact of the article. We will have a recommendation for Town Meeting. At the present time, though, we do not have a recommendation on that article.

Final recommendations by the Selectmen will be decided during their meeting before the Special Town Meeting on November 4.

5G Small-Cell Wireless Draft Regulations and Application
The Selectmen reviewed the Town of Burlington’s fifth-generation wireless, 5G, draft regulations as a model for the Town of Bedford. Unlike Burlington, Bedford has yet to receive an application for 5G but has instructed relevant departments and committees to prepare for the possibility of an application and the future of the cellular technology in Bedford. Some concerns have been raised in other municipalities over health hazards from 5G installations.

The Selectmen approved an amended version of the regulations.

Town Manager’s Report
On Saturday, October 19, over 2,300 individuals attended the town’s Oktoberfest, which was deemed a success by Town Manager Sarah Stanton. The Town has concluded negotiations with the Bedford Permanent Firefighters Local 2310 IAFF on the Collective Bargaining Agreement for FY2020.

Upon questioning by Selectman Mike Rosenberg over the future of the bike lane on Old Billerica Road, Town Manager Sarah Stanton said there is no current plan to move forward following feedback from bicyclists and residents.

As of October 21, the town’s EEE ordinance is still in effect, as there has not been a hard (killing) frost in Bedford. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will alert the town once the threat of EEE is eradicated.

Committee Appointments
The Selectmen approved multiple committee appointments. David Goldbaum was approved to the Historic Preservation Commission. Alternate member Robert Kalantari was approved to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Barbara Purchia was approved to the Patriotic Holiday Committee. Richard Rosen was approved to the Council on Aging. Susan Schwartz was approved to the Cultural Council.

The Selectmen also discussed future possibilities for more in-depth training for committee members to better prepare for their role on the designated committee.

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