Board Approves Final Version of Two-Family Dwelling Amendments

March 2, 2023

The Bedford Planning Board Tuesday, after months of preparations, approved the final version of zoning bylaw amendments designed to encourage more two-family dwellings.

The amendments are near the end of the warrant of annual town meeting, which begins on Monday, March 27.

The amendments establish that any dwellings existing on March 1, 1945 can be converted to a two-family dwelling, extending a current provision of the zoning bylaw, but now adding a requirement that any exterior modification to the dwelling is less than 600 square feet. 

Two-family dwellings constructed or converted after March 1, 1945 will be permitted by right if the lot is fully conforming and the dwelling meets the requirements of a 0.15 floor-area ratio, and maximum lot coverage of 0.10. Proposed two-family dwellings on nonconforming lots would be subject to review by the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

The amendments additionally establish regulations that will apply to all two-family dwellings. Accessory dwelling units would be prohibited, and no more than two parking spaces would be allowed in a front yard. Any additional parking spaces must be in a rear or side yard, or within a garage or carport. 

Parking spaces must be located in a way that both dwelling units will have at least one space with direct, unimpeded, street access. If there are more than two outdoor parking spaces or there is a parking space in the front yard and parallel to the street there must be sufficient screening, such as plantings, walls, and fences.

During Tuesday’s meeting, board member Todd Crowley presented the latest revisions to a draft town meeting presentation regarding the amendments. The presentation highlights ways in which the amendments benefit individual residents and the community. 

Member Amy Lloyd asked that the presentation be revised to state that one of the goals of the amendments is to encourage “diversity of opportunity” rather than simply “to encourage diversity,” to better explain the goals of the amendments and their intended impact.  

Editor’s Note: This story was updated for clarity and accuracy on March 3, 9:37 am.

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