The Bedford Planning Board utilized its meeting on Tuesday to discuss priorities and goals for fiscal year 2024.
One obvious topic was the recent state law requiring communities served by the MBTA to have at least 50 acres zoned for multi-family housing allowed by right. Any zoning changes required are likely to be targeted for the 2024 Annual Town Meeting to meet compliance deadlines.
Assistant Planning Director Catherine Perry advised against any zoning initiatives during the upcoming year. She highlighted how much time will be spent determining how to meet the multi-family requirements and cautioned against the board committing to initiatives that it does not have the time or resources to adequately address.
Member Amy Lloyd recommended setting mid-and high-level priorities as soon as possible, as she anticipates next year being particularly busy.
Jacinda Barbehenn agreed with Lloyd’s recommendation and highlighted the importance of maintaining enough time to address the multi-family guidelines without sacrificing time needed for other priority items.
Board Chair Chris Gittins requested volunteers to assist him in drafting a table outlining proposed items for fiscal year 2024. He asked that they provide an estimate of how much time would need to be allocated to each proposed item.
He suggested that the board determine its priority list after reviewing the table during the next meeting. He additionally offered to draft a list of agreed-upon high-level priorities to be distributed to the board after the meeting.
Todd Crowley suggested that reassessing the zoning laws pertaining to building height restrictions be included on next year’s list of priorities. Steven Hagan agreed that the proposed reassessment of height-related zoning laws would be a viable option for discussion during town meeting.
Lloyd also requested that the specialized energy code be considered a high-level priority as it will affect all housing in Bedford.