Select Board Declines to Reappoint Moonan to Historic Panel

June 15, 2023

The Bedford Select Board on Monday declined to reappoint William Moonan to the Historic District Commission after one member said “his recent actions, his actions as chair and as a member with respect to the fire station don’t reflect what we expect from board and committee members.”

Moonan, who has served on the commission since before the turn of the century, is an abutter on the southern boundary of the site of the planned fire station at 139 The Great Road, part of which is within the Bedford Center Historic District.

The Historic District Commission decides on the appropriateness of all exteriors in the district with what amounts to veto power, not only on the design of the station, but also on the demolition of the current structure on the site.

Moonan recused himself from all deliberations on the property as a commission member and during the last of his four terms on the Board of Selectmen, between 2018 and 2021.

However, he and his spouse, Carol Amick, led the opposition to the location choice. They were the lead litigators in an unsuccessful suit to stop sale of the property to the town and also submitted a higher purchase offer to the owner, costing the town an extra $150,000 to match it.

Moonan continued to speak publicly against the location as recently as the November 2022 Special Town Meeting.

Select Board member Emily Mitchell announced that she would not support reappointment to the commission, acknowledging Moonan’s decades of service to the town, going back decades to his successful grass-roots campaign to establish Town Center from the closed Center Elementary School.

“Serving on an appointed committee in Bedford is not an entitlement. It is a privilege,” Mitchell said. “It’s a public trust and I feel Mr. Moonan’s actions broke that trust with residents and with us as the appointing authority.”

As the fire station project moves forward, she continued, the role of the commission is vital. “We are relying on their expertise, their commitment, their integrity,” she said. “We don’t want the work of the commission to be clouded or distracted by someone who has publicly and repeatedly cited personal goals that might conflict with the goals of that project.”

In answer to a question from board member Paul Mortenson, Mitchell acknowledged that volunteers who are not reappointed may continue to serve until their replacements are named.

Board member Shawn Hanegan noted that Moonan, along with other committee members with expiring terms, was notified about the scheduled appointment discussion.

The board voted unanimously to reappoint Ali Hon-Anderson to the commission, and to inform the Volunteer Coordinating Committee about the vacancy. Town bylaws require at least one member of the commission to be a member of the Bedford Historical Society; Moonan meets that criterion; other members may as well.

The Select Board unanimously approved the reappointment of David Santos to the Council on Aging Board and Nina Pickering-Cook (Anderson & Kreiger) as Town Counsel.

Also unanimously approved for reappointment were:

  • 300th Anniversary Committee (Roberta Ennis, Cheryl Milroy, Peter Ricci, Ronald Richter, and Michael Rosenberg)
  • Bicycle Advisory Committee (Peter Weichman)
  • Community Media Committee (Bryan Carr and Mark Guetersloh)
  • Conservation Commission (Stephanie Kane and Stacey Katz)
  • Depot Park Advisory Committee (William Deen, Steven Hagan, and Joseph Piantedosi)
  • Historic District Commission (Ali Hon-Anderson)
  • Historic Preservation Commission (Stephanie Keep and John Linz)
  • Recreation Commission (Heidi Trockman)
  • Taxation Aid Committee (Sue Swanson)
  • Volunteer Coordinating Committee (Jennifer Kelley and Kelly Korenak)
  • Veterans’ Graves Officer (Paul Purchia)
  • Youth and Family Services Committee (Shirley Fan-Chan)

Rebecca Hazelton and Christine Wojnar will not be returning to the Cultural Council due to term limit rules.

Others who have decided not to seek reappointment include:

  • Christine Rabinowitz and John Shutkin – Energy & Sustainability Committee
  • Gene Kalb – Council on Aging Board
  • Christine Anderson – 300th Anniversary Committee
  • Craig Jackson – Bicycle Advisory Committee
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