Chair Christina Wilgren welcomed Calpurnyia Roberts and Steve Grossman to the Bedford Housing Partnership on Nov. 21, whose appointments bring the committee nearly up to full strength. There is still one vacancy open on this nine-member board.
Roberts, who holds a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina, is currently associated with the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, a nonprofit, public policy advocacy organization dedicated to ending homelessness in the state. Before moving to Bedford a year ago, she lived in Arlington and was involved with housing issues there.
When asked during her interview with the Select Board about some ideas for housing in Bedford, she mentioned modular construction and converting offices, hotels, and motels into housing.
Grossman is a medical researcher, with a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health and Behavioral Medicine from Boston University School of Medicine. In his interview with the Select Board at their Oct. 23 meeting, he said that his housing interests focused on the “missing middle,” one of the challenges outlined in the town’s 2019 housing study. He noted the loss of Bedford’s older housing stock and the teardowns of smaller homes. He has been following with interest the Planning Board’s review of the state’s Multifamily Housing initiative.
Review of Multifamily Zoning
Jacinda Barbehenn, who is the Bedford Planning Board’s member of the Partnership, reviewed the multifamily zoning initiative that will be on the warrant at next March’s Annual Town Meeting. She reminded members about an upcoming MBTA Communities Multifamily Zoning Forum that is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29 in the Reed Room of Town Hall.
The Planning Board will provide information on its efforts to date to comply with the legislation and accompanying State regulations as they apply to Bedford. The regulations “essentially require Bedford to adopt local Zoning Bylaw and Zoning Map amendments that designate at least 50 acres of land where multifamily housing is permitted by right at a minimum density of 15 units per acre. The State regulations require Bedford to adopt such amendments by Dec. 31, 2024.”
Barbehenn said those attending the forum will be able to provide further input into the process of identifying potentially appropriate locations and parameters for multifamily housing. A second Forum is set for Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Partnership members asked how they could help advocate for the zoning changes. With only four months before the Annual Town Meeting, suggestions were to write Letters to the Editor of The Bedford Citizen, distribute flyers among members’ neighborhoods, and reach out personally to as many friends and neighbors as possible, to encourage support.
For a full explanation, go to the town website and click on Planning Department: https://bedfordma.gov/836/MBTA-Communities-Multifamily-Zoning-Requ.
Barbehenn reminded the Board about The Boston Globe’s current “Spotlight series on housing in the Commonwealth. Titled “Beyond the Gilded Gate,” the Spotlight team says “people in and around Boston are being challenged, in ways never before, to address the region’s unprecedented housing crisis.”