Letter to the Editor: Exercise Caution as Town Conforms to MBTA Requirement

Submitted by Phyllis Keenan

Every taxpayer in Bedford should read and reread Christina Carvey’s well-written, well-researched letter (Dec 8) Possible Impacts of MBTA Housing RezoningThe Planning Board needs to  reassess its approach. While it is inevitable that Bedford will comply with the MBTA zoning law, the town doesn’t need to act like a sacrificial lamb while doing so. In fact, more people will benefit if the town preserves its character while complying. The rule that applies on an airplane, “secure your own oxygen mask before helping others” should guide Bedford’s response. 

If Bedford can follow the law, yet “…limit infrastructure strain by including areas already, or soon to be occupied, by high-density housing…” –  shouldn’t town officials be looking into that? Open space is important. The center of town should not be overbuilt. Rethink the current ideas. Bedford has never shirked its responsibilities to the common good, witness the METCO program and the current efforts in handling the immigrant influx. (And be honest, you can name more examples of Bedford altruism.) 

This town wants to continue to help. But Bedford needs to take small steps. Take advantage of ways Carvey suggests to slow down. Bedford will grow, but it should not reinvent itself for the worse in the process.

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The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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John McClain
December 18, 2023 2:54 pm

The MBTA Communities Act looks to add zoning for a bit less than 300K units to Eastern MA (though a number of communities, including Lexington, have already exceeded their requirements from the act) — Bedford’s contribution of zoning for up to 750 units is just over 1/4 of 1% of this total. We aren’t doing this alone, and we are not making an outsized sacrifice v. other communities in our area.

Adding 750 units of housing over a number over decades isn’t making us a ‘sacrificial lamb,’ it’s ensuring that we have housing stock available for people who want to live in Bedford. Like the rest of Eastern Massachusetts, Bedford has a shortage of housing units for empty nesters who would like to stay in the area, and younger people seeking to move in or move back. If you want your older neighbors to stay in town, or your children to move home, we have to build more, smaller housing options. Bedford, along with the rest Eastern MA needs to embrace this opportunity to at least slow down the run away cost of housing in the area.

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