The Planning Board invites Bedford residents to attend a community forum on multifamily zoning next Tuesday, December 5, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the Reed Room at Town Hall.
Massachusetts’ Housing Choice law requires that all 177 MBTA Communities in eastern MA designate an area (or areas) in their community where multi-family housing is allowed by-right. “Multi-family housing” means three or more housing units on a parcel of land, e.g., condos, apartments, or cottages. Units do not have to be occupied by families to count as multi-family. “By-right” means that no Special Permit, variance, or other discretionary approval is required, e.g., a proposal would not be subject to approval by our Zoning Board of Appeals. New multi-family housing would still need meet the requirements spelled out in our Zoning Bylaws, General Bylaws, state building code, wetlands protection laws, etc.
Bedford is one of the 177 MBTA Communities. Under the Housing Choice law Bedford must:
There is no obligation for property owners to build new housing in the area that we designate. The new zoning will simply allow them to do so if they want to.
The Housing Choice law allows us flexibility in choosing our multi-family by-right area. The Planning Board is responsible for recommending a multi-family by-right area to Town Meeting and for creating the warrant article(s) incorporating the necessary changes to our zoning bylaws. Town Meeting will vote on the Board’s recommendation in 2024. Next Tuesday night’s forum is an opportunity for you to offer your input on where new multifamily housing would work best in town and to learn more about the Housing Choice law. Resident input is essential to the Board in developing our recommendation for Town Meeting. We hope that you will attend next Tuesday night’s community forum.