The Master Plan is a ‘wish list’ for what the town (that’s us) would like to see done as future development. It is NOT code, it is not law. Any zoning changes or wetlands variances that might be required, as well as the spending, would need to be approved by the voters.
The last iteration of the Master Plan was in 2010.
We are not familiar with the process by which an ‘overlay’ district was included in 2010 except that it was designed by an outside private company. It was placed on the ballot in 2012 and voters unwittingly passed it. It has not yet been adopted.
Voters likely have no idea what an “TND Overlay” district is. It is a commercial district with mixed-used housing above stores and walkable (no cars) areas. The group who designed it for Bedford came from out-of-state (North Carolina and Florida) — Celebrations Associates, LLC. In a promotional video they stated it was to make Bedford just like a “mini-Portsmouth”.
Read more about “TND Overlay Districts“.
Once again, private companies being asked to design spaces before voters are even able to know what it is in them. Is this the way Bedford should be planned? Input from taxpayers is required, but at this point it seems to only be theatre.
In preparation for the update to the Master Plan, due in November of 2019, the town put out a “Request for Proposals” document (that we’ve reposted with underlining for emphasis). Further, in this document of RFP Questions and Answers, Planners have admitted they are committed to the urbanist agenda and hope that it is considered in any proposals. Pay special attention to item #9.
The town officials’ propensity toward urbanism is obvious here…
Q: “Redevelopment opportunities and increased density/infill are called out as a major issue going forward for the town. Has an acceptable amount of “increased density” already been identified or is this something that this process will flesh out? Are the current redevelopment projects what the master plan envisioned? How is the new development being received and are they the type of mixed use “down town” style type of developments desired?”
A: “We hope the Master Plan process will flesh out areas for increased density and infill. The Market and Main project (former Macy’s site) along with the Wayfarer redevelopment project introduce a more compact/urban style of development which closely resembles the plans that were developed by Celebration Associates as part of the current Master Plan. The town is excited about the Market and Main project and this style of development was well received by the community.” (We do not agree…most people did not know about this.)
Q: “As part of the Land Use task, zoning changes are recommended. The 2010 Plan mentions the development of TND Overlay zones. Has any work on TND overlays been done to date? If not are these still of interest? Have areas or Centers been identified or could this be part of re – invigorating this Task and is that a desired direction?”
A: “The town has adopted the River Corridor Smart Growth Overlay District which is based on a Smart Code , but the zoning has not yet been put into practice because the design guidelines have not been adopted. The Master Plan process should gauge community interest in where higher density development should occur.”
Voters likely had no idea what the TND Overlay district that was vote on in 2012. Did they know they were making Bedford into a city???
It is up to you to attend the Master Plan input sessions that will be conducted by TPUDC-LLC to make sure YOUR ideas are represented, not those of a private company from outside the state!
Please spread the word to other groups you know that are discussing this.
Please familiarize yourselves with the details of the Current “Master Plan” (this is very large PDF file, 20 MB). You will note many of the items included in the plan have never been voted on and were not suggested or recommended by the 50 taxpayers who gave input in 2009.