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CodeRED is an emergency notification service by which town officials can notify Bedford residents and businesses by telephone, cellular phone, text message, or electronic mail about time-sensitive emergency situations or important community alerts. The system is capable of sending messages only to specific neighborhoods or the entire town. Only authorized officials are allowed access to the system.
Any message regarding the safety or welfare of our community would be disseminated using the CodeRED system. Examples would include severe weather warnings and updates, hazardous traffic or road conditions inside the town or affecting local routes, and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of our citizens.
This system is an enhancement to existing means of communication and is supplemental to, not a replacement for, the systems we have used in the past. Sign up for website-initiated alerts through our Notify Me system and social media (Facebook and Twitter) will continue to broadcast important announcements.
The Code Red Database does use the information received from public databases including regional phonebooks. Cellphones and Unlisted numbers may not be available. Visit the Town of Bedford CodeRED registration page. This is the quickest way to sign up because the information you supply will immediately update Bedford's CodeRED telephone number database. If you do not have access to the internet at home, please consider using a computer at the Bedford Library or ask a friend or family member for assistance. Online registration is the most efficient, accurate, and private way to supply your information. To register online you might first have to adjust your internet browser to enable cookies, otherwise, you may receive an error message. If you can not register online, you can call 781-275-1212, ext. 4169 for assistance. It is our intention and hopes that every residence and commercial facility in our community will be included in the notification database.
Visit the Town of Bedford CodeRED registration page.
Yes. Fill out the CodeRED registration form but be sure to select the “This address is business” option. Please note that emergency calls can only be delivered to a direct dial number. Automated attendants will disrupt the process and the calls will not be delivered. Businesses should register their main number and establish a procedure for distributing the CodeRED message to their workforce.
After you submit the initial registration form, you may start the registration process again and submit more numbers for the same address.
CodeRED is a service of Network Emergency Communications (ECN) that takes security and privacy concerns very seriously and does not sell, trade, lease or loan any data about clients to any third party.
A CodeRED Emergency message will have a caller ID of 866-419-5000. A CodeRED General message will have a caller ID 855-969-4636. We suggest you program both numbers in your cell phone as a "new contact" and use "CodeRED Emergency" and "CodeRED General" as the contact name. If you need to replay the emergency notification message again, simply dial this number and you will be able to hear the message again.
Listen carefully to the entire message. It will be brief and at the end of the message, you will have the option to repeat the message by pressing any key. Follow the instructions given. Do not hang up until you have heard the entire message or you might miss vital information. Do not call 911 for further information unless directed to do so or if you need immediate aid from the Police or Fire department.
Yes, CodeRED will leave a message on a machine or on voice mail. Part of the CodeRED solution is the patented ability to recognize answering devices and leave message completely in one pass.
If the line is busy, CodeRED will try two more times to connect.
This is determined mainly by analyzing sales of similar properties in similar areas of the municipality. Other factors include age and condition of the real estate.
Changes in housing market trends can impact property assessments positively or negatively. Assessments are primarily based on the estimated market value of a property.
Examples of improvements that can increase property value include: renovations to kitchens and baths, finishing basements, or adding rooms.
Your assessment is likely to change annually due to market trends or any alterations made to the property record card during the year. It's essential to view your assessment from the perspective of "What could I sell my property for?"
Not necessarily. Taxes can fluctuate depending on several factors such as housing market, overrides or fluctuation of tax rate. A raise in assessment does not automatically indicate a similar rise in taxes.
See ‘How do I get an abatement.’
Once you see the final value which appears on the fiscal third quarter bill which comes out late December, you may contest the value by requesting an abatement. This application is available on the Assessor website https://www.bedfordma.gov/158/Assessor-Forms and must be filed during the month of January and is due February 1. You must still pay your taxes to have the application considered by the Board of Assessors. Any abatement granted will be reflected in future bills.
Yes, an abatement will be denied if tax payments are not current.
Yes. This this has happened at times over the last couple of decades as the real estate market has had corrections.
Assess real and personal property at market value and apply factors across the municipality to make sure all properties are assessed fairly and equitably. Assessors also administer abatements for real property, business personal property and motor vehicle excise taxes.
They do not conduct ‘Appraisals’ of individual properties. They do not set the amount of taxes collected (the ‘Levy’ which is determined by the amount budgeted at Town Meeting).
State law requires valuation at full and fair cash value. To permit full operation of Cities and Town’s municipal activities, revenue needs to be collected in a fair and equitable manner from the property owners.
This is a joint effort between the Select Board and the Board of Assessors. The Assessors are responsible for setting full and fair cash values for the properties. The tax rate is determined by dividing the total tax levy by the total value of all property. The Select Board determines any shift of burden to the commercial class from the residential class. The total tax levy is determined by spending as voted on in Town Meeting.
Revaluation is a process conducted by the Town in collaboration with the state to ensure that the valuation of real property is fair and equitable across the municipality. This involves examining the methods of assessment, data collection, and analysis, and granting approval if all qualifications are met. Revaluation is carried out every 5 years in Massachusetts.
Revaluation serves as an oversight mechanism to ensure that all properties are fairly and equitably assessed in accordance with state law.
No, assessments do not change simultaneously for all properties. Changes are based on various factors such as geographic region, neighborhood, condition, age, and grade of each dwelling. Generally, with the concept of 'Mass Appraisal,' houses are not individually assessed; rather, they are assessed within a group of similar properties. The final assessed value of a property will be indicated on the third-quarter tax bill at the end of the calendar year.
The year’s tax rate is determined by the amount of the tax levy (overall number of tax dollars needed to balance the town budget) and the total value of all real property. The Assessor has no control over the tax levy, that is determined by the level of spending chosen and voted at Town Meeting.
No, only Board of Assessor action may reduce assessment. That said, if you are applying for an abatement, an appraisal will help your case.
Yes, there are Personal Exemptions available to these people, information may be found on our web page. Applications must be submitted annually. Please see our website for more information.
Proposition 2 ½ allows the towns tax levy (total amount to be collected in taxes) to increase no more than 2 ½ percent annually. Within the population of properties, some tax burdens may increase more than 2 ½ percent while others may decrease. Market factors enable this to occur.
Assessors inspect properties when there is an arms-length sale and when renovation/addition permits are pulled by the property owner or contractor. Assessors also must by law inspect all properties on a 10-year interval if not visited for the other mentioned reasons. If no one is home, we will leave a tag for you to call in to arrange an inspection. The inspections are interior and exterior, and typically take 10-15 minutes. Assessors confirm room counts and evaluate the overall condition of the fit and finishes of interior and exterior features.
Properties are classed according to use, such as single family, condominium or commercial. For example, single family homes are classified 101, condominiums 102.
In general, finished living space is valued equally among various types of dwellings. Basement finished space is costed at lower rate than would be first and second floors. Finished attics are also valued lower than first or second floor space.
● Explicit question for exemptions categories: ○ Seniors ○ Veterans ○ Charitable, fraternal, veterans’ and religious organizations ○ Financial hardship ○ Etc.
The most common reason would be errors in the Property Record Card. Over time, depreciation may not be correctly captured for instance.
No, the assessments are kept current each year according to sales activity.
Generally any changes granted for an abatement carry through to the following years, however you may apply each year if you have evidence that your assessment is too high.
See "Do I have to apply for an abatement every year?"
You may contact the Bedford Council on Aging for information on the Senior Work-off program. https://www.bedfordma.gov/518/Council-on-Aging
A sale of a home that is significantly higher than its assessment will trigger an increase if there are other sales that are similarly exceeding their assessments. We use what is called ‘Mass Appraisal’ which means a sample of sales will affect other valuations in each neighborhood.
That depends on several factors, such as location, quality, size, and grade of construction. Market factors will make a difference, such as the desirability of a single-family home versus a duplex in each neighborhood.
The Board of Health and Health Department, two distinct but inter-connected entities, are charged with protecting and safeguarding the public and environmental health of the Town of Bedford. The Board of Health is a statutory board comprised of five community members elected to three year terms. The Health Department is a professionally staffed office within the Town of Bedford's Health and Human Services Department consisting of the Director of Health and Human Services, Assistant Health Director, Community Health Nurse, and Administrative Assistant.
The Board of Health holds, at least, monthly public meetings and conducts public hearings as necessary; often times the Board functions in a quasi-judicial manner to adjudicate hearings for health code violations. Generally speaking, the Board adopts Regulations that provide protections beyond the minimum standards outlined in the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) and State Sanitary Code (codified in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, C.M.R.) and sets town-wide policy related to important health issues, while the Health Department handles day-to-day procedural operations, administrative duties, and executes and enforces the various health laws and regulations. The Health Department may also be delegated as the enforcing authority for Town bylaws passed by Town Meeting, the municipal equivalent of the legislature. The Health Department, in broad terms, also works to prevent and control communicable diseases and promote a healthy community, among other things.
The Board, through the Health Department, provides inspectional services aimed at protecting the public and environmental health. Such inspectional service resources are directed at retail food safety, safe and sanitary housing, recreational camps for children, bathing beaches, public and semi-public swimming pools, tanning facilities, body art, hazardous waste storage, and disposal, etc. The Board, also through its Health Department, provides various vaccinations to the community, the most popular of which are flu and pneumonia vaccines.
The Board of Health and Health Department are funded primarily by the Town of Bedford’s operating budget, which is comprised mainly of funds obtained from local property taxes but is augmented by local aid from the State of Massachusetts. The Health Department also periodically receives state and federal grant funding, for specific projects or topics of interest. In addition to the funding sources described above, the Health Department generates revenue by charging permit fees which offset the cost of delivering the aforementioned inspectional services.
A Business Certificate is a local registration of a business that is conducted within the Town and filed with the Town Clerk, either in person or by mail, in every city/town where a business of any such person, partnership or corporation may be situated. It is commonly referred to as a "d/b/a" (doing business as). The primary purpose of filing is to protect consumers or creditors by identifying the names and addresses of the owners of the business. Essentially, the public has a right to know who "is" a particular business, since a customer will not know who owns the business simply by the name of the business.
Note: A business certificate is not a license to do business in the Town of Bedford. Additional licenses / permits issued by other town departments or state agencies may be required in order to do business. Please refer to the Town of Bedford Zoning Bylaws for conducting a business in the business district or the residential / home business. You may be required to check with the Code Enforcement Office at 781-275-7446.
Any person conducting a business under any title (business name) other than the complete real name of the person conducting the business must file a certificate. A person is defined here as an individual, a partnership, or a corporation.
Exemptions to filling are allowed under section 6 if the corporation is doing business in its true corporate name, or if a legal partnership is doing business under any title which includes the true surname of any. Certain other exemptions exist for trusts and limited partnerships.
If the business is owned solely by one person, only that person needs to sign. If it is a partnership of two or more people (but not a formal legal entity), both or all of the "partners" must sign. If it is a legal partnership, any officer who has the authority to sign on behalf of the partnership may do so. If it is a corporation, an officer who has signatory authority must sign - which is usually the President, but not always. All signatures must be made in front of a notary or at the Town Clerk's Office.
Business Certificates are valid for a period of four years from the date of its original filing. They must be renewed every four years for as long as the business is being conducted.
Change of Residence as listed on the certificate, change of location of the business within the town (but keeps the same business name): You must file either a Statement of Change of Residence or a Statement of Change of Location of Business.
Discontinuance of business, retire or withdraw from conducting business (i.e.: go out of business or move it to another town: You must file a Statement of Discontinuance. If you will be conducting a "Going out of Business Sale" please contact the Town Clerk's office regarding the legal requirements for this type of sale.
Change the name of the business or the owner of a business: You must first file a Discontinuance and then file a new Certificate for the new business or owner's name. You cannot simply change the name of the business. You are discontinuing business in one name and starting a business in a new name.
In case of death of the owner of the registered business (d/b/a): A statement may be filed by the executor or administrator of the estate.
No, the protection of a trademark (word, name, symbol or device) in Massachusetts is accomplished through the Secretary of State's Office.
Cash, or a check made out to the "Town of Bedford", are the only accepted forms of payment. If filing by mail, please do not send cash. Credit and Debit Cards are not accepted.
The law states that copies of your certificate must be available at the address at which the business is conducted, and shall be produced for inspection upon request during regular business hours to any person who has purchased goods or services from such business.
Massachusetts Law states that violations will be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars ($300) for each month during which the violation continues.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) can answer all of your questions regarding collecting sales tax or other tax questions you may have. The Taxpayer Assistance Bureau is open from 8:45 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. The toll-free number is 800-392-6089 or 617-887-6367. The DOR has a publication entitled "A Guide to Sales and Use Tax" which answers the most commonly asked questions about sales/use tax.
Obtained from the IRS at 800-829-1040 or 617-523-1040.
Acceptable forms of payment: attorney's check, certified or registered check, personal check, and cash (if in person).
Town of Bedford10 Mudge WayBedford, MA 01730
The Municipal Lien Certificate will be issued within 10 business days.
The Senior Center offers over 1,200 classes, programs, social events, trips, and other activities each year. Last year, more than 800 people participated in these events.
The Senior Center also offers tables for meeting and chatting with other older adults, computer stations, a room for playing pool, comfortable chairs for reading, and space for other individual and group activities.
Yes. In 2018, adults aged 60 and over accounted for more than one-quarter of all Town residents. That share is expected to reach one-third by 2030.
No. The COA provides some 9,000 home visits, telephone calls, or office visits to frail elders and their caregivers each year.
No. It also serves many younger people, such as caregivers, people planning for their retirement, and volunteers. Those under 60 are welcome at COA events where space is available.
Yes. Each year, seniors make about 14,000 visits to the Senior Center. That works out to an average of nearly 50 visitors each day the Center is open.
If there is bad weather please place items in a plastic garbage bag, tie and label, and turn the bag upside down.
Items should be placed at the curb by 7 am on the day of your scheduled pickup. CMRK will not enter private property to collect items.
Please label your bags/boxes with CMRK/BBBS.
Email CMRK pickups.
Under Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 60A), all Massachusetts residents who own and register a motor vehicle or trailer must annually pay a vehicle excise. The excise tax is levied by the town where the vehicle is principally garaged, and the revenues become part of the local community treasury.
Excises are prorated on a monthly basis. If you register a motor vehicle after the beginning of any calendar year, no excise will be imposed for those months, if any, which have fully elapsed before the vehicle is registered. If a vehicle is registered for any part of a month, however, the excise will be due for all of that month. If you sell or trade a vehicle or move during the year, you should generally pay the full excise tax when billed to avoid any penalties. You should then contact the Assessors office to determine your eligibility for an abatement or refund and the documentation required.
The following criteria, although not exclusive, can be used by state and local agencies and the courts to determine residency. By law, you are considered a Massachusetts resident if you receive a local property tax exemption, file a state resident income tax return or receive a rental deduction, register to vote here, enroll your dependents in a local public school or pay resident tuition for them at a state college or university, receive public assistance from the state, declare that mortgaged or insured property located here is your principal residence, or obtain any employment, benefit or privilege by claiming Massachusetts residency. You may be fined up to $1,000 per year if you illegally register in another state, or misrepresent the principal place your vehicle is garaged in this state. You are also subject to assessment for unpaid taxes with penalties and interest.
The tax is based on a 12-month calendar year, and the rate is $25 per one thousand dollars of the valuation on each vehicle. Vehicle valuations are set annually by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to a formula in the excise tax law. Present market value, condition, price paid, and mileage on the vehicle do not affect the excise tax.
You can find more information on excise tax by visiting the Massachusetts Secretary of State's website.
The Town's Traffic Rules and Regulations prohibit parking a vehicle on a public way or public property between the hours of 1 am and 6 am year round or when more than 2 inches of snow has accumulated on the streets. There is no municipal parking area available to park a private vehicle during these periods, so you must find your own location to leave your vehicle.
The Bedford Police coordinates towing of a vehicle when it interferes with snow operations or other public emergencies. Please contact them at 781-275-1212 and they will assist you with recovering your towed vehicle.
The Sand is now located at 181 Springs Road at the entrance to Springs Brook Park.
On most Town roads, the Town right-of-way extends 5 to 10 feet beyond the edge of the pavement. The DPW repairs mailboxes and lawn damage as a courtesy. Mailboxes installed in the Town right-of-way are placed at the owner's risk. Each mailbox installation should be sufficiently solid to withstand snow-clearing efforts by the Town. A large highway plow moves many tons of snow widening roadways. The rolling action of the snow will destroy or damage all but the strongest of mailboxes and posts. Please call the DPW at 781-275-7605 with the address and description of the damage. Mailboxes will be repaired as quickly as possible as time allows. Lawn damage will be repaired in the spring as weather and time allow. Lawn damage must be reported no later than May 15th. Please check the “Winter Operations” tab on the Highway website for more information.
Please call the DPW at 781-275-7605 with the location of the pothole. Please check the “Pothole Information” tab on the Highway website. You may also report a pothole at the “SeeClickFix” tab on the Town's home page.
Please report missing or damaged street signs to the DPW at 781-275-7605. We will need the street name and at what intersection the sign is missing.
Street lights that are burnt out or flickering can be reported directly to W.H. Hughes. Please contact them by phone at 781-760-2398 or by email.
To report any outage, make sure to mention the pole number or street address. Street lights that are tuning on late or have a timing issue, should be reported directly to the DPW at 781-275-7605.
During normal working hours, please call the DPW at 781-275-7605 with the specific traffic signal location. After hours, please call the Bedford Police & Fire Dispatch center at 781-275-1212.
Compulsive hoarding is when a person collects and keeps an overabundance of items, which may often appear useless or of little value to most people. These items clutter the living spaces of the home and prevent the person from using their rooms as they were intended. Most often, people hoard common possessions, such as paper (e.g. mail, newspapers), books, clothing, and containers (e.g. boxes, paper and plastic bags). Others may accumulate multiples of the same items (appliances). Some people hoard garbage or rotten food. More rarely, people hoard animals or human waste products.
Most people who hoard have been struggling with this problem all of their adult lives. Typically, compulsive hoarding begins with some clutter and difficulty discarding, but then progresses over time until it becomes unmanageable and overwhelming. Most people who hoard are older adults, with an average age of 50, although hoarding behaviors can begin as early as the teenage years. Persons who hoard tend to live alone and often have a family member with the problem. About 2 to 5% of the population have a serious hoarding problem.
Treatment options include harm reduction and/or cognitive-behavior therapy or other support services. Whatever treatment one chooses to use, it is important to realize that clutter is the result of hoarding behavior. Therefore, clearing out the home of the person who hoards does not solve the underlying problematic hoarding and cluttering behavior.
Please see the Volunteer Coordinating Committee webpage for more information and to apply.
The Town of Bedford offers free COVID-19 test kits to residents, and periodically holds vaccine clinics. Please see this page for more information and resources.
Sign up for "CodeRED" emergency alerts
Sign up for notifications such as agendas, minutes, and events
To report a missed pickup of trash or recycling, please use the Waste Wizard tool at www.bedfordma.gov/recycling or call the DPW at 781-275-7605 x4261.
Yes, the Town of Bedford accepts applications and reviews applications all throughout the hiring process.
Your first step should be to talk with the Zoning Enforcement Officer at the Code Enforcement Office. The Town of Bedford is divided into both residential and commercial districts. Within each district, there are uses that are allowed as-of-right while others may not be allowed at all and still some that are allowed only by Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Before you sign a lease it is important to know if your business is compatible with the zoning district in which it would be located. Your future tenant space may also be located in the town's Historic District which has strict guidelines on the exterior appearance of your building; including signs.
Under the MA Building Code, a building permit is required to renovate the space. Section 105.1 of the MA Building Code, 780 CMR, requires a building permit for any construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, removal or demolition of a building or structure. It also requires a building permit to change the use or occupancy of a building and to install or alter any equipment for which provisions have been made under 780 CMR. Along with the building permit application, adequate documentation needs to be submitted to accurately describe the scope of work to be performed. Additional approvals from other departments may be required depending on the scope of work and/or your type of business. Please be aware that in most cases, documentation will be required to be stamped by a design professional.
No. Under s.110.R5 of the MA Building Code, 780 CMR, an individual must be properly licensed as a Construction Supervisor to perform the work and/or supervise others when working in a commercial and/or multi-unit residential building. When the work is completed under the building permit and all work has been approved by the inspector(s) then a Certificate of Occupancy is issued to identify the new tenant within that space.
If the work you are performing does not trigger any building code or zoning code requirements then you would be required to file an application for a Certificate of Occupancy. Once filed, you should request an inspection of the tenant space by the building inspector approximately one week prior to opening; there are times when an inspection by the Fire Department is needed as well. During the inspection the building inspector will be looking at the existing building elements to determine if they are being properly maintained. For example, exit doors, exit signs and emergency lights should be operational; Handrails should be properly secured, fire extinguishers should be up to date and tagged, etc. You also want to tell the building inspector where and how you will be locating furniture, display cases, cubicles, etc. since their placement may obstruct a required egress path or door. If any building element is in disrepair then it will be required to be repaired/replaced and re-inspected prior to opening your business.
Yes. Art.40.3, s.1(A) of the Bedford Sign Bylaw (found under Article 40 of the General Bylaws) requires a permit to be issued by the Building Inspector prior to erecting, re-erecting, constructing or altering any sign. There is certain criteria that controls the size, number and placement of any given wall sign for a business so please be sure to review Art.40.4, s.3(A) to establish what criteria best fits your situation; additional / other criteria may apply if your business is located in a Commercial District or an Industrial District. Please note that under certain circumstances you may be required to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals and/or the Historic District Commission for additional approvals.
Yes. First of all, please be aware that under Art.40.4, s.1(B) of the Bedford Sign Bylaw all internally illuminated signs are strictly prohibited. Secondly, Art.40.5, s.2(A) requires a Special Permit through the Zoning Board of Appeals for all externally illuminated signs. Please note that under certain circumstances you may also be required to go to the Historic District Commission for additional approvals.
No; unless approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Under Art.40.5, s.3 of the Bedford Sign Bylaw, no sign shall be illuminated between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am. This provision is strictly enforced so please be aware that if you are using an automatic timer to control the illumination of your sign then a power loss will affect the timer mechanism and it would need to be reset.
I'm thinking about having a big sale. Can I put an A-frame sign or temporary lawn sign outside to advertise the big sale?
No. Under Art.40.4, s.1(B)(10) of the Bedford Sign Bylaw these types of signs are considered movable freestanding signs and since they are not specifically permitted they are prohibited under the bylaw.
Yes. Art.40.4, s.3 of the Bedford Sign Bylaw allows one freestanding sign on each lot. There is certain criteria that controls the size and placement of any given freestanding sign for a business so please be sure to review Art.40.4, s.3(B) to establish what criteria best fits your situation; additional/other criteria may apply if your business is located in a Commercial District or an Industrial District. Please note that under certain circumstances you may be required to go to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Historic District Commission and/or the Conservation Commission for additional approvals.
Art.40.4, s.3 of the Bedford Sign Bylaw also addresses awning signs, projecting signs, banners as well as other types of signs; certain signs have specific criteria that must be complied with so please review this section to see what best fits your situation. Additional/other criteria may apply if your business is located in a Commercial District or an Industrial District.
Yes. Section R105.1 of the 8th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR states that it is unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove or demolish a detached one or two family dwelling; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this code without first filing a written application with the building official and obtaining the required building permit and all other required permits therefore.
Yes. Section R105.1 of 780 CMR would still apply. Even though the scope of work may seem small and simple there are provisions under the Massachusetts State Building Code that apply to this type of work. As an example, if you were going to have your roof re-shingled, s.R907.3(3) of 780 CMR does not allow more than two layers of any type of roofing. If you happen to have two or more layers already on your roof then the old shingles must be removed before you apply the new layer. This, among other things, is what the building official verifies during the permit review process.
The permit process allows the Building Official to review the plans being submitted to ensure that the work meets the minimum standards set forth in the Massachusetts State Building Code and other applicable codes. These codes determine minimum safety standards for all aspects of building construction - fire-rating, structural, living environment, safe egress, plumbing, electrical and mechanical. After reviewing the plans, it is then the job of the inspector to inspect the work being performed to make sure that it was installed in accordance with applicable codes.
People who perform work without the proper permits may install something that does not meet the minimum standards such as a beam to support a floor or install something incorrectly which may cause a fire. Over time, doing work without permits could lead to an unsafe living environment for you, as well as guests that visit your home or perhaps your place of business.
These minimum safety codes ensure: the conservation of energy, the economic well-being of the community by reducing the potential spread of fire, your personal safety in your own home and reasonable assurances for future home buyers that the home that they'll be living in will be safe.
While each project has its own unique traits that may require additional information to be submitted to the building official, typically a building permit application filled out in its entirety up to and including signatures of all parties involved must be filed along with the following additional paperwork for most building permit applications for one and two family dwellings:
Three sets of plans to scale showing scope of work to be performed. In cases involving new dwellings and/or additions (including decks) you will need foundation plans, floor plans identifying the use of each room/space, framing plans showing structural members and spans and elevation plans (to show height of building / structure). Depending on the scope of work additional information may be required at the discretion of the building official. If using steel or engineered lumber then you will be required to provide design calculations from the appropriate professional. In cases involving interior alterations/renovations you will need floor plans showing existing conditions and proposed conditions. Each room/space shall be identified as to what it will be used for (i.e. bedroom, bathroom, study / office, etc.). Framing plans showing structural members and spans (if applicable). Depending on the scope of work additional information may be required at the discretion of the building official. If using steel or engineered lumber then you will be required to provide design calculations from the appropriate professional. If converting inhabitable space to habitable space (i.e. basement or attic conversion) then you will be required to prove that there is sufficient ventilation for new habitable space(s).
If you are building a new house, addition, detached accessory structure, swimming pool and/or deck then you will need a Certified Scaled Plot Plan showing the location of the new structure(s) to scale (i.e. 1 inch = 40 feet, 1 inch = 20 feet, etc.) and how close the new structure(s) are to all property lines. This will allow the zoning enforcement officer to determine if the new structure(s) comply with the zoning bylaws.
Copy of signed contract to verify compliance with Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) requirements. All home improvement contractors registered with the State and who are entering into an agreement with homeowners for work exceeding $1000 (one thousand dollars) must have a written contract.
Contractor's License and Insurance information. In addition to the written information provided in the building permit application, the contractor is required to provide a copy of his/her valid Construction Supervisor's License (CSL), HIC Registration and proof of Worker's Comp. Insurance (if applicable). If the homeowner is acting as the general contractor but is hiring sub-contractors to perform work (i.e. framer, electrician, plumber, etc.) then the homeowner shall provide insurance information of all sub-contractors with the application.
A certified plot plan is a plot plan that has been stamped by a registered land surveyor or civil engineer. A certified plot plan shows the boundaries of your property and where the primary building(s) and other accessory structures are located on the property. They may also show easements for things such as sewer, utilities, right-of-ways, etc. or perhaps wetland boundaries.
The Town of Bedford's zoning bylaws require, among other things, that buildings or accessory structures be setback a certain distance from the property lines depending on what Zoning District your property is in. A certified plot plan is needed to verify that the proposed new building, addition or accessory structure meets the minimum setback requirements under the zoning bylaws. It also may show where your easements, if any, are located so you don't accidentally build within the easement.
For new dwellings, the owner is responsible for hiring a registered land surveyor or civil engineer to perform an instrument survey of the property and certify the location of the new dwelling and any other accessory structures within the boundary lines to make sure they comply with the setback requirements and any other applicable requirements found in the BZBL. For existing dwellings, although the Code Enforcement Office is not required to provide certified plot plans, there may be cases where a certified plot plan can be found in the property file from a previous project. At the discretion of the Building Official, if the certified plot plan is to scale and accurately depicts the current footprint/location of the primary dwelling and all accessory structures then, in some cases, the homeowner may request a copy of the certified plot plan from the file and use it to locate the proposed addition and/or the accessory structure, to scale, on the existing certified plot plan. If there is no certified plot plan found in the property file then the homeowner is responsible for hiring a registered land surveyor or civil engineer to perform an instrument survey of the property and certify the location of the existing dwelling as well as the proposed addition(s) and/or any other accessory structures within the boundary lines to make sure they comply with the setback requirements and any other applicable requirements found in the BZBL.
No. Mortgage inspection plot plans are not known for their accuracy and can have discrepancies of up to several feet. They are some times required by banks to confirm that there is an actual structure on the property that they are holding a mortgage for but not to certify that the structure complies with local zoning bylaws.
Building and electrical permits are based on the fair market value of the work while plumbing and gas permits are based on the number of fixtures/appliances that a contractor would be installing. Other miscellaneous permits have a flat rate fee. The permit fee schedule outlines all of the costs associated with the different types of permits issued by the Code Enforcement Department. If you have further questions regarding the fees then you may contact the Code Enforcement Department during normal business hours.
With regards to electrical, plumbing and gas permits, if the proper documentation has been submitted then a permit is usually issued the next day. However, if these types of permits are associated with a building permit (i.e. a new home, addition, etc.) then we require that the building permit be issued first before issuing the electrical, plumbing and/or gas permits.
With regards to a building permit, it depends on the scope and complexity of the project. It should be noted that under s.R105.3.1 of the 8th Edition State Building Code, the Building Official has up to thirty days to review the application and either issue or deny the permit application; however, in the majority of cases, the Building Official takes much less than the thirty days allowed under law. As a guideline, if the proper documentation is submitted then permits for:
* These time-frames may vary one way or the other depending on the project's complexity, whether or not all of the proper information has been submitted to the Building Official in a timely manner for him to perform a complete code review.
Important Note: If relief/approval from various Boards or Commissions is required (i.e. Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic District Commission, etc.) then such relief/approval must be granted before a building permit can be issued.
If the Building Official finds someone performing work without the required building permit(s) then he will require them to secure the proper permit(s) through the Code Enforcement Office. The penalty, at the local level, is a triple permit fee assessed to the permit required to correct the matter. If the person responsible for violating the building code does not follow-through on securing the proper permits then the Building Official shall serve a written notice of violation to such person responsible for performing work without a building permit. Under s.R113.4 of the 7th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR, violation of any provision of 780 CMR shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both for each violation. These types of penalties, at the state level, can be assessed by a judge through the criminal court process, if warranted.
Also, failure to secure the proper permits could jeopardize your property insurance policy or the future sale of your property.
The following information must accompany the completed building permit application:
A certified plot plan, to scale, showing the location of the proposed swimming pool, accessory structures (i.e. cabanas, pool shed, etc.) and, if applicable, the location of septic tanks, cesspool and leaching fields. Swimming pools are required to be setback a minimum of ten feet from both side and rear property lines. The swimming pool is also required to be located behind the rearmost point of the dwelling and no closer than ten feet from another building on the same lot (i.e. dwelling, garage, cabana, shed, etc.). It is also required that the location of the fence that will be used to enclose the swimming pool be located on the plot plan as well.
Specifications / plans, to scale, of the swimming pool. These specifications/plans will show, among other things, size, depth, material used to construct pool, diving board location, if applicable, and technical/structural information. With respects to in-ground pools, the plans are stamped by an engineer certifying code compliance. Specifications for aboveground pools are usually found in the pool manufacturer's brochure. If not, the company selling and/or installing the pool should be able to provide this information for you.
Specifications, to scale, of the fence enclosing the pool. The Massachusetts State Building Code has very specific requirements for fences enclosing swimming pools. The specifications should include, among other things, height of fence, spacing of balusters, height of any horizontal/intermediate rails, swing of gate and latching/closing hardware.
Submit signed 'Swimming Pool Enclosure' affidavit.
Building Permit Application must be approved / signed-off by Conservation Administrator. Please note: if the swimming pool is located within wetland boundaries then approval by the Conservation Commission will be required prior to the building permit process moving forward.
Licensed electrician must apply for wiring permit prior to building permit being issued.
For sheds under 200 square feet it is the policy of this office to not require a foundation system given its size and intended use. For these types of sheds you will need to submit a certified plot plan (see below) and a Shed Permit application. For sheds 200 square feet and over the following information must accompany the completed building permit application:
A certified plot plan, to scale, showing the location of the proposed shed/detached garage. Accessory structures of this kind are required to be setback a minimum of ten feet from both side and rear property lines and be located behind the rearmost point of the dwelling (including attached decks) and no closer than ten feet from another building on the same lot.
Specifications/plans, to scale, of the shed / detached garage. If the accessory structure is pre-fabricated then provide the manufacturer's specifications that show what the structure looks like and how its constructed. You will also need to submit the type of foundation system proposed to support the accessory structure (i.e. foundation, footing, etc.). If the accessory structure is going to be constructed by regular framing methods then a set of framing plans must be submitted including the type of foundation/support system you will be using as well as elevation drawings to show the height of the structure.
In most cases, a building permit is pulled by the general contractor and he / she is responsible for calling into the Code Enforcement Department to schedule a building inspection. All inspections require 24 hour notice (a Wednesday inspection requires the contractor to call in on Tuesday) and in most case can be scheduled by the administrative staff by calling 781-275-7446. If there is electrical work and/or plumbing / gas work then the respective contractor responsible for such work is responsible for calling in his/her own inspections. Inspection protocol is outlined on the back of the building permit card and is strictly enforced. If the homeowner secured his/her own permit then they are acting as the general contractor and the same rules apply.
Under the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR, the owner of a one or two family dwelling is allowed to secure their own building permit, in lieu of a licensed general contractor. In essence, the homeowner becomes the general contractor and is responsible for all related work performed at the property, up to and including ensuring full compliance with all provisions covered under the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR. All contractors hired by the homeowner are considered sub-contractors and should have the proper insurance otherwise the homeowner may be liable for any injuries incurred on the property through their homeowner's insurance. The homeowner is not allowed to secure permits for electrical work and plumbing/gas work; these permits must be secured by the respective licensed contractor.
Important Note: Owners not using registered contractors or obtaining their own permits cannot receive payment from the Massachusetts guaranty fund as outlined in the Home Improvement Contractor registration program.
Yes. Under s.5.1.14 of the zoning bylaws a temporary permit is required to have a yard sale on your premises. A property owner can have a yard sale for up to two consecutive days however, not more than twice each calendar year for any give premises. For each yard sale a separate permit shall be required. The permit costs $5 and is issued by the Inspector of Buildings through the Code Enforcement Department.
Yes w/conditions. Under Art.39.4, s.2(D) of the sign bylaw, a person having a permitted yard sale can put up four signs not to exceed three square feet each which may be displayed throughout the Town for not more than two consecutive days. These signs must be removed within twelve hours after the sale.
Yes w/conditions. Under s.4.2.9 of the zoning bylaws, the owner of a single-family dwelling can add an accessory apartment to the dwelling with the proper permits provided that the design meets all of the conditions and requirements set forth in s.126.96.36.199. Once you have reviewed the conditions and requirements, you may download the Accessory Apartment Information packet and fill out the accessory apartment checklist to see if your design complies with s.188.8.131.52.
Please be aware that if your design involves the construction of an addition onto your existing dwelling you must make sure that the addition meets the minimum setback distances from your property lines and other applicable zoning requirements otherwise you may have to modify your design or seek relief through the Zoning Board of Appeals. Also, please be aware that your addition may trigger a review/approval by the Conservation Commission if the addition is within a certain distance from wetland boundaries.
In all Residential Districts, the following shall apply to the primary dwelling on the lot:
In all Residential Districts, the following shall apply to all detached accessory structures on the lot:
Accessory structures including garages, sheds, swimming pools, tennis courts and basketball courts shall be located behind the rearmost point of the primary dwelling and at least 10 feet away from the dwelling. (including attached decks).
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.3 of the zoning bylaws if you are in a Residential District or have a dwelling in the Limited Business District you can store a boat on your property provided that such boat is not located within the front yard or the minimum side yards. The storage of more than one boat may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.3 of the zoning bylaws if you are in a Residential District or have a dwelling in the Limited Business District you can store a recreational trailer on your property provided that such trailer is not located within the front yard or the minimum side yards. The storage of more than one trailer may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.3 of the zoning bylaws if you are in a Residential District or have a dwelling in the Limited Business District you can store one unregistered vehicle on your property provided that such vehicle is not located within the front yard or the minimum side yards. The storage of more than one vehicle may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit. If you have a legal business in the Limited Business and General Business District the storage of unregistered motor vehicles may be authorized by the Board.
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.5 of the zoning bylaws a home occupation business is allowed in all Residential Districts and for dwellings in the Limited Business District. The business, profession or practice can be conducted within the dwelling or within an accessory building as of right provided that the same is conducted by a resident of the dwelling. Other criteria require that no employees or clients come to the premises, the home occupation is secondary to the primary use (residential dwelling) and that no external changes are made which alter the residential character of the premises.
If you wish to have a home occupation with not more than one full-time employee, or his/her equivalent (exclusive of other residents of the dwelling) and/or you would like to have clients come to the premises it may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Note: If you have a contracting or trade business in which you have a commercial vehicle or vehicles please read s.5.1.4 regarding the parking or garaging of commercial vehicles in Residential Districts.
It depends. Under s.5.1.4 of the zoning bylaw, in all Residential Districts you are allowed to garage or park one commercial automobile or one light commercial vehicle (maximum 10,000 pound gross vehicle weight and 135-inch wheel base) on your premises. The parking or garaging of more than one such vehicle or large commercial vehicle may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Please pay your bill first, and then file for an abatement.
Please use the new Waste Wizard tool, located on the Trash & Recycling page. Click "Need Help" at the top of the tool and select the appropriate option.
For dead animals found to be on private property, please contact a private service for removal options. A Google search can identify local providers. The DPW does not contract with or provide an endorsement for any one provider, but one such company is Bat Guys Wildlife Service. Public Works can assist residents when a dead animal is found to be in the roadway. Contact the DPW at (781)275-7605 in these cases.
You will be given as much access as the work allows and the DPW will do their best to minimize any inconvenience. You will receive a hand delivered notice at least one day prior to the start of construction.
When road work will occur on a regularly scheduled collection day, please have your trash and recycling out on Monday before 6:00 AM. DPW will coordinate with the waste management contractor to have the trash picked up prior to the start of road work. If there are any issues with collection service, please reach out via the online Wizard Tool located on the Trash & Recycling page of the Town website.
Please be advised that with the exception of Fog Sealing and Shim Course, these roads will be subject to Bedford Code Art. 46 “No person shall break or dig up any sidewalk, street, or public way…without obtaining proper insurance coverage and a Street Opening Permit.” There will be a period of five years after paving that no Street Opening Permits will be issued for those streets. So, if you plan to install or repair a gas service, underground electric service, underground telephone, underground cable service, water service, sewer service or any other work that would require excavating in the street, the work must be done before the street is repaved. You can use the following utility contact numbers to request service installation. National Grid 1-800-233-5325, Eversource/Formally NSTAR 1-888-633-3797, Verizon 1-800-870-9999, Comcast 1-800-266-2278, RCN 1-800- 746-4726. Please notify Public Works of your intent as soon as possible also.
No. On-street parking will be prohibited during construction.
If you have any questions or concerns please call the Public Works Department at (781) 275 7605.
Salt brine is water saturated with sodium chloride, or more simply rock salt dissolved in water. It is part of the Bedford DPW’s anti-icing program to take a proactive approach to control snow and ice on Bedford’s roadways.
Salt brine is best used to pre-treat the roads in anticipation of winter storms. Salt brine can prevent ice on the road for up to three days in advance of a snow / ice storm. The salt brine will begin working as soon as the first snowflake falls and will delay the accumulation of snow and ice on the pavement due to lowering the freezing temperature. Salt brine can be applied when the temperatures are between 15 degrees and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but works at temperatures down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, once a storm event is forecasted, the Department of Public Works will pre-treat with salt brine during a normal work day, thus reducing the need for additional overtime.
View the Salt Brine Anti-Icing Program (PDF) to continue reading.
Tax bills are issued four times a year. The quarterly tax payments are due on the following dates: August 1st; November 1st; February 1st; May 1st.
You can request a statement by calling the Collector's office at 781-275-1517.
The interest of 14% per annum will start accruing at the close of business on the due date.
Under state law, Chapter 60, Section 3, failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the tax or any interest or fines incurred due to late payment(s). It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to secure his/her tax bill when one is not received.
All changes of owner and/or address must be in writing and directed to the Assessor’s Office. This will change the mail to a portion of the bill; the permanent change will take place when the Assessor’s Office receives the deed from the Registry of Deeds.
Overpayments will be applied to the next quarter unless it is the last quarter of the Fiscal Year. If an overpayment is made on the last quarter it will be refunded to the person or mortgage company that caused the credit balance.
Tax payments must be received on or before the due date to avoid interest and demand charges. If payment is not made on or before the due date, the account will begin to accrue interest at the rate of 14% per annum, computed from the date the bill was due.
10 days after a 4th quarter bill a demand notice will be sent and a demand fee is charged against the account.
If the account remains delinquent after further attempts to notify owners and collect unpaid real estate taxes, the owner's name, address and the amount owed will be advertised in the Bedford Minuteman, additional fees will be assessed and a tax lien will be placed on the property and recorded with the Registry of Deeds. A tax lien is the first step in the foreclosure process. All taxes, costs, and interest must be paid to prevent foreclosure.
If you receive a bill, please forward it to the new owner immediately as it is his/her responsibility to make payment.
Inclusion support may be available for some Recreation Programs in the form of lower student/staff ratios, parent involvement and/or program modifications. We realize every situation is unique and we are happy to explore opportunities that may exist for inclusion.
Prior to registering EACH session, please complete the Inclusion Questionnaire on the Bedford Recreation Website. Inclusion Questionnaire Contact Nikki Taylor (email@example.com) with any questions.
Notice must be given 5 business days prior to program start for refund. If the required notice is given, refunds will be processed less 10% of the cost of the program. Medical refunds given after a program has begun will be prorated and the 10% fee will be charged. Other exceptions as noted in the program descriptions in the current seasonal brochure.
The field use policy is posted to our website under Forms and can be found here. To apply for a permit please fill out this form.
Town of Bedford Tax ID: 04-6001082. It is printed on all Recreation receipts. Receipts may be printed from your account in Active (online registration system).
The Winter 2024 brochure should be posted on the Recreation page around Thanksgiving. Check back on the main Recreation page for updates when available.
September 23, 2023
Each season the registration dates will be published on the NEWS section on Recreation's homepage. It is also posted to the Town Calendar on the website.
No, playground areas cannot be reserved; it is first come, first serve.
The Recreation Department does not handle facility rental in Bedford. For school use, please contact BPS Business Office: 781-275-7708. For Town Center Use, please contact the Town Center Director: 781-275-4880.
For consideration, please submit the Financial Assistance Form and Registration Form. It is preferable that you submit the forms prior to registration opening for that particular season. That gives time for the request to be considered.
First, you need to make sure you are registered to vote. You can register to vote or check your registration status online by visiting the Secretary of State website. You can also fill out a form and mail it to the Town Clerk or register to vote in person at Town Hall. Please call the Town Clerk's office at 781-275-0083 with questions.
When you arrive for Town Meeting and reach the teller you will need to tell them your Street name, then House number, then Your Name. Check-in is not separated by precinct.
Petitioner's articles shall be submitted in written form. Ten signatures are required on a petition for the Annual Town Meeting Warrant and 100 signatures for the Special Town Meeting. The Town Clerk will verify the signatures. Please use this form:
For assistance with the preparation of the petition, you are encouraged to contact the members of the Petitioners' Advisory Committee.
You may contact any member of the Volunteer Coordinating Committee to discuss the committees and which ones have openings. After you have attended a meeting of the committee you are interested in, you should complete the Questionnaire for Volunteers. You may also call the Town Manager's office for information at 781-275-1111.
The rules for the Town Meeting are in State law and also, in order of precedence, Bedford Town Charter, The Town Bylaws, Rules adopted by the Town Meeting, Town Meeting Time published by the Massachusetts Moderators Association, and custom of the Bedford Town Meeting.
Article 3.6 of the Bylaws of the Town of Bedford states that "In accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, the Town Moderator shall have complete jurisdiction over any Town Meeting held for the transaction of the Town's business." The Moderator runs the meeting and enforces the rules of Town Meeting.
Article 4 of the Bedford Bylaws lists Town Meeting Procedure in detail. These procedures outline in detail motions that can be made and action that can be taken by Town Meeting.
These procedures have been included in "A Guide to Open Town Meeting" (PDF) which was written by Betsey Anderson, former Moderator and now Deputy Moderator for Bedford.
View the Bylaws of the Town of Bedford.
To read an even more complete guide on Bedford that includes Town Meeting information, download "Know Your Town" (PDF), published by the Bedford League of Women Voters.
Town Meeting Time: A Handbook of Parliamentary Law is available from the Bedford Public Library or you can order a copy from the Massachusetts Moderators Association.
Annual Town Meeting normally commences on the fourth Monday of March. Town Meeting is typically held in the Bedford High School Auditorium beginning at 7 pm.
A Warrant will be issued in accordance with MGL Ch. 39, Section 10. Special Town Meetings are at the call of the Selectmen and typically occur in the Fall.
The Town Meeting form of government "speaks for the belief that a society is safer and freer when the bulk of its citizens understand the programs and goals that their government has chosen and when they have achieved this understanding because these programs and goals have been honestly discussed in public." Quote from Town Meeting Time: A Handbook of Parliamentary Law, published by the Massachusetts Moderators Association 2001
When we are removed from the decision-making process it is easy to feel that we have no control over the how and why of government. Attending TM gives us the opportunity to vote on local expenditures - for schools, roads, police, water/sewer, fire, etc., and to decide how we want to regulate our town through bylaws. We get to know our elected and appointed officials and town employees and they get to know us through our participation.
"Freedom in the concrete, freedom as it is experienced in daily life, is the experience of having a hand in the determining of issues that touch the individual closely and intimately." From Rockefeller Panel Report on American Democracy: The Power of the Democratic Idea
The Warrant is a notice to all voters of the town as to the time and location of the TM. The warrant must state the subjects to be acted upon so that every voter knows what is being proposed. No action can be taken by TM unless the subject matter is contained in the Warrant.
The wording of the warrant does not have to be the exact wording of the motion at TM, but it must contain a sufficient description of what is proposed so that voters are aware of the subject matter.
So why would it be different? The Warrant has to be finalized to be sent to the printer more than one month before TM begins. In the intervening month, motions are fine-tuned for proper wording and dollar amounts are made most accurate, based on up-to-the-minute data in some cases.
And, in some cases, boards and committees concerned with the content of the warrant article have not come to a decision as to what they will recommend at TM. In this case, at the end of the Article, you will see the words "Recommendation to be given at Town Meeting."
Town Meeting is the business meeting of the town and TM members are the legislative branch of the town government. Only registered voters of the town are allowed to vote. A quorum of at least 100 voters is required to conduct business. (For the 2020 Annual Town Meeting, the quorum has been reduced to 75 voters as allowed by temporary state regulations).
Other interested persons may attend TM - residents who have not registered to vote, town employees, and business owners for example. When they arrive at TM, they will check in at the desk and will be escorted into the auditorium, and will be required to sit in a separate area where votes will not be counted. The Moderator and Town Clerk will determine the location of the appropriate area based on the space needs of voters.
Only TM members, i.e. voters, can speak at TM. On occasion, someone else would like to bring some information to the attention of TM members or would like to share their opinion with TM. In that case, it is preferable for the person to make themselves known in advance to Town Clerk or the Moderator. In any case, when the person steps to the microphone and is otherwise not eligible to speak, the Moderator can ask TM if they want to grant permission to the person to speak. If there is no objection from the voters, the Moderator will recognize the speaker.
If you have a question about the article being discussed or if you want to share your thoughts, please go to any one of the four microphones in the aisles. Wait in line until you are at the microphone and are recognized by the Moderator.
Speaking in public is not something that comes naturally to most of us, so before you get to the mic, take a few moments to think through the point you want to make or the question you want to ask. If someone else has already made the same point you wanted to make, it is fine for you to say, "I agree with the previous speaker and I support the passage of this motion." Please do not go over what has been already stated.
Town Meeting is not a debate so there is no back-and-forth conversation allowed between you and another speaker or presenter. You can make your point, or ask your question. The Moderator will not permit a debate.
Please also keep in mind the guidelines for civil discourse that are recommended for Town Meeting. In short, they are:
View the complete Guidelines for Civil Discourse (PDF).
If you are presenting slides, please see the presentation guidelines to maximize accessibility and readability.
Bedford has an "open" town meeting, which means that all of Bedford's registered voters are eligible to come to Town Meeting (TM). Some towns in Massachusetts have a "representative" town meeting and elect their TM members.
In the government structure of Bedford, registered voters attending TM are the "legislators." Town Meeting members are vested by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Bedford's Charter with the traditional powers of the legislative branch of any level of government: the power to make laws (in this case, called By-laws) and the power to approve the expenditure of money. No money can be expended by the Town without the approval of Town Meeting. No general or zoning laws can be enacted by Bedford without the approval of Town Meeting.
You can read these Zoning Bylaws, General Bylaw, and Bedford's Charter on the town website.
It is very popular for today's political candidates and congress members to hold what they refer to as "Town Meetings." These are in general sessions, open to anyone, where the person organizing the meeting presents ideas and the audience responds, asks questions, and makes comments. This is not what is referred to as Town Meeting in Bedford.
The Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) is established by the Select Board, with roles and responsibilities laid out in the General Bylaws of the Town. TAC consists of seven volunteer residents, appointed by the Select Board to three-year terms.
TAC meeting dates can vary from month to month, but we typically meet on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm once a month. As of March 2023, TAC is still conducting meetings virtually via Zoom. Links to the Zoom meetings are included in the TAC agendas when they are posted to the TAC and Town website.
There are a number of ways to get your questions and comments in front of TAC. First is to come to meetings, whether in person or virtual: residents are welcome to contribute. Second is to submit comments to TAC via its email address: TAC@bedfordma.gov. We read every message that comes in, and attempt to either answer questions ourselves or direct residents to the appropriate town employee or committee if we don’t know the answer.
Note that both comments at TAC meetings and any correspondence sent to the TAC email address are considered public records under state law.
Any vacancy will appear in the list of TAC members on the TAC website. The first step toward becoming a member is to attend some meetings. This will let you become familiar with the way TAC operates, the current members, and issues that come before the committee. Reach out to the committee at the TAC email address if you have any questions.
If you remain interested in joining the committee, contact the Volunteer Coordinating Committee and complete a Candidate Questionnaire:
The VCC identifies and recruits qualified candidates for appointed positions on town committees, and coordinates hearings for candidates before the Select Board. You will be scheduled to appear before the Select Board, which will consider your application and decide whether to appoint you to a term on the committee.
In 2015, the town completed the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan after over a year of work gathering information. This plan assessed current conditions in the sidewalk, crosswalk, and bike lane network around Bedford, and took in comments from hundreds of residents about the routes they use and which neighborhoods need such amenities. The resulting plan identifies and ranks improvements throughout the town:
The Town is working to complete the network identified in this plan at a rate of a few projects a year. To choose those projects, the Transportation Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Department of Public Works collaborate to consider priorities based on the Ped-Bike Plan as well as areas of concern brought to our attention by residents. Other considerations include available funding and areas where other construction creates opportunities to address needs.
Overall, the Town prioritizes projects that will connect the greatest number of residents to the center of Town and other neighborhoods, with particular focus on providing safe routes for biking and walking to schools.
As of the latest review, the sidewalk projects flagged as priorities are:
A line item (or multiple line items) in the budget presented at Annual Town Meeting (ATM) each year provides funds for the Department of Public Works to design the projects, hire consultants, and eventually construct sidewalks and crosswalks. Bike lanes are typically added as parts of larger construction projects. At the time of writing, it is important to note that this budget line was not approved at 2022 ATM, meaning that there are currently no funds for planning or constructing any sidewalks, crosswalks, or bicycle accommodations. 2022 was an anomaly, and in 2023 ATM will again have the opportunity to fund such projects.
Any sidewalk project requires a multi-stage process that includes developing the design and getting input from residents, town engineers, and consultants. Once the design is complete, the project can be put out to bid and built in the following construction season.
The first step to check is the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to see if your issue has already been identified. If it has been, then it is on the list for eventual construction. Whether it is listed in the plan or not, residents can write to the Transportation Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, or Department of Public Works to request that the Town move ahead with a particular project.
Many locations for crosswalks are called out in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, so first check that document to see if your area of concern is listed. Constructing a crosswalk requires considering a number of criteria for eligibility:
To advocate for crosswalks in locations that meet the eligibility requirements, residents can email the Transportation Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, or Department of Public Works.
In 2022, the Town adopted a Traffic Calming Policy that spells out options for slowing traffic in Bedford neighborhoods, and the steps residents can take to advocate for them. Any such projects require both neighborhood buy-in and a traffic study. See the Traffic Calming Policy for more information on how to request such a project in your neighborhood:
In 2018, Bedford adopted a Town-wide statutory speed limit of 25 mph. This means that, on any street without a posted speed limit, the default limit is 25 mph.
However, lowering posted speed limits is difficult. To reduce the speed limit on any street with a posted limit, state law requires the Town to first conduct a speed study. The Town must then base any new speed limit on the “85th percentile speed” – the speed that only 15 percent of cars exceed – even if that means raising the speed limit.
Because of that requirement, the first step is to use traffic-calming measures to slow drivers down. If those are effective, the Town could then propose a change in the speed limit based on the new reality on the street.
Addressing traffic on Great Road has been a concern of the town for many years. A major resource for that work is the 2021 Great Road Master Plan, which the Town is implementing in phases. For a chronicle of this work, see:
The Town also recently commissioned a study of the Great Road corridor that proposes numerous changes to traffic and pedestrian signals and upgrades to several intersections. The study includes a timeline for implementing them:
Our next special collection event will be held in October 2023. Event details will be sent by regular postal mail and posted on the Events page.
Please visit the Health Department page for the most up to date information about Household Hazardous Waste collection events.
Here are a couple of suggestions:
Mattresses and box springs are scheduled to visit the UTEC Mattress Recycling website. This is a free service for residents served by the municipal trash program.
Other bulky items can be scheduled online, using the Waste Wizard tool on the main Trash & Recycling page. Fees apply for some items. Please note that construction materials (such as toilets, sinks, etc.), a wood waste (including pallets) are prohibited from the municipal trash program. Residents should contact a private hauler or utilize a dumpster bag.
If your cart was too close to any obstacles the driver would have moved it before the automated arm could lift and empty the cart. Please place the cart at least 3 feet from all obstacles, such as mail boxes, trees or recycle bins. Try putting the recycling near your mailbox and the refuse cart on the other side of the driveway.
A dirty cart is easily cleaned with soap and hot water or with a pressure washer. Contact the DPW at 781-275-7605 if your cart is broken or damaged.
Yes. Resident stickers are free and can be requested at the DPW, 314 Great Road, during business hours. Proof of residency is required in the form of vehicle registration and driver's license or utility bill.
Yard Waste is collected curbside on one date in the Spring and three dates in the Fall, with one additional collection in January for Christmas Tree collection.
Residents are encouraged to bring yard waste material to the Compost & Recycling Center, 108 Carlisle Rd. Visit the Compost & Recycling Center page for current schedule and acceptable items list.
If you occasionally have more trash than can fit into the cart with the lid closed, use an official overflow bag.
Yes. Additional trash carts are available for an annual fee. Submit the online Trash Cart application. Annual invoices for the second trash carts are issued on October 1. Unpaid carts are subject to removal for non-payment.
A water main is a primary water pipe that supplies water throughout the Town. Most water mains and pipes run underground, often under roads. While extremely old pipes were usually galvanized steel, most water mains installed between the 1930s and 1980 were made of cast iron. Today, most water mains are made of ductile iron.
Water main breaks occur for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons are age and temperature. All materials wear out over time, which can eventually result in a water main failure. Temperature is also a big factor. As the ground freezes, it contracts and puts pressure on the water mains. While unlikely, the water inside the pipe can also freeze resulting in an outward pressure on the water main. Hot temperatures and dry air can cause the ground to shift and settle, creating a shearing effect. Other factors that cause a water main break include:
A water main break occurs when the pipe breaks in some way. The water flowing through the pipe then pours out of that crack or break. Although water typically continues to flow through the water main, it usually has less pressure. Depending on the cause of the water main break, the material of the pipe, and other factors, the water coming out of the pipe can cause additional damage.
The water can erode soil and roads, leading to sinkholes and creating traffic problems. Water may pour or even gush or spray out of the ground, causing flooding. If a water main break occurs near your property, the water could even cause damage inside.
The common assumption is that a water main break will result in a complete loss of water, but water will typically continue to flow in most instances. Instead of a complete loss of water, most water main breaks result in low pressure. If you turn on a single fixture, you might not notice a problem. Turn on several, however, and you may notice low pressure or even extremely slow water flow.
In addition to signs inside your home, a water main break may show signs outside your home as well. While water gushing up out of the ground is certainly the most visually spectacular, it doesn't always happen. More commonly, you should expect to see water flowing across roads, sidewalks, or grassy areas. Check with your neighbors to see if they are having water issues as well, because a water main break will likely affect an entire street or even a neighborhood.
Unfortunately, water main breaks can happen at any time. While they often damage roads and other town property, a water main failure can cause significant water damage to your home or business as well.
Call the Water Division at the Public Works Department at 781-275-7605
You should report any sign of a water main break. The Bedford Public Works Water Division will inspect the damage and determine the proper repair procedure. Repair crews may need to turn off the water or interrupt other utilities. In most cases, they will close off the area so they can excavate and make repairs. Depending on the extent of the damage, repairs can take between a few hours and several weeks. The latest updates are posted online on our DPW webpages.
After experiencing a water main break, the water system is flushed by the water department. In most cases, you will not notice any difference in your water, but there is a chance you may have air in the line or notice a reddish or murky color. Flushing your system after the water has been restored is a good practice and should take care of those problems. If you have any questions, please call the water division at 781-275-7605.
Unfortunately, every water main break is different. While a temporary fix may take as little as a few hours, completely repairing the water main after a break may take days or even weeks. It may require the repaving of roads or the addition of soil to stabilize the area. In addition to the damage on municipal property, a water main break can cause damage to your property. Water damage restoration time will vary depending on the type and extent of the damage.
While the Town's goal is to restore water services as quickly as possible, it must be done safely and without risking additional damage to the system. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
We offer a wide variety of social services for the community including:
Counseling through Eliot Community Human Services is open to all Bedford Community Members. There is no co-payment for counseling and lack of insurance is not a barrier to starting therapy. To get on the wait list for therapy please call the Youth and Family Services Office at 781-275-7727. For the referral you will need to provide the following:
The counseling services provided through BYFS are free of charge to Bedford residents through a contract the Town has with Eliot Community Human Services in Concord. If you have health insurance with a mental health benefit, Eliot will bill your insurance though you will not be charged a co-payment.
Social Workers are available to help you navigate a potential eviction process and can help to access rental assistance programs such as RAFT. Please contact the Youth and Family Services Dept. at 781-275-7727 to be connected to a Social Worker who can assist.
For more detailed information on the eviction process and resources you can visit Massachusetts Tenant Guide to Eviction.
You may be eligible for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Fuel Assistance. Contact our office to find out if you are eligible for fuel assistance. We help Bedford residents under age 60 with the application process. Call the COA if you are age 60 or older.
You may apply for fuel assistance any time during the heating season, from November 1st through the end of March. You must reapply for fuel assistance each year. After the first year, you will get an application in the mail, and all you need to do is update the information on it.
Part of our Prevention Services includes a substance abuse education program that provides youth with information about making good decisions about alcohol and substance use. Focus of the program is educational and includes information about specific substances as well as peer pressure, stress reduction, decision-making, and goal setting. .
Town Main Directory: 781-918-4000
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