chris gittins for selectman

Platform & Issues

I’m asking for your vote for a seat on the Planning Board.  As a member of the Conservation Commission and previous member of the Arbor Resources Committee, I understand how facts, opinions, and the law must be harmonized in order to make good decisions.  As a member of Planning Board, I would like to build on the good work that it’s done over the years.  I've seen the dramatic transformation Bedford has undergone over the decades and know that we must be pro-active in our long-term planning so that we’re not continually reacting to the world after it has changed around us. 

As a member of the Planning Board my priorities will include:

  • Expanding middle-income housing options,
  • Making it easier and more appealing to walk and bike around town,
  • Supporting policy and infrastructure which helps local businesses succeed,
  • Promoting redevelopment of vacant and underutilized commercial properties, and
  • Incorporating climate resiliency in new construction.

I’ll elaborate on each of those priorities:

Expand middle-income housing options

The median home price in Bedford has risen substantially faster than inflation for many years.  Our stock of middle-income-affordable homes is shrinking as homes built in the middle of last century are torn down and replaced with houses 2-3 times the size.  While teardowns are unavoidable, through selective changes to our zoning bylaws, we can promote housing options for people who are finding it harder to afford living here, in particular, young people, families looking for a starter home, and seniors.  Toward that end, I support bylaw changes which will make it easier for homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units.  Through the judicious use of Overlay Districts and other zoning tools, we can encourage the construction of new housing like senior-oriented apartments and assisted living facilities – that is respectful of current neighborhood character.

Make it easier and more appealing to walk and bike around town

Good connectivity between neighborhoods and between Bedford and surrounding towns strengthens our community and improves our quality of life. It's good to see more people out walking and biking over the past year and I'd like to encourage the implementation of infrastructure recommendations from Bedford’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to make it easier and more appealing to bike and walk around town.  I will do all I can to ensure that new commercial and retail construction is easily accessible by foot or bicycle, not just by car.  When we can bike or walk to destinations it not only reduces local traffic but we’re less inconvenienced by whatever traffic there is.

Support Local Business

Bedford is a great place to live in part because we have a vital commercial and retail sector.  This ensures that we have a diverse property tax base and creates opportunities to work in town as well as to live here.  We can support local business by making our commercial areas more amenable to walk-in customers.  We can ensure that zoning allows retail and commercial space is sized to meet the needs of local businesses. 

Promote Redevelopment Where Appropriate

Many commercial properties were built decades ago and aren’t well-matched to the current and future needs of growth industries in eastern MA, like biotechnology.   I will support redevelopment of vacant and underutilized commercial properties as necessary to attract growing industries.

Climate Resiliency

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resiliency to climate change, and improving energy efficiency are core issues for me.  These concerns are not solely environmental, but critical to sensible fiscal management in the coming years as well. Local planning should be integrated with state-level climate-related initiatives.  For example, EV charging infrastructure needs to be built out to meet increasing demand; working for more carbon-neutral (“net-zero”) improvements in buildings and infrastructure will reduce long-term costs and build our resilience to climate change.  The Planning Board should encourage net-zero construction in new developments and work with developers to minimize barriers to implementation.

Building Bedford Together

I am deeply committed to addressing Bedford’s current and long-term planning challenges.  I would welcome the opportunity to serve on the Planning Board to achieve our vision for Bedford’s future together.  I ask for your support because I am committed to building and sustaining Bedford so it can continue to be a gift to us and future generations, as it has been for me and my family. You can support my campaign by donating, volunteering, and voting in the town election in-person on March 13th or by mail-in ballot

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