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Building Support to Site an Assisted Living Community in Bedford

The Opportunity

In the autumn of 2020, senior living developer LCB Senior Living engaged the Belfort Group to build neighborhood and town-wide support for an Assisted Living Overlay District in the Town of Bedford. The district was a necessary step to meet the company’s goal of constructing a 92-unit assisted living community in a residential neighborhood of town with an active and engaged homeowners’ association nearby. Full approval would require successful votes at the Planning Board and at a May 2021 Town Meeting. If the overlay district succeeded, LCB would then need to win a special permit from the Bedford Planning Board.

The Strategy

BG mobilized to define and spell out the benefits of the Assisted Living Overlay District and the LCB community it would enable. Through a series of letters, digital media content, and community meetings (managed remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic), BG first secured neighborhood support, including that of the nearby homeowners’ association, then parlayed that support into a messaging and GOTV campaign aimed at Bedford Town Meeting Voters.

The Result

The proposed Assisted Living Overlay District was recommended unanimously by the Bedford Planning Board, which moved to place it on the May 2021 Town Meeting Warrant. Following recommendations by key organizations in town, like the Bedford Council on Aging and Board of Selectmen, the overlay district was overwhelmingly approved by Town Meeting voters. Subsequently, BG rallied abutters, community groups, and key civic organizations to vouch for LCB’s proposal and helped the company make its case to the Bedford Planning Board. On the strength of the strong level of community support displayed over several hearings, the board voted 5-0 to grant LCB a special permit and begin construction on the project.