Arlington Redevelopment Board - Apr 1st, 2024

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Meeting held at 27 Maple Street. Materials were available from

Review Meeting Minutes

The board approved minutes from their March 18, 2024 meeting, 5--0.

Redevelopment Board Rules and Regulations

This is a hearing regarding changes to the ARB's rules and regulations. The changes involve Rule 18 (signs) and Rule 20 (site plan review).

(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau has no changes to suggest.

(Shaina Korman-Houston, ARB) Ms. Korman-Houston suggests a change to rule 18 -- she'd like sign applications to include photos of signs on immediately adjacent properties, in order to provide context. She asks if Section B.2(b) of Rule 20 should ask for information about known site contamination.

(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson says he discussed the topic of site contamination with the previous planning director, who convinced him to leave that question out. He thinks those are the purview of the Board of Health or the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). He'd lean against including such a question.

There's discussion about how soil contamination is reported to MassDEP.

(Shaina Korman-Houston) Ms. Korman-Houston says she'd like to understand if any aspects of project design were influenced by contamination. For example, soil contamination might cause an applicant to propose surface or podium parking, rather than an underground garage.

(Rachel Zsembery, ARB Chair) Ms. Zsembery suggests language to the effect of "Special site conditions", which could include contamination and other factors.

(Steve Revilak, ARB) Mr. Revilak is satisfied with the proposed rule changes, and the amendments proposed so far.

(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau is okay with the amendments.

The board votes to adopt changes to Rules 18 and 20, 5--0.

Board Report to Town Meeting

The board will discuss and vote on their report to town meeting.

(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak suggest changes to the discussion sections for Articles 29 and 31. It's mostly word-smithing, and correcting the name of the Neighborhood Multi-family district.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson notes that Section for Article 31 uses the word "sub-district". He says the zoning bylaw used the term "district", but the parcel list used the term "sub-district". He suggests using the word "district", to be consistent with the nomenclature used in the zoning bylaw.

(Shaina Korman-Houston) Ms. Korman-Houston suggests adding "such as those connected by a breezeway" to the discussion for Article 25, to illustrate how the current definitions allow for a building to be neither attached nor detached. She asks if we have a list of other communities that have removed inland wetland districts from their zoning bylaws.

(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau doesn't have any changes to suggest.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson suggests removing the phrases "like many towns in Massachusetts" and "some communities have found that" from the discussion of Article 28.

The board approves the report to town meeting, 5--0.

Open Forum

No one wishes to speak at tonight's open forum.

New Business

(Claire Ricker) Ms. Ricker says she's spoken with the Town Manager about holding a special town meeting during the annual town meeting. The purpose would be to ask town meeting to re-vote on the MBTA Communities overlay map. The vote would involve only the map. Tonight, the Select Board is holding a meeting to determine the date, which will probably be May 9th. The hearing for this special town meeting article will probably be scheduled for April 29th. Ms. Ricker says the goal is to correct a procedural flaw in the MBTA-C warrant article from last fall's special town meeting. The Attorney General's office felt the warrant language didn't call out the map changes specifically enough.

(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery asks if this will be the same map that we sent to town meeting last fall.

(Claire Ricker) Ms. Ricker answers in the affirmative.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if the parcel list will be the same.

(Claire Ricker) Ms. Ricker answers in the affirmative. The planning department will mail notices to all abutters, and property owners within 310 feet of the district.

(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak says the town's annual report was published last week. There's a section from the assessor's office that shows the average assessed values of single-family homes over the last five years. This year the average assessed value of a single-family home broke the million dollar mark for the first time -- it was $1,014,000.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson would like to have a conversation about the ARB's role on the Master Plan committee. He suggests putting this on the agenda for our next meeting.

(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery would like to have a joint meeting with the Select Board, perhaps in June. She'd also like to review the process for updating the Arlington Heights Business district.

(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks if there's any news on the Atwood house.

(Claire Ricker) Ms. Ricker says that their attorney believes the project is moving forward, and they may be reading for a hearing in May.

(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks if the department has made any progress with looking at sites that might be candidates for urban renewal efforts.

(Claire Ricker) Ms. Ricker answers in the negative.

(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery suggests putting that on the board's agenda, sometime after town meeting ends.

Meeting adjourned.