Arlington Redevelopment Board - Aug 6th, 2018

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180 Mass Ave EDR. Docket #3576. This hearing is a resubmission of Leader Bank's proposed sign at 180 Mass Ave.

Andrew Bunnell believes the new plan is substantially different, and a big improvement over the old one.

Andy West asks for a brief description of the signs on the building, which the applicant provides. Cambridge Savings bank has a new sign, which is on the right side of the building. The "180" is an original sign, and would be replaced with a new one. There are other signs for Leader Loan Servicing, Arlington Vision Center, a gym, and a hair dresser.

Jenny Raitt states that the "180" (street address) and "Leader Bank Corporate Headquarters" are the signs covered by this proposal.

Andy West thinks they look great.

Kin Lau things the new design looks great. He's happy.

Eugene Benson has no comments to add.

The chair opens the floor to public comments. There are none.

Board approves the EDR permit, 5--0.


Housing Production Plan Progress Update. Jenny Raitt provides an update on the housing production plan. The update covers two documents: Arlington's Housing Production Plan (which the board approved in 2016) and the Housing Implementation Plan Matrix.

The first item is really about zoning. We're looking at opening up possibilities for multi-unit development in the R4--R7 districts, which are already high-density districts. We're also looking at allowing accessory dwelling units by right, but we don't have a specific plan for this yet. There will be a housing production forum in the fall.

We're looking at ways to expand the affordable housing inventory through mixed use. Our mixed use projects have been maxing out at five residential units, but inclusionary zoning doesn't kick in until there are six or more.

We're looking at ways to allow seniors to age in place in the community.

We'd like to establish a municipal affordable housing trust fund. We may be able to access funds from the Symmes project for this purpose.

David Watson asks what the money could be used for. The funds would need to be used to "create or preserve affordable housing".

The town has 5.6% affordable housing units, and this number is decreasing.

Kin Lau notes that inclusionary zoning doesn't kick in until there are at least six units. He wonders if we could encourage projects with more units, to get inclusionary units.

Kin Lau asks about parking requirements for affordable housing. Jenny Raitt says there's a significant reduction in parking requirements for affordable units.

Eugene Benson asks if we've thought about incentive zoning. Jenny Raitt says that the town is looking at height and other dimensional bonuses.

Eugene Benson expresses concern about small businesses and storefronts fading away. Perhaps some of that commercial space could be turned into residential. Jenny Raitt says the commercial spaces could be turned into restaurants or office space. They doesn't need to be retail.


Correspondence Received. The ARB received a letter from Youth Village, which is located in the heights. It's a three-acre parcel of land, partially owned by the Order of St. Ann. Youth Village is closing, and there are questions about what will happen to the site, and the hundred or so youth that currently live there.

The has exemptions for educational and religious uses. These uses must continue in order to retain the exemptions. The site is zoned as R1.

Eugene Benson asks what the process will be like, involving the town and the neighborhood. Jenny Raitt says the planning department will stay in contact with youth village, to understand what their transition plans are. They're planning to vacate the site by September.


Redevelopment Board Rules and Regulations. Jenny Raitt summarizes how the draft has changed since the last ARB meeting. Most of the discussions were around Rule 10 (submittals); the other changes were minor.

Andy West suggests changing a "shall" to a "may" in rule 6. In Rule 14(1), it's probably okay to say "3D rendering" and omit mention of "computer-generated". Physical model should be put under its own heading. Ultimately, the submission requirements should depend on the scope of the project.

Kin Lau would like drawings to show utility hookups and trash facilities. Jenny Raitt states that these items are part of the EDR requirements -- it's part of the zoning bylaw.

Kin Lau asks if the ZBL says "utilities have to be shown on drawings". He'd like to add that. Jenny Raitt and Andy West discuss adding this to rule 14(3). Andy West suggests calling it a "civil site plan".

David Watson states that the ARB needs drawings of automobile and bicycle parking. Could this be mentioned in the part about floor plans? Perhaps saying that we need floor plans for all floors?

Eugene Benson has a number of small comments. He suggests moving elements of rule 4 to rule 2. Rule 9 should clarify who the secretary ex-officio is. Some of the wording could be improved in right-hand column of Rule 10's table. Rule 11's wording about abutter notifications could be clearer.

Jenny Raitt says the language in Rule 11 came straight out of 40A. She admits it's not the clearest language in the world.

Eugene Benson suggests a wording change to Rule 13(3) to clarify the 90-day interval. He suggests moving a sentence in Rule 14. He suggests changing Rule 17(E) so that the board can deny an application if the applicant fails to pay filing fees.

There's a stray comma in Rule 17(F), and some small changes to rules 18(1) and 18(3).

Andrew Bunnell opens the hearing to public comment.

I provide a comment on 18(5) and 18(6). 18(5) contains one of the criteria for administratively approving sign changes: there can't be a change to sign illumination (if any). 18(6) seems to say that signs with internal illumination aren't subject to administrative approval. I ask how these rules would apply if there was no change to the existing internal illumination of a sign. Jenny Raitt states that 18(6) should apply to new signs with internal illumination.

There are no further public comments.

The ARB debates whether to approve the rules and regulations with amendments, or to wait for one more draft. The board votes to adopt the rules and regulations, as amended. Vote 5--0.


Other Business. There is no other business.

Meeting adjourned.