Arlington Redevelopment Board - Feb 11th, 2019

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Organizational Meeting. The organizational meeting (to discuss ARB rules and regulations) is tabled until Feb 25th.

Floodplain and Inland Wetlands District. Conservation planner Emily Sullivan and Conservation Commission chair Nathaniel Stevens meet with the board to discuss proposed ZBL changes to the inland wetlands and floodplain overlay districts.

The town made minor changes to these sections during the zoning recodification, and they were flagged as things to come back to. That's what we're looking at tonight.

The conservation commission has suggested a number of changes. They recommend changing the riverfront boundary from 25' to 200', to match state regulations. The 200' riverfront boundary is the area of conservation commission jurisdiction.

There is at least one intermittent stream in town; it's near the bike path. There are no vernal ponds in town. These would be regulated by the conservation commission, if one were to exist in a resource area.

Eugene Benson asked if the bylaw should consider the effects of climate change on wetland boundaries. The conservation commission needs to incorporate climate change considerations into their regulations, but that hasn't happened yet.

Could the zoning bylaw reference a model that can change over time? In the case of the Mugar property, the actual floodplain boundary changed ahead of the FEMA maps, and the conservation commission had to utilize other resources.

Eugene Benson asked why much of section 5.7.6 would be deleted. The language in 5.7.6 is redundant with section 3.3. Mr. Benson is okay with the deletions, as long as the text is reflected elsewhere.

The conservation commission provided an overview of section 31 of the Conservation Commission regulations, which deals with climate change resilience. The town's municipal vulnerability planning process allowed the town to obtain $400k in funding for flood mitigation. That grant is being used in the Mill Brook area. The conservation commission has decided to work on climate change resistance, mostly to get applicants thinking about these issues. They aren't ready to create additional standards yet. The conservation commission uses state requirements when designing stormwater management plans.

Warrant Article Outreach Plan. Director Raitt reports that the zoning articles were discussed with the zoning recodification working group. DPCD is working on supporting material for outreach efforts. The ARB will hold warrant article hearings on March 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th. The preliminary agenda for these meetings is as follows:

  • March 4th. Rodger Eastman from LWC consulting will be in town, to attend the ARB hearing on the sign bylaws. The ARB will also hold hearings for changes to the inland wetlands district, floodplain overlay district, changes for Dover amendment compliance, and citation corrections.
  • March 11th. Dimensional and Density changes for multifamily units; changes to mixed use regulations; changes to open space regulations in R4--R7; dimensional and density regulations for townhouses.
  • March 18th. Changes to upper-story step backs, height buffers, corner lots, parking requirements, bicycle parking.
  • March 25th. Accessory dwelling units, inclusionary zoning, the definition of half-story, and the definition of driveway slope.

The board will need to figure out when to hold votes. The board generally prefers to vote after article hearings, so they have time to sleep on the decisions.

Kin Lau would like to see supporting material ahead of the hearings. Jenny Raitt reports that work on the supporting materials is underway. DPCD will provide materials to the ARB as they become ready. MAPC is preparing additional graphic materials, and these should be ready by the end of the month.

Mr. Benson wants to have a discussion about the bylaw language before holding the hearings.

DPCD is planning to hold a series of neighborhood meetings about the zoning articles. These will be similar to meetings done for recodification. Mostly outreach to town meeting members.

Mr. Lau asks if there will be an all-boards meeting to discuss the zoning changes. Ms. Raitt reports that it hasn't been scheduled.

Mr. Lau asks how the ARB could incorporate comments from the neighborhood meetings. This will have to be done at the April 8th ARB meeting. April 8th is the deadline for submitting the ARB's report to town meeting. Perhaps the ARB can schedule a meeting on March 27th for incorporating previous comments and voting. The ARB will not take additional public comments that evening.

The ARB votes 4--0 to add a meeting on March 27th, at 7:30 pm.

The board takes comment from a few members of the public.

A resident of 17 Silk street is concerned that there will not be sufficient time for residents to tell their stories and express comments.

Patricia Worden believes there's not sufficient time between the ARB hearings and town meeting.

Joanne Preston is concerned about the community meetings. She feels there are too many warrant articles.

Design Standards. DPCD would like to hire a consultant to create a set of residential design guidelines and design review standards. These would apply to new homes in the R0, R1, and R2 districts. This would be done in conjunction with the residential study group and possibly a new group to work on design standards.

Mr. Lau asks if other municipalities have design review committees. Yes, Watertown and Wellesley for example. There are typically two components to a design review committee: a set of design guidelines, and a process for conducting the review. The RSG is requesting $50k to proceed with the study. The work will be put out to bid via RFP.

Housing Production Plan. Ms. Raitt provided the ARB with a summary of the master plan implementation committee's work, so the board is aware of what's happening. The next MPIC meeting will take place on March 7th.