Arlington Redevelopment Board - Mar 14th, 2022
Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1549.
These notes represent a subset of agenda items.
- 1 Warrant Article Hearings
- 2 Special Town Meeting - Potential Zoning Articles
Warrant Article Hearings
(Rachel Zsembery, ARB Chair) Ms. Zsembery tells the public that tonight is the second of four nights of warrant article hearings, and that the board will vote on April 4th, after all the hearings have concluded. She goes on to explain the hearing format: for each article, there will be an introduction by staff, a presentation from the proponent, questions from the board, a period of public comment, then comments from the board. Ms. Zsembery says that members of the public will be given three minutes to comment.
Article 31 - Administrative Amendments
(Kelly Lynema, Assistant Planning Director) Ms. Lynema explains that Article 31 contains five administrative amendments. The first changes Section 3.4.3(D) to comply with recently-passed housing choice legislation. The second is to clarify the relationship between bicycle parking and transportation demand management. The third strikes a duplicate paragraph from the bylaw. The fourth and fifth move the definitions of "group home" and "accessory dwelling unit" into a group of definitions associated with dwellings.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson suggests that the language for the fourth and fifth amendment be changed to "moving and deleting from their prior locations".
Otherwise, there are no questions from the board.
The chair opens this hearing to public comment; there are no comments from the public.
Article 40 - Expand Business Districts
This article proposes to rezone four residential parcels in East Arlington from residential to the B3 Business District. It was proposed by James Fleming and ten registered voters.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says this proposal would rezone four parcels to the B3 district, expanding the business district around Capitol Square. The rezoning wouldn't create any new conformities, and none of the property owners would be required to make changes to their properties, but this potentially allows for additional uses at some time in the future.
Ms. Lynema shows a map of the affected parcels, superimposed upon the town's pre-1970's business districts, and notes that the parcel changes align with what the business districts used to be. She also notes that the board has previously stated an intention of altering these districts to encourage more businesses.
(James Fleming, Proponent) Mr. Fleming shows an aerial shot of Mass Ave, which he thinks is a very nice area. He says he enjoys being around other people, and seeing them go about their day, doing what they do. He proposed Article 40 because he'd like to see more businesses and more people walking around the area. He says the business parcels in this section of town are mostly occupied, with the exception of one building that was the subject of an earlier redevelopment proposal. If all of the commercial spaces are full, then it may be worth expanding the business districts.
Mr. Fleming says he limited the map change to four parcels because our bylaw requires a registered letter to be sent to each abutter, and those letters cost $4/each to mail. He notes that this change would restore parcels to what they were in the 1970s. Mr. Fleming says he asked the assessor if rezoning would impact property taxes, and the assessor said there would be no impact.
Mr. Fleming points out the benefits of commercial property, namely that commercial uses generate more tax revenue per acre than residential ones. He tried to contact the owners of the four affected properties; he states that one was opposed, three were in favor, and one never responded. Only one of those in favor submitted a comment to the board.
(Note: One of the owners that Mr. Fleming thought was in support later wrote a letter of opposition to the board. So that would be two opposed, two in support, and one unresponsive.)
(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau thanks Mr. Fleming for following up with the property owners. He believes it's good to have support of the owners, and that this will tie together the fabric of the two business districts. He doesn't know why it was downzoned before. He thinks this is a good opportunity where the street and sidewalks are wide, and there's an opportunity to engage the public.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson agrees with Mr. Lau.
(Melisa Tintocalis, ARB) Ms. Tintocalis asks if this fits in to the goals of the master plan. She'd like to see changes plugged in to bigger goals.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema notes that the ARB had set a goal of improving the business districts, and that the Arlington Heights Action Plan Committee was looking at similar things.
(Steve Revilak, ARB) Mr. Revilak is supportive, but he has a devil's advocate question for Mr. Fleming. One public comment to the board effectively said "Arlington should concentration on filling up its empty storefronts before it goes expanding the business districts". He asks how Mr. Fleming would respond to that.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming believes that businesses need residents in close proximity in order to thrive. He thinks that's easier to do in East Arlington. He acknowledges that there are vacancies in other parts of town, but believes those areas don't have as many people.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau believes that some of those spaces are old and don't adequately address current needs. He agrees that empty spaces are not the way to go. These spaces may fill in over time, if there's more foot traffic, but there are a lot of factors involved. He believes that spaces which are too small or need too much work are less likely to receive investment.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery supports the map change because it creates future potential.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says he sees this as a small bet on his neighborhood, but acknowledges that the parcels may never turn in to a business use.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore asks if Mr. Fleming, or any of the people who signed his petition have a financial interest in these properties. He thinks there are probably a lot of reasons why Arlington has empty storefronts. He agrees that the town should work harder to fill existing spaces, and likes our hodge-podge of business districts. He points out that one of Mr. Fleming's slides showed an eight story apartment, and he asks why that's a good thing.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says he has no financial interest in any of these properties.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau notes that there's a day care on the first floor of the mixed-use building next to the high school. He says it took a long time for the day care to go through the paperwork and permitting, but the space is currently occupied and fitted.
(Adam Dasenberry) Mr. Dasenberry thinks that wholesale zoning changes give people less control. He'd prefer to have a developer come in, propose a zoning change, and then have a discussion about it. He says there are three or four vacant storefronts in the area and that more businesses will bring more traffic. He thinks the focus should be on helping landlords, and that we should wait for developers.
(Elizabeth Dray) Ms. Dray notes that one of the parcels is a 19 unit apartment building, which could be a source of low-to-mid level housing. She's concerned that a developer might tear down the apartment and remove some of the town's lower-cost housing.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery says that what's being proposed is expanding the business districts to allow for more mixed use. She notes that mixed use is only allowed by special permit; it's not allowed by right. She questions whether tearing down an apartment building would be financially viable.
(Phil Goff) Mr. Goff understands the concern over the potential loss of apartments, but he's supportive. He thinks multi-floor mixed use is the future. We always talk about mixed use on Mass Ave, and he thinks this is consistent with the Master Plan. These are areas where people can get around by walking and biking. He thinks B3 seems like the right zone.
(Will McMillan) Mr. McMillan asks him of someone could provide a one-minute summary of the proposal. He asks if there will be big buildings, or houses with cancerous storefronts, like Dagg's Deli. He says he likes supporting local businesses.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery notes that the business districts were downzoned in the 1970s, based on what was there at the time.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the down-zoning happened at around the same time as Arlington's apartment moratorium. She says that zoning is a tool for achieving what a community wants; at that time, Arlington used zoning to preserve what was already in place. She suggests people refer to the planning department memo for a list of the uses that would be allowed. Businesses of 2000--3000 square feet are generally allowed by right; anything larger, or mixed use, requires a special permit hearing with the ARB. She also notes that there are numerous dimensional constraints in the district.
(Stacie BG) Ms. BG is very concerned about this turning into a business district where everything can be done by right. It could affect people on Marathon Street, which is a one-way street. She thinks that having more businesses will cause people to go the wrong way down one-way streets, and cause accidents. She says that she recently found a face mask and a tube from Apotheca on her front steps. She looked at her doorbell camera footage to see where it came from, and saw two people smoking marijuana in front of her house. She thinks there will be drunk people hanging around the neighborhood if we allow restaurants that serve alcohol.
(Note: Apotheca is a marijuana establishment which is on the other side of town, a few miles away).
(Marci Bourouvalas) Ms. Bourouvalas says her family has lived on Marathon Street for generations and generations. She says it's a quiet neighborhood and she's very concerned about having a business district next to a one way street where there are children. She sees the expansion of the business district as a safety issue. She believes that any additional density will degrade property values. She asks if Mr. Fleming lives in the area.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says he's in the process of renovating his home on Melrose street. Once he moves in, he'll be able to see this part of Mass Ave from his front porch.
(Thomas Allor) Mr. Allor says that businesses are a huge safety concern, and he knows of one one that supports this proposal. He says "let's talk about trees". Mr. Allor has a large tree in his yard, and the apartment building at the corner of Marathon has trees too. Mr. Allor asks if there have been any traffic studies done for this proposal, to see what the impact would be. He asks if East Arlington wants to live through a 3--5 year construction project. He's concerned about tax money and thinks the human factor is being overlooked. He says he has safety concerns and parking concerns.
(Alex Bagnall) Mr. Bagnall says that Arlington's housing debate is contentious, but people seem to agree about wanting more commercial uses. He says that Arlington's spot zoning has created barriers to development, and that mixed use projects often have enough housing to trigger our affordable housing requirements. Mr. Bagnall says he owns a house on a one-way street which is right next to a business district, and it's been perfectly okay so far.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer says he sees the logic of tying the business districts together. He asks the board to consider rezoning these parcels to B2, rather than B3.
(Stephanie Hansel) Ms. Hansel says she doesn't see a real plan. She asks "where's the proposal" and then says "there is no proposal". She wants to hear more from affected tenants, and would rather have a developer propose the rezoning.
(Sanjay Newton) Mr. Newton thinks this proposal is a good example of thinking holistically, and that we should think more about opportunity. He hopes the board will support the article.
There are no more comments from the public.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson notes that people who own property can ask to have it rezoned. Many uses in the business district require special permits and environmental design review. Mr. Benson thinks that the process of having a developer ask for zoning changes can work in a city, but he doesn't see this as a viable option for towns. In a town, a zoning change can take a year to get in front of a town meeting. In towns, developers generally have to deal with the zoning that's already there.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis says it's important to connect the dots to the Master Plan, and to explain why consolidation is useful. She says we're using zoning as a lever to create potential.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak would like to build on Ms. Lynema's earlier remarks about Arlington's down-zoning in the 1970s. Prior to the 1970's Arlington's business districts were 125' or 150' deep along either side of Mass Ave and Broadway, and ran the entire length of the town. It was a generally form-based approach with the larger and more intensive uses along the corridors, and smaller and less-intensive ones behind. He says that Arlington passed a two-year moratorium on apartment construction, and rewrote the zoning by the time the moratorium ended.
The new zoning map eliminated much of the earlier business districts. The new zoning was largely a reflection of the built environment in the 1970s; we took the buildings and uses that were there at the time, and turned that into the law. If a parcel contained an residential use, it was put into an residential district. If a parcel contained a business use, it was put into some kind of business district. The end result was generally to take what we had and freeze it in place.
Mr. Revilak says there's very little opportunity to put a business use in a residential district, but we do allow residential uses, like apartments, in the business districts. While the bylaw doesn't explicitly call for a gradual transition from business to residential, it definitely allows things to change in one direction and not the other.
Mr. Revilak notes that there's been generally little investment in the Mass Ave business districts since the 1970s, so we were successful in keeping things the way they were. But he believes that approach has also cost the town opportunities and led to a gradual erosion of the commercial tax base.
Article 43 - Zoning Map Amendment Requirements
This amendment seeks to clarify the notice requirement for zoning map amendments. It was submitted by James Fleming and ten registered voters.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema points out that Massachusetts State Law doesn't require extra notification for zoning map amendments, but our local bylaw does. She says this amendment seeks to clarify who has to be notified by someone who petitions for a map change. Ms. Lynema says the Planning Department also sends out notices according to MGL chapter 40A Section 11.
(James Fleming, Proponent) Mr. Fleming says the bylaw requires notice to abutters of properties affected by a map change, but not to the owner of the affected property. He shows a slide with scanned images of the certified mail receipts from Article 31. He asks if there's a reason to keep this provision, because the town already sends their own separate notices.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau has no questions.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson would support the language "owners and immediate abutters". He agrees that it's not legally necessary for abutters to be noticed twice.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis has no comments.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak thinks this is a fine clarification. It's how he would have interpreted this section of the bylaw.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore wants to verify that we're not removing the notice requirement. He thinks this sounds good.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery notes that our notice requirements for map amendments are beyond the requirements set forth in state law.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks if "immediate abutters" would preclude people across the street.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming doesn't believe that it would.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson points out that this is an additional notice, beyond what's already sent by the town. He believes this would avoid the need to send extra mail, at the expense of a resident who's proposing a map change.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the planning department has always interpreted "abutter" to mean "immediate abutter".
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer asks if the notice would go to owners, or tenants, or both.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says the bylaw requires the notice to go out to abutters, but he's open to saying "owners and abutters".
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson suggests that Mr. Fleming have one more conversation with town counsel, in order to include owners across the street.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming indicates that he's okay with doing so.
(Jenny Raitt, Planning Director) Ms. Raitt says that the planning department uses state law requirements when sending out notifications for special permit hearings. This is a notice requirement for map amendments; it requires notice to abutters, but doesn't say which abutters should be notified. She thinks that some clarity would help. If the bylaw is imposing a requirement, it would help to know what the bylaw is telling us to do.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson points out that 40A uses the term "parties of interest" when giving notice requirements for special permits.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak agrees with the idea of including owners across the street. He suggests that the state definition of "parties of interest" would have suitable language to use as a starting point.
Mr. Revilak wishes to clarify one aspect of this article. Suppose you have a parcel, call it P. The current bylaw requires notice to the abutters of P, but not to P itself. The proposed main motion seems like it would require notice to abutters of P, and also to P itself. He asks Mr. Fleming if that understanding is correct.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming indicates that's what he's trying to do.
Article 41 - Apartment Parking Minimums
This article proposes to reduce minimum parking requirements for apartment buildings to one space per apartment. It was proposed by James Fleming and ten registered voters.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says this article is similar to a proposal from 2019. It would bring parity to the parking requirements for one-, two-, and three-family homes and apartment buildings. Ms. Lynema looked at parking lot utilization for apartments in Arlington and believes that one space per apartment is okay. 1165R Mass Ave also used one space per apartment. Ms. Lynema says that the Master Plan and Sustainable Transportation Plan both proposed aligning minimum parking requirements to current needs. Ms. Lynema points out that these are minimums, and that property owners can provide more parking if they wish to do so.
(James Fleming, Proponent) Mr. Fleming notes that single-, two-, and three-family homes have one space per dwelling unit, but apartment buildings require more. Based on American Community Survey data that he was able to find, Mr. Fleming believes that 3/4's of renters have one car or less and 1/5 have no car at all. If people don't need cars, why require parking for them.
Mr. Fleming lives in East Arlington and his family only has one car, and moving into an apartment wouldn't increase the number of cars that they'd need. This article won't change parking minimums for public housing for the elderly.
Mr. Fleming notes that there was a redevelopment proposal for the old Christos Market, and the owners proposed 1/2 space per dwelling, so he thinks that people doing redevelopment would be comfortable with one spaced/unit. He notes that the assessed value of building space is much higher than the assessed value of parking space, so lower parking requirements could potentially translate into more tax revenue.
Mr. Fleming says he talked to some builders, who told him that it costs $5,000-12,000 to build a surface parking space and $30,000--38,000 to build a basement parking space.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau is supportive. He thinks one parking space per apartment is fine. Apartment buildings often have empty space in their parking lots, and he thinks less parking could lead to having more green space.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson might be concerned if the areas weren't close to public transit.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis says that reduced parking requirements are supported by Donald Schoup, along with the idea of unbundling parking. She says that parking is a significant cost of development.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak is okay with having apartment parking requirements on park with single-, two-, and three-family parking requirements. He notes that these are just minimums; owners can build more parking spaces if they feel it's necessary to do so.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore thinks the presentation is using old data. He thinks that parking in town has been a problem forever. He thinks the board shouldn't impose artificial limits and that many apartment dwellers have two cars. He thinks we need to do this incrementally, so we don't wind up with a problem that we can't undo. He thinks parking is an issue in a lot of area and this proposal needs more study.
(Phil Goff) Mr. Goff is the founder of EALS (Everywhere Arlington Livable Streets) and he's speaking on behalf of the organization. They're fully supportive. Mr. Goff thinks that one space/dwelling is too much and didn't realize our zoning was so suburban. He says it's one thing for developers to build parking, but another thing for the town to require it. Additional parking makes housing more expensive, and each space requires 350 square feet of pavement. Too much parking encourages more cars and driving. He thinks there's no need to require more than the builder wants to provide.
(Jennifer Susse) Ms. Susse says she's seen developers build more parking than they need because they don't want to go through the trouble of asking for a reduction, which is unfortunate. She believes this proposal is fairly conservative and incremental, and it's worth making parity between apartments and single-, and two-family homes. Ms. Susse thinks this is a careful, modest, proposal.
(Alex Bagnall) Mr. Bagnall says that requiring more parking for multi-family housing is a way to discourage multi-family housing. We get smaller buildings and larger parking lots. He thinks that requiring more parking runs counter to every environmental goal that Arlington has ever expressed.
(Eileen Cahill) Ms. Cahill thinks it's overly optimistic to expect that parking would be green space instead. She thinks developers will build more units, and that this article is based on one person's experience. She says the proposal didn't seem technical or objective. She thinks the board needs to take a step back and be more objective.
(Thomas Allon) Mr. Allon agrees with Ms. Cahill.
(Scott Mullen) Mr. Mullen supports this article. He notes that we're lowering a minimum, and believes that MAPC's parking study is good. He asks the board to advance this to town meeting.
(Stacie BG) Ms. BG lives in a two family home and rents one of the units. She says that half of her tenants had more than one car. She asks Mr. Fleming where he got his info from.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says his data source was the Census American Community Surveys. He looked at car ownership of renters vs owner-occupied.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the staff memo referred to parking study by MAPC. They also looked at a number of apartments in town, and they were all using less than one space/dwelling. Finally, they examined the traffic and parking studies for 1165R Mass Ave, which were prepared and reviewed by outside consultants.
There are no more comments from the public.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak thinks we're going to be talking about for a long time. There's a strong car culture in America, and people are very attached to their vehicles. Vehicles are also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions; getting to net zero GHG emissions will mean using different modes of travel, driving fewer miles, and different policies around automobiles and parking.
Article 42 - Open Space Uses
This article proposes to change the set of uses allowed in the Open Space districts. It was proposed by James Fleming and ten registered voters.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the uses proposed under this article are similar to what the Economic Recovery Task force had done during the pandemic. This article takes some of the temporary uses and codifies them as allowed uses under the bylaw.
(James Fleming, Proponent) Mr. Fleming shows several pictures of the Beer Garden in Arlington Center; he sees this as an example of using public space for something fun. He says the Parks and Recreation Department uses the zoning bylaw to determine what's allowed to happen in the open space districts. There are event uses which are allowed by special permit. It takes at least two months to get a special permit, and he thinks that's too much for an event. He says he showed the main motion to the Parks Department, and they felt it was something they could enforce. The Parks Department still controls where and when things happen in the park.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau has no questions.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson thinks it's odd to make groups get a special permit from the ZBA in order to hold an event in a park. He asks if there will still be an approval step.
(Jame Fleming) Mr. Fleming says the Parks Department will have to approve uses. They will also set the conditions and rules.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if there are open spaces that aren't controlled by the town.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says that Whittemore park is controlled by the Select Board, and several areas are controlled by the Conservation Commission. Most of Arlington's open space is under the jurisdiction of the Parks and Recreation Department.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if people will still need permission to hold an event.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt answers in the affirmative.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis has no comments. It seems like there's a measure of oversight.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak has no comment.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore supports the article. He thinks it's a great idea.
There are no more comments from the public, and nothing further from the board.
Article 44 - Restaurant Uses
This article would increase the size of a restaurant that's allowed by right. It was submitted by James Fleming and ten registered voters.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the planning department looked at restaurant uses. Restaurants under 2000 square feet are allowed by right, while ones 2000 square feet and over require a special permit. Offices are treated similarly; smaller ones are allowed by right and larger ones by special permit, but the thresholds are different.
Ms. Lynema says there are a number of permitting steps for restaurants: zoning, Health and Human Services, and the Select Board. If a restaurant wants to serve alcohol or have outdoor seating, there's a separate permitting process for that. Arlington's restaurants seem to be either very large or very small. There are a number which are under 2000 square feet and a number that are over 4000. There's only one -- the Heights Pub -- which is between 2000 and 4000 square feet. It's an open question as to whether the lack of restaurants in the 2000--4000 square foot range is due to the permitting threshold.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming reiterates that restaurants under 2000 square feet are allowed by right while larger ones require a special permit. He understands the need for the distinction but wants to change the threshold. Common Ground was 5300 square feet and Not Your Average Joes was 4400. Both of these would still require a special permit. The Heights Pub is 2100 square feet, and would be allowed by by right.
Mr. Fleming notes that getting a special permit requires several weeks for advertising, maybe two months for the hearing and decision, and then a twenty-day appeal period. He obtained a copy of Common Ground's special permit and looked at the set of conditions. In a newspaper interview, the owner said he couldn't afford to keep coming back to the board because each appearance was costing him $10,000. Mr. Fleming thought that was a deterrent.
Mr. Fleming notes that the special permit requirement applies to a 2000 square foot space, but two separate restaurants could go into the same space by right. He thinks people in town want restaurants, and we should allow more if we can. He says that three of the current vacancies could not be filled without a special permit, and this zoning change will create the opportunity for more restaurants.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau thinks that Arlington's zoning is set up for small shops and large restaurants, but not for the middle-range. He wouldn't mind seeing a few mid size, sit down restaurants. He asks if Mr. Fleming surveyed the restaurants in town.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says he wasn't sure how to do that, because many commercial buildings are carved up into different spaces, and a lot of our restaurants are located there.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the department looked at Common Victualer licenses, which have that kind of information.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says there were more restaurants before the pandemic, with the current rules in place. He asks why we need to change the rules now.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming thinks the town probably needed the change before the pandemic. He feels that Common Ground had to capitulate in the permitting process because they couldn't afford to keep coming back to the board.
(Note: I had to stop taking notes for a while -- hand cramp.)
Special Town Meeting - Potential Zoning Articles
In this agenda item, the board discussed three potential zoning amendments for a special town meeting, which will take place during the middle of the annual town meeting.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt informs the board that a special town meeting is likely to take place on May 9th or May 11th.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says the planning department will need to get the legal notices published this week, conduct article hearings on April 7th, and then vote on April 25th. Alternatively, the board could schedule an additional night for hearings, and then vote on April 25th.
(Jenny Raitt) Article A deals with family child care uses. She says the Planning Department received a call from the Clerk's office, saying that someone needed a special permit to open a child care facility. The board has had previous conversations about exempted uses. Ms. Raitt says there are different types of licensed childcare facilities, and these are often run out of someone's home. This article would amend the use tables to allow family childcare by right.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks how many kids one of these care facilities would have.
(?) There are three categories under state law: up to six, up to eight, and up to ten.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau thinks that up to six by right is fine; that's just like a large family. Beyond that, he'd like to see a special permit requirement.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if this would be considered a home occupation under our bylaw. He says those are allowed by special permit, subject to a number of criteria.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says our use tables already have a row for family child care. It's a special permit use everywhere but the planned unit development district, where it's allowed by right. This article would change the "SP" to "Y" in that row.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if we'd want to require home occupation standards, or just a license from the state.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt thinks these applications could be handled in the same way as Dover Amendment uses, though that might require a small change to the board's rules and regulations.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson is sure whether home occupation standards will be necessary, but he wonders if there should be some standards for the residential district.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis asks if the town ever gets complaints about these types of businesses, and how those complaints are handled.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt isn't aware of any complaints.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak feels like he needs more time to think about the article, but he thinks something like Dover review would be appropriate.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery asks if the Department of Education visits these sites.
(?) The sites are visited as part of the licensing process.
(Note: hand cramped again, so I'm going to put the pen down for tonight).