Arlington Redevelopment Board - Mar 29th, 2021
Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1316. These notes cover a subset of the agenda items (namely, the warrant article hearings).
- 1 Article 47 - Establishing Requirements for Off-Street HP (Handicap Placard) Parking
- 2 Article 48 - ADA/MAAB Standards in Administration and Enforcement
- 3 Article 46 - Teardown Moratorium
- 4 Article 49 - Sideyard Sky Exposure Planes
- 5 Article 44 - Parking Minimums
- 6 Article 37 - Multifamily Zoning for MBTA Communities
Article 47 - Establishing Requirements for Off-Street HP (Handicap Placard) Parking
This article would establish minimum HP (Handicap Placard) parking requirements, based on pre-reduction criteria.
(Darcy Devney, Disability Commission) Ms. Devney is a member of the disability commission. They're presenting this article in response to a 2016 zoning change that allowed the ARB to reduce minimum parking requirements. Reducing the number of parking spaces has the side effect of reducing the number of HP spaces, and Ms. Devney wants to ensure that enough HP spaces are available. She says that TDM methods are burdensome and cannot be used by people with disabilities. She feels the required number of HP spaces should be calculated on the parking requirements, before any reductions are applied.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson says the ARB can reduce parking requirements if the required spaces don't already exist, and it's not possible to create additional ones. He thinks Ms. Devney's proposal makes sense, but not when there are no existing off-street spaces. He asks Ms. Devney how that case should be handled.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney says that if there's only one parking space available, then it should be an HP space. She says that valet parking is not sufficient. If there's no parking at all, then an applicant should request an off-street HP space nearby. The request for an off-street space would come before the disability commission for consideration.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if Ms. Devney would be okay with an amendment, excepting the case where zero spaces exist.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney is okay with that.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson wants to consider the case where a building has some parking, but not enough spaces. He asks if some of the non-HP spaces should be turned into HP spaces.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney says yes. There are a variety of situations where HP spaces are useful. For example, to a person undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau asks about cases where the existing parking spaces are non-conforming, and whether some of those should be redesignated HP.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney believes they should.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks if such a parking space would need to accommodate a van.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney say yes. The space would require sufficient height clearance, and clearance for the access isle.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks what would happen if the existing (non-conforming) parking spaces aren't tall enough for a van. He asks if there can be an exception for that case.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney things the applicant should have to apply to the MAAB for a waiver. She says there's a waiver process to handle those sort of cases.
(Erin Zwirko, Planning Department) Ms. Zwirko says she looked at zoning bylaws of comparable communities. She found that Cambridge and Needham allow parking reductions via special permit, but they don't reduce the number of MAAB HP spaces.
(David Watson) With respect to Mr. Benson's amendment, Mr. Watson would like to be clear that zero spaces is the number after reductions. As for the MAAB waiver process, Mr. Watson would like to know if applicants should obtain these waivers before coming to the ARB, or if the MAAB waiver should be a special permit condition.
(Jenny Raitt, Planning Director) Ms. Raitt doesn't think the ZBL is an appropriate place for that kind of process outline. However, the board's rules and regulations would be. She says it's not unusual to condition a special permit on (say) approval from the historic commission.
(David Watson, ARB) Mr. Watson wonders if converting an non-HP space to an HP space could potentially displace someone. He also asks about requiring an HP space for a building that's not accessible. Would that mean requiring an HP space that never gets used?
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney says that when redeveloping a building, one should make it as ADA-compliant and accessible to as many people as possible. She says it's best to remove barriers in the beginning.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson says the board deals with a lot of small projects where there are few parking spaces, and not a lot of space in general. They're space constrained, and HP spaces may not be physically possible. Aspirationally, he agrees with Ms. Devney, but thinks the ARB needs some room for discretion. He doesn't think Ms. Devney's proposal will be workable in all cases.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks about a small apartment building that has five apartments and five parking spaces -- one space per apartment. Ordinarily one of the spaces would be an HP space. If there are no tenants who need an HP space, he'd like to see a way for the fifth tenant to use the HP space.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson thinks that could be done in a rental situation, but would be harder to manage with condos where parking spaces are deeded. He understands that might result in HP spaces which are never used.
(Rachel Zsembery, ARB Chair) Ms. Zsembery asks Mr. Watson if he's looking for a carve out for existing spaces that are fully utilized.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson says yes.
(Melissa Tintocalis, ARB) Regarding parking management as a whole, Ms. Tintocalis asks if there were studies done for demand of both HP and non-HP spaces.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says the Disability Commission did a study several years ago, which led to the creation of additional HP spaces.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson wants to go back to the situation of a small residential building with five apartments having one parking space each. He asks if not having an HP space would be a problem.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney says that one HP spaces is required for 1--15 non-HP spaces. She says this is a good question. A member of the disability commission had to struggle to get an HP space at her building. It's not just the designation, because the HP spaces are larger than ordinary parking spaces.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau wonders if all spaces would have to be HP compliant, in situations where all spaces are deeded.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming is torn on the article. In an ideal world, our entire built environment would be handicapped accessible. He supports the idea, and would be in favor of requirements for HP spaces.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer doesn't think deeded spots should be a problem. He thinks the lines can be repainted when tenancy changes.
(Carl Wagner) Mr. Wagner's group, Arlington Residents for Responsible Development submitted comments on this article. He says the ZBL specifies parking regulations, and this was an unintended consequence of town meeting's decision to reduce parking requirements. He thinks that town meeting should remove the ARB's ability to give parking reductions, if they're unable to fix this.
There's no further public comment.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery summarizes the suggestions made by the board. She asks if Mr. Benson or Mr. Watson could work with Ms. Devney on changes to the article, to resolve some of the issues they've discussed.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson would be happy to work with Ms. Devney, and thinks Mr. Benson should be involved too.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says sure.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney agrees to work with Mr. Benson and Mr. Watson.
Article 48 - ADA/MAAB Standards in Administration and Enforcement
This article would amend the zoning bylaw to say that all building permits are conditioned upon compliance with the MAAB and ADA standards for accessibility.
(Darcy Devney, Disability Commission) Ms. Devney says that development is busy in Arlington right now, and that we're not catching things in time. She'd like MAAB and ADA requirements to be thought of earlier in the process, so they could be part of the back and fourth during environmental design review.
Kin Lau, Eugene Benson, and David Watson are okay with this.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery has no issues with the intent of the article. She'd rather have the language refer to the State Building Code's accessibility standards, rather than the sections containing those standards. The state building code is a model code, and sometimes the sections change.
(Darcy Devney) Ms. Devney says the building inspector is responsible for enforcing the requirements in 521 CMR, but that happens later in the game. She'd like these things thought about earlier. She says that ADA compliance is a minimum, and that it's okay to do more.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein likes Ms. Zsembery's proposal. He wonders if Title 6 of the town bylaws would be a better place for this requirement.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer supports the article, and says it doesn't go far enough. He'd like to see MAAB and ADA compliance put in the ARB's criteria for environmental design review.
Article 46 - Teardown Moratorium
This article would impose a two year moratorium on the partial or complete demolition of smaller, more affordable homes. Particularly those built before 1950, and having a footprint of less than 1000 square feet.
(Lynette Culverhouse, Proponent) Ms. Culverhouse wants to impose a two-year moratorium on teardowns so that the town can address them, their affect on affordability, and their affect on the environment. She believes the moratorium would apply to 800 homes. She says that a beautifully maintained cape in her neighborhood was sold for $600k, and replaced with a $1.4M home. She says that new buildings cost more than double, compared to buildings that they replace.
Ms. Culverhouse says that home prices have increased faster than wages, and that teardowns affect the environment more than re-use. She says that teardowns are motivated by profit and create a moral dilemma where money drives decisions. Capes and older hopes represent an architectural era that's being destroyed. She says we need to preserve our architectural history, and that the climate crisis demands bold action.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson asks Ms. Culverhouse if she's seen the staff memo on this article, and if she could comment on it.
(note: according to the staff memo, over 2000 homes would be subject to the moratorium, rather than 800).
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says she hasn't seen the staff memo.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks about a homeowner that wanted to perform a partial demolition and renovation. He asks if Ms. Culverhouse wanted to prohibit that.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says that wasn't the intent.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says that Ms. Culverhouse's language wouldn't allow a partial demolition in order to renovate.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says she'd be open to amending that.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks about flood or fire damage. As worded, he thinks the moratorium would prohibit a homeowner from demolishing and repairing their home.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says okay, but she'd prefer to see a damaged home repaired and not demolished. She says that people need to consider environmental costs and not just financial costs.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks: even if it would cost $1M to repair, but only $800k to demo and rebuild?
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says that's a hard question.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson is concerned about tying the hands of homeowners with the moratorium. Suppose a homeowner was planning to sell their home, and the moratorium means they'll only get $600k instead of $800k. Would that be okay?
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says she doesn't know if that's a fact, and that we need to focus on the value of older buildings.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson wonders if the article could propose a study and report, rather than a moratorium.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says she's open to discussion.
(David Watson, ARB) Mr. Watson agrees with the issues in the purpose section of the article, but he also agrees with Mr. Benson. He urges Ms. Culverhouse to focus on study. He thinks the moratorium would seriously impact the financial interests of homeowners and their ability to monetize their investments in their houses. He says it's not clear which properties would be impacted; the planning department's analysis came up with a much larger number of homes.
(Melissa Tintocalis, ARB) Ms. Tintocalis sympathizes with Ms. Culverhouse. She asks Ms. Culverhouse what kind of outcome she'd like to see after the two-year moratorium.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says she'd like to see standards focusing on renovation, re-use, and preserving trees. She was mostly thinking of developers who tear down homes for profit.
(Melissa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis asks if there any incentives for preservation.
(Jenny Raitt, Planning Director) Ms. Raitt says there are downpayment assistance programs for first-time home-buyers. The Housing Corporation of Arlington has acquired and preserved two-family homes, but they're not doing that right now. She thinks this can be looked at during the process of updating the housing production plan.
(Melissa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis asks how many single-family homes are in Arlington, and how many homes are torn down each year.
(Kelly Lynema, Planning Department) Ms. Lynema says the department did a study of replacement homes. As of 2019, there were approximately 27 units replaced each year. Arlington currently has 8,001 single-family homes.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse says that around 20 single-family homes are replaced each year.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau agrees that this moratorium would create a burden on existing homeowners. But trees and character are something that could be addressed right now.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says that the planning department's study identified 2,800 homes that matched the criteria in Ms. Culverhouse's article. However, some of these are on the historic properties list.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(John Worden) Mr. Worden says that a group of citizens tried to address teardowns and mansionization in 2016. They wanted to see hearings before the zoning board. The unholy alliance of brokers and developers put out a pack of lies. The residential study group was established to tackle this issue, but they never got around to it. He says the group was ghosted. Mr. Worden says we've had five years to study this problem. People move into districts because they have assurances they won't get messed up. He hopes the board supports the moratorium. We tried study, and it didn't work.
(Patti Muldoon) Ms. Muldoon says her whole neighborhood is changing. A house down the street was torn down and replaced with a mansion. She's not concerned with homeowners not making money, because she thinks someone else will be harmed. She thinks that teardowns are harming the town. She'd like the board to work on this article, because the town is changing so quickly. She says we're becoming like our more expensive neighboring towns. She says there isn't time for study, and that any homeowner who sells will make money.
(Ellen Cohen) Ms. Cohen says she feel harassed by all of the people offering outrageous amounts of money to buy her home. She says she's surrounded by million-dollar homes. Seniors are sad because they sold their home to a developer for a price they couldn't refuse. She enjoys the diversity on her street, and thinks there's pressure to sell. There's a need for firm action.
(Carl Wagner) Mr. Wagner thinks the purpose of this article is to allow generations of homeowners to continue to live here. He says that developers pay an average of $650k then build homes that sell for $1.5M. He says this is destroying the town. It's cheaper to buy or rent in Arlington, when compared to all of our bordering communities, except for Medford. Mr. Wagner thinks that natural affordability is disappearing, and that Ms. Culverhouse is trying to give us a good anti-racist article.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer disagrees with the planning department's estimate that 2,800 homes would be affected by the moratorium. He thinks they've overstated the number by a factor of three.
(Stuart Brorson) Mr. Brorson favors Ms. Culverhouse's proposal. He says that Mr. Benson used rare events to smear the purpose of this article, and he thinks the ADU article should have been nitpicked as much as this one was. He asks the board to work with Ms. Culverhouse, to refine the main motion.
(Steve Revilak) If the board does go forward with this article, Mr. Revilak hopes they'll tighten up the criteria, so we don't have one person saying 800 homes will be affected, and another saying 2,000 will be affected.
At the last ARB meeting, a member of the public talked about living in her grandfather's two-family home. He bought it for $40k in 1978 -- which would be $168k in today's dollars -- and it's currently worth a million bucks. The value increased by a factor of six -- and it's a used home.
The planning department memo for this article talks about their efforts to identify properties that would be subject to this moratorium. The average value of the properties they identified was $721k, and we have to realize -- that is the low end of our single-family housing stock. Again, these are all used homes, built before 1950, and they're worth nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.
Mr. Revilak understands that new homes are expensive, particularly if you've just had to pay a construction crew several months of full time wages. His point is that used houses are expensive too; and they account for roughly 90% of all properties sold during a given year.
Once upon a time, you could buy a single- or two-family home in Arlington for not a lot of money. Those days are well behind us, and won't be returning anytime soon. It would be nice to buy a home for $300k or $400k, but the reality is that residential lots -- without the buildings -- are worth $400k or $500k. You can't make that math work. This is a function of well paying jobs, a lot of demand, and years of not building nearly enough housing to meet it.
Mr. Revilak thinks that Arlington, and other communities around us, will have a choice to make during the coming years. We can keep the 50--80 year old housing we have, and accept the fact that it's likely to become more and more expensive. Or we can start allowing smaller, denser, housing that requires less land per dwelling unit.
Mr. Revilak has only one issue with the tear downs that people are doing these days; the fact that they're building single-family homes instead of four- or six-plexes. But in most of the town, the single-family is all you're allowed to build. So that's what we get.
(Matthew Owen) Mr. Owen thinks the affordability arguments aren't realistic, but the aesthetic ones are. He bought a home seven months ago, and it was not affordable. Things are not going to go backwards, unless we allow more smaller homes, like Mr. Revilak suggested. If we're concerned about the environment, we could allow the single family homes to replaced with two- or three-family.
(Gary Holly) Mr. Holley says that Arlington is becoming segregated based on economic factors, which means that are schools are also becoming segregated. Diversity, especially economic diversity, is disappearing. He thinks that a moratorium and study are appropriate.
(Karen Samuelson) Ms. Samuelson thinks there are several issues. She supports the moratorium. She says that mansions on postcard lawns look aesthetically terrible, and they're completely unaffordable. She says this issue has been bothering us for years, and it's changed the Arlington both aesthetically and economically.
There's no further public comment.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks if town counsel has reviewed the main motion.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says that the motion was reviewed, and town's counsel's concerns are stated in the planning department memo.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says the article is worded so that home with less than a 1,000 square foot footprint are subject to the moratorium. That could include a 2.5 story home with over 2,000 feet of finished space. He says that not all of these homes are small and affordable. He thinks the moratorium is too broad, and suggests something more tailored.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery thinks that part of the challenge is considering maintenance and the quality of the original construction. She says it's not enough to go by age and size.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau thinks that a carrot might be more appropriate than a stick. For example, we could require that single-family homes be replaced with a two- or three-family.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery notes that the moratorium would cover a large number of zoning districts, and a large part of the town.
(Lynette Culverhouse) Ms. Culverhouse is open to re-crafting the article.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery offers to work with Ms. Culverhouse.
Article 49 - Sideyard Sky Exposure Planes
This article proposes to add sky exposure plane regulations to Arlington's Zoning bylaw.
(Ted Fields, Proponent) Mr. Fields says that large homes built on smaller lots produce outsized impact. The reduce access to light and open space. The master plan also suggests enacting stricter setbacks.
Mr. Fields says the living areas of new homes have been growing in recent decades, and the impacts are felt on side yards. This article will moderate the impacts of large buildings by adding sky exposure planes. It will focus height in the middle of the lot. Additions are exempt, as are dormers. Sky exposure plans are a more precise way of controlling building mass than side yard setbacks. This will protect holder homes.
(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau asks if someone could override the side yard setback at lower floors.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says that wasn't the intent.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau says that a lot of Arlington is hilly, and this article would advantage properties on hills.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says this is a start, and can be refined.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks Mr. Fields how he feels about following design guidelines.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields thinks his article supports the design guidelines.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks about non-rectilinear lots. Does the sky exposure plane follow the average side yard width, or does it follow the property line?
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says it would depend on the geometry of the lot. But the plane would extend along the required setback lines.
(Melissa Tintocalis, ARB) Ms. Tintocalis thinks this is a creative way to address massing issues. She asks Mr. Fields if he has any images of how this would translate.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says he'll find some examples and submit them to the board.
(Melissa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis asks about exemptions for balconies and outdoor spaces.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says there's no exemption for balconies, but it could be added.
(David Watson, ARB) Mr. Watson is interested in seeing buildings in Arlington that couldn't be built if this article were in effect. He's having trouble visualizing the effect.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says he can provide some diagrams.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks: if the goals is to reduce massing, do you think we can change existing dimensional requirements, rather than adding a new type of dimensional requirement?
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says the existing dimensional requirements were written in 1975 and the market was very different then. He thinks setbacks are a cruder way to do it. Mr. Fields says that a 1,600 square foot home next door was knocked down and replaced with a 5,200 square foot home. The new neighbors are great, but the ZBL allowed them to do that. He thinks the zoning bylaw should be updated with modern tools for the contemporary market and cost of land.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson thinks this is an interesting approach. He doesn't have any fundamental objections but needs to to spend more time with it. He'd like to understand what could and couldn't be built.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson asks Mr. Fields what impacts he's trying to address.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says he's trying to address taller buildings.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks what else?
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says that height and massing along side yards are the major impacts, but there's also access to sunlight, air, and wind circulation. He says the new house next door detracts from the view of his back yard vista.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson talks about the history of common law, and its effect on buildings and height. He says these regulations seem partially aesthetic.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says there's also airflow and shadows.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks a house where the abutting buildings were each 2.5 stories tall. He asks if would be objectionable if the middle house was the same height.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields says he'd have to see it.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson thinks the article might need something that takes neighboring homes and topography into account.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks how many homes would become non-conforming if this bylaw were passed.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields doesn't know.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if Mr. Fields has spoken with inspectional services.
(Ted Fields) Mr. Fields tells the board that Mr. Byrne suggested keying things to the average grade plane calculation. He realizes there will be higher survey costs to people doing projects.
(Kin Lau) In the exceptions section, Mr. Lau thinks that "minor roof overhang" and "dormers" could be more clearly defined.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(Carl Wagner) Mr. Wagner says that Arlington is one of the leading towns in the adoption of solar panels, and that some towns have protections from them. Mr. Wagner thinks that these are nice protections. He says that Mr. Fields comments about children looking out windows are not just "la la". New large houses can ruin solar access and the ability to plant.
(Wynelle Evans) Ms. Evans likes the article. She says that the average size of a new home in Arlington is more than 1000 over the average size of new homes in the state. She thinks that better scale is positive. She was a member of the residential study group when this idea was proposed, and supported it.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak submitted written comments to the board. However, this discussion make him realize there's something he left out. Section 5.4.2(B)(2) of the Zoning Bylaw exempts properties on certain streets from lot width and side yard setbacks. Mr. Revilak would like the proponent and board to consider whether Sky Plane Exposure should be added to the exemptions in 5.4.2(B)(2).
There are no more comments from the public.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson thinks that a small house in the middle shouldn't be limited by larger ones on the side.
Article 44 - Parking Minimums
This article seeks to reduce or remove minimum parking requirements in some or all of the business districts.
(James Fleming, Proponent) Mr. Fleming uses the Heights Pub as an example of why this article would be beneficial. The site was built in 1970, before Arlington had minimum parking requirements. There's no where on the site where parking requirements could be met.
Mr. Fleming shows several slides of commercial properties that have no off-street parking. This article would allow the board to reduce parking requirements to zero in all B districts, if the building was less than 6,500 square feet.
Mr. Fleming show a slide of a commercial building without parking and a commercial building with a large parking lot. He notes that the one without parking brings in far more tax revenue per square foot of lot area, when compared to the one with parking.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson suggests some wording changes.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says he be okay with wording changes, provided that they don't change the substance of the article.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks which businesses would not meet the 6,500 square foot threshold.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says that 6500 seemed to include most of the pedestrian storefronts in town.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks what would happen if two smaller businesses combined, and exceeded the 6500 square foot threshold.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says he hadn't thought of that.
(David Watson, ARB) Mr. Watson asks how this different from Mr. Fleming's earlier proposal.
(James Fleming) Mr. Fleming says it's been scaled back.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson thinks the article is well-tailored and incremental. He shares Mr. Benson's concern that 6500 square feet seems arbitrary. He asks Mr. Fleming to think about that, and ways to be more flexible.
(Rachel Zsembery, ARB Chair) Ms. Zsembery asks if there should be a square foot limitation. She notes that the B3, and B5 districts don't have one.
(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau would prefer to remove the square foot limit. Mr. Lau says our storefronts are so cut up, that there's unlikely to be a 30,000 square foot place that opens up. The largest ones are closer to the 8,000---10,000 square foot range. He's okay with removing the restriction.
(Melissa Tintocalis, ARB) Ms. Tintocalis is leaning towards no minimums, because that provides more flexibility.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson agrees that eliminating the 6,500 limit would give the board more flexibility.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson points out that the board's discretion is not unlimited in this regard; there are other requirements.
There are no comments from the public.
Article 37 - Multifamily Zoning for MBTA Communities
This article pertains to a new requirement of 40A that requires MBTA communities to designate a district of reasonable size, within 1/2 mile of transit stations, where multi-family housing is allowed by right, at a density of at least fifteen units/acre.
(Rachel Zsembery, ARB Chair) Ms. Zsembery says she's not in favor of moving the article forward at this time.
(Jenny Raitt, Planning Director) Ms. Raitt says the state hasn't provided guidelines on these requirements yet. She suggests voting no action, and waiting for state guidance.
There are no further comments from the board, and none from the public.
The board continues warrant article hearings until April 5th.
(Left the meeting at this point.)