Arlington Redevelopment Board - Mar 6th, 2017

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Docket 3527. 483 Summer street. Correspondence received. The applicant requested a continuance, in order to perform a second round of environmental testing, and assemble requested documentation.


ATM Warrant Article 9. The article seeks to establish 500-foot buffer zones around medical marijuana facilities. The article uses language based on a Burlington ordinance.

This is not a public hearing. Rather, it's an informal discussion, in advance of next week's formal hearing.

The Board of Health and Police Department came up with a list of the most sensitive areas for siting, and (I believe) a list of possible siting locations.

Arlington has 168 residents who are certified to receive medical marijuana. A dispensary is likely to draw clients from outside the town. APD is concerned with how a dispensary would affect quality-of-life issues in Arlington.

The proposed article would not retroactively apply to the facility already approved for Water Street; it would only apply to new facilities. The Board of Health expects to grant a permit to the Water Street applicant sometime in June. APD is in the process of reviewing Water Street's security plan.

The topic of recreational marijuana use is still in the area. The Board of Health would like to hold a referendum ballot, to see if the town would like to prohibit recreational use.

(Most of the following questions were asked by the ARB, and answered by the Board of Health, Police Department, or the article proponent).

How does one compare a medical marijuana facility, versus a CVS, versus a liquor store? The concern lies in the diversion of marijuana to children, by way of medical marijuana facilities. APD is also concerned that cash and marijuana are both valuable commodities.

What about vicodin and pharmacies? That kind of diversion happens already.

Is location the best way to provide diversion? The APD would like to work with the merchants to ensure compliance, regardless of what they're selling.

How does diversion happen? The APD expects some medical marijuana to wind up in the hands of children. They're concerned that patients will sell some of their medicine for money. Sometimes diversion happens within the business itself.

What age children would the marijuana be diverted to? 12--17 year olds, most likely.

What's the connection between proximity and diversion? We expect some patients to take public transit to medical marijuana facilities, make their purchase, and then leave by public transit. Diversion would likely happen between the medical marijuana facility and the bus stop.

Would there be a mechanism to prevent, say, someone from putting a home daycare center within 500' of an existing medical marijuana facility? Home daycare centers are licensed by the state; this would be completely up to the state's licensing board.

How old are the kids at a home daycare? Typically 0--5 years old. The concern is that kids will become accustomed to seeing a medical marijuana facility, and think that using marijuana is acceptable during their teen years.

The APD is concerned about impaired driving, in the vicinity of medical marijuana facilities. They've heard anecdotal evidence of this, but they're not aware of anyone collecting data.

How is distance measured when establishing a buffer zone? It would be a 500' straight line; that's how it appears in the state guidelines.

There was recently a no-action vote on a recent buffer zone proposal; this article can only advance to town meeting with the ARB's approval. If the ARB decides to take no action, any future applicants will need to be approved by the ARB, Board of Health, and the Board of Selectmen.


Special Town Meeting Article 1. Article 1 would change the definition of "open space, usable" in certain circumstances. This article comes from the residential study group. They'd like to incentivize surface parking, rather than below-ground, drive-under garages. Article 1 ties in with a driveway article that will come before the regular town meeting. This article would reduce the minimum horizontal dimension from 25' to 20'. It would apply to new construction; it wouldn't apply to existing facilities.


Housing Plan Implementation Committee. Arlington's housing production plan was approved last year. We'd like the Housing Plan Implementation Committee to start looking into the plan's recommendations. This will be an eight-person committee, who reports up to the ARB.


Zoning Recodification Update. RKG's most recent memo is an update to their master plan zoning audit.


Director's report. The official warrant has been posted to the town's web site. The Department of Planning and Community Development has been working on a number of projects, including:

  • A parking enforcement district
  • Funds for future zoning work, to implement the goals of the master plan.
  • DPCD has a new administrator for the conservation commission.
  • The residential study group will hold an informational presentation on April 6th.