Arlington Redevelopment Board - Oct 26th, 2020
Held via video-conference. Tonight's meeting consists of warrant article hearings, in preparation for the Nov 2020 Special Town Meeting. Meeting materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1183.
Article 19 - Accessory Dwelling Units. DPCD director Jenny Raitt introduces the article. This ADU proposal differs significantly from what was considered last year. It would allow ADUs in all residential districts. They would be allowed by right, rather than requiring a special permit. Ms. Raitt says that ADUs are common in metro Boston and in other states, and that there are many options for allowing ADUs. ADUs are a way to add housing, and to meet the needs of homeowners (e.g., housing caretakers, family members, or providing rental income).
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton filed the article and gives a presentation. Article 19 proposes to allow ADUs in all residential districts by right. There are several reasons for this. First, Arlington is losing diversity and its ability to retain residents. This applies to both seniors and young adults. Second, ADUs benefit families that need flexibility and more housing choices. ADUs are an inexpensive form of non-subsidized housing, and they're sustainable. This ADU article was written around needs identified in the 2015 Master Plan -- the need for affordability, and to provide residents with a way to age in place. Arlington has large single-family houses, which makes it to reasonable to contemplate ADUs.
To be successful, ADUs shouldn't have too many restrictions. 65% of 100 Metro Boston communities allow ADUs. Most cities want them. 65% of people in the MAPC area support them, and research from Zillow corroborates this information. We shouldn't place too many restrictions on ADUs. Town professional staff already administers the building code and safety laws. A homeowner that wants to build an ADU is likely to need a professional builder to comply with all of these regulations; it's already a complicated process.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks for an overview of the changes.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says her article would allow ADUs by right, and wouldn't change any of the dimensional regulations in the zoning bylaw.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says that the ARB submitted a substantially different article last year, which failed by a few votes. He points out that our zoning bylaw makes a distinction between duplexes and two-family homes. He asks Ms. Thornton if she intended to allow ADUs in duplexes as well as two family homes.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says she wants the broadest applicability possible. That would include duplexes.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks why the proposed definition of ADU says "four or more rooms". Why not three rooms?
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says she'd prefer three, but was trying to be conservative with the definition.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if ADUs would be limited to single-family homes.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says no, they wouldn't be limited to single-family homes.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks if ADUs would be allowed in existing houses, or another building.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton would prefer the most flexible option, and that would included detached ADUs.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson says he was confused about restricting the number of rooms in the definitions, but understands Ms. Thornton's intent now. He notes that last year's proposal was limited to the existing building envelope. He asks Ms. Thornton if she'd allow ADUs in additions and accessory structures.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says yes.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks Ms. Thornton if she could envision a garage being converted into an ADU.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says yes, she could envision garages being converted to accessory dwelling units.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson says that there are nonconforming garages within required yard setbacks. He asks if those could be converted to ADUs.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says the goal is to create more housing. Every circumstance will be different. A homeowner that wants to build an ADU will have to initiate that process. She'd like to limit the costs as much as possible.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson says he's working through the idea of not having the processes proposed last year, and the concerns that caused them. He's worried about one-family to two-family conversions by non-owner occupants. He says the article needs to address short-term rentals.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says there were a lot of discussions about ADUs being used for Air BNB rentals last year. She no longer feels those concerns are warranted.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks why not include the processes proposed last year, and then loosen those processes over time?
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says she'd prefer to start with an open processes, and add restrictions when there's a reason to do so. Too many restrictions will reduce the number of ADUs built. She wants to make this easy for people to understand and do. She'd rather adjust in response to problems that arise, rather than guess at what those problems might be.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks if last year's estimates on the number of ADUs that would be built considered the number of restrictions being imposed.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says that last year's estimates factored in the number of restrictions.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks how many ADUs might be constructed.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton believes that ADU construction in Lexington is probably a good indicator of what we might see in Arlington. She says that 60 ADUs have been built in Lexington since their bylaws went into effect.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks if detached ADUs would have their own setbacks, including garages that were converted to ADUs.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson says he was thinking about setbacks of existing garages.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson believes there are four things to consider: short-term rentals, whether the owner lives on the property, setbacks, and open space.
(Katie Levine Einstein) Ms. Levine Einstein asks if the town is prepared to handle the permitting and application process.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says she's spoken with the building inspector and the fire chief. Neither was concerned about having the capacity to handle permit requests.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson asks if the 50% restriction on floor area would apply before or after the ADU was built.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says that the 50% limit is supposed to apply before construction. The ADU could be up to 1/3 of the building, after construction.
There are no more questions from the board, and the chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(John Worden) Mr. Worden asks if Wynelle Evans can speak. He says that Ms. Evans has a substitute motion. He asks that Ms. Evans gets as much time to present her substitute motion as Ms. Thornton got to present her article.
(Patrick Hanlon) Mr. Hanlon says he was a member of the Residential Study Group, and he was spooked by Building Inspector's statement about enforcement last year. However, he feels okay about that now. Mr. Hanlon says we need to consider whether there is a need for more housing, and if ADUs should be considered only when absolutely necessary. The Housing Production Plan treats it as the former. He congratulates Ms. Thornton for not requiring a special permit. He doesn't want to see an ADU bylaw that exists on paper but can't be used in practice. He believes its important not to limit ADUs to the single-family districts. He thinks the substitute motion has a lot of complexity, and puts more emphasis on land use than the needs of the property owner. He thinks the substitute is a stranger proposal than we had last year.
(Patricia Worden) Ms. Worden says that Article 19 is a disgrace, and she strongly opposes it. She says that three minutes aren't enough time to say how many things are wrong with this article. She says there's no affordability requirement. She says that homeowners can do all of this legally, with the exception of installing a stove, and that many have done that. She says that allowing this will be a bonanza for developers, and that the planning department is opposing the needs of residents. She thinks the board should be making appeals to real estate brokers instead. She says this will be a vehicle for teardowns and will cause higher residential taxes.
(Wynelle Evans) Ms. Evans says she was formerly a member of the residential study group, and they only had one meeting to discuss ADUs. She says there are significant restrictions on ADUs in communities surrounding Arlington. She believes that Article 19 lacks protections. She's submitted a substitute motion, and hopes that can be a consensus version. She says she supports housing family members, and that there won't be an explosion of ADUs because they're expensive to build. She says the rent will be expensive, and they'll be used for short-term rentals.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak supports the article, and he applauds Ms. Thornton's proposal for allowing ADUs by right in all residential districts. He says the proposal seems like something that's designed to encourage ADU construction, and not an attempt to get an ADU law on the books while permitting as few of them as possible. He suggests that the definition of Accessory Dwelling Unit be broadened to include two- or three- rooms, to allow for studio-style apartments.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer says that the building inspector spoke about enforcement difficulties last year. He says that inspectional services can't prevent the creation of illegal ADUs today, and they're only discovered when properties are sold. He believes this bylaw proposal will be abused and exploited.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore says that towns change slowly, and that's not just because of NIMBYs. He says that last years proposal was focused on single-family districts because they have larger lots. He's not sure if these would fit into the two-family district. He's concerned about density.
Mr. Moore is also a member of the tree committee. He says that additional construction will require taking trees down, and that we should focus on restoring the tree canopy in town.
(Alex Bagnall) Mr. Bagnall supports this proposal. He says we need to support housing. We should encourage more housing, and not just make it theoretically possible. Too many encumbrances will lead to fewer ADUs being built, and we need more housing choice.
(Carl Wagner) Mr. Wagner believes that Ms. Thornton and Mr. Bagnall are mistaken. He says the 2019 ADU article didn't have enough requirements. He says there should be an affordability requirement. He says that ADUs will make the town a more expensive place to live, and will cause a loss of diversity. He notes this article can't go before town meeting if the ARB says no. He feels this article was worse than the one which was proposed in 2019. He says the planning board works for the people, and that they're currently working against the people of Arlington.
(Xavid Pretzer) Mr. Pretzer supports this article and thinks it's very important to minimize barriers. He prefers to see ADUs allowed by right, rather than with a special permit. He says there's not enough subsidy money to meet all of Arlington's housing needs. He hopes we can increase the amount of housing in town.
(John Worden) Mr. Worden says the need for housing is overblown. Arlington is the second densest town in the state and we don't need any more people. He says that affordable housing in the only kind of housing we should provide. He feels that Arlington won't get to 10% SHI with Ms. Thornton's article. He says it will just make things worse. He feels that the whole point of zoning is safeguards, to protect the interests of people who've made an investment in this community.
(Phil Tedesco) Mr. Tedesco supports this article. He thinks it speaks to the values of Arlington; being inclusive and allowing more people. He sees people being priced out of town now, and believes this is an elegant and simple proposal.
(Joanne Preston) Ms. Preston says she couldn't let this go by. She says that building more housing won't make the prices go down. She claims there's no economic study showing that more housing reduces costs. More people will mean more school children, which will mean more taxes. She says that Arlington is part of a regional market. Stipulating that ADUs be affordable is the only way they will be.
(Chris Loretti) Mr. Loretti says that communities around Boston prohibit ADUs completely, or require a special permit for them. He feels that a special permit requirement is absolutely necessary, and claims that inspectional services is incapable of enforcing the zoning bylaw. He says that garages -- old or new -- can be built to the property line if they adhere to the fire code. He thinks the ARB should put its own article forward, and that working with a citizen article is inappropriate. He says there was no outreach done and suggests the ARB not support it.
Public comment ends.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson would like to make a follow-up remark on income restrictions. He said the board had that discussion last year and felt that income restrictions were inappropriate. He says that ADUs are expensive to build; homeowners that build them will need a way to recoup their costs. He says it's not only about affordability, it's also about meeting homeowner needs.
Article 18 - Improving Residential Inclusiveness, Sustainability, and Affordability by Ending Single Family Zoning Jenny Raitt introduces the article. The idea is to allow two-family homes by right in the R0 and R1 (single-family) districts. This article is similar to conversations about single-family zoning that have taken place in the region and elsewhere in the country.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak sends apologies to the board on behalf of Ben Rudick, who filed Article 18. Mr. Rudick had a mountain biking accident a few days ago, and is recovering from injuries. Mr. Revilak will present in Mr. Rudick's place.
79% of Arlington's residential land is zoned exclusively for single-family homes; no other kinds of housing can be built there. We're proposing to allow two-family homes by right in these districts. We're not proposing any changes to dimensional regulations: setbacks, height, open space, and so on. We're simply proposing that two-family homes be allowed in the envelope where a single-family home can be built.
Note that we're not proposing to eliminate single family homes. Instead we propose to eliminate the regulation that restricts the vast majority of our residential districts to single-family and nothing else.
There are four key reasons why we're putting this proposal forward. First, we want to address the racist legacy of 20th century housing policy. Those policies had layers of discrimination, and zoning was merely one of them. However, zoning is a meaningful change we can enact locally. Second, we want to improve environmental sustainability. Multi-family homes tend to be more energy efficient than their single-family counterparts. And it is more sustainable to add housing to a dense community like Arlington than it is to clear undeveloped land at the fringes of the suburbs. Finally, we want to increase housing choice and provide for more affordable homes. Note that "more affordable" applies to new construction. New single family homes in Arlington typically sell for $1.5M while new half-duplexes sell for around $1.1M. They're expensive, but $400,000 less than the single-family alternative.
These kinds of changes have been made elsewhere in the country -- the city of Minneapolis and the state of Oregon, for example. We could be the first to do it in Massachusetts.
Mr. Revilak gives a brief history of how housing policies were used for discrimination. Shortly after zoning was created, cities and towns tried to use zoning as a mechanism for segregation -- black folks over here, white folks over here. This was ruled unconstitutional in a supreme court decision called Warley vs Buchannan. The supreme court determined that racially-based zoning violated a white property owner's 14 amendment right to enjoy the benefits of their property, by prohibiting them from selling it to a black buyer. Single-family zoning emerged as an "solution" to Warley v Buchannan; it used class as the basis for segregation rather than race. Then secretary of Commerce Hebert Hoover was a big fan of single-family zoning, and his department urged cities and towns to adopt it.
Racial covenants were another form of segregation. Here, there'd be a deed restriction saying that a property could not be sold to or occupied by people of color. Mr. Revilak know of two farms that were subdivided and put such restrictions in their deeds -- the Allen Farm (across the street from the high school), and the Wynn farm (which became Kelwyn Manor).
In 1937, the Home Owners Loan Corporation of America drew their actuarial (aka redline) maps of Arlington. There is no red on our map whatsoever. This is not surprising. According to the 1940 census, Arlington had 35 black residents out of 40,000. This barely changed in subsequent decades; in 1960 the black population of Arlington was only 39 people. These redline maps were used by the FHA in their underwriting decisions, and the FHA was the country's largest mortgage underwriter from the late 1930s to late 1960s -- the time when much of Arlington's housing was built.
Mr. Revilak's neighborhood consists of 42 duplexes which were built in the late 1940s, all using the same identical floor plan. They were advertised as "all mortgages 25-year FHA", so these homes would have not been available to black buyers.
Because of these and other factors, Arlington developed as a predominantly white town -- we were still 99% white in the 1970 census -- consisting of mostly single-family homes. These circumstances were not unique to Arlington, but we engaged in the same bad behavior as everyone else.
Mr. Revilak's slides show examples of real estate advertisements from the 1920's. These include language like "A select location for single-family homes in a refined and restricted community", "Arboretum Heights is carefully and suitably restricted to single family homes, with other restrictions to create and maintain an agreeable residential community", and "these homes are situated in a highly restricted residential section". He thinks it's clear what kind of restrictions these ads were talking about.
Even our current president knows what the dog whistles are. A June 2020 tweet said "At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, I am studying the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving areas". The following month, in July, he said "Democrats want to eliminate single-family zoning, bringing who know into your suburbs so your communities will be unsafe and your housing values will go down".
To summarize, multi-family zoning is better for the environment. The 20th century approach to building housing involved clearing large parcels of land, putting down roads and utilities, and building a lot of single-family houses. This clears trees, adds a lot of impervious surface, and maximizes trips in single occupancy vehicles. Two-family homes will provide more housing choice, and new duplex units will be less expensive than new single-family homes.
When writing this proposal we wanted to address some of the concerns raised with last year's multi-family proposal, aka Article 16 from the 2019 town meeting. Article 16 would have allowed taller buildings, and there were concerns about additional height and shadows. This proposal doesn't change any dimensional regulations, so height and shadows are no more (and no less) a problem than they currently are. Article 16 would have concentrated development along Mass Ave and Broadway, and several speakers saw this as an equity issue during public meetings. This proposal would spread new housing over 61% of the town's land area, and it would not be concentrated into one place. Article 16 drew concerns about displacement, from older apartment buildings being replaced with newer mixed-use buildings. This proposal would affect single-family homes, 95% of which are owner occupied. We feel that minimizes the risk of displacement. Finally, any changes are going to happen gradually. There are an average of 27 replacement homes built each year in Arlington; doubling that -- to 54/year -- is still a tiny change for a town with over 40,000 people.
Mr. Revilak concludes his presentation by showing photographs of non-conforming two-family homes in single-family districts. These include sections of Summer St, Westminster Ave, Park Ave, Hillside Ave, Wachusett Ave, Newport St, Mt. Vernon St, Irving St, Jason St, and Pleasant St. He'd like to make the point that two-family homes are already woven into the fabric of Arlington's single-family districts.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says its interesting to see the number of two-family homes that are already in the R1 district, and how well they fit in. He says their existence hasn't stopped people from buying or selling in R1. He asks if there have been studies about how ending single-family zoning changed the cost of housing in Minneapolis or Oregon.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak believes that the Minneapolis and Oregon changes went into effect earlier this year, which isn't enough time to see a meaningful difference.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson would like to mention another supreme court case -- Euclid, which legalized single-family zoning. Euclid recognized the need to separate industrial and residential uses, but it also talked about the need to separate single and multi-family uses. The supreme court called multi-family uses parasites that would destroy single-family districts. He sees this article as related to the legacy of Euclid.
(David Watson) Mr. Watson acknowledges that there are systemic inequities in our system, and he notes that 15% of R1 parcels have a use that's not a single-family zone. He's not sure the board has sufficient data to reason about the effects of this article.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak says he's aware of one comparison that might apply: San Francisco and Seattle. Randy Shaw devoted several chapters to this in his book Generation Priced Out. San Francisco was close to Silicon Valley's tech boom, and Amazon's headquarters was located in Seattle. Both cities saw a lot of demand for housing; Seattle built it like crazy and San Francisco didn't. Housing prices in Seattle are high, but not nearly as high as they are in San Francisco.
(Katie Levine Einstein) Ms. Levine Einstein says there wasn't an immediate permitting boom when Minneapolis ended single-family zoning, and it hasn't led to an overwhelming number of tear-downs. New construction may cause tiny increases in surrounding blocks, but it leads to a produce modest (not huge) reduction in prices overall. San Francisco's inability to produce housing has led to racial segregation.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment.
(John Worden) Mr. Worden says that when a petition for a zoning map change is filed, copies have to be sent to each abutter. He asks if copies of the petition have been sent.
(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says this is a use change in the zoning bylaw, not a map change.
(John Worden) Mr. Worden says that if this isn't a map change, then he doesn't know what is. He says the proponents are trying to slip this proposal by during a pandemic and deprive Arlington of its single-family neighborhoods. Mr. Worden says this article is an abomination. When Arlington recodified it's bylaw in 1975, we tried to zone according to what was already in each district. Mr. Worden says that redlining was done by the banks, not by municipalities. He calls Article 18 an ADU bill on steroids. He says it's the worst, most stupid thing he's seen in 50 years.
(Patricia Worden) Ms. Worden asks the ARB to vote no on this proposal. She says that the two family homes on Jason street (shown during the presentation) are on large lots, which can accommodate two-family homes. She says that trees and open space are more important. She says that Article 18 is the worst article she's ever seen; she claims that it's shocking, exclusionary, and racist. She says it will raise housing costs, and it's shameful how the planning department is promoting a racist article. She says the article is disgrace, ignores our greatest housing needs, represents the ultimate hypocrisy of developers. She says we need to protect our communities.
(Molly Brady) Ms. Brady feel that little has changed since redlining. There were long-lasting effects. One hundred years after those racist maps were drawn, many areas are very much the same. Ms. Brady moved here 15 months ago, and feels very fortunate to be a homeowner at her age. She's still shocked at how expensive housing in Arlington is. Undoing single-family zoning is only a first step. All of the reasons stated for keeping single family zoning amount to a shell game. Please increase the supply of housing.
(Wynelle Evans) Ms. Evans believes this article is well-intended but will have the opposite effect. She says that dispersing new housing throughout the town goes against the master plan and principles of transit-oriented development. She feels this will drive up land values, and developers will just try to make as much of a profit as they can. She thinks that single- to two-family conversions will result in higher cost and clear-cutting. She says the average sale price of a new condo is $940k, so this will reduce prices at the high end and remove affordable housing from the market.
(Xavid Pretzer) Mr. Pretzer is broadly in support of this article. He understands the concern about trees, but points out that the article isn't changing any dimensional regulations. He thinks we should strengthen our tree laws if we want to protect trees. He agrees that Article 18 will not solve all of our housing problems, but that won't prevent it from being a positive step. And it will avoid displacement.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore thinks Mr. Revilak needs to remember that correlation is not causality. He feels that single-family zoning is not directly related to discrimination. Folks move to Arlington for a lot of reasons, not just housing and the tradition of the town. We need to balance, and he hopes we can strike a balance. He says that two-family homes will result in the town getting denser, and that may invalidate why people want to live here. He asks the ARB to present an integrated plan, and not make piecemeal changes. He says we need an integrated approach to the problem.
(Barbara Thornton) Ms. Thornton says she was trained as a city planner. When she was going to college, she thought that planning was all about containing noxious fumes. She points to the Color of Law as showing the horrific effects of our housing policy. She'd like to see that remedied. Ms. Thornton says we're in a time of rapid change, and she hopes we can have the courage and bravery to be a model for other cities and towns to follow. She supports Article 18.
(Jennifer Susse) Ms. Susse supports both articles, and is excited about them. These articles will distribute new housing throughout the town. This isn't the end, and we can have future articles to encourage transit-oriented development. Ms. Susse wants people to consider what will happen if we do nothing. Palo Alto has small homes, but they're not affordable. Arlington is losing age diversity, especially in the under 35 and over 65 brackets. These articles won't solve all of our housing problems, but they will help to mitigate them. The housing shortage is a regional problem, but that's no excuse for doing nothing. Boston and Somerville have ambitious housing production plans, and these will help mitigate the trends towards rising prices. The ADU article is a win-win.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer says there's been a lot of speculation and conjecture. The proponents were estimating one new student per seventeen households, but Arlington has three students for every ten households. Arlington is 15% denser than Minneapolis, and has a healthy turnover of housing. We've become a magnet for immigrants, and one in five Arlington residents was born outside the US. New two-family houses will cost more than the ones they replace, and the elimination of single-family zoning will open the floodgates to teardowns. This will accelerate gentrification, and lead to more condos, not rental units.
(Carl Wagner) Mr. Wagner says the proponent spoke for ten minutes about racism, and it was a bait-and-switch presentation. He says that Arlington is cheaper than all of our surrounding communities, except for Medford. We have inclusionary zoning and we're close to transit. 45% of Arlington's homes are multi-family. He believes this is an extreme article that won't accomplish any of its stated goals. Mr. Wagner claims that all upzoning increases rents, increases taxes, and displaces people. He believes this will make Arlington less diverse and more expensive.
(Phil Tedesco) Mr. Tedesco supports the article, and thought it was compelling to see examples. We need more housing for more families. Today, every home sale is a bidding war, and even white-collar professionals are being priced out of town. We should be courageous in setting an example. This proposal is not radical or crazy. Mr. Tedesco lives in a duplex and he's happy it was created for him. Half-duplexes are much less expensive than single-family homes.
(Joanne Preston) Ms. Preston lives in the Webcowett neighborhood. She says there's so much wrong with Article 18, and that her neighborhood is a living example of why it's such a disaster. Seven single-family homes were torn down to build duplexes. A developer bought a single-family home for $800k, tore it down, and replaced it with a pair of townhouses that sold for $1M each. That's a decrease in affordability. Ms. Preston doesn't like how new duplexes are built with the same floor plans and look alike. She thinks it's sad that anyone would think this will help young families move into town. She believes it wont increase economic diversity.
(Alex Bagnall) Mr. Bagnall enthusiastically support Article 18. He owns a single-family home in a two-family district, and thinks his neighbors are delightful. Single-family zoning is part of an economic wall. It's not just about a preference for single-family homes. More regulations lead to higher affluence and a higher degree of segregation. Without measures like this, sprawl will increase, leading to higher emissions. This is a step in the right direction. Mr. Bagnall closes with a quotation from the Color of Law, saying that people have a responsibility to address the harms done by their predecessors.
(Charles Blandy) Mr. Blandy says the past hasn't gone; it hasn't even past yet. There are no moderate-cost single family homes in Arlington, and we're living through accelerated gentrification. Multi-family homes are less expensive than single-family ones. People who move to Arlington work in high paying jobs, for companies that are able to print money; ones in Kendall Square, on Route 128, Harvard, and MIT. We're an example of stasis. This article is necessary, though not sufficient. My kids won't be able to afford to live here when they finish college. We have to decide what our values and interests are. Mr. Blandy says he wanted to move to Arlington for the density, but misses the diversity found in other communities.
(Chris Loretti) Mr. Loretti says he has nothing against two-family homes, and it's unfortunate that the proponent played the race card. He says Houston has segregation, in spite of the fact that they don't have zoning. This is about money, and people who want to build more. He says that table three from the planning department memo shows how this will lead to higher prices and less diversity. This article won't promote diversity or inclusiveness, it will lead to gentrification.
(Brian Ristuccia) Mr. Ristuccia says it's a fallacy to compare the cost of new construction to the cost of an old unrenovated property. New duplexes are cheaper than new single-family homes, and we have a small supply of unrenovated homes. Mr. Ristuccia rejects any argument that single-family zoning isn't racially motivated.
(Steve Moore) Mr. Moore says he was thrilled to hear Mr. Bagnall's quote. As a member of the tree committee, he points out that the town has a tree protection bylaw. However, it only applies to trees that are in the required yard setbacks. It's true that building further out means removing trees there, and more emissions from transportation. However, he's still concerned about the effects of new construction on Arlington's tree canopy.
(Jennifer Susse) Ms. Susse believes this has been a really good discussion, and is heartened at the range of issues being raised. She urges the board to let this go before town meeting. Arlington's school enrollment has stayed pretty close to the McKibben report predictions. We're supposed to see peak kindergarten enrollment this year, and adding a few units will not overwhelm our schools. Ms. Susse is concerned about maintaining generational diversity. If people move here when they have kids and move away when they finish school, that will put pressure on our school system.
(Don Seltzer) Mr. Seltzer says that the Metro Mayor's coalition stated a need for 189k new housing units, and that Arlington's share of that would increase the population by 34%.
(Joanne Preston) Ms. Preston says the McKibben report was based on future projections. Tax increases are causing seniors to move out. We've lost trees due to construction, and trees are a major way to remove carbon. She doesn't see how new, luxury, market rate housing will help. She says that will not serve the needs of Arlington. The Arlington Housing Authority has 300 households on its waiting list -- that's what we should be talking about.
With no further comments from the public, the Warrant Article hearings are continued to Oct 28th.