Master Plan Implmentation Committee - Apr 5th, 2018

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Attending: Charlie Kalauskas, Peter Howard, Ralph Wilmer, Wendy Richter, Jenny Raitt, Andrew Bunnell, Ann Leroyer.

Guest: Steve Revilak

Implementation Plan and Schedule

MPIC's 2017 report to town meeting was very extensive. Charlie suggests that the next report focus on the committee's accomplishments during the last year. Zoning recodification was a major accompishment, which demanded extensive effort and use of resources.

The committee has a number of activities in progress, with varying scopes and timelines. These activities deserve mention, to update town meeting on the progress of master plan implementation. These activities include updating the town's inventory of historic properties, a parking inventory, and evaluation of parking requirements. Charlie suggests mentioning state grants the town has received, MAPC assistance, and other sources of outside funding. Jenny will circulate a draft of the report; the group anticipates printing copies, and making them available for the first night of town meeting.

At their April 2nd meeting, the Arlington Redevelopment Board requested a reorganization of the master plan schedule. Tasks on the schedule are numbered, but the numbering does not reflect task priority.

Jenny asks if there are other areas we should focus on, now that zoning recodification is finished. There is left-over recodification funding, which could be put towards hiring a consultatant to examine the town's business districts. The group expressed interest in reconstituting the Zoning Recodification working group, to update the ZBL sections for the floodplain and inland wetlands districts, and to revise sign bylaws.

The planning department is working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council on a survey of Arlington heights, and by-right multi-family housing.

The group briefly discussed several items in the master plan schedule that could be worked on in the coming year: commercial and industrial districts, design standards, bicycle accomodations, and a climate change vulnerability assessment (done as part of municipal vulnerability planning). There's a lot to do, and the group needs to work on prioritization and scheduling.

We're not sure where the residential study group will focus their next efforts. The Residential Study Group's next meeting is tomorrow morning.

Parking revenue from Arlington Center exceeded expectations. The next step is to choose projects within the parking benefits district, and allocate funding.

Should there be additional studies, before any parking recommendations are made for Arlington Heights? Ralph suggests waiting for the results of ongoing economic studies, before doing further parking studies.

The town will experiment with a Bus Rapid Transit project, which will involve the temporary removal of a parking lane from Mass Ave. The planning department is trying to understand who's parking in these spaces now. The department would like to hire a transportation planner at some point in the future.

Highlights of Recent Working Group Activities

Historic and Cultural Resources Working Group. Pete reports that a consultant is going through the list of properties we agreed to add to the town's historic inventory. The consultant is gathering information and filling out forms for the Massachusetts Historic Commission. Pete expects the group to complete about ten properties per month; there are around 120 properties to do. The goal is to finish the project by July. This is the first phase of a four-phase plan. Phase two is a survey master plan, for looking at historic and cultural resources. Phase three will perform survey work decided in phase two. Phase four involves the high school.

Mill Brook Study Group. Ann reports that the group is meeting a lot. They're updating the 2010 study of the Mill Brook, and examining each of the seven areas that study covered. There are several other groups doing work in this area. One group is working on the reservoir master plan. The DPW is doing a study of their site at Grove street, which covers part of the Mill Brook area. Some high school parents are interested in using Mill Brook as a teaching resource, for courses in nature and environmental science.

Residential Study Group. The Residential Study Group has not met in several months, but they are meeting tomorrow morning. There's not a lot to report right now. Tomorrow's meeting will focus on goal-setting and priorities.

Housing Plan Implementation Committee. The committee has started discussing an accessory dwelling unit provision for the Zoning Bylaw. This effort will involve a series of educational forums, on the importance of regional housing and the opportunities afforded by accessory dwelling units.

Arts and Cultural Planning. The Commission on Arts and Culture is changing its name, and significantly restructuring the commission. The new structure provides for nine members, and several subcommittees.

Zoning Recodification Working Group. The Zoning Recodification Working Group will be reconvened at a future date, to work on sections that were not fully addressed during the recodification (the inland wetlands district, floodplain district, and signs). The recodified Zoning Bylaw was recently sent to the Attorney General's office. Approval can take up to 90 days.

Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday, April 9th. 7:00 - 9:00 pm. There's a meeting in the town hall Auditorium, to talk about the future of Whittemore Park.
  • Wednesday, April 11th. 7:00 - 8:30 pm. There's a meeting at the senior center, to discuss Spy Pond erosion control.
  • The next MPIC meeting is Thursday June 21st, 6:00 pm.