Precinct 1 Meeting - Jun 11th, 2020
We held a precinct meeting via video conference. Approximately 16 people attended, mostly town meeting members.
The meeting started with introductions, a brief overview of town meetings, where to find information about town meeting, and some of the changes we expect to see in this year's town meeting. Our precinct has three new town meeting members this year.
Afterwards, we had an hour or so of question and answers and general discussion. As the meeting facilitator, I didn't have an opportunity to take notes, so this is from memory.
There was a discussion about how Arlington manages parks and open space, how the maintenance of these lands is funded, and other possible funding models.
Discussion about the renovations to Broadway Plaza, and how they need to be timed with planned MWRA water main improvements (MWRA's water main runs underneath Broadway Plaza).
Questions about vacant storefronts, and whether a larger business tax base could help fund improvements in the town. There are numerous challenges where. Only 5.6\% of the town's land is zoned for commercial use, so we're limited in what we have to work with. Commercial spaces that change use have to comply with zoning requirements for the new use, and parking is often a barrier. That's not ``there's no place to park, but a requirement to have a certain number of dedicated parking spaces. The pub that's replacing Balich 5 \& 10's former space in the heights in an example of this.
One of the attendees was the new owner of 10 Sunnyside. He works for a health care provider. They'd like to build new administrative offices where the garage currently is. The parking lot would be redeveloped as a small apartment building, mostly for executives in the company and their families.
There's discussion about events that might be programmed in the Russell Common Parking lot. For examples, art fairs and farmer's markets.