Town Meeting - Apr 25th, 2022

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First night of town meeting, held via remote participation.

Opening Remarks

(Greg Christiana, Moderator) Mr. Christiana says the decision to go with a remote town meeting was a difficult one. He thanks his predecessors and asks the meeting to remember town meeting members and spouses who have passed in the last year.

(Rev. Erica Richmond) Ms. Richmond is a pastor at the First Parish Congregation. She gives an opening convocation.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana administers the oath of office to newly-elected town meeting members.

Authorization of Virtual Town Meeting

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana explains that in order to meet virtually, a majority of town meeting members must vote in favor of the virtual meeting. He also notes that points of order are procedural matters, and should not be used to continue debate on a topic.

(Carl Wagner, Point of Order) Mr. Wagner says that all town meeting members deserve the right to see each other.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana explains the use of Zoom's webinar format, and the obstacle it poses for participant video sharing.

(John Worden, Point of Order) Mr. Worden asks if town meeting members will be able to deliberate for or against meeting virtually.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana says that state law doesn't specify whether debate is required. The only requirement is that a majority agree to the virtual meeting.

(John Worden) Mr. Worden says he'd let town meeting vote on how to meeting.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana says he's just looking for procedural questions right now, regarding what would happen if the vote to meet virtually fails. That might mean an outdoor meeting to cover the essential articles, and a special town meeting later in the year.

(John Worden) Mr. Worden says we're not the Chinese Communist Party.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana agrees, and says we'll take a vote on whether to meet virtually.

Vote passes, 207--26--3. We'll be meeting virtually this year.


There are no announcements this evening.

Article 2 - State of the Town Address

Select Board Chair Lenard Diggins gives the state of the town address.

(Len Diggins) Mr. Diggins offers his thanks and respect to residents who serve on boards and committees, town meeting, our town-wide elected officials, state delegates, and town staff. He feels immense pride in the state of our town.

Mr. Diggins says that Arlington is recognized as a leader. During the pandemic, our Health and Human Services department served as a role model to other communities in the state. During the last twelve months we've held our first Juneteenth festival, hired a new School Superintendent, opened the first wing of the new Arlington High School, and went through a reprecincting process with the goal of making town meeting more closely resemble the residents of the town.

The Housing Corporation of Arlington cut the ribbon on their new building at Downing Square, and we established an Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board. The town adopted a Sustainable Transportation Plan, a Fair Housing Action Plan, and a Housing Production Plan. The Commission for Arts and Culture is pursuing new projects, and the Community Center will re-open in three days. We've begun the search for a new town manager; Mr. Diggins recognizes that town manager Adam Chapdelaine has helped to make Arlington a leader in the region. The Select Board and town staff will work to hold a town day event in September.

Mr. Diggins moves on to overrides. The notes that "override" is not one, but two four letter words. He says that overrides are an inevitability, and an opportunity to reassess the values of our community. He's filled with a sense of pride and admiration, and says the state of our town is good.

Article 3 - Reports of Committees

Reports are submitted by the Select Board, Redevelopment Board, Finance Committee, and other boards.

Article 4 - Measurer of Wood and Bark

There's a motion to appoint John Worden as the measurer of wood and bark. Mr. Christiana asks for objections; there are none, so Mr. Worden will continue to fill that ceremonial role.

(Carl Wagner, Point of Order) Mr. Wagner says he's surprised we're doing elections Soviet Style, without an actual vote.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana notes there was only one candidate, so he simply made a call for objections.

Article 5 - Election of Assistant Town Moderator

(Eric Helmuth) Mr. Helmuth nominates Adam Auster.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana asks if anyone objects to Mr. Auster serving as the assistant moderator.

There are no objections, so Mr. Auster is our assistant moderator.

Administrative Corrections

(Juli Brazile, Town Clerk) Ms. Brazile would like to call the meetings attention to several administrative amendments, which have been posted to the annotated warrant on the town website.

(Doug Heim, Town Counsel) Mr. Heim reviews the administrative amendments. The printed copy of the Select Board report is missing part of the main motion for Article 12. Article 16 has a redundant sub-paragraph that should be stricken. Also in Article 16, there's a place where "phased out by 2026" should be "phased out by 2025". Finally, there were several typos in the main motion for Article 18, and the fine should be listed as $100.

(Gordon Jamieson) Mr. Jamieson notes a mistake in the annotated consent agenda.

(Angel Mozina, Point of Order) Ms. Mozina asks if we're discussing Article 5 or Article 6. She also asks if any amendments have been received.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana says that amendments are being distributed through the town meeting member mailing list, and they're also posted to the annotated warrant. He says that some amendments are still being reviewed by Town Counsel and will be distributed when they're finalized.

Majority Consent Agenda

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christian explains the process he'll use for handling the consent agenda. He'll read each article on the agenda; any town meeting member that would like to hold the article should use the web portal to indicate they'd like to do so. Mr. Christiana says that two TMMs will have to hold an article for it to come off the consent agenda.

(John Leone, Point of Order) Mr. Leone asks Mr. Christiana not to use the process of requiring two holds to remove. He says the consent agenda was originally intended to allow any town meeting member to hold an article.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana says he's looked at how other towns handle consent agendas, and found that they have a range of procedures for withdrawing articles. Some communities require a majority vote. Others require five votes. He says that one vote felt too low, but a majority feels too high. Mr. Christian says he decided on two votes because that's like making a motion and having a second. He appreciates Mr. Leone's point and context, but plans to stick with two votes.

(Julie Wayman, Staff) Ms. Wayman explains the process whereby town meeting members can indicate that they'd like to hold an article.

(Patricia Worden, Point of Order) Ms. Worden asks where the button to remove an item from the consent agenda is.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana explains that the button is in the web portal, and it's labeled "Remove From Consent Agenda". He notes that two town meeting members will have to press this button in order to hold an item.

(Patricia Worden) Ms. Worden feels that's not appropriate, and that seconds are something different.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana explains that the software doesn't have the feature of changing the button text after the first time it's pressed. He notes that the first person to remove an item with a No Action recommendation will be called upon to provide a substitute motion for that article.

(Josephine Babiarz, Point of Order) Ms. Babiarz asks if No Action is different than a down vote.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana explains what a recommended vote of no action means.

(Daniel Jalkut, Point of Order) Mr. Jalkut thinks it would be useful to wait a few more seconds, if the first request to remove comes near the end of the thirty-second window.

(Jordan Weinstein, Point of Order) Mr. Weinstein suggests starting the thirty second clock after the title of the article is read.

(John Worden, Point of Order) There's a long burst of feedback. Mr. Worden says he's getting feedback because the sound is coming through his computer's speakers, rather than the headphones.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana asks if one of the help desk staff can call Mr. Worden.

(Leba Heigham, Point of Order) Ms. Heigham believes the moderator has proposed a good way of handling the consent agenda.

(We're at 9:30 now, and will take a ten-minute break before returning to the consent agenda.)

Article 9 - Bylaw Amendment Achieving Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Held. The article has a recommended vote of no action; John Worden to provide a substitute motion.

Article 11 - Domestic Partnerships. Held.

Article 14 - Establish a Committee on Insurance costs and issues. Held. This article has a recommended vote of no action; John Worden to provide substitute motion.

Article 18 - Phase out of Certain Toxic Rodenticide. Stays on the consent agenda.

Article 19 - Rename Street "Magliozzi Boulevard". Held. This article has a recommended vote of no action; Paul Schlictman to provide a substitute motion.

Article 20 - Code Enforcement. Held. Paul Schlictman to provide a substitute motion.

Article 21 - Extension of the Youth and Young Adult Advisory Board. Stays.

Article 22 - Establishment of town committee to examine budgetary impact of overnight parking. Stays.

Article 23 - Board of Youth Services Updates. Stays.

(James DiTulio, Point of Order) Mr. DiTulio says he doesn't want to hold article 25, but does not want to participate in the vote of that article. He'd like to avoid concerns about a conflict of interest.

Article 25 - Early Voting for Town Elections. Held.

Article 27 - Revolving funds. Held.

Article 46 - PEG Access budget. Stays.

Article 6 - Updating Human Rights Commission Bylaw. Held.

Article 47 - Endorsement of Parking Benefit District Expenditures. Stays.

Article 52 - Amendments to FY2022 Budgets. Stays.

(Nancy Bloom, Point of Order) Ms. Bloom notes that the Finance Committee report says that Article 56 will be discussed at the special town meeting. She asks if someone can explain that.

(Charlie Foskett, Finance Committee Chair) Mr. Foskett says the article would put money into the override stabilization fund. He says this needs to be done at the special town meeting in order to meet a certification deadline.

(I think Article 56 stayed on the consent agenda)

Article 57 - Appropriations for Town Celebrations and Events. Held.

Article 58 - Miscellaneous Appropriations. Stays.

Article 59 - Transportation infrastructure fund appropriation. Stays.

Article 60 - Bluebikes Appropriation. Held.

Article 61 - Water Bodies fund. Stays.

Article 63 - Harry Barber Community Service Program. Stays.

Article 64 - Pension adjustment. Stays.

Article 65 - Appropriation for Design Standards. Pulled.

Article 66 - Local Option Taxes. Stays.

Article 67 - Other Post Employment Benefits Trust Fund. Stays.

Article 68 - Transfer of Cemetery Funds. Stays.

Article 69 - Overlay reserve appropriation. Stays.

Article 70 - Long term stabilization fund appropriation. Stays.

That's the set of articles from the majority consent agenda.

(Beth Ann Friedman, Point of Order) Ms. Friedman asks if someone can read the list of articles that were left on the consent agenda, or the articles that were taken off.

(Gordon Jamieson, Point of Order) Mr. Jamieson says he's put the list of articles in the Q&A box.

Vote for majority consent agenda passes, 227--2--2.

(Charlie Foskett) Mr. Foskett moves reconsideration of all of the finance committee articles that were passed on the consent agenda.

Two-Thirds Consent Agenda

This is the consent agenda for warrant articles that require a two-thirds vote.

Article 31 - Zoning Bylaw Administrative Amendments. Stays.

Article 32 - Zoning Board of appeals rules and regulations.

(Mark Rosenthal, Point of Order) Mr. Rosenthal says he pressed the "Remove From Consent Agenda" and "Confirm" buttons, but it wasn't visible to the moderator in time.

Article 32 - Zoning Board of appeals rules and regulations (again). Held.

Article 33 - Zoning Bylaw Definition of Half Story. Held.

Article 34 - Zoning Bylaw definition of porch. Held.

Article 35 - Zoning bylaw amendment for Yard Encroachment. Stays.

Article 36 - Zoning Bylaw Amendment for Large Additions. Held.

Article 37 - Zoning Bylaw Amendment for Unsafe Structures. Held.

(Janice Weber, Point of Order) Ms. Weber asks for clarification on whether Article 35 was held.

(Michele Phelan, Point of Order) Ms. Phelan asks if the moderator skipped articles 38 and 39.

(Greg Christiana) Mr. Christiana explains that Articles 38 and 39 were not on the consent agenda.

Article 40 - Zoning Map Amendment. Stays.

Article 45 - Zoning Bylaw Amendment for Appeals. Held. John Worden to provide substitute motion.

Article 53 - Financing and Construction of Sewer Facilities. Held.

Article 54 - Financing and Construction of Water Facilities. Held.

Vote on the two-thirds consent agenda passes, 229--1--0.

Meeting adjourned.