Zoning Board of Appeals - Nov 16th, 2021

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Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1465.

Thorndike Place

Tonight, the board continues to deliberate the draft decision for the Thorndike Place comprehensive permit.

(Christian Klein, ZBA Chair) Mr. Klein opens by summarizing the close of the public hearing, and explaining the deliberation phase.

The board begins by revisiting up some conditions we discussed at the last hearing, and flagged for follow up.

Conditions I.18 and C.2(k). Mr. Mills believes that I.18 goes into more detail and recommends monitoring of test pits. The board decides that these conditions are not duplicative and that both should apply.

Conditions I.27 and C.1(f). Mr. Mills believes that I.27 is redundant. He suggests an amendment to C.1(f) and the board agrees to remove I.27.

Conditions I.30 and C.1(f). The board decides that these conditions are not redundant. We'll keep both, but with wording changes.

Conditions I.36 and C.1(g). The board believes that I.36 is duplicative and will remove it.

Condition C.1(i)(v). This condition involves using all electric service in the senior building. While the board and applicant discussed this matter, we never talked about whether the duplex dwellings would be all electric. Mr. Revilak proposes extending the requirement to the duplexes, and doesn't feel this would render the project uneconomic. Mr. Hanlon is concerned that this may not be within the authority of the board. There's also a question about whether the senior building might require a gas hookup for a commercial kitchen. We'll stick with requiring all electric for the senior living building, and encourage the applicant to use it for the duplexes.

Condition D.1. We've added a reference to MGL Chapter 87 section 12; this is the state law which protects public shade trees. The board changes "street tree" to "public shade tree", as the latter is a defined term under state law.

Condition D.16. This condition involves hours of construction; at the last hearing, the board was unsettled as to what the weekend hours should be. We decide to allow work on Saturday, but not Sundays or legal holidays. The applicant agreed to this. Under normal circumstances, town bylaws allow construction work on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

That does it for the conditions, and the board moves on to findings. Findings are things that the board concludes/determines, and can show the board's thought process in how the decision was made.

Finding 9. There's discussion about deleting the list of plans in this finding. Mr. Haverty (special counsel to the board) believes that's the preferable course of action. The set of plans should be listed in one place, and Condition A.2 currently serves that purpose.

Finding 12. The board corrects a typo. "Sheet C2-03" should read "Sheet C-203".

Finding 13. There's a question about why the applicant's submissions are individually listed by date, while the peer review comments are treated as a single group. The board chooses to remove the list of applicant submissions, and treat both as groups.

Finding 14. The board discusses how to represent the set of parties who have voiced opposition to the project. We'll note that the town's legislative delegation and Select Board were opposed.

Finding 15. This finding doesn't contribute much, and the board strikes it.

Finding 19. Mr. Revilak believes the project is consistent with the Planned Unit Development district's definition and suggests adding language to that effect. Mr. Hanlon disagrees. Mr. Revilak withdraws his suggestion. The board feels this finding might belong in a different section.

Finding 21. Mr. Hanlon proposed a substitute "signpost" finding. It outlines the general categories of concern that were expressed during the public comment period. The board adopts it; we'll reorganize the rest of the findings around those categories.

Finding 22. The board decides to strike this finding, as it referred to an earlier iteration of the project.

That's it for tonight's deliberations. The board votes to continue the hearing on Nov 18th and 7:30pm, 7--0.

Upcoming Dates

Upcoming dates for the board are

  • Nov 18th. Thorndike Place.
  • Nov 22nd, at 8:00 pm instead of the usual 7:30. Thorndike place.
  • Nov 23rd. Four hearings. We'll add Thorndike place to the agenda, in case we need it.
  • Dec 21st. Three hearings.

Meeting adjourned.