Zoning Board of Appeals - Nov 24th, 2020

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Meeting conducted by remote participation. Meeting materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1187

Approval of Minutes. The ZBA approved minutes from their Oct 27th meeting.

Acceptance of New Documents. As previously agreed, Arlington Land Trust submitted updated application materials in early November. BETA group has provided peer review comments, which were received yesterday. There will be no substantive discussion on Thorndike place tonight. The board would like to provide time for Arlington Land Trust to review BETA's peer review documents. The board will receive documents tonight, and continue public discussions on December 8th.

Pat Hanlon notes that rescheduling to Dec 8th was designed to ensure that all parties have had an opportunity to review the documents, so that the hearing can be more successful.

Motion to receive documents; unanimously approved.

Discussion of Schedule. Christian Klein presents a proposed meeting schedule. The schedule includes a series of preparatory meetings; these are meetings between the ZBA chairs, town counsel, BETA, and Arlington land trust, for the purpose of preparing for public meetings. The merits of the application will not be discussed during preparatory calls.

Mr. Klein proposes the following set of public meetings:

  • Dec 3rd. Working session with the Conservation Commission.
  • Dec 8th. ZBA hearing, to discuss wetland impacts and the floodplain.
  • Dec 9th. Tentative TAC discussion on the Transportation impact assessment.
  • Dec 22nd. ZBA hearing, to continue discussions on wetland impacts and the floodplain.
  • Jan 12th. ZBA hearing, to discuss traffic impacts.
  • Jan 26th. ZBA hearing, to discuss architecture and urban design
  • Feb 9th. ZBA hearing to continue discussions of traffic impacts, architecture, and urban design.

The 180-day window for public hearings ends on April 9th.

Motion to adopt the meeting schedule; unanimously approved.

ZBA Website Revisions. The board discusses changes to the page on the ZBA website where documents related to the Thorndike Place Comprehensive Permit application are stored. The website was created a few years ago, as a repository for documents. Mr. Klein presents an outline that's intended to improve the structure of the document presentation.

Pat Hanlon thinks the goal should be to make the project page as user-friendly as possible. He's torn between having each comment appear in an individual file, or having them compiled into a digest. He'd like feedback from town staff in that regard -- what's easiest for them to manage.

Steve Revilak suggests having major subdivisions that correspond to the project iterations: August 2016, March 2020, and November 2020. Documents would be placed in the section corresponding to their iteration. Mr. Revilak favor s having one file/link for each public comment received. He feels that public comments should be attached to the particular iteration they apply to.

Roger DuPont notes that some of the documents are bylaws that govern the application. These are the town bylaws and zoning bylaws which were in effect when the project was started, and they're not specific to a single iteration. He suggests placing them in a separate section, near the beginning of the page.

Pat Hanlon agrees that the bylaws aren't particular to any single iteration. Scheduling documents probably fall into this category as well. He also suggests placing these in a separate section at the beginning.

Christian Klein asks Paul Haverty how other communities organize public comments for 40B projects. Mr. Haverty says it varies by community.

Pat Hanlon asks if documents become part of the record when they're submitted to the board, or formally received. Mr. Haverty says this happens when the documents are submitted.

Stephanie Kiefer agrees with the proposed structure, so long as it's clear that this is a single application with different sets of submissions.