Zoning Bylaw Working Group - Jan 19th, 2022

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Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://www.arlingtonma.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/28714/18.

ARB Draft Warrant Articles for 2022 Annual Town Meeting

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says the planning department prepared three warrant articles for ARB consideration. There will be a fourth article with administrative corrections, which isn't in the current draft memo.

The first warrant article is meant to address concerns about ground floor space (in mixed use buildings) that doesn't have an active use. It would limit ground floor uses like banks, offices, and lobbies.

The second article deals with street trees. It would add a requirement for planting street trees every 25' where feasible, for projects that fall under ARB review. 25' is DPW's current standard for street tree spacing.

The third article is a solar energy system amendment. It would add definitions and site development standards that require new buildings to be solar ready.

These three proposed articles will be presented to the redevelopment board on Monday night.

(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein asks if the proposed changes to the large addition amendment were dropped.

(Jenny Raitt and Kelly Lynema) Ms. Raitt and Ms. Lynema were under the impression that Mr. Klein would submit that warrant article on his own.

(Christian Klein) Mr. Klein indicates that he'll submit the large addition article on his own.

(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak asks what kind of standards the first article will use to limit non-active uses.

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says it will be based on the percentage of a block front.

(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak asks if the article would (say) make a stand-along bank non-conforming.

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt indicates that won't be the case.

(Ralph Wilmer) Regarding the second article, Mr. Wilmer asks if the town has a recommended species list. He thinks it would be best if we could recommend tree species that do well in an urban environment.

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says there isn't a list; just the DPW's tree management plan.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson asks why the first article would be a change to district regulations, rather than a change to environmental design review.

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says these kinds of standards are typically placed in district regulations.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson thinks that the standards might be easier to apply on a project by project basis, rather than a district by district basis.

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt says there are numerous places in the district regulations that give discretion to special permit granting authorities. The proposed warrant article would follow along those lines.

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson would like to discuss the wording of the article on solar standards. He'll talk with Ms. Raitt offline.

(Pam Heidell) Ms. Heidell says the Conservation Commission is in the process of revising their rules and regulations. Part of this was a long discussion about which tree species have the most ecological value. While the commission is still discussing this topic, there seems to be consensus that straight species are preferable to cultivars.

Zoning Audit, Zoning Bylaw Review, and Recommendations Discussion

(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson reports that he's been emailing Mr. Klein and Mr. Ciampa about a warrant article that's intended to prevent "front porch creep".

Mr. Ciampa and Mr. Klein indicate they've been making progress on the article. Based on timing, Mr. Klein will probably submit this article himself.

(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema reports that Pam Heidell has circulated a memo about zoning for climate resilience.

(Pam Heidell) Ms. Heidell says she's received comments from Mr. Revilak, and from Nathaniel Stevens of the Conservation Commission. She plans to finalize the memo, once she receives feedback from a few more people. The memo describes a range of climate resiliency options that Arlington could consider. Ms. Heidell assumes there will be future discussions on what direction to take.

Approval of Minutes

The board amends and adopts the minutes from December 1st.

Our next meeting will be Feb 2nd at 8:30am.

(John Worden) Mr. Worden asks if the citizen petition to eliminate single-family only restrictions was filed.

(Jenny Raitt) Ms. Raitt doesn't know. Articles are filed with the Select Boards office, and they're typically not shared until after the warrant closes. She says a number of citizen petitioners have contacted the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Meeting adjourned.