Zoning Bylaw Working Group - Oct 6th, 2021

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Meeting held via remote participation. Materials were available from https://www.arlingtonma.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/27980/18.

Arlington Redevelopment Board Goals

In terms of potential zoning amendments, the Redevelopment Board has been interested in encouraging economic development along Arlington's commercial corridors. However, there are no specific actions yet.

Eugene Benson would like to see the town improve its inclusionary zoning bylaw.

Regarding commercial development, Steve Revilak notes that there's a lot of it going on right now, and many cities have projects in the hundreds of thousands to millions of square feet in the pipeline. Commercial development is booming in greater Boston, but it's not booming here. He hopes that Arlington can take some advantage of this economic growth without missing the boat.

The Net Zero Action Plan Committee is working on proposed zoning changes to further the Net Zero Action Plan. They don't have concrete proposals yet, but should have them in time for the spring town meeting.

Jenny Raitt asks if anyone would like to participate in the Net Zero Action Plan Committee's discussions. Eugene Benson has been.

Charlie Kalauskas asks about the stormwater management plan. Ms. Raitt says that work is being done with DPW, and her department is waiting to hire a new environmental planner. Charlie is interested in helping with this effort.

There's discussion about mixed use. Steve Revilak notes that there a lot of old buildings on our commercial corridors; some are really starting to show their age, and could use a refresh. He'd like to see Arlington address floor area ratio and other restrictions that make it impractical to redevelop these properties. John Worden doesn't like the mixed use projects he's seen, and says we don't owe developers anything. Steve says that Arlington will probably get what it asks for, and we have track record of having that happen.

One of the working group members asks if the Redevelopment Board is participating in the remote participation working group. Rachel Zsembery is, but she wasn't able to attend their last doing.

Ms. Raitt asks Christian Klein if the ZBA has any suggestions for zoning amendments. Mr. Klein says that parking and driveways are issues, along with the wording of the large addition special permit requirement.

Pamela Heidell suggests making accommodations for base flood elevation. This would be an exception to height regulations so that homes in flood plains can be elevated. Mr. Benson believes that Marshfield has regulations for this.

John Worden wants to work on driveway slope, particularly for the drive-under garages in two-family homes. He says people tend to park at the top of their driveways, with the car sticking out into the sidewalk. Steve Revilak thinks this ties in with the parking regulations that Mr. Klein mentioned earlier. He'd like to revisit the requirement for parking spaces to be beyond the front setback. That could reduce impervious surface and eliminate the need for a sloped driveway. Besides, people tend to park in the front setback anyway.

Jenny Raitt would like to give working group members a homework assignment. She asks them to review the zoning audit that was done for the master plan, and look for suggestions that could be implemented. Please have ideas ready to share for the next meeting on November 3rd.

Additional opportunities for participation include: filling the affordable housing locator map survey, organizing a meeting in the box. There will also be a draft housing plan presented on Nov 9th.

Charlie Kalauskas says the Master Plan Implementation Committee needs to schedule its next meeting. Jenny Raitt and Kelly Lynema will work on that.

There's a discussion about meeting in person vs meeting remotely. John Worden would like to meet in person; he doesn't like Zoom. Other working group members are indifferent; both in person and remote are fine. Ms. Raitt will see if it's possible to have the next meeting in person, in the Lyons Hearing room.

Approval of Minutes

The board approves minutes from their August 4th meeting.

Meeting adjourned.