Zoning Bylaw Working Group - Sep 5th, 2018

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Scope of Work/Sign Regulation Update. The town received one response to the sign RFP, from Lisa Wise Consulting (LWC). LWC's original proposal needed slight adjustments, to accommodate a Town Meeting presentation. Erin Zwirko checked three of LWC's references, and received three glowing reviews. The remote work was seamless and LWC had a strong focus on meeting deadlines. Ms. Zwirko also spoke with a Portland, ME planner who worked with LWC; they reported a positive experience.

David Watson asked how LWC's travel expenses (two trips to Arlington) fit into the budget. Ms. Zwirko stated that travel costs were factored into their proposal.

Charlie Kalauskas asked what would happen if our project manager left the firm in the middle of the project. Would there be someone to fill in? Based on the company information in LWC's proposal, we believe they have enough staff and expertise to cover the loss of a consultant.

One of LWC's staff has a background in historic preservation. That's important for us, because parts of our sign bylaws directly pertain to historic districts.

Next, we move on to the revised scope of work. The town needs to identify stakeholders for interview. LWC will assist with interview questions, summarizing interview notes, and drafting recommendations.

We brainstorm a list of stakeholders. These included: business owners, the historic districts commission, religious institutions, schools, the parks and recreation department, the conservation commission, Mass. Ave businesses whose signs are subject to EDR, the department of public works, and non-profit groups. Anyone who advertises a 5k run is a potential stakeholder.

We'll need to consider political signs (e.g., for elections).

Task 1.3 is the community kickoff. The goals are to inform the public of the sign recodification effort, and gather feedback and concerns. The kickoff forum will tentatively take place in mid-October. Perhaps the week of October 22nd.

Stakeholder interviews are likely to take place in early October.

Task 1.4 involves an analysis of existing sign regulations, and a recommendations document. LWC will make recommendations as to whether our sign laws should be part of the ZBL, the general bylaws, or a combination of both. Michael Byrne points out a difference in enforcement. If the sign laws are part of the general bylaws, then the town manager can decide who is responsible for enforcement. If they're in the ZBL, then enforcement has to be done by inspectional services.

Mr. Byrne suggests adding the Select Board to the list of stakeholders, since they approve temporary signs. The Select Board will likely need a different set of stakeholder questions (as compared to, say, business owners).

After all of the Task 1 steps are complete, LWC will start preparing sign regulations. The new regulations may include diagrams and illustrations, if appropriate. This work should take place in December and January, and leave with sufficient time to submit a warrant article by the end of January.

Later tasks will follow the town's schedule for warrant article review.

The specifics of Task 3 may vary, depending on how the sign bylaws are recodified (e.g., the need for an ARB hearing, a Select Board hearing, or both). LWC will meet with this group as part of task 3.1. Tasks 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4 involve the ARB, Select Board, and Town Meeting.

John Worden asks if their is a crushing need to move this forward. Ms. Zwirko replied that this work was unaddressed by the ZBL recodification; that's one motivation. The desire to comply with a recent supreme court decision (Reed v. Gilbert) is another. Mr. Worden was not aware that the supreme court had weighed in on the matter of signs. I stated that the schedule seemed reasonable; we can always make adjustments later on.

There was general agreement on moving forward with LWC's proposal.

Ms. Zwirko with work with the town's purchasing agent to get the contract approved.

DPCD staff will pursue business district rezoning on their own.

Approval of Minutes. The group proposes minor changes to the meeting minutes, and there's some discussion about flood plains. Minutes are approved.

Other Business. DPCD has a new conservation planner and a new transportation planner.

Our next meeting is Wed Oct 3rd at 8:30 am.