Zoning Recodification Neighborhood Meeting - Jan 24th, 2018

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Eight people attended tonight's outreach meeting; three were from the ZWRG and ARB.

Jenny Raitt began with a presentation of the recodification process.

At an organizational level, the ARB hears all proposed changes to Arlington's zoning bylaw. The Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) is tasked with implementing changes recommended by the master plan. They report to the ARB. The MPIC currently has four subcommittees: the Residential Study Group, The Mill Brook Study Group, the Historical Resources Working Group, and the Zoning Recodification Working Group. So, the ZRWG reports to the MPIC, who in turn reports to the ARB.

Jenny explained the rationale for recodification. Recodification was the number one land use recommendation of the master plan. Our current bylaw has been edited many times over the years; the language is outdated, and it's hard to navigate. Because it's been edited so many times, the ZBL has many voices and lacks editorial consistency. We also wanted a framework for making future modifications -- the substantive changes recommended by the master plan.

Our goals for the recodification process were: to have a document that's easier to navigate; to update outdated language; to simplify some of the existing language (e.g., to break up some of the long 100+ word sentences); and to address areas where our ZBL is inconsistent with state law.

The draft recodification doesn't include substantive changes. There are no changes to the dimensional and density regulations. There are no changes to the use table (beyond what's required to comply with state law). Substantive changes will come later in the master plan implementation process.

Future work will include: re-doing the section on signs, revising the environmental design review process, and changes to the business district. But again, those aren't part of this recodification.

It's not unusual for towns to recodify their zoning bylaws. Medway did a recodification in 2015, and Lenox did one in 2016.

This project started in Fall 2016, and proceeded through several stages. We started with interview and a zoning diagnostic. There were two reading drafts and a hearing draft (which went before the ARB). There were two public meetings during the summer, and a series of open houses at the planning department.

There's a short question and answer session after Jenny's presentation. The meeting wrapped up early, around 20:00.