Zoning Recodification Working Group - Aug 4th, 2017

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We approved the meeting minutes from July 14th.

For todays meeting, we each took sections of the recodified ZBL, and tried to reconcile them with the current bylaw.

Definitions. We tried to figure out where things went. In the end, we wound up making a table of term, old definition, and new definition. Some things were taken out of the definitions because they were policy, but not relocated elsewhere in the ZBL. Our comment matrix made several suggestions for combining terms, and adding additional groups. For example, terms related to automotive uses could be grouped together.

The ZBL uses the terms "duplex" and "two-family", but not consistently.

Some definitions were added to comply with state law. "Group Home", for example.

Administration and Enforcement. Section 3.1.4 mentions specific dollar amounts. This should be moved to regulations; the ZBL should simply state that there's a fine.

District Regulations. We found a few uses that were omitted, as the table was split into residential uses and business uses. For example, Motel and dormitory were omitted, and need to be put back.

We should have an explanation for each use that was removed.

For Nursing Home, Assisted Living Facility, and Skilled Nursing facility: we should use the same definitions that the state uses.

The recodification defines conservation land, but doesn't say where it's allowed. The current ZBL only allows conservation land in the OS district. We should bring this up with the Conservation Commissions.

Residential District. The reorganization is nice, particularly in the way that R districts are grouped and presented. We found a few typos, but nothing substantive.

Is there a preference to having uses first, or dimensional and density regulations first? We feel that use tables should appear first.

Should the ZBL include a statement saying that Arlington does not allow use variances?

There's a legend for the tables of dimensional and density regulations (e.g.: sf means "square feet"), but the terms aren't consistently used in the table.

Should the ZBL have a central table of abbreviations, perhaps as part of the definitions section?

Site Development Standards. This year's ZBL changes (from the Spring 2017 town meeting) aren't included in the second draft.

The parking tables use the term "unit", which isn't defined. This should probably say "dwelling unit".

We have a set of parking requirements for medical facilities, and a set of parking requirements for office space. What happens if a suite changes from medical to office use, or vice versa? This is relevant for properties like 5 Water Street.

Parking requirements for Country Clubs and Educational Facilities are lumped together, but the current ZBL imposes different parking requirements for these two uses. That makes no sense -- we have to clarify it.

The structure of parking tables should match the structure of use tables. That will make it easier to follows.

There's some inconsistency in the terminology used in the parking and use tables.

Affordable Housing. There's some inconsistency in how the terms "development", "project", "standard", "unit", "dwelling unit", and "single room occupancy" are used.

Dormitories were previously listed in the affordable housing section; now, they're not.

The town's fair housing policies should be posted on the town website.

The third reading draft should be ready during the first week of September. We're still waiting for the special town meeting to be scheduled. Once we have a date for the special town meeting, we can schedule the ARB hearings and legal advertisements.

Sign bylaws. The entire set of sign bylaws needs to be rewritten. Our sign laws violate trade law, supreme court decisions, and other case law. We're going to leave the signs section in for now, and just clean up the formatting. There are too many policy changes involved to tackle it now.


The next ZBL public forum will be on Oct. 3rd, not Sept 14th.