Arlington Redevelopment Board - Jun 27th, 2022
Meeting held in the town hall auditorium. Materials were available from https://arlington.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/DisplayAgendaPDF.ashx?MeetingID=1629.
Update on Director of Planning and Community Development search
(Kelly Lynema, Acting Planning Director) Ms. Lynema tells the board that the director position was posted in May. Several applicants responded and we've scheduled first round interviews for five candidates this week. If none of these five are satisfactory, we'll continue to seek out other candidates. At this point in the process, Ms. Lynema doesn't know the names of the candidates. (Human Resources redacts names and addresses when distributing resumes and cover letters for first round interviews.)
(Rachel Zsembery, ARB Chair) Ms. Zsembery notes that Sandy Pooler accepted the position of town manager for the next year, and he'll be part of the hiring process.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema informs the board that Ali Carter, the town's Economic Development Coordinator, has given notice and her last day is July 8th. Ms. Carter will become the Economic Director in Lowell, a city that just adopted plans for a transformative business district.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery reads an announcement that was submitted by Karen Kelleher, chair of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) board of trustees. It's a reminder for people to take the AHTF's survey; the trustees will use the survey results to help formulate their action plan.
(Kelly Lynema) Once the survey closes, Ms. Lynema says the AHTF trustees will begin having focus group sessions.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery says that the ARB will meet with the Open Space committee on July 11th, to discuss the draft Open Space and Recreation Plan.
Docket 3702 - 464 Massachusetts Avenue
The applicant proposes to open a restaurant at 464 Mass Ave (formerly Tango), with a 5 bbl microbrewery in the basement.
(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau informs the applicant that the ARB is a five member board, but one of our members was held up and will arrive late this evening. Because she'll arrive after the hearing starts, she won't be able to vote tonight, and the applicant will need the unanimous approval of the other four board members.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says that both uses -- a restaurant and a brewery -- are allowed in the B5 district where this property is located. The applicants are requesting a parking reduction to zero, because the parcel is almost completely covered with buildings, and there's no opportunity to add additional parking. The former Tango restaurant has two signs and the applicant is proposing to replace these with two new ones. The brewery would be considered artisinal fabrication. The only changes to the exterior would be signs and painting.
(Jeff Wetzl, Applicant) Mr. Wetzl is one of Deep Cuts Deli's two owners. He and his partner started the company in 2019 and worked on a combination food and brewery concept. They originally intended to have a location in Winter Hill, but the pandemic put that on hold. In 2021, they found a space on High Street in Medford where they currently operate from. It's a small commercial space -- about 400-something square feet. They've already outgrown it, and are looking for a bigger location.
Mr. Wetzl says that all of the renovations are interior, with the exception of painting and signage. The existing space has a bar on the left side of the dining room. They're planning to move the bar to the right, to open up the left side as a multi-functional dining area.
The brewery will be located in the basement. The basement is currently finished, and the brewery will occupy about a third of it. It's a small brewing setup, and they expect most of the beer to be served on site. They'll use the existing walk-in cooler for food, and add a second walk-in cooler for beer.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery appreciates the creative use of the space.
(Kin Lau, ARB) Mr. Lau says he's very supportive of the project, but has a few questions. He asks if the applicants are planning any changes to the entrance on the right side of the space.
(Jeff Wetzl) Mr. Wetzl answers in the negative.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau thinks the right door is set in further than it appears on the plans, and he's notes that the left door isn't ADA compliant. He asks if the floor is flush with the sidewalk.
(Jeff Wetzl) Mr. Wetzl says that both doors are at sidewalk level, and his intent is to bring them up to code.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau says he'd like to see the applicant make a commitment to make both entrances accessible. He supports the applicant's request to reduce the off-street parking requirements to zero, and asks about bicycle parking.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel says he'd be comfortable adding bicycle parking.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau says he'd like to encourage more cycling in Arlington center.
(Eugene Benson, ARB) Mr. Benson says the board received an email from a local architect, who was concerned about the entrance doors being ADA compliant. He likes the idea of having bicycle racks out front, and says the applicants will be required to have long term bicycle parking inside. He asks Mr. Wetzel about delivery trucks, and how large they'll be.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel says he expects deliveries to be made via box truck, probably of the sixteen or twenty foot variety. They'd be used to deliver ingredients for the restaurant and brewery.
(Eugene Benson) Mr. Benson says the applicants are only allowed one wall sign per business; a second sign would be allowed by special permit, but he's not prepared to vote in favor of that. He'd like to see the two signs combined into a single one.
(Steve Revilak, ARB) Mr. Revilak asks Mr. Wetzel how they plan to cool wort during the brewing process.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel describes a closed system where water is used to chill the wort, then cooled, and recirculated. Afterwards, the water can be re-used for cleaning the brewing equipment.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak has a question about the brewing equipment shown on the plans. He sees three fermentation vats, and next to them is something labeled "brite". Mr. Revilak asks what that is.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel says it's a brightening tank, which is used to carbonate the beer. He says it's like a fermentation vat, but works at a higher pressure.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak asks how many employees will work at the brew pub.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel expects to have around 15 employees.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak says he'll move on to bicycle parking. He thinks it would be nice to have the applicant work with the town and install short-term racks in front of the restaurant. Mr. Revilak acknowledges that sidewalk space is limited in this area, and he usually ends up locking his bike to the parking meters.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel thinks bike parking in front would be a good idea.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak says our zoning bylaw makes a distinction between basements and cellars, and he asks Mr. Wetzel if he knows whether this space has a basement or a cellar.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel says he wasn't aware of the distinction.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak says the distinction is important for determining gross floor area (GFA), which dictates auto and bicycle parking requirements. According to our bylaw, cellars in residential uses counts towards GFA, but cellars is non-residential uses don't. If the understory is a cellar, this proposal would have a GFA of 2387 square feet, rather than 4774. Mr. Revilak believes the long term bicycle parking requirements are 0.2 spaces per 1000 square feet. Depending on whether the understory is a basement or a cellar, this would be not quite half, or not quite one long term space. Mr. Revilak hopes they'd be able to include one long term space, if the alleyway and ramped service entrance make that possible.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel thinks employee bike parking in the basement is a good idea, and he'd like to include it.
(Steve Revilak) Mr. Revilak says he was going to ask about composting trub and the by-products of the fermentation process, but sees from the application that Mr. Wetzel is already planning to do that.
The chair opens the hearing to public comment. There is none.
(Melisa Tintocalis, ARB) Ms. Tintocalis asks Mr. Wetzel if he can explain the thought process behind choosing this site.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel says the pub currently operates in Medford. They only have around 400 square feet of space, and have outgrown the location. He says it feels like 50% of their customers are from Arlington.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis asks about hours of operation.
(Jeff Wetzel) Mr. Wetzel says they're planning on 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, or maybe 10:00 am to midnight.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis says she's curious about the process for requesting parklet space.
(Kelly Lynema) Ms. Lynema says business owners have to apply with the Select Board.
(Melisa Tintocalis) Ms. Tintocalis says that more activation on the street would be great.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery summarizes what she's heard as conditions for the application. These included
- Historic Districts Commission approval for the exterior painting.
- Making at least one of the front entrances ADA compliant.
- Working with the town to locate exterior bike racks.
- Adding one long term bicycle parking space in the interior.
Combining the two signs into a single sign.
There's a motion to approve the permit with conditions. Motion passes, 4--0 (Ms. Tintocalis had to abstain).
The chair opens the public forum portion of the hearing. There are no speakers this evening.
(Kin Lau) Mr. Lau asks about scheduling the board's summer retreat.
(Rachel Zsembery) Ms. Zsembery suggests waiting until the planning director position has been filled. That might mean scheduling our retreat in the fall.