Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Town Meeting, May 15, 2023

  • Committee Meeting Overview (May 15, 2023):
    The annual meeting continued discussing procedural complexities from the previous week’s meeting. The Town Meeting Procedures Committee will convene in the coming weeks to debrief and consider potential changes for future meetings. The meeting was adjourned to May 17th, 2023, if all business was not concluded during the current session.
  • MBTA Communities Act Update:
    An update was provided on the MBTA communities act, a state-level mandate for all 175 communities served by the MBTA to create zoning for multifamily housing. A survey and community visioning session have been launched to inform the planning department and the working group. A forum to discuss the first iteration of a plan was announced for June 8th at the community center.
  • Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA) Update:
    The ACA thanked the town for its support and provided updates on its activities, including serving approximately 700 participants in year-round classes and 1,250 children and teens in vacation art camps. Upcoming events were highlighted, and interested individuals were invited to join the ACA board.
  • Zero Waste Committee Annual Report:
    The Zero Waste Committee presented their annual report, focusing on their efforts to reduce plastic waste and increase recycling in the town. Ongoing campaigns include the “No Plastic Please” initiative and the “Arlington On Tap” program.
  • Tree Committee Annual Report:
    The Tree Committee presented their annual report, detailing their efforts to protect, preserve, and plant trees in Arlington. Their annual tree planting initiative, participation in the gas leaks task force, and advocacy work at major board meetings were highlighted.
  • Composting Program Proposal:
    A group of middle school students proposed a one-year pilot program to incentivize food scrap diversion by subsidizing a set percentage of the monthly cost of curbside composting. The total cost for Arlington would be $5,000. The environmental benefits of composting, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and advancing Arlington’s net zero 2050 action plan, were highlighted.
  • Community Preservation Act Committee Overview:
    The Community Preservation Act Committee presented a detailed overview of their work and proposed projects for the next fiscal year. The committee had received 20 applications for funding, exceeding their budget by a million dollars. Therefore, they had to ask all applicants to prioritize their work. The Housing Corporation of Arlington proposed a project at 10 Sunnyside Avenue, which the committee was pleased to support. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund agreed to contribute $250,000 to this project, and the committee allocated an additional $170,000 for their work.
  • Mountain Biking Trails Discussion:
    The proposal to spend $400,000 on building mountain biking trails was discussed. Concerns about the size, cost, and maintenance of the proposed pump track were raised. However, the motion to divide the question of spending on the bike trails from the rest of the vote language was not passed. The meeting concluded with a vote on the funding for the bike trails project, which passed with the majority of members voting in favor.
  • Financial Matters:
    The committee voted unanimously to appropriate approximately $148,000 from the opioid settlement fund under the direction of the town manager. The board of assessors requested an appropriation of $100,000 to fund their revaluation efforts, which was recommended by the finance committee. The committee also discussed the annual process of adjusting assessments in town based on recent sales and new growth, and the need for outside help for the certification process required by the Department of Revenue.
  • Producer Responsibility Legislation:
    The committee urged the Massachusetts state legislature to enact pending and future producer responsibility legislation. This legislation would relieve municipalities of the rising costs and incentivize producers to sell products that are less toxic and easier to reuse and recycle. The resolution passed with 170 votes in favor, 11 against, and 13 abstentions.
  • Affordable Housing Resolution:
    A resolution promoting the construction of affordable housing was discussed. Despite opposition, the resolution passed with 129 votes in favor, 45 against, and 19 abstentions.
  • State Flag Change:
    The committee discussed a resolution urging the legislature to change the state flag. The resolution was passed with 172 votes in favor, 12 against, and 11 abstentions.
  • Article 3 Discussion:
    The committee unanimously agreed to remove Article 3 from the table, indicating a consensus on the matter. The meeting concluded with the dissolution of the annual meeting, indicating the end of the committee’s yearly activities.



Inside Arlington was created by two Arlingtonians who are deeply concerned by the decline in local news and its impact on civic life. Our mission is to provide accessible information to Arlington residents to foster an informed and engaged citizenry. And we want to do it in an economically sustainable way. More…


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