Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Zoning Board of Appeals, September 05, 2023

The Arlington Zoning Board of Appeals held a remote meeting to deliberate on the 40B application of the Housing Corporation of Arlington at 10 Sunnyside Ave. The Board reviewed a draft opinion prepared by a consultant, with the intention to mark it up over the course of the meeting and possibly the following Tuesday evening.

Parking Requirements and Building Height

The Board discussed the parking requirements for the project, noting that one parking space per unit was required, totaling 43 spaces. However, due to the provision of affordable housing, a 10% discount was applicable, reducing the requirement to 39 spaces. The Board also discussed the height of the building, noting that reducing the number of stories from five to four as requested by some would make the project impractical.

Wetlands Issue and Proximity to Public Transit

The Board discussed the wetlands issue, noting that the Conservation Commission had not asserted jurisdiction over the project under both the state act and the local bylaw and regulations. The Board also noted the project’s close proximity to several bus stops, which increases the transportation accessibility of the project.

Concerns about Management and Indoor Air Quality

The Board addressed concerns raised by tenants of other Housing Corporation of Arlington properties about the adequacy of the management and indoor air quality. The Board noted that the project would be constructed using passive house construction, which ensures high air quality for the tenants.

Traffic, Civil Engineering, Solar Access, and Affordability Concerns

The committee discussed the issue of traffic congestion on Sunnyside Avenue due to parking on both sides of the street. A proposal was made to petition the Transportation Advisory Committee to consider implementing a temporary loading zone in front of the building and a no-parking zone within 20 feet of the corner to facilitate smoother traffic flow. The committee also discussed civil engineering matters, specifically the waiver of provisions of the local bylaw related to stormwater management. The committee reviewed the solar access and shading impacts of the project. A shadow study was conducted to assess the impact on existing solar arrays. The committee also discussed affordability and local concerns.

Project’s Sustainability Features and Compliance with Specialized Stretch Code

The committee members discussed the project’s sustainability features, including its Passive House construction, solar roof, and mostly electric power source. The committee also discussed the project’s alignment with the town’s specialized stretch code, a state legislation that the project is bound to follow.

Bicycle Parking and Waivers Requested by the Applicant

The committee discussed two different approaches to the matter of bicycle parking. Initially, the applicant sought 70 spaces, which they calculated was required by the bylaw. However, they later requested a reduction, planning to provide 60 spaces instead of 66 for long-term parking and five spaces instead of six for short-term parking. The committee also discussed the applicant’s request for a variation from the bicycle parking design guidelines, which would allow them to hang the bikes up.

Discussion on Various Waivers Requested by the Applicant

The committee members deliberated on the specifics of each waiver, including the number of bicycle parking spaces, the size of the drive aisle, the reduction of parking spaces, and the noise abatement conditions, among others. The committee also discussed waivers related to stormwater bylaws and management rules and regulations.

Review and Discussion of Proposed Changes to Various Sections of a Document

The committee members discussed the need for a peer review consultant, and the importance of using salt-tolerant trees along streets and walkways. They also discussed changes in language regarding sewer permits and the deletion of test pits. They also discussed the property management plan, including the need to maintain trash removal policies and smoking policies.

The Board concluded the meeting with the intention to continue the deliberation at the next scheduled meeting. The chair expressed hope that they would be in a position to approve a final permit in the next meeting. The meeting was then adjourned, with the deliberation section to continue on Tuesday, September 12th.



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…


Receive Inside Arlington by email: