Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Redevelopment Board, October 02, 2023

The Arlington Redevelopment Board met on October 2, with chair Rachel Zsembery and board members Stephen Revilak, Kin Lau, and Eugene Benson present. Claire Ricker, director of the Department of Planning and Community Development, also attended.

Review of Warrant Articles for Fall 2023 Special Town Meeting

The board reviewed warrant articles for the Fall 2023 special town meeting. The first article discussed was the MBTA Communities Overlay District. Claire Ricker presented the revisions and additional study items prepared by UTL. The board deliberated on various scenarios and alternatives related to maximum height and parking requirements. The board also discussed the inclusion or exclusion of historic properties. The board agreed to read out the items for the record.

Discussion on Zoning Bylaws

The committee discussed various issues related to the town’s zoning bylaws, including neighborhood district maximum height, off-street parking requirements, and other proposed changes. The committee agreed to reduce the max height to three stories and to clarify the application of underlying zoning in Section 5.9.1 of the zoning bylaw.

Discussion on Off-Street Parking Requirements

The committee discussed the proposal to change parking maximums to minimums. The committee members had differing views on this proposal. The committee agreed to revisit the issue of parking and transportation demand management at a future meeting.

Discussion on Rezoning of Certain Parcels

The committee discussed the pros and cons of removing all neighborhood parcels from the East Arlington business district versus retaining some. The committee agreed to table this discussion and revisit it at a future meeting.

Discussion on Development Options for Arlington Heights

The committee discussed the development options for the Heights. The committee reached a consensus on preferring alternative two for the Heights area, which is closer to the Minuteman Bikeway. The committee agreed to extend the neighborhood districts to 250ft from the center line of Mass Ave, east of Orvis Road.

Discussion on Zoning Issues Related to the Mass Avenue-Broadway Multifamily District

The committee discussed zoning issues related to the Mass Avenue Broadway multifamily district and the multifamily neighborhood districts. The committee agreed that the provisions for the existing underlying zoning should apply and not that of the overlay district.

Discussion on Duplicate Requirements and Need for Clarification in Zoning Bylaws

The committee discussed the duplicate requirements and the need for clarification in certain areas of the town’s zoning bylaws. The committee proposed deleting the duplicate information and moving a sentence about the uses of the setback area to a note under the chart on the next page.

Discussion on Height Buffer Area

The committee discussed the height buffer area, which currently does not apply as there is no chart in the overlay district with two heights. The committee agreed to keep the height buffer area and apply it to six-story buildings in the overlay district.

Discussion on Building Heights in Relation to Residential Parcels

The committee discussed the issue of building heights in relation to residential parcels. They agreed that the height buffer should apply to a six-story building adjacent to a residential building or zone.

Discussion on Corner Lots

The committee discussed the issue of corner lots, which have two sides considered as fronts and no rear setback. They agreed that the reduced height buffer should apply in these cases.

Discussion on Off-Street Parking Requirements

The committee discussed the issue of off-street parking requirements. They agreed to apply the current off-street parking requirements of 6.1, including reductions per 6.15.

Discussion on Bonuses for Neighborhood Multifamily

The committee discussed the issue of bonuses for neighborhood multifamily zones. They agreed to add this to the discussion, although it is not currently included in the regulations.

Discussion on Open Space

The committee discussed the issue of open space. They agreed to add the definition of open space to the regulations for clarity. They also agreed to increase the percentage of landscaped open space in the table for open space.

Discussion on Rear Yard Setbacks

The committee discussed the issue of rear yard setbacks. They agreed to change the formula for calculating these setbacks to a fixed amount, depending on what is behind the lot.

Discussion on Step-Back Requirements

The committee discussed the issue of step-back requirements for buildings in excess of three stories in height. They agreed to move the step back to the fourth floor.

Voting on Various Issues

The committee concluded the meeting by voting on the various issues discussed. They recommended favorable action for Articles Three, Five, Six, and Seven, and no action for Article Four.

Discussion on Upcoming Meeting Schedule

The committee discussed their upcoming meeting schedule. The committee agreed to schedule an additional meeting on October 23rd, prior to the town meeting.



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