Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Town Meeting, October 19, 2023

continued from October 17

Article 10: Public Shade Trees Zoning Bylaw Amendment

Steve Revilak from the Arlington Redevelopment Board presented proposed changes to the zoning bylaw relating to public shade trees. The changes would extend the requirement to provide public shade trees along public ways to all business and residential districts for new construction and major additions. Projects involving new construction or additions increasing building footprint by 50% or more would need to plant shade trees every 25 feet along public ways or make a financial contribution to the Arlington Tree Fund if not feasible. The ARB voted 4-0 to recommend favorable action on Article 10.

Town meeting voted 187-10 to approve changes to the zoning bylaw sections related to public shade trees.

Article 11: Residential Uses in Business Districts Zoning Bylaw Amendment

Revilak presented a proposed zoning bylaw amendment to remove single, two-family, and duplex residential dwellings as allowed uses in Arlington’s business districts. This would make existing residential uses in business districts nonconforming. The goal is to prioritize business and mixed-use development in the limited business-zoned areas of town. The ARB voted 4-0 to recommend favorable action.

Chris Loreti, also a member of the Redevelopment Board, submitted an amendment to retain the by-right use of single and two-family homes in the B1 districts along Mass Ave. After debate, town meeting voted 55-137 against the amendment.

Town meeting then voted 161-39 to approve the ARB’s recommended changes removing single, two-family, and duplex dwellings as allowed uses in business districts.

Article 14: Fossil-Fuel-Free Bylaw

Town Meeting then discussed a bylaw prohibiting fossil fuel use in new construction and major renovations. This aligns with the town’s Net Zero Action Plan. Key updates from the 2020 Clean Heat Bylaw include removing the exemption for indoor cooking appliances and adjusting thresholds for major renovations.

Town meeting voted 178-23 to approve adding the bylaw to the Town Bylaws.

Article 15: Police Contract Approval

The Finance Committee unanimously recommended ratifying the Patrol Officers’ collective bargaining agreement for FY22-24. Deputy Town Manager Alex Magee presented details of the contract, which includes a 14% wage increase over three years and a 2% increase contingent on finalizing a body camera policy.

After debate and questions about the policy process, Town Meeting voted 175-18 to approve transfers to fund the contract and ratify the agreement.

Other Actions

  • Town Meeting voted to wait to hear Article 12 regarding overlay zoning districts until the October 23 meeting.
  • Town Meeting voted for no action on Article 13 regarding accessory dwelling units.
  • Town Meeting adjourned until October 23 at 8pm to resume any unfinished business.



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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