Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Zoning Board of Appeals, November 14, 2023

Dorothy Road Hearing

The Board held a hearing for a special permit and variance application for 40-42 Dorothy Road. The applicant presented revised plans for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the property based on feedback from the previous hearing. The ADU footprint was reduced to be compliant with size and height requirements. The front setback was also made compliant with existing conditions. Two parking spaces were proposed parallel to the front yard.

The applicant requested a reduction in the side yard setback from 5ft 5in to 3ft 10.5in, and a reduction in the rear setback with portions at 5ft 6in and 7ft 1in. The Board discussed whether the laundry area should be excluded from gross floor area calculations since it is partially under mechanical ductwork.

The Board determined a variance was no longer required based on the revised plans. The applicant withdrew the variance application. The Board discussed concerns from Inspectional Services that the parking spaces did not meet the bylaw’s 24ft width requirement. Alternative parking locations were proposed to address this concern.

Procedural Business

The Board discussed updating guidance for online permit applications, including calculations and paperwork. They will work on creating instructional materials for applicants.

The Board also discussed updating their regulations, including application withdrawal policies, pre-hearing processes, and appeal procedures. They sought input from the town counsel on ensuring their regulations follow relevant state laws.

Potential Zoning Bylaw Amendments

The Board compiled potential zoning bylaw amendments to propose to the Administrative Review Board (ARB), including:
– Clarifying rules around attached vs. detached buildings
– Clarifying accessory dwelling unit rules around setbacks
– Clarifying how front yard setback averages are calculated
– Updating floodplain and wetland district rules
– Clarifying ADU rules to allow new construction within setbacks

The ARB will consider these and other amendments for the 2024 Annual Town Meeting warrant.



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