Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Redevelopment Board, January 08, 2024

The Board reelected Rachel Zsembery as chairperson and Kin Lau as vice chairperson of the redevelopment board for the upcoming year.
882-892 Massachusetts Avenue Discussion
The discussion centered around deviations from the approved special permit for the development at 882-892 Massachusetts Avenue. Claire Ricker, the director of the Department of Planning and Community Development, relayed information from communications with the development team.
The Board reviewed the handling of aluminum storefront windows, white accent paint, and external dryer vent penetrations. The developer will address the white accents by painting them to match the building while noting that the aluminum storefront can’t be painted due to technical limitations. They committed to painting the dryer vents while also addressing architectural concerns over the vents’ external appearance.
The Board also addressed concerns regarding signage for the tenant in question, with the development consultant emphasizing ongoing work on complying with sign bylaws.
Citizen Warrant Articles
A citizens working group proposed an affordable housing overlay for the town, aiming to permit larger developments that would attract state and federal subsidies for affordable housing creation. The proposal includes flexible parameters such as a minimum of 70% of units being deed-restricted to those below 60% of the area median income, and changes in parking requirements. There would be efforts to simplify the permitting process for such developments.
Two additional citizen warrant articles were discussed: one proposing updates to the allowable home occupation uses, introducing greater flexibility in what constitutes a home business, and another concerning the status of attached single-family houses and how they’re defined and allowed in zoning districts.
Arlington Heights Business District
– A rough timeline for outreach and adoption of the Arlington Heights business district changes was presented. The Board plans to reengage with the public and review recommendations from the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Action Plan, with public meetings proposed for May and September, among other updates. The intent is to submit a warrant article to the Spring 2025 town meeting for any necessary zoning changes.
New Business
The Board briefly touched upon potential changes to the zoning bylaws as suggested by members who have been reading materials on active uses and definitions of private outdoor spaces from other zoning initiatives like Boston’s.


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