Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Redevelopment Board, February 26, 2024

Zoning Bylaw Amendments Related to Building Definitions

The ARB opened discussions with Article 25, the first in a series of proposed zoning bylaw amendments, focusing on building definitions. Claire Ricker from the Department of Planning and Community Development introduced articles 25 through 29. After a brief overview, the board found no need for discussion on Article 25, and the public comment period yielded no participation. The board closed the discussion on this article with no objections.

Zoning Bylaw Amendments for Administrative Clarification

Article 26 addresses another bylaw amendment for administrative clarification. The board members had no comments. During the public comment period, Chris Loretti pointed out an inconsistency concerning the references to subsections within the bylaw, suggesting more specificity was needed. The board acknowledged the feedback, considering a potential clerical fix regarding the order of the articles and the need for more clarity, but closed the discussion with no further comments.

Zoning Bylaw Amendment to Delete the Inland Wetlands Overlay District

Article 28 proposed the deletion of the inland wetland overlay district. The board had no pending questions, and during the public comment, Chris Loretti expressed concern about the potential weakening of wetland protections. Claire Ricker clarified that current Conservation Commission policies provided stronger protection than the bylaw and that internal stakeholders supported the removal to streamline regulatory processes. The board agreed with the explanation and closed the discussion.

Reduced Height Buffer Zoning Bylaw Amendment

Article 29 addressed a zoning bylaw amendment related to a reduced height buffer. Board member Steve Revilak proposed alternate language, suggesting a 50% reduction in buffer distances to reflect downzoning that occurred in the past. The majority of the Board was in agreement with Steve’s rationale. During the public comment, Chris Loretti suggested if significant changes to the bylaw are not made, it may as well be removed entirely, as small distances offer little protection. The Board decided to end the discussion on Article 29, saving final deliberation for future meetings.

Site Plan Review Application and Draft

The board reviewed a draft for the site plan review application. The members provided various suggestions including clarity on the use of SketchUp models, inclusion of surrounding buildings in elevation drawings, and the requirement for material and color samples. Also discussed were the definitions of terms such as “as of right,” the management of large projects, and the parking information requirement in the MBTA communities overlay district. The board decided to incorporate feedback and revisit the draft in the future.

Open Forum

There were no speakers during the open forum.

New Business

Claire Ricker brought up three items under new business. Firstly, the town of Arlington received a Letter of Compliance for the MBTA communities, with conditions. Secondly, the Department of Energy Resources (DoER) indicated the eligibility for the fossil fuel-free bylaw. Lastly, the economic feasibility analysis confirmed that inclusionary zoning may apply to the MBTA communities overlay zone, with the information submitted to EOHLC for review.



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