Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Redevelopment Board, March 18, 2024

The board discussed upcoming warrant articles.

Article 25: Zoning Bylaw Amendment Related to Building Definitions

The discussion focused on clarifying ambiguities between two definitions in the zoning bylaw. Members expressed agreement that the amendment makes the language in the bylaw clearer and easier to interpret, echoing support from the Zoning Board of Appeals and Christian Klein. The motion for favorable action passed unanimously.

Article 26: Administrative Clarifications for Residential District Yard Requirements

This amendment involves adding citations for the residential district yard and open space requirements. The board concurred that adding the additional citation aids in making the bylaw more understandable. It was mentioned that town meeting consideration might be influenced by another article, but it was hoped that both articles would be added to the consent agenda. Favorable action was recommended unanimously.

Article 27: Administrative Correction for Enumerating Bulleted Lists

The board deliberated on changing bulleted lists to enumerated lists in Section 5.9.2 subsection B for consistency and to aid citation. The proposal also includes deletion of an outdated provision. Board members expressed support for the changes, emphasizing the importance of clear and consistent bylaws. Favorable action was recommended unanimously.

Article 28: Amendment to Delete the Inland Wetland Overlay District

The article proposes the removal of the inland wetland overlay district from the zoning bylaw given that Conservation Commission regulations are more stringent and cover the same aspects. After a detailed discussion, all members agreed, noting that the change would help avoid redundancy and jurisdictional confusion. Favorable action was recommended unanimously.

Article 29: Reduced Height Buffer

The board considered adjustments to the height buffer distance reflecting reduced building heights in specific districts. The idea is to reduce the buffer distance, providing clarity and consistency with height reductions over the years. All members supported the change, advocating that reduced buffer zones align with downzoned heights. Favorable action was recommended unanimously.

Article 30: Shaded Parking Lots

The article focused on a requirement for trees in larger parking lots to mitigate heat island effects. While the proponent made efforts to address the board’s concerns about prescriptiveness, two members were uncomfortable with the enforceability and the necessity of adding yet another layer of regulation, ultimately leading to a split decision where favorable action was recommended by a vote of three to two.

Article 31: Zoning Bylaw Amendment Related to MBTA Neighborhood District

This article dealt with adding 5 to 7 Winter Street to the MBTA neighborhood district. Despite some procedural concerns raised by a member regarding adequate public notice to abutters, the majority of the board deemed the process satisfactory based on town counsel’s advice. Favorable action was recommended by a vote of four to one.

Article 32: Zoning Bylaw Amendment Related to Traffic Visibility

The board discussed an amendment aiming to allow transparent fences up to 5 feet in height within the visibility triangle. Despite a proposed rewording for clarity, there were concerns about the interpretation of ‘transparent enough,’ and the lack of explicit support from inspectional services. Eventually, the board recommended no action by a vote of three to two.

Article 33: Rear Yard Setbacks in Business District

The board considered an article proposing additional setbacks for taller buildings in business districts, echoing a desire to align new height allowances with proportional setbacks. There was a consensus on its potential benefits, and favorable action was recommended unanimously.

Article 34: Residential Uses

The proponents of this article decided to withdraw their proposal and engage in further public outreach with an intention to refile it in the future. The board acknowledged this decision and unanimously recommended no action.



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