Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Town Meeting, April 24, 2024

Article 11: Fossil Fuel Free Bylaw Language Changes

Summary of Presentations and Discussion

At the town meeting, there was a discussion about Article 11, which seeks to include certain large additions and changes of use in the definition of “major renovation” under the town’s fossil fuel-free bylaw. This would then require these types of renovation projects to be fossil fuel-free. The purpose is to align Arlington’s definition with the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) model rule for communities in the demonstration program.

Claire Ricker, the Director of Planning and Community Development, presented the changes, stating the fossil fuel-free bylaw prohibits installations that use fossil fuels in major renovations and new construction, with several exemptions. The changes specifically impact residential additions over 1,000 sq ft, commercial additions over 20,000 sq ft, and changes of use over those same square footage thresholds.

The Department of Inspectional Services explained that a residential change of use refers to a change from residential to another type of use. Town Counsel Michael Cunningham noted that the bylaw amendment could go into effect on May 21, 2024, pending expedited review by the Attorney General’s office.

Decisions Reached and Discussions on Voting

During the town meeting, there were queries and clarifications sought regarding the specifics of renovations and additions that would be subject to the bylaw, the treatment of non-residential changes of use, and questions about the effective date of the bylaw.

After discussion and clarifications, a motion was put forth to terminate the debate on Article 11, which after a vote passed. Consequently, the main motion as recommended by the select board for Article 11 was put to vote, with the outcome being 195 in favor, 14 against, and 4 abstentions, thereby carrying the motion.

Article 12: Discussion on Adjournment

Adjournment Procedural Note

As it was 10:30 PM, there was a motion to adjourn, following the standard procedure wherein the Finance Committee Chair gives notice of reconsideration on finance articles that were voted before any adjournment is executed.

Vote on Adjournment

The motion to adjourn leads to an electronic vote, with the majority voting in favor of adjourning with 128 votes for adjournment and 79 against. This concluded the meeting for the evening.



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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