Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Select Board, May 06, 2024

Disposition of Real Estate on Acton Street

A discussion regarding the disposition of an orphaned strip of town-owned land located behind the St. Athanasius Church along Acton Street and Appleton Place was presented by Sarah Suarez, Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development. The land, which is unbuildable on its own, has limited square footage and no utilities on-site. The town had previously granted the church access to pass over the land for parking lot access. With the church currently in the process of selling its rear parcel, the town sees this as an appropriate time to consider the land’s disposition.

Town Counsel, Attorney Cunningham, laid out the legal steps for the potential sale of the property, reminding the board that this is the initial step in a series that includes Special Town Meeting vote, potential School Committee action declaring the land as surplus, and further actions by the select board and town manager’s office. The property is subject to public bidding according to Chapter 30B, which means the town is not obliged to sell but will do so to the highest bidder if all procedures are followed.

The select board moved to take favorable action regarding the parcel’s disposition and, in consideration of the tight timeline for submitting reports to Special Town Meeting, they approved draft comments for the report contingent on the discussion outcomes from the meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Fossil Fuel Free Bylaw Waiver Guidance

Sustainability Manager Talia Fox, accompanied by the Director of Inspectional Services, Mike Ciampa, presented updates to the proposed guidelines for granting waivers under the fossil fuel free bylaw, which takes effect on May 21, 2024. Adjustments were made based on feedback from previous discussions with the select board on defining what “commercially viable” meant and referring to similar processes for clarity.

The revised draft replaces “commercially unviable” with “substantial financial hardship,” indicating exceptional costs or delays exceeding those typical for similar projects. This framework is inspired by protocols for granting zoning variances. The select board encouraged the inspectors to report back on experiences with the waiver process, as it’s important to learn from the pilot program. A vote was taken to adopt the guidance, and it passed unanimously.

Consent Agenda

Two items from the consent agenda were reviewed:
– Approval of meeting minutes from April 8, 2024.
– A request for a special one-day beer and wine license for a private event requested by the Arlington Garden Club at the Robinson Memorial Town Hall on June 19.

The select board moved to approve these consent agenda items, and the vote was unanimous.

Draft Select Board Report to Special Town Meeting

Attorney Cunningham provided the draft select board report for Special Town Meeting on Articles 2 and 5. The board moved to approve the draft report, which included an introduction and mentioned continued updates from the board. The motion was seconded and the report was unanimously approved with the understanding that discussion and debate on Article 4 was pending and would be inserted upon completion.

New Business

There was no new business from any members of the select board or staff.

The meeting concluded with a unanimous vote to adjourn.



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