Session 10 moves forward, adopts 7 zoning articles

UPDATE with full summary: The 2022 City Assembly, in Session 10 on Wednesday, May 25, addressed seven zoning articles and set the stage for discussion of the long-awaited Article 38 (two-family construction) on June 1.

The discussions were relatively shorter and less animated than those of some previous sessions. Members began debate on an eighth item before time ran out, then adjourned for a week because Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day.

A summary of the votes:

  • 28 (reinforced business districts) adopted, 203-11, with three abstentions;
  • 29 (street trees) adopted, 220-6, with one abstention;
  • 30 (solar energy systems) adopted, 208-16, with two abstentions;
  • 32 (Rules of the Zoning Appeal Board) passed, 174 to 45, with six abstentions;
  • 33 (definition of a “half floor”) adopted, 209-6, with five abstentions;
  • 34 (definition of “porches”) adopted, 216-6, with one abstention; and
  • 36 (definition of “great additions”) adopted, 210-5, with four abstentions.

Two articles – 29 and 30 – concerned the requirements recommended by the city for environmental reasons.

The discussion will resume with the discussion of article 37 (dangerous structure).

moment of silence

Wednesday’s meeting began with a minute of silence requested by moderator Greg Christiana to acknowledge the previous day’s massacre of 21 people, including 19 infants, at a school in a small town in southwest Texas. “I don’t have adequate words for this moment,” Christiana said.

Shade trees for the public good

In discussing Section 29, city officials said it does not address existing trees in public areas. Rather, it is to require the planting of new trees in new developments in accordance with local and regional precedents in location, size, type, maintenance and species, to provide shade and help the environment. Expected height at maturity would be taken into consideration, especially in areas of the city with overhead power lines. National nursery standards, including watering recommendations, should be followed for three years after planting.

Exemptions may be granted “for certain applicants and in specific circumstances,” according to Jennifer Raitt, city director of planning and community development. It was unclear late Wednesday whether new trees could possibly be placed on private property by mutual agreement. Redevelopment board member Steve Revilak (1) said the article was aimed at the public right-of-way, while city tree committee member Susan D. Stamps (13) pointed out that she was not talking than for itself, said a “public-private partnership” would be possible.

Solar power systems required for some buildings

Section 30 only applies to projects requiring an environmental review and includes certain exemptions. Raitt said adoption would be a “significant step” and a key to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Benjamin Rudick (5), who said he works in the solar industry, called it a “huge” warrant article.

“Projects undergoing Environmental Design Review (EDR) would be required to provide a solar system equivalent to half the roof area,” according to the full town meeting online notes provided by Christian Klein (10). He is also chairman of the Arlington Appeals Board and has spoken frequently on Wednesday. His blog is publicly viewable at

“[Article 30] does not affect you or your home,” said redevelopment council member Eugene Benson (10), saying the measure is for mixed-use or commercial areas, almost always in a business district. He said an actual solar installation probably wouldn’t be necessary for an older building that lacked sufficient structural capacity or solar orientation.

Continued: Articles 37, 38

On June 1, members of the city assembly are expected to resume debate on Article 37, the intention of which is to specify that any declaration of a dangerous structure must be made by an official of the city’s inspection service. . During this truncated discussion, the director of inspection services, Michael Ciampa, noted that a declaration of insecurity does not necessarily lead to demolition and further stated that only a few buildings had to “collapse” these last years.

Members of the City Assembly are also expected to consider on June 1 an even more controversial measure – Article 38, proposing that two-family construction be permitted as of right in residential areas R0 and RI in a bid to diversify the park. of housing in the city.

In addition, you can read the notes of Christian Klein (10) >>

City meeting background

The mandate containing all the articles and associated documents is here >>

The municipal assembly is to meet every Monday and Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. until the 77 articles are heard and voted on.

The municipal assembly is made up of 252 representatives, although not all members attend every meeting or vote on every item. It meets every spring. He started this year on April 25 and is due to complete his tasks by June 15.

The town meeting is taking place virtually this year due to current Covid-19 precautions.

Proceedings can be viewed by anyone in real time: online at or via ACMi cablecast on its government channels (RCN, 614 or 15; Comcast; 22; or Verizon, 26).

Information about town meetings on the town’s website | Information about your Arlington town meeting

This announcement was posted on Thursday, May 26, 2022. It has been updated with a full summary by Judith Pfeffer, YourArlington’s freelance writer.

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Amanda J. Marsh