Senior Center, Maple Street entrance, Sterling Associates renderingCommunity Center, Maple Street entrance.

The Select Board at its April 3 meeting unanimously voted to support the following three warrant articles, which transfer these properties from the jurisdiction of Arlington the Redevelopment Board (ARB) to the town manager: 

  • Article 21: 23 Maple St.;
  • Article 22: 20 Academy St., Central School Building, known since May as the Community Center; and
  • Article 23: 611 Mass. Ave., the Jefferson Cutter House.
Facilities Department deemed best

Town Manager Sandy Pooler said that the town's Facilities Department is best suited to manage these properties on a day-to-day basis because those staff members have the expertise. 

“The Planning Department has put a lot of work into this, and everyone agrees this is the right thing to do, including the ARB. The Facilities Department is eager to take these things over, because they get involved in these buildings anyway, and it’s time to make it official,” said Pooler.Select Board logo, 2019

Town Counsel Doug Heim explained that these have been successful Redevelopment Board projects, but for the ARB to continue to hold these properties isn’t how urban renewal is supposed to work.

“It’s created an inefficient process that isn’t the right way to manage properties that have successfully been renewed. There are certain things the ARB would like to still be involved in, and asked for a memorandum of understanding between the town manager’s office about these properties. The ARB wants to continue to be involved in the planning aspects, which is appropriate for the potential reuse of these buildings. The ARB is the landlord on these leases, and that would continue,” said Heim. 

Board member Len Diggins said, “It’s a good idea, especially if the Planning Department stays involved, because this might be the place where they discover how to create new growth.”

Read the agenda documents for these articles and the two immediately below >> 

Parking-district expenditures endorsed

Town Meeting Article 33 received unanimous positive support from the board; it endorses the operating and capital expenditures for the parking-benefit district in fiscal 2024.

These expenditures, prepared by the town manager and the Parking Implementation Governance Committee, need to be endorsed by both the Finance and Capital Planning committees.

At the meeting, Pooler presented the following specific financial information >>

Board votes no action on new-growth strategic plan

The board unanimously voted no action on Article 14. The vote was 4-0 (Len Diggins, article proponent, recused).

This article would have created a study group of staff and other appointed residents to develop a strategic plan to increase new growth.

Diggins, who attends the town’s Long Range Planning Committee meetings, said, “It’s important to me to help with the financial state of the town. If we increase new growth, we can decrease overrides, which can have a positive effect on the town.”

Pooler said that although a discussion of new growth is important, several town forums already exist wherein these discussions take place, such as the Board of Assessors, Redevelopment Board, Planning Department and the town manager’s offices. “We’re a built-out community, and there just aren’t that many places, so I would not recommend a new forum for this.”

Board Vice Chair John Hurd agreed that this proposal is best served in the designated town departments.

Board member Steve DeCourcey said that although he appreciates the need for new growth, the ARB has the authority to create a master plan. “It’s a good idea, something we should consider because growth is important, but I am not comfortable supporting the creation of another committee.”

Board Chair Eric Helmuth also expressed concern about the duplication of potential resources. “Need it be a town committee? Can it be a resident issue? Sometimes more information in the mix isn’t always better.”

Final votes on 5 articles

The board unanimously approved the following previously discussed warrant articles:

  • Article 10, Bylaw Amendment/Vote/Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code
  • Article 15, Vote/Board of Youth Services Updates
  • Article 17, Special Legislation/Allow Digital Legal Notices
  • Article 24, Endorsement of CDBG Application
  • Article 25, Revolving Funds

Read the reference material about these articles >> 

Watch entire April 3 meeting on ACMi:

April 3, 2023: Chestnut intersection, site of fatality, to get safety upgrade after 2 residents kept up pressure


This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Monday, April 10, 2023.

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