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Proponents provide statements supporting their proposals

UPDATED March 15: Town Meeting gives everyone in Arlington a chance to have a voice in government, from Town Hall to the public. A draft version of the full list of articles for this spring's annual meeting were made public March 3, eight days after Select Board hearings began. YourArlington published basic information about 13 articles brought by citizens -- the number provided by the Select Board's office.

Publication of the draft warrant shows 21 citizen articles, and the eight zoning zoning articles are now included below.

Issues raised include leaf blowers, self-service gas stations, overnight parking, rodenticides, diversity, face surveillance and two-family construction allowed by right. Here is a basic listing of articles followed by the chief proponents and how to reach them. Each has been asked to provide further information.

  • Article 16: Amendment to noise bylaw regarding gas-powered leaf blowers

"To see if the town will vote to Amend Title V, Article 12 ("Noise Abatement") to further regulate or prohibit the use of internal combustion-powered leaf blowers; or take any action related thereto.

Anne Goodwin, 67 Menotomy Road (781-883-8450), and Alicia Russell, 21 Hopkins Road (617-583-3137)

  •  Article 17: Conversion of gas station dispensing pumps to self -service operation

To amend the existing bylaw requiring gas station owners to have an attendant pump gasoline to a self service gas station operation without the need for a gas station attendant to do so.

Elias Elkhaouli, 125 Broadway (617-320-4227) 

  • Article 22: Establish a town committee to examine budgetary impact of overnight parking

To see if the town will vote to establish a committee of the Town Meeting to examine the cost of enforcement of the town's prohibition of overnight parking, and revenues collected through fines and perm its. The committee will report recommendations for the equitable and efficient administration and enforcement of the overnight parking prohibition, or take any action related thereto."

Paul Schlichtman, 47 Mystic St., 8C (617-755-4300)

  • Article 77: Resolution establishing an integrated pest-management policy for town land, prohibitions and public education about rodenticide

To see if the town will vote to encourage adoption of a unified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy for the town that in part prohibits the use of certain rodenticides on town properties, including second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs); provides for waivers: provides for educating the public about rodenticide hazards to human health and the ecosystem and IPM alternatives; and further establishes such definitions and provisions necessary to effectuate a policy to protect Arlington's citizens, children, wildlife and ecosystem.

Elaine M. Crowder, 2 Glenbrook Lane #17 (781-648-1927) 

  • Article 18: Phase out of certain toxic rodenticides on public/private property, with reporting requirement and public education

To see if the town will vote to amend Title VIII of the town bylaws to add a new article that 1) by Jan. 1, 2024, phases out the use and application of certain rodenticides, including second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), either by town employees or by private contractors on all private and public property in the Town of Arlington except as allowed by the Board of Health to remediate a public health condition; 2) requires all licensed certified applicators of rodenticides to provide written notification to the Board of Health whenever certain rodenticides, including SGARs, are used within the town; provides for both waivers and penalties for compliance;3) provides for educating the public about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) best practices and the hazards of rodenticides to human health and the ecosystem during but not limited to licensing, permitting, and inspectional activities; and further establishes such definitions and provisions necessary to effectuate such a bylaw; or take any action related thereto.

Elaine M. Crowder

  • Article 75: Resolution/commitment to increase diversity in town appointments

To see if the town will vote to deepen Arlington's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by resolving that it is the desire of Town Meeting that the Town's appointing authorities prioritize and center the communal goal of increasing the diversity of Town boards and committees by intentionally identifying, inviting and appointing qualified applicants from underrepresented groups to fill openings, such that these public bodies reflect racial, economic and other forms of diversity; or take any action related thereto.

Elizabeth Dray, 130 Jason St. (617-584-9428) 

  • Article 13: Prohibit face surveillance

To see if the town will vote to amend Title I of the town bylaws to prohibit the use of face surveillance by the Town of Arlington , including departments and officials, or take any action related thereto.

Ezra Fischer, 32 Thorndike St. (732-429-8802)

  • Article 76: Alewife Brook is a valuable natural resource

To see if the town will vote to endorse a resolution declaring that the Alewife Brook in East Arlington is a "valuable natural resource area for Arlington residents, but degraded by sewage contaminated discharges from the Combined Sewer Outfalls (CSO) that then can flood onto Arlington lands and houses; and further urging town officials to engage with this problem and the regulatory process and to take actions to clean up Alewife Brook so that it can become a beautiful asset and a safe place to live near; or take any action related thereto.

Kristin L. Anderson, 12 Upland Road West (781-266-8048) 

  • Article 20: Code enforcement

To see if the town will vote to grant enforcement power to a code enforcement officer, in the Department of Planning and Community Development, for the purpose of enforcing provisions of the town bylaws and zoning bylaws that do not pertain to building standards, or take any action related thereto.

Paul Schlichtman

  • Article 15: Noise abatement

To see if the town will vote to amend the town bylaws by replacing Title V Article 12 Noise Abatement with Title VIII Article 11 Noise Abatement, and to further regulate non-emergency work by the Arlington Department of Public Works, public utilities, and/or their contractors, or take any action related thereto.

Paul Schlichtman

  • Article 19: Magliozzi Boulevard

To see if the town will vote to designate an unnamed public way, located between 49 Spring St. and the Route 2 Frontage Road, as Magliozzi Boulevard, or take any action related thereto.

Paul Schlichtman 

  • Article 74: Resolution in support of the Mass. Fair Share Constitutional amendment

To see if the town to support the Mass. Fair Share Constitutional amendment, which would create an additional tax of 4 percentage points on the portion of a person's annual income over $1 million. The new revenue would be spent on "quality public education and affordable public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation."

Linda Hanson, 11 Webster St. (781-799-8163) 

  • Article 14: Establish a committee on insurance costs and issues

To see if the town will vote to establish a committee to examine current issues related to insurance, and undertake a survey of the costs of auto and property insurance premiums and claims of Arlington residents. These issues shall include, but not be limited to, cost and efficiency, the possibility of consolidation, and timely public access to information; or take any action related thereto.

Andrew Fischer, no address listed (781-439-2600)

8 citizen zoning articles

  • Article 38: Zoning bylaw amendment/two-family construction allowed by right in R0 band R1 residential zones

To see if the own will vote to or take any action related thereto: To amend Section 5.4 of the zoning bylaw by amending definitions and expanding allowable residential uses in the R0 Large Lot Single-Family District and R1 Single-Family District with the goal of diversifying the housing stock; or take any action related thereto.

Annie LaCourt, 48 Chatham St. (617-694-9895)

  • Article 39: Zoning bylaw amendment/increased floor area ratio for mixed-use structures

To see if the town will vote to amend the zoning bylaw in Section 5.5.2 to increase the maximum floor area ratio (FAR) allowed for mixed use structures in the Business districts, or take any action related thereto.

Xavid Pretzer, 44 Grove St. (617-721-1720)

  • Article 40: Zoning map amendment/expand business districts

To see if the town will vote to rezone the parcels identified in the affixed table and represented by the proposed map affixed hereto from their current respective residential zoning districts to the business district 3 (B3); or take any action related thereto.

James Fleming, 51 Oxford St. (413-219-1841)

  • Article 41: Zoning bylaw amendment/apartment parking minimums

To see if the town will vote to amend the zoning bylaw to reduce or remove minimum vehicular parking requirements for apartment building uses; or take any action related thereto.

James Fleming

  • Article 42: Zoning bylaw amendment/open-space uses

To see if the town will vote to amend the zoning bylaw to expand the allowed uses in the open-space district; or take any action related thereto.

James Fleming

  • Article 43: Zoning bylaw amendments/zoning map amendment requirements

To see if the town will vote to amend Section 1.5 of the zoning bylaw to modify or remove the requirement to notify abutters of a zoning map amendment; or take any action related thereto.

James Fleming

  • Article 44: Zoning bylaw amendment/restaurant uses

To see if the town will vote to amend the zoning bylaw to change the square footage threshold above which a restaurant use requires a special permit; or take any action related thereto.

James Fleming

  • Article 45: Zoning bylaw amendment/appeals

To see if the town will vote to amend Section 3.1 of the zoning bylaw to provide for a right of appeal for any person who has requested enforcement of the zoning bylaw, in cases where the alleged violation has not been abated, and/or to require civil proceedings to enforce the Zoning Bylaws be initiated; or take any action related thereto.

Sophie Migliazzo, 175 Pleasant St. (857-777-9356)

Any town resident can submit an article for Town Meeting so long as he or she presents a petition with signatures of 10 registered voters by the town clerk's deadline, which this year was Jan. 28. Proponents are advised to have Town Counsel Doug Heim review their copy before submission.

Make your case: Proponents offer reasons for their articles

If you are the designated proponent of the 21 articles above, please provide a maximum of 500 words to support your issue. Your edited comments will be published here.

Code enforcement

Paul Schlichtman: Gentle Dental, code enforcement illustration

Paul Schlichtman is a Precinct 9 meeting member. Reach him at paul [@]

Rationale: During the 2021 Annual Town Meeting, the building inspector said inspectional services focuses on building safety and standards, and does not enforce other town bylaws.

Many municipalities, including Fort Worth, Texas, divide code enforcement into two divisions, one pertaining to building standards and the other focused on quality-of-life and zoning issues. By creating a code enforcement officer position in the Department of Planning & Community Development, unenforced bylaws (such as signs and snow removal) can be enforced. As the building inspector is listed as the enforcement officer in the town bylaws, it is necessary to add this new position somewhere in the bylaws in order to grant this person the ability to take enforcement action. March 2, 2022, illustration at right.

Budget impact of overnight parking

Paul Schlichtman is a Precinct 9 meeting member. Reach him at paul [@]

Rationale: While the Select Board has the power, through its Traffic Rules and Orders, to regulate overnight parking, there are budgetary implications that are the domain of Town Meeting.

This committee would look at equity issues in enforcement, the cost of enforcement, the cost of administering the prohibition, the revenues generated and will make recommendations that pertain to associated costs and benefits of the prohibition and its enforcement.

The current ban was established in the last century, without the benefit of current technology.

Can we use parking apps to authorize overnight parking? Would replacing the current two-hour restriction with an outright prohibition make it easier to enforce? This committee could explore the topic and make recommendations to the Select Board and Town Meeting in 2023.

Magliozzi Boulevard

Paul Schlichtman is a Precinct 9 meeting member. Reach him at paul [@]

Uncle Sam (Samuel Wilson) was born in Arlington, but he left town as a very young child. He packed his pork in Troy, N.Y., and yet he has a big monument in Arlington Center.

Unlike Uncle Sam, who chose to live elsewhere, Tom and Ray Magliozzi are famous and beloved figures who chose to live in Arlington. They have brought joy to their neighbors and the nation with their "Car Talk" radio program. Article 19 offers the opportunity for Arlington to bring joy to Car Talk fans by renaming this busy little boulevard. GPS devices, which now direct people to turn at an unnamed street, will send people for short trips on Magliozzi Boulevard.

Noise abatement
Paul Schlichtman is a Precinct 9 meeting member. Reach him at paul [@]

Rationale: On July 14, 2021, Deputy Town Manager James Feeney wrote that “’Article 12: Noise Abatement’ falls within ‘Title V - Regulations Upon the Use of Private Property,'" which had historically ruled out its application to work taking place on public property, it was still amended at the 2018 Special Town Meeting to specifically note that it did not apply to work within the public right of way, even on a non-emergency basis.”

Moving this bylaw to Title VIII (Public Health and Safety), and establishing a new Article 11, places the bylaw in a position where its placement within the bylaws doesn’t exclude public-property or rights of way. In addition to moving the bylaw, I also seek to define the type of nonemergency work may be scheduled after 9 p.m. and before 8 a.m. (routine maintenance such as street sweeping and line painting) and may not be conducted (such as the use of jackhammers and sewer jetting trucks).

Three examples were provided:

  • Use of jackhammers to excavate and replace manhole. Aug. 4, 2011, 5:26 a.m.;
  • Use of sewer jetting truck. May 9, 2019, 4:30 a.m.; and
  • Use of sewer jetting truck. July 14, 2021, 4:57 a.m.
Expand Business Districts

James Fleming is an East Arlington resident. Reach him at jflemingwpi13 [@]

In my neighborhood, we have restaurants, bakeries, retail stores and a good variety of other businesses. It’s a nice ecosystem, a mix of neighborhood business and destinations. For a decent percentage of the things I might want to do, local options are within walking distance. My question: Is there opportunity for even more business in this area, to double down on that ecosystem?

The storefronts in Capitol Square are almost all full, so in order to get new business, we might need to have more places to do so. This proposal is to create that opportunity by rezoning a few parcels to become part of the business district, This would allow them to convert to commercial use, or be redeveloped as mixed-use with ground floor retail.

The parcels in question used to be part of the business district, until the 1970s, when the town did a full rezoning, and these ceased to be part of the business district.

The rezoning should have no effect on the properties as they exist today. Two-families, three-families and apartment buildings are all allowed in the business district. The rezoning does not compel the owners to make any changes to their property -- they may leave it exactly as is. Additionally, the rezoning will not increase the property taxes the owners would pay. According to Dana Mann from the assessors' office, the property valuation would increase only if the owners make improvements, or actually change to commercial -- the rezoning itself would do nothing.

Let’s talk about the value of potential redevelopment. 155 Mass. Ave. is one of properties I propose to rezone. It’s valued at $2.2 million on about one-third of an acre, about $7 million per acre. 1331 and 1332 Mass. Ave. are cases which show the financial potential of mixed use. These are both two-story, mixed-use buildings, with valuations of about $14 million per acre. That’s double the tax revenue for the land they use. Under the new zoning, mixed use would become possible.

In an extreme example, consider Leader Bank (139 Mass. Ave.), which is single-story commercial, versus Cedar Crest Apartments (389 Mass. Ave.), which is an eight-story apartment building. For the land it uses, Leader Bank ($19.3 million per acre) is more valuable than Cedar Crest ($17.6 million per acre). Think about that. A one-story business can make better use of land than building eight stories of apartments. Why on earth wouldn’t we allow the possibility of more commercial use?

In summary, this proposal would rezone four parcels in East Arlington to business, which would allow the possibility of new and interesting uses to join the local community, without creating a burden on the owners of the property being rezoned. You should support this because commercial and mixed use can make good use of our land, and even low intensity commercial use can outperform high-intensity uses.

Facial recognition

Ezra Fischer is a Precinct 4 Town Meeting member. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article preemptively bans the use of face surveillance by the Town of Arlington. Face surveillance is facial-recognition software, similar to the technology smartphone users have become familiar with, used passively to identify people from video feeds. It is primarily deployed by some of the most authoritarian governments in the world.

Governmental use of such technology violates the spirit of the Fourth Amendment, which prevents "unreasonable searches and seizures." Just as the government cannot require people in the United States to carry or produce identification unless they are reasonably suspected of having committed a crime, it should not be able to identify people simply because they walk past a surveillance camera.

This is not an abstract debate. The effects could be significant. Face surveillance would discourage people from exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly. Worse, it would disproportionately impact those who are already most at risk in our criminal justice system: people of color, the homeless and undocumented residents. In fact, current face-surveillance technology is less accurate at identifying the faces of Black people, which has led to wrongful arrests.

While our town government does not currently use face surveillance it is much easier to prevent the use of a rights-violating government tactic than it is to stop it once it has become commonplace. When government assumes a power, it rarely gives it back. This technology is not in line with our values or conducive to the well-being of our community as a whole. Its use should be banned.

Resolution in support of the Massachusetts Fair Share Amendment

Linda Hanson of 11 Webster St. presented this information.

The Fair Share Amendment, on the ballot in November 2022, would provide sustained funding for two critical areas of the state budget: public education and transportation. The state constitutional amendment would allow the Commonwealth to impose an additional 4-percent tax on annual income over $1 million, generating approximately $2 billion in revenue each and every year. This warrant article is part of an effort to inform the public about this important opportunity.

Imagine what this additional funding could do for families, our workforce, and the climate. Public education dollars could be directed toward universal public preschool, helping alleviate the high cost of child care for working parents and providing important social, emotional and academic support for all children. Money could also be directed toward fully funding the Student Opportunities Act – which the Massachusetts Legislature recently passed to better reflect the actual cost of educating students. Finally, money could be directed toward our public institutions of higher learning, allowing students to graduate from a community or state college or university without a crippling amount of debt. 

We also need substantial funding to make a dent in our chronically underfunded public transportation sector, including money to fund proposed expansions to the system and adaptations to make the system more climate resilient. Efforts to alleviate climate change by improving our public transportation system and creating more alternative transit capabilities, like safer bike lanes, will take a higher level of sustained funding. 

By asking a little more from those in the best position to support increased state revenue, we can make transformative changes in our state’s public education and transportation sectors for our families and workforce. Over the past decades, income inequality has increased in Massachusetts. The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of all income in Massachusetts. You need to make $582,774 to be counted among the top 1 percent of earners. While income for the top 1 percent has grown 340 percent between 1979 and 2015, it grew by only 9 percent for those in the bottom 20th percentile (MassBudget and Policy Center). The new surtax would only kick in for income that exceeds $1 million and would affect less than 1 percent of Massachusetts residents.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide ongoing, sustained investment in these critical areas. I hope you will join me by supporting the resolution in favor of the Mass. Fair Share Amendment at Town Meeting this April.

For more information, please go to this FAQ on the Fair Share Amendment.

Insurance study

Andrew Fischer, Precinct 6 former meeting member, filed this article, and he explains why. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The town manager’s budget message for fiscal 2020, '21, '22 and for next year each include a commitment to “Pursue new revenue sources.” Our structural deficit is now about $4 million. Last year’s report of the Finance Committee to Town Meeting for fiscal '22 foresees an override of “nearly $20 million if we don’t have additional sources of revenue or reduced expenses.” 

A review of what Arlingtonians currently spend for auto and property insurance premiums might well yield a new revenue source. 

Here are some estimates of the town's current insurance costs:

Arlington collects excise tax on some 29,000 vehicles each year. At $1,100 average annual cost to insure a vehicle in Massachusetts, the total cost would be about $30 million a year for premiums. Even if insurance costs only $700 on average per year, that’s still $21 million for premiums for the town - about $1 million per precinct. Statewide, Massachusetts has about 4 million motor vehicles, costing about $4 billion to insure.

For property insurance, the state Division of Insurance reports Arlington spent $15.9 million on home owner insurance in 2019, the latest year for which I found a report on the state website.

Thus, our auto and property insurance costs could be about $35 million to $40 million. That’s a lot of money we spend as a community. Are our claims in line with the cost of our premiums? 

The Arlington Fire Department is called to most high-cost incidents resulting in insurance claims, from house fires to auto accidents. It records an estimate of the total cost of each incident in Arlington in the annual report to Town Meeting. These estimates are by trained claims adjusters; they are meant only to convey a ballpark estimate of the probable cost of each loss. Some of the incident reports omit the estimate. They also do not include run-of-the-mill property insurance losses, such as “water damage.” For 2011 to 2020, these estimates averaged $3.9 million. This average included the nearly $5 million fire at Arizona Terrace of 2015, in which a resident died, and 36 of 114 apartments were destroyed.

Suppose Arlington’s total losses were $8 million, double our best estimate. This is still less than 25 percent of the total we pay for premiums.   

His statement emphasize: “We simply do not know if our cost of claims is in line with premiums. These numbers beg for answers. Arlington could be a pioneer by examining our insurance processes from the bottom up, and by learning if some form of community-based, statewide, self-insured public option is at all feasible.”

Self-insurance is a common approach among many organizations. Arlington self-insures for workers compensation, handling the administration in-house. Massachusetts self-insures its fleet of cars and trucks. Large employers often self-fund for liability, workers compensation and health insurance, often with third-party administrators doing the clerical work. The approach is established and deserves consideration based on accurate data.

Self-insurance means that an organization commits to paying the costs of its own insurance losses by setting aside enough money to pay for those losses, instead of paying a premium to an insurance company. The organization can also purchase reinsurance, which provides security in the event of catastrophic claims.

Some experts will protest that each company can have only a small percentage of vehicles in each ZIP code, so no single company suffers high damages in the case of a hurricane, for example. This is why the large geographic area of a statewide network would be necessary, to have the scale to pay for severe disasters. Reinsurance would still be purchased. The public auto insurance program of British Columbia, with 3.2 million vehicles, shows this can be done.

This article asks Arlington to take a first step to learn the facts about local insurance.

Town Meeting information at town website

This news summary was published Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, and updated March 4, to add missing zoning proposals. Statements added March 6, the number of articles corrected March 7 and numbers from the draft warrant added March 15.