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8th graders call for changes in town bylaw to boost affordable housing

UPDATED May 26: The following opinion was sent to all Town Meeting members three days after the 2023 annual meeting ended. Signing it were Pavia Christiana, Calvin Cheung, Collin Burrell, Theo Ginggen, Dorsey Mitchell and Lorenzo Hamlin. It was published with the authors' permission. 

Arlington vua Google Earth: Your Town, Your Future

We hope this email finds all of you in good health and spirits. We are Ottoson Middle School students, concerned about the issue of affordable housing in the town.

There is a lack of affordable multifamily homes, and we are advocating for a change in zoning bylaws to allow for more of these homes, and for them to have access to public transportation.

We believe that spreading multifamily homes around town will create more ethnic diversity in Arlington Public Schools. Additionally, this aids Arlington's economy by creating job diversity and benefiting the town's gross domestic product.

After extensive research, we have identified two propositions regarding the amendment of zoning bylaws. One is to create a new district that allows for the construction of multifamily homes. This will create a block of lower income housing that will theoretically help house more people who have lower income. It may, however, create a feeling of separation between single-family and multifamily zones. The other proposal is to create pockets of multifamily housing zones around public transportation.

This would mix in more affordable housing into single-family zones and encourage increased diversity. It would also allow for more residents who heavily rely on public transportation to move into Arlington. Many people who rely on public transportation don’t have the means or budget to purchase a car. These are also often the people who have lower income and are often relegated to certain areas due to their housing budget.

Currently, Arlington has a high housing demand due to its location near Boston and easy access to public transportation. This amendment would address this demand while also creating economic diversity.

The resolution of this issue ultimately comes down to the beliefs and desires of the people. It has been well voiced that many members of the community support the ratification of these amendments. However, despite the overwhelming benefits of these spread-out pockets of two-family homes, there are still community members who think otherwise on
which amendment is more beneficial.

We all sincerely hope you will consider pressing this more and getting more beneficial action done regarding this important topic. It will benefit the community as a whole overall and make the overall community of Arlington more diverse.

Thank you for the time you generously put into reading this letter, and we look forward to hopefully seeing this amendment passed in the near future.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please consider supporting pockets of multifamily housing by right under Section 3A of Mass. General Laws Chapter 40A. Find it here >>

May 23, 2023: '23 meeting ends as session 7 OKs Ottoson students' compost plan, CPA

This viewpoint was published Wednesday. May 24, 2023. It was updated May 26, to correct the headline, reporting that this is a local-bylaw effort, not a state matter.

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Tuesday, 30 May 2023

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