A coalition of groups favoring preservation of the Mugar site in East Arlington as wetlands made its voices heard to selectmen Monday, March 30.
Clarissa Rowe, a former selectmen who is a prime mover behind Arlington Land Trust, and George Laite, long active in the East Arlington Good Neighbor Committee, declared their objections to the 219-unit, 40B proposal from Oaktree Development of Cambridge for the 17-acre site along Route 2.
Meanwhile, a representative of the developer has responded to the coalition.
"We are not against development or affordable housing," said Rowe, principal in Brown, Richardson & Rowe, a landscape architect. Both objected to the project’s impact on flooding and traffic.
Speaking a at citizens' open forum, Rowe asked the selectmen to:
-- Write a letter to the Mugar family, which has long owned the land and once proposed a Star Market there, asking for direct negotiations between family members and town officials;
-- Calculate Arlington affordable-housing and land numbers that could show whether a 40B project is possible in Arlington; and
-- Add a warrant article to this spring's Special Town Meeting, seeking a vote on the new development plan. The votes from 2000 and 2001 are not sufficient, she said.
Laite -- who worked as aide to state Sen. Bob Havern, a number of years before his death, last July, at 65 -- said the town has "met its legal threshold" to block a 40B project. He called the issue for the town "a matter of political will."
Six modular classrooms will be situated at Ottoson, Hardy and Bishop schools to accommodate Stratton students while their school is renovated in 2016-17.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie told the School Committee Thursday, March 26, that the six classrooms would accommodate two Stratton grades at each site. Fourth and fifth graders will be at Ottoson.
Bodie plans to meet with the Stratton PTO on Wednesday, April 1, to discuss what is expected to occur during the 2016-17 school year, now that the town Capital Committee has voted to recommend the funding of the renovation project to Town Meeting. The town Finance Committee endorsed the plan March 25.
"Locating the older Stratton students’ classrooms at Ottoson brings an additional benefit to the district," Bodie said. "Given the district’s enrollment growth over the last few years, the middle school will require additional classroom space in 2017-2018 to accommodate the larger numbers of students moving up from the elementary schools."
Stratton students would be bused to the three schools.
A Boston CD release concert with Jayme Stone's "Lomax Project" is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, in the sanctuary of Park Avenue Congregational Church, as part of a series presented by the Arlington-based notloB Music, managed by Jeff Boudreau.
In the group, at left, are Stone (banjo), Margaret Glaspy (voice), Brittany Haas (fiddle), Eli West (guitar, voice) and Joe Phillips (bass).
Tickets are premiere, $20; general admission, $15; seniors and students, $10. For more information, click here >>
The church is at 50 Paul Revere Road, Arlington Heights (please use the Park Avenue entrance).
Globe, March 31: Deep river of song
Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field-recording pioneer Alan Lomax, this collaboration brings together some of North America's most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle and reimagine traditional music. The repertoire includes Bahamian sea chanties, African-American a cappella singing from the Georgia Sea Islands, ancient Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: sea captains, cowhands, fishermen, prisoners and homemakers. The new album is out on Borealis Records.
UPDATED, March 31: In the lowest turnout for a town election in years, 9.1 percent, all incumbents for main town offices won reelection on Saturday, March 28.
For Board of Assessors, Kevin P. Feeley (1,544) easily topped Stephen T. Harrington (844) for the three-year seat, according to unofficial returns with 21 of 21 precincts reporting.
Turnouts in annual town elections, 2000-2015
Sources: Town annual reports, town website
|Year||No. voting||Registered voters||Percent turnout|
|For some earlier years, see below|
Average over 16 years
For School Committee, Cindy Starks (1,693) and Jeffrey D. Thielman (1,564) won reelection over 20-year-old college student Alexis G. Moisand (986).
At right, Jeff Thielman, Joe Curro and Cindy Starks celebrate on election night.
For the Board of Selectmen, Joseph A. Curro Jr. (1,907) and Steven M. Byrne (1,807) were unopposed.
In a ballot question, voters also supported adding five all-alcohol licenses, from 15 to 20. The tally was 1,957 yes and 539 no.
Among Town Meeting members, one incumbent, Maria Romano, in Precinct 7, was not returned to office. A staunch opponent of the Mass. Ave. Corridor project, she had lost four tries to become a selectman.
In Precinct 2, despite not having attended Town Meeting since 2010, William A Carey Jr. retained his seat, with 73 votes.
In Precinct 3, Town Meeting member James Robillard did not make the cut.
In Precinct 4, voters did not return Michael Costa, but Patricia Costa was reelected. The Costas were included in a January YourArlington story about meeting attendance.
Unnoposed candidates Robert Greeley received 1,850 votes for a one-year seat on the Board of Assessors, and Joseph Daly got 1,838 votes for a five-year seat on the Housing Authority.
All candidates for key town or school offices have been asked to comment about the election results, or any issue.
School Committee winner Starks wrote March 29: "Thanks to the 2,000 or so who came out to vote! I look forward to serving another three years on the Arlington School Committee and three years on Town Meeting."
Sandy Hook initiative leader, Mass. officer to speak
Parents and guardians of students in the Arlington public schools are invited to a presentation of new protocols for school safety set for 7 p.m. Monday, April 6, in Lowe Auditorium, Arlington High School.
The safety protocol, new to Arlington, is known as ALICE, which represents current best practice for safety in the K-12 public schools. Here is what the acronym stands for >>
The presentation will describe ALICE in detail and why the public schools have decided to adopt it, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie and Frederick Ryan, chief of police, said in an email.
You will also learn how it will be taught to students and their teachers across the district, as well as to parents and guardians.
This school year, Bishop Elementary School, Ottoson Middle School and Arlington High School will be trained in the new procedures. Next school year, Brackett, Dallin, Hardy, Peirce, Stratton and Thompson elementary schools will adopt the new procedures.
To help introduce ALICE to the community, we have invited two guest speakers: Michele Gay and Lt. Scott Sencabaugh.
State Rep. Sean Garballey, Democrat of Arlington and West Medford, and state Sen. James B. Eldridge, Democrat of Acton, have filed restorative-justice legislation for the 2015-2016 session. It creates an option for law enforcement and courts to refer juvenile and low-level adult responsible parties to a community-based program instead of or alongside other responses, including prison.
"This legislation will provide a creative solution which allows low-level offenders to directly repair the harm caused to those impacted by their crimes," Garballey said in a news release he issued March 30.
"It will alleviate the pressure on our already overcrowded prison system and save money over time. Most importantly, it demonstrates to the nation our Commonwealth’s commitment to compassion in mitigating criminal behavior over harsher 'by-the=book' punishments. I am pleased to have Senator Eldridge as my ally on this important legislation."
Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan, who included restorative justice in his remarks during a Town Hall forum about race in February, said in the release: "This alternative to the traditional criminal-justice system is often mistakenly perceived to be soft on crime. It is anything but. Restorative Justice empowers victims and communities to effectively resolve the harm resulting from criminal acts, while also holding offenders accountable to repair such harm. Many thanks to Representative Garballey and Senator Eldridge for their work at advancing this important legislation."
UPDATED, March 31: Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine told selectmen at their March 23 meeting that work on the Mass. Ave. Corridor project is to resume the week of March 30. He said work will initially involve sidewalks on the north side, as contractors move toward Capitol Square.
He said a public meeting about the project will be held in early May.
Word on the Street : Mass. Ave. at heart of master plan
A town update says:
"During the week of March 30, saw cutting along the north (left side when facing toward Cambridge) side of Mass. Ave. will begin where it left off at the beginning of last winter. Likewise, survey work will take place to allow for repainting of markings to direct further saw-cutting, curb-line relocations, and utility pole relocations.
"Beginning during this week, utility pole relocations by Eversource (formerly NStar) may get underway and continue through the three weeks covered by this look ahead. Weather permitting, sidewalk excavations, curb shiftin, and paving will start again in the area of Grafton Street/Mass. Ave. and progress toward Alewife Brook Parkway. Work by a utility crew will also take place to repair preexisting faults in the storm drainage lines under Mass. Ave.