The Arlington Redevelopment Board on Monday, Nov. 21, began holding preliminary discussions of four potential zoning amendments, which may come before the spring Town Meeting. The proposals and their proponents are:
- Open-space requirements for multifamily and mixed uses (Laura Wiener, Xavid Pretzer, James Fleming and Patrick Hanlon);
- Eliminating minimum parking in B5 District (Fleming);
- Eliminating usable open-space requirements (Fleming); and
- Affordable housing on nonconforming parcels (Barbara Thornton).
Next up at Arlington Friends of the Drama -- the town's century-old community theater organization -- is the fast-paced comedy “Light Up the Sky” by Moss Hart, as AFD continues its centennial season.
The show is set to open Friday, Dec. 2, and to run through Sunday, Dec. 11, with an extra Thursday performance added on Dec 8. Performances start at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, with Sunday matinees scheduled at 3 p.m.
One of AFD's favorite shows in the second quarter of its 100-year history, the play was first performed in Arlington in 1950, just two years after opening on Broadway.
“Light Up the Sky” tells of a truck driver whose play is chosen for the stage by a New York City producer and whose cast is being led by a famous if overly emotional director.
Headlining the show is one of Broadway's top stars, and so everyone is sure it will be a hit during its out-of-town tryout at the Boston Colonial Theater. But when opening night rolls around, all the backstage drama comes into sharp focus, revealing the highs, lows and laughs of the theater world.
More than half of the AFD Theatre cast are Arlington residents:
UPDATED Nov. 25: The Select Board has unanimously approved an $11.21 tax rate for 2023, a decrease from last year’s $11.42 rate. The vote was 4-0 (Diane Mahon absent.)
The town is also not shifting any water-and-sewer debt onto the real estate tax this year.
The state Department of Revenue still must approve the tax rate.
To download the full tax rate report, click here >>
“As property values go up, the tax rates go down, and property values are going up rapidly,” said Director of Assessments Dana Mann. “The new average assessed value of single-family homes in Arlington is $912,385, resulting in an average tax increase of $582,” added Mann.
This new tax rate is still significantly lower than that of neighboring towns Lexington, Winchester and Belmont. That was shown in a bar graph displayed during the presentation.
The Arlington Housing Authority discussed grant money, upcoming resources for seniors, a contract with a collection agency and meetings with tenants at its Nov. 16 regular board meeting in the Winslow Towers Community Room.
During the updates at the beginning of the meeting, Executive Director Jack Nagle said four units have been successfully leased out, and three more offers are in progress at Chestnut Manor following last January's fatal fire, which damaged 18 units.
“We are committed to filling these units as soon as possible,” Nagle said.
He also noted the electrical shutdown set for Chestnut Manor the following day, Nov. 17, part of the testing for the electrical-panel upgrades.
All 132 units at Winslow Towers are to receive air-source heat pumps. The aim is to save the AHA money and move to more energy-efficient technologies. Replacements have begun, with continued updates to residents about their progress. Nagle encourages any residents with questions to reach out.
The board is waiting for a start date on weatherization work at Menotomy Manor and will keep residents updated and try to get it scheduled as soon as possible.
The state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) staff conducted site evaluations at two locations and are working to determine where to build a housing project dedicated to special-needs individuals under Chapter 689. The area in front of Chestnut Manor, at 54 Medford St. is one recommended location from the DHCD staff architects, but an official recommendation is expected soon.
UPDATED Nov. 22: Approximately 75 people attended a candlelight vigil the evening of Sunday, Nov. 20, on the meetinghouse lawn of First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Kym Goldsmith, a member of Arlington’s LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Commission, opened the event by mentioning the fatal mass shooting that took place in a LGBTQIA+ nightclub in Colorado Springs the night before and the latest bomb threat made against the transgender health program at Boston Children’s Hospital just days earlier.
“We still have a long way to go before LGBTQIA+ people can live their lives in safe, affirming spaces and communities without the threat of violence,” Goldsmith said. “That is why we are here tonight. It is clear that there is important work to be done, and I’m grateful we are all making a point to do it today and every day.”
Transgender Day of Remembrance takes place annually on Nov. 20. The day is marked by events around the globe honoring transgender and gender-diverse people who have lost their lives to violence motivated by bias.
Transgender Day of Remembrance grew out of the reaction of greater Boston’s LGBTQIA+ community to the 1988 murder of Boston resident Rita Hester and the media’s reporting about the event, which included misgendering Hester in its coverage.
Learn about MBTA Communities legislation, provide feedback
UPDATED Nov. 25: Arlington residents and officials plan to collaborate in a planning effort over the next year to shape a transit-related zoning effort seeking more multifamily housing here.
Volunteers in the MBTA Communities Working Group, aiming for extensive community engagement, plan to lead a process, to determine the location and details of town zoning district(s).
The result will be a zoning amendment presented to Special Town Meeting next fall.
We have been dreaming of this building for eight long years, and our grand opening this month is a result of the astounding generosity of so many in this town.' -- Lauren Ledger, board president
UPDATED Nov. 18: Arlington EATS plans to open the doors on Nov. 28 to its first dedicated operational headquarters in its more than 30-year history. The new building at 117 Broadway is the home of EATS Market and the organization’s offices.
This long-planned accomplishment, near the Thompson School, comes as its records show that need has grown greatly since the pandemic began.
EATS Market, the effort's largest program, “is the term we use for our food pantry,” Andi Doane, executive director of EATS, told YourArlington, in response to queries.
“All the food is free for any Arlington resident who is in need of food. We transitioned from using the word 'food pantry' to 'market' several years ago as a way to dignify the process of coming to EATS.”
She added: "We want the community to know that we provide more than canned goods and pasta, which is what you often think of when you hear the word 'food pantry.' In addition to shelf-stable pantry items, we offer fresh produce, meat, dairy, eggs and tofu."
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