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Residential design guidelines completed

 For single-, 2-family homes

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UPDATED, Jan. 28: The culmination of a yearlong process with significant community input, updated residential design guidelines are complete.

The guidelines convey community-informed design preferences for new construction of and additions to single- and two-family homes in Arlington's low-density residential zoning districts (R0, R1, and R2). View the guidelines on the town’s website >> 

The Design Review Working Group and town planning worked with consultant Harriman to engage the community through virtual public workshops, surveys and remote input opportunities in the development of the guidelines.

The design recommendations specify how to meet the steps involved and describe a review process to evaluate proposals for new construction and additions. The guidelines are advisory in nature, but the Zoning Board of Appeals will considered them when evaluating requests for special permits. 

The guidelines are available in multiple locations on the town’s website. They will also be incorporated as a reference document into construction checklists, available at the Inspectional Services Department, and shared with local realtors, builders and developers. The working group is collaborating with planning on identifying additional opportunities for informing the community about this new resource so it can be incorporated early into the design of residential projects.

The town thanks members of the working group for advising on this project. In addition to planning staff, the group includes a representative from the Redevelopment Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Residential Study Group, and three residents with architectural backgrounds. Project information may be found on the Design Review Working Group's website.  

For more information, contact Kelly Lynema, senior planner at 781-316-3096 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The following was published earlier:

A final workshop to present draft residential design guidelines was held Dec. 1.

A recording, along with the draft guidelines for homes in Arlington's single- and two-family zoning districts (R0, R1, and R2) is available for comment through Monday, Dec. 7. More info at arlingtonma.gov/planning.

The community participated, learned more about the guidelines and shared their feedback at this workshop or in the days immediately afterward. 

The guidelines give designers and community stakeholders more flexibility to find creative design solutions. The Design Review Working Group, DPCD and consultant Harriman invite you to review the guidelines.

More information about this project—including a link to the draft of the guidelines— are here >> 

Workshop last June

The town held a virtual community workshop at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, to advance the work of the residential design guidelines. All members of the Arlington community are invited to participate via video conference or by calling in by phone to the event both hosted by Zoom. 

During the workshop, participants will learn about the Residential Design Guidelines Project. Consultant, Harriman, will present an overview of existing conditions in Arlington’s single- and two-family zoning districts and will share the results of the visual preference survey.

Arlington community members who were unable to participate in the workshop are invited to participate independently in the next two weeks. A recording of the workshop and a guided feedback form are available online, and will remain open until July 15. Watch the video and provide your feedback >>

The working group received more than 800 responses to the visual preference survey to date. Facilitated breakout groups will provide an opportunity for participants to share input on various components of the design guidelines. The meeting will close with a facilitated question-and-answer session.

Members of the community unable to participate on the evening of the forum are invited to contribute their feedback in the two weeks following the workshop. Materials and video recordings of the presentation will be available on the Design Review Working Group’s website, along with instructions for sharing feedback.

Through the project, Harriman will assist the community in identifying design preferences for the low-density residential zoning districts including R0, R1 and R2, set forth accepted guidelines that sets expectations for the community and how those requirements are met, and develop a review process.

The Design Review Working Group is advising town planning and Harriman about this project. In addition, the working group includes a representative from the Redevelopment Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Residential Study Group and three residents with architectural backgrounds.

Project information may be found on the Design Review Working Group's website.  

Harriman is to provide design guidelines for residential buildings in R0, R1 and R2 zoning districts,at a cost of $49,000.


Jan. 28, 2020: Planners, consultants aim to shape industrial zones, residential designs, transit

Jan 22, 2020: Boards move carefully, public pushes pointedly ... as discussion of common issues begins


This news announcement was published Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, and updated Jan. 28, 2021.

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