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E. Arlington residents decry zoning plea; proponent responds
Thomas and Marielle Allor submitted this letter to the editor about the potential impact of proposed zoning articles. (The article's proponent responds in comments below the letter.)
Our family has been living in East Arlington at 151 Mass. Ave. for the past nine years, and we have raised our two children in this town. We love the community, have served in Scouts, hosted Porchfest musicians, participated in the Feast of the East to raise awareness for a local charitable foundation and currently volunteer for Arlington EATS.
We were shocked when a resident who lives outside of Precinct 3 put forth an article based on a petition, signed by none of the property owners who are affected, to rezone our property and the property of our neighbors from R2 to B3.
If adopted, this would allow mixed-use development for the following properties: 155, 151, 147 and 150 Mass. Ave.
The proposed article, along with zoning proposals (Article 39) to increase the FAR factor (floor area ratio) from 1.5 to 4.0 negatively affects all of East Arlington and the town for several reasons. Among them are:
- Denser neighborhoods, including strains on sewers and infrastructure, to support more people and vehicles;
- Safety concerns related to pedestrians and increased traffic on Mass. Ave.;
- Displacement of diverse population of residents who cannot afford rents in East Arlington; as well as
- Potential tree removal of flowering and mature trees.
We and our neighbors find ourselves coerced into a situation that we did not ask for and certainly has caused a lot of duress over the past month, as we have had to scramble to find out our rights to protect our home and neighbors from unthoughtful and unplanned development.
I ask that YourArlington advocate against these types of articles affecting existing residences and that the town stick to the current business zoning and how to maximize and optimize what is already in place.
Clearly, there is a lot of opportunity that already exists without affecting current residents. Thank You.
This letter was published Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
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James Fleming - proponent of the article to expand the business districts. Two points of clarification:
"a resident who lives outside of Precinct 3 put forth an article"
I live on Oxford St, which *is* in precinct 3, and in a few months we will live at the end of Melrose St, where I will be able to see the affected properties from my front porch.
"signed by none of the property owners who are affected"
Aside from Thomas and Marielle, all affected owners live outside of Arlington and are not eligible to sign.
I sent a letter to Thomas and Marielle in early January and we got in touch on the 12th of January, but had not received a yes-or-no answer before the deadline for submitting the petition (January 28th).
I have gotten approval from two owners - for 147 and 150 Mass Ave - and am still trying to contact the owner of 155 Mass Ave.
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