It's January 2023, and as we do every year, folks in Arlington are taking out nomination papers, gathering signatures, and strategizing on how to campaign for the town election on Saturday April 1st. The town election is where we choose members of Arlington's governing institutions, including Town Meeting. We encourage you to run!
Massachusetts' 2020 Economic Development Bill included a set of housing choice provisions: these require communities served by the MBTA to provide a district of reasonable size where multi-family housing is allowed by right. The law gives us significant flexibility to design a district that best suits our needs, but the district must allow housing suitable for families with children, without age restrictions, and at a rate of at least 15 dwellings per acre. Arlington is one of 175 MBTA communities in Massachusetts that share in the responsibility for meeting these requirements.
2021 set records in Boston housing market.
Arlington is in the process of update the town’s 2016 Housing Production Plan, and the Housing Plan Implementation Committee and Planning Department have put together a “meeting in a box” as part of their outreach efforts. The idea is to package a set of discussion questions and supplementary materials, so that groups can talk through the questions on their own and provide written feedback. Meeting in a box materials are available from the town website.
It’s New Year’s eve and I’m determined to get my third and final “Arlington 2020” article written and posted before 2021 rolls in. I’ve written these articles to paint a picture of Arlington’s housing stock, and how our housing costs have changed over time. The first article looked at the number of one-, two-, and three-family homes and condominiums in Arlington. The second article looked at how the costs of these homes has varied over time.
For Arlington’s Nov 2020 Special Town Meeting, my colleague Ben Rudick filed the following warrant article:
This is the second in a series of “Arlington 2020” articles. The first article looked at the number of one-, two-, and three-family homes and condominiums in Arlington, and how that housing stock has changed over time. This article will examine changes in the value of those properties. We’re going to look at “value” through the lens of property assessments, so we should start with an explanation of what property assessments are and how they’re used.
I recently came across a report from Arlington’s Department of Planning and Community Development, titled “Overview of Affordable Housing Challenges and Opportunities”. The report begins:
During the last few months, Arlington’s Department of Planning and Community Development and Zoning Bylaw Working Group have been conducting a study of the town’s industrial districts. The general idea has been to begin with an assessment of current conditions, and consider whether there are zoning changes that might make these districts more beneficial to the community as a whole.
Restrictive covenants are a “list of obligations that purchasers of property must assume … For the first half of the 20th century, one commonplace commitment was a promise never to sell or rent to an African American”.  These covenants gained popularity after the Supreme Court’s 1917 decision in Buchanan v. Warley.