Arlington April Town Meeting: What To Know

ARLINGTON, MA — Next month there’s an election. Then on the heels of that, there’s the annual Town Meeting. And hold on to your horses, folks; there are more than 45 items for the town’s legislative branch to discuss at said Town Meeting.

The docket includes a proposal from some residents to move the time of Town Meeting from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m., a proposal from the Town Clerk to amend the animal Control bylaw to bring it up to speed with 2016 State Law. It also proposes changing the name of the Board of Selectmen to a more gender neutral “Select Board,” as a number of other communities have recently done.

What’s on the ballot April 7? Two Selectmen for three years One Assessor for three years, Two School Committee Members for three years. And then it’s time to vote for Town Meeting Members to represent you in your precincts. Polls will be open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Monday, April 23 the town’s legislature will address:

Article 5: The Town Meeting will elect an Assistant Moderator for a 1 year term.
Article 6: To see if Town Meeting will allow more registered voters on the Capital Planning Committee. There are four now, the Moderator and Capital Planning Committee want to amend that to as many as six.
Article 7: To see if Town Meeting will vote to change the way it’s required to make sure the Warrant gets to “every dwelling house in Town”
Article 8: To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws; to include in the placement of a lien or liens onto any real estate tax accounts, any fees, fines, or penalties levied by a Town and/or School department upon a resident property owner and/or non-resident property owner of the Town, where such fee, fine, or penalty is delinquent. Said amended Bylaw is in accordance with Section 58 of Chapter 40 “Municipal Charges Lien” of the Massachusetts General Law;( at the request of the Town Treasurer)
Article 9: To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws relative to financial information in real
estate tax bills, including but not limited to eliminating the provisions of Title I, Article 17
(“Financial Information”) ( at the request of the Town Treasurer)
Article 10 Animal related: To see if the town will amend an Animal Control bylaw to comport with changes in state law adopted in 2016’s “An Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death”), including but not limited to changes concerning the manner in which dogs may be confined, tethered, and treated; the manner of enforcement and penalties for violation of the Town’s Animal Control Bylaws; and the time frame and terms of license applications; ( at the request of the Town Clerk and the Town Manager)
Article 11 on Vacant Storefronts: To see if the town will amend a bylaw on to extend the period of time a property may not be used or occupied before being considered “vacant,” adjust the timing and manner of collecting annual registration fees, and adjust the timing, criteria, and manner of applying for and receiving waivers; ( at the request of the Town Manager)
Article 12: To see if the Town will vote to revise the criteria, process, and other material terms for the approval and administration of temporary repairs to private ways, including revising the definition of abutters and the number or percentage of abutters required for a betterment petition, providing for limited Town repairs at the Town’s sole discretion for the sole purpose of ensuring safe passage of emergency vehicles without incurring liability for same; (at the request of the Town Manager)
Article 13: To see if the Town will vote to change the name of the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture, alter its membership and composition, and expand and/or alter its duties and responsibilities to include, but not limited to the following: public art, cultural district management, and seeking and distributing arts-related grants; (at the request of the Arlington Commission on Arts and Culture)
Article 14 on Trees: To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws on the Use of Private Property, to increase the fees for tree removal or to authorize the Board of Selectmen to set the fees for tree removal, in the interests of reflecting the true cost of tree removal.
(at the request of the Tree Committee)
Article 15 on Noise: To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town Bylaws to regulate the permissible hours and volume of noise generated by parties and events on residential private property, by reducing the permissible hours of operation and/or decibel levels of loudspeakers and sound amplifying devices used for entertainment, requiring neighbor notifications for parties on residential private property in which noise amplification will be used, and providing for exemptions for certain well known Town-wide events and/or celebrations periods such as “Porch Fest”. (at the request of Meredith DiMola and 10 registered voters)
Article 16 on Timing of Town Meeting: To see if the Town will vote to change the time of Town Meeting from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m. ( at the request of Bill Hayner and 10 registered voters)
Article 17 on demolishing historic structures: To see if the Town will vote to amend the definition of “Significant Building” to include any building more than 50 years of age at the time of inquiry, or any building built on or before January 1, 1968. ( at the request of Leonard Kardon and 10 registered voters)
Article 18: To see if the Town will vote to authorize and request the Board of Selectmen to file Home Rule
Legislation implementing the recommendations of the 2012 Massachusetts Department of
Revenue “Town and School Finance Analysis” report to make the Comptroller an appointment of
the Town Manager. ( at the request of the Town Treasurer)
Article 19: To see if the Town will vote to authorize and request the Board of Selectmen to file Home Rule
Legislation that would allow the creation of a consolidated department of municipal finance; (at the request of the Town Treasurer)

Article 20 on What We call the Board of Selectmen: To see if the Town will vote to authorize and request the Board of Selectmen to change the name of the Board of Selectmen to the Select Board. ( at the request of Clarissa Rowe and 10 registered voters)
Article 21 more on names: To see if the Town will vote to change the name of Vision 2020 Standing Committee, to “Envision Arlington,” provide a new statement of purpose, and revise the length of terms for
Standing Committee Members ( at the request of the Vision 2020 Standing Committee).

To see the second half of the articles on the docket, which mostly address money appropriation.

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Photo by Jenna Fisher/Patch

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