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Showing posts from March, 2016

Article 41: Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

ARTICLE 41: Floor Area Ratio, FAR - the article would limit the size of new houses or additions in relation to their lot size Inserted at the request of the Planning Board Planning Board presentation: Includes basements; half stories All peer towns is like comparing apples to oranges. Fiscal impacts: 6 month study of data gathering, data was analyzed, then, an effects assessment. Case study of homes built between 2013-2015. Developed statistical models: Historical model; Current Model; Future Model. Not predictions but a range of projections. There is an appeals process PB in unanimous support Board of Selectmen hasn't taken a vote Appropriation  Committee has no consensus Town Moderator notes that more than a dozen citizens signed up to speak to the article TMM at Q: Slide 9 - appreciate the many examples; based on Article 39 passage, are they based on previous bylaw? A: yes TMM - Appreciate the work of the PB. I intend to vote NO TMM Q: why is the inclusion of the basement at full height in…

Article 40: Amend Zoning Bylaw: Accessory Apartments

Article 40: Amend Zoning Bylaw: Accessory Apartments - This article would relax some existing conditions and requirements that limit the ability to construct accessory apartments. These requirements include lot area, presence of rooming units, connection to Town water and sewer, ownership, location of parking, and age of structure. Article inserted at the request of the Planning Board Planning Board presentation: We have a lot of very big houses but do not have ample small dwellings for: older parentsadult childrenrental incomeComprehensive plan to address changes, including: Under the current bylaw, if you have an accessory apartment, you can't also rent out a room - - we don't see a reason that these be mutually exclusive, but that there are no more than 4 unrelated people in the apartment. (Also applies to B&Bs).Public water & sewer: currently, we say that if you h.ave public water and sewer you can't have an accessory apartment; we think there are reqs from the boa…

Article 39: Amend Zoning Bylaw - Maximum Height of Structures

We're at the high school (again) for tonight's session. Zoning/Land Use Articles brings out lots of residents - Town Moderator has just called for a second "citizens' microphone". Article 39: Amend Zoning Bylaw - Maximum Height of Structures: The article would limit the height of new houses or additions located close to lot lines. 15-ft setbacks for 40 ft. height dwellingIssue raised during the residential policy committee's listening tourNo change in measuring height or yard setbacksProperties with 15 foot yard setbacks, bldg no higher than 40 feetPlanning Board presentation. "This article is a fair and reasonable measure for dwellings near lot lines." Planning Board unanimous supports. Board of Selectmen supports the article. Town Moderator opens floor for debate Citizen: speaks in support Town Meeting Member (TMM) speaking in opposition at NO mic Another TMM speaking in opposition, noting too many controls being imposed TMM with a Q: similar zoning rules f…

Article 4: FY2017 Operating Budget (Schools)

Reports of Appropriation Committee, School Committee are received and placed on file. FY17 School budget is $97,293,299 - a 5.68% increase from last year and $17,496 per pupil expenditure. Input from numerous stakeholders. Superintendent Dr.Mary Czajkowski thanks leadership team: School Committee members, CO administration, and Ian Daley in Finance & Business. Key theme of this budget: ensuring on-going program excellence in light of continued growth. Four district goals used in development of this budget: Contract Obligations (including COLA)Legal Mandates (Special Education, transportation)Enrollment IncreasesProgram Improvements (excellence, addition of elementary foreigh languageLexington ranks 6th in 11 like communities* (#1, Weston's per pupil is $21,6521) Salary & Wages = $81,785,398; expenses = $15,507,901 which represents 5.68% increase over FY16 Minuteman Career Technical Regional High School Superintendent Ed Bouquillon presented a budget of $19,728,097. Lexington'…

LHS & Minuteman High School seniors honored at Town Meeting

Before tonight's session gets underway in the auditorium of LHS, we're taking a few minutes to recognize outstanding members of the senior class from the two public high schools in Lexington. LHS Principal Laura Lasa introduced each of the 15 students, noting some of their personal qualities and list of impressive accomplishments. Representative Jay Kaufman is on hand to congratulate all of the students, presenting each with a special Citation. Many proud parents, friends, and family members are present. Town Meeting rises as one in a standing ovation for the students, and also acknowledged the support of parents and families.

ATM continues at LHS tonight, 7:15

Town Meeting will convene tonight in the auditorium of Lexington High School, 251 Waltham Street. We'll begin at 7:15 for the annual ceremony honoring LHS and Minuteman High School seniors, then take up the financial articles, beginning with Article 4: Appropriate FY2017 Operating Budget (Article Motions, pp.2-4). While the Town’s FY2017 operating budget has many complexities, please note: The budget process begins with the Selectmen's Goal Setting in June. In developing the annual operating budget, the Board of Selectmen continued to adhere to the following principles in order to preserve the Town’s long-term financial condition: 1. Continue to set aside funds into the Capital Stabilization Fund as part of the comprehensive long-term strategy for funding critical school and municipal projects. 2. Core services currently provided through the operating and capital budgets should be maintained, recognizing that changes in service demands may require that additional resources be prov…

Planning/Land Use Articles*

Article 36: Amend Zoning Bylaw - National Flood Insurance District
MOTION: That the Zoning By-Laws of the Town be amended as set forth in the motion which is printed in the Article in the Warrant, and further that non-substantive changes to the numbering of this bylaw be permitted in order that it be in compliance with the numbering format of the Code of the Town of Lexington The Article intends to ensure against flood loses. Board of Selectmen in unanimous support. Requires a two-thirds VOTE of Town Meeting. MOTION is unanimously adopted.
Article 37: Amend Zoning Bylaw - Technical Corrections MOTION: That the Zoning By-Laws of the Town be amended as set forth in the motion attached to the report of the Planning Board on this article, a copy of which is on file with the Town Clerk and the Planning Board, and further that non-substantive changes to the numbering of the bylaw be permitted in order that it be in compliance with the numbering format of the Code of the Town of Lexington. Technical…

Report of the Town Manager and Planning Board

Article 2: Receive Reports of Town Manager and of the Planning Board
Town Manager, Carle Valente presents a brief overview of the Town's Budget and Financing Plan, found HERE. Planning Board member, Nancy Corcoran-Ronchetti presents the Board's report and moves to have it placed on file. Motion APPROVED by Town Meeting Gina Johnson, Planning Board member, presents the report of Residential Policy Committee. - - - Town of Lexington: Zoning Bylaws & Development Regulations Code of the Town of Lexington 2016 Town Warrant Report of the Appropriation Committee to 2016 Town Meeting Report of the Capital Expenditures Committee to 2016 Town Meeting Town’s Website concerning the 2016 Annual Town Meeting Some Town Meeting Members (TMMs) post their thoughts about Town Meeting Articles, questions, and process following the proceedings and in the days preceding ATM. Those postings may be viewed publicly on the Town Meeting Member’s Association (TMMA’s) email listserve HERE. Do note that only TMMs …

ATM called back to order*

The Meeting takes up  Article 35: Lexpress Resolution [DATE CERTAIN]
MOTION: Resolved that the Town of Lexington be instructed to take such steps as necessary to ensure that every resident shall have access to an existing Lexpress route that is less than one mile if level, and less than three quarters of a mile if uphill to either arrive or depart onto the bus. Board of Selectmen have taken no position of this resolution. The Planning Board voted 4-0 against this Article. Transportation Advisory Committee: full comment from TAC chair, Hank Manz; no position has been taken, due to the late notice of the details of the resolution. No positions from either Appropriation or Capital Expenditures Committees. TMM rises to oppose the resolution, urges others to join him. Town Meeting does not approve - the MOTION fails. - - - *Please note that this post is in no way an official record of the Annual Town Meeting; it is offered as information to interested persons by a member of Town Meeting. MOTIONS for…

Remarks from Town Manager to honor retiring Director of Public Works, Bill Hadley

It's the second night of the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) and Madam Moderator, true to form, has us starting at 7:30 PM "sharp" in Margery Milne Battin Hall of Isaac Cary Memorial Hall.
No sooner has she called the Meeting to order than she called a recess so that Town Manager Carl Valente could make a few remarks. Carl's remarks are in honor of retiring Director ofPublic Works, Bill Hadley. Bill will retire this Friday, March 25, 2016. Bill has been at the DPW for forty years and has served as its Director for the past sixteen years. Carl notes that Bill has attended 128 Town Meetings. Board of Selectmen will host a party in Bill's honor between 4:00-6:30 PM at the Community Center. Town Meeting rises to a standing ovation for Bill.

ATM Continues Tonight, Wednesday, March 23

Onward into the second night of the Annual Town Meeting (ATM), at 7:30 PM  in Margery Milne Battin Hall of Isaac Cary Memorial Hall.


Town Moderator, Deborah Brown sent out an updated schedule for tonight (only "DATE CERTAIN" items are guaranteed to be taken up). Recess: Town Manager remarksArticle 35: Lexpress Resolution [DATE CERTAIN]Article 2: Receive Reports of Town Manager and of the Planning BoardPlanning/Land Use Articles:Article 36: Amend Zoning Bylaw - National Flood Insurance DistrictArticle 37: Amend Zoning Bylaw - Technical CorrectionsArticle 38: Amend Zoning Bylaw - Government-Civic DistrictsArticle 29:Neighborhood Conservation DistrictsArticle 31: Amend General Bylaws - Contracts and Deeds (if ready)I will update following tonight's meeting. - - - MOTIONS for the Articles referred to in this post may be found HERE. Town of Lexington: Zoning Bylaws & Development Regulations Code of the Town of Lexington 2016 Town Warrant Report of the Appropriation Committee to 2…

Return to Annual Town Meeting (ATM)

*Please note that this blog post is in no way an official record of the Annual Town Meeting; it is offered as information to interested persons by a member of Town Meeting.


With Special Town Meeting-3 now dissolved, Madam Moderator called the ATM to order. On to Article 3:Cary Lecture Series. Rita Goldberg, TMM in Precinct 2 and Cary Lecture chair, gave her report and announced the proposed new members along with the new series of lectures for 2016-2017. MOTION: That a committee of four be appointed by the Moderator to have the charge of the lectures under the wills of Eliza Cary Farnham and Suzanna E. Cary for the current year. The MOTION was approved. We then took up Article 27: Establish Qualifications for Tax Deferrals. MOTION: that the maximum qualifying gross receipts amount for property tax deferrals under Clause 41 A of Section 5 of Chapter 59 of the Massachusetts General Laws and Chapter 190 of the Acts of 2008 be raised to $70,000, beginning in fiscal year 2017. The MOTION was unani…

Opening of 2016 Annual Town Meeting & Special Town Meeting*

*Please note that this blog post is in no way an official record of the Annual or Special Town Meetings; it is offered as information to interested persons by a member of Town Meeting.


With newly elected Board and Committee Members duly sworn in, and new Town Meeting Members oriented, the 2016 Annual Town Meeting (ATM) kicked off in Margery Milne Battin Hall of the Isaac Cary Memorial Building  this week (Monday March 21). A crisp Opening Ceremony began as the members of Town Meeting rose to welcome the Joseph Diamond Fife and Drum Corps and Minute Men color guard, processing into the hall playing "Yankee Doodle". After placing the colors while playing our "National Anthem", they exited the Hall. Town Moderator Deborah Brown called the Meeting to order and provided introductory remarks and instructions. This brought us to ATM Article 2: Election of a Deputy Moderator and Madam Moderator forwarded her nomination of Barry Orenstein for the role. Barry has been a long-ti…

Students were the headlines

Deflected attention

Public education advocates were in good company in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House this past Monday, March 7. The Joint Committee on Education held a hearing on seven bills, including two in response to ballot initiatives (the charter cap lift and repeal of Common Core), one on summer learning, one on mental health education in high schools, and three others. I'd prepared testimony in opposition to the charter cap lift (written and oral).

A number of DESE staff were on hand for most of the hearing. Commissioner Chester gave his testimony in opposition to the Common Core ballot question. Two of my BESE colleagues, James Morton and Ed Doherty were there, too: James to give testimony in support of the summer learning bill, and Ed in opposition to the charter cap bill.
I had thought I would do a bunch of tweeting on the Committee's proceedings, but I lost focus for quite some time due to the compelling BPS student walkout happening on twitter.
I had caught wind of the pr…