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Full text of "Final EDR Public Hearing Memo Docket 2717 amended by 2905 Eskar 23 Broadway"

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Town of Arlington, Massachusetts 

Department of Planning & Community Development 

730 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, Massachusetts 02476 


Public Hearing Memorandum 

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide the Ariington Redeveiopment Board and pubiic with technicai 
information and a pianning anaiysis to assist with the reguiatory decision-making process. 

To: Arlington Redevelopment Board 

From: Jennifer Raitt, Secretary Ex Officio 

Subject: Environmental Design Review, 23 Broadway, Arlington, MA 

Docket #2717, as amended by Docket #2905 

Date: September 30, 2020 


I. Docket Summary 

This is an application by Michael Aldi and Michael Hunnewell for Eskar Arlington, LLC to 
establish a marijuana retailer at 23 Broadway within the B2A Major Business District. The 
Special Permit is to allow the Board to review and approve the proposed project, under 
Section 3.4, Environmental Design Review, and Section 8.3, Standards for Marijuana 
Uses. 

The Town of Arlington adopted zoning amendments to address the sale of marijuana 
products to adults during Special Town Meeting on December 5, 2018. The zoning 
amendments created new definitions, new use categories, and standards. The standards 
include the buffers that are required from kindergarten through grade twelve public and 
private schools, public libraries, and town-owned playgrounds and recreational facilities. 
Additionally, the standards required a 2,000-foot distance between other recreational or 
medical facilities. Finally, the standards limited the number of marijuana retailers within 
Arlington to three. 

In May 2019, the Select Board opened a process through which the Board would 
determine which operators would be awarded a Host Community Agreement. Eskar 
applied with the intent to open marijuana retail establishment at 23 Broadway. The site 
was deemed compliant with the Zoning Bylaw. The Town awarded Eskar a Host 


Docket #: 2717, amended by 2905 
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Community Agreement. In addition to seeking the EDR Special Permit from the ARB, Eskar 
will need to apply for an Operating Permit from the Arlington Board of Health. 

Materials submitted for consideration of this application: 

• Application for EDR Special Permit, 

• Existing Conditions dates August 19, 2020 

• Site Plan dated August 19, 2020; 

• First Floor Construction Plan dated June 16, 2020; 

• Broadway Elevation Wall Sign dated June 16, 2020; 

• Traffic Impact Analysis dated July 17, 2020; 

• Eskar Security Policies and Procedures; 

• Eskar Parking Exhibit dated August 19, 2020; 

• Eskar Parking Agreement dated June 24, 2020; and, 

• Memo on LEED practices and checklist dated June 19, 2020. 

II. Application of Special Permit Criteria (ArliriRton ZoninR Bylaw, Section 3.3) 

1. Section 3.3.3.A. 

The use requested is listed as a Special Permit in the use regulations for the 
applicable district or is so designated elsewhere in this Bylaw. 

The Applicant proposes a marijuana retail establishment. Within the B2A Major 
Business District, marijuana uses require a Special Permit. The type of use specifically 
triggers the Environmental Design Review Special Permit from the Redevelopment 
Board per Section 3.4.2. The Board can find that this condition is met. 

2. Section 3.3.3.B. 

The requested use is essential or desirable to the public convenience or welfare. 

Arlington, voted "yes" on the 2016 ballot question related to adult-use marijuana 
meaning the community supported adult-use marijuana. Although the ballot 
question passed statewide in 2016, the state had only established a process for 
reviewing and licensing medical marijuana treatment centers but not for how to 
process and administer new recreational facilities. While Massachusetts 
municipalities awaited regulations from the state, Arlington adopted a temporary 
moratorium in order to plan for future zoning amendments. Once regulations were 
issued, Arlington formed a Marijuana Study Group to help draft zoning amendments 
for a Special Town Meeting in December 2018. Town Meeting adopted zoning 
regulations that would regulate retail marijuana establishments and medical 
marijuana treatment centers. 

Following the desire of the community, the zoning amendments allowed both 
recreational and medical establishments along major corridors, in commercial 
centers, and accessible by public transportation. The zoning amendments placed 


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appropriate buffers from certain land uses and schools on the use and limited the 
density of this type of use within the community. 

The location of this marijuana retailer meets the requirements of the zoning 
amendments and acts on the majority vote of Arlington in 2016 regarding 
recreational use of marijuana. The Board can find this condition met. 

3. Section 3.3.3.C. 

The requested use will not create undue traffic congestion or unduly impair 
pedestrian safety. 

The Traffic Impact Analysis provided by the Applicant seems to consider the likely 
demand for a well-situated marijuana retailer. Further detailed discussion is provided 
under the Environmental Design Review criterion 4. 

The analysis suggests that the available on-site parking and on-street parking can 
accommodate potential customer demand. However, without a better analysis of how 
to best utilize the project site to handle parking and customer queueing, the proposed 
use may create traffic congestion and impair pedestrian safety and accessibility both 
on site and on adjacent roadways. 

The Applicant should provide a Parking and Queue Management Plan that clearly 
indicates how the property will be utilized and how all traffic will be managed. This 
also requires consultation and regular meetings with the Arlington Police Department 
(APD) and codified in a Memorandum of Understanding between the retailer and the 
APD. 

4. Section 3.3.3.D. 

The requested use will not overload any public water, drainage or sewer system or 
any other municipal system to such an extent that the requested use or any 
developed use in the immediate area or in any other area of the Town will be 
unduly subjected to hazards affecting health, safety, or the general welfare. 

With proper security and management as provided, the proposed use should not 
unduly subject the immediate area to hazards affecting health, safety, or the general 
welfare of the immediate area. Because no cultivation or processing will be taking 
place onsite, this establishment will not demand more water or sewer usage than any 
other business. On site changes do not indicate any changes or impact on existing 
drainage systems. The Board can find this condition met. 

5. Section 3.3.3.E. 

Any special regulations for the use as may be provided in the Bylaw are fulfilled. 

Section 8.3, Standards for Marijuana Uses, applies to this use. The project site is 
outside of any required buffers from certain land uses and is beyond 2,000 feet from 

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any other marijuana retailer or medical marijuana treatment center. The Board can 
find that this condition is met. 

6. Section 3.3.3.F. 

The requested use will not impair the integrity or character of the district or 
adjoining districts, nor be detrimental to the health or welfare. 

The December 2018 Special Town Meeting adopted regulations for marijuana 
establishments including allowing the use to be established in the B2A Village 
Business District. The proposed location at 23 Broadway is located outside of any 
buffers around land uses as adopted by the Special Town Meeting as well. The 
Cannabis Control Commission has stringent requirements regarding the operation 
of marijuana establishments including modest signage and prohibiting the visibility 
of product from outside of the establishment and on-site consumption of product. 
The Board can find that this condition is met. 

7. Section 3.3.3.G. 

The requested use will not, by its addition to a neighborhood, cause an excess of the 
use that could be detrimental to the character of said neighborhood. 

The use will not be in excess or detrimental to the character of the neighborhood. 
Additionally, should this establishment be approved by this Board and other local 
permitting authorities and the Cannabis Control Commission, the Zoning Bylaw 
applies a 2,000-foot density buffer around this property. Therefore, future marijuana 
retailers or medical marijuana treatment centers will not be able to cluster within East 
Arlington business districts. Apothca has just opened in the Heights, and beyond 
Arlington, the nearest operating retail establishments in Newton and Brookline. 
(There are medical dispensaries in Cambridge and Somerville.) The Board can find that 
this condition is met. 

III. Environmental PesiRn Review Standards (ArlinRton ZoninR Bylaw, 
Section 3.4) 

1. EDR-l Preservation of Landscape 

The landscape shall be preserved in its natural state, insofar as practicable, by 
minimizing tree and soil removal, and any grade changes shall be in keeping with the 
general appearance of neighboring developed areas. 

The existing site condition is primarily impervious. There is an elevated landscaped 
buffer between the parking lot and the adjacent Lahey Health parking lot. There is 
some internal landscaping as well. The landscaped buffer between the two properties 
will remain in place, but some small but established shrubs adjacent to the building 
will be removed to install bicycle racks. 


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There appears to be limited opportunities to install additional landscaping on the site. 
The Board can find this condition met. 

2. EDR-2 Relation of the Building to the Environment 

Proposed development shall be related harmoniously to the terrain and to the use, 
scale, and architecture of the existing buildings in the vicinity that have functional or 
visible relationship to the proposed buildings. The Arlington Redevelopment Board 
may require a modification in massing so as to reduce the effect of shadows on the 
abutting property in an RO, R1 or R2 district or on public open space. 

The proposed marijuana retailer will be established in an existing East Arlington 
building. There are no additions proposed to the existing building, although a new exit 
will be installed on the Sunnyside Avenue side and a delivery access point will be 
installed in the alcove off the drive aisle where a remote teller previously existed for 
the bank. The Board can find that this condition is met. 

3. EDR-3 Open Space 

All open space (landscaped and usable) shall be so designed as to add to the visual 
amenities of the vicinity by maximizing its visibility for persons passing by the site or 
overlooking it from nearby properties. The location and configuration of usable 
open space shall be so designed as to encourage social interaction, maximize its 
utility and facilitate maintenance. 

The landscaped open space requirement is 10% for this permitted use. There is no 
usable open space requirement for a non-residential use. The proposal will not 
increase the amount of landscaped open space on the site. The amount of landscaped 
open space appears to have been unchanged since the building was constructed. The 
Board can find that this condition is met. 

4. EDR-4 Circulation 

With respect to vehicular and pedestrian and bicycle circulation, including 
entrances, ramps, walkways, drives, and parking, special attention shall be given to 
location and number of access points to the public streets (especially in relation to 
existing traffic controls and mass transit facilities), width of interior drives and 
access points, general interior circulation, separation of pedestrian and vehicular 
traffic, access to community facilities, and arrangement of vehicle parking and 
bicycle parking areas, including bicycle parking spaces required by Section 6.1.12 
that are safe and convenient and, insofar as practicable, do not detract from the use 
and enjoyment of proposed buildings and structures and the neighboring 
properties. 

Eskar will lease access to 12 of the 16 parking spaces on site from the building owner, 
which is one more than is required by the Zoning Bylaw: 


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Parking Requirement 

Use 

Square 

Footaee 

Zoning 

Reauirement 

Total Parking Reauired 

Retail 

3,238 sf 

1/300 sf* 

11 spaces 

Total Parking Available to Eskar 

12 


There is on-street parking on Broadway; the spaces are unmarked. The applicant has 
also suggested formalizing three taxi/rideshare spaces in front of the building on 
Broadway. The 87 bus is available on Broadway, and more connections are available in 
Somerville on the opposite side of Alewife Brook Parkway. Broadway is also a short 
walk from Mass Ave where connections to multiple bus routes and T locations are 
available. 

The Traffic Impact Analysis provided by the Applicant shows an increase in trips to the 
property in comparison to the existing use, which has not been in operation as a bank 
for a number of years. The trip generation analysis found that there will be 66 total 
weekday peak p.m. trips with an average of 760 weekday trips. The analysis also 
found that there will be 109 total Saturday mid-day peak trips with an average of 778 
Saturday trips. In general, the analysis found that the daily increase of trips on 
Broadway would have a minimal impact on area intersections studied. 

The Traffic Impact Analysis does describe that the first month of operation will be 
appointment only in order to reduce peak traffic issues, and during the initial six to 
twelve months, staff will monitor lines as concierge/security to maintain order. 
Appointment based visits to the establishment will by its nature control any queuing, 
but the application materials still lack a clear description of how customer queuing 
and parking will be controlled at this establishment. Although Arlington has already 
seen one adult-use establishment open in the Heights, this location in Arlington may 
attract a larger customer base from Somerville and Cambridge, where recreational 
dispensaries have been slow to open. 

The project location has the benefit of capacity in the on-street parking spaces on 
Broadway. Although the application materials do not estimate the average length of 
visits, it does appear that the availability of on-site, off-street parking and on-street 
parking can accommodate the flow of customers. However, once the appointment- 
based system transitions to a non-appointment system, it appears that there is not 
enough queuing space in the floor plan, and the applicant should consider how 
queuing will happen outside within the parking lot without impeding building access. 

The Applicant should provide a more critical analysis of parking and queue demands: 

1. The Applicant should consider providing off-site parking for employees in order to 
fully utilize the on-site parking for customers. It should also be noted that the sight 
lines for vehicles exiting the property onto Sunnyside Avenue are extremely 

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limited, so frequent departures from the parking lot may cause conflicts between 
pedestrians and exiting vehicles. 

2. Conversely, the Applicant could consider not using the on-site, off-street parking 
for customers due to the availability of on-street parking and use the rear parking 
lot for employee parking and queue management. 

3. There may be a need to identify off-site parking for employees regardless of how 
the on-site parking is utilized. The Applicant should investigate options for long¬ 
term employee parking. 

4. Related to bicycle parking, in Section 6.1.12(H), it appears that the applicant is 
requested that the long-term bicycle parking be converted to short-term bicycle 
parking. Six bicycle parking spaces will be provided in an area where small shrubs 
are currently located against the building. The style of bike rack proposed is one 
that is discouraged in the Bicycle Parking Guidelines and should be rethought. The 
application materials did indicate that the employees would be allowed to bring 
their bicycles into the building 

The Applicant should be required to develop a Parking and Queue Management Plan 
that outlines how the facility will address parking and queue management once the 
above questions are answered. This Plan should be developed in coordination with 
the Arlington Police Department and the Department of Planning and Community 
Development. In addition to developing the Plan, there should be regular meetings to 
assess how parking and queueing is being handled. 

5. EDR-5 Surface Water Drainage 

Special attention shall be given to proper site surface drainage so that removal of 
surface waters will not adversely affect neighboring properties or the public storm 
drainage system. Available Best Management Practices for the site should be 
employed, and include site planning to minimize impervious surface and reduce 
clearing and re-grading. Best Management Practices may include erosion control and 
stormwater treatment by means of swales, filters, plantings, roof gardens, native 
vegetation, and leaching catch basins. Stormwater should be treated at least 
minimally on the development site; that which cannot be handled on site shall be 
removed from all roofs, canopies, paved and pooling areas and carried away in an 
underground drainage system. Surface water in all paved areas shall be collected in 
intervals so that it will not obstruct the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic and 
will not create puddles in the paved areas. In accordance with Section 3.3.4., the 
Board may require from any Applicant, after consultation with the Director of 
Public Works, security satisfactory to the Board to insure the maintenance of all 
stormwater facilities such as catch basins, leaching catch basins, detention basins, 
swales, etc. within the site. The Board may use funds provided by such security to 
conduct maintenance that the Applicant fails to do. The Board may adjust in its 


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sole discretion the amount and type of financial security such that it is satisfied 
that the amount is sufficient to provide for any future maintenance needs. 

It does not appear that there are any existing drainage systems on the site. The 
application materials indicate that no stormwater management will be added to the 
site. There may be an opportunity for the Applicant to incorporate low-impact 
development techniques to contribute to the on-site infiltration of stormwater. 

6. EDR-6 Utilities Service 

Electric, telephone, cable TV, and other such lines of equipment shall be 
underground. The proposed method of sanitary sewage disposal and solid waste 
disposal from all buildings shall be indicated. 

There will be no cultivation or processing of marijuana at this proposed facility. 
Existing utility systems will be reused. Solid waste of non-marijuana material will be 
disposed of through a private contract. Any solid waste will be stored inside. Solid 
waste containing marijuana material must be disposed of properly in compliance with 
the Cannabis Control Commission's regulations. The application materials do not 
indicate how Eskar plans to handle solid waste pickup or solid waste containing 
marijuana material. 

7. EDR-7 Advertising Features 

The size, location, design, color, texture, lighting and materials of all permanent 
signs and outdoor advertising structures or features shall not detract from the use 
and enjoyment of proposed buildings and structures and the surrounding 
properties. 

The application materials include a proposed wall sign that measures approximately 
19.5 square feet. The application materials indicate that the sign will be individual 
stainless steel letters anchored to the wall. The individual letters will be halo 
illuminated. A wall sign of this size and design is in compliance with the sign 
regulations in this District. The Board can find this condition met. 

8. EDR-8 Special Features 

Exposed storage areas, exposed machinery installations, service areas, truck loading 
areas, utility buildings and structures, and similar accessory areas and structures 
shall be subject to such setbacks, screen plantings or other screening methods as 
shall reasonably be required to prevent their being incongruous with the existing or 
contemplated environment and the surrounding properties. 

There are no such special features proposed for the site. The Board may want 
additional information regarding deliveries and the storage of non-marijuana solid 
waste. To reduce noise from deliveries or from solid waste removal, the Board may 
request information on anti-idling measures and time of day restrictions to ensure 
that these services do not impact the surrounding residential properties. 

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9. EDR-9 Safety 

With respect to personal safety, all open and enclosed spaces shall be designed to 
facilitate building evacuation and maximize accessibility by fire, police and other 
emergency personnel and equipment. Insofar as practicable, all exterior spaces and 
interior public and semi-public spaces shall be so designed to minimize the fear and 
probability of personal harm or injury by increasing the potential surveillance by 
neighboring residents and passersby of any accident or attempted criminal act. 

As noted in the application materials, security is important to Eskar, and surveillance 
cameras will be installed within the building and on the site per the requirements of 
the Cannabis Control Commission. Existing light fixtures in the parking lot will be 
upgraded to be full cut off LED fixtures to provide illumination. The Board can find this 
condition met. 

10. EDR-10 Heritage 

With respect to Arlington's heritage, removal or disruption of historic, traditional or 
significant uses, structures or architectural elements shall be minimized insofar as 
practical whether these exist on the site or on adjacent properties. 

The existing structure is not listed on the Inventory of Historically or Architecturally 
Significant Properties in the Town of Arlington nor is it under the jurisdiction of the 
Arlington Historical Commission. As such, the site contains no historic, traditional or 
significant uses, structures or architectural elements. The Board can find that this 
condition is met. 

11. EDR-11 Microclimate 

With respect to the localized climatic characteristics of a given area, any 
development which proposes new structures, new hard surface, ground coverage or 
the installation of machinery which emits heat, vapor or fumes shall endeavor to 
minimize insofar as practicable, any adverse impacts on light, air and water 
resources or on noise and temperature levels of the immediate environment. 

There are no proposed changes that will impact the microclimate. The Board can find 
that this condition is met. 

12. EDR-12 Sustainable Building and Site Design 

Projects are encouraged to incorporate best practices related to sustainable sites, 
water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor 
environmental quality. Applicants must submit a current Green Building Council 
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) checklist, appropriate to 
the type of development, annotated with narrative description that indicates how 
the LEED performance objectives will be incorporated into the project. 

The application materials include a LEED Checklist for Retail. The proposed project 
does not score highly on the LEED Checklist, but notes that public transportation will 

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Docket #: 2717, amended by 2905 
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be encouraged, bicycle racks will be available, interior and exterior LED light fixtures 
will be installed, low-emitting materials will be used in the renovation. These are 
reasonable measures for an existing building where no changes to the exterior and 
limited changes to the interior by a building tenant are proposed. The Board can find 
that this condition is met. 

IV. Conditions 


General 

1. The final design, sign, exterior material, landscaping, and lighting plans shall be 
subject to the approval of the Arlington Redevelopment Board at the time when 
future operators are identified. Any substantial or material deviation during 
construction from the approved plans and specifications is subject to the written 
approval of the Arlington Redevelopment Board 

2. Any substantial or material deviation during construction from the approved plans 
and specifications is subject to the written approval of the Arlington 
Redevelopment Board. 

3. The Board maintains continuing jurisdiction over this permit and may, after a duly 
advertised public hearing, attach other conditions or modify these conditions as it 
deems appropriate in order to protect the public interest and welfare. 

4. Snow removal from all parts of the site, as well as from any abutting public 
sidewalks, shall be the responsibility of the owner and shall be accomplished in 
accordance with Town Bylaws. 

5. Trash shall be picked up only on Monday through Friday between the hours of 
7:00 am and 6:00 pm. All exterior trash and storage areas on the property, if any, 
shall be properly screened and maintained in accordance with the Town Bylaws. 

6. Upon the issuance of the building permit the Applicant shall file with the 
Inspectional Services Department and the Police Department the names and 
telephone numbers of contact personnel who may be reached 24 hours each day 
during the construction period. 

Special Conditions 

1. The Applicant shall work with the Arlington Police Department and Town Counsel 
to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to coordinate efforts with a 
goal of minimizing and eliminating impacts on the neighborhood surrounding the 
facility at 23 Broadway. Consultation with the Department of Planning and 


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Community Development shall occur to ensure that the MOL) is responsive to any 
decision. 

2. The Applicant shall be responsible for the cost of any police details provided by 
the Arlington Police Department to oversee circulation of vehicles and 
pedestrians. 

3. Queueing shall be prohibited in any public right-of-way on Sunnyside Avenue and 
Broadway. 

4. As part of the Annual Sales Report provided to the Town of Arlington, the 
Applicant shall report how customers and patients arrive at the establishment. 


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