The article temporarily puts the project design on hold so the public can reach consensus. Project design is not considered complete until all property and rights of way are held. Article 69 removes the authority of Selectmen to take property or easements by eminent domain. When the project plan satisfies most residents, authority will be restored.
The Selectmen re-titled my article from:
RESCIND EASEMENTS AUTHORITY ON MASS AVE UNTIL RESIDENTS’ TRAVEL LANE COUNT IS HONORED
VOTE/RESCIND EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE SIDEWALKS
the article text is:
To see if the Town will vote to rescind its authorization for the Board of Selectmen to acquire by eminent domain, purchase, or other means, land interests for the purpose of Mass DOT project 604687 on Massachusetts Avenue, authorized by vote of Article 7 of the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Arlington at the session held on May 9, 2011; or take any action related thereto.
The observant may notice no use of the word sidewalk anywhere in the text, yet that is what Selectmen changed to confuse people. Easements can include those needed to replace sidewalks, but are not limited to them. ALL eminent domain taking needed for the project is put on hold, thus putting the project on hold until the project best meets the needs of residents, not Selectmen.
Selectmen removed the second paragraph from the article I submitted to again aid confusion:
Authorization shall be restored by the town for the Board of Selectmen to acquire such land interests up EITHER 1) the amendment of Mass DOT project 604687 plans for Massachusetts Avenue from the Cambridge City Line to Pond Lane are made to have four designated shared travel lanes with current parking, OR 2) a simple majority of registered town voters with not less than ten percent casting votes, whereby the voters approve a plan with fewer than four shared vehicle travel lanes.
Warrant Article 70, asks Selectmen once again to get the voters opinion on travel lanes – Do they want to keep the four in use for 50+ years, or have fewer with get bike lanes. State law doesn’t not even allow this article passed by residents to have any control over Selectmen. They don’t have to do it. To force a non-binding opinion question on a ballot is a petition of more than 10% certified local, registered voters, nine months before an election. We got that many signatures against lane reductions, so it is just a lot of easy work. It is an option after article 69 passes.