The material below comes from the Town Meeting Files web page on the Town of Brookline website. During our combining of the articles and the explanations (by the authors) we lost most footnotes. For these and any other issues, make sure you refer to the original documents linked to above.
1. Approval of unpaid bills. (Select Board)
Submitted by: Select Board
To see if the Town will, in accordance with General Laws, Chapter 44, Section 64, authorize the payment of one or more of the bills of previous fiscal years, which may be legally unenforceable due to the insufficiency of the appropriations therefor, and appropriate from available funds, a sum or sums of money therefor,
or act on anything relative thereto.
This article is inserted in the Warrant for every Town Meeting in case there are any unpaid bills from a prior fiscal year that are deemed to be legal obligations of the Town. Per Massachusetts General Law, unpaid bills from a prior fiscal year can only be paid from current year appropriations with the specific approval of Town Meeting.
2. Approval of collective bargaining agreements. (Human Resources)
Submitted by: Human Resources
To see if the Town will raise and appropriate, or appropriate from available funds, a sum or sums of money to fund the cost items in collective bargaining agreements between the Town and various employee unions; fund wage and salary increases for employees not included in the collective bargaining agreements; and amend the Classification and Pay Plans of the Town,
or act on anything relative thereto.
This article is inserted in the Warrant for any Town Meeting when there are unsettled labor contracts. Town Meeting must approve the funding for any collective bargaining agreements.
3. FY2020 budget amendments. (Select Board)
Submitted by: Select Board
To see if the Town will:
- Appropriate additional funds to the various accounts in the fiscal year 2020 budget or transfer funds between said accounts;
- And determine whether such appropriations shall be raised by taxation, transferred from available funds, provided by borrowing or provided by any combination of the foregoing; and authorize the Select Board, except in the case of the School Department Budget, and with regard to the School Department, the School Committee, to apply for, accept and expend grants and aid from both federal and state sources and agencies for any of the purposes aforesaid.
- Appropriate $234,757, to be expended under the direction of the Commissioner of Public Works, with any necessary contracts over $100,000 to be approved by the Select Board, to address the impact of transportation network services on municipal roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.
or act on anything relative thereto.
This article is inserted in the Warrant for any Town Meeting when budget amendments for the current fiscal year are required. For FY2020, the warrant article is necessary to balance the budget based on higher than projected State Aid and marijuana-related revenue, appropriate ride-share revenue, and to adjust the debt service budget to reflect the cost of the BAN issued for the Oak Street properties.
4. Appropriation for a four section Driscoll School (Ananian TMM10, et al )
Submitted by: C. Scott Ananian, TMM 10, (correspondent), Dave Gacioch, TMM 13,
Beth Gilligan, Jesse Gray, TMM 10, Andreas Liu, TMM 10, Kim Loscalzo, A. Nicole
McClelland, TMM 11.
To see if the Town will vote to appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, $108,800,000, or any other sum, to be expended under the direction of the Building Commission, with any necessary contracts over $100,000 to be approved by the Select Board and the School Committee to reconstruct the Driscoll School,
or act on anything relative thereto.
This is a duplicate of special appropriation item 32 under Article 9 submitted by the Advisory Committee for the May 2019 Town Meeting warrant. The special appropriation was converted to a resolution at the May 2019 Town Meeting; the resolution stated “that Town Meeting urges the Select Board to prepare a debt exclusion question specifically for a 4-section Driscoll School and to place said question on the ballot of a special town election, to be held no later than the Special Town Meeting in Fall 2019.” This resolution passed by a vote of 153-57- 15. In anticipation of the Select Board potentially placing the called-for debt exclusion question on the ballot after the warrant closes, the original special appropriation is being resubmitted for the Fall Special Town Meeting warrant. As in the Spring, this article could be used to either appropriate the funds authorized by a debt exclusion passed by the voters before Town Meeting, converted to an appropriation contingent on a debt exclusion vote scheduled no more than 90 days after Town Meeting, or converted again to a resolution.
As of the closing of the warrant, it is expected that the School Committee’s Capital Subcommittee will vote on a recommendation for a long-term capital plan including the Driscoll School at their September 10 meeting, and will present this recommendation to the full School Committee on September 12. The Select Board would have to vote to authorize a debt exclusion ballot by October 1 to hold an election on November 5, the traditional “first Tuesday in November” election day. There are no competing state or national elections this year. Delaying the election date past November 5 conflicts first with the Veterans Day weekend, and then with Town Meeting the following week.
5. Authorization for the disposal and sale of the real property at 15-19 Oak Street. (Nobrega, TMM4, et al)
Submitted by: Mariah Nobrega, TMM4, Neil Wishinsky, TMM5, Ben Franco, Select
To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the parcels of land located at 15-19 Oak Street, Brookline, Massachusetts, consisting of approximately 8,209 square feet, including all buildings and structures thereon and all privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging and all interests held pursuant to M.G.L. c. 183A, as well as all trees and shrubs thereon, on such terms and conditions as the Select Board determines to be in the Town’s best interest, or take any other action relative thereto.
A certain parcel of land with the buildings thereon known as and numbered 15 Oak Street, Brookline, MA, situated in Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, and bounded and described as follows:
EASTERLY by Oak Street, sixty-two and 12/100 (62.12) feet;
SOUTHERLY by Lot 10 on a plan hereinafter referred to, one hundred (100) feet;
WESTERLY by land of owners unknown, sixty (60) feet;
NORTHERLY by Lot 8 on said plan, eighty-five and 40/100 (85.40) feet;
Containing approximately 5,709 square feet of land and being Lot 9 on a plan of 18
house lots near Chestnut Hill Station, Brookline, drawn by Whitman and Breck, Surveyors, dated April 18, 1871, and recorded with Norfolk County Registry of Deeds in Book 410, Page 30.
Also, a certain parcel of land lying Southwesterly on Oak Street in said Brookline, bounded and described as follows:
NORTHEASTERLY by said Oak Street, twenty-five (25) feet
SOUTHEASTERLY by land formerly of the Rivers School and now of the Town of Brookline, one hundred (100) feet;
SOUTHWESTERLY by land now or late of Carroll and by land formerly of Daniel F. McGuire, twenty-five (25) feet; and
NORTHEASTERLY by other land formerly of Daniel F. McGuire, one hundred (100) feet.
Containing about 2,500 square feet of land, or however otherwise said premises may be bounded or described and be all or any of said measurements or contents more or less.
Said premises are shown on a “Plan of Land in Brookline, Mass”, dated September 18, 1941, by Walter A. Devine, Town Engineer, and recorded with Norfolk Registry of Deeds, Book 2369, Page 279.
Address Block-Lot-Sub lot
15-19 OAK ST, Unit 15 432-18-01
15-19 OAK ST, Unit 17 432-18-02
15-19 OAK ST, Unit 19 432-18-03
In furtherance of the proposed Baldwin School project, Town Meeting authorized the purchase of three residential condominiums at 15-19 Oak Street in December of 2018. The transaction was completed in early 2019 and the cost of debt service for the acquisition was incorporated into the debt exclusion referendum which was rejected by Brookline voters at the Annual Town Election on May 7, 2019. Annual debt service is expected to average about $333,477 for a 25-year borrowing period. With the failure of the debt exclusion referendum, the matter of whether the Town should sell the properties has been raised since the reason for the acquisition has not come to pass and there may be alternative uses for the funds. This warrant article is being filed to preserve the Town’s ability to sell the units and to insure that this debate happens at the November Town Meeting.
Recently, the School Committee proposed using the Oak Street condominiums as office space in the fall of 2020 as part of their overall space planning. The Building Commissioner has raised a number of zoning and building code requirements to convert the Oak Street residential properties into office use. It is likely that there are more cost effective approaches to providing the required office space but that would need to be further analyzed. If the Town decides to sell the Oak Street properties, the School Department would be required to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify other leased space for administrative offices. Sale of property requires an open and competitive process to realize the highest price possible. Note that should this be approved by Town Meeting, the Select Board would not be required to sell the properties. This is merely an authorization to sell. The Select Board would also determine the timing of such a sale, if one occurs.
6. Resolution pertaining to the annual stipends received by members of the Select Board and other committees. (McClelland TMM11, et al) Submitted by: Nicole McClelland TMM11, Mariah Nobrega TMM4, Neil Wishinsky TMM5
To see if the Town will adopt the following resolution:
WHEREAS Select Board members carry heavy, time-demanding responsibilities, particularly the Select Board Chair, and
WHEREAS though the stipend increased in 2011 to $4500 for the Chair and $3500 for other members, those amounts do not represent the true effort involved, essentially demanding an average of 20+ hours per week of time, and
WHEREAS many town residents who might otherwise be interested cannot afford to provide their time to this level and therefore the current system is exclusionary and eliminates potentially excellent candidates, and
WHEREAS all Brookline inhabitants and employees will benefit from an inclusive Select Board elected from competitive races.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. The Town is encouraged to raise the annual stipends of the Select Board to $40,000 (members) and $60,000 (chair) effective for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2020, and
2. Such stipend should increase annually by an amount equal to the general increase granted to Department Heads pending an affirmative action by Town Meeting to ratify that increase.as stated in the budget Conditions of Appropriation.
3. The Town is encouraged to review the compensation status of other committees, with a focus on School Committee.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
The objective of this resolution is two-fold:
1) To professionalize the board and compensate for increased expectations. Town government is a 335 million dollar enterprise (FY20). The town has been very fortunate to have had Select Board members thus far who have had the dedication and skills to run it effectively. However, the pressures on Town government are continuing and the challenges appear to be growing more complex; the skills these positions demand, and the time commitment, are likely to grow. We need to proactively ensure that we are attracting the best candidates for the job, but many of the most-qualified people have other opportunities to spend their time, including compensated opportunities. Providing a larger stipend may overcome that challenge, while still representing a miniscule fraction of the overall cost of town government; increasing the stipend value from $18,500 total per year to $220,000 per year will cost just over $200,000 (.06% of the budget). While this amount is substantial and reduces resources available elsewhere, it is time for the Town to finally bite the bullet and pay what these positions are really worth.
Further, the expectations on our Select Board members have increased: with the advent of cell phones and e-mail, they are expected to be “on” 24/7, in addition to attending multiple meetings and community events each week. It is an unrealistic expectation that a volunteer Select Board member, currently compensated at approximately $0.35/hr, would have the capacity to respond to constituents and engage with the community at the same level as a properly paid municipal official. An additional advantage of proper compensation for the Select Board is that members may be able to reduce or cut back on other obligations, thus allowing for more responsiveness.
2)Remove a major barrier to participation at the executive level of town government and attract a broader array of candidates. Many Brookline inhabitants face serious financial pressure to live here. As documented in “Understanding Brookline”1 almost one-third of Brookline residents live in households below the 300% poverty threshold, a marker of economic insecurity. Even for the other 70% of inhabitants who do not fall below that line, it may be very hard to afford to participate: childcare is frequently $15/hour or more, meaning a Select Board member could easily pay $500 a month in childcare just to attend the biweekly meetings. Increasing the number of people who can afford to participate as a member of the Select Board is an inclusive practice that is likely to result in competitive elections, the hallmark of thriving democracy. To date the Select Board has not been representative of much of Brookline inhabitants, skewing older/retired and white. Though Brookline is nearly 20% Asian, there has been no Asian member; the first Hispanic/Latino member was elected this year, the first Black member elected in 2015.
Several quotes from Newton City Councilors provided in the report illustrate why economic support enables better government and are also applicable to Brookline:
- “no one becomes a City Councilor to become rich, but there is middle ground between becoming rich, and not needing to be compensated. A large swath of our population falls into that middle ground.” (page 34)
- “I am not comfortable with my city government being run by a group of well-meaning volunteers. I want representation that illustrates a range of different life experiences, understands the value of a dollar, and in some cases, not necessarily all, can only engage in work that is paid as a matter of financial survival. Their finances do not allow for 10-20 hours a week of volunteer work…That voice on the council is necessary to represent a faction of our city.” (page 35)
The Newton report also provides a good overview of why compensation is appropriate on pages 8-9:
The Commission concluded that, despite the fact that both Council and School Committee roles are part time and outside employment is permitted, the City Council and School Committee perform necessary functions which only they may perform by charter. The Commission concluded that it is in the interest of every citizen that those duties be performed at the highest possible level by the most qualified representatives chosen from a diverse pool of candidates.
With that understanding in mind, the Commission concluded that compensation is required to encourage delivery of this type of public service regardless of an individual’s economic status. In fact, the current levels of compensation are relatively modest and may currently operate as a de facto disqualification for economically challenged citizens to serve. It was the Commission’s thought that higher compensation might serve the community by tending to increase the economic diversity of the candidate pool, or at the very least minimizing barriers to economic diversity, resulting in more contested elections and a more representative group of elected officials. The Commission concluded that the electorate gains when an increased range of talent, perspectives and views is contributed to the governing process and that higher compensation might facilitate that objective.
As the Commission found, the part -time positions of Councilor and School Committee member require a substantial time commitment, most of which takes place in the evening. While these officials are not required to relinquish outside employment, they do incur costs in meeting the time commitments of these positions, both in terms of time rendered unavailable for other engagements and for out-of-pocket expenses . While not legally prohibited, as a practical matter, City Councilors and School Committee members would be challenged to work a second job or take extra hours at their primary employment given the hours required by their elected capacities. The Commission concluded that modest compensation helps offset these costs. Furthermore, the prospect of modest compensation might attract candidates for office who would decline to run and serve without compensation.
Rationale for Action at this Time
There are several reasons to approve this stipend at this point in time:
- The new cannabis revenue may provide additional flexibility to take this action without reducing elsewhere in the budget
- This is relatively low-hanging fruit related to the recent Town Meeting vote affirming our commitment to inclusion (Spring 2019 Town Meeting, Warrant Article 29)
While not a principal rationale, it is also noted that there has been significant discussion in town in recent years to pursuing city status. One benefit of this revision is that it would make the cost of the Select Board somewhat cost-neutral to that of a mayor, thus removing that issue from the overall calculus of which municipal structure to pursue, if and when the discussion advances to that stage.
History of Select Board Compensation
One of the earliest references to the SB stipend is the town budget of 1895, when the stipend was set at $1,200 for the chair and $400 for members. The next reference found was in 1901 where the stipend was set at $1,350 for the chair and $750 for members. Starting in 1902, there is data for all years. The full history is in the table below.
|Year||Chair Stipend ($)||Current Value ($)2||Member Stipend ($)||Current Value ($)|
So if Town Meeting accepts $60,000 and $40,000, we are roughly restoring the Select Board back to the buying power of the stipend as it existed in 1916.
At this time the compensation does not include health insurance. Brookline Select Board members were previously eligible for health insurance and there are many people for whom health insurance would be extremely valuable, e.g. people who are self-employed, work part-time, or otherwise don’t receive insurance through their jobs. Many of these people might have the most flexibility to devote to town activities. This is something we may choose to consider in the future. As noted in the comment by one Newton Councilor: “I am concerned that doing this will eliminate the candidacies of those who have part time jobs, are self- employed, or don’t receive health care coverage at work. Note – some of our most productive Councilors fall into these categories. It will markedly reduce the pool to those who have full time jobs.” (page 39)
Executive Compensation in other Municipalities
The table below reports on selected Massachusetts municipalities. Brookline is the largest town in the Commonwealth, so its peer communities are mostly cities with mayors who receive a salary. Information on Plymouth, the only town comparable to Brookline in size, was not available. Smaller towns are also included for context. As shown, Brookline’s peer municipalities are paying more for their elected executives both overall and per capita. The average executive cost per person of the first seven peer communities (cities) is $4.41, which is also the cost of the proposed increase in Brookline’s stipend.
7. Resolution pertaining to the maintenance of pavement markings. (Miller)
To see if the Town will adopt the following resolution:
A resolution calling for the Town to properly maintain street markings for all modes of travel.
Whereas all markings on a street contribute to safety and clarity for users of the public way, including people walking, bicycling, using mass transit, and driving automobiles and trucks, and
Whereas the Town of Brookline’s Complete Streets Policy states that “The Town of Brookline shall plan, construct, and maintain its public ways to enhance safety, access, inclusion, convenience, and comfort for all users, thereby creating complete streets,” and
Whereas observations indicate that the maintenance of certain street markings intended for pedestrian and bicycle safety-such as crosswalks and bike lanes-has been inadequate to keep up with wear and tear, and
Whereas users of the public way who walk and bicycle are particularly vulnerable by virtue of their mode of transportation, inadequate maintenance of markings has a disproportionate negative impact on their safety, and
Whereas the Town of Brookline budgets for maintaining pavement markings in its operating budget, including those related to pedestrian and bicycle safety,
Now therefore, be it resolved that the Town evaluate and repaint or refurbish all roadway markings as needed when any markings on a segment of a road are repainted.
And further, be it resolved that the Town operating budget shall provide sufficient funds to allow for proper maintenance of street markings for automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian use, as well as any other markings that are provided on the public way for the safety of users.
In recent years the idea that streets should be safe for all users has become an increasing priority, in Brookline, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and around the world. For example, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation created the Complete Streets Funding Program to support projects that will improve safety, ADA accessibility, pedestrian and bike mobility, transit access and operations, and vehicular and freight operations. In 2019 Brookline applied for and was awarded a Complete Streets Funding Program grant of $234,968.
The Town has not maintained all street markings steadfastly. Pedestrian and bicycle markings are more likely to be faded, incomplete, or otherwise more difficult to see than are other street markings. If we are committed to this infrastructure, it is not enough to do it once. It must be maintained. Just as the Town doesn’t prioritize replacing one color light bulb over another when it burns out in a traffic signal, the Town should repaint on street markings on streets with equal priority. This resolution makes that policy directive clear.
8. Legislation authorizing the Select Board to offer a senior discount program for water and sewer rates. (Select Board)
To see if the Town will vote to authorize and empower the Select Board to file a petition, in substantially the following form, with the General Court:
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE TOWN OF BROOKLINE TO OFFER A SENIOR DISCOUNT PROGRAM FOR WATER AND SEWER RATES.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the town of Brookline Select Board may discount fees charged to residents aged 65 and over for the use of the town’s water and sewer system.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
or act on anything relative thereto.
When the revised rate structure for FY2020 was reviewed with the Select Board the potential of expanding the availability of the discount offered to senior water uses was explored. The Town would need to file legislation in order provide the discount recommended by the Water and Sewer Director. The intent is to expand the exemption to seniors also enrolled in the Tax Deferral and Senior Work-Off Exemption programs through the Assessing Department. The article would give the Select Board the authority to determine the specific discount offered, which would be voted during the annual rate setting process.
9. Resolution pertaining to the establishment of a real estate transfer fee (MacMillan,TMM4, et al)
To see if the Town will authorize and empower the Select Board, on such date and in such manner as required by the House Clerk, to file a petition for legislation to authorize the Town to levy a real estate transfer tax, which will be considered in the legislative session opening on the first Wednesday in January in the year 2020, provided that the General Court may reasonably vary the form and substance of this requested legislation which shall be within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.
WHEREAS Brookline is one of the state’s wealthiest towns with a median household income, of $111,289 one of the highest in Boston’s inner-core and the median for married couples with dependent children is approximately $260,756. Elderly women living alone earn $32,519 per year.
WHEREAS Brookline has the highest median home price of any community in the Commonwealth, at $892,959 and the average market rent is approximately $3,435.
WHEREAS affordable housing is further compounded and complicated by a combination of regional housing demand and constrained supply.
WHEREAS in view of limits on Brookline revenue growth, there is likely insufficient funding from existing sources for affordable housing purposes after meeting the Town’s existing operational and infrastructure maintenance commitments.
WHEREAS the Town of Brookline’s Land Bank Study Committee has researched a real estate transfer fee to expand Brookline affordable housing, among the possible purposes. Since the State House, however, will be considering transfer fee legislation for Somerville and Cambridge beginning in January 2020, it is urgent that the Town file its petition at the beginning of this upcoming legislative session so that Brookline may join this official conversation prior the scheduling of the session’s hearings.
WHEREAS the Real Estate Transfer Fee, as recommended, to fund the Brookline affordable housing trust fund is equitable, very low impact, and inexpensive to administer.
WHEREAS a real estate transfer fee would be in line with the direction neighboring communities including Concord, Cambridge and Somerville are moving to employ a Real Estate Transfer Fee to create affordable housing.
WHEREAS this type of fee is appropriate to fund housing and clearly defined, nonrecurring purposes.
WHEREAS a real estate transfer fee earmarked for the affordable housing trust is well suited to operate within the Town’s organizational structure and financial policies, and is specifically adapted to and compatible with the unique combination of long established urban and suburban neighborhoods and commercial districts in Brookline.
THEREFORE, the Town of Brookline hereby requests that the Legislature grant the Town of Brookline authority to levy a real estate transfer fee of the portion of the purchase price exceeding $500,000 upon the transfer of the purchase price of non-exempt real estate transactions, not to exceed 1.0 % is to be paid by the seller and not to exceed 1.0% to be paid by the buyer. Any agreement between the purchaser and the seller or any other person with reference to the allocation of the liability for the fee shall not affect such liability of the purchaser to the Town. The Town may define by bylaw what constitutes a controlling interest and the calculation of the fee.
And that the Town shall authorize certain transfers of real property interests be exempt from the fee including: transfers to the federal government, the Commonwealth, the Town, and any of their instrumentalities, agencies or subdivisions, including the Brookline Housing Authority; transfers to the Brookline Improvement Corporation; transfers of real property subject to an affordable housing restriction; (transfers made without additional consideration to confirm, correct, modify or supplement a transfer previously made;; and transfers to a charitable organization, as defined in clause Third of section 5 of chapter 59 of the General Laws, or a religious organization, provided, however, that the real property interests so transferred will be held solely for the production of affordable housing.
And the Town may not, by bylaw or otherwise, eliminate or reduce any exemption set forth in this in this law.
And that the Town may use existing property tax collection and billing methods. The fee shall be paid to the Town. The Town shall have such remedies to collect the fee as provided by law with respect to the collection of real property taxes. The Town may, by by-law, adopt additional requirements, exemptions, and regulations to implement or enforce said fee, consistent with this act.
And that the Town shall through policy, regulation and or by-law require prioritization of projects that employ sustainable practices which focus on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, and use.
And that the Town shall through policy, regulation and or by-law require prioritization of projects that employ mixed income and mixed-use development as characterized as pedestrian-friendly development that blend two or more residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, and/or industrial uses.
And that the Town shall require a copy of the deed or other instrument evidencing such transfer and shall be accompanied by: (i) an affidavit signed under oath or under the pains and penalties of perjury by the purchaser and seller attesting to the purchase price; (ii) the applicable fee owed or, if applicable, an affidavit of intent to seek one of the permissible exemptions, as described above for that property by the purchaser; and (iii) the basis, if any, upon which the transfer is claimed to be exempt in whole or in part from said fees. Upon receipt of the transfer fee or satisfactory evidence of exemption, the Town or its designee shall promptly thereafter issue a certificate indicating that the fee has been paid or that the transfer is exempt from the fee. The Norfolk Registrar of Deeds shall not record or register a deed unless the deed is accompanied by such certificate.
And that the Town’s appropriation of funds into the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund under the provisions of MGL Chapter 44 Section 55 C, shall be limited to financing affordable housing and reasonable amounts for personnel and other costs.
And that the Town shall prepare and issue an annual report that: (i) identifies fee receipts; (ii) quantifies affordable housing programs funded, including type and purpose; and (iii) evaluates the impact of said affordable housing programs, including but not limited to, to the extent reasonably possible and permitted by applicable law, the number and demographics of individuals and families served as well as measures of housing stability and wealth generation in the community.
And that this Act shall only become effective by a majority vote for a question on a Town election ballot.
or act on anything relative thereto.
Resolution to Request that the Legislature Grant the Town of Brookline Authority to Levy a Real Estate Transfer Tax Fee
The purchase and financing of a house in Brookline is increasingly difficult and near out of reach for far too many. The high cost of real estate is also a significant impediment in developing affordable housing for lower-income and working families in Brookline. A real estate transfer tax fee (RETT) would help to raise resources to create a housing stock for families, the elderly, disabled and veterans. The Town of Brookline has relied largely on the Brookline Housing Authority and MA Chapter 40B to satisfy the housing needs of those who lack the income to purchase or rent a home in Town, but that is far from enough to meet a significant current and projected housing needs.
The Town’s proposed RETT would fund affordable housing and does not extend to funding schools, green space other purposes. We believe that by focusing on the Town’s most significant issue, affordable housing, the Legislature is far more likely to vote in favor of our home ruel petition. The Town would be putting residents in a better position to maintain our existing housing stock. Benefits of a RETT in Brookline are as follows. We will be able to expand our current housing stock. First time home-buyers will have a better chance at home ownership. The RETT will play an essential role in providing housing for those most in need. This RETT is progressive. The proposed tax is also very low impact and inexpensive to administer.
Finally, a RETT would allow the Town through established committees and financial policies and processes to build the necessary funding to act quickly when the Town becomes aware of market opportunities. The Town would be able to anticipate opportunities and trends. It will increase the Town’s capacity to adjust its priorities and manage its resources, as circumstances require. The aim of this warrant article is to introduce a new model into the mix of Brookline’s means and methods for protection, creation, and preservation of Brookline’s housing values.
Critical Timing for Approval
The Town of Brookline’s Land Bank Study Committee has researched a real estate transfer fee to expand Brookline affordable housing, among the possible purposes. Since the State House, however, will be considering transfer fee legislation for Somerville and Cambridge beginning in January 2020, it is urgent that the Town file its petition at the beginning of this upcoming legislative session so that Brookline may join this official conversation prior the scheduling of the session’s hearings.
By way of background, Brookline has a population of 59,157 people and is the 18th largest community in Massachusetts. It is a largely white-collar town, with fully 96.76% of the workforce employed in white-collar jobs, well above the national average. Overall, Brookline is a town of professionals, managers, and sales and office workers. There are especially a lot of people living in Brookline who work in management occupations (14.98%), teaching (12.36%), and healthcare (12.13%). The per capita income in Brookline in 2010 was $65,189, which is wealthy relative to Massachusetts and the nation. This equates to an annual income of $260,756 for a family of four. On average Asians earn approximately $72,500 and Whites earn $65,668. Approximately 11.4% of the Town lives in poverty. However, Brookline contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. The Town’s racial demographics are: 71.4% white, 15.7% Asian American, 5.9% Latinix, 3.9 two or more races, 3% African American, and 0.1% Native American. (SCOUT 2019)
Brookline was once a town of renters but over time – and in response to homeownership demand
– the multifamily market has gradually declined to just over half of all Brookline households now renting the unit they occupy. It has approximately 24,716 residential properties that vary widely in price. The median home price is $892,959 . In 2018, there were approximately 1400 sales transactions. Approximately 38% of Brookline homes are valued at over $1.2 million; 16% are valued between $900,000 – $1.2 million; and 25.5% range from $600,000 to $909,000. Therefore, approximately 80% of the Town’s home values far exceed over $900,000. In terms of housing sizes they are: 2 bedrooms at 30%, 3 bedrooms at 23.2%, 4 bedrooms at 11.6% and greater than five bedrooms at 8.4%. Most of the Town’s housing stock is old. Approximately 50.3% is pre 1939 housing, 25.8% was built between 1940-1969, 20% between 1970 to 1999 and 3.9% of homes were built after 2000. In terms of types of homes, 20.9% are single family homes, 22.8% are small buildings, 51.7% are apartment complexes and 4.6% are townhomes. (SCOUT 2019)
Financial Benefits and Tax Implications
We appreciate that many Brookline homeowners are understandably concerned about the impact of increasing our tax burden. The RETT is not an override and will not increase property tax levy. It will not increase the automobile excise tax, the meals tax, the hotel occupancy tax, or other recurring taxes. It will not increase fees or fines. The RETT would actually shift the burden to more expensive properties, making it more progressive because it exempts at least the first $500,000 of the sale price. Furthermore, lower income owners tend to stay put while more affluent owners move more frequently. (Sexton 2010)
Any acquisitions for commercial development would contribute to the growth of the tax base. Since assessed property values in Brookline have recently increased consistently at rates of up to 7 – 10% per year (Table 1), virtually every Brookline seller has surely realized a gain, often reaching hundreds of thousand dollars. In effect, even if the real estate transfer tax fee reduces the sale price a small fraction of 2%, the sellers still reap a very substantial benefit from having property located in a community with excellent schools, parks, services, infrastructure, walkability, and transportation.
Table 1. Brookline Real Estate Trends
Therefore, it seems fair and appropriate for sellers and buyers to return a small portion of their change in property value to support the infrastructure from which they have, or will, benefit. The RETT payment, like impact fees are often employed in other parts of the country in areas experiencing rapid development (Been 2005), represents partial compensation for the Town’s contribution to increasing property value. (Bahl 2010)
For investors and developers in the business of owning, managing, and trading in properties, real estate is an asset. However, residential, owner-occupied real estate with the benefits of household occupancy is, first and foremost, a home that, in the Brookline market, happens to be very likely to appreciate and may reap tax advantages. When a home appreciates, the growth in value is generally viewed as at least partially due to the schools, the high quality public domain, a robust commercial sector, and the desirability of the location. It happens that the real estate appreciation in Brookline overwhelmingly offsets the property tax and RETT burdens. In this way, the RETT is a mechanism to return a small portion of this net change for sellers and buyers to the Town as fair compensation for services and infrastructure maintenance and investment that, clearly, has added substantially to the sale price and value of the property. (Bahl 2010)
Specifically, the empirical case studies presented indicate that there is no statistically significant impact of transfer tax rates on either home price or sales at the local level. This actually makes sense in a more rudimentary framework as well. Given that commissions, fees, closing costs, inspections, and other fees can run as high as 8% of the sales price of a property, the 0.45% increase in transfer rates on the most expensive homes is a proverbial drop in the bucket.” (Thornberg 2012)
Not all taxes are broad-based. (Capital Gains, gift, and Inheritance are examples.) Equitable taxation depends on a mix of broad-based as well as some narrower, more targeted taxes. The targeting of the RETT is equitable within a broad context as long as it does not constitute too great a proportion of the overall tax burden. The rate ceiling and exemption floor minimize any risk that the RETT will be excessive or cause significant deadweight losses (market distortion) . “Our state and local tax system remains “upside-down”: low- and moderate-income households pay a larger share of their income in taxes than do households with higher incomes. In fact, the highest-income households in Massachusetts – those in the top 1 percent – pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than does any other income group. (Baxandall and Kurt Wise 2019)
Compounding these problems, Congress enacted federal tax cuts at the end of 2017 that are skewed heavily toward the highest-income households, delivering to those in the top one percent of Massachusetts households a total cut in federal taxes of some $2.58 billion in 2019. Nationwide, the federal revenue loss from these tax cuts is anticipated to reach $1.9 trillion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The lost revenues will curtail the federal government’s ability to support programs in Massachusetts and throughout the nation for years to come. (Baxandall and Wise 2019)
It is usually the case that a particular tax doesn’t perfectly match a taxpayer’s ability to pay. Equitable taxation generally depends on a mix of taxes so that inequity in some taxes is off-set by features of others. We all support the schools, services for the elderly, and veterans through our taxes, even though a minority of households in Brookline have school age children, and many others are not elderly, or veterans or use the Town’s plentiful parks and greenspace or other services, and therefore may not benefit directly from various specific services their taxes support.
Homeownership and Intergenerational Wealth
Wealth concentration is high and rising in the US, reigniting an old debate within economics about the role that intergenerational wealth transmission plays in understanding savings and wealth accumulation. (Laura Feiveson and John Sabelhaus) Moreover, there is a strong relationship between homeownership and intergenerational wealth. An Urban Land Institute study found that “having a home owning parent increases a young adult’s likelihood of being a homeowner by 7 to 8 percentage points. Additionally, a 10 percent increase in parental wealth increases a young adult’s likelihood of owning by 0.15 to 0.2 percentage points. For example, if parental wealth is $200,000, the young adult would have a 50 percent likelihood of owning a home. Parental wealth includes financial assets and nonfinancial assets, such as homes and automobiles, minus any debt. Parents’ tenure status and wealth explains 12 to 13 percent of the difference in homeownership between black and white young adults. Young adults are more likely to be homeowners if their parental wealth is above $200,000. More than 50 percent of white parents and only 10 percent of black parents hold more than $200,000 of wealth.” (Jung Hyun Choi Jun Zhu Laurie Goodman) Table 2 below, highlights where the Town’s most significant poverty exists. There is also a h correlation between where poverty exists in Brookline and race. Moreover, our research has found that these areas are also most likely to be impacted by climate change, because they live in close proximity to flood zone. (Town of Brookline GIS)
Table 2 – Housing and Income in Brookline
Flood Zones by Income
Segregated Housing Patterns in Brookline
Finally, data supports that a RETT will help to minimize Brookline’s housing segregation patterns, which is also an intergenerational wealth problem as described above. A Boston Federal Reserve study found that “the typical white household in Boston is more likely than nonwhite households to own every type of liquid asset. For example, close to half of Puerto Ricans and a quarter of U.S. blacks don’t have either a savings or checking account, compared to only 7% of whites. The typical white household in Boston is more likely than nonwhite households to own every type of liquid asset. For example, close to half of Puerto Ricans and a quarter of U.S. blacks don’t have either a savings or checking account, compared to only 7% of whites. Whites and nonwhites also exhibit important differences in assets that associated with homeownership, basic transportation, and retirement. Close to 80% of whites own a home, whereas only one-third of U.S. blacks, less than one-fifth of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, and only half of Caribbean blacks are homeowners. (Ana Patricia Muñoz, Marlene Kim, Mariko Chang, Regine O. Jackson, Darrick Hamilton, and William A. Darity Jr.) And while Brookline is not Boston, we believe that these trends may be quite similar in Brookline.
Table 3 below includes maps that highlight housing segregation patterns. You will see that maps below that people of color are concentrated in particular areas of Town.
Overall, housing equity makes up about two-thirds of all wealth for the typical (median) household. In short, for median families, the racial wealth gap is primarily a housing wealth gap. This is no accident. Besides facing discrimination in employment and wage-setting, for generations even those African-American families that did manage to earn decent incomes were barred from accessing the most important financial market for typical families: the housing market. Housing policies that prevented blacks from acquiring land, created redlining and restrictive covenants, and encouraged lending discrimination reinforced the racial wealth gap for decades. (Jones 2017)
“While much of the policy discussion around segregation looks back at the lasting impact of racially biased policies like redlining, a focus on these historic injustices risks letting us off the hook for actions taken today. Current practices, many of which function through local zoning codes, also serve to perpetuate residential segregation and inflate housing prices. (Luc Schuster 2019) That said, we know that “Communities that permitted more housing units appear to have experienced greater reductions in segregation between 2000 and 2017. That relationship appears to be stronger for multifamily housing than for housing production as a whole. (The Boston Foundation 2019)
Housing is Brookline’s third rail, it can and will drive our future. While the RETT will not solve all aspects of our housing problems, it is an essential step if we are to better serve our current and future residents. For the above reasons, we believe that the RETT would benefit the entire community.
Summary: A resolution t o see if the Town will authorize Select Board to file a petition for legislation to authorize it to levy a real estate transfer tax for affordable housing.
Bibliography and Resources
Phineas Baxandall and Kurt Wise, January 14, 2019, 14 Options for Raising Progressive Revenue, MA Budget and Policy Center,
Bahl R, J Martinez-Vasquez, J Youngman. 2010. Whither the Property Tax: New Perspectives on a Fiscal Mainstay. in Bahl, R; Martines-Vasquez, J; Youngman, J eds. Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on the Property Tax. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA.
Been V. 2005. Impact fees and housing affordability. Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, 8(1):139-185.
The Boston Foundation, The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2019: Supply, Demand and the Challenge of Local Control,
Brookline Community Foundation. 2012. Understanding Brookline: A Preliminary Report from the Brookline Community Foundation. Brookline, MA.
Brookline Town Meeting Combined Reports: May 2002, November 2005
Brookline Public Schools. 2017. 2017 Preliminary Enrollment Projection: Public Schools of Brookline, MA.
Center for Community Progress. 2018. http://www.communityprogress.net/land-bank-faq-pages-449.php
Combined Reports. ATM 2006. Report of the Community Preservation Act Study Committee May 5, 2006: Executive Summary.
Deskins J. 2010. Measuring the Behavioral Responses to the Property Tax. in Bahl R; Martines-Vasquez J; Youngman J eds. Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on the Property Tax. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA.
Laura Feiveson and John Sabelhaus, June 01, 2018, How Does Intergenerational Wealth Transmission Affect Wealth Concentration?
Green R, S Malpezzi, S Mayo. 2005. Metropolitan-specific estimates of the price elasticity of supply of housing, and their sources. American Economic Review, 95(2):334-339.
Hensold B, C Freda, J Kollar, E Halvorsen, J Akbar, K Talente. Brookline Strategic Asset Plan & Major Parcel Study. Sasaki Consulting and RKG Associates. November 2017. (http://www.brooklinema.gov/1313/Strategic-Asset-Plan)
Janelle Jones, February 13, 2017, The racial wealth gap, How African-Americans have been shortchanged out of the materials to build wealth https://www.epi.org/blog/the-racial-wealth-gap-how-african-americans-have-been-shortchanged-out-of-the-materials-to-build-wealth/
Jung Hyun Choi Jun Zhu Laurie Goodman, October 2018 , RESEARCH REPORT
Intergenerational Homeownership The Impact of Parental Homeownership and Wealth on Young Adults’ Tenure Choices
Ana Patricia Muñoz, Marlene Kim, Mariko Chang, Regine O. Jackson, Darrick Hamilton and William A. Darity Jr., The Color of Wealth in Boston , A Joint Publication of Duke University, The New School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, March 25, 2015
Pehlke L, L Koff. 2013. Brookline’s Changing Households and Census Data Relevant to School Enrollments. Brookline Community Foundation, Brookline, MA.
Schuster, Luc, How Local Zoning Helped Create Our Region’s Housing Crisis, Thursday, July 25, 2019
Moreover, “The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2019: Supply, Demand and the Challenge of Local Control, helps explain how these dynamics work. Municipalities with zoning codes that make it difficult to build multifamily housing tend instead to produce only single-family homes accessible only to a small segment of the population–this is referred to as “exclusionary zoning.” Our mental model for “segregation” often leads us to picture urban neighborhoods of color, but some of our region’s most intense segregation is also in our affluent white suburbs. These communities have produced very little multi-family housing and instead are composed mostly of expensive single-family homes affordable only to higher-income families, most of whom tend to be white. In addition to analyzing problems with our current approach to local zoning, the Housing Report Card also analyzes which cities and towns aren’t producing their fair share of housing for lower-income residents.”
SCOUT, BROOKLINE PROFILE LIVING IN BROOKLINE, HTTPS://WWW.NEIGHBORHOODSCOUT.COM/MA/BROOKLINE
Semuels A. 2015. Affordable Housing, Always. The Atlantic, July 6, 2015.
Split Rock Real Estate. 2017. What is The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank? Split Rock Real Estate: Exclusive Representation FOR BUYERS ONLY with Over Two Decades of Martha’s Vineyard Real Estate Knowledge and Experience. http://splitrockre.com/marthas-vineyard-land-bank.shtml
Sexton T. 2010. Taxing Property Transactions versus Taxing Property Ownership in Bahl R; J Martines-Vasquez; Youngman J eds. Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on the Property Tax. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA.
Thaler R, C Sunstein. 2009. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.
Thornberg T, J Levine, V Kaluderovic. 2012. Transfer Taxes in the City of Los Angeles: An Empiracal Economics Analysis. Beacon Economics. in M Santana and G Miller. Documentary Transfer Tax Ballot Measure. City of Los Angeles. 2012.
Witten, J. Adult Supervision Required: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s Reckless Adventures with Affordable Housing and the Anti-Snob Zoning Act. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, Vol. 32, Issue 2, 2008.
10. Amend Article 4.9 of the Town’s General By-laws to dissolve the Committee on Campaigns. (Select Board)
To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town’s General By-laws by deleting Section (G) of Article 4.9 “Committee on Campaigns” in its entirety, thereby dissolving the Committee on Campaigns;
or take any other action relative thereto.
The Committee on Campaigns was established by Town Meeting in 2006 following the work of the Moderator’s Committee on Campaign Finance. The Committee recommended a series of reporting requirements, which were also established at the 2006 Special Town Meeting. The Committee has not met or taken any action in several years. Since the Committee was established via the General By-Laws, the purpose of this article is to remove the committee from the By-Laws.
11. Authorization for the termination and relocation of certain sewer and drainage easements at Kerrigan Place. (DPW)
To see if the Town will authorize the Select Board to terminate and relocate two old town sewer and drainage easements (currently not in use) from the 1800’s located in Kerrigan Place, a Private Way described as follows:
1) Drainage Easement in Kerrigan Avenue (n/k/a Kerrigan Place), a Private Way, bya grant from Patrick Kerrigan to the Town of Brookline in an Instrument datedMay 6, 1863, and recorded in Book 329, Page 43 at the Norfolk Registry ofDeeds; and
2) A 4’ wide Sewer Easement in the lands n/f of Catherine Kelly located at 10-12 Kerrigan Place, by a grant from Catherine Kelly to the Town of Brookline in an Instrument dated March 2, 1888, and recorded in Book 793, Page 423 at the Norfolk Registry of Deeds; and
to further authorize the Select Board to accept a grant for the relocation of said drainage easements from Claremont Brookline Suites LLC a limited liability company duly organized and existing under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or one of its successors or assigns, for One Dollar ($1.00) and other good and valuable consideration and upon terms and conditions that are in the best interest of the town; said grant of easement is for the relocation of the sewer and drainage easement over a portion of land at 111 Boylston Street, Brookline, Massachusetts and is shown as UTILITY EASEMENT 1,010+/- S.F. on a plan entitled “Easement Plan in Brookline, MA dated July 22, 2019 prepared by Precision Land Surveying, Inc., Michael Pustizzi PLS #46505. Said Plan and Easement Agreement to be recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds upon acceptance by the Select Board.
Said new Easement Area location is described as follows:
Boundary Description of Utility Easement
A certain easement located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, County of Norfolk, Town of Brookline, situated on the northerly sideline of Boylston Street, and is shown as Utility Easement, 1,010± square feet on “#111 Boylston Street, Easement Plan in Brookline, MA (Norfolk County)” by Precision Land Surveying, Inc., Dated July 22, 2019, more particularly bounded and described as follows:
Beginning at a point on the northerly sideline of Boylston Street, said point being the most southeasterly corner of the parcel; thence running
WESTERLY 6.90′ by the northerly sideline of Boylston Street, by a curve to the left having a radius of 7,674.73′ to a point; thence turning and running
N 13°52’40” W 147.06′ to a point; thence turning and running
N 86°40’50” E 7.02′ to a point; thence turning and running
S 13°52’40” E 145.74′ to the POINT OF BEGINNING.
Containing 1,010 square feet or 0.023 more or less.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
In connection with the development of the Homewood Suites at 111 Boylston Street the town conveyed a small piece of land (500 s.f. +/- ) in the former Kerrigan Place to the developer. The town requested that the developer relocate the existing sewer and drainage system in Kerrigan Place and grant an easement back to the town for the new location. The relocation of the sewer and drainage system and related work was completed as part of the construction for the hotel. The developer paid for the design and installation of the new drainage system in accordance with the plans and specifications approved by the town. The new drainage system is in a better location and the upgraded design and plastic pipes are an improvement to the older system located in Kerrigan Place and installed in the late 1800’s. This article will allow for the formal termination and abandonment of the old sewer and drainage easements and the acceptance of the new easement for the town will be recorded at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds.
12. Authorization to enter into Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for rooftop solar photovoltaic installations on certain Town properties. (Select Board)
Warrant Article authorizing the Select Board to enter into Solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with other parties to install, own and operate solar systems on several Brookline properties and sell the power to the Town.
To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Select Board as follows:
a.) Upon terms and conditions in the best interest of the Town, to enter into 20-year solar Power Purchase Agreements (“PPAs”) on or before December 31, 2021 for rooftop solar photovoltaic system installations on Town properties listed by Assessors Parcel ID in Table A below (the “Properties”); and
b.) As part of the PPAs referenced above, to enter into Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Agreements in lieu of real and personal property taxes in accordance with General Laws Chapter 59, §38H (Acts of 1997 Chapter 164, Section 71(b)), as amended) and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) Guidelines published in connection therewith.
Table A – Town Properties for Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic System Installations
Assessors Parcel ID Address Property Name
048-13-00 345 Harvard Street Coolidge Corner School
245-01-00 50 Druce Street Runkle School
202-09-00 115 Greenough Street High School
441-43-00 870 Hammond Street Municipal Service Center
277-01-00 100 Eliot Street Heath School
194-10-11 46 Tappan Street Kirrane Pool/Gym/UAB Building
Or take any other action relative thereto.
The Town of Brookline has committed to prioritize planning to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Town- and community-wide. This Warrant Article seeks authorization for the Select Board to enter into solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) on six properties. Over the next several years, the Town anticipates potentially installing solar systems via PPAs on the following roofs:
|Proposed Roof Locations for the Solar Systems||Size (Estimated DC kW)|
|Coolidge Corner School||292|
|Municipal Service Center||292|
|Kirrane Pool & Gym||263|
Overview: There are typically two principal paths available to the Town for acquiring solar energy systems. The first path is direct ownership: the Town purchases a solar system and owns and operates it, using the electricity and retaining its “environmental attributes” (known as Renewable Energy Certificates “RECs”). The second option is to use third-party financing and contract for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a company that owns and operates the system and sells the electricity back to the Town (through so-called “net metering credits,” which appear as reductions on the Town’s electricity bill). Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, and different implications for financing the systems’ capital cost and meeting the Town’s climate-neutral goal.
Direct financing and ownership allows the Town to use the energy produced and retain ownership of the projects’ RECs. Using this approach to procure and install solar systems, the Town would need to raise or allocate funds (e.g. through a bond offering) to cover the projects’ costs. At approximately $3.15/watt installed cost3, the six proposed solar locations would cost about $4.5 million. As a municipality, the Town cannot benefit from certain investment credits and incentives available to private tax equity investors, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and accelerated depreciation. However, the Town could participate in the Commonwealth’s current Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, but under that program would not own the RECs produced with the electricity from the solar systems.
Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) : By participating in the SMART program (either under the recommended PPAs or via direct ownership), the Town is helping to meet the State’s Renewable Portfolio and Clean Energy Standards (RPS and CES). However, as is required when participating in the SMART program, the electric utility company — not the Town — owns the RECs. In this case, the Town cannot “count” SMART RECs toward its emissions reduction goal because the RECs are counted by the electric utility toward the RPS and CES; for the Town to count them toward its own goal would be “double counting.” To achieve greenhouse gas reductions within the Town’s operations, if participating in the SMART program, the Town would need to purchase the equivalent amount of RECs on the market.
Alternatively, the Town could forgo SMART incentives, and then could own and retire the RECs from the market. In this case, as noted, the Town would need to (1) pursue a direct ownership model (not under SMART), or (2) use a third-party financing model in which the Town is specifically entitled to the RECs through the contracting arrangement.
Third-party financing with a PPA needs no capital investment from the Town, and does not cost the Town anything to maintain and operate the projects. With each PPA, the Town makes regular, fixed-rate energy payments (for the length of the contract), at a price per kilowatt-hour stipulated in the PPA.
This Warrant Article is seeking authorization for the Select Board to enter into solar Power Purchase Agreements at the six designated sites, for the following reasons:
- The Town of Brookline has committed to prioritize planning to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Town- and community-wide. The energy grid and buildings are important sectors for climate action. Substituting fossil fuel electricity with renewable energy through the installation of solar systems on Town buildings is an important step in achieving the Town’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.
- The PPAs give the Town a timely, no-cost path forward with a vendor/investor for a major group of solar installations. The PPAs framework has been pre-negotiated by PowerOptions, a non-profit energy-buying consortium, on behalf of municipal and other participants.4 The pricing methodology used is transparent and consistent.
- The PPAs are designed to take advantage of the incentives offered through the Commonwealth’s SMART program, as well as the federal solar ITC and rapid depreciation.
- By participating in the SMART program through these PPAs, the Town is helping to meet the State’s Renewable Portfolio and Clean Energy Standards (RPS and CES). Because greenhouse gas emission reductions do not have a geopolitical boundary for environmental impact, participating in the SMART program is a meaningful form of climate action.
- There are advantages to moving forward with these PPAs now, as both the SMART incentives and the ITC decline over the next few years—with a corresponding increase in PPA prices. That is, there may be an opportunity cost to waiting.
- A 20-year term for the PPAs fixes the Town’s energy cost for the term, insulating the Town from market volatility for the quantity of energy produced.
- While other solar procurement approaches might have advantages, they have not yet been explored in depth; a direct ownership approach would require a funding process that would take, at minimum, several years. Until such options can be explored and analyzed, it is unknown whether they might be more or less advantageous than implementing these PPAs.
- Until the Town further explores options for direct ownership and its feasibility by site, an immediate alternative to these options is the recommended PPAs.
- PPAs can allow the Town, at one or more points during the term, to buy out the contract and own the system after a minimum holding period (usually seven years, which is the time an investor needs to realize fully the value of the tax incentives). This buy-out provision—once it is examined by the Town—may be a way for the Town to acquire rights to the RECs. This provides the Town with critical optionality in the future.
- These PPAs would apply only to the six roof locations for which designs have been completed.5
- The PPAs in no way prevent the Town from considering other approaches to solar in the future, and in fact provide potential flexibility with these six solar projects, given the buyout provision.
If Brookline contracts with a third party under the PPAs, the Town will enter a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the Provider. This provides cost certainty over the term while capturing a fair value that reflects comparably to personal property tax.
13. Amend Section 4.07 of the Town’s Zoning By-Law to allow Accessory Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations. (The Department of Planning & Community Development Principal petitioner for point-of-contact) Co-petitioners: Blake Cady; David Lescohier, TMM11; David Lowe, TMM11; Scott Englander, TMM6; Willy Osborn.
Zoning By-Law Amendment to permit accessory Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations under certain circumstances.
To see if the Town will amend the Zoning By-Law by amending Section 4.07 – Table of Use Regulations – to allow small accessory ground-mounted solar infrastructure in a similar manner as sheds, by adding text in the description of Accessory Use 61 in the Use Table, underlined below:
61. Non-commercial greenhouse, tool shed, Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installation, or other similar accessory structure.
To be considered an accessory use, the nameplate capacity of Ground Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations may not exceed 50 kW DC and shall be subject to use regulations described in Section 5.06.4.h(3-13). Additionally, Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations with a nameplate capacity greater than 10 kW DC in any district requires a Special Permit.
* Special permit required if in excess of 150 square feet of gross floor area.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
Zoning By-Law Amendment to permit accessory Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installations under certain circumstances.
If passed, this proposed Zoning By-Law amendment would allow for ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations in the Zoning By-law, which currently prohibits them outside of two municipally-owned properties: a portion of the municipally-owned transfer station site on Newton Street and Singletree Hill Reservoir just south of Route 9. The proposal does this by adding text specifically allowing ground-mounted solar systems to Use 61, which describes allowable accessory uses. The amendment does not change any setback or other siting requirements for accessory buildings and structures in the zoning by- law, and further, adds a minimum 25 foot setback from all lot lines by requiring adherence to site plan review and other use regulations described in Section 5.06.4.h(3-13). Accessory ground-mounted solar photovoltaic installations would be limited to 50 kWdc and any system larger than 10 kWdc (a footprint of roughly 460 square feet) would require a special permit.
Solar modules have significantly increased in power and decreased in cost over the last 10 years, and solar projects are increasingly regarded as both desirable investments and a tangible way for individuals and organizations to address global warming. Brookline homeowners and businesses are allowed to put solar modules on their roofs, but many are prevented from doing so because of poor roof orientation or shading from trees or buildings. This amendment expands the solar options available to property owners by allowing the installation of ground-mounted solar systems anywhere a small outbuilding or other accessory use structure might be sited, such as to the side or rear of a house.
Given the Town’s commitment to prioritize planning to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (no reliance on fossil fuels), we should be doing everything reasonable and possible to encourage property owners to reduce their carbon footprints. Ground-mounted solar is a proven technology that has great potential for emissions reduction and as such should be permitted by the Town. If the Zoning By-law allows accessory structures such as sheds and out-buildings, there is good reason to also permit accessory ground-mounted solar systems.
The proposed zoning by-law amendment protects against excessively large installations by limiting “as-of-right” (without special permit) ground-mounted systems to 10 kWdc, approximately the footprint of two parking spaces. The capacity limit of 10 kW would accommodate up to approximately 30 330-watt solar modules, on racks attached to the ground or acting as a canopy over vehicle parking. It would also allow for the installation of more innovative and efficient systems such as dual-axis trackers on high-strength pole supports. With power levels of 330 watts per module, a 30-module system could produce on average about 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month—a supply of clean, carbon-free energy that could more than meet the electricity needs of a moderately-sized house.
14. Amend Section 6.04 of the Zoning By-law pertaining to electric vehicle parking. (Ananian TMM10), et al)
To see if the Town will amend Section 6.04 of the Zoning By-law (“Design of All OffStreet Parking Facilities”) by amending paragraph 11, as follows (new language appearing in bold/italics, deleted language appearing in strikeout):
11. Parking lots for six vehicles or fewer shall conform to the regulations of this section, with the exception of paragraphs 2., 3., 4., (subparagraphs a. and b.),
and 7., and 15.
And adding a new paragraph 15, to read:
§6.04.15 – ELECTRIC VEHICLES
15. At least 15% of parking spaces, and not less than a single parking space, must be EV READY, as defined in Section C405.10 of 780 CMR 13, the Massachusetts Building Code. If a charger is provided, users may be charged a reasonable fee for time the equipment is in use and/or electricity consumed. The count of EV READY spaces may include spaces designated for visitors or tradespeople, and need not be reserved for the use of Electric Vehicles. Changes in the requirements of this section, consistent with the intent of encouraging electric vehicle adoption, may be approved by the Board of Appeals for an individual building by special permit.
or act on anything relative thereto.
Section 1.00 of Brookline’s Zoning By-law declares its purpose to be “promotion of the public health, safety, convenience, and welfare” by, among other things, “assisting in the economical provision of transportation […] and other public facilities”. Climate change is a public health crisis. Our sustainability goal for the Town of Brookline is to increase transport efficiency and electrify all motorized transportation. This warrant article advances the latter goal by ensuring that our public transportation facilities are compatible with the electrified-transport future; it complements and does not conflict with other Town efforts to reduce the number of cars necessary and reduce the amount of land surface required to store them: it just helps ensure that whatever parking is provided in town is consistent with the electrification goal.
This article does not increase the amount of parking required or permitted, and it does not mandate that an EV READY parking space be reserved for electric vehicle use. The EV READY parking space simply has the infrastructure required for charging.
A zoning amendment very similar to the present one was introduced in Fall 2016. At the time, no definition of an EV READY parking space appeared in the Massachusetts building code, and a concern was raised that the necessary definitions and wiring requirements in the Fall 2016 article veered too closely to “methods and materials of construction”, which by state law only the building code (and not zoning regulations) can regulate. In March 2019 the state Board of Building Regulations and Services approved amendments to the state building code that define “EV READY parking space”, clearing the way for a reintroduction of this article.
The Fall 2016 article was referred to a committee, who reported back to Town Meeting in Spring 2017. Recommendation #2 of the 2017 Report to Annual Town Meeting of the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Sub-Committee of the Select Board’s Climate Action Committee (April 20, 2017) was to:
2) Amend Zoning By-Law utilizing one of several possible alternative approaches, (See Section 8 for a more detailed discussion of a variety of regulatory approaches). One such approach would be to amend Article 6 – relating to off-street parking facilities, to require or encourage EVSE installation or EVSE-ready wiring for projects of a certain threshold size. Action: Fall 2017 Warrant Article. https://www.brooklinema.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18795/Report-to-Annual-Town-Meeting-2017-v4
Although the full subcommittee report discusses other possible forms for a zoning by-law amendment, the introduction of a State EV READY definition cleared the obstacles from implementing what that report labeled “Path 1”.
It is worth noting that EV charging infrastructure is especially needed in the transition to fully-electric vehicles, when plug-in hybrids are expected to be the most common and cost-effective zero-emission option for many owners. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles typically have very small batteries, and are only “zero emission” if that battery is kept charged! Once you drive past the limited range of the battery, a plug-in hybrid is just a plain polluting greenhouse -gas-emitting internal combustion engine car. So widespread charging infrastructure is even more important for plug -in hybrids, which might need to be topped off after every trip to keep them driving clean, than it is for a modern long-range fully battery-electric vehicle, which might need to be charged only once a week.
This by-law exempts parking lots with 6 or fewer spaces to mitigate impact on small residential homeowners. In our existing zoning, parking is allowed by principal use #22 (“Residential parking garage or parking area, whether as the sole use of a lot or as a secondary use, solely for the storage of cars of residents of other lots located within 1,400 feet.”), but this existing zoning use only allows business L, G, O, and industrial I zones to park more than 5 cars by right. Residential T, F, and M zones already require a special permit to have more than 5 cars, and S and SC currently require a variance to do so. Lots with 7 or more spaces are not typical in our Town.
Further, there are robust grandfather clauses to ensure the zoning change in this article does not unduly affect existing buildings. State law (MGL Ch 40A sec 6) provides that “a zoning ordinance or by-law shall not apply to structures or uses lawfully in existence or lawfully begun […] but shall apply to any change or substantial extension of such use […] except where alteration, reconstruction, extension or structural change to a single or two-family residential structure does not increase the nonconforming nature of said structure.” The key phrase is “increase the nonconforming nature of said structure”; doing unrelated renovation work (adding a mudroom, for example) does not increase the “nonconforming nature” of its parking spaces. In addition, our local Brookline zoning bylaw states in 6.01 (1): “Structure and land uses in existence or for which building permits have been issued at the date of adoption of this By-law shall not be subject to the requirements of this Article so long as the kind or extent of use is not changed, provided that any parking facilities now serving such structures or uses shall not in the future be reduced below such requirements.” Repaving an existing parking lot or adding drainage, for example, doesn’t change “kind or extent of use”, and so would not trigger the new EV READY requirements added by this warrant article. For any remaining unusual cases which might slip through the cracks, this warrant article allows the Zoning Board of Appeals to issue a special permit as a final loophole.
Given all these exceptions, the 15% EV READY requirement in this article is probably too low to meet our state and town electrification goals. As part of the Multi-State ZEV Task Force (zevstates.us) Massachusetts has committed to putting 300,000 ZEVs on the road by 2025. In 2016, we had 2.3 million vehicles registered in Massachusetts. Simple math indicates that 13% of our statewide fleet will need to be electric in the next six years to meet the state goal. Our Brookline goal, as proposed in another article in the warrant for this Town Meeting, is for 30% of our Town vehicles to be electric by 2030. Given the slow rate of new building construction in town, the number of electric vehicles in town will quickly outpace the EV READY spaces provided for by this article. I hope that we will increase our EV READY guidelines for major impact projects substantially (currently 2% EV READY + “capacity” for an additional 15%), and take further efforts to incentivize the creation of both public and private chargers for “garage orphans” in this town. This warrant article is but a modest first step.
15. Amend Section 6.02 of the Zoning By-law to eliminate minimum parking requirements and establish maximum parking ratios for storefront uses within the Transit Parking Overlay District (TPOD). (Pehlke, TMM2, et al)
To see if the Town will amend the Zoning By-Law by:
1) Adding the following language to Section 6.02, Paragraph 1:
“e. For storefront uses (which shall include Uses 12 through 14 inclusive, 16 through 18A inclusive, 20 through 21 inclusive, 29, 30, 32 through 36A inclusive, 36C, 37and 44, as listed in Article IV) on any lot for which any portion of the lot is within the Transit Parking Overlay District, the parking ratios specified in the table in 6.02, paragraph 1 shall serve as maximum allowable parking ratios. These storefront uses are not subject to the minimum parking space requirements in Section 6.02.
2) Changing the final footnote to Section 6.02, Paragraph 1, Table of Off-Street Parking Space Requirements as follows:
“Section 6.02, paragraphs 1.
2 through 7. contain additional requirements by type of use and by location.
Or act on anything relative thereto
This Warrant Article seeks to remove minimum parking requirements and establish maximum parking ratios for most commercial store front uses within the Transit Parking Overlay District. The TPOD covers most of North Brookline and is defined as all parcels within 0.5 miles of a Green Line transit stop. The TPOD was adopted in 2016. The purpose of establishing the TPOD was to better align Brookline’s residential parking requirements with household vehicle ownership and travel behavior as well as achieving better alignment with historic land use patterns within areas served by public transportation.
Subject to Town permitting review, commercial property owners and businesses would be free to propose any amount of parking considered appropriate, up to a reasonable maximum. The proposed maximum is equivalent to the current town wide minimum parking requirements for commercial storefront uses as identified in Section 6.02, paragraph 1, Table of Off-Street Parking Space Requirements. In general, the current minimum parking requirements range between 3 -5 spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. for ground floor retail and general office uses. Upper floor general retail and office parking requirements range from 1 space to 2.5 spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. Required parking for restaurants is calculated based on the number of seats the restaurant, (or other uses considered “public assembly”) have, ranging between requiring one parking space per 3 seats to one space per 5 seats. This often results in a parking requirement that is much higher for restaurants than for general retail, causing permitting issues when a restaurant wishes to locate in an existing retail storefront. It’s interesting to note that the Selectmen’s Parking Committee (2010) documented that 68% of Brookline’s commercial businesses that are primarily retail or restaurant had no on-site, off-street parking.
An impact of this Article would be to allow greater flexibility and case-by-case consideration of parking for a commercial change of use within existing storefronts. This same flexibility would apply to any proposed new commercial development within the TPOD. Existing storefront uses which have on-site private parking could repurpose some or all of their on-site parking if they deemed it to be unnecessary, subject to Town permitting, licensing and review. This could have the beneficial result of allowing for more shared parking between adjacent uses and public use of our existing private parking resources.
The principle reasons for taking this step are as follows:
1. Our compact, walkable neighborhood commercial areas succeed because of their transit access, shared public parking resources, dense neighborhoods within walking and biking distance, and the juxtaposition of multiple civic, shopping and entertainment destinations. Most of the buildings devoted to store front uses in these areas were built prior to the advent of minimum parking requirements for such uses, and therefore do not have on-site private parking. This fact contributes to the compact, inviting, pedestrian-friendly commercial areas we enjoy today. Requiring a minimum amount of on-site private parking for new commercial projects or for a change of use within our existing storefronts limits economic activity. In addition, meeting such requirements is often not possible or desirable if we wish to maintain our historical and current land use patterns and walkable accessibility. Inadequate room for new parking on existing sites prevents the renovation of older buildings, or can result in replacing storefronts (or entire stores) and street trees with garage entrances and associated curb cuts, and/or blank facades hiding floors of parking, all of which substantially degrade the pedestrian environment When everyone parks at their destination, with no reason to use the sidewalk, street life is eliminated, and storefront businesses in the vicinity of the destination see less foot traffic.
2. Transportation accounts for approximately 40% of Brookline’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Town’s commitment to prioritize planning to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 requires a reconsideration of old planning norms based on automobile-centric design and land use patterns. We must take steps to improve and support active and public transportation options. Incentivizing car parking through private parking requirements—when transit, walking, and biking alternatives are readily available and heavily used—works against this goal.
3. Traditional minimum parking requirements are based on outmoded planning and engineering concepts. The basis for the parking demand estimates embedded in traditional parking requirements derive from parking occupancy counts at isolated commercial properties in suburban and rural settings. Therefore, these requirements do not reflect conditions in compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented settings such as Brookline’s commercial districts and historic transit corridors. Such requirements were developed “without considering parking prices, the cost of parking spaces, or the wider consequences for transportation, land use, the economy, and the environment.”7
4. In our neighborhood commercial areas, new businesses seeking to lease an existing storefront can sometimes be forced through the special permit process, adding expense and delay to their business plans, simply because the use they are proposing requires more parking under our Zoning By-Law than the business previously occupying the same location—even when the previous business occupied a storefront with no on-site parking. Additionally, to avoid a special permit or variance request, proposed restaurants often have to limit the amount of seating they could otherwise provide because the minimum parking requirements are tied to the number of seats.
These added burdens can sometimes be too much for a small local business, causing new entrepreneurs to look elsewhere to open, or to close rather than adapt their business model within their current location. With the advent of this Warrant Article, change of use requests for storefront uses can be reviewed and permitted by Town Building Department personnel, without resulting in new small businesses having to get a special permit for these storefront uses.”
5. Small businesses contribute to Brookline’s quality of life. Moreover, expanding our commercial tax base will help the Town close a forecasted structural revenue shortfall—an important town wide goal. Based on tax revenue per square foot of land area, businesses in our walkable, compact commercial areas are exceptionally valuable to the Town from a tax revenue standpoint. Private on-site parking is an extremely inefficient use of our limited land resources and works against commercial productivity. Almost all of our recent overlay zoning districts have removed minimum parking requirements for commercial uses and capped the number of parking spaces allowed by including a maximum number of parking spaces. This more flexible approach has proven successful in the market for which these projects secured financing.
6. Maximum parking standards for businesses in mixed-use, transit-oriented districts make sense because parking in excess of what is actually needed could invite automobile trips that would otherwise be shifted to transit, walking, bicycling, or carpooling. Numerous jurisdictions around the United States have adopted maximum parking requirements in transit-oriented commercial settings, and the MBTA’s transit-oriented development policy encourages communities to set reasonable maximums within their station areas. For Brookline, the current town wide minimum parking requirements represent a reasonable set of maximum requirements for storefront uses within the TPOD: from a zoning perspective, these requirements have already been deemed to provide adequate parking capacity for businesses located anywhere in town, including those that lack proximity to Green Line stops or shared parking resources. It is reasonable to expect that businesses within the TPOD would not need more parking, on a dedicated, on-site basis, than these maximum standards would allow. In exceptional cases, a property owner would have the usual right to seek relief through the Zoning Board of Appeals.
7. The urban form of North Brookline was established long ago, before the automobile became ubiquitous. Land use patterns were based on access to public transportation, biking and walking. Many studies have documented the desirability and value-added of walkable settings, and this is a part of Brookline’s historical legacy that we should maintain. The resulting density and compactness of our commercial areas are key to the charm, usefulness, economic efficiency and support for small and local businesses that these areas provide. Adding significant quantities of on-site private parking works against Brookline’s core values, strengths, and character in such a setting.
Though not addressed directly by this warrant article, our shared, public parking resources, both on-street and in our Town-owned lots, should be better managed to meet customer demand and encourage customer parking turnover, utilizing best practices, such as performance pricing.8 Generally speaking, the term performance pricing refers to implementing a dynamic parking pricing strategy based on demand that achieves a performance target, usually set at a goal of 85% parking utilization, thus always having 15% of spaces available. Such a strategy significantly reduces circling the block, etc. and provides available parking where it is most desired.
Additionally, to better manage our public parking resources, the Town should pursue Transportation Demand Management to incentivize active and public transportation use by employees. New solutions, such as merchant employee parking at the Coolidge Corner School during non-school hours, would effectively increase the public parking supply. Public shared parking is much more efficient than single-use private parking, with several businesses enjoying customer and employee utilization of a single parking space. If it is determined that additional parking resources are necessary, the Town should consider expanding shared public parking, as well as encouraging the shared use of existing excess capacity on private sites.
16. Resolution pertaining to E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices (Warren, TMM1, et al)
To see if the Town will vote to adopt the following resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED, that Town Meeting urges the Select Board not to adopt any further or extend any existing shared E-Scooter or other micro-mobility pilot programs or implement any permanent shared E-Scooter or other micro-mobility services, until such time as: (1) the State updates and clarifies existing laws governing the use and operation of E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices, and (2) the Transportation Board holds public hearings and adopts rules and regulations regarding the operation and parking of E-Scooters and other micro mobility devices upon public sidewalks, public paths and in parks; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Town Meeting urges Brookline’s State legislative delegation to work with the State Legislature to ensure that in any legislation involving E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices that Brookline retains local control to regulate its sidewalks with respect to the use and operation of such devices.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
The Select Board launched an E-Scooter pilot program to identify and evaluate potential demand, community issues, benefits and costs of a permanent E-Scooter Share Program in Brookline.
The pilot program, based on usage data and user survey results supplied by the vendors, indicates that in Brookline there appears to be significant demand for shared E-Scooter services. The level of reported demand and replaced automobile trips appears to be consistent with what has been reported by other communities that have deployed shared E-Scooter services.
The pilot program has also highlighted that the operation and parking of motorized scooters on sidewalks has raised concerns with respect to pedestrians, and in particular, the elderly, disabled and the very young. These concerns include the risk of injury from collisions as well as tripping and fall hazards from improperly parked E-Scooters.
The pilot program also highlighted gaps in State and local regulations governing E-Scooters. Brookline has been working in a leadership role to address these gaps by participating in the planning and development of a regional, regulatory and operating framework with other local municipalities including Boston, Cambridge, Watertown and Somerville.
Contemporaneously, several bills have been introduced in the legislature to address E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices regarding the operation of such devices on public sidewalks. Thus far, the filed legislation permits the operation of these devices on sidewalks other than in business districts. It does, however, preserve local control of sidewalks by allowing municipalities to pass local ordinances and regulations limiting any operation on sidewalks whether in or outside of business districts. But, of course, there is no assurance that the final legislation will preserve the local option.
This first resolution seeks to postpone additional piloting or the permanent deployment of E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices in Brookline until the State legislature updates and clarifies its existing laws and until the Brookline Transportation Board holds public hearings and develops rules and regulations to govern the use of such devices in Brookline.
The second resolution urges our State legislative delegation to work with the State Legislature to ensure that, in any legislation involving E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices, Brookline retains local control to regulate its sidewalks with respect to the use and operation of such devices.
17. Resolution pertaining to Open-Air Parking Licenses and Electric Vehicle Charging Outlets. (Ananian, TMM10, et al)
Resolution regarding Open-Air Parking Licenses and Electric Vehicle Charging
To see if the Town will adopt the following Resolution:
WHEREAS, according to the 2017 report to Annual Town Meeting of the Electric Vehicle Charging Study Committee, 50% of Brookline properties are rental, not owner-occupied, and residents living in rented dwellings who wish to transition from a fossil-fuel burning vehicle are not in a position to invest in or adapt their home for an Electric Vehicle; and
WHEREAS, although reducing reliance on single-owner vehicles has a number of beneficial effects in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the electrification of the remaining motorized transport is necessary to meet the goals of the Commonwealth and Brookline’s commitments under the Paris agreement; and
WHEREAS, lack of a self-owned parking spot can make charging an electric vehicle logistically difficult, discouraging Town citizens from switching to an emission-free vehicle; and
WHEREAS, the current open-air parking license process administered by the Select Board is cumbersome, and enforcement against those renting out open-air parking spots without a license is practically-speaking non-existent;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Select Board appoint a committee to study the process of administering open-air parking licenses, with the following goals: (1) to fund a pilot program to provide incentives, including rebates on acquisition and installation costs, for open-air parking license holders who provide EV Ready parking spots, as defined in Section C405.10 of 780 CMR 13, the Massachusetts Building Code; (2) to reform the license process to make it less burdensome to comply with the law in good faith and acquire and renew an open-air parking license, and (3) to more effectively enforce licensing requirements.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Town endeavor to add multiple low speed charging outlets to all Overnight Resident Parking Lots, and establish a program to facilitate their use for overnight charging of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
or act on anything relative thereto.
One of the surprising findings of the Electric Vehicle Charging study committee was the large percentage of “garage orphans”: Brookline residents who face obstacles switching to an electric vehicle because of the lack of a dedicated charger. The solution to the garage orphan challenge in our town must be multifold, including ensuring that Major Impact Projects in town provide sufficient charging capacity in parking structures, supporting a renters/condo-owners “bill of rights” to ensure they are able to install chargers at their own expense, and providing public chargers, for example in town lots and in town-provided overnight parking, to accommodate those without their own dedicated charger. This article addresses one additional piece of that challenge, in attempting to increase the number of rented parking spaces which provide electric vehicle charging facilities. A small pilot program of, for example, $10,000 could provide $500 rebates to the first 20 open-air parking license holder applicants, and would provide feedback on whether this incentive would be effective in increasing EV charger availability in our town.
It is time to broaden the adoption of Electric Vehicles to those who rent or who cannot afford to own property with dedicated parking.
18. Amend the Town’s Zoning By-laws to change the definition of “lodger” and permit certain short term lodging. (Gladstone, TMM16, et al)
To see if the Town will amend the Zoning By-Law as follows:
1. By amending Section 2.12.3 – the definition of “Lodger” – by adding the additional language underlined below:
A person who rents space for living or sleeping purposes, for a period of 30 consecutive days or longer, and who is not within the second degree of kinship to the lessor.
2. By Amending Section 2.12 – “L” Definitions – to add a new item known as “Lodger, short term” after the term “Lodger,” as follows:
Lodger, short term: A person who rents space for living or sleeping purposes, for a period of fewer than 30 consecutive days, and who is not within the second degree of kinship to the lessor.
3. By amending Section 4.07 – Table if Use Regulations – to allow short term lodgers in certain restricted situations by adding a new use 51C as follows:
51C Within a dwelling unit, which is owner occupied and registered under M.G.L. c. 62C §7 and under any additional registration required by the Town By-Law as it may be amended from time to time, the renting of not more than two rooms as a lodging to a short term lodger, without separate cooking facilities and for not more than two short term lodgers. In the case of a dwelling unit occupied by unrelated persons, the sum of short term lodgers and other unrelated persons shall not exceed the limit defined for a family in Section 2.06, paragraph 1. The owner of the dwelling unit, or a Lodger living in the dwelling unit, or a designated property manager must sleep in the dwelling unit being rented to a short term lodger for all but one night of such short term lodger’s rental.
or act upon anything else relative thereto
The Building Department currently interprets the definition of “Lodger” under the Zoning By-Law to mean a lodger for 30 days or more. This warrant article makes explicit the interpretation that the Town has been using for the proposition that short term lodging, such as those offered by Air Band B and similar services, are not a permitted use in Brookline. As a consequence, based on complaints, the Building Department has been shutting down advertised Air B and B’s and similar short term rentals.
This warrant article also adds a new definition for “short term lodgers” and adds a new use that explicitly permits short term lodging under conditions similar to those already allowed for lodgers for 30 says or more, which is permitted under the existing Use 51. The proposed new Use 51C, includes the same restrictions as the existing Use 51: renting of not more than two rooms, which rooms cannot have separate cooking facilities, to not more than two short term lodgers and in no event can all more than 4 of unrelated persons dwell at one time in a dwelling unit.
The proposed new use would have the following additional requirements:
1. The owner would need to be registered under the Commonwealth’s short term rental registration system created by G.L. c. 62C, Section 7;
2. The owner would need to comply with any additional registration or regulatory requirements the Town may choose to impose through amendments to the Town By-Law;
3. The owner of the dwelling unit, or a Lodger (long term) living in the dwelling unit, must sleep in the dwelling unit being rented to a short term lodger for each night of such short term lodger’s rental in order to avoid a scenario wherein (i) an owner-occupier vacates the unit in order to facilitate the short-term lodger or (ii) the owner occupier of a two, three or multi-family building rents the units in which the owner does not live to short term lodgers.
Town Meeting previously accepted the terms of G.L. c. 64G, Section 3A in order to be able to facilitate a local use tax on hotels. By operation of G.L. c. 62C, Section 7, such taxes are now automatically applicable to short term rentals. That being the case, every Air B&B renter, who has not been shut down by the Town, will in theory be paying the local tax into the Commonwealth and the Town will then start collecting that tax payment as of July 1, 2019. This warrant article will legalize at least some of the uses for which the Town will be collecting that tax.
The primary motivation for starting with the proposed new Use 51A is to permit low and fixed income people to be able to take advantage of short term rentals in order to supplement their income and facilitate their staying in their homes. Such owners may prefer to supplement their income in this fashion, as opposed to taking on long term lodgers as roommates, in order to maintain their autonomy and privacy when the spare bedroom(s) are not rented. Also, long term lodgers may be more difficult to evict if they become a problem for the owner, which is less of a concern when it comes to short term renters. Thus, this proposal has a strong economic justice component.
19. Amend the Town’s Zoning By-law to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (Blood)
To see if the Town will amend the Brookline Zoning By-Law as follows.
Add, a new subsection c. to §2.01 – “A” DEFINITIONS, 1. ACCESSORY
c. Accessory dwelling unit “ADU”: A separate and self-contained dwelling unit located in a single family detached building, or in a detached building located on the same lot as a single family building as an accessory and subordinate use to the primary residential use of the property, provided that such separate dwelling unit has been established pursuant to the provisions of Brookline Zoning By-Law, Section 4.05 Paragraph 3.2.
Add a new sub section 5. to §2.15 – “O” DEFINITIONS
5. OWNER-OCCUPIED – Serving as the principal or year-round residence of the property owner of record as defined by the Town Assessor and as further documented in §4.05, Paragraph 3.2.
Add at the end of the sentence in sub section1. of §4.04 – LIMITATION OF AREA OF ACCESSORY USES
, except that an accessory dwelling unit may occupy up to the lesser of 750 square feet of habitable space or 30 per cent of the floor area of the principal building by right or, by Special Permit, up to the lesser of 950 square feet of habitable space or 30 percent of the floor area of the principal building.
After “No accessory use” in sub section 3. of §4.04 – LIMITATION OF AREA OF ACCESORY USES, add
, except accessory dwelling units,
To change the title of §4.05 to ACCESSORY USES IN RESIDENCE DISTRICTS; ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS
To add the following new Section 3 to §4.05 – ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS
3.1 Intent: Accessory dwelling units are an allowed accessory use where they are, by design, clearly subordinate to the principal dwelling unit and meeting the requirements of this Section. Accessory dwelling units are intended to advance the following:
- To provide flexibility for families as their needs change over time and, in particular, provide options for older adults to be able to stay in their homes and for households with disabled persons;
- To increase the diversity of housing choices in the Town while respecting the residential character and scale of existing neighborhoods;
- To provide a non-subsidized form of housing that is generally less costly and more affordable than similar units in multifamily buildings;
- To add housing units to Brookline’s total housing stock with minimal adverse effects on Brookline’s neighborhoods.
3.2. Accessory dwelling units in single family owner-occupied buildings shall conform to all the following provisions:
- Maximum square footage. An accessory dwelling unit shall occupy up to 30 per cent of the floor area of the principal building or 750 square feet of habitable space, whichever is less.An accessory dwelling unit which exceeds 750 sq. ft. but does not exceed 950 sq. ft. of habitable space or 30 percent of the floor area of the principal building, whichever is less, may be approved by Special Permit. Criteria for issuance of this Special Permit shall include documentation that a permanent household member with a handicap or illness, not of a temporary nature, requires the aid of a resident caregiver to aid a family member. This Special Permit may require an additional off-street parking space.
- Owner-occupancy. A building containing an accessory dwelling unit shall be owner-occupied, which requirement may be met via either the principal or the accessory dwelling unit. Qualifying owner-occupancy must be certified as a precondition for receiving a Certificate of Occupancy for the accessory dwelling unit and not less than once per calendar year thereafter, by an affidavit, in a form to be provided by the Building Department and signed by the owner-applicant. Copies of the completed Affidavits of Owner-Occupancy shall be retained by the Building Department.Owner-occupancy shall be further certified by inclusion of the subject property in the listing of residential property tax exemptions as maintained by the Town Assessor, beginning not more than 24 months following, as applicable, the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for a new accessory dwelling unit or the transfer of ownership for a pre-existing accessory dwelling unit, and continuing for each Fiscal Year thereafter.
- Building envelope. An accessory dwelling unit may be created in an existing building or accessory building if the building envelope is not expanded and any increase in FAR stemming from the conversion of non-habitable space to habitable space does not produce a resultant FAR greater than 120% of the allowed FAR in the current Zoning By-Law. An expansion of the building envelope to create an accessory dwelling unit shall be allowed by Special Permit if the resultant FAR is no greater than 120% of the allowed FAR in the current Zoning By-Law and all other dimensional requirements are met. The provisions of subsection 1.a.and e. of Section 5.22 shall not apply to the creation of accessory dwelling units.
- Exterior appearance. A building containing an accessory dwelling unit must exhibit no exterior evidence of occupancy by more than one family, including, but not limited to the following:
(1) Having no more than one means of access/egress visible from the street upon which the property faces;
(2) Having no more than one street number address; if the accessory dwelling unit has a second mailbox or mail delivery slot, it shall not be visible from the street;
(3) Having no electric, gas, or water meters other than those serving the principal dwelling unit of the building in which it is situated;
5. Exterior alterations are permitted, provided they are in keeping with the architectural integrity of the structure, including but not limited to:
(1) The exterior finish material should be the same or visually consistent with the exterior finish material of the remainder of the building;
(2) The roof pitch should be consistent with the predominant roof pitch of the remainder of the building;
(3) Trim should be consistent with the trim used on the remainder of the building;
(4) Windows should be consistent with those of the remainder of the building in proportion and orientation.
6. Parking. A single family property with a by right accessory dwelling unit will conform to parking requirements as applicable to single-family homes with no accessory dwelling unit. An accessory dwelling unit which exceeds 750 sq. ft. of habitable space and which requires a Special Permit may, as a condition of the Special Permit, require one additional off-street parking space. Existing setback requirements will apply to all parking.
If additional parking is required, including surface parking replacing existing garage space, in addition to meeting setback requirements, screening is required sufficient to minimize the visual impact on abutters, such as evergreen or dense deciduous plantings, walls, fences or a combination.
7. Maximum number of occupants. The total number of individuals residing in the principal and accessory dwelling units combined may not exceed the number allowed in the principal dwelling unit alone, under Section 2.06 “F” definitions for family.
8. Minimum age of principal dwelling unit. The principal dwelling unit must havebeen constructed five or more years prior to the date of application for a permit to construct an accessory apartment as evidenced by a certificate of occupancy for the original construction of the dwelling; where no such certificate is available, the property owner will provide other evidence of lawful occupancy of the existing dwelling on or before a date at least five years prior to the date of application satisfactory to the Building Department, or if by Special Permit, satisfactory to the Board of Appeals.
9. Conversion of garage space. An accessory dwelling unit that is created by conver-sion of a pre-existing garage, including an existing garage in a separate structure from the primary residential building, may be approved only by Special Permit. No separate structure, other than conversion of an existing garage, may be approved as an accessory dwelling unit. Garage space eligible for conversion to an accessory dwelling unit must have been constructed five or more years prior to the date of application for a permit to construct an accessory apartment as evidenced by an original building permit or other documentation satisfactory to the Board of Appeals. The provisions of Section 5.22, Exceptions to Maximum Floor Area Ratio Regulations for Residential Units 1.e prohibiting replacement of garage parking to a location exterior to the house does not apply to this subsection.)
10. Allowable means of egress. An accessory dwelling unit must have two means of egress that conform to the applicable requirements of the Building Code. If the second means of egress requires an exterior stairway, any such stairway will require a Special Permit and may not exceed more than one story in height nor be visible from a public way.
11. One accessory dwelling unit per lot. No more than one accessory dwelling unit shall be allowed per lot.
12. No separate ownership. No accessory dwelling unit shall be held in separate ownership from the principal structure/dwelling unit; at no time shall an accessory dwelling unit, or the building of which it is a part, be deeded as a condominium unit.
13. Curb cut limit. Accessory dwelling units may not be located on any lot which is accessed from any public or private street by more than one curb cut, except for lots having more than one pre-existing curb cut for a period of at least five years.
14. Minimum rental period. Rental of either the accessory dwelling unit or its associated primary dwelling unit shall be for a term of not less than six (6) months and shall be subject to a written rental or lease agreement.
15. Historic districts. Where a building is located within a local historic district and therefore subject to the procedures required under Article 5.6 of the General By-Law, any decisions of the Brookline Preservation Commission shall take precedence over the criteria and procedures set forth above, but the Preservation Commission may be guided by the provisions of this Section in addition to its own criteria and procedures.
16. Recording at Registry of Deeds. Before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued, the property owner of any accessory apartment shall record with the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds or with the Land Court a certified copy of the approval, in a form prescribed by the Building Commissioner or, if required, the Special Permit. Certified copies of the recorded documents shall be filed with the Building Department.
17. Change of ownership. When ownership of any residential property containing an existing accessory dwelling unit changes, the new property owner shall within 30 days of the title transfer, file with the Building Commissioner a sworn affidavit attesting to continued compliance with the requirements of this section and all applicable public safety codes, at which time the Building Commissioner shall conduct a determination of compliance with this Section.
The new property owner shall certify annually thereafter on the first business day of January, or upon transfer to a new owner as provided above, continued compliance with the requirements of this section in a form acceptable to the Building Commissioner.
18. Termination. A property owner who chooses to discontinue an accessory dwelling unit shall notify the Building Commissioner in writing within 30 days following such action.
19. Enforcement. A property owner who fails to recertify as required an accessory dwelling unit or otherwise comply with all provisions of this section shall be subject to regulatory enforcement by the Building Commissioner.
The Building Commissioner shall seek advice and counsel from the Director of Planning and Community Development when there is any question in the application of the criteria contained in this Section and in the approval of any special permit for accessory dwelling unit approval.
The Building Commissioner may re-inspect the property for compliance with the Zoning ByLaw and health and safety regulations, including but not limited to when there is a change of ownership.
20. Public listing of approved units. A listing of all accessory dwelling units shall be maintained by the Town in such a manner as to be accessible on the Town of Brookline website.
3.3. Pre-existing unauthorized accessory dwelling units may be approved by the Building Commissioner subject to the following requirements:
(1) The property owner shall submit an application request in a form prescribed by the Building Commissioner;
(2) The property owner must provide evidence, in a form satisfactory to the Building Commissioner, that the accessory dwelling unit was constructed five or more years prior to the date of adoption of this Bylaw section.
(3) The pre-existing accessory dwelling unit must comply with all requirements of the accessory dwelling unit section of the Zoning Bylaw; however, the Building Commissioner may approve an accessory dwelling unit with habitable space exceeding 950 sq. ft., but not exceeding 30 percent of the floor area of the principal building.
(4) Before approval of an existing accessory dwelling unit, the Building Department shall conduct an onsite inspection for compliance with all applicable Building Code requirements and other applicable provisions of this Section.
To add the following to §4.07 – TABLE OF USE REGULATIONS , following Accessory Uses 51A:
To add, to §5.22- EXCEPTIONS TO MAXIMUM FLOOR AREA RATIO (FAR) REGULATIONS FOR RESIDENTIAL UNITS,
at the end of Section 1. General Provisions, a, before “.”
, except for accessory dwelling units per Section 4.05(2)
at the end of 2 b.,
For purposes of this subsection only, an accessory dwelling unit, as per Section 4.05 paragraph 2 shall not be considered a separate unit.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
An accessory dwelling unit (“ADU”) is a self-contained or segregated space within a single-family home, comprised of a kitchen, bathroom and living/sleeping area and subject to size, design, ownership and use restrictions.
In 2009, Town Meeting considered an ADU-authorizing zoning bylaw amendment. While a strong majority voted in favor of that article, it fell several votes short of the 2/3 required super majority for adoption of all zoning articles. This current ADU article for single family homes differs in some respects from the prior article, while adopting some provisions from the Newton ADU ordinance which became effective in 2017.
Under Article __, the principal residence or the ADU must be owner-occupied; the ADU, if granted by right, can be no greater than 750 square feet or 30 percent of the home’s total habitable space, whichever is less, and by Special Permit, under certain conditions may be up to 950 square feet. The property must be under a single common ownership, i.e., it cannot be ‘condo’d’. The exterior of the house must continue to appear as a single-family home and can have only one set of metered utilities.
All approved ADU’s would require initial and periodic certifications of owner-occupancy of the subject property. Based upon the many specific restrictions included in the article, a single-family home containing an authorized ADU would be very different than a two-family home.
In recommending this Article, the Brookline Housing Advisory Board (HAB) has observed the growing popularity of ADU’s in urban, suburban and rural communities, both in Massachusetts and nationwide. This trend is mainly a result of households becoming smaller; the continued aging of our population with a desire of many homeowners to ‘age in place’; and more inclusive definitions of “family”. The AARP, among others, has reported very favorable research on accessory dwelling units, and many of our neighboring communities now authorize and encourage ADU’s.
A review of numerous Greater Boston area communities that have adopted an ADU Bylaw indicates on the one hand significant variations in specific bylaw provisions and, on the other hand, remarkable uniformity in the overall volume of resulting activity, which has been low everywhere. The HAB has found no evidence that these communities have experienced any adverse neighborhood effects.
The HAB sees ADU’s as one component of a strategy that encourages a diversity of housing types to serve many legitimate social, economic and housing needs of our increasingly diverse Brookline citizenry.
In particular, ADU’s are seen as potentially helpful to:
o Young families or single working parents seeking stable childcare options;
o Middle-aged parents helping adult children to become independent;
o Frequent travelers, or retirees who winter in warmer climes, concerned about leaving homes unattended;
o Older homeowners seeking to remain in homes, while needing personal assistance/ companionship;
o Adult children seeking to care for older parents while maintaining independence for both;
o Families with disabled members seeking stable and convenient options for in-house care;
o Homeowners of all ages struggling to pay their living and home maintenance costs;
o Renters seeking lower cost living options. Short term rentals would be prohibited.
In summary, the Housing Advisory Board believes that Article __ will enable some home-owners—especially older adults–to reduce their own housing (or other life) costs and/or for the occupants of ADU’s to live more economically, thereby increasing affordability in general without public cost or further new development.
Finally, this ADU article will promote greater personal safety and security by providing an opportunity for owners of currently unauthorized dwelling units to have their units inspected for fire, health and safety code compliance and allowing their existing illegal units to be legalized.
20. Amend the Town’s Zoning By-law to allow Micro Unit Dwellings in the Coolidge Corner General Business District. (Zuker)
To see if the Town will amend the Zoning By-Law as follows (proposed new language is underlined and deletions are noted with a strike through):
1. By amending the Table of Use Regulations, Section 4.07, Principal Uses, Section 6D. Dwelling, Micro Unit as follows:
2. By amending Section 5.01 – Table of Dimensional Requirements and the
Footnotes to the Table by adding a footnote 21 as follows (new language is
21. For property in the G-1.75 (CC) see also Section 5.06.4.b.
3. By amending Section 5.06.4.b Coolidge Corner General Business District paragraph 2 as follows (new language is underlined):
2) For such applications, the Board of Appeals may grant by special permit an increase in gross floor area subject to the procedures, limitations, and conditions of Table 5.01 and §5.21., however, in the case of an application for a building that contains seventy-five percent (75%) or more Micro Unit Dwellings, the requirement set forth in §5.21.2.b requiring that the lot or part of the lot be 20,000 square feet or more in order to qualify for Public Benefit Incentives shall not apply.
4. By amending Section 5.06.4.b Coolidge Corner General Business District paragraph 5 as follows (new language is underlined):
5) For such applications, residential development shall be permitted above the first floor. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this By-Law, common areas, lobby or amenity space for a building that contains seventy-five percent (75%) or more Micro Unit Dwellings shall be considered non-residential space for the purposes of complying with Section 4.07.6 with respect to the requirement that in L and G districts no more than 40% of frontage may be devoted to residential use, so long as such space does not front on Harvard or Beacon Street.
5. By amending Section 5.32.2(b)(1) by adding the following language (new language underlined):
In M-1.5, M-2.0, M-2.5, G-1.75, and O-2.0(CH) Districts, the setback requirement from any street lot line on which the lot fronts shall be one-half of the width of the street right-of-way, up to a maximum requirement of 50 feet. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this setback requirement shall not apply to Public Benefit Incentives for Micro Unit Dwellings in the G-1.75 (CC) district.
6. By amending Section 6.02, Paragraph 1, TABLE OF OFF-STREET PARKING SPACE REQUIREMENTS by adding another paragraph as Note #3 after Note #2 below the Table as follows (new language is underlined):
3. For Use 6D (Micro Unit Dwellings) the maximum number of spaces for each Micro Unit Dwelling shall be 0.5, and no additional spaces shall be required for floor areas used for common areas, lobby or amenity space.
7. By amending Section 6.02.2.i by adding language as follows:
i. Residential uses on any lot for which any portion of the lot is within the Transit Parking Overlay District, notwithstanding the requirements of §3.02 paragraph 4, must provide no fewer off-street parking spaces per dwelling unit than 1 for studio units, 1.4 for one-bedroom units, 2 for two bedroom units, 2 for dwelling units of three or more bedrooms. For Micro Unit Dwellings no parking is required.
or act upon anything else relative thereto.
Currently, Micro Unit Dwellings as defined in the Zoning By-Law are residential units no greater than 500 square feet in gross floor area per unit. See, Section 2.04 (3)(f) of the Brookline Zoning By-Law. Micro Unit Dwellings have been recognized by the town as a useful way to provide housing for individuals at a relatively affordable cost. In addition, because of the smaller size of these units they have a smaller ecological footprint than larger 1 bedroom units. Several years ago when the Town approved the Emerald Island Special Overlay District (EISD) Micro Unit Dwellings were allowed in the EISD. However, no other zoning district in town permits the development of Micro Unit Dwellings. To date, no Micro Unit Dwellings have been developed or proposed in the EISD. This article seeks to allow Micro Unit Dwellings in the G-1.75 (CC); the Coolidge Corner General Business District with a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. This article also seeks to provide more flexibility for Micro Unit Dwellings to use Public Incentive Benefits by eliminating the requirement that the lot contain a minimum of 20,000 square feet. In addition to providing much needed housing to individuals, Micro Unit Dwellings can also provide a boost to the nearby retail businesses. The Coolidge Corner General Business District is a suitable spot for Micro Unit Dwellings due to the existing density, many nearby retail and civic establishments and public transit options.
21. Adoption of a new General By-Law prohibiting new fossil fuel infrastructure in major construction. (Jesse Gray1 (TMM-10), Werner Lohe (TMM-13), Alan Leviton, Lisa Cunningham (TMM-15), Diane Sokal, Daria Mark, Cora Weissbourd, Kathleen Scanlon (TMM-3), Heather Hamilton (SB), Raul Fernandez (SB), and Nancy Heller (SB))
A: To see if the town will amend the General By-Laws by adopting a new article 8.39
entitled “Prohibition on New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in Major Construction” as set
This By-Law is adopted by the Town of Brookline, under its home rule powers and its police powers under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Sections 21 (clauses 1, 18) and 21D, and Chapter 43B, Section 13, to protect the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the town from fuel leaks and explosions and from air pollution, including that which is causing climate change and thereby threatens the Town and its inhabitants.
“On-Site Fossil Fuel Infrastructure” is defined as fuel gas or fuel oil piping that is in a building, in connection with a building, or otherwise within the property lines of premises, extending from a supply tank or from the point of delivery behind a gas meter. “New Building” is defined as a new building or new accessory building (a building devoted exclusively to a use accessory to the principal use of the lot) that is associated with a valid building permit application on or after the effective date of this article. “Significant Rehabilitation” is defined as a renovation in which the work area, not including any added space, is more than 50% of the building floor area prior to the project, and that is associated with a valid building permit application on or after the effective date of this article.
A. The requirements of this article shall apply to all permit applications for New Buildings and Significant Rehabilitations proposed to be located in whole or in part within the Town.
B. The requirements of this article shall not apply to the use of portable propane appliances for outdoor cooking and heating, or to fuel pipes whose exclusive purpose is to fuel backup electrical generators.
C. The requirements of this article shall not apply to utility service pipe connecting the grid to a meter, or to a gas meter itself.
D. The requirements of this article shall not apply to any building being constructed subject to a Waldo-Durgin Overlay District Special Permit, as described in Section 5.06.4.k of the Zoning By-Law.
8.39.4 Effective Date and Enforcement
Effective June 1, 2020, no permits shall be issued by the Town for the construction of New Buildings or Significant Rehabilitations that include the installation of On-Site Fossil Fuel Infrastructure, except as otherwise provided in section 8.39.3.
8.39.5 – Severability
Each provision of this by-law shall be construed as separate to the extent that if any section, sentence, clause or phrase is held to be invalid for any reason, the remainder of the by-law shall continue in full force and effect.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
This by-law will prohibit installation of fossil fuel piping in new buildings and in major renovation of existing buildings. Consequently, this policy will require heat, hot water, and appliances that are installed during new construction and gut renovation to be all-electric. For situations in which electric is not practical or cost effective, this by-law provides for exemptions, including for fuel piping for backup generators. An exception is also included for the Waldo-Durgin development, because it is the only major commercial project requiring a zoning change that has not yet pulled a building permit.
We are facing a global climate crisis. This climate crisis directly affects Brookline residents and businesses. Massachusetts is one of the fastest-warming states in the country9 . We have seen a rapid increase in extreme heat events that threaten the health of our children, our seniors, and those who need to work outside, not to mention our fragile ecosystem, our plants and wildlife. Rising seas and increased flooding threaten Boston and coastal communities10. Public health risks include an increase in heat-related illnesses and deaths, as well as outbreaks of insect-borne and waterborne diseases11. As natural ecosystems change or collapse, Massachusetts farmers, fishermen, and residents will suffer12.
In its Climate Action Plan, Brookline has committed to reducing its carbon emissions to zero by 205013. Every new building constructed with fossil fuel infrastructure makes this goal harder to achieve, by lighting a new fire that will burn, on and off, for thirty years or more. To meet our climate goal, each of these fires will need to be put out through the retrofitting of buildings, which account for 60-70% of our Town emissions14. It is unfair to the next generation to continue to install infrastructure that we already know will need to be replaced in a very short time.
Worsening gas leaks in underground pipes constitute their own significant dangers. Recent gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley15, which killed one person and injured many more, and non-injurious explosions in Brookline16 , have put citizens at risk. 25% of the natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts are leak-prone and need repair and replacement17. Gas utilities, including in Brookline, are not adequately maintaining natural gas infrastructure by fixing unsafe leaks. Gas leaks have also killed trees in many places in Brookline.
In addition, the burning of fossil fuels inside buildings produces harmful indoor emissions18 that emit nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and formaldehyde (HCHO), each of which can cause various respiratory and other health ailments19,20. Cooking with gas has been linked to asthma and other adverse health effects, with children and low-income households particularly affected21,22. Nitrogen dioxide from gas stoves is linked to increased asthma rates among low-income preschoolers, and gas stoves are especially dangerous in smaller apartments with poor ventilation23 and when they are used for supplemental heat. If the Clean Air Act applied inside homes, the air quality produced by cooking with gas would be illegal24.
Figure 1: Comparing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of an All-Electric House With Air Source Heat Pumps to a House With Natural Gas Heat and Hot Water
All-electric buildings are healthier and can operate immediately with zero emissions through the purchase of 100% renewable electricity with programs like Brookline Green Electricity25 . Even buildings using the default New England electrical grid mix become greener every year as the electrical grid incorporates more and more renewable electricity generation, with a state-mandated minimum 60% renewable energy by 205026,27. Figure 1 compares projected carbon emissions for a single family home built in Massachusetts using air-source heat pumps to provide electric heat and hot water with a similar home that uses gas heat and gas hot water. This projection assumes the home uses the default provider of electricity, which will become more renewable overtime. An all-electric home that elects to use 100 percent renewable electricity will have no carbon emissions from heat and hot water.
All-electric construction is practical and feasible now. Numerous all-electric buildings have been built recently in Massachusetts (Appendix D), demonstrating the feasibility and practicality of all-electric construction. Assuming that 0.5% of the building stock in Brookline is rebuilt or significantly renovated per year, this by-law would decarbonize 15% of our buildings by 2050.
Decarbonizing in this manner, during new construction or major renovations is by far the most cost-effective way to decarbonize.
Practicality of all-electric buildings
All-electric construction is, in most cases, highly practical and essentially cost neutral. For example, one model commissioned for MassSave estimates a $754 construction cost premium for a 2,500 sq ft all-electric single family home 28, compared to the same home fitted with the most efficient gas heat and hot water systems and electric central air conditioning29. This premium is less than a 0.1% increase in cost for a typical new home like this in Brookline30.
A relevant cost operations comparison comes from the same MassSave model cited above. Under this model, operation of a brand-new all-electric home in Massachusetts would be slightly more expensive than that of a brand- new gas home (by $41 per month). However, this $41 per month cost premium must be put into context. First, it is less than 1% of expected monthly costs on a newly built 2,500 sq ft Brookline home, including utilities, mortgage, and real estate tax payments. Second, if an electric ground source heat pump were used instead of an air source heat pump, the all-electric home would actually be less expensive to operate than the gas home. Third, when a new all electric building is compared with an existing building, the new all-electric one will be significantly less expensive to operate than gas, due to the far better air sealing and insulation required in new buildings.
Notably, building operation costs vary widely depending on building type, whether a building is new or retrofitted, whether a ground source or air source heat pump is used, whether solar is installed, the extent of air sealing and insulation, and other variables. To cite one example, buildings that are air sealed and insulated to Passive House standards can use less than 90% of the energy of buildings built to the minimal air sealing and insulation standards in the Massachusetts building code.
Space heating and cooling
Heat pumps are air conditioners that can operate in reverse. Even in cold weather, they extract heat from outside air and move it into the building. Because they move heat rather than generating it, they are very efficient. Dramatic improvements in heat pump technology and building envelope technology now make it practical and cost-effective to heat new buildings with electricity in our climate31. (Electric heat pump heating should not be confused with electric resistance heat, which is inefficient and expensive32.)
Buildings are becoming better insulated and more tightly sealed every year. As this happens, less and less heating and cooling is needed, and the cost of the HVAC systems decreases. Because more and more buildings are being built with air conditioning, heat pumps save money in two ways. First, only a single system needs to be installed rather than separate air conditioning and heating systems. Second, heat pumps are more efficient than old-fashioned air conditioning and save on electricity costs.
Cooking — additional benefits of modern electric induction cooktops
Induction cooking has additional benefits beyond improved indoor air quality, health, and emissions reductions. Induction cooking is safer, more precise, and faster than cooking with gas.33 Local professional Chef Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon fame has been using induction cooking for 20 years34. Local chef Barbara Lynch has one in her professional home kitchen35. Induction cooking keeps the kitchen cooler — a major advantage in commercial kitchens — and it can be so finely regulated that it can be used to melt chocolate without a double-boiler.36
Hot water heating. An electric heat pump hot water heater can be purchased from local home improvement stores and costs about the same to buy and operate as a gas-fired hot water heater. Costs of gas, electric resistance, and electric heat pump hot water heaters are described in Appendix B.
Clothes dryers. Many buildings already use electric resistance dryers. An alternative option, less expensive to operate, is the heat pump electric dryer. Compared to gas or most electric resistance dryers, heat pump dryers have the advantage of not requiring any outside venting. Costs of gas, electric, and electric heat pump dryers are described in Appendix C.
Appendix A — Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If Brookline bans new fossil fuel infrastructure in major construction, do I get to keep my gas stove?
A: You can even replace it with a new one. You just can’t install a new one in a brand new building or as part of a gut renovation. By 2050, 15% of Brookline’s buildings would lack gas infrastructure, so even at that point there would under this policy be a lot of choice.
Q: Does this bylaw apply if I want to build an addition to my house?
A: It applies only if the project also includes major renovations to the existing part of your house AND if the renovated portion exceeds 50% of the area of the original building.
Q: Will this measure be effective (even if adopted beyond Brookline), or will the consequence simply be that more fossil fuels will be consumed in electricity generation?
A: If the occupant of a new all-electric building chooses to buy 100% renewable electricity, that all-electric building will be carbon-free from the moment it begins to operate.
Assuming the occupant relies on the standard grid mix, a new all-electric building built today would have lower overall emissions than an otherwise identical building with gas heat and appliances in the first year of operation (see chart above). These emissions savings will increase each additional year, as the grid greens through an existing statewide legislative mandate that requires a minimum 60% carbon-free grid by 2050. This grid greening is likely to be accelerated further at the state level and through Brookline’s Green Electricity program. Thus, the emissions savings are very large compared to a building that burned natural gas over the course of those 31 years.
Q: Is there a good alternative for gas cooking, particularly in commercial settings?
A: Induction cooking is amazing. Many chefs who’ve tried it don’t ever want to go back to gas, particularly in commercial settings37,38. It’s safer, faster, and easier to control. It keeps the kitchen much cooler. The entire Bradley wing of LAX is all-electric39, and the 24 restaurants there have induction and electric cooking but no gas ovens, stoves, or other gas infrastructure.
Q: What happens if the electricity goes out ? Will we be able to have gas back-up generators? Do you have exemptions or waivers for certain facilities that would need back-up systems such as nursing homes or daycares?
A: In short this policy would not affect what happens when the power goes out, which is that most buildings would lose their heat. The reason is that today’s boilers and furnaces typically require both the gas AND the electrical grid, because they have electronic ignition systems that lack battery backups. Therefore, most buildings in Brookline are already fully dependent on the electrical grid for their heat.
For the few buildings, including schools and nursing homes, that need or want backup heating, the proposed policy includes an exemption for fuel pipes for backup generators.
Q: In light of the heat wave and the power outages in NYC, if we go all electric what happens to the stress or overloading of the Grid? Will there be more power outages as a result?
A: Electrical demand is currently declining in New England due to solar panels on building roofs and gains in energy efficiency (e.g., LEDs). There are declines in both annual and peak demand, and these declines are expected to continue40. The proposed bylaw policy affects too few buildings, too slowly, to affect the electrical grid significantly. It is the job of the utilities and the grid operator ISO-NE to keep the electricity flowing, and they should be capable of it — and held to it.
Nonetheless, both the gas and electrical grids do fail sometimes, as we saw last winter with the explosions and fires caused by the Columbia Gas infrastructure failure in the Merrimack Valley.
Our electrical grid is currently adding a lot of renewable generation — utility-scale wind and solar. This new building policy will affect such a small fraction of buildings on the grid (~1% turnover in any one year, even if adopted across the entire New England grid territory), that it should not have an appreciable impact on the power grid, which already has year-on-year variation exceeding 1%41.
Peak consumption is already a significant challenge to manage. But right now peak consumption is a summer problem, when AC kicks in on hot days. In the winter the bigger problem is actually natural gas shortages, which should be slightly alleviated by this policy. Because winter heating and summer AC are the biggest consumers of electricity in buildings, the proposed all-electric requirement would not have a very large impact on summer peaks. (People already use electricity for AC.)
Q: If this by-law is challenged in court, will it pass muster?
A: Like any ground- breaking law, this bylaw may be challenged. But its rationale has been carefully thought through, and it is based on several months of legal consultations and research. We consulted with 14 lawyers, including the Berkeley outside counsel and the head of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Municipal Law Unit. Brookline Town Counsel then also provided advice. We believe that it will withstand a challenge, but the only way to find out for sure is to pass it. A crucially important strategy in fighting the fossil fuel industry is to win in court in defending new legal approaches to decarbonization.
Q: Will there be only a few contractors that can design build these systems? Will that drive cost up?
A: This is very simple technology and many HVAC contractors have significant experience installing ASHPs. Ground source heat pump systems (GSHPs, sometimes referred to as “geothermal systems”) have also been installed all over Massachusetts and the country for several decades.
Q: What if this by-law triggered the need for a significant upgrade of the electrical service to an existing building? For example, a 50-unit building that has original wiring from the street to the building from the 1940’s. What if the electrical upgrade costs $200,000?
A: If one were doing a significant rehab of such a building, one would be spending millions to tens-of-millions of dollars. The $200,000 must be considered in that context. This is precisely why the trigger is major rehabilitations and new construction.
Q: Renovations and expansions are the most problematic. Think of a situation where someone has previously installed efficient gas boilers, etc. and they are trying to add on to their house, but they want to just use the same infrastructure. Are we really telling them that half of their house can still be gas but they need all new equipment for the second half?
A: As currently written, the work area in the original space would have to be over 50% of the original structure to trigger the by-law in the context of an addition. Just an addition alone without major rehabilitation in the existing portions of the building would not trigger this by-law. The vast majority of additions, such as adding a porch or remodeling a kitchen, do not meet this threshold.
Even if the work area in the original space exceeded the 50% floor area threshold, it would still be permissible to keep the efficient gas boiler. In other words ducts or water/steam pipes could be extended from the existing boiler or furnace into the addition. However, in this instance, fuel piping could not be installed into the new addition.
Appendix B — Comparing Hot Water Heater Options
New homes in Brookline typically have a water heater with an Energy Star rating from the US Department of Energy. High efficiency (condensing) gas hot water heaters are available as hot water tanks and on-demand (tankless) models. High efficiency air source heat pump (ASHP) hot water tanks are another option. This table compares various types of hot water heaters based on data from the US Department of Energy. The prices are from Home Depot or similar outlets. The energy costs are based on what Brookline customers would be charged by Eversource and National Grid
Appendix C — Comparing Clothes Dryer Options
Stores have recently added a new option for buyers of clothes dryers: heat pump clothes dryers. The prices above are from Home Depot or similar outlets. Heat pump clothes dryers cost about the same to buy, but they are more efficient than gas dryers, so at current gas and electricity pricing, both cost about the same to operate. In addition, they don’t have to be vented to the outside so they can be good for use in apartments and condominiums. The efficiency rating, CEF, is used by the US Department of Energy to rate the performance of clothes dryers. The higher the CEF, the higher the efficiency.
Appendix D – Partial list of buildings in New England with electric systems
Residential (up to 3 family)
|Building name||Heating and Cooling||Hot Water||Location|
|All-electric house, rehabilitated in 2018||ASHP||Electric||Fisher Hill, Brookline, MA|
|David Green’s house||ASHP||Electric||Dover, MA|
|Holland House, Passive, LEED Platinum||ASHP||Electric||Vineyard Haven, MA|
|Torcellini residence||ASHP, GSHP||Electric||Eastford, CT|
|South End Row home by ZED||ASHP||Electric||Boston, MA|
|Dartmouth Oceanfront House by ZED||ASHP||Electric||Dartmouth, MA|
|Wellfleet modern house by ZED||ASHP||Electric||Wellfleet, MA|
|Thoughtforms Net positive farmhouse by ZED||ASHP||Electric||Lincoln, MA|
|Mediterranean style green home by ZED||ASHP||Electric||Newton, MA|
|Marshview house by ZED||ASHP||Electric||Chatham, MA|
ASHP = Air Source Heat Pump, an all-electric technology for cooling and heating a building that is similar to an air conditioner but can also function in reverse to provide heat.
GSHP = ground source heat pump, similar to an ASHP but is more efficient due to its use of the ground, rather than the air, for heat transfer to and from the building.
|Building name||Heating and Cooling||Hot Water||Location|
|Walden Pond Visitor Center, LEED, Passive, 5,575 sf||ASHP||Electric||Concord, MA|
|Bennington Superior Courthouse, Net Zero ready||GSHP||Bennington,|
|Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, Net Zero||GSHP||Electric||Westborough, MA|
|The Studio for High-Performance Design and Construction, Passive||ASHP||Electric||Newton, MA|
|185 Dartmouth||Heat pumps||Boston, MA|
|Olympia Place||Heat pumps||Propane||Amherst MA|
ASHP = Air Source Heat Pump, an all-electric technology for cooling and heating a building that is similar to an air conditioner but can also function in reverse to provide heat.
GSHP = ground source heat pump, similar to an ASHP but is more efficient due to its use of the ground, rather than the air, for heat transfer to and from the building.
Educational facilities (including universities and schools)
|Building name||Heating and Cooling||Hot Water||Location|
|King Open School (middle school, elementary school, administrative offices, public pool)||GSHP||Electric||Cambridge, MA|
|Lexington Children’s Place, Net Zero||Heat pumps||Electric||Lexington, MA|
|Hastings School, Net Zero||GSHP||Electric||Lexington, MA|
|The Putney School Field House, New Zero, LEED Platinum||ASHP||Electric||Putney, VT|
|R.W. Kern Center, Hampshire College||ASHP||Electric||Amherst, MA|
|Smith College, Bechtel Environmental Classroom||ASHP||Electric||Whately, MA|
|Trustees of Reservations, Powisset Net Positive Barn (demo kitchen with induction stoves, administrative offices, educational learning space, root cellar)||ASHP||Dover, MA|
ASHP = Air Source Heat Pump, an all-electric technology for cooling and heating a building that is similar to an air conditioner but can also function in reverse to provide heat.
GSHP = ground source heat pump, similar to an ASHP but is more efficient due to its use of the ground, rather than the air, for heat transfer to and from the building.
Housing projects (large-scale)42
|Building name||Heating and Cooling||Hot Water||Location|
|Auburn Court Lot C. 9||Heat pumps||Cambridge,|
|Concord Highlands *||VRF ASHP||Cambridge, MA|
|Bayside Anchor, Passive House *||Electric baseboard heating, electric ventilation||Portland, ME|
|Bristol Common, Lexington Gardens *||ASHP||Taunton, MA|
|Highland Woods *||ASHP||Williamstown MA|
|Parsons Village *||Heat pumps||Easthampton, MA|
|Millbrook Apartments||Heat pumps||Somerville, MA|
|Hyatt Centric Hotel||Heat pumps||Boston, MA|
|Distillery North||Heat pumps||Boston, MA|
|One East Pleasant||Heat pumps||Amherst, MA|
|Kendrick Place||Heat pumps||Amherst, MA|
|Whittier Street Apartments *||Heat pumps||Boston, MA|
|Factory 63||Heat pumps||Boston, MA|
* = Affordable housing
ASHP = Air Source Heat Pump, an all-electric technology for cooling and heating a building that is similar to an air conditioner but can also function in reverse to provide heat.
GSHP = ground source heat pump, similar to an ASHP but is more efficient due to its use of the ground, rather than the air, for heat transfer to and from the building.
22. Amend Article 8.31 of the Town’s General By-laws to prohibit the use of gasoline powered leaf blowers. (Warner)
To see if the Town will vote to amend Section 8.31.3.a of Article 8.31 of the Town’s
General By-laws (Leaf Blower Control – Limitations on Use), as follows (language to be deleted in
SECTION 8.31.3: LIMITATIONS ON USE
a. No Property Owner or Property Manager shall authorize or permit the operation of leaf blowers on property under their control, or on the sidewalks or ways contiguous to such property, nor shall any person operate a leaf blower,
except between March 15th and May 15th and between October 1st and December 31st in each year, and except for leaf blowers powered by electricity which are exempt from this seasonal usage limitation. The provisions of this Section 3.a. shall not apply to nonresidential property owners but only with respect to parcels of land that contain at least five acres of open space.
Or act on anything relative thereto
The exhaust of gasoline-powered leaf blowers contributes to air pollution, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and carbon dioxide. While auto emissions have been on the decline, the emissions from gas-powered leaf blowers have stayed the same or increased. Electric leaf blowers have no emissions.
The Center for Disease Control has identified gas leaf blowers as a source of harmful noise. The noise from gasoline-powered leaf blowers is not only damaging to the hearing of the operator and those standing nearby, but the strong low frequency component of that noise travels over long distances, and penetrates walls and windows. Electric leaf blowers do not have that low frequency component.
This proposed amendment to the General Bylaw would prohibit the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers, except for leaf blowers operated by Town employees or contractors while performing work for the Town.
23. Amend Article 8.31 of the Town’s General By-laws to prohibit blowing leaves and debris onto public property. (Warner)
To see if the Town will vote to amend Section 8.31.3 of Article 8.31 of the Town’s the
General By-laws (Leaf Blower Control- Limitations on Use), as follows (additions in
bold underline, deletions in
SECTION 8.31.3: LIMITATIONS ON USE
a. No Property Owner or Property Manager shall authorize or permit the operation of leaf blowers on property under their control, or
on the sidewalks or ways contiguous to such property, nor shall any person operate a leaf blower, except between March 15th and May 15th and between October 1st and December 31st in each year, and except for leaf blowers powered by electricity which are exempt from this seasonal usage limitation. The provisions of this Section 3.a. shall not apply to nonresidential property owners but only with respect to parcels of land that contain at least five acres of open space.
b. No Property Owner or Property Manager shall authorize or permit the operation of leaf blowers on property under their control,
or on the sidewalks or ways contiguous to such property, nor shall any person operate a leaf blower, except between the hours of 8 (eight) A.M. to 8(eight) P.M. Monday through Friday, and from 9 (nine) A.M. to 6 (six) P.M. on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
c. On land parcels equal to or less than 7,500 (seven thousand five hundred) square feet in size, no Property Owner or Property Manager or User shall operate or authorize the operation of more than 2 (two) leaf blowers on such property simultaneously. This limitation shall also apply to sidewalks and roadways contiguous to such parcel.
d. No Property Owner or Manager shall authorize the operation of any leaf blower and no person shall operate a leaf blower which does not bear an affixed manufacturer’s label or a label from the Town indicating the model number of the leaf blower and designating a noise level not in excess of sixty-seven (67) dBA when measured from a distance of fifty feet utilizing American National Standard Institute (ANSI) methodology on their property. Any leaf blower bearing such a manufacturer’s label or Town label shall be presumed to comply with the approved ANSI Noise Level limit under this By-law. However, Leaf Blowers must be operated as per the operating instructions provided by the manufacturer. Any modifications to the equipment or label are prohibited. However, any leaf blower(s) that have been modified or damaged, as determined visually by anyone who has enforcement authority for this By-law, may be required to have the unit tested by the Town as provided for in this section, even if the unit has an affixed manufacturer’s ANSI or Town label. The Controller of any leaf blower without a manufacturer’s ANSI label on such equipment may obtain a label from the Town by bringing the equipment to the town’s municipal vehicle service center or such other facility designated by the Town for testing. Such testing will be provided by the Town’s designated person for no more than a nominal fee (which shall be nonrefundable) and by appointment only at the Town’s discretion. If the equipment passes, a Town label will be affixed to the equipment indicating Decibel Level. In the event that the label has been destroyed, the Town may replace it after verifying the specifications listed in the Controller’s manual that it meets the requirements of this By-law.
e. No Property Owner or Property Manager shall authorize or permit the operation of leaf blowers on property not under their control, including but not limited to the sidewalks or ways contiguous to such property, nor shall any person operate a leaf blower on private property without the authorization or permission of the Property Owner or Property Manager.
f. No Property Owner or Property Manager shall authorize or permit the operation of leaf blowers in a manner that intentionally blows leaves or other debris onto public or private property not under their control, without the express consent of the owner or manager of such property.
The provisions of this Article 8.31.3 shall not apply to the use of leaf blowers by the Town, its employees or contractors while performing work for the Town
Or act on anything relative thereto.
Currently, it is common practice for leaves to be blown onto public sidewalks, tree lawns and ways, from private properties. This often results in air borne debris impacting the general public. Besides, leaves and other yard waste, this debris contains many unwanted and toxic pollutants, including, but not limited to, dust, lead, pesticides, fertilizers and fecal matter which exacerbates asthma, emphysema and allergies. This practice also results in unnecessary carbon emissions and undesired noise.
The proposed amendment to the General Bylaw would restrict the use of leaf blowers from the blowing of leaves, yard waste and other debris onto public sidewalks, tree-lawns and ways.
24. Amend Article 3.14 of the Town’s General By-laws pertaining to the Commission for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations and Citizen Complaints (Conquest, TMM6)
To see if the Town will amend the General by-laws to provide for a citizen complaint procedure as follows (the added language is underlined deleted language is struck):
ARTICLE 3.14 COMMISSION FOR DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS SECTION 3.14.1 ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE
This By-law establishes the Commission for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations (“Commission” or “CDICR”) and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations (“Office” or “ODICR”). Valuing diversity and inclusion in and for the Brookline community, the Commission, in coordination with the Office, aims to support a welcoming environment by encouraging cooperation, tolerance, and respect among and by all persons who come in contact with the Town of Brookline (“Town”), including residents, visitors, persons passing through the Town, employers, employees, and job applicants, and by advancing, promoting and advocating for the human and civil rights of all through education, awareness, outreach and advocacy. The Purpose of the Commission and the goal of the Town shall be to strive for a community characterized by the values of inclusion. The Town believes that inclusion will provide opportunities and incentives to all who touch Brookline to offer their energy, creativity, knowledge, and experiences to the community and to all civic engagements, including town government; and that inclusion is, therefore, a critically important government interest of the Town. Inclusion is defined as actively pursuing goals of including, integrating, engaging, and welcoming into the community all persons who come in contact with the Town regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, military or veteran status, genetic information, marital status, receipt of public benefits (including housing subsidies), or family status (e.g. because one has or doesn’t have children) (herein, “Brookline Protected Classes”). In striving to achieve the goal of inclusion, the Commission shall be guided by the following general principles: (1) the foundation of community is strong and positive community relations among and between all groups and individuals in the community, regardless of their membership in a Brookline Protected Class; (2) the substance of community is the recognition of human rights principles as applicable to all persons who come in contact with the Town; (3) justice in a community requires, at a minimum, monitoring and enforcing civil rights laws as they apply to all persons who come in contact with the Town; and (4) the commitment of the Town to these principles requires vigorous affirmative steps to carry out the word and spirit of the foregoing. The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) residents of the Town, who shall be called Commissioners. Commissioners shall be appointed by the Select Board and shall hold office for a period of not more than three (3) years with terms of office expiring on August 31 of an appropriate year in a staggered manner so that approximately one-third (1/3) of the terms of the Commissioners will expire each year. A Commissioner whose term is expiring is expected to submit their renewal application to the Select Board not later than August 1 of the expiration year. The term of a Commissioner who does not submit a renewal application in a timely manner shall expire on August 31 of that year. The term of a Commissioner who submits a timely renewal application shall then be extended until notified by the Town Administrator that the renewal application has been acted upon. If the application is denied, the term of that Commissioner shall expire five days after the date of the denial letter. If the application is approved, the term shall expire on August 31 of the year specified in the approval letter. The Select Board may appoint additional non-voting associate members (Section 3.1.5) as it determines to be necessary, which may include youth or persons who do not reside in Brookline but have a substantial connection to Brookline or to the Brookline Public Schools. The Select Board shall select one of its members to serve ex officio as a nonvoting member of the Commission. A quorum of the Commission shall consist of a majority of the serving members on the Commission, with a minimum of six. The Select Board shall seek a diverse and inclusive group of candidates for the Commission, which may include youth. Candidates for Commissioner shall be qualified for such appointment by virtue of demonstrated relevant and significant knowledge, life experience, or training. The composition of the Commission shall include persons with the types of such knowledge, experience, or training necessary to enable the Commission to perform the duties assigned to it by this By-law. All Commissioners shall serve without compensation. In the event of discontinuance of the service of a Commissioner due to death or resignation, such Commissioner’s successor shall be appointed to serve the unexpired period of the term of said Commissioner. The Commission may recommend to the Select Board candidates to fill such vacancies.
SECTION 3.14.2 APPOINTMENT, ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER
There shall be an Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations (“Office”), which shall be a unit of the Select Board’s Office, and led by a professional in the field of human relations or similar relevant field of knowledge, who shall be known as the Director of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations (“Director”), and that person shall also serve as the Chief Diversity Officer (“CDO”) for the Town. In the event of a vacancy in the position of Director, the Town Administrator, after consultation with the Commission, shall recommend to the Select Board a replacement with appropriate qualifications. The Director shall offer professional and administrative support to the Commission in the administration of its functions and policies under this By-law or any other Bylaw giving the Commission responsibilities. If needed, the Director shall ask for additional assistance to carry out the Director’s duties. The Office shall be physically situated in whatever department the Town Administrator determines would most easily provide the Director any such assistance. The Director shall be a Department Head/Senior Administrator and shall report to the Town Administrator. The Director/CDO may bring a matter directly to the attention of the Select Board in the event that person believes, in their professional judgment, that a particular situation so warrants. The CDO work with the Human Resources Office to promote diversity and inclusion. The CDO shall serve in the role of ombudsperson to provide information and guidance and dispute resolution services to all persons who come in contact with the Town who feel that they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly due to their membership in a Brookline Protected Class, or in relation to Fair Housing or Contracting issues, interactions with businesses or institutions in the Town, or interactions with the Town and/or employees of the Town. The CDO shall be responsible, with the advice and counsel of the Commission, the Human Resources Director, and the Human Resources Board, for the preparation and submission to the Select Board of a recommended diversity and inclusion policy for the Town, including equal employment opportunity and affirmative action, and recommended implementation procedures. The diversity and inclusion policy shall address hiring, retention and promotion, and steps to ensure a work environment that is friendly to diversity and inclusion. The CDO shall respect the rights to privacy and confidentiality of all individuals to the fullest extent required by law. The CDO may attempt to mediate disputes/complaints and/or to refer such complainants to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Town Counsel, or such other body as the CDO deems appropriate. The Director/CDO shall report on these incidents to the Commission in terms of issues and trends but shall show full respect for the rights to privacy and confidentiality of the individuals involved to the fullest extent required by law. In the event that a person who comes in contact with the Town, except for employees of the Town, chooses to bring a complaint to the Commission after seeking the services of the CDO in said officer’s role as an ombudsperson, the Director/CDO may discuss the case in general terms with the Commission (see Section 3.14.3(A)(v)). The CDO shall also serve as an ombudsperson for employees of the Town if they feel they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly on the basis of membership in a Brookline Protected Class. The CDO may attempt to mediate such disputes or refer such employees to the Human Resources Office, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, their union representative, and/or such other body that the CDO deems appropriate. The Director/CDO shall hold all such Town employee matters in confidence and shall respect the privacy rights of any such individuals but may discuss with the Commission, in general terms, the problems or issues that such individual cases, provided, however, doing so does not violate any person’s rights to privacy.
SECTION 3.14.3 POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION
(A) To implement the Mission of the Commission and the Office, the Commission, with the assistance of the Director and the Director’s staff, shall have the following responsibilities:
(i) Strive to eliminate discriminatory barriers to jobs, education, and housing opportunities within the Town and work to increase the capacity of public and private institutions to respond to discrimination against individuals in the Town based on their membership in a Brookline Protected Class;
(ii) Enhance communications across and among the community to promote awareness, understanding and the value of cultural differences, and create common ground for efforts toward public order and social justice;
(iii) Work with the Select Board, the Town’s Human Resources Office, the School Committee, and other Town departments, commissions, boards, and committees to develop commitments and meaningful steps to increase diversity and inclusion, and awareness of and sensitivity to civil and human rights in all departments and agencies of Town government;
(iv) Provide advice and counsel to the CDO on the preparation of a diversity and inclusion policy for recommendation to the Select Board, including equal employment opportunity and affirmative action procedures, or amendments or revisions thereto;, and make suggestions, through the CDO to the Human Resources Director, the Human Resources Board, and the School Committee on the implementation of the diversity and inclusion policy;
(v) Receive Complaints Against the Town, directly or through the CDO, against the Town, its employees, agencies, or officials concerning allegations of discrimination or bias from all persons who come in contact with the Town, except Town employees (see Section 3.14.2), and after notifying the Town Administrator, review and summarize the complaint and issues of concern to the Commission, without investigating or making determinations of fact, or drawing any legal conclusions, concerning allegations of discrimination or bias against a member of a Brookline Protected Class, by any Town agency, Town official or employee. the Commission shall (1) investigate the complaint by interviewing the complainant and any witnesses, (2) prepare written findings, and (3) recommend appropriate action to the Select Board, Library Trustees or Moderator as appropriate within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. The Commission/CDO, may in addition (1) present its summary and concerns to the Town Administrator and the Select Board for consideration of further action and/or (2) provide the complainant with information on complainant’s options to bring proceedings at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination or other appropriate federal, state, or local agencies. This By-law does not preclude any complainant from alternatively or additionally using other complaint procedures, such as the Police Department’s Citizen Complaint Procedure or the Human Resources Office’s procedures;
(vi) Receive Complaints Against the Public Schools of Brookline, directly or through the CDO, against the Public Schools of Brookline, its employees, agencies, or officials concerning allegations of discrimination or bias from all persons who come in contact with the Schools, except school employees, and, after notifying the Superintendent of Schools, the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, and/or the School Committee of the complaint, review and summarize the complaint and any issues of concern to the Commission, without investigating or making determinations of fact or drawing any legal conclusions, concerning allegations of discrimination or bias against a member of a Brookline Protected Class, by any School official or employee. the Commission shall (1) investigate the complaint by interviewing the complainant and any witnesses, (2) prepare written findings, and (3) recommend appropriate action to the Superintendent and/or School Committee as appropriate within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. The Commission/CDO, may in addition (1) present its summary and concerns to the School Superintendent and/or the School Committee for consideration of further action and/or (2) provide the complainant with information on complainant’s options regarding dispute resolution and the boards, agencies, or courts to which the complainant may file a complaint. The Public Schools of Brookline are encouraged to engage the expertise and/or resources of the CDO/Commission when pursuing resolution of any such complaints and/or when revising policies and procedures relative to diversity and inclusion.
(vii) Receive Other Complaints:, according to procedures developed by the Commission and as approved by the Select Board, and initiate preliminary review of the facts, without drawing any legal conclusions, from any person who comes in contact with the Town, concerning allegations of discrimination or bias against a member of a Brookline Protected Class. The Commission shall also have the authority, in its discretion, to take one or more of the following actions: (1) Provide the complainant with information about complainant’s options to bring proceedings at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination or other appropriate federal, state, or local agency; (2) Refer the complainant and any other parties to the complaint to the CDO acting as ombudsperson or to a local or regional mediation service; (3) Present any results of preliminary review of the alleged facts to the Town Administrator and/or the Select Board, in an appropriate case, for action;
i) The Commission shall develop, to the extent permissible by law, a log for the complaints referred to in subsections (v), (vi) and (vii) above, provided that such publication contains public record information only and does not violate anyone’s right to privacy, and the Commission shall compile and maintain statistical records regarding the nature of complaints, types of incidents, number and types of complaints, and other pertinent information, without identifying specific individuals, and include such information in the annual report filed with the Board pursuant to
Section 3.14.6 of this By-law.
(viiiix) Develop official forms for the filing of complaints under paragraphs (v) and (vi) above and also procedures for the receipt of such complaints and follow-up by the Commission to the extent not inconsistent with the procedures set forth in paragraphs (v) and (vi);
(ix) Carry out the responsibilities and duties given to the Commission by rules or regulations, if any, promulgated under Section 3.14.4 of this Bylaw in relation to its Fair Housing responsibilities, as authorized by law, under Bylaw 5.5;
(xi) With respect to any complaints or patterns of complaints involving the civil or human rights of any persons who come in contact with the Town, work with the CDO, in such officer’s role as ombudsperson, to facilitate changes that will reduce and eliminate violations of rights;
(xii) Institute and assist in the development of educational programs to further community relations and understanding among all persons in the Town, including Town employees;
(xiii) Serve as an advocate for youth on issues arising in the schools and the community, concerning diversity and inclusion, and encourage public and private agencies to respond to those youth needs.
(B) To carry out the foregoing responsibilities, the Commission is authorized to work with community organizations, government and nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, persons with relevant expertise, and others to:
(i) Develop educational programs and campaigns to increase awareness of human and civil rights, advance diversity and inclusion, eliminate discrimination, and ensure that the human and civil rights of all persons are protected and assist in the development of educational programs to further community relations and understanding among all people, including employees of all departments and agencies within the Town;
(ii) Conduct or receive research in the field of human relations and issue reports and publications on its findings or, where appropriate, submit local or state-wide proposed legislation, after approval by the Select Board and review by Town Counsel, to further human and civil rights of all persons who come in contact with the Town, provided that the Commission shall evaluate all such research conducted or received for its relevance and validity and for its openness to diverse viewpoints and perspectives;
(iii) Receive and review information on trends and developments in youth research, services, and programs, both generally and as they relate to youth who are members of a Brookline Protected Class, and consider the applicability of such research, services, or programs to Brookline, provided that the Commission shall evaluate all such research conducted or received for its relevance and validity and for its openness to diverse viewpoints and perspectives;
(iv) Do anything else deemed appropriate in the furtherance of its general duties and that are not inconsistent with its Mission, the State Constitution and laws, or the Town By- laws.
(C) At least every two years, prepare written organizational goals for the Commission (“Commission’s Goals”) that are (i) specific, (ii) measurable, (iii) attainable with the resources and personnel of the Commission, (iv) relevant to the mission of the Commission, (v) designated as either short term or long term, and (vi) capable of being evaluated on a continuing basis and at the next goal setting point. The Commission’s Goals shall be submitted to the Select Board at a public meeting and posted on the Town’s website. The Commission shall receive and consider the comments of the Select Board at the public meeting and shall also receive and consider written comments from the community on the Commission’s Goals.
SECTION 3.14.4 RULES AND REGULATIONS
In order to carry out the purposes and provisions of this By-law, the Commission, with the approval of the Select Board, after review by the Town Counsel, shall adopt procedural rules and regulations as necessary to guide it in carrying out its responsibilities. Such rules and regulations shall require that actions by the Commission be taken by a quorum or larger vote of the Commissioners and shall include procedures for holding regular public meetings, including at least one public hearing annually to apprise the public on the status of civil rights, diversity, inclusion and community relations in the Town and to hear the concerns of the public on those issues. The Commission may also establish procedures and rules and regulations to carry out its responsibilities with respect to Fair Housing, with the approval of the Select Board, after review by Town Counsel. Such rules and regulations may further provide for the governance of the Commission with respect to matters such as the appointments of committees as necessary to deal with specific community issues or concerns.
SECTION 3.14.5 INFORMATION, COOPERATION, AND DIALOGUE
The Commission shall notify the Town Administrator of all complaints it records. In the event that such complaints fall within the purview of the Superintendent of Schools, the Superintendent shall also be notified. All departments and agencies in the Town shall cooperate fully with the Commission’s reasonable requests for information concerning such complaints and when appropriate engage with the Commission in a dialogue on them. All such requests and dialogue shall respect and protect, to the fullest extent possible, the privacy of all involved and shall comply with all local, state and federal laws. The Director of Human Resources shall annually present a report to the Commission concerning the Town’s statistics on employment diversity in Town departments and staff, as well as the efforts of the Town to increase the employment diversity of Town departments and staff. The School Superintendent and the Library Director, or their designees, shall annually provide a report to the Commission on their statistics on employment diversity, including but not limited to the most recently completed EEO-5 form. The Police Chief shall annually present a report to the Commission on other police matters that touch on the Commission’s mission. The Commission may respond to such reports through dialogue and/or through written reports; and all Town departments, including the Brookline Public Schools, are encouraged to cooperate with the Commission as it reasonably requests.
SECTION 3.14.6 REPORT
With the assistance of the Director, the Commission shall submit an annual report to the Select Board, the School Committee, and the Board of Library Trustees, detailing its activities and the results thereof. This report shall include (i) a review of the implementation of the diversity and inclusion policy by the Town, (ii) the Commission’s Goals and a report on the extent to which the goals have been achieved to that point, (iii) a review of reports received by the Commission from the Director of Human Resources, the School Superintendent, the Library Director, and other Town departments or agencies, (iv) a narrative discussion of any impediments to the implementation and achievement of the Commission’s Goals and its diversity and inclusion policy, and (v) recommendations of ways that such impediments could be removed. A synopsis of such report shall be published as part of the Annual Report of the Town.
SECTION 3.14.7 FIVE YEAR REVIEW
Beginning no later than July 1, 2019 and at least every five years thereafter, the Commission shall review this Bylaw and any other related Town by-laws, in consultation with other pertinent departments, and propose changes if necessary, by preparation of appropriate Warrant Articles for consideration by Town Meeting. The Commission shall prepare a written report summarizing its review and proposing any changes no later than February 1, 2020.
The purpose of this article is to have the Town of Brookline take responsibility for rectifying racial discrimination (and other discrimination) complaints by requiring a Town board to investigate such complaints and make written findings as to their merit and to recommend appropriate actions to resolve such complaints. The existing procedures do not go far enough in ameliorating the complaints and concerns of people who feel they have been disrespected and aggrieved.
25. Adoption of a new General By-law prohibiting the Town from using Face Surveillance. (Hummel, TMM12)
To see if the Town will adopt the following version of a new Article 8.39 of the Town
BAN ON TOWN USE OF FACE SURVEILLANCE
SECTION 8.39.1 DEFINITIONS
- “Face surveillance” shall mean an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying an individual, or in capturing information about an individual, based on the physical characteristics of an individual’s face.
- “Face surveillance system” shall mean any computer software or application that performs face surveillance.
- “Brookline” shall mean any department, agency, bureau, and/or subordinate division of the Town of Brookline.
- “Brookline official” shall mean any person or entity acting on behalf of Brookline, including any officer, employee, agent, contractor, subcontractor, or vendor.
SECTION 8.39.2 BAN ON TOWN USE OF FACE SURVEILLANCE
It shall be unlawful for Brookline or any Brookline official to:
- obtain, possess, access, or use (i) any face surveillance system, or (ii) information derived from a face surveillance system;
- enter into a contract or other agreement with any third party for the purpose of obtaining, possessing, accessing, or using, by or on behalf of Brookline or any Brookline official, (i) any face surveillance system, or (ii) data derived from a face surveillance system; or
- issue any permit or enter into a contract or other agreement that authorizes any third party to obtain, possess, access, or use (i) any face surveillance system, or (ii) information derived from a face surveillance system.
SECTION 8.39.3 ENFORCEMENT
- Face surveillance data collected or derived in violation of this By-Law shall be considered unlawfully obtained and shall be deleted upon discovery, subject to applicable law.
- No data collected or derived from any use of face surveillance in violation of this By-Law and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any Town proceeding.
- Any violation of this By-Law constitutes an injury and any person may institute proceedings for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, or writ of mandate in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce this By-Law. An action instituted under this paragraph shall be brought against the respective Town department, and the Town and, if necessary to effectuate compliance with this By-Law, any other governmental agency with possession, custody, or control of data subject to this By-Law.
- Violations of this By-Law by a Town employee shall result in consequences that may include retraining, suspension, or termination, subject to due process requirements and provisions of collective bargaining agreements.
- Nothing in this Article shall be construed to limit any individual’s rights under state or federal law.
or act on anything relative thereto.
- Face surveillance technology is an affront to a free society, effectively forcing everyone to wear a permanent ID badge in public;
- The software disproportionately misclassifies women and people of color;
- Face surveillance technology poses unprecedented threats to civil liberties; examples include:
- Creating due process harms, such as shifting the current principle of “presumed innocent” to “people who have not been found guilty of a crime, yet;”
- Normalizing the elimination of practical obscurity; and
- Chilling the exercise of constitutionally protected free speech.
- There is no state or federal law regulating government use of face surveillance technology, meaning there are no civil rights protections in place.
- Facial surveillance supports and amplifies surveillance capitalism and the monetization of individuals’ privacy.
- This warrant article furthers the goals of bills currently before the Massachusetts House and Senate (Senate Bill 1385, and House Bill 1538) which seek to place a moratorium on government use of face surveillance technology statewide. Senator Cindy Creem is the lead sponsor of the Senate bill.
- Facial Recognition Technology is an affront to a free society
The fundamental effect of facial recognition technology is that it is tantamount to forcing everyone to wear a personal ID badge at all times. Free people do not and should not be compelled to wear ID badges, let alone ones that are permanent, immutable and biometric.
Ordinary people who want to seek treatment for substance use disorder, visit AA meetings, seek reproductive health care, visit friends and family, attend political protests, and more cannot leave their faces at home. This technology makes it easy to track every person’s public movements, habits, and associations—with the push of a button.
Facial recognition technology uses statistical measurements of people’s facial features to digitally identify them in still photos, videos and in real-time footage. Tech companies claim these systems can also determine age, gender, mood, and other personal characteristics. The data gathered can easily be stored, shared and aggregated to map out individuals’ activities, liaisons, patterns and preferences.
These capabilities are an anathema in a free society.
- The Software is badly flawed and disproportionately misclassifies women and people of color
Compounding the problems inherent in facial recognition technology is that it is also highly inaccurate in classifying the faces of women, young people, and people of color. These inaccuracies disproportionately put some individuals and groups at a greater risk of harmful and traumatic “false positive” identification. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that racial and other biases are often already baked into existing databases. For example mugshots images, which are taken upon arrest, include the faces of individuals who may be entirely innocent. Moreover, when there are false positives, the trauma and the stigma impacting victims of the mistake continues long after errors are officially corrected.
- Legislation and policies are either wholly absent or inadequate.
Like many new and emerging technologies, the use of facial recognition software is quickly becoming ubiquitous in both public and private sectors, long before most communities are able to respond with legislation. And, the monetization and ease of acquisition of surveillance technology, including facial recognition technology, make the spread of unregulated use not only certain, but swift. For example, Ring doorbell, now owned by Amazon, has partnerships with a variety of police departments, which is turning many communities in police surveillance surrogates, without meaningful civil rights and civil liberties protections. This past summer, at least one police department raffled off Ring doorbells in exchange for information sharing. The surveillance infrastructure, created entirely outside of any regulatory oversight or framework, is bad enough in-and-of-itself. Permitting unregulated facial recognition —for which Ring already has a patent—only compounds this problem, encouraging the proliferation of a surveillance state, predicated on suspicion and distrust of everyone in our community.
- Facial recognition technology unequivocally threatens civil liberties
According to privacy scholars Woodrow Hartzog and Evan Selinger: “facial recognition technology enables a host of other abuses and corrosive activities:
- Disproportionate impact on people of color44 and other minority and vulnerable populations45.
- Due process harms, which might include shifting the ideal46 from “presumed innocent” to “people who have not been found guilty of a crime, yet.”
- Facilitation of harassment47 and violence.
- Denial of fundamental rights and opportunities, such as protection against48 “arbitrary government tracking of one’s movements, habits, relationships, interests, and thoughts.”
- The suffocating restraint49 of the relentless, perfect enforcement of law.
- The normalized elimination of practical obscurity50,51.
- The amplification of surveillance capitalism52.”53
It’s also important to know that the federal government has access to over 400 million non-criminal photos, which include state DMV and State Department photos. A 2016 Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology publication, entitled The Perpetual Line-up, reported that one in two adults in America appear in government face recognition networks.54
How we protect our civil rights and civil liberties is up to us. By banning the Town’s use of facial surveillance technology, we act to meaningfully protect our civil rights and civil liberties, and protect our fundamental freedoms to come and go about our lives in relative anonymity, free from overreaching surveillance and without a compulsory biometric ID badge.
- What Brookline Can Do: Ban facial recognition technology in our town – and support state legislative action
Without a ban on facial recognition, the technology is likely to become entrenched without meaningful public knowledge or input, and it will become increasingly difficult to legislate and regulate the longer it is unfettered.
Some communities are beginning to respond and Brookline should be among these leaders. This particular technology threatens civil rights and civil liberties so profoundly that the tech hub of San Francisco in May became the first city in the nation to ban its government from using it; Somerville followed shortly after, and Cambridge is now considering a ban, which seems likely to pass this fall. Other forward thinking communities are working to do the same.
The Massachusetts state legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 1385, (an Act Establishing A Moratorium On Face Recognition and Other Remote Biometric Surveillance Systems), and House Bill 1538, (an Act Relative To Unregulated Face Recognition and Emerging Biometric Surveillance Technologies). The bills would make it unlawful for government entities in the Commonwealth to acquire, possess, access, or use face recognition or any at-a -distance biometric surveillance system, or acquire, possess access, or use information derived from a facial recognition system or from biometric surveillance systems operated by another entity.
These bills also create a private right of action with both legal and equitable remedies, as well as sanctions against government officials who violate the provisions contained therein.
By passing a similar law locally, we can join our neighbors who recognize the dangers the technology presents to a free society, and demonstrate our support for the aforementioned House and Senate Bills seeking to do the same. We do not have to wait for digital dystopia; we can and must act now to protect and preserve our freedoms for the next generation of Brookline residents.
26. Rename the Coolidge Corner School the “Florida Ruffin Ridley School” (School Committee; Deborah Brown, TMM1; Anne Greenwald, TMM8; Maya Norton)
To see if the Town will vote to name the PK-8 school located at 345 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446 the “Florida Ruffin Ridley School”, effective September 1, 2020, or act on anything relative thereto.
In May of 2018, Town Meeting voted favorably on a Warrant Article advanced by Deborah Brown and Anne Greenwald to change the name of the Edward Devotion School. Edward Devotion, for whom the school had been named, was a slave holder. It was the will of Town Meeting as reflected by that vote that individuals who held human beings in bondage should not be honored with schools bearing their name. To continue to name a school after a slave holder would violate the core values of equity, respect, and inclusion that our public schools strive to impart to our students.
Since the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, the school formerly known as Devotion has operated temporarily under the name Coolidge Corner School, after the geographic neighborhood in which it is located. In the fall of 2018, the School Committee, the Superintendent, educators, Coolidge Corner School students, Devotion alumni, and members of the community at large collaborated jointly to create a naming process. From December 10, 2018 to January 23, 2019, the student-led “Bee-lievers in Change” accepted over 250 nominations for new names from the public. The student group met regularly with the Principal, Assistant Principal, District Leaders, as well as special expert guests, to thoroughly research the nominees, develop summaries about each one, and discuss the suitability of each name based on a rubric that included the town naming criteria, the school’s core values, and restorative justice principles. After providing the students with this general information, the students began the candidate review and selection process.
During the months that followed, the Bee-lievers in Change narrowed the field from 119 unique submissions to 15 finalists. 3 public events were held to learn about the 15 finalists and provide feedback. Based on the feedback they narrowed the finalists from 15 to 4. On May 24, 2019, the final four choices were presented to the School Committee. Another series of public meetings followed, where the School Committee solicited input about what to recommend as a final name. The School Committee voted 7-0-1 on June 19, 2019 to recommend that the Florida Ruffin Ridley School become the permanent name of the PK-8 school at 345 Harvard St.
Of the eleven school buildings in Brookline, only one is named for a woman, and none for a person of color. Florida Ruffin Ridley (1861-1943) was a Brookline resident who became the second AfricanAmerican teacher in Boston. A leading African -American civil rights activists, suffragist, educator, writer, and editor, Mrs. Ridley co- founded the Society for the Collection of Negro Folklore, the Association of Colored Women Clubs (NACWC), and the League of Women for Community Service, Inc. (LWCS), the latter of which still exists today., She served as editor of the Woman’s Era newspaper and worked as an , anti-lynching activist. Mrs. Ridley and her husband are believed to be the first African-American homeowners in Brookline. They lived at 131 Kent St. and attended the Second Unitarian Church on Sewall Avenue, which Mrs. Ridley co-founded.
Ridley was a life-long learner and teacher. Through her work, she hoped to connect an understanding of history with social justice. She believed all races deserved an equal place in society.
27. Rename the Coolidge Corner School the “Ethel Weiss School” (Larry Ruttman)
To see if the Town will change the name of the Coolidge Corner School, formerly known as The Edward Devotion School, to The Ethel Weiss School, or to act on anything related thereto as Town Meeting shall decide.
The former Devotion School should be named after the amazing late centenarian Ethel Weiss, who nurtured Devotion School children for seventy-six years from 1939 to practically her dying day in 2015. Ethel Weiss’ life was that school, and its life was heavily indebted to her influence. Ethel Weiss was endowed with a singular spirit of moral uprightness, helpfulness, and natural wisdom which she generously shared with the tens of thousands of kids who passed through her tiny store over that enormous span of time. Indeed, she was the heart of the whole surrounding North Brookline community. No person, no matter how famous or honored, can match Ethel Weiss’ right to have this legendary school bear her name. It is unlikely that Ethel Weiss’ seventy-six continuous years of service to a public school and its children has ever been matched. That service is factually described in a chapter entitled, Ethel Weiss, Guardian Angel, in the book, Voices of Brookline (2005) , by Larry Ruttman, which ends with the words, “In August 2004, Ethel Weiss turned ninety, and is still flying around her shop as a guardian angel, with no plans to alight.” In fact, Ethel continued to fly around her shop guarding Devotion School children for over another decade until she reached the age of one hundred and one.
28. Rename the Coolidge Corner School the “Robert I. Sperber School” (Selwyn, TMM13)
To see if the Town will change the name of the former Edward Devotion School, now known as the Coolidge Corner School, to the “Robert I. Sperber School or act on anything relative thereto.
At the Annual Town Meeting in May 2018, Town Meeting adopted the following Motion with respect to Article 23:
SUBSTITUTE MOTION OFFERED BY STANLEY SPIEGEL, TMM2 VOTED: That the Town hereby requests that the School Committee propose a new name for the Edward Devotion School after receiving public input through a process to be determined by the School Committee, and hereby requests the Naming Committee to consider the name so selected by the School Committee and make a recommendation to Town Meeting with respect thereto at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting. In the interim, the name of the School shall be the Coolidge Corner School.
However, no recommendation was offered by the School Committee at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting.
Following the adoption of Article 23, the School Committee initiated a process for selecting a new name for what was then being referred to as the Coolidge Corner School. Nominations were solicited “from all Public Schools of Brookline students, families, and staff; members of the Brookline community; and former students and staff of the Devotion School.” A set of specific “Criteria to consider when nominating a person” was provided to those offering nominations:
- A person of excellent reputation and character who has set an example of outstanding citizenship and/or has made an exemplary contribution of time, service, or resources to the Brookline community;
- A national noteworthy public figure or official who represents one or more of the core values of the school (Work Hard, Be Kind, Help Others);
- A person who has made a significant donation or bequest to the town;
- A noteworthy artist, writer, public figure or official who represents Brookline’s core values of racial equity and restorative justice;
- An individual who contributed to racial and/or gender justice and equity.
Approximately 104 nominations were submitted, including the name of Dr. Robert I. Sperber. With the exception of item (3), Robert Sperber easily satisfies all of these criteria. The Boston Globe noted just some of his accomplishments in a lengthy obituary: “As superintendent in Brookline from 1964 to 1982, Dr. Sperber was instrumental in the founding of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, or METCO. He also implemented innovative curriculum and support programs, including the Brookline Early Education Project; Facing History and Ourselves, a Holocaust education program; and the town’s Extended Day Advisory Council and Education Foundation.”
Robert Sperber was the Superintendent of the Brookline Public Schools for eighteen (18) years and remained active in Brookline school and national public education affairs for more than three decades following his retirement as Brookline Superintendent. He was a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 6, and regularly attended Town Meeting and frequently spoke on matters relating to school affairs up until his death in 2017. For many years, Dr. Sperber served as founding chair or co-chair of Brookline’s Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB), a primary objective of which was to provide for a healthy tax base to support Town and School services. Following his retirement from the Brookline School System, Dr. Sperber spent the next 20 years at Boston University as a specialist in urban education and as a professor of urban education.
Dr. Sperber was a nationally recognized leader in the field of public education and made lasting contributions to the Town and to our Schools. The Boston Globe described an event in April 2016 when Dr. Sperber was honored for his Lifetime Achievement at the Brookline Teen Center, where he was a board member. “’He was an inspiration to me and many others,’ said community activist Anne Turner, who chaired the event. ‘It was a special and poignant thank you, and it meant a lot to us and to him.’” The event highlight some of Dr. Sperber’s core beliefs: a commitment to equality for all students, the importance of creating innovative ideas that last, and using education as an instrument of social justice. Barbara Senecal, who had chaired the Brookline School Committee during Dr. Sperber’s tenure (she is currently a Precinct 13 Town Meeting Member), was quoted by the Globe as recalling that “people were standing in line to just have a moment with him” at the celebration, and that “he was the most ethical and moral straight-talking person I ever knew.’”
The scope and extent of Dr. Sperber’s intimate connection with the Public Schools of Brookline is without parallel, and it is fitting and appropriate that he should be honored by naming the school for him.
Brookline has a long tradition of naming our schools in honor of people who have made significant and permanent contributions to the nation and to public education in Brookline. For example, the Runkle School is named for John Daniel Runkle, who was Chairman of the Brookline School Committee and an early advocate of mathematics and technical education. Runkle was also a founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as MIT’s second president. The Lincoln School’s namesake, William H. Lincoln, was a trustee of both Wellesley College and MIT. Lincoln had a great impact on the Town of Brookline. He had a passion for education and contributed to it through his involvement with the Brookline School Committee, both as member and Chair. He served as a member and was chosen chairmen for sixteen consecutive elections, serving on the Brookline School Committee for 22 years in all. Both William Lincoln and John Runkle were strong advocates for manual studies/industrial education (i.e., “shop” and “domestic science”), and the Lincoln School was the site at which this course of studies was inaugurated in 1888. The Driscoll School is named after Michael Driscoll, who served on the Brookline School Board (later the School Committee) from 1874 until his death in 1926. During his 52 years of service to the Brookline Schools, Driscoll oversaw the construction of four new school buildings, and played a key role in the rapid expansion of the Brookline schools that occurred in the first few decades of the 20th century.
The extraordinary contributions of Dr. Robert Sperber to public education, to the Brookline School System, to racial equality and diversity, and to the Town of Brookline are easily comparable to the achievements of the namesakes of other Brookline School buildings. These contributions and achievements on behalf of our Town and our Schools easily exceed those of others whose names are being recommended for this honor. It is both fitting and appropriate for the Coolidge Corner School to bear the name of Robert I. Sperber.
29. Resolution pertaining to an Economic-Equity Advancement Fund (O’Neal, TMM4)
Resolution: calling for a creation of an Economic-Equity Advancement Fund to be funded by all marijuana establishments in the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts.
To see if the Town will adopt the following Resolution:
Whereas: Town endeavors to bring about equitable opportunities in all aspects of life within the Town of Brookline.
Whereas: Although there is a strong desire by the Brookline citizenship to bring about racial equity in all aspects of Brookline life, a. An essential area identified as a priority is economic equity.
Whereas: A comprehensive and systematic process to achieve economic equity remains in its infancy stage, there are concurrent steps that can be taken to ensure that equity processes have the financial means and community support to be implemented.
Whereas: The Town can use its leverage to request that large businesses seeking to do business in the Town of Brookline, to provide funding for projects, programs and community impact mitigation.
Whereas: Marijuana businesses already established in Brookline have formal commitments to giving back to the Brookline community, but these commitments do not include funding or support for small minority business entrepreneurs.
Whereas: Creating this fund will help minority business owners get the funding they need that they might not have been able to acquire due systemic barriers in banks and other financial institutions.
Whereas: We need a fund to assure equal and equitable opportunities for all the under- served residents of Brookline Massachusetts
Whereas: Because Marijuana Corporations such as those that exist or will exist in Brookline have Capital Financial advantages and other businesses do not have such advantages, they are in position to provide financial support to fund a minority-own business program with the Town of Brookline.
Whereas other Towns and Cities have instituted programs to assist MBE Such as: Happy Valley and the Town of Amherst:Donation to the town in the amount of $75,000 made in 3 payments of $25,000 each.
Apical Inc and City of Easthampton
A Payment of $75,000 or 3% of revenue, Whichever is Greater
Payment of $15,000 in 2 payments of $7,500 when Provisional License is approved
Also donated $2,500 to 4 different entities JOLO CAN LLC and City of Chelsea
3% of revenue.$60,000 donation to the City of Chelsea Non-profits
Whereas: The Town, through the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations in collaboration with its various committees, should steward the program as they represent the populations that would be eligible for the program.
Whereas: If the program is successful Brookline will have more minority business ownership within its boundaries. It has the potential to increase the Town’s commercial tax-base. It has the potential to better the economic status of some of our residents and perhaps lead to home ownership- which leads to more diversity in Brookline’s community.
Therefore: The Town requests that all current and future marijuana establishments that conduct business in Brookline, Ma be required to provide funds to the EEAF fund the Town in the amount no less than First year, : $1.5 million dollar first donation to the EEAF fund and years 2-5: 3% of gross revenue during years 2-5. The funds will be placed in a designated Town account and such funds will be used to support Residents who are Under Served, small MBE, WBE, VOB, LGBTQ entrepreneurs seeking to establish businesses within and around the Town of Brookline. We require that these establishments actively support and engage in programs that work to achieve equity for all marginalized groups within the Town and that they report such activities annually to the Select Board.
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations and the Community Planning Department and their corresponding Boards will work with the community to develop policies and procedures for the fund and administer the fund to eligible applicants.
Note Brookline will be the first in the State to implement this sort of Fund. And hopefully Brookline’s EEAF if passed hopefully it will be a Model for other Towns Cities to follow giving Equal Opportunities back into their communities.
Select Board will review boards and commission’s ability to establish and incorporate community engagement plans in its critical work and make necessary personnel changes. Effective Date: January 1, 2020
The Town of Brookline will ensure that the program always provide the funds necessary to sustain the program.
Make an arrangement with BCF to manage the funds, with oversight and program management established by the Town.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
Such as: Happy Valley and the Town of Amherst:
Donation to the town in the amount of $75,000 made in 3 payments of $25,000 each. Apical Inc and City of Easthampton
A Payment of $75,000 or 3% of revenue, Whichever is Greater
Payment of $ 15,000 in 2 payments of $7,500 when Provisional License is approved Also donated $2,500 to 4 different entities JOLO CAN LLC and City of Chelsea 3% of revenue.
$60,000 donation to the City of Chelsea Non-profits
Note Brookline will be the first in the State to implement this sort of Fund. And hopefully Brookline’s EEAF if passed hopefully it will be a Model for other Towns Cities to follow giving Equal Opportunities back into their communities. Select Board will review boards and commission’s ability to establish and incorporate community engagement plans in its critical work and make necessary personnel changes.
30. Adoption of a new General By-Law pertaining to the establishment of a Brookline Community Engagement Plan (Brown, TMM1, et al)
To see if the Town will vote to create a new Article 3.XX in the Town’s General By-laws, as follows:
Article 3.XX: BROOKLINE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN
SECTION 3.XX.1: ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE
The purpose of this article is to complement Articles 3.21 (Readily Accessible Electronic Meeting Notices, Agendas and Records) and 3.22 (the Public’s Right to Be Heard on Warrant Articles) with a formal Community Engagement Plan (CEP) for the Town of Brookline.
Community engagement is essential for a robust and transparent community because it fosters more meaningful interactions between the Town and its inhabitants; frequently enables greater agreement among all stakeholders; and creates true ownership across the Town.
The Town of Brookline has a responsibility to engage its inhabitants in a robust and equitable manner in order to effectively carry out the key functions of government, such as crafting and implementing laws, budgets, plans, directives, and strategic visions.
At a minimum, the purpose of the community engagement plan is to:
- Engage community inhabitants and community resources as part of the solution.
- Engage the broader diversity of the community–especially inhabitants who have not been engaged in the past including, without limitation, the poor, people of color, disabled and other politically disenfranchised groups.
- Increase public understanding of and support for public policies and programs.
- Increase the legitimacy and accountability of government actions.
- Ensure that the Town proactively and more effectively responds to the needs and priorities of its inhabitants.
Section 3.XX.2 Definitions
For purposes of this By-law, the definitions set forth in Article 1.1, Section 1.1.4 of the Town’s General By-laws shall apply, the most relevant being the definitions of “Committee”, “Inhabitant”, and “Municipal officer.”
Section 3.XX.3 Development
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations will develop the initial CEP and prepare it for public use, with input from the Commission for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations and other departments and entities as appropriate.
Section 3.XX.4 Design of Plan
The Community Engagement Plan shall include, at minimum:
- Guidelines that are consistent with the best practices for municipal community engagement.
- Indicators that provide qualitative and/or quantitative information that can be used to determine if the Town is implementing community engagement practices improving over time. Indicators shall be:
- ‘SMART’: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely,
- developed for each department and committee,
- reported on at least annually in the budget report for departments, and on the respective webpage for departments and committees.
- A formal CEP evaluation process. On an annual basis, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations shall submit to Select Board, Town Meeting Members and the general public an analysis of the previous year’s community engagement programming and outcomes and provide recommendations for improving the CEP itself, as well as the programming. The relevant results of said evaluation shall be included in the performance/reappointment review for each municipal officer.
The CEP shall be structured so as to not conflict with Massachusetts Open Meeting Law.
Section 3.XX.5 Applicability
The CEP will apply to all municipal officers, Town employees, and Town departments and committees.
Section 3.XX.6 Effective Date
Barring an extension to this effective date by Town Meeting through subsequent action, the community engagement plan shall take effect by June 1, 2020.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
The purpose of this warrant article is to develop the formal structure and mandate for a community engagement plan for the Town of Brookline. Brookline, like all local governments, has a responsibility to engage its community members in order to effectively carry out the key functions of government, such as crafting and implementing laws, budgets, plans, directives, and strategic visions. Brookline is strongest when its residents work well with government as full partners. A community engagement plan that is not only meaningful, robust, and effective, but also equitable and inclusive is critical to our growth and sustainability.
An equitable, inclusive community engagement approach to public decisions ensures that everyone, especially those who have been historically left out of these conversations (e.g., low-income people, people of color, recent immigrants, speakers of English as a second language), has a say in the decisions that affect their lives. Inclusive community engagement results in government processes, practices, and decisions that are more responsive to community priorities, avoid many unforeseen consequences, and create relationships that hold local governments accountable. Inclusive community engagement can also lead to decisions that result in a more equitable distribution of resources, like where public transit infrastructure is located or investments in neighborhood parks, schools, or housing. With a greater commitment to intentionally increasing community engagement efforts and specifically equitable community engagement, Brookline will be in a better position to make better decisions, address social inequities and promote access to resources, services, and programs that help people lead healthier, happier lives. (Inclusive Community Engagement & Equitable Participation to Improve 4 Core Functions of Local Government, Katie Hannon Michel, Cesar De La Vega, & Tina Yuen, ChangeLab Solutions Follow, Oct 15, 2018, https://medium.com/@changelabsolutions)
The proposed Community Engagement Plan includes three components.
1. Guidelines. This bylaw does not attempt to proscribe too closely the exact format of the plan, instead providing latitude to the Select Board and Town employees. As noted in the bylaw, the guidelines are not envisioned to be static but rather a living, breathing document that reflects progress against goals and best practices. Brookline will have many reference resources for the development of community engagement plans, including nationally recognized documents like the National Institutes of Health’s Principles of Community Engagement, and locally produced documents like the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s Community Engagement Guide. The guidelines may complement and extend existing bylaws; for example, although currently Bylaw Article 3.21 states that all electronic meeting notices must be posted 48 hours in advance, the Community Engagement Plan could recommend that meeting notices and agendas be posted at least 5 days (or more) in advance.
2. Indicators that will allow for public review of whether the programming that is being enacted to meet the goals of the Community Engagement Plan is successful. The bylaw requires that at minimum those indicators be available for use in the annual budget process, in the performance evaluations of department heads, and in the reappointment reviews of committee chairs.
3. Evaluation of the CEP itself as well as the programming resulting from the CEP.
The department head for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations has reviewed this warrant article and affirmed that the department would take the lead in developing the initial community engagement plan as well as the annual review process.
31. Resolution pertaining to the Town’s response to Climate Change. (Jules Milner-Brage*, TMM12; Susan Helms Daley*; Scott Englander*, TMM6; Heather Hamilton, Select Board Member; Blake Cady; C. Scott Ananian, TMM10; Eileen Berger, TMM15; John Bowman; John Harris, TMM8; Linda Olson Pehlke, TMM2; Willy Osborn. *Co-petitioners’ point-of- contact.)
To see if the Town will adopt the following resolution:
WHEREAS climate change is a major existential threat to humanity and other life on our planet, with impacts felt especially by the poor and powerless;
WHEREAS greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change, and transportation contributes 43% of these emissions in Massachusetts;
WHEREAS there are many negative health impacts from automobile use, such as serious injuries, air pollution and physical inactivity;
WHEREAS low-occupancy travel via automobile and parking of private automobiles require a disproportionate quantity of space relative to the quantity of people and goods moved;
WHEREAS Brookline public ways currently provide only limited accessibility to non- automobile uses;
WHEREAS traffic congestion and a lack of safe, accessible, reliable alternatives to automobile transportation impose substantial time burdens and costs on individuals;
WHEREAS the Town of Brookline has adopted a Climate Action Plan to prioritize planning to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Town- and community- wide;
WHEREAS the Town of Brookline has adopted a Complete Streets Policy that seeks to shift use to more healthful and sustainable transportation modes by accommodating them equitably in public ways;
WHEREAS replacement of internal combustion-powered transportation with human- and/or electric-powered transportation (and supporting electric charging infrastructure) stands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially when supplied with energy produced via non-fossil-fuel-combustion means; and
WHEREAS Brookline historically developed with a pattern of land use and public ways that are amenable to the use of public transit, walking, biking and other space- and energy-efficient modes of transportation and has limited space for personal vehicle use and parking.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Town Meeting calls upon the Town of Brookline to leverage its preexisting strengths, to:
1) Prioritize safe, space-efficient, and energy-efficient movement of people and goods over the movement and parking of private vehicles when designing and improving our public ways, with particular focus on high-traffic routes, connectivity and directness. This should be accomplished in a manner that gives particular consideration to equity of access and safety for (i) people of a broad range of ages, abilities and financial means, and (ii) use of healthful and sustainable transportation modes.
2) Demonstrate, pilot, and evaluate new public way configurations that improve travel conditions to enable everyone to use healthful and sustainable transportation modes. Reconfigure street usage for temporary events (such as “open streets” and “Park(ing) Day”) to demonstrate the community benefits of utilizing road space for people.
3) Align our planning and zoning regulations with our historical streetcar-, biking-, and walking-centric (less automobile-dependent) development pattern. Implement “transportation demand management” policies to realign incentives towards utilization of healthful and sustainable transportation modes.
4) Encourage transition of motorized travel to electric vehicles and operating behaviors that eliminate local greenhouse gas emissions, including support for increased electric vehicle charging. This should be accomplished with particular consideration for avoiding any conflicts or interference with healthful and sustainable transportation modes, or with improved travel facilities for these modes.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Town Meeting calls upon the Select Board, in consultation with the Advisory Committee and any other appropriate Boards, Commissions and Committees, to determine a course of action, applying the aforementioned four strategies, to:
5) Work towards a 2050 goal of a “75/25” sustainable transportation mode split, where approximately:
- 75% of trips are by human power (e.g. foot, bike, wheelchair), electric micro- mobility (e.g. e-scooters, e-bikes, e-wheelchairs), or electric shared rides (e.g. electric public transit, electric car-pools), and
- 25% of trips are by single-occupant or single-passenger electric cars or trucks;
Work towards a 2030 “30 + 30” interim goal, where approximately:
- 30% of the progress needed to meet our 2050 mode split goal is achieved, and
- 30% of motor vehicles registered in Brookline are electric;
For the 2050 goal, ‘electric’ excludes vehicles that can use internal combustion engines, but for the 2030 goal ‘electric’ includes plug-in hybrids.
6) Develop and implement a strategic infrastructure network to realize these goals (e.g. safe routes to schools; inclusive, protected bike lanes for a diversity of users; electric vehicle charging facilities);
7) Measure and report progress towards these goals; and
8) Establish a Sustainable Transportation Engineer or Planner position to support the advancement of these goals.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Town Meeting calls upon the Select Board, et al., to report the details of this course of action no later than the 2020 Annual (May) Town Meeting.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
“What we have is no longer a technological or economic problem,
but a status quo bias problem.”
– Speaker at Asilomar Conference on Energy and Transportation (Dutzik, 2019)
The goal of this Warrant Article is both to raise awareness in our Town regarding the immediacy of the climate problem and the outsized role that transportation plays in it, as well as to set forth specific suggestions we can follow to reduce our reliance on gas-powered vehicles by (1) providing appealing alternatives to individual car trips and (2) electrifying the remaining car trips.
Transportation emissions constitute not only the greatest component of Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas footprint, but also the fastest growing (Commission, 2018). The vast majority of these emissions—and associated toxic pollutants—are from automobiles. At the same time, this year, the Greater Boston Area recently earned the dubious distinction of having the worst gridlock in the country (Boston Globe, 2019). Furthermore, the population of Massachusetts is projected to increase by another 600,000 people, predominantly in the eastern part of the state, by 2040 (Commission, 2018).
We believe this Warrant Article is timely in addressing these critical issues, and also in keeping with other states and municipalities demonstrating climate leadership at this critical time, a partial list of which appears in Table 1:
Table 1. Sample of Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets in US
|Boston Green Ribbon Commission||Aims to make City of Boston carbon-free by 2050|
|Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act||Mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050|
|Connecticut||Mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45% below 2001 levels by 2030|
|California||Goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050|
|Hawaii||Commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2045|
|US Climate Alliance (includes 25 states and growing)||Implement policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025|
There was wide consensus among the authors that Brookline historically was designed around public transit and walkable neighborhoods, and that those historical roots are in large part what makes the town so appealing and what gives us ample opportunities to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. By the early 20th century, Brookline had electrified trolley lines on Beacon St., Harvard St., Washington St., Boylston St. / Huntington Ave., Commonwealth Ave., and more, plus multi-modal path systems with distinct bridleways for riding (then on horseback) on Beacon St., the Riverway, the Fenway, and western Commonwealth Ave. This kind of reasonably compact development pattern – these good urban “bones” – stand to become the envy of cities and towns around the country trying to decarbonize. We have it already! We need to recognize this inheritance for the gift that it is and decide to better reveal and reinvest in it.
Trends in Travel Modes and Vehicle Ownership
A look at current and recent trends in Brookline’s journey-to-work and vehicle ownership data shows promising movement towards more active transportation and lower vehicle ownership rates. While these trends reveal somewhat modest change, they do speak to the potential that, with continued efforts, the Town could sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the ambitious target reductions proposed in this Warrant Article through the adoption of healthier, more sustainable personal travel choices. During this time frame, the Town has begun to add bicycling infrastructure and has started to focus on improving travel conditions for pedestrians and public transportation riders.
As Table 2 below illustrates, Brookline’s workers, between 2000 and 2017 are walking, biking and taking public transportation to work more and driving single-occupancy vehicles less. The percentage of SOV work trips has declined from 45.3% in 2000 to 35.3% in 2017. Additionally, over the same time period, the number of households that do not own a car has grown from 20% to 26% town-wide. The percentage of car free households is much higher for particular geographies and sub-populations; for instance an estimated 60% of renter households in Census Tract 4002 (Coolidge Corner) do not own a vehicle, as reported in the 2012-2017 American Community Survey.
Table 2. Means of Transportation for work trips by Brookline workers 2000 – 2017*
|Other (incl. biking)||2,077||6.4%||1,418||4.4%||770||2.4%|
|Worked at Home||2,183||6.7%||2,164||6.8%||2,207||6.9%|
*Source: DPO3-Selected Economic Characteristics: Census Bureau and American Community Survey
Demonstration and Pilot Programs
Given that so much of the existing development in Brookline is at a walkable and bikeable scale around those old trolley routes (and boulevards with bridle paths) and given that we have sizable existing populations taking trains and busses, riding bikes, and walking for transportation, we could relatively inexpensively demonstrate and pilot installation of substantial public way improvements to the safety and quality of service for these naturally space- and energy-efficient travel modes as a means of finding the best practices for Brookline. We have recently begun to try this approach to exploring change and some of our counterparts in neighboring cities and towns have successfully taken it even further, as shown in Table 3. When combined with robust gathering of community feedback and (as needed) iterative design, these agile, limited programs have a reasonable chance of building support for more comprehensive planning of more systematic and durable change in the future.
Table 3. Some Recent Transportation Pilot Programs in Greater Boston
|Back Bay||Massachusetts Ave. protected bike lane; Beacon St. protected bike lane|
|Cambridge||Cambridge St. protected bike lane; Massachusetts Ave. protected bike and distinct dedicated bus lane; Mt. Auburn St. dedicated bus/bike lane. (Also, The Cycling Safety Ordinance requires streets undergoing significant roadwork to include protected lanes in their design if they are part of the city’s priority bicycle route network.)|
|Brookline||1. Beacon Street Buffered Bike Lane, 2. Greenline TSP on the C-line at Carlton Street, 3. Electric Scooter Pilot Program|
|Concord and Cambridge||Electric school busses to transport students (demonstration of viability)|
|Everett||Broadway dedicated bus/bike lane|
|Roslindale||Washington St. dedicated bus/bike lane|
|Arlington||Massachusetts Ave. dedicated bus/bike lane|
|Allston||Brighton Ave. dedicated bus/bike lane|
Economic, Health and Social Equity Benefits
“MassDOT, municipalities, and other roadway owners should redesign them to prioritize person-throughput rather than vehicle- throughput, so that limited corridor capacity is allocated to moving as many people as possible, while accommodating mobility alternatives.”
– Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth (2018)
This greater people-moving efficiency referenced by the Governor’s Commission stands to provide profound benefits beyond the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, especially when leveraged to provide “complete” (and perhaps efficient-mode “priority”) travel facilities on streets, including:
- Increased accessibility for people of varied ages and abilities
- Increased individual affordability through reduced need for personal ownership of expensive vehicles
- Increased local retail and service business and sales tax revenue to local communities through increased access to commercial districts via travel modes where it is easier to stop and where people are more likely to frequent multiple establishments (foot, wheelchair, cycle and similar)58
- Increased capacity for people to work in town, which stands to provide customers to local businesses at a broader array of times of day and stands to increase commercial real-estate tax revenue to the Town (a higher rate than residential tax, and a type which we have rather little of currently, especially compared to peer communities)
- Increased social equity, as public transportation, walking, and bicycling disproportionately serve the poor and minorities
- Reduced costs associated with policing, ambulances, hospitals, and time wasted in traffic
- Less money spent by residents on health care associated with diabetes, coronary disease, hypertension, and other diseases
- Reduced traffic injuries and fatalities, which diminish with greater walkability, and disproportionately affect the poor, elderly, and non-white pedestrians59
- Reduced premature deaths due to air pollution, the leading cause of which is vehicle emissions60
In the hierarchy of sustainable transportation alternatives, the highest priority is to reduce the number of individual car trips taken. But for those car trips that still must be taken, the priority is to enable and encourage those trips to be taken in electric vehicles (EVs).
The automobile market in the US is on the threshold of a major shift away from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicles (EV – includes battery electric vehicle, fuel cell electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). The world’s largest carmakers now sell over 40 EV models, many with long electric-only range (>200 miles) and fast-charge capability, and they plan to double these offerings over the next 5 years. The fastest growing segment is the battery electric vehicle. Industry experts anticipate rapid increases in market share for EVs over the next 10-20 years. For example, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that by 2040 over 50% of new global passenger vehicle sales will be EVs. A major challenge for the rapid growth of EVs and the climate benefits they bring is the lack of charging infrastructure. Most communities committed to EVs are now focused on the accelerated installation of chargers in order to relieve the EV user of range anxiety and encourage accelerated vehicle turn over.
As part of their plans to reduce transportation emissions, many states have set targets for EVs in next two decades to help spur policies to accelerate EV adoption. The targets include both percentage of new car sales and share of overall registrations. The nine states that have adopted California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program and EV sales mandate have all set mid-term targets for EV sales in their states (included in the ZEV program are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey) based on the requirement under the program that 15% of sales in 2025 must be ZEV sales. In addition, many states have established targets for overall registration of EVs. The targets typically start relatively low – reflecting current low penetration rates – but then quickly climb to large numbers. California wants to see 5 million EVs on the road and 250,000 EV charging stations installed by 2030. New York is planning to achieve targets of 850,000 EVs in 2025 and 2 million in 2030. Massachusetts has a goal of 300,000 EV registrations by 2025.
Here is a snapshot of EV targets for several states in the ZEV Mandate group:
For Brookline, we are proposing a 2030 registration target of 30% EVs, equivalent to approximately 6,400 vehicles (extrapolating from statewide vehicle registration forecasts). This target requires higher growth in Brookline’s EV share of registrations than is projected for Massachusetts as a whole, and is expected to be met in part through a rapid acceleration in EV sales in Brookline, as projected in the table below.
We believe the higher EV registration target number is achievable in Brookline for several reasons:
- There are another 5 years in the target period (2025‐2030) which can be used to accelerate the market.
- The Town has a long history of leadership in climate advocacy and can continue this path by stepping up to promote higher numbers of EVs.
- The EV market and technology are rapidly improving and yesterday’s targets are becoming less relevant as rapid market acceleration appears realistic. Some governments – like California and Norway (a cold country where over 50% of new car sales are now EVs) – are increasing their targets and seeing success with policies designed to stimulate the market.
- Brookline is a highly educated community and its citizens are well‐informed about global warming and solutions. They also likely to turn over their vehicles at a faster rate than in other places (the average age of vehicles in Massachusetts is 9.8 years vs. 11.6 years for the nation as a whole). In addition, 27% of households have more than one car and relatively short commutes. All of this stands to support high rates of adoption of EVs and shift of some trips to car‐alternative transportation options.
- An ambitious target will galvanize the community and advocates into developing and supporting innovative pilots and demonstrations for EVs and chargers that will contribute to faster adoption. It will also tend to attract the attention of grant makers and other financial supporters outside the community that might be interested in underwriting projects that fast‐ track EV adoption.
One final note, in addition to encouraging the transition to EVs, we also reference “operating behaviors.” The term refers primarily to idling (which should be avoided) and to timely, regular charging of plug-in hybrids (necessary to maximize operation in electric-only mode).
“The Etymology of Parking” in “Arnoldia” (the quarterly magazine of the Arnold Arboretum) by Michele Richmond (October 2015): <http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/2015-73-2-the-etymology-of-parking.pdf>.
“Designing to Move People” in the “Transit Street Design Guide” by National Association of City Transportation Officials (April 2016): https://nacto.org/publication/transit-street-design-guide/introduction/why/designing-move-people/.
“Measure the Whole Street” in the “Transit Street Design Guide” by National Association of City Transportation Officials (April 2016): <https://nacto.org/publication/transit-street-design-guide/transit-system-strategies/performance-measures/measure-the-whole-street/>.
Massachusetts greenhouse gas emission trends (to 2016) by the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP): <https://www.mass.gov/service-details/ma-ghg-emission-trends>.
Choices for Stewardship: Recommendations to Meet the Transportation Future, Executive Summary. Submitted Pursuant to Executive Orders 579 and 580 by the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth (2018): <https://www.mass.gov/lists/choices-for-stewardship-recommendations-to-meet-the-transportation-future>.
Environment Massachusetts’ Renewable Communities (2019 report):
“To Clean Up Transportation, Get These Four Things Right” by Tony Dutzik (Frontier Group), (July 19, 2019): <https://frontiergroup.org/blogs/blog/fg/clean-transportation-get-these-four-things-right>.
“The Worst Gridlock in the US is Right Here in Boston” by Adam Vaccaro (Boston Globe), (February 12, 2019): <https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/12/bragging-rights-boston-now-has-worst-rush-hour-traffic-country-report-says/wMNdRAlrEV7svwShY80NaJ/story.html>.
32. Amend the Town’s General By-laws to replace “Chairman” and “Chairperson” with “Chair”. (Neil Gordon, TMM1, and Hadassah Margolis, TMM8)
To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town’s General Bylaws by substituting, in every case, “Chair” for “Chairman” and “Chairperson.”
Or act on anything relative thereto.
In November, 2017, Town Meeting amended the General By-laws, changing all references to “Board of Selectmen” to “Select Board,” and “Selectmen” to “Select Board members.
Concurrently, Town Meeting passed a resolution calling for the use of gender-neutral language in the conduct of Town business.
The observed practice of many of the Town’s boards, commissions and committees is to refer to their “Chair” as such, regardless of the language of the current By-law. It seems an appropriate time to amend the By-laws, accordingly.
33. Amend the Town’s General By-laws to replace references to “inhabitants” and “Citizens”. (Gordon, TMM1)
To see if the Town will vote to amend its General By-laws, by removing references to
“inhabitants” and “citizens,” and replacing such words with more appropriate terms, and making other such changes as will clarify the intent of the By-laws, as follows (deletions in strike through; additions in bold underline):
SECTION 1.1.4 DEFINITIONS:
In construing these by-laws the following words shall have the meanings herein given, unless a contrary intention clearly applies:
- “Appointing authority”, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, shall be the Select Board.
- “By-laws” shall mean these by-laws, that do not include the zoning by-laws and the classification and pay plan, as amended from time to time.
- “Committee” shall include an elected or appointed board, commission, council and trustees.
“Inhabitant”“Resident” shall mean a resident in of the town of Brookline.
- “Legislative body” shall mean the Town Meeting.
- “Law”, “General Laws” Or “Chapter” shall mean the law, statute or act referred to, as amended from time to time.
- “Municipal officer” shall mean an elected or appointed official or member of a committee and a department head but shall not include Town Meeting Members and Town employees.
SECTION 2.1.10 TOWN MEETING MEMBERS AT LARGE:
Pursuant to the authority contained in Section 5 of Chapter 43A of the General Laws (Ter. Ed.) the following officers are designated as Town meeting members at large: (1) the members, inhabitants residents of the Town, who are the elected representatives of the Town or any part thereof in the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, (2) the moderator, (3) the town clerk, and (4) the Select Board members.
ARTICLE 3.12 DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – SECTION 3.12.3 DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – subsection (C), item 10 and 21:
- to provide the town Town with and, from time to time, amend Comprehensive Plans for land use, public and private transportation and parking, open space, recreation, urban renewal, telecommunications and utility services, economic development, housing, historic preservation and also for the future development and preservation of town resources consistent with its physical, social and economic requirements and the health, safety and welfare of
its inhabitantsthe public.
- to facilitate and maximize meaningful input to town Town boards and officials from
Brooklinecitizens the public civic associations and neighborhood organizations.
ARTICLE 3.14 COMMISSION FOR DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS – SECTION 3.14.3 POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION – item (v):
(v) Receive Complaints Against the Town, directly or through the CDO, against the Town, its employees, agencies, or officials concerning allegations of discrimination or bias from all persons who come in contact with the Town, except Town employees (see Section 3.14.2), and after notifying the Town Administrator, review and summarize the complaint and issues of concern to the Commission, without investigating or making determinations of fact, or drawing any legal conclusions, concerning allegations of discrimination or bias against a member of a Brookline Protected Class, by any Town agency, Town official or employee.The Commission/CDO, may in addition (1) present its summary and concerns to the Town Administrator and the Select Board for consideration of further action and/or (2) provide the complainant with information on complainant’s options to bring proceedings at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination or other appropriate federal, state, or local agencies. This By-law does not preclude any complainant from alternatively or additionally using other complaint procedures, such as the Police Department’s Citizen Civilian Complaint Procedure or the Human Resources Office’s procedures;
ARTICLE 3.15 HUMAN RESOURCES PROGRAM, BOARD AND OFFICE SECTION 3.15.1 PURPOSE AND INTENT
The purpose of this bylaw is to ensure the establishment of fair and equitable Human Resources policies for the Town of Brookline and its employees; and to provide a system of Human Resources administration that is uniform, fair, and efficient and which represents the mutual interests of the citizens of the Town public and the employees of the Town.
SECTION 3.15.2 HUMAN RESOURCES PROGRAM TO BE CONSISTENT WITH ACCEPTED MERIT PRINCIPLES AND APPLICABLE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS – item (e):
(e) assuring fair treatment of all applicants and employees in all aspects of personnel administration without regard to political affiliation, race, color, age, national origin, gender, gender identity or gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, handicap or religion and with proper regard for privacy, basic rights outlined in this chapter and their constitutional rights as citizens, and;
ARTICLE 3.21 READILY ACCESSIBLE ELECTRONIC MEETING NOTICES, AGENDAS AND RECORDS –
Section 3.21.1 Purpose and Applicability:
This by-law applies to the meetings of all Brookline governmental bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law, now G.L. c. 39, §§23A et seq. (hereinafter, respectively, “meetings” and “OML”), and is intended (a) to take advantage of the internet and its increasing use; (b) to better implement the spirit of the OML; and (c) to the extent reasonably practical, to improve opportunities for broader and more meaningful citizen public participation in the business of Town governmental bodies.
Section 3.21.3 Meeting Notices and Agendas – item (b):
(b) With the assistance and direction of the Town Clerk and ITD, the information specified above shall be disseminated in a timely manner to citizens members of the public who join the aforementioned notification list(s).
ARTICLE 4.1 ACCOUNTS AND AUDITS SECTION – SECTION 4.1.3 AUDIT REPORTS
All reports by the independent auditor shall be available for inspection by citizens of the Town the public during regular business hours at the Town’s offices. The audit report shall also be made available at the Main Library.
ARTICLE 4.6 PUBLIC RELATIONS AND INFORMATION
The Town may appropriate a sum not to exceed $1,500.00 in any year to be expended by the Personnel Board, with the approval of the Select Board, for the purpose of furnishing information including, without limitation, the results of its investigations, its opinions and recommendations, to the inhabitants of the Town public or to Town Meeting members, pertaining to an article or articles in the Warrant for a town meeting which relate to wages, hours or other conditions of employment of town Town employees.
ARTICLE 4.8 LIVING WAGE BY-LAW – SECTION 4.8.6, item (c), first paragraph:
- Enforcement Grievance procedures and nondiscrimination. Any covered employee who believes that his or her employer is not complying with requirements of this article applicable to the employer has the right to file a complaint with the town’s Chief Procurement Officer or Select Board. Complaints of alleged violations may also be filed by concerned citizens members of the public or by a town official or employee. Complaints of alleged violations may be made at any time and shall be investigated promptly by or for the officer or board that received the Complaint. To the extent allowed under the Public Records Law, G.L.c.66, statements, written or oral, made by a covered employee, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be disclosed to the covered employer without the consent of the covered employee.
ARTICLE 6.6 DISCHARGING FIREARMS:
No person shall fire or discharge any gun, fowling-piece, or firearm within two hundred feet of any street in the town of Brookline or on any private grounds, except with the consent of the owner thereof; provided, however, that this by-law shall not apply to the use of such weapons at any military exercise, in law enforcement or in the lawful defense of the person, family, or property of any citizen person.
ARTICLE 7.9 SNOW PARKING BAN:
No person shall allow any vehicle to remain in or within a street or way when a snow emergency parking ban has been declared by the Chairman of the Select Board, or in the absence of the Chairman, by a Select Board member.
A Snow Emergency Parking Ban may be declared by the Chairman of the Select Board, or in the absence of the Chairman, by a Select Board member, whenever there are indications that the threat of substantial snow is imminent, whenever there has been a substantial snow and snow removal operations are underway or are about to commence, or whenever a substantial snow creates conditions that require a vehicular driving or parking ban throughout the town. Upon the declaration of a Snow Emergency Parking Ban notice thereof shall be given to the Town Clerk’s office, the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Department of Public Works. Reasonable action shall also be taken to notify and warn the inhabitants of the Town public of the ban.
ARTICLE 8.12 HAWKERS AND PEDDLERS – SECTION 8.12.4 NO DISTURBING THE PEACE:
No person hawking, peddling, or carrying or exposing any article for sale shall cry his wares to the disturbance of the peace and comfort of the inhabitants of the Town public, nor shall carry or convey such articles (in any manner that will tend to injure or disturb the public health or comfort nor) otherwise than in vehicles and receptacles which are neat and clean and do not leak.
ARTICLE 8.12 HAWKERS AND PEDDLERS – SECTION 8.12.2 LICENSING
The Town Administrator shall have authority to grant such license to any person of good repute for morals and integrity who is or has declared his intentions to become a citizen of the United States. Said license, unless sooner revoked by the board or officer granting the same, shall expire one year from the date of issue, and each person so licensed shall pay therefore a fee of twenty-five dollars.
ARTICLE 8.15 NOISE CONTROL:
SECTION 8.15.2 DECLARATION OF FINDINGS, POLICY AND SCOPE , item (a):
(a) Whereas excessive Noise is a serious hazard to the public health and welfare, safety, and the quality of life; and whereas a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive Noise may be substantially abated; and whereas the people have a right to and should be ensured an environment free from excessive Noise that may jeopardize their health or welfare or safety or degrade the quality of life; now, therefore, it is the policy of the Town of Brookline to prevent excessive Noise which may jeopardize the health and welfare or safety of its citizens the public or degrade the quality of life.
SECTION 8.15.7 PERMITS FOR EXEMPTIONS FROM THIS BY-LAW, item (b):
(b) The applications required by (a) shall be on appropriate forms available at the office of the Select Board. The Select Board, or designee, may issue guidelines defining the procedures to be followed in applying for a special permit. The following criteria and conditions shall be considered: (1) the cost of compliance will not cause the applicant excessive financial hardship; (2) additional Noise will not have an excessive impact on neighboring citizens the public.
ARTICLE 8.16.1 COLLECTION AND RECYCLING OF WASTE MATERIALS – PURPOSE:
Article 8.16 is enacted to maintain and expand the Town’s solid waste collection and recycling programs under its Home Rule powers, its police powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of its inhabitants the public and General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 21; Chapter 21A, Sections 2 and 8; Chapter 111, Sections 31, 31A and 31B and to comply with the Massachusetts Waste Ban, 310 CMR 19.
ARTICLE 8.23 TOBACCO CONTROL – SECTION 8.23.1 – PURPOSE:
In order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town public, including but not limited to its younger population, by restricting the sale of and public exposure to tobacco and e-cigarette products known to be related to various and serious health conditions such as cancer, this by-law shall limit and restrict the sale of and public exposure to tobacco and e-cigarette products within the Town of Brookline.
ARTICLE 8.29 NUISANCE CONTROL – SECTION 8.29.1 PURPOSE:
In order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town public, this bylaw shall permit the Town to impose liability on Property Owners and other responsible persons for the nuisances and harm caused by loud and unruly Gatherings on private property and shall prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages by underage persons at such Gatherings.
ARTICLE 8.30 FINGERPRINT-BASED CRIMINAL RECORD BACKGROUND CHECKS – SECTION 8.30.1 PURPOSE/AUTHORIZATION:
In order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town of Brookline public, and as authorized by chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010, this by-law shall require a) applicants for certain Town licenses permitting the engagement in specific occupational activities within the Town as enumerated in Section 8.30.2 below to submit to fingerprinting by the Brookline Police Department, b) the Police Department to conduct criminal record background checks based on such fingerprints, and c) the Town to consider the results of such background checks in determining whether or not to grant a license. The Town authorizes the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Systems (DCJIS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as may be applicable to conduct on the behalf of the Town and its Police Department fingerprint-based state and national criminal record background checks, including of FBI records, consistent with this by-law. The Town authorizes the Police Department to receive and utilize FBI records in connection with such background checks, consistent with this by-law.
Article 8.31 Leaf Blower Control – SECTION 8.31.6: PERMITS FOR EXEMPTIONS FROM THIS BY-LAW, item (b):
(b) The Select Board, or designee, may issue guidelines defining the procedures to be followed in applying for a special permit. The following criteria and conditions shall be considered: (1) the cost of compliance will not cause the applicant excessive financial hardship; (2) additional noise will not have an excessive impact on neighboring citizens the public. (3) the permit may require portable acoustic barriers during night use. (4) the guidelines shall include reasonable deadlines for compliance or extension of non- compliance. (5) the number of days a person seeking a special permit shall have to make written application after receiving notification from the Town that (s)he is in violation of the provisions of this By-law. (6) If the Select Board, or its designee, finds that sufficient controversy exists regarding the application, a public hearing may be held. A person who claims that any special permit granted under (a) would have adverse effects may file a statement with the Select Board, or designee, to support this claim.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
This Article is brought in an effort to make the Town’s General By-laws more inclusive, and also for clarity and consistency.
Currently, the General By-laws include references to “voters,” “citizens,” “inhabitants,” and “residents.” Drafted by many hands, and over time, there is a marked lack of consistency, and an unnecessary, and likely unintended, narrowness of application. The simple changes speak for themselves.
34. Amend the Town’s General By-laws regarding eligibility for membership on boards, commissions and committees. (Gordon, TMM1)
To see if the Town will vote to amend its General By-laws, as follows (deletions in strike through; additions in bold underline):
ARTICLE 2.2 ADVISORY COMMITTEE – SECTION 2.2.1 APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS
The Moderator shall, in June of each year, appoint citizens members to serve on of the Advisory Committee (herein the Committee) established under G.L.c. 39, Section 16, and this Bylaw. Members of the Committee shall serve without compensation. The Committee shall consist of not fewer than twenty nor more than thirty registered voters residents of the Town. At least sixteen Committee members shall be elected Town Meeting Members at the time of their appointment. At least one elected Town Meeting Member shall be appointed from each precinct, to the extent practicable. No more than eight members shall be appointed who are not elected Town Meeting Members at the time of their appointment. No more than four members of the Committee shall reside in the same precinct. No member of the Committee shall be an employee of the Town or a member of any standing Board or Committee having charge of the expenditure of money; but, this restriction shall not disqualify from appointment to the Committee, members of special committees, which may be created from time to time by Town Meeting, the Moderator or the Select Board to report on specific matters.
ARTICLE 2.3 COMMITTEE ON TOWN ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE – SECTION 2.3.1 APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS
There shall be a Committee on Town Organization and Structure (CTO&S) to consist of seven members residents, appointed by the moderator for three year staggered terms.
ARTICLE 3.2 SCHOOL COMMITTEE
There shall be a School Committee, comprised of nine residents members elected for three year staggered terms.
ARTICLE 3.5 AUDIT COMMITTEE SECTION – 3.5.1 APPOINTMENT
There shall be an Audit Committee consisting of six resident voting members, with appointment not restricted to the ranks of the appointing bodies. The Select Board shall appoint one member, the Advisory Committee shall appoint one member, the School Committee shall appoint one member and the Town Moderator shall appoint three members. The membership shall elect a chairperson annually from among their number. Appointments shall be for a term of three years. All terms shall expire on August 31. Any vacancy occurring in the Committee shall be filled by the appropriate appointing body for the balance of the unexpired term.
ARTICLE 3.6 BOARD OF APPEALS
There shall be a Board of Appeals, as provided in General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 12, to consist of three members residents who shall be appointed by the Select Board, for terms of such length and so arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year. One member shall be an attorney and at least one of the remaining members shall be a registered architect, professional civil engineer or master builder. The Zoning By-laws may provide for the appointment of associate members.
ARTICLE 3.7 BUILDING COMMISSION; PROCEDURE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND ALTERATION OF TOWN BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES SECTION – 3.7.1 APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS
The Select Board shall appoint five citizens residents to serve as members of the Building Commission (the Commission), which shall have charge and direction of the construction, repair and alteration of all town buildings and all buildings and structures placed on town land. So long as they remain residents, theThe members of said Commission shall hold office from the 1st of September following his or her appointment for three year staggered terms, and until a successor is appointed. Commission appointments shall be made to preserve three year staggered terms, with two members appointed one year, two members appointed the following year and one member appointed the third year. They shall serve without compensation. The Commission shall comprise a registered architect, a registered engineer, a licensed builder, and two other citizens residents. The Building Commissioners shall act as Secretary of the Commission. The Select Board shall have the power to fill any vacancy in the Commission. With respect to the selection of an architect, engineer, or other consultant (the consultant) for building projects, the Commission shall by regulation, adopt procedures, by regulation which conform to the requirements of the laws of Massachusetts.
ARTICLE 3.9 BROOKLINE COMMISSION FOR WOMEN – SECTION 3.9.4
MEMBERSHIP, APPOINTMENT, TERM, item (a):
(a) The Commission shall consist of eleven members residents, all of whom shall be appointed by the Select Board to serve for a term of three years.
ARTICLE 3.10 COUNCIL ON AGING SECTION 3.10.1 ESTABLISHMENT – SECTION 3.10.2 MEMBERSHIP
The Council on Aging shall consist of the Chair of the Select Board, Chair of the Park and Recreation Commission, Chair of the Housing Authority, Director of Public Health, Superintendent of Schools, Head Librarian, or their respective representatives, and, in addition, fifteen citizens residents reflecting the general composition of the citizenry of Brookline town. The Citizen resident members shall be appointed by the Select Board after receiving recommendations from public and private agencies concerned with the welfare of older persons. Fifty-one percent of the members of the Council on Aging shall be composed of persons 60 years of age or over. The terms of office expire on August 31, unless otherwise specified by the Select Board or unless such appointment is for an indefinite term.
SECTION 3.10.3 TERMS AND CHAIR
Length of term of Citizenresident Members shall be determined in the following manner: Initial Citizenresident Membership shall be split as evenly as possible into thirds. One- third of the Citizenresident Members shall be initially appointed for a one year term. One-third of the Citizenresident Members shall be initially appointed for a two-year term. One-third of the Citizenresident Members shall be initially appointed for a three- year term. All subsequent Citizenresident Members shall be appointed for a three-year term.
ARTICLE 3.11B INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT – SECTION
3.11B.4 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The Select Board shall appoint five residents to serve on the Information Technology Advisory Committee, hereafter referred to as the “ITAC”, for three-year staggered terms and so long as they remain residents. The ITAC shall be responsible for providing community input to IT decision making, periodically reviewing the IT Strategic Plan including annual updates, and evaluating lessons learned from major IT initiatives. The ITAC shall meet quarterly, and at other times deemed necessary by the CIO and / or the Chairman of the ITAC.
ARTICLE 3.12 DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – SECTION 3.12.6 PLANNING BOARD:
The Select Board shall appoint seven residents to serve on the Planning Board for five year staggered terms and so long as they remain residents. At least one of the appointees must be qualified for such appointment by virtue or relevant and significant experience or training in the field of environmental or urban planning. The Planning Board is established under G.L.c. 41, §81A, and shall perform and discharge all of the statutory powers and duties required by law, including those set forth in The Zoning Act, G.L.c. 40A, in the Subdivision Control Act and other relevant sections in G.L.c. 41, Sections 81A to 81GG, inclusive, in Chapter 270 of the Acts of 1985 and in G.L.c. 41.
ARTICLE 3.13 HOUSING ADVISORY BOARD – SECTION 3.13.2 MEMBERSHIP: The Housing Advisory Board shall consist of seven residents of the town, five appointed by the Select Board for three year staggered terms, and a member each of the Planning Board and Brookline Housing Authority. Vacancies shall be filled for unexpired terms. Of the Select Board’s appointees, one should be a low or moderate income tenant who demonstrates a knowledge of tenant issues. The other Select Board’s appointees should have knowledge or experience in one or more of the following areas: government housing programs, housing or real estate finances, affordable housing development, design or urban planning, real estate law. The Select Board should ensure that all of these areas of expertise are represented on the Housing Advisory Board.
ARTICLE 3.14 COMMISSION FOR DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS AND OFFICE OF DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS – SECTION 3.14.1 ESTABLISHMENT AND PURPOSE:
The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) residents of the Town, who shall be called Commissioners.
ARTICLE 3.16 PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSION
There shall be a Park and Recreation Commission to consist of seven residents, appointed by the Select Board for three year staggered terms.
ARTICLE 3.23 BROOKLINE COMMISSION ON DISABILITY – SECTION 3.23.4
The Commission shall consist of seven (7) or nine (9) volunteer members residents appointed by the Select Board. The majority of members shall consist of people with disabilities. One member shall be a member of the immediate family of a person with a disability. One member shall be a member of the Select Board or a Department Head. All members shall serve three-year terms. Terms shall be staggered to preserve continuity. Resignations shall be made by notifying the Select Board and Town Clerk in writing. If any member is absent from three or more regularly scheduled meetings in any one calendar year, a recommendation shall be made by the chairperson to the Select Board that such member be removed from the Commission, unless any or all absences are excused for good cause by the chairperson. Good cause shall include, but not be limited to: illness, a death in the family, severe weather, and professional responsibilities. The Select Board shall fill any vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same manner as an original appointment. Any members of said Commission may, after a public hearing if so requested, be removed for cause by the Select Board. No member shall undertake to speak or act on behalf of the Commission without the approval of the Commission. All members, with the exception of the Town’s ADA Coordinator, shall have full voting rights.
ARTICLE 4.9 ELECTION CAMPAIGNS – item (G):
(G) Committee on Campaigns (1) There shall be a Committee on Campaigns consisting of not less than five nor more than seven members: the Town Clerk or his designee; an appointee of the Board of Selectmen who may be a member of the Board; and not less than three nor more than five Brookline residents appointed by the Moderator for three-year staggered terms. No holder of or candidate for the office of Selectman, School Committee, Library Trustee, Housing Authority, Moderator, Town Clerk or Constable shall be eligible for appointment by the Moderator to the committee. Should any individual vacate his office as committee member, the applicable appointing authority shall appoint another individual to fill his or her unexpired term.
SECTION 5.6.4 MEMBERSHIP OF THE PRESERVATION COMMISSION
The Brookline Preservation Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Preservation Commission, shall consist of seven (7) members residents appointed by the Select Board. The terms of office expire on August 31, unless otherwise specified by the Select Board or unless such appointment is for an indefinite term.
ARTICLE 6.8 NAMING PUBLIC FACILITIES – SECTION 6.8.2 REVIEW COMMITTEE
(A) Appointment – The Select Board shall appoint a Committee of not less than five nor more than seven members residents for staggered three year terms and so long as they remain residents to review all proposals for naming public facilities except rooms and associated spaces under the jurisdiction of the School Committee and Library Trustees as specified above in Section 6.8.1. The Committee shall include one member of each of the Advisory Committee, the Park and Recreation Commission, the Preservation Commission, the Commission for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations and the School Committee. In addition, the Board of Selectmen may appoint one alternate member to the Committee. Such alternate shall be appointed for a three year term and shall be designated by the Chair of the Committee from time to time to take the place of any member who is absent or unable or unwilling to act for any reason.
Or act on anything relative thereto.
Some time ago, the Petitioner was made aware of a former resident of the town who was continuing to serve on an appointed board. That led to a review of the By-law as it related to that particular board, and subsequently, to a broader review of the By-laws as they relate to appointments to Town boards, committees and commissions.
Currently, there is no consistent standard for appointment to a Town board, committee or commission. For example, the Audit Committee By-law refers only to the appointment of “members,” as is the case for the Commission for Women. To serve on the Council on Aging, on the other hand, you need to be a “citizen.” The By-laws are silent with respect to members of the Parks and Recreation Commission. “Residents” serve on the School Committee, but the By-laws are silent with respect to Select Board Members, the moderator and the town clerk.
The proposed By-law amendment (i) makes consistent the language with respect to town wide elected officials, and (ii) sets a consistent standard of “resident,” which the Petitioner believes (subject to public hearings on this subject) is the appropriate requirement for appointment to and continued service on a Town board, committee or commission.
35. Reports of Town Officers and Committees. (Select Board)
Reports of Town Officers and Committees
AND YOU ARE DIRECTED TO SERVE THIS WARRANT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BY-LAWS OF THE TOWN OF BROOKLINE.
HEREOF FAIL NOT, and make due return of this WARRANT, with your doings thereon, to the Selectmen at least FOURTEEN DAYS before the day of said meeting.
Given under our hands and the seal of the TOWN of Brookline, Massachusetts, this 3rd day of September 2019.
BY VIRTUE OF THIS WARRANT, I THIS DAY NOTIFIED AND WARNED THE INHABITANTS OF SAID TOWN TO MEET AT THE HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM IN SAID TOWN ON TUESDAY, November 19, 2019 AT 7:00 P.M. BY POSTING TRUE AND ATTESTED COPIES OF THE WITHIN WARRANT IN TEN (10) PUBLIC PLACES. ALL OF THIS WAS DONE AT LEAST FOURTEEN (14) DAYS BEFORE SAID MEETING.
Any reports from Town Officers and Committees are included under this article in the Combined Reports. Town Meeting action is not required on any of the reports.