Peter Bermudes of Belknap Street submitted this letter on behalf of the residents of Belmarlin.
Like many Arlingtonians over the past year-and-then-some, the residents of Belmarlin — as we who live on Belknap, Marion and Linwood streets in East Arlington refer to our neighborhood — have spent much of the pandemic within earshot of a developer’s rehab project.
As days turned into weeks into months, the initially inconvenient noise, floating debris and parking congestion morphed into something more weighty and permanent. And now, with that project finally complete and sold off, two more rehabs are due to begin this summer.
Hoping to be proactive and establish lines of clear communication with the developers, a number of Belmarlinites crowd-sourced the following list of suggestions. Some are enforceable by town regulation, while others simply strike us as neighborly and good business practice. We offer them here in case others want to build on them for use in their own neighborhoods.
SUGGESTIONS FOR DEVELOPERS:
Ideas for Working Successfully with the Residents of Belmarlin
Noise and logistical disruption are a natural byproduct of your work. Though these qualities are often at odds with neighborhood life in Arlington, with the understanding of neighbors, your respect for our neighborhood, and clear communication between us, it is our expectation that we can co-exist peacefully over the course of this project. Having just experienced another rehab, here are some suggestions and requests from neighbors:
Please observe local working hours per town regulations: weekdays between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To the degree possible, neighbors request that the throwing of trash out of second- and third-floor openings into dumpsters be done at a few established intervals during the day instead of piece-by-piece across the entirety of the day. Many residents are still working from home and appreciate a limit to auditory interruptions.
For work involving substantial noise for prolonged periods of time (e.g., removing an existing foundation), please let someone in the neighborhood know ahead of time so they can alert others and inform them of the expected end-time.
Local parking regulations (time limitations, no parking on one side of the street, etc.) should be respected by your carpenters and subcontractors. Please post those conspicuously near worksite entrances for subs who often have no conception of how their “brief visits” might add to the inconveniences experienced by local residents.
If your carpenters and subs will be using on-street parking, please ask them to park in different places around the neighborhood over the course of each week so on-street parking around the worksite is not consumed daily for months on end.
Unless they have requested and received permission from property owners beforehand, workers and subs should for no reason park in front of neighboring driveways. Even for brief periods.
At the end of each day per town regulation, please have someone clean up the worksite so insulation, plastic wrap and other building materials don't litter the neighborhood.
Once the building has electric, please have someone turn lights off at the end of each workday so neighbors are not disrupted by lights shining throughout the night.
Residents of the Belmarlin neighborhood offer these suggestions in the spirit of clear and constructive communication. If an issue becomes problematic, we will work with you to find a mutually agreeable solution, and only involve the town building inspector or the Arlington Police as a last resort.
This letter was published Tuesday, June 29, 2021.