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Selectmen back Verizon cable-TV deal, 3-day suspension for Prime

The town has reached license agreements with all three of its cable-TV providers, and, in a separate matter, the last of four Arlington businesses facing charges of serving underage patrons has received a three-day suspension.

Board of Selectmen logo, Jan. 23, 2013

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The Board of Selectmen on Monday, Aug. 7, voted, 3-0 (Steve Byrne and Kevin Greeley were absent), to support a five-year accord with Verizon.

Key provisions echoed previous agreements, with Comcast and RCN, except that Verizon subscribers will be able to see ACMi programs in high definition, and those with Comcast cannot. Other details are reported below.

A 3-0 vote backed the suspension against Prime, the butcher shop in the Heights.

Summer St. case in September?

In June, four town businesses had cases brought against them based on a police stings in February and March. Bistro Duet and Zhu's Garden, both in East Arlington, received three-day suspensions. Arlington Liquors, on Summer Street, served a five-day suspension in June, and the following month selectmen were deadlocked about whether to revoke its license, based on a number of complaints.

Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine told YourArlington he expects the matter to be resolved and reported at the Sept. 11 selectmen's meeting.

At the public hearing, Town Counsel Doug Heim noted that the case involving Prime reflected cooperation from the business. After the violation was discovered, straightforward discussion followed, with no controversy. Read the full June 13 memo >>

Attorney Mary Winstanley O'Connor, representing owner Peter Weissman, said, "Human beings make mistakes." She said the clerk involved had a warning added to his personnel file and that all employees were subject to retraining under renewed guidelines the day after the February incident.

"What is different?" Selectmen Dan Dunn asked.

Weissman said training now involves a quiz; to pass, he said, employees must understand the rules.

Asked by Selectman Diane Mahon whether a manager and an assistant are on duty at the same time, Weissman said, "Always."

Selectman Chairman Joseph Curro Jr. suggested that the business ask to participate in the Arlington Youth Health & Safety Coalition Sticker-Shock Campaign. Find out more >>

Pleased by the overall response from the owner, Dunn recommended three days for the first-time infraction, to start on a Tuesday, likely in September.

The vote for Verizon means the town has agreements with all of its cable providers. The accord with Comcast was endorsed in March, and the one with RCN was approved last September.

John Maher, chairman of the Cable Advisory Committee, summarized. Verizon sought a five-year pact, instead of the usual 10, and the town agreed. The provider cited numerous changes in its fast-moving industry, including streaming video, as reasons for a shorter-term deal.

What deal provides

A memo from special counsel Peter Epstein spells out the main provisions. Verizon will provide:

-- 5 percent of its annual gross revenues, as it has done in the past;

-- $125,000 over the five years at $25,000 per year;

-- PEG access capital funding, estimated to total $250,000; and

-- Three standard definition channels for PEG access plus one high-definition channel, for use by next March 1.

As to the last feature, Curro noted that the agreement says calls for selectmen to ask for that channel in writing 180 days before activation. Because that would mean this Sept. 1, Curro asked for a separate vote on that, and it passed, 3-0.
Dunn said the new five-year term "makes a lot of sense to me."

Concrete or brick walks in historic districts?

In other business, the board voted, 3-0, to have the manager devise a policy addressing sidewalks in the town's historic districts and return to selectmen for discussion.

In a July 28 memo, DPW Director Mike Rademacher wrote: "Most recently, when DPW planned to reconstruct a street within an Historic District with new concrete sidewalks, some of the property owners on that street objected. Their desire was to have brick walks rather than concrete.

"The major difficulty with regard to this topic, in my opinion, is twofold; the cost of constructing and maintaining brick sidewalks, and the issue of accessibility and brick surfaces."

Read the whole memo >>

As an example of potential complications, Dunn wondered whether the result might be a "patchwork" if two home owners wanted one kind of sidewalk and a third wanted another.

Mahon asked about Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, and Heim made clear that relevant town officials understand that any changes must conform to that 1990 federal act.

Steve Makowka, Historic Districts Commission chairman, noted that the issue had lengthy history before his board. He cited the positive value of the town's 2015 master plan in that discussion as calling for creating a sense of place.

Public comment

During citizens' open forum, Jo Anne Preston of Mystic Lake Drive spoke on behalf of neighbors who are concerned about the removal of a tree at 40 Webcowet Road.

Because specific discussion about that neighborhood was postponed until the Sept. 11 selectmen's meeting, Preston addressed notification, asking that it be more timely. She suggested putting a sign on a tree due for a hearing the tree, with date and place of the event. She also asked for 10 days' notice.

The board supported a request for a common victualler license for Dunkin Donuts, at 101 Broadway, from James Angiolillo, John Angiolillo, Christopher Angiolillo/Mohamed Hiaoui, who are new owners.

Consent agenda

Matters that were part of the consent agenda, voted 3-0, were:

-- Appointment: Zoning Board of Appeals,, associate member to voting member, Shawn O'Rourke (term 9/15/17 - 10/1/20);

-- For Approval: Arlington Center for the Arts, Open Studios' pole banners, Linda Shoemaker, Arlington Center for the Arts' executive director;

-- Request: Special (one-day) beer-and-wine license, 9/16/17, Town Day Beer Garden, Selectman Kevin F. Greeley;

-- Request: Special (one-day) beer-and-wine license, 9/23/17, at Robbins Memorial Town Hall for a private event, Tovar and Bascuas wedding;

-- Appointment of new election workers: (1) Patricia Costa, 82 Milton St., D, Pct. 17; (2) Julie Foran, 5 Reed St., UI, Pct. 19 

Correspondence

The board moved to receive the following correspondence: 

-- Request Reconsideration of Parking Ticket Appeal Fee, Joan M. Pirrello, 48 Wildwood Ave.;

-- Speeding Traffic Concern on Hutchinson Road, Lauren Dowley via Request/Answer Center [Dowley also addressed the board in person];

-- Request One Space On Street Overnight Parking at or near 97 Bow St., Aine Minogue, 97 Bow St.; and

-- Problems with Certain MBTA Bus Stop Markings in East Arlington, Catherine King, 215 Mass. Ave.  


July 26, 2017: License-revocation decision delayed for Summer St. store
March 1, 2017: Comcast cable-TV deal includes $50K for upgrades, senior discount

This news summary was published Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2017.

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