The Town of Arlington is committed to open government and aims to improve transparency through increased access to public information. Massachusetts law protects the right to access public information and has long mandated government disclosure of records. The Town fulfills this responsibility to citizens by pro-actively posting commonly requested documents to its website and by providing access to or copies of public records upon request. If you do not find the content you seek on the website
Public records are broadly defined in Massachusetts law. Public records include nearly all documentary materials or data of any form generated, received or maintained by the Town, its employees, boards, committees and commissions. In order to protect certain privacy and security interests, there are certain narrowly defined statutory exemptions prohibiting particular public records, or portions thereof, from disclosure pursuant to G.L.c.4§7. View the list of public record exemptions.
The following information is offered to guide the public in gaining access to public records in the custody of the Town of Arlington. The information and lists contained herein are not exhaustive, and any questions or concerns regarding public records should be directed to the Records Access Officer listed in the contact module.
For more information regarding public records law in Massachusetts, please visit the Secretary of State’s website.
Read the full text of Public Records Access Regulations (950 CMR 32.00) effective January 1, 2017.
What Public Records are Available?
Certain commonly requested records are regularly posted to the website for viewing at your convenience. Please visit the School Department's website for information regarding Arlington Public Schools.
Commonly requested records:
Budget and Financial Information
Agendas and Minutes: Visit the Agenda & Minute page of the board or committee you seek information about.
Building Permit Applications
Crime Reports - Visit the crime reports page and sign up for emailed crime reports of your neighborhood.
Employee Pay Plans
Tax and Water Bills
GIS Maps - View Zoning, Historic District, Wetland, School District and other Maps
Public Works Project Information
Town Meeting Warrants
Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates
How Do I Access Public Records?
If you were not able to locate the desired record on the website, you may submit a Public Records Request at any time by completing the Public Records Request Form. Requests for School Department records can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This form is intended to help you identify the records sought, as well as facilitate an efficient and timely response to your request. You may also submit your request in writing directly to the Records Access Officer. This can be done electronically via email, or by hard copy via USPS mail or in-person delivery at the respective email address or mailing address listed in the contact module on the side of this page.
You may request to inspect, copy and/or to receive copies of the requested records. The Town is required to provide copies of records in an electronic format, unless such a format is not available or you cannot receive the records in electronic format.
How Long Will it Take to Receive the Records?
In most cases, you will have the opportunity to inspect the records in the possession of the Town of Arlington during regular business hours or will receive copies of the records within 10 business days. The computation of time begins with the first business day following the date of transmission (electronic requests) or receipt of your request (mail or in-person requests).
In certain cases, if the nature of the Public Records Request is particularly voluminous or of a highly sensitive nature, it may take longer than 10 business days to provide for an inspection or to transmit copies of the requested records. In these cases, you will receive a preliminary written response notifying you of the intention to provide records at an interval not to exceed 25 days from the initial request. If a request is especially complex, the Town of Arlington may need to petition the Supervisor of Records for a formal extension beyond 25 days. You will receive a copy of any such petition to the Supervisor of Records.
In rare cases, you may be denied access to certain records due to statutory exemption(s) from disclosure or on the basis of common law privilege, such as that which exists between an attorney and client. You will receive a detailed written notice of any such denial.
If your Public Records Request is not clear or reasonably descriptive, or is unreasonably burdensome, the Records Access Officer will contact you for clarification or potential modification of scope of your Public Records Request. The Town strives to make public information readily available and easily accessible through a prompt and accurate response to Public Records Requests.
Will there be a fee?
In most cases there will not be a fee to access public records. This is because there is no fee for the first two hours of time spent producing the requested records, and there is no cost associated with transmitting the records electronically via email, when feasible.
In the event there will be a fee associated with fulfilling your Public Records Request due to it being especially complex, voluminous, or of a highly sensitive nature, you will be provided a written, good faith estimate of the cost prior to fulfilling the Public Records Request. Ultimately, the fee shall not exceed the actual cost of fulfilling the Public Records Request, which may include costs associated with printing, photocopying or other form of physical reproduction, postage, data storage devices and employee production time. Any such fee shall be provided prior to fulfillment of the Public Records Request.
Please note the Town of Arlington may waive the fee upon a showing the that disclosure of the requested records is in the public interest and contributes significantly to public understanding, or upon a showing the requester lacks the financial ability to pay.
If you are aggrieved by a response of the Records Access Officer, or if you believe the Records Access Officer failed to comply with a requirement of 950 CMR 32.00, you may appeal in writing to the Supervisor of Records. Visit the Secretary of State's website for more information.