Neighbors of the project at 71 Salisbury Road say the excavation has impacted their properties, and they did not receive notice. (The following letter also was sent to Town of Watertown officials)
In 2016, discussions began in Watertown about a proposed development behind our Templeton Parkway home, on a steep, rocky 0.10 acre property with a large seam of ledge at 71 Salisbury Road. Concerns were clearly expressed about potential damage to neighboring properties that heavy excavation of the ledge might cause. My next door neighbor talked with the developer about this concern. Councilor Kounelis sent a message of concern to the Planning Department.
Neighbors of the project at 71 Salisbury Road say the excavation has impacted their properties, and they did not receive notice. The following statement was presented to the Watertown Town Council on Jan. 22, 2019:
My wife and I bought a small house in Watertown 8 years ago and we have begun our family there. We love being in Watertown and intend to continue as a part of the community we have found here. In the past week a developer has begun construction on the lot abutting ours. They are constructing a spec house in place of the previous house which was razed 3 years ago when they acquired the land. This new house is to be put on the market as soon as it is completed. The developer delayed construction these years as they sought a solution to squeeze a two-family structure on the small lot but apparently decided that pursuing a special permit would invite too much push back.
Now they have pulled a permit for construction ‘by right’ and as a first step have undertaken blasting away the large rock ledge upon which the old house was constructed. They have continued this excavation into a second week using two earth moving machines, one to blast the rock and one to scoop it into a line of waiting dump trucks, right up to the property lines on all sides. The grade has been lowered significantly across the entire parcel such that at my property line there is now a shear face of exposed soil and bedrock where the incline which used to continue from our property into theirs has been blasted away.
As a result two mature maple trees on our property have had their roots exposed and torn away. No attempt whatsoever was made to protect these trees even though doing so would pose no impediment to the construction of the house which they have permitted. Only willful disregard for the impact on neighbors property and desire to remove as much of the existing topography as possible has led to the damaging of these trees.
Roots of trees on properties abutting 71 Salisbury Road have been damaged by the excavation on the site.
The Town Council approved a new member of the Planning Board at Tuesday’s Council meeting, but the candidate did not receive unanimous support.
Jason Cohen, who has been an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, was appointed to the Planning Board to replace John Hawes, who recently stepped down after more than two decades on the board. Cohen, is an architect, has served on the ZBA since 2015, has lived in town since 2001 and has two children attending Hosmer Elementary School. Professionally, he works primarily on large multi-unit housing projects, but during his interview with the Economic Development & Planning subcommittee he said he is interested in larger urban planning issues that come before the Planning Board, including approving projects on Arsenal Street and Pleasant Street. Town Councilor Angeline Kounelis said she could not support Cohen because she believed he did not consider all input from residents when considering a case. She pointed to the proposal for the medical marijuana facility at 23 Elm St., and the ZBA meeting in May 2017.
Some trees that line the Linear Path – the pedestrian way near Town Hall – are planned to be removed. Watertown officials will hold a meeting to discuss the planned tree cutting. The trees sit on the right-of-way for pipe carrying the City of Cambridge’s water supply. The trees proposed to be removed are near Waverley Avenue as well as near Summer Street, according to an announcement about the meeting. An earlier removal of trees in Watertown proved to be controversial, and the removals were halted temporarily.
Half a dozen young nature enthusiasts have taken to the streets of Watertown this summer with a mission of caring for the town’s street trees and spreading the word about the importance of urban trees.
The six teens are part in the Watertown Teen Tree Stewardship Program, which is sponsored by Trees for Watertown, a citizens group committed to protecting and promoting trees in town. Each day, the group has an activity. Sometimes it is looking around town for street trees that are in need of help, other times it is learning about trees and nature, and sometimes they are promoting their program, said David Meshoulam, founder and coordinator of the program. As Meshoulam drives the group around town, the former Newton North High School science teacher points out a “beautiful beech” or a tree that has not been properly planted. The teens have been keeping track of trees around town.
Watertown Tree Warden Chris Hayward will hold a hearing to discuss two trees that are proposed to be taken down. The Tree Hearing will be held on Thursday July 13, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. in Town Hall in the 3rd Floor Meeting Room. Location
Type of Tree
137 School Street
1 Howe St (on Boylston St)
Please note that you do not need to attend the Tree Hearing to be heard, Hayward said in the announcement. If you cannot attend but are for or against the removal of any of the trees listed and want your thoughts to become public record, please email the Tree Warden at email@example.com. Your concerns will be read into the public record at the hearing. Your email must be received by me by 10:30am on July 13, 2017.
Watertown Tree Warden Chris Hayward announced a meeting to discuss trees that are scheduled to be removed in Watertown.
The meeting was originally scheduled to be held on Tuesday, June 13. The hearing has been rescheduled to Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. It will be held in the 3rd Floor Meeting Room in the Administration Building located at 147 Main St. Please see the attached agenda for more information. TREE Hearing List
Type of Tree
Common/Spring St. Delta
291 Arsenal St
291 Arsenal St
330 Arsenal St
330 Arsenal St
330 Arsenal St
45 Robbins Road (on Orchard St)
4 Orchard St
58 Robbins Rd (on Orchard St)
Hayward said that people do not need to attend the Tree Hearing to be heard.
The removal of trees in Watertown by the City of Cambridge has been stopped, and more assessment will be done before any others are removed. Cutting of trees along the Linear Path behind Town Hall and between Whites and Waverley avenues has drawn strong condemnation from many Watertown residents. The trees sit on top of land owned by the City of Cambridge, and which is above a pipe that supplies water to Cambridge. Town Council President Mark Sideris announced the halt of tree removals at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. “Believe me, the Town, Town Administration and Town Council are very disappointed with the (City of Cambridge’s) actions and the method of communication with the Town,” Sideris said.