If you move next to vacant or underutilized industrial property you should not be surprised if the site gets redeveloped!
I am NOT in favor of a one-year moratorium on the Arsenal Street redevelopment. I am in favor of reasonable refinement of the projects planned based on the Pleasant Street experience gained. Step-backs with height limitations are important.
I have lived in Watertown for 25 years now. Slowly, the town has migrated from being industrial to having residential, office, retail and research space along with other businesses replace the old dirty industries once here. There was still a nuclear reactor on the Arsenal property in 1990! People talk of ‘preserving’ the character of Watertown. Is this industrial character what people are trying to preserve?
Watertown is in change and has been for many years – freezing the town in time now is not reasonable. We have work to do. We must plan for the redevelopment of all these old industrial and underutilized properties. For the 202/204 Arsenal Street and the Irving at Arsenal St projects, the planned residential and retail space is much better than the perpetual construction zone of concrete blocks, trucks and warehouse operations there now. The developers have put forth reasonable and thoughtful plans.
We must realize that it is not financially feasible to create 5000 square foot lots with single and two family houses on these industrial properties. A mix of office/retail/residential is reasonable as we move forward. Watertown needs to plan on the resulting population increases along with the traffic created – a population of closer to 38,000 is foreseeable. We are a city and part of the urban core of Boston and must plan as such.
At this point, we are late to the table with this Master Plan along with our alarmist and obstructionist positions on these developments. These properties have been here in our sight for years – just waiting for investment. I believe the developers and the Town, with current zoning in place, can come to reasonable agreement with these projects in short order.
Let’s build out Watertown and make it a walk and bike friendly city. Let’s provide retail, restaurants and services that keep us in town to shop and dine.