Rosella Mercuri is running for District C Town Councilor in the Nov. 3 election.
Watertown News asked each candidate a series of questions.
1) What is the biggest issue for your district, and how would you seek to address it?
The biggest issues I see for District C is preserving the Town’s character and neighborhood charm. While District C has been fortunate with minimal “big” developments, we need to ensure that it stays that way. Victory Field is one of the biggest projects in our district, and we saw the residents in the District come together to voice their concerns over the current turf filed and the 2nd Phase of the Victory Field project. It’s important for residents to continue voicing their concerns and letting the Council know what they want and do not want. Any further development here or elsewhere in the District should be in line with the neighborhood characteristics.
2) Despite having information on the website, and email blasts available from Notify Me, residents complain about not being informed about what’s going on in Watertown. How can the town connect more with residents and get out information about key projects, votes and more?
I believe that communication should come from the District Councilors. The District Council should be a liaison between the Town Government and the District residents. There are many different communications approaches that can be effective, and it’s imperative for the District Councilor to see what works best for their residents. Reach out to the residents and see how they would like to receive communication and work form there.
3) Would you support a tax override or debt exclusion to raise taxes beyond the Prop. 2 1/2 limit? If so, what projects or areas would you want the override or exclusion to fund?
I believe we need to consider every opportunity to meet the expectations of the area resident. That being said, a tax override beyond the Prop 2 1/2 limit is certainly not the first place I would consider. We can, and should be leveraging our position with the “big” developers that want to be in Watertown, We can work with developers that come to Watertown and require them to fund projects that serve all residents of Watertown.
4) What would you do to help seniors and others struggling to afford to live in Watertown?
The senior population in Watertown is the foundation of the great town. We need to continue to enhance the services to seniors so the quality of life is where it needs to be. As far as being able to afford living in Watertown, there are many programs that can be offered including reduced taxes, utility, etc. We should work with statewide programs
5) The Residential Design Guideline process to change the zoning for Watertown’s residential neighborhoods recently began. What kinds of rules would you like to see include and which would you not want to see in the guidelines?
The Design guidelines are a start to improving development in Watertown but there is certainly more work that needs to be done. While there are many rules I’d like to see included, one that should be on the radar is setback for large scale developments. Currently, the set backs are one size fits all, they need to be determined based on the size, height and overall impact of the project on a case by case basis. Having a 3-4 story new residential building (think Pleasant Street) with the same setback as a 2 family, single family or other residential structure doesn’t work. We need to work in some more setback for these projects, with more open space and landscaping so we do not have them imposing on public areas and streets.
6) What do you think will be the next big issue that is not yet on the town’s front burners?
As one of the fastest growing towns in MA, Watertown is already bursting at the seems. We struggle to maintain open spaces and small town character while still benefiting from development. We’ve seen how recent developments have added to traffic and congestion issues. More Smart Growth strategies need to be created and implemented so we can continue to provide the quality of life the residents of Watertown expect. Revitalizing the Main Street area should be a top priority, bringing more small business into Town that utilize existing space and buildings.
7) Tell us about yourself, your family, your life and what qualities would make you a good Town Councilor.
I lived in Watertown for 15 years, have a daughter at the Watertown Middle School and truly love living in the Town. The biggest concerns most residents have with Watertown right now is development. I have significant experience in development and preserving the charactersitics of a small Town. I work with developers, zoning official, and other government bodies and now how to work with them where we all benefit. I think we are missing opportunities with developers right now. I have that experience and will work to make sure that any development benefit the community as a whole not just the developers.