Man Who Was a Watchdog on Arsenal Mall Project is Up for Spot on Planning Board

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A man who gazed a critical eye on the proposed renovation of the Arsenal Mall has been nominated to fill an opening on the Watertown Planning Board – the group that will make decisions on that and other projects in the new Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD).

Gary Shaw has been recommended as the new member of the Planning Board by Town Manager Michael Driscoll. Shaw is an architect who has worked on some major projects around New England who lives in Watertown, and he would replace Neal Corbett who stepped down from the board.

Shaw, along with the other four members of the Planning Board – John Hawes, Jeffrey Brown, Linda Tuttle-Barletta and Fergal Brennock – will be interviewed by the Town Council’s Committee on Economic Development and Planning. A recommendation will then the sent to the full Council on whether to approve these appointments.

During the discussions of the RMUD (which was approved on March 2) Shaw made several comments on the proposal by Boylston Properties – the mall owners – proposed changes and even brought forward a 3-D computer model to show what a fully built out mall could look like. This model did not sit well with Boylston Principal Bill McQuillan, who criticized it for not being realistic and even chided Shaw.

The RMUD includes large properties on the east end of Arsenal Street and some areas of Elm Street and Coolidge Avenue. For most projects in Watertown the Zoning Board of Appeals gives the final approval, but under the newly approved zoning for the RMUD the Planning Board has the final say.

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