6 thoughts on “LETTER: Tower at Arsenal Mall Too Tall, Will Loom Over Charles River

  1. Thanks for providing a very well thought out argument against locating such an intrusive building so close to the Charles River.

    Greed has no place in the development of Watertowm. Period.

  2. I agree. The Charles is not a resource to be exploited for the pleasure of a few rich residents. Let’s put the public interest ahead of corporate profits. The height should be limited to 109 feet, the height of the Perkins Tower. If the developers don’t like it….too bad for them. Watertown must preserve those places that make it the wonderful place we call home for generations to come. Say NO to this oversized monstrosity.

  3. I agree with you wholeheartedly Robert and thank you for your letter. I suppose we should feel lucky that they didn’t go with the 19-stories of an earlier iteration. I don’t even think we have fire equipment that can service a 12-story building.
    Unfortunately we don’t have a “process” in this town where developments are considered as part of a whole, and not just a discrete piece. The Planning Board’s role is to rubber stamp a developer’s plan as long as it doesn’t commit any egregious errors according to our out-of-date zoning or our comprehensive plan or our design guidelines. The latter two are supposed to protect us from this kind of thing but can actually be interpreted to encourage it. We have a Town Council that is overwhelmed with making decisions that they aren’t qualified to make and that depend on advice from the same Planning Dept. They don’t understand that 100′ between a 12-story building and the river is a visual mistake. They think a swale is green space. We have a volunteer, unelected Planning Board that is charged with making all the final decisions years down the road because we don’t insist on a Master Plan upfront but instead do this site plan review that favors the developer. Interested parties have to go to meetings for years knowing they can’t make much of a difference.
    I was at the meeting as well but had to leave in the middle of McQuillan’s impassioned speech about how proud he is to be bringing so much traffic to Watertown with this overly-dense, architecturally-uninspired development because he is going to be paying so much TAX to Watertown. I started to feel physically sick listening to him.
    I’m sure the Town Manager was salivating as soon as he heard the word “taxes” though.
    Watertown was a nice town before it turned into an extension of the Cambridge-Allston-Brighton blight. This development is a wanna-be Assembly Row in the wrong place in the wrong town.

  4. I agree with the other comments. We’ve already seen the congestion and blocky sameness emerging from runaway development in Watertown, especially along the Charles. This is the 400th anniversary year of its naming, and we’re celebrating with the prospect of yet another behemoth in the name of greed? That denigrates four centuries of river access and natural beauty. The letter writer needs to be supported here, lest yet another profiteering land-grab continue to diminish us.

  5. Great letter, I agree completely! Have you sent this to the members of the Planning Board and Town Councillors? Though this proposal is now in the hands of Planning, our elected officials can still have a lot of impact behind the scenes.
    Not only is the apartment building way too big and too close to the river, the overall plan will add too many people to a site where vehicle access is limited mostly via Arsenal St. The design plan, especially the size of the apartment tower, should be significanly reduced before being considered by the Planning Board in January. I’m working on my letter now.

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