LETTER: Town Councilor Worries Mall Will Change Character of East End

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Dear Chairman Hawes and Members of the Planning Board,

To put this quite simply, Watertown has not seen a development of this magnitude in recent history; a city within a city with amenities galore for its prospective residents. The urban sprawl associated with this development will change the character of the East End of Watertown and community-at-large for generations to come.

Due to a prior commitment, I will be unable to attend the Planning Board Hearing on Dec. 14, 2016, rescheduled from Nov. 29, 2016.  For numerous months, many residents and I have been sharing our thoughts, comments and many concerns at neighborhood meetings and at the Special Planning Board Hearing on Oct. 20, 2016. The entire three-hour presentation by the development team before the Board can be viewed at: http://wcatv.org/vod/planning-board-special-meeting-2/. My comments can be seen by advancing to the approximate 2 hours and 23-minute marker.

According to the Transportation Impact Assessment document, page two, Executive Summary, http://www.watertown-ma.gov/documentcenter/view/20375, the project is expected to generate 6,366 additional vehicle trips on an average weekday and 10,648 additional vehicle trips on a Saturday (both are two-way, 24-hour volumes). The prospect of so many vehicles in one concentrated area is overwhelming.

Overall, the project is anticipated to include: five new buildings, one of which could be 12 stories high on the south side of the parcel; the renderings for Arsenal St. depict the new buildings as 6 stories high, with some set-backs; up to 500 apartments; an 8-screen movie theatre, a 16-lane bowling alley; a 25,000 sq. ft. supermarket; 221,500 sq. ft. of retail space; 48,000 sq. ft. of restaurant space and over 2000, garage and surface parking spaces, all within the confines of what has been known to us as the Arsenal Mall, aka Arsenal Project. The development project currently excludes the Home Depot and Harvard Vanguard buildings. The Staff Report http://www.watertown-ma.gov/documentcenter/view/21161, prepared in the Department of Community Development and Planning, offers more specifics.

Granted, the parcel will be developed.  The massing and volume are extreme for a site situated in the southeast corner of 4.17 sq. mile Watertown that is accessed only from Arsenal St. It is the Planning Board’s responsibility to weigh the impacts and achieve the balance necessary for a viable development that will blend with less consequence on our community and its residents. Thank you.


All the best,


Angeline B. Kounelis
District A, East End, Town Councilor

2 thoughts on “LETTER: Town Councilor Worries Mall Will Change Character of East End

  1. “The urban sprawl associated with this development will change the character of the East End of Watertown and community-at-large for generations to come.”….it’s already too late. The whole town has changed and it’s not even attractive.

  2. Don’t forget adding in the additional development projections from Athena Health(was it 4.6K) and then Iriving St and other new Appts.
    I don’t remember hearing anyone add up all the projections together to get a full picture of Arsenal St in 2020.
    This is a big issue, some of the development sounds great but if it is a nightmare to get there….who will go!?

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