7 thoughts on “LETTER: Arsenal Yards Developer’s Amendment for More Height Not Opportunistic

  1. Approving this amendment goes way beyond building G. It would allow many buildings to be this tall. Also the “design problem” which Building G solves is only the view from the park. The additional height has no redeeming value when viewed from Greenough Bldv. It is not a slender tower but a tall “slab” when experienced from Greenough. If the amendment is rejected building G goes back to a less slender building but a building which is 60 feet shorter than the taller building. To approve such an all encompassing change to create 1 view would be impossible to defend.

  2. A couple points here. First you state: “They represent a carefully considered attempt to improve upon compromise zoning.” Well, as we all know the process of negotiating interest has already taken place over a number of meetings in the past years. Developers have the full right to ask again and again for different changes but that doesn’t mean that the town needs to oblige. Both interest(standard height for this zone vs higher building for this zone) was discussed in length. 2nd you state: “They represent a carefully considered attempt to improve upon compromise zoning.” One persons improvement is another’s degradation, for me any increases in height changes to RMUD zone would not be an improvement. 3rd you state: “Increasing the height of Building G would solve its design issues while maintaining the current totals of affordable housing”. I attended many of the property owners meetings. In those meetings they stated that if the town felt that zoning should not be changed they would go back to the current(approved) plan for Building G. There are no design issues with the current design. New changes can be bad or good depending on your opinion but according to Boylston properties, are no actual design issues with plan for Building G since they will go with those if not with proposed. The number of affordable units doesn’t change from either design since the higher proposed design doesn’t increase the number of units.

  3. Mr. Taggert, what is your interest in this project? Are you employed directly or indirectly by Boylston Properties. Are you involved in the real estate profession? Your letter could have been written by BP’s public relations department. I am sure that few Watertown residents would take comfort in your assertion that BP only accepted the 130 foot zoning as an interim placeholder. You see, most of us simply don’t want a building 197 feet tall–or, potentially, a number of buildings that tall–in Watertown.

    What you completely neglect to answer in your letter is what is the benefit of such a tall building to the citizens of Watertown? It seems that the benefit is increased profits for BP and only that. Your argument is entirely unpersuasive when examined from the viewpoint of the average resident.

    The issue of trust in municipal government is a valid one. So many development decisions have seemed to ignore resident’s opinions and have had negative impacts on the town, and so trust is at an alarming low point. Considering the negative impacts of the taller tower, if the Planning Board approves it, it will likely be the last straw for trust in our municipal government.

  4. Thank you Tim for your insightfull letter, I also think the taller building is much better. What is wrong with height? The most ecological way to achieve density in East Watertown. At 62 percent glass, it will reflect the sky. I am looking forward to a signiture building and I am an abutter. If you listen to the upcoming analysis of the Planning board staff, you will hear that there is little opportunity for another taller building in Watertown any time soon, twenty years from now, yes, more tall buildings and the traffic problems are solved by autonomous vehicles. Lets put it this way:
    The Watertown Mall is putting on a new roof and adding a fourth long term anchor tenant, Chinese!

    • Watertown is the 13th dense city in MA already! In order to keep a balance in our town we need to keep our density growth low not higher. Remember we are only 4sq miles and yet are 13th in density in MA. I would hate to see Watertown become another congested, overcrowded blur of Boston. We need to update but wisely and with our community in mind. Zoning can change, as we well know, so a taller building could have affects in RMUD that are not foreseen, even only years out. Upping the height here also sets a precedence for the rest of the town.

  5. Tom Gorman
    Where did you hear the “upcoming analysis of the planning board staff”. Is this on the web site.

  6. It does not make sense to reopen this zoning so soon after a decision on this was made only about 2 years ago. The reasoning by which the members of the Town Council came to the conclusion that 130 feet was high enough has not changed. The developer, at that time, asked for more height and the Town Council decided that it was not appropriate. There is no reasoning as to why this amendment should be granted. Whether the height limit is 130 or 197, we will get the same number of affordable housing units on the property. The developer will build as much is he is allowed to build, regardless of the height limitations.
    Your opinion is that this amendment would “improve upon compromise zoning.” And that is exactly what it is, your opinion. Many in Watertown disagree with that perspective and see this as a change that would have significant negative impacts.

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