Town Holding Select Meetings Virtually, Budget May Have to be Presented Remotely

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Since the social distancing requirements were put into place in Massachusetts due to COVID-19, there has only been one meeting held in Watertown. One more meeting is scheduled this week and others may be held this month with members participating remotely.

On Thursday, April 9, the Historical Commission will hold a meeting, which will be conducted remotely and residents can attend by videoconference or call in with comments during public hearings.

The first meeting held during the COVID-19 outbreak was a March 23 School Committee meeting, where committee members and the public joined using the Zoom app. There were some complaints of people not being able to hear, and concerns that they could not participate. After that meeting, Town Council President Mark Sideris said most meetings will be delayed because of the concerns over the public’s ability to participate and watch.

That announcement was made when the social distancing orders lasted only until April 7. Gov. Baker extended the stay-at-home advisory until May 4, and schools across Massachusetts are closed through that date, too.

Sideris said that the Town’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget remains on schedule, and the budget is due to be presented by Town Manager Michael Driscoll to the Council later this month.

“From the conversations I have had with the Town manager, we are still on track to have a budget presented to the Council on April 28th,” Sideris said.

When asked if the budget will have to be presented virtually, he said. “It looks that way.”

The next virtual meeting will be held Thursday. The Historical Commission meeting will be televised on Watertown Cable Access (WCATV).

The public can participate using the Zoom app (the meeting link is or by phone by calling 646-558-8656 and then enter the Meeting ID 454-877-888#. Questions and comments can also be sent to be read at the meeting by emailing

The agenda includes a letter from the Town’s road construction consultant about the Mt. Auburn Street rehabilitation project, a grant for the Washington Tower at Mount Auburn Cemetery, and the Historical Preservation Awards.

Also, a public hearing will be held about the proposed demolition of a house built in 1948. The property, 88 Galen St., is one of the parcels that was rezoned by the Town Council and is part of a discussed redevelopment that would create biotech lab space on the eastern side of Galen Street.

See the entire agenda below:

The Historical Commission of the City known as the Town of Watertown will hold a public hearing on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.  In accordance with the Governor’s Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G. L. c. 30A, § 20, relating to the 2020 Covid-19 emergency and to avoid group congregation, this meeting will only have remote opportunities for participation with public access provided as follows:

1. The meeting will be televised through WCA TV (Watertown Cable Access Television).

2. Public comments may be provided during the meeting utilizing virtual meeting software for remote access.

 For those interested in attending the meeting by phone, call 1 (646) 558-8656 and then enter the Meeting ID 454-877-888#.  Alternatively you can send email comments to to be read at the meeting.

  1. Public Hearing Continuation- 88 Galen St. – to review the demolition application for a 1 family home built in 1948 including accessory structures.  Jody Zussman, Applicant/ Galen St. Development, LLC, Owner
  2. Discussion Items
    1. Proposed letter of support for a grant, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Washington Tower
    2. Section 106 Letter- World Tech regarding Mass. DOT proposed project to rehabilitate Mt. Auburn St.
    3. Update on HPA Awards 2020

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