Council Round Up: Zoning Change Request, Sec. 8 Housing Conversion & Upcoming Meetings

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The Town Council approved the conversion of some Watertown Housing Authority units to Section 8, and got a request to change the zoning of a parcel near Watertown Square. This week’s meetings included an informational session about the plans for the Arsenal on the Charles, an discussions of changes to the Watertown High School project, and the Charter Review Committee will discuss mayor vs. manager forms of government.

The Town Council met on Jan. 26, when they heard the $467.8 million five year Capital Improvement Plan, along with the following items:

The Town received a request to change the zoning of the parcel at 64 Pleasant Street, where Sasaki Associates is located, to allow life science labs to operate there. That use is not allowed in the current zoning for the property — Central Business. The Council referred the request to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which must have a public hearing within 60 days. Then the request will come back to the Town Council, which will have its own public hearing on the proposed zoning change.

Fifty units at Watertown Housing Authority’s E. Joyce Munger Building, at 100 Warren St., will be converted to be part of the Federal Section 8 program. The request came from the Watertown Housing Authority, which said it the move would provide an additional funding stream to keep the affordable housing in good condition and will allow more units to be created at that building or elsewhere.

The Town Council approved borrowing $921,800 to pay for the replacement of two boilers at Watertown Middle School. Five new energy efficient boilers will be installed.

Also, the Town Council approved a transfer of $100,000 to the Fire Department’s Indemnification Account as a result of a severe shoulder injury suffered by a firefighter in December, which required surgery.

Upcoming Meetings

MONDAY

The Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee will meet at 7:30 p.m. and the agenda includes a discussion of the draft Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan. See the rest of the agenda and how to watch and participate by clicking here.

The School Committee’s Budget & Finance Subcommittee will have a discussion of the preliminary Fiscal Year 2022 School Budget at 6:15 p.m. See how to tune in and participate here.

TUESDAY

At 6 p.m. the Charter Review Committee will begin the discussion about mayor vs. town manager forms of government. Members will also discuss the panels that they heard at previous meetings, one made up of mayors and managers, and another comprised of councilors from communities with both types of government. See how to tune in and participate by clicking here.

Have a question about the Watertown Recreation Department’s programs and facilities, or want to learn about what’s coming up, check out the Recreation Open Forum at 7 p.m. Click here for more info.

WEDNESDAY

The School Building Committee meets at 6 p.m. and will discuss changes to the proposed high school project, and the revised high school timeline. See how to tune in and participate here.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities will host a Community Meeting on plans for the Arsenal on the Charles at 6:30 p.m. See information on how to watch, and links to documents by clicking here.

The Conservation Commission‘s agenda includes a letter to BB&N School about the school’s plan to build artificial turf fields on property on Grove Street, next to Filippello Park. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. See more information here.

The Library Board of Trustees meets at 7 p.m. See the agenda and how to tune in here.

THURSDAY

The Public Arts Master Plan will be discussed at the Town Council’s Committee on Economic Development and Planning meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. See more here.

FRIDAY

At 5 p.m., the Town Council’s Committee on Media and Public Outreach will continue its discussion of updates to the Town’s website. See more info here.

See the Town Calendar here.

5 thoughts on “Council Round Up: Zoning Change Request, Sec. 8 Housing Conversion & Upcoming Meetings

  1. I hope that the meeting of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee will address not only the safety of bicyclists but also, the safety of pedestrians who must deal with cyclists who ride on sidewalks when there is plenty of room on the street. Other towns have signs in business areas that inform them to WALK and not ride their bicycles but we do not. Also, vehicles stopping for the poor unfortunates who must cross in a crosswalk also applies to cyclists, too. It seems they do not think that a pedestrian has the same rights that they do.

  2. Bicyclists also don’t always abide by the red lights. I recently saw a cyclist go through a red light without even slowing down. If he were hit, the unfortunate car driver who had to stop quickly probably would have been charged. Another time I was taking a right and had my signal on and a cyclist came up on my right side and proceeded to go straight across the intersection. If I hadn’t taken one last look to my right before turning, the bike would have run into the side of my car. The cyclists need to follow the same laws as cars and that should be enforced.

  3. We need cycle enforsement officers like Cambridge has. They are police officers on bicycles stationed at busy intersections during rush hour to make sure cyclists follow the laws. Fines should go into fund to support this.

    • Here we go again pushing for Watertown to be more like Cambridge.
      Let’s jack the rents and taxes up like Cambridge and see how every likes that.

  4. I have to agree with Mr. Goodwin. As much as I loath the Cambridge mindset and mentality, at least they are properly addressing the problem regarding rogue, scofflaw cyclists. I see no logical reason why Watertown shouldn’t follow their example by stopping and citing these reckless morons for their own safety and the safety of others.

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