Watertown Business Community Town Hall Being Hosted by Charles River Chamber

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The Charles River Chamber of Commerce will host a Watertown Business Community Town Hall on Wednesday, March 22 from 9 to 10 a.m. via Zoom. The event is free for members & non-members.

The Chamber sent out the following information:

Watertown has experienced a remarkable period of growth and change that’s projected to continue in the coming years. By 2031, the city is expected to add more than 6,000 jobs, mostly in the research and development sectors. A positive impact of this economic development is that it will increase the non-residential tax base. Still, it’s created significant changes, increasing the demand for housing of all types (including affordable housing), and influencing local transportation patterns.

In response, the city is in the process of updating its Comprehensive Plan, a document designed to guide future decision-making and respond to emerging challenges and opportunities. The plan focuses on land use; economic development; transportation, circulation, and parking; and open space and recreation, with an emphasis on Watertown Square and other commercial districts.

In this meeting, Steve Magoon, the city’s Director of Community Development and Planning, and Senior Planner Larry Field will share highlights of the just-released Comprehensive Plan draft, which will ultimately be presented to the Planning Board and City Council for consideration this spring.

RSVP here

5 thoughts on “Watertown Business Community Town Hall Being Hosted by Charles River Chamber

  1. I believe the deadline for submitting your comments on this Comprehensive Plan draft is March 24, just a week away. It is IMPORTANT for as many people as possible to submit your opinions and thoughts on the direction of Watertown going forward. The last time we had this opportunity was in 2015 and perhaps we should have looked more closely at that plan.

    Many people are not happy with the 60 plus biolabs/life science businesses that are currently in Watertown. They are massive buildings as you can witness on Galen St., and three more are in the works for the west end: At the Sterritt Lumber site on Waltham St., at the Russo location on Pleasant St. and now another huge one on the Cannistraro Plumbing site on Acton/Rosedale and Pleasant Streets. There is a community meeting on Monday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall with the developer to discuss this plan that is adjacent to a large residential area. Those who would like to address their concerns for this development, please attend.

    It is the opinion of many people that our current zoning regulations need to be addressed NOW so that we can perhaps amend them so that super high buildings can’t continue to replace any of the smaller businesses with lower heights if developers make an offer that can’t be refused. It does not seem that the city is encouraging a diversity of businesses and jobs. With the money that the big developers have, they seem to be able to walk in and build by right with the current zoning laws. Do we want to be an elitist city that only has jobs for those with science degrees? What happens if this industry goes bust with the rocky economy and high interest rates or overdevelopment of them? Will we have a lot of empty buildings if they fail?Maybe we should put a halt to all building permits right now until we get a better handle on our vision and desires and see where the economy is going.

    PLEASE fill in the Comprehensive Plan Survey ASAP and get your thoughts on record. This may be the last chance for many years to protect us from being another Cambridge, which most people don’t seem to want. Go into Watertown-ma.gov and search for the Comprehensive Plan Survey. It will only take a few minutes of your time to make a difference in all of our lives.

  2. There’s no need to wait for anything. What’s happening in Watertown is *modernization* and it’s a good thing. It will bring more educated people to live and shop in Watertown. I think the new buildings look great. They’re only 4 or 5 stories… not “massive” or “super high” in my opinion… and appear to be designed to fit into the landscape. Also, they’re designed to “green” standards.

    For those who worry about “empty buildings” – don’t. All the biotech lab buildings open now or under construction in Watertown will be utilized, because lease rates will fluctuate to match demand. Remember that, in a free market, *price* adjusts to rebalance supply vs. demand. Moreover, there is still *significant* demand for biotech lab space as new small biotech start-ups open, while others lay off staff or shut down. Biotech is a fluid ecosystem, unlike other industries, so people looking in from the outside should not jump to conclusions.

  3. Ms. Breen, what you seem to be arguing for is simply called gentrification. The majority of your townsfolk would not agree with most of what you said. But you seem to hold their opinions in contempt. Perhaps many don’t have your education, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have valid opinions. That’s called democracy.

    BTW, I am educated, have lived here fifteen years, have a background in design and I disagree with you completely. The massing of some of these buildings is inappropriate for their location. Others are adding to traffic problems. Others do not blend in with the neighborhoods they occupy. There are those that degrade the natural environment around them. Some are simply too big. And so on. . .

    I would urge you to learn something about the history of development in this town and the town’s history and its neighborhoods before dismissing others’ concerns. You might even attempt to get to know some of your neighbors who are different from you.

    Almost no one here is against development and modernization per se, but many have concerns about the quality of the development and how it relates to the Watertown that currently exists.

  4. I like the statement; it will bring more educated people to live & shop in Watertown. So you want to come live here, that drives up the price of home sales, driving up the cost of affordable housing if your lucky enough to even be considered for it. More educated no worries AI is on the way to take over for the younger generation, you may have wasted your money on the Degree. As far as shopping in Watertown , if you count the Amazon cardboard that fills the roll off dumpsters at the recycle center as local shopping you’d just be adding more!

  5. I simply disagree. It seems that modernization has a bad name with some. The truth is that, throughout history and around the world, no place stays the same over the decades and centuries. I am firmly in the camp of progress. I think the new buildings look modern and appropriate, and my opinion is as valid as anyone else’s.

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