City Releases Draft of the Watertown Comprehensive Plan

The City has been working on updating Watertown’s primary planning document, the Comprehensive Plan, for months. This week, the City released the draft of the plan to be considered by the City Council. See the plans and more details about the process on the Comprehensive Plan website, “This draft is updated based on input from the spring Open House and Online Survey. The formal approval process with the City Council and Planning Board is the next step,” the City’s announcement said.

This Week: Main Street Project, Traffic Commission Discusses Changes for High School at Moxley Field

A view of the project proposed for 104-126 Main St. viewed from Main Street. (Illustration by Icon Architecture)

The fate of the proposed six-story mixed use project on Main Street may be decided by the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, and the same night the Traffic Commission will discuss the plans to accommodate the temporary high school at Moxley Field. The City Council and School Committee will also meet this week. The Zoning Board of Appeals will continue its public hearing on the project proposed for 104-126 Main St., the six-story mixed use project on Main, Pleasant and Cross streets.

This Week: Planning Board Hears Citizens Petitions, Council Voting on Budget

Watertown City Hall

The Planning Board will discuss two citizens petitions to change Watertown’s zoning on Wednesday night, and the City Council will vote on the City budget on Tuesday night. Also, a City Council committee will discuss the role of the Election Commission, and the Library Trustees will meet about the screening committee for the Library Director search. A pair of citizens petitions will be discussed by the Planning Board. One calls for reducing the maximum Floor Area Ratio (the square footage allowed in relation to the size of the property) in the Central Business District. This area includes part of Watertown Square and an area along Main Street.

This Week: ZBA Hears Main Street Project, Budget Hearings, Library Director Search

A view of the project proposed for 104-126 Main St. viewed from Main Street. (Illustration by Icon Architecture)

The six-story retail and commercial project on Main Street will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals, the City Council will hold two budget hearings, and the Library Board of Trustees will continue discussing the process for hiring a new Library Director. The Zoning Board of Appeals will hear the mixed use project at 104-126 Main St. that was discussed by the Planning Board in April and May.

Council to Meet With City Departments at 3 Budget Hearings

Watertown City Hall

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

In accordance with the Watertown City Charter and the Council Rules, the Honorable City Council will meet, as the Committee of the Whole, for the purpose of holding public hearings on the City Manager’s Proposed Budget for the Fiscal Year 2024. The public hearings on the City Manager’s Proposed Budget for the Fiscal Year 2024 will be held as follows:

Tuesday, May 23, 2023 – 6 PM

City CouncilCity ManagerCity AuditorProcurementCity AssessorTreasurer / CollectorCity Attorney

Thursday, May 25, 2023 – 6 PM

Human ResourcesInformation TechnologyCity Clerk / ElectionsCommunity Development & PlanningConstituent ServicesParking Lots & MetersPublic BuildingsLibraryRecreation Departments         Non-Department Appropriations, (Debt, Capital Projects, Etc.)

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 – 6 PM

Health and Human Services DepartmentsSchool DepartmentPublic Safety DepartmentsDepartment of Public Works         Water & Sewer Enterprise Budgets

Department Heads will be available for questions at the above scheduled hearings. Under this schedule, it is anticipated that the Honorable City Council will take formal action on the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. The hearing will begin at approximately 8 PM. The Fiscal Year 2024 General Fund Budget, as proposed, totals $190,325,000.

City Will Distribute $10.5M in ARPA Funds, Several Groups Have Ideas for How to Spend It

The kitchen at the Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church — the site of the Watertown Food Pantry, needs upgrading. The church is applying for some of the City of Watertown’s ARPA funds, with which Pastor Gary Richards hopes to create a space open to the community. Photo by Maya Shwayder. Watertown has $10.5 million to spend, and the clock is ticking! The City Council will be the ones divvying up the dollars, but Councilors will have to choose from a long (and growing) list of proposals:

The Department of Public Works needs around $5 million to replace Watertown’s crumbling water and sewer infrastructure.

Council Thanks Longtime Personnel Director on Her Retirement

Gayle Shattuck

This week the City Council bid farewell to longtime Personnel Director Gayle Shattuck on her retirement after 19 years working for the Watertown’s municipal government. The City of Waterotwn sent out the following announcement, including the proclamation approved by the Council:

Congratulations to Gayle Shattuck on her retirement after serving as the City’s Personnel Director! Thank you for your 19 years of service and also for serving as the liaison on the Commission on Disabilities! Here is the Proclamation from the Watertown City Council:

WHEREAS: The quality of life and spirit in a community is enhanced by the commitment and willingness of an employee to give of her time and talents during employment; and,

WHEREAS: Gayle M. Shattuck is being honored by the City Council, the Administration, Colleagues and Community Members for her nineteen years of dedicated service to the Watertown community, and,

WHEREAS: Ms. Shattuck came to Wate11own with a long-standing tradition of serving others in both not-for-profit organizations and municipal public service: she served as the Central Middlesex ARC Program Director in Woburn, Massachusetts for fourteen years from 1980-1994, promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and as a Human Resources Specialist for the Town of Lexington, Massachusetts for ten years from 1994 until 2004, directly responsible for personnel administration for all Town, Public Safety, and School Department employees; and,

WHEREAS: Gayle M. Shattuck was appointed by Town/City Manager Michael J. Driscoll as the Personnel Director for Town/City of Watertown on February 26, 2004, for which she discharged her duties professionally, faithfully, fairly, and honorably; and,

WHEREAS: During Gayle’s tenure, she served on various committees assisting the Administration and City Council on Screening Committees of Candidates, Budget and Bargaining Teams, and as the liaison for the Commission on Disability; and,

WHEREAS: Ms. Shattuck worked tirelessly in her understated manner to be a strong advocate to the Commission on Disabilities by developing policies and procedures, suppo1iing their mission to serve those affected with disabilities and their families; and she served consecutively up until her retirement on Friday, April 28, 2023; and,

WHEREAS: Gayle, in her retirement, can now enjoy her time with her beloved husband, Mark, and her two “favorite” sons, Brian and Derek as they continue to share her joy of traveling … “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey!”

Linkage Fee Approved by City Council, Developers Have Longer to Make Payment

Charlie BreitroseWatertown City Hall

The City Council approved a linkage fee on large developments that would be used to create affordable housing in Watertown. The ordinance also spreads the fees into two payments and the City can consider offers of housing units or land in lieu of the fee. Before they deliberated and voted, the Council heard from people advocating for changes to the proposed ordinance. Charles River Regional Chamber President Greg Reibman, who represented multiple developers who do business in Watertown, asked to delay the start of the fees until 2024, and phase in the amount starting with $5.56 per sq. ft.