Council’s Budget Priorities Include Supporting Small Business, the Climate & Energy Plan, and Education

Watertown City Hall

The City Council finalized Watertown’s budget priorities for the next fiscal year which include focuses on small business, implementing the Comprehensive Plan and Watertown Square Area Plan, the City’s shuttle bus program, and more. Many of the same guidelines returned from the 2024 Budget Policy Guidelines, including street and sidewalk repair, a 3.5 percent increase in the education budget, rodent control, launching the 311 constituent services system, and reusing the former North Branch Library

Among the guidelines are the long-standing effort to seek economic development and this year it includes a new focus on “small business, retail corridors, and emerging industry clusters.” The guidelines also include a priority to implement the updates recommended in the Comprehensive Plan update, as well as the ongoing redesign in the Watertown Square Area Plan. That plan includes redesigning the intersection, increasing housing density, strategies for small business, and better use of City owned land. This would be done, in part, by enhancing “the capabilities of the Department of Community Development and Planning by adding resources and/or redeploying existing resources to achieve the goals of the Plans.”

Final Draft of Comprehensive Plan to be Reviewed by City Council & Planning Board

Watertown’s primary planning document, the Comprehensive Plan, is being updated and the final draft will be reviewed and discussed at a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Board. The City of Watertown sent out the following information:

The Comprehensive Plan is near the finish line! The final draft will be reviewed at a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Board on Thursday, September 21, 2023. The meeting, including public comment, will start at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers, second floor in City Hall, 149 Main Street. This draft includes changes recommended by the City Council’s Economic Development & Planning Committee. Read/download the draft (PDF).

LETTER: A Big Week for Watertown Politics & Development

By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

This week is a kind of a big deal in Watertown politics. I know. It’s summer, and to borrow a phrase, it’s stinkin’ hot and humid. Who can think straight in this environment? My body has been fighting my mind for about a week now, and I apologize to all of my friends who’ve heard very little from me lately.

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.

LETTER: Petitioner to Change Watertown Zoning Urges People to Speak Up

Hi Guys,

We’ve got to stop meeting like this! With every Watertown development meeting, every Affordable Housing Trust meeting, and on and on, there we sit. We’re quite a bit smaller in number at actual meetings, but we’ve proven that we have at least 600 Watertown residents that share our point of view. I know for a fact, from conversations with residents who didn’t get a chance to sign the petitions, that there are many more of us! As Watertown residents band together to say, “Save Our Community!” we’ve seen comments that imply that we’re old fashioned, elitist, anti-change or all of the above, trying to portray our concerns as insignificant.

Comprehensive Plan to Include Focus on Local Business, Diversifying New Developments

The revised draft of Watertown’s Comprehensive Plan will include some new additions and points of emphasis about supporting small businesses and seeking to diversify the local economy after the input provided by residents earlier this year. On Thursday afternoon, he Planning Advisory Committee heard about the public input from the open house in March, as well as online surveys and emails sent to the project team. They also learned about the process for the final approval of the Comprehensive Plan. Phil Schaeffing, the project manager with Stantec, said the input came from a room full of people during the March 9 open house at the Watertown Library, which was also attended by several people online. They received both spoken and written comments at the event.

Public Input on Comprehensive Plan to be Discussed Thursday by Planning Advisory Committee

The Planning Advisory Committee will review the input on the Comprehensive Plan received from the public at a meeting on Thursday. The Comprehensive Plan is being updated after being first adopted in 2015. It serves as the primary planning document for Watertown and covers a variety of areas including: economic development, housing, transportation, open space and recreation, and sustainability. The City held public forums on the plan in September and in March. See more about the Comprehensive Plan update on the project webpage.

City Manager Discusses Comprehensive Plan, Resident Participation & the High School Project on Watertown Cable Show

Inside Watertown hosts Bob Airasian, far left, and Charlie Breitrose were joined by City Manager George Proakis and Director of Community Development and Planning Steve Magoon. (Screenshot from Watertown Cable). Watertown City Manager George Proakis talked about the ongoing Comprehensive Plan update, how residents can get involved when projects go before the City, and what’s going on with the Watertown High School project in the latest episode of Watertown Cable’s Inside Watertown. Along with Proakis, co-hosts Charlie Breitrose and Bob Airasian were joined by Steve Magoon, Watertown’s Assistant City Manager and the Director of Community Development and Planning. The City recently held a public forum on the Comprehensive Plan, which is being updated for the first time since it was adopted in 2015.