LETTER: City Should Listen to Residents Voices About Development

Submitted by Linda Scott, Watertown Resident

Information lodged in mythical/moving spaces …Extremely long surveys with no obvious “save” function …Sticky notes rather than conversation …Underplaying or omitting what residents are actually saying in government reports …Information “hidden” in plain sight …Meeting notes for City meetings not updated or correct … These are all things that stymie public participation, and yet residents persisted! On March 9, 2023, a group of over 100 Watertown residents (according to the Comprehensive Plan consultants) came out (about 80 in person and 20 or more on zoom) to attempt to get their voices heard on the Comprehensive Plan … again. We had the usual run of sticky notes on poster boards, but at one point, when residents had obediently filled in their “stickies,” one brave citizen stood up and insisted that we, as a group, have a chance to speak. There is a recording of that conversation that is frustratingly garbled beyond recognition … another roadblock to understanding.

Citizen Petition Calling for Buffers Between Developments and Residential Zones Submitted to Council

A photo of the petition sent to the City Council on April 27. Another citizens’ petition has been submitted to the City Council seeking to change zoning rules. This one seeks to reduce the impact of developments on abutting residential districts. The petition calls for “discretionary” transitions for new developments next to residential zones, which could include considerations for height, setbacks, and screening, among other things. It was signed by 439 people and submitted to the City Clerk on April 27.

Planning Board Wants Some Changes to Main St. Project, Developers Trying to Work with Post Office

An illustration of the project at 104-126 Main St. submitted to the City. Designed by Icon Architecture. The Planning Board saw the plans for the major project on Main Street for the first time Wednesday night, and asked designers to tinker with the design after they had questions about the retail space and the pedestrian passage between Main and Pleasant Street, as well as the height of the building. The 104-126 Main Street project proposed by O’Connor Capital Partners is six stories tall and includes 143 apartments in five stories and 6,201 sq.

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.

Developers of Life Science Projects Make Case to Ease the Impact of Linkage Fees

Elkus Manfredi ArchitectsA view from Water Street of the life sciences building being built by Boston Development Group at 66 Galen St. Developers working on life science projects in Watertown say the proposed linkage fees, being considered by the City Council, could put the City at a disadvantage compared to communities not charging the fees, and it comes at a bad time. They propose some changes to how they pay the $11.12 per square foot, which has been earmarked to create affordable housing. At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 11, Councilors will discuss and are scheduled to vote on the linkage fee rules. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Watertown has already received approval from the State Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker to charge up to $18 in linkage fees.

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.

REMINDER: Hear About Proposed Project on Cannistraro Site in West Watertown

Broder/CBTAn illustration of the potential designs for a project at Pleasant Street and Rosedale Avenue, which would include a life science building, a garage and retail space. The developers of the proposed project on the Cannistraro site on Rosedale Road will hold a community meeting on March 20. The project includes multiple life science lab buildings and a garage on the Westside property. Click here to see the documents submitted to the Planning Department (scroll down to Click Here for Applications, Reports, Plans, and other project documents). Dear Community Member:

Please join Broder (www.broder.com) for a presentation of its plans to redevelop the site at 275 & 313 Pleasant Street, 80 Rosedale Road, and 60 Acton Street.

Come Tell the City What You Would Like Future Development in Watertown to Look Like

Thursday night, residents, business owners, and others have the chance to let City officials know what they would like Watertown look like in the future. The new draft of the Comprehensive Plan, along with plans for the City’a open space and recreation assets, will be discussed at an open house where people can leave their input. The open house will be held on Thursday, March 9 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Watertown Savings Bank in the Watertown Library, 123 Main St. To RSVP click here. See the plans and more information about the Comprehensive Plan and Open Space & Recreation Plan at the website: https://engagestantec.mysocialpinpoint.com/watertown-plan

Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan was adopted by the City Council in 2015.