LETTER: City’s Planned Linkage Fee Concerns Regional Chamber

The following letter was sent by the Charles River Regional Chamber to City Council President Mark Sideris and Planning Board Chair Jeffrey Brown:

Dear President Sideris and Chair Brown:

The Charles River Regional Chamber and the Watertown development community share the city’s commitment to creating and preserving affordable housing and applaud last year’s establishment of the Watertown Affordable Housing Trust. We also support the city’s goal of creating more affordable housing through linkage fees. However, we respectfully caution the city to be thoughtful about implementing the linkage program given the serious economic headwinds — including rising interest rates, material shortages, weakening demand for life science and office space, layoffs in the tech sector, a labor shortage in the building trades and a looming recession — before us. 

Watertown’s linkage fees will inevitably be competitive with fees in Cambridge and Boston. But we fear projects in Watertown will be at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring communities that don’t require linkage payments. We also worry about the impact the high cost of development might have on another one of our shared goals: The revitalization of Watertown Square.

LETTER: Former Councilor’s Shares Letter on Development from 2016

In response to recent projects being approved and proposed in Watertown, former District A Councilor Angeline Kounelis sent out a letter she submitted to Planning Board and City Officials in December 2016 regarding the property at 485-615 Arsenal St. (Arsenal Yards) and the Master Plan Special Permit. She added that she voted against the 2015 Watertown Comprehensive Plan and the 2016 Regional Mixed Use District. Greetings,


For many years; many of us have been advocating for: “…balance…for viable development that will blend with less consequence on our community and its residents.” Although some of the then proposed site specifics for Arsenal Yards have changed; the location remains: “a city within a city with amenities galore for its prospective residents.”

LETTER: Operation American Soldier Thanks Whitney Towers Residents

Operation American Soldier is extremely grateful to the owners and residents of Whitney Towers for their generosity and giving spirit. 

A special shout out to David Levine, Manager of Whitney Towers, and Mariann and Lisa who headed up the Veterans Day collection for our deployed troops. In addition to the amazing products collected, we received postage funding for approximately 165 boxes! Operation American Soldier and the troops THANK YOU!! Respectfully,Wendy RoccaOperation American Soldier

To sign up for Operation American Soldier newsletter announcements text the word “troops” to 42828. 

LETTER: Watertown Biosafety Committee Consultant Addresses Questions

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your letter and questions regarding the Watertown Biosafety Committee (WBSC). I consult for the Watertown Board of Health/WBSC, serve as the designee by the director of Public Health and would like to clarify some of the points you raised and answer your questions. The Biotechnology regulations were enacted to protect Watertown residents by mandating companies performing specific types of work to meet certain requirements. These regulations were developed based on regulations from surrounding communities, but in some aspects are stricter than some of our neighboring communities. For example, Watertown requires a permit for companies performing most work under Biosafety level 2 (BSL2) regardless of whether the work involves synthetic or recombinant DNA (rDNA) which is not true of all municipalities in the greater Boston area.

LETTER: Group Encourages Older Residents to Participate in Comprehensive Plan Process

Submitted by Bob Shay of Watertown for All Ages

Watertown for All Ages, a grassroots community organization, encourages older adults and their children to make their voices heard in the city’s Comprehensive Planning process that will shape the future of Watertown for years to come. Watertown for All Ages has submitted recommendations for improved programs and services for older residents. To learn more and read the recommendations visit the Watertown for All Ages website (www.watertownforallages.org) or email: info@watertownforallages.org. The City is holding workshops for the public to participate in the Comprehensive Plan process on September 20 and 29. For details: https://engagestantec.mysocialpinpoint.com/watertown-plan/watertown-plan-events/ 

“We hope the ideas we have offered for the Comprehensive Plan will be the basis for a broader community discussion, and we encourage everyone to get involved,” said Bob Shay, President of Watertown for All Ages. Watertown for All Ages’ list of opportunities that the City planners should consider includes suggestions to increase transportation and affordable housing options, identify innovative ways to decrease social isolation, support intergenerational programs, and offer a broader range programs and recreational opportunities that will be of interest to a more diverse population of older residents.

LETTER: Resident Concerned About Loss of Staff From Health Department

(The following was first presented to the City Council during the Public Forum at the July 12, 2022 Council Meeting)

I am speaking to you about my concern over the long-standing problems within our Health Department. My information is from my attendance at Board of Health meetings, a review of minutes of public meetings, and my communications with members of the community and City staff. I read a statement at the January Board of Health meeting detailing my concerns, and what I described has since grown worse. In essence I asked the BOH to look beyond the Department Head reports and examine the reasons so many talented people are leaving our city vulnerable during what was such a critical time. I am appealing to the City Council to exercise their charter-mandated oversight responsibility and hold an Executive Session to address the situation. 

My key concerns within the Health Department are:

• An alarming attrition rate: around 8 employees in the last 3 years.