Watertown’s First Marijuana Dispensary Could Open in Early 2020, Selling Medical First

The first marijuana dispensary to get approval in Watertown could open its doors in the next month, or so, selling medical marijuana first and several months later for recreational use. The Planning Board heard from Natural Selections on Wednesday night, which is seeking changes to the special permit it received in 2017. The company plans to open the facility in a building in the rear of the property at 23 Elm St., just off Arsenal Street and across from the Target parking lot. The changes are needed to get ready for sales of adult-use marijuana, also referred to as recreational. Before it can open, Natural Selections must get approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), said Chief Operating Officer Aidan O’Donovan.

Planning Board Supports 37 Unit Residential Conversion on Southside

A rendering of the proposed 37-unit residential property at 101-103 Morse St. The proposed conversion of a historic building into a 37-unit apartment complex took a step toward final approval Wednesday night by gaining the support of the Planning Board. The property at 101-103 Morse Street used to be the Cortiva Massage School, but has not been used in several years. A previous owner tried twice unsuccessfully to get approval for a residential conversion — first with 46 units and then with 36. Mouhab Rizkallah of Lacourt Affordable Trust LLC presented the new plan, which he said has some significant differences from the previous ones.

Planning Board Supports Proposed Condo Building, Neighbors Have Concerns

The proposal for 101 North Beacon St. would build a three-story building with 28 condos. The new proposed condominium building at 101 North Beacon Street received good marks for its design and the fact that the units will be sold, not rented, but those living nearby worry it will have a negative impact their quiet neighborhood. On July 10, the Planning Board gave its recommendation that the project should be allowed to go ahead. The project will now go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for final approval.

Developers of Pleasant Street Project Want to Change Plans

A view of what Buildings F (left) and E would look like at 385 Pleasant St. after proposed changes to the plans. The developers of the mixed-use property at the corner of Pleasant Street and Rosedale Road, wants to reduce the height of one building, and move the residential units to another building. The project at 385 Pleasant Street includes four buildings along Pleasant Street heading toward Bridge Street, with three all-residential buildings and one with commercial on the bottom and housing units on top. A request has been submitted to the Planning Board to make changes to the plans that were approved in March 2018.

Planning Board Recommends Approval of Zoning Rules for Recreational Marijuana Facilities

The Planning Board recommended that the Town Council approves the new zoning for recreational marijuana facilities that would require them to be at least 500 feet from schools, addiction treatment centers, and other facilities. The Town Council had put a moratorium on recreational marijuana facilities for a year after the state ballot measure passed in November 2017. The changes determine where the facilities can be located. Recreational marijuana facilities would be allowed in the following zoning districts: central business, limited business, industrial 1, industrial 2, industrial 3, PSCD and the RMUD. The Town cannot zone out recreational marijuana facilities, said Steve Magoon, the Assistant Town Manager and director of Community Development and Planning.

LETTER: Resident Urges Others to Speak Out Against Increasing Height of Tower at Arsenal Yards

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

Boylston Properties (BP) is seeking a zoning change at Arsenal Yards. What the published agenda IV. 485 Arsenal Street (click here) amendment fails to disclose is that while BP is again pushing for a height increase to 197 feet at Building G, they are also asking for 80 percent of that height for any additional buildings on their site on the south side of Arsenal Street. They want to create their own separate zone within the RMUD. If approved, those buildings could go to 157.6 feet.

Planning Board Approves Having Biotech Companies at Arsenal Yards

The Planning Board gave its approval to allow biotech labs to be located on the second floor of the historic building in the former Arsenal Mall where Marshall’s is located. 

The proposal by Boylston Properties, the developer of Arsenal Yards, had been delayed a month because there were questions about whether labs where biotech research should be located in the same building where retail and restaurants will be located. There was concern that the Town of Watertown did not have the same local safeguards as other area communities. Wednesday night the Planning Board heard from the developers, who also brought in consultants who work with biotech companies and outfit buildings for such lab use. Mark Deschenes from Boylston Properties said his firm did a study of biotech companies in the area and that there are already at least 23 biotech companies in Watertown, with most in East Watertown, and a few on the Westside. He added that there are several examples of biotech companies sharing buildings with retail and other businesses, and that are located near residential buildings.

Company Seeking to Store Prefab Homes on Pleasant Street Lot

The Watertown Planning Board heard a proposal to allow prefabricated homes to be stored on Pleasant Street, across from Russo’s market, for about four months. The proposal, presented by Scott Oran of Austin Street Partners last week, would be for 527 Pleasant St., an unused lot that had been part of the parking area for Raytheon. Up to 25 modular homes built in Canada would be stored on the site until they are installed. Each home is 12 feet x 63 feet x 11 feet. The proposed timeline for the storage would be from September to December 2018.