April 2014 Update

Dear Sustainable Watertown,

STRONG SCHOOLS is a new organization which is helping us understand the new schools budget and garner support for smart approaches to improving our schools. See Quick Links for information. Please attend the School Committee Budget and Finance Subcommittee that will include a PUBLIC FORUM and the School Committee meeting, starting at 7:00pm Monday April 7. Please attend all of these meetings and participate at the Public Forum before the budget gets sent to the Town Manager who sends his final budget to Town Council. WatertownStrongSchools.com, http://watertown.wickedlocal.com/article/20140319/NEWS/140315720 for a letter to the Tab.

PUBLIC TRANSIT is officially on the table in Watertown. Sustainable Watertown member Joe Levendusky asked the Town Council to support the transit riders of Watertown by working with the MBTA to improve public transportation and identify measures to improve the system here. We think of ourselves as a hub for public transportation and will attract major development, yet buses are overcrowded and suffer delays at both peak and non-peak hours. Pleasant Street and Arsenal Street are important areas of concern as well. If we are to increase ridership and decrease our carbon footprint in the region, excellent public transit is key. The Subcommittee on State, Federal, and Regional Government discussed short-range and long-range suggestions for improvements with members of the Council, State transportation groups, Senator Will Brownsberger, and Representative Jon Hecht, and Planning Director Steve Magoon before sending its recommendation of support to the Town Council. The Town Council voted to work with the MBTA on these issues. Rejecting an idea for a town sponsored task force, the Council Subcommittee recommended that citizens organize themselves into a task force for public participation. Mr Levendusky has initiated just that as an initiative of Sustainable Watertown.
The first meeting of the Watertown Task Force on Public Transit will be April 24, 7pm, upstairs at the Library. All are welcome. This is our chance to make a difference. Please look at Quick Links for background and contact information. If you are willing to distribute flyers for the inaugural meeting, or would like more information, please write to watertowntransit@earthlink.net.

News Flash: Please spread the word that this case has been CONTINUED and will not be heard at the Planning Board April 9, 2014 meeting. 202-204 Arsenal Street/58 Irving Street; Hanover R.S. Limited Partnership & Cresset/WS Venture LLC – Special Permit/Site Plan Review. So, we have more time to organize and study the proposal. Please do read the paragraphs below, read the links, and join a neighborhood group.
DEVELOPMENT is again taking Center Stage this month as 202 Arsenal Street, a 300 unit apartment building with one and two bedrooms, was filed with the town. Hanover, the main developers, promised a second town-wide meeting, but never came through. They met with two groups of abutters, but only one town-wide preliminary meeting for a project that is huge and requires much consideration.
Please read the comments and areas of concern,--some discussed, but some needing public airing--at SustainableWatertown.org. You will find summaries of topics discussed and needing discussion at the town-wide meeting compiled by Sustainable Watertown and comments from five Neighborhood Groups that met to discuss this project. We need your thoughtful consideration when the project is taken before the Planning Board. Hear first hand what is proposed and ask for time for public consideration. We understand that Watertown is prime real estate for housing and office space for many of those 10,000 tech jobs the Governor predicts for the Boston area. This project at 202 Arsenal Street should not be given approval after one meeting as has often been the practice in Watertown. It will affect Watertown forever in the design of “The Arsenal Corridor” and deserves much thought by the town and consideration by the public. Please look at Quick Links for informational sites so that you are prepared for the meeting. Plan to attend when the proposal comes before the Planning Board. Call us to join a neighborhood group. If you have concerns already formulated, please write to the Planning Board c/o: imarchesano@watertown-ma.gov. The Town Council may be reached via vpapas@watertown-ma.gov.
Thanks to member Anne Fitzpatrick who filed a resolution which was passed by the Town Council requiring one public meeting with a potential developer. Until now such meetings were optional. Sustainable Watertown has been lobbying for years for at least one, and more such meetings for large projects. The Planning Department decided to encourage them. Now the Town Council has responded. Sustainable Watertown believes that large projects deserve more than one town-wide meeting with a developer and multiple public hearings at our Boards. Our next goal is to match our zoning regulations to our community values and goals. We look forward to evaluating the forthcoming Comprehensive Plan. Huge development is coming to Watertown. The Planning Process needs to respond accordingly so that standards are in place that respect the scale, diversity, uniqueness, and current and potential vitality of Watertown while improving it.



• 7PM SCHOOL COMMITTEE BUDGET AND FINANCE Subcommittee. Please refer to Quick links for information.
• 8PM, or when the Forum is finished: SCHOOL COMMITTEE Meeting

• 7PM: SOLARIZE WATERTOWN, Middle School Auditorium, Workshop on Solar for Watertown. Here is a link to a petition and letter from residents who want to see open bidding on this wonderful opportunity for residents to go solar in Watertown.

• 7:30: BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN COMMITTEE, Lower Meeting Room, Town Hall.


• 4-6PM COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION SYSTEM AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE, Council Office. Agenda: Technology—Town-wide web, school district web, social media and information sharing.

• 6:30PM BELMONT-WATERTOWN LOCAL FIRST. Steering Committee meeting. All new members, long term members, prospective members, and the public are invited. Publication of the first Directory will be discussed. 125 Main Street.


• 7PM PLANNING BOARD. The 202 Arsenal Street development is postponed. Please look for information at Quick Links and join a neighborhood group. Contact us at info@sustainablewatertown.org. Please find the agenda via the Town Website Home Page.

• 7PM WE3C-Watertown Environment and Energy Efficiency Committee meeting. 3rd Floor Conference Room, Town Hall.

Please find other meetings of interest on the Home Page of www.watertown-ma.gov. Familiarize yourself with the meetings, documents, minutes of meetings, etc, etc. Sign up for Notify Me and you will get notifications of the meetings of your choice.


• 10-3PM BICYCLES COLLECTED by Bikes Not Bombs. https://bikesnotbombs.org/. Sponsored by World in Watertown, First Parish of Watertown, Belmont Watertown United Methodist Church, Watertown Savings Bank, with the cooperation of the Watertown Police Department.


• 3-5PM "INEQUALITY FOR ALL,” Current Events Film Series, Watertown Citizens, Library, Second Floor. 90 minutes.


• 7PM “UNACCEPTABLE LEVELS,” Film about chemicals in our bodies and the down side of the chemical revolution. Sponsored by Watertown Citizens for Peace Justice and the Environment, Survival Education Fund, Inc., and local, independent businesses: The Deluxe Town Diner, Spencer Organ, The Bookcase Factory, and Debra L. Smith, Attorney at Law.




• 3-5PM, “UNMANNED: AMERICA’S DRONE WARS,” Current Events Film Series. Watertown Citizens. Library, Second Floor, 63 minutes.


• 7PM: RETHINK PLASTIC! is a local group dedicated to reducing plastic use, styrofoam, and single use plastic bags. All of these items take on average 1000 years to degrade and are well known pollutants and ugly annoyances on our public land and waterways. The Charles River runs the length of W-a-t-e-r-town and our contemplative and recreational life today is centered there. We can protect wildlife along the river from getting tangled in and eating plastic particles and pieces of plastic bags by getting into the habit of using reusable bags and limiting our use of plastics. Are you ready to face the challenge? Take the Survey that you will find on line at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FGCK25Z. Read an article about the survey http://watertowncitizens.org/ban-the-bag/. Join the action at the next meeting, Monday, May 5, 7pm, First Parish, 35 Church Street, downstairs.


• RECYCLING EVENT, 10-2, Watertown Recycling Center. Shredding, styrofoam and tire collection, as well as the usual.


• 3-5PM “THE LAW IN THESE PARTS,” Current Events Film Series, Watertown Citizens, Library, Second Floor, 101 minutes.

Sustainable Watertown would like to know if any members are familiar with MailChimp and could consult with the Update editor…..Truthfully, it’s worse than that. We need someone(s) to teach the current Update editor to handle some of the wonderful design elements and the basics of formatting.

Thanks for all you do,
Sustainable Watertown

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