Early January 2015 Update

Dear Neighborhood Network Groups and Friends of Sustainable Watertown,

The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible. Salmon Rushdie

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. Voltaire

If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. George Orwell

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. George Bernard Shaw

MONDAY JANUARY 12, 7PM: Coolidge Square Neighborhood Group is holding an informational meeting about the CVS PROPOSAL to be located at Mt Auburn Street at Arlington. Please attend to learn and find out how you can help. There are flyers and petitions—300+ signatures have already been collected. 7PM at Coolidge School Apartments, 319 Arlington St.
The proposal was DENIED by the Planning Board. It will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals January 28. Some of the talking points the neighborhood group has used in their flyers and petitions are: Large, high-volume chain is not in scale, or in character with the neighborhood, or lively business community of small and independent businesses; the 14,300 square foot CVS and the tremendous frontage it would have is about seven times as large as most other stores and markets in Coolidge Square; traffic congestion at this already busy intersection will further slow cars and buses; very large trucks and frequent deliveries will change the neighborhood; the proposed design will have detrimental impacts and is inconsistent with the values and goals of the Comprehensive Plan--it is a standardized, suburban brand building plopped onto a major corner of Watertown; future-thinking designs, whether they include CVS, or not, could enliven the streetscape and enrich the area. Will other chains buy up property? This project does not meet the specific criteria required by section 9.05, or other sections of the Watertown Zoning Code. Join Sustainable’s newest community group at the informational meeting.
••Petition to sign from the Neighborhood group:
Description: http://sustainablewatertown.com/modules/file/icons/application-pdf.pngCV... If this doesn’t open, sign the petition on change.org: CoolidgeSquare-ProposedCVS-Petition
••An excellent letter on the subject (and the Pleasant Street Corridor District as well) from Councilor Aaron Dushku is at: Facebook.com/aarondushku4you.
••The Planning Department Staff Report on CVS is at: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/15953
••The site plan: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/15716
••East End neighbors surveyed people about how they use Coolidge Square and made recommendations: Janet Jameson and Deborah Peterson wrote about the need to reduce the negative impact of a corporate chain store in a village environment; Coolidge Square is valued as a village center and it seems important to preserve and enhance its village qualities as a Watertown asset; There is a need for traffic intervention beyond those sited in the traffic study and for pedestrian infrastructure; There is unmet need for restaurants and a variety of retail specialty shops, eg ice cream, book, gift, craft stores.

1) CVS proposal for 14,300 sq ft stand alone building, see above.
2) Redesign of a building at 65 Grove Street for offices. It looks to be a creative, flexible, and modern renovation of an old brick building. However, consider the very large tarmac outdoor parking despite a garage with more spaces than are required. Perhaps, instead of about 50 spaces on an impervious surface in the courtyard, visitors could park inside and enter the office building via a gorgeous green park that could be enjoyed by employees and residents alike. It could be a green amenity to attract tenants and neighbors with only a few visitors allowed to park next to the building. When and if there is a need for more parking, the numbers could be discussed by the Planning Department. Traffic patterns could use review.
••The 65 Grove Street site plans may be viewed at:
Again, your comments are important BEFORE the hearing at the Planning Board. Please address comments to the Planning Department and Planning Board c/o imarchesano@watertown-ma.gov. Please also send a copy to towncouncilors@watertown-ma.gov.
3) Pleasant Street Corridor District amendments will be discussed. Please see the details at: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/15006. Please pay particular attention to the length of buildings allowed and mixed-use design banning residential. Which, office, or residential would have the greater effect on traffic? How about a mix? Some have talked about needing housing there to provide shoppers and diners for the amenities planned and to prevent the area between Russo’s and Waltham from being closed down and dark at night. Let us know what you think. And write to the Planning Dept, Planning Board, and your Councilors.
January 26, 7-8:30: Brainstorming monthly meeting Sustainable Watertown, Library, upstairs.
JANUARY 28, ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS, CVS PROPOSAL. 7PM, TOWN HALL. There may be other items on the agenda depending on the decisions of the Planning Board.
We’ll get the rest of the January Update to you when our formatting works again.
Thanks for all you do,
Sustainable Watertown

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