Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety Supports Sustainable Watertown

We would like to thank the Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety (WCES) for their kind letter of support.  The text follows:

WCES Environmental Task Force Statement Regarding Sustainable Watertown
 
WCES has been speaking up about many development proposals over the
past 30 years. In the past, Watertown’s role has generally been re-active,
responding a developer’s proposal. The new Strategic Framework for Economic
Development gives citizens an opportunity to be more pro-active.
 
This approach provides a coherent vision to guide the application of
planning and regulatory tools; it provides greater transparency to both citizens
and developers about what is desired and allowed; it focuses on attracting
business that can provide the greatest economic benefit and protects
Watertown’s unique characteristics; it builds on the success of the start up
companies already located in town and our superb location for attracting others.
 
Much will depend on the implementation and holding firm to this vision. A
clear issue of concern is the caution that big box stores could undermine
desirable development, destroying the attractiveness of Watertown to small-
scale innovative businesses and endangering the businesses we already value
here. Ignoring or weakening this caution essentially replaces the vision set forth
in the Framework and we revert to being merely reactive.
 
We are convinced that the town can attract developments that contribute
to both our economic and community life. The Strategic Framework makes
the case that such improvements as pedestrian friendly interventions, traffic
calming, multi-use paths and streetscape amenities that we have been advocating
for many years not only enhance civic life, they also attract businesses and
compatible uses. The Strategic Framework confirms that Watertown can
choose development that does not come at the cost of livability and a quality
environment.
 
We support Sustainable Watertown in its opposition to new big box stores
that will detract from our environment, local economy and quality of life. We
applaud Sustainable Watertown’s efforts to engage citizens and local businesses
more actively in the planning and development process. We share with
Sustainable Watertown the goal of a vibrant, creative, sustainable and healthy
community. We look forward to working with Sustainable Watertown on these
goals.

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