Proposed development at 33 mt auburn street. Comments by Concerned Citizens Group (CCG), a part of Sustainable Watertown’s Neighborhood Network

See the plans at: (8MB)
Related documents at:

The Neighborhood Group, Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) report:

March 6, 2014

RE: 33 Mt Auburn St proposal (R. Bray)
TO: Steven Magoon & Gideon Schreiber, Watertown Planning Department, and Watertown Planning Board and Watertown Zoning Board of Appeals
FROM: Concerned Citizens Group, Inc. (Lisa Feltner, Pres.)

CCG is disappointed that the current 33 Mt Auburn proposal does not meet some of the goals stated in the draft Comprehensive Plan, although we think residences may contribute to revitalization; please consider:

Central Business District goals defined in the Comprehensive Plan include:
*Are places like Watertown Square (and Coolidge Square) destinations that people would like to visit?
*New commercial growth should be concentrated: Arsenal St 60%, in the Square 22% (in order to increase the tax base)
*Does it fit with existing environment?
*Does it promote Watertown Square history and/or culture?
*Does it celebrate Watertown Square as a destination?
*Does this enhance the streetscape and is it a successful proposal for mixed use?

And including these objectives from the Zoning, Watertown Square Design Overlay District, Section 5.09:
(2) To improve the appearance of the Watertown Square area over time and to create a more competitive shopping environment.

There is not much space dedicated to retail and this level is cut up and not flexible, which makes it less attractive or well-suited to a variety of businesses, and therefore less successful as mixed use.

(3) To maintain and enhance the scale and quality of Watertown Square's architectural environment including the Square's existing older buildings and any proposed new construction.

It is imperative that the current project showcase much better materials, such as quality brick, in order to fit the existing environment, especially given its lack of architectural identity. We anticipate a level of success in enhancing the streetscape through the use of more and larger windows, glass and even steel instead of cement fiberboard and fabric awnings.

---- Some other concerns--------
1. The garage door looks too prominent and not inviting from pedestrian view;
2. We like the larger windows, more windows, including on the elevator shaft area instead of blank space;
3. We like having an entrance from the park side to 33 Mt Auburn;
4. Does the large "z" across the front ground level really work on this bldg? It seems to cut up this area into a busy visual.
5. We are happy to see condos including 2-BRs instead of rental units;
6. Could you please show the community path on your plans (either sidewalk + 1 bike lane, or 2-way bike;
7. The landscaping looks wonderful; can the “park” be named/identified, perhaps will a small sign or plaque?

Please add a water fountain to this area.

A note concerning Planning Budget: we support dedicated funds for improving Baptist Walk, and its connection over Mt Auburn to Taylor St.

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