Dear Sustainable Watertown,
Frederick Law Olmsted believed in making parks that belonged to all the people, and that, by providing a place of experience among equals, good public spaces helped make democracy stronger.
Democracy is dynamic, constantly changing and continually tempered by how we collectively participate in it; and, it turns out, it is profoundly impacted by how well we mix with each other.
-Janna Malamud-Smith, The Importance of Public Spaces in a Fractured World. Cognoscenti, 12/23/15.
Watertown's citizens have spoken up for good public spaces to draw our community together and for healthy, walkable, connected streetscapes and paths. Watertown's citizens have also come together in our civic spaces to learn and speak out to promote and protect our community character along with the river and the precious green and open spaces that we treasure. Here is an opportunity to do both, with important results.
Please join us as Sustainable Watertown hosts
a series of four CITIZEN-INITIATED CONVERSATIONS for Watertown Residents on RMUD, the Regional Multi Use District. The proposed district was devised by Boylston Properties, a major land holder in the RMUD with the property formerly known as the Arsenal Mall. The town Planning Department has edited the proposal and citizens and Councilors have offered amendments at the Planning Board and at a Council Subcommittee meeting. There is much more to learn and potentially to adjust in the plan. W
Now the Town Council must vote to amend and accept the project, or to send it back to the Planning Board in recognition of continued citizen interest. We expect that Council vote will be January 26. If the proposal returns to the Planning Board there will be adequate time for further deliberation and decision to consider all the citizen input that has been and will be presented by the end of this month and going forward. The Planning Board will ultimately return the proposal to the elected Council for a vote to change the Zoning Ordinance.
Because the issues of the proposed Regional Multi Use District are so complicated, Sustainable Watertown and many others believe that more conversation is absolutely necessary before passage of an ordinance that will have lasting effects on Watertown for generations to come. We urge you to participate to help improve the plan.
Please join us at the Library from 6:45-9PM JANUARY 7, 13, 19 and JANUARY 25, location to be announced, for our wrap up session. Please look at the Action Items to the right in the yellow column for the topics of each session.
The RMUD stretches along Arsenal Street on both sides to include the Watertown Mall, new hotel, Miller Ale House, and goes part way up Elm street, one side of Coolidge Ave, and on the north side of Arsenal Street to School Street opposite the historic buildings now owned by AthenaHealth.
A map of the proposed RMUD is at: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/17705
A map of the 100 foot buffer and Conservation Commission control is at: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18189
The proposed amendments to the Watertown Zoning Ordinance are at: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18149 Further amendments have been added by the Council Subcommittee.
There are many issues to be studied and we are glad to be offering an opportunity for residents to learn and participate and make a difference. This is a unique district and it is a proposal to be considered carefully with time for envisioning the possibilities for the benefit of Watertown well into the future. The public was successfully involved in creating the Comprehensive Plan and the Design Standards and Guidelines. Your participation and consideration for these enabling amendments are crucial.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be willing to help with the Citizen-Initiated Conversations.
We could also use help with data entry.
Wishing you a happy and productive New Year.
Thanks for all you do and will do in 2016,
CITIZEN-INITIATED CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RMUD FOR WATERTOWN RESIDENTS. 6:45-9PM, LIBRARY. JANUARY 7, 13, 19, 25 (Location TBA). We will have residents participating as presenters and facilitators. An independent advocate will join us to help with zoning questions.
JANUARY 7, THIS THURSDAY: (A.) ZONING INTRODUCTION TO THE TIMELINE FOR THE CURRENT PROCESS; APPROVAL CRITERIA; COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. (B.) DESIGN IMPLICATIONS; HEIGHT AND FAR; MASSING AND SENSITIVITY TO HISTORICAL BUILDINGS; OPEN SPACE, PUBLIC SPACE, PUBLIC ACCESS. GARY SHAW WILL BE A PRESENTER.
JANUARY 13, WEDNESDAY: OPEN SPACE AND GREEN SPACE; DEFINITIONS; PUBLIC STEWARDSHIP OF THE RIVERWAY; LOCAL AND STATE ORDINANCES AND LAWS PROTECTING THE RIVER AND RIVERWAY; 100 FOOT BUFFER; PUBLIC PARKS; PUBLIC ACCESS. NANCY HAMMETT WILL PRESENT.
JANUARY 19, TUESDAY: (A.) TRAFFIC, TRANSIT (INCLUDING TMA, TMD), PLUS A STREET NETWORK VISION WITHIN RMUD AND CONNECTIVITY TO WATERTOWN CONSISTENT WITH THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. WATERTOWN PUBLIC TRANSIT TASK FORCE, WPTTF, LED BY JOE LEVENDUSKY, FACILITATORS. (B.) GREEN, SUSTAINABLE BUILDING. ZONING LANGUAGE. GARY SHAW, PRESENTER.
JANUARY 25, MONDAY: OPEN MEETING FOR RESIDENTS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WE DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO COVER, WHAT WE'VE LEARNED, HOW THE RMUD ZONING AMENDMENTS RELATE TO THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, TO DEVELOP CONCRETE QUESTIONS, AND TO RECOMMEND CHANGES TO THE RMUD DOCUMENT. Location to be announced.
JANUARY 14, DEVELOPER MEETING, ATHANAHEALTH MASTER PLAN. 6:30PM, 311 Arsenal Street, Bldg 311, or Blakeway Auditorium. AODD Master Plan, 2016: http://www.ci.watertown.ma.us/DocumentCenter/View/18279. SW North Beacon Neighbors group asks for your attendance.
Saturdays, January 9 and 16: DEVELOPER MEETINGS on RMUD future plans with Bill McQuillan and Boylston Properties. 10-1PM. Arsenal Mall.
Thursday, January 21: WATERTOWN COMMUNITY GARDENS, ANNUAL MEETING, 6:30 PM Library.
As always, please check for Council agendas and Planning and Zoning Board agendas.