2015-16 RESIDENTIAL DESIGN GUIDELINES
RESIDENTIAL DESIGN GUIDELINES BACKGROUND | CONTEXT
The recently adopted Comprehensive Plan for Watertown recognized the importance of protecting the character of our many residential neighborhoods. Watertown residents have expressed concerns about the amount of development that is taking place and the scale of that change. New infill development - if not done well with the appropriate siting, dimensional criteria and typology characteristics - has the potential to undermine the very quality of a neighborhood that makes it a place in which people want to live.
The Town is therefore pursuing Residential Design Guidelines that will establish a common frame of reference and an associated language that the public can understand. The Guidelines will clarify expectations about what is permitted (and why) in order to maintain the existing neighborhood character and promote a more harmonious relationship between the existing neighborhood fabric and new construction. Ensuring that setbacks and other dimensional regulations are met for proposed tear-downs and developing guidelines to maintain existing neighborhood character are recommendations of the Watertown Comprehensive Plan.
While the recently completed “Design Guidelines and Standards Manual” addressed the relationship of larger scale, mixed-used use buildings along the Town’s primary commercial corridors, they did not address the development that is taking place within the neighborhoods themselves. Establishing a set of Design Guidelines for the residential areas will ensure that Watertown develops in a manner that respects the rich diversity of its architecture and the cherished neighborhoods in which it resides.
A series of three Community Listening Sessions were held in different locations and in different parts of Town to get as much public feedback as possible on the subject.
Three Listening Sessions with identical format and content were held:
- Meeting One Presentation Public Meeting #1 Tues, Oct 20 6:30pm - 8:00pm Location: Coolidge School Auditorium
- Public Meeting #2 Mon, Oct 26 6:30pm-8:00pm Location: Lower Hearing Room Town Hall
- Public Meeting #3 Thurs, Oct 29 6:30pm-8:00pm Location: Police Station
COMMUNITY FORUM "Preserving Our Neighborhoods":
Public Meeting #4 - Thurs, Nov 12 6:30 PM Location: Middle School Auditorium
Agenda for the three neighborhood Listening Session Meetings:
I. Components of a strong neighborhood
II. Watertown style inventory: What makes a good building, what makes a bad one?
III. Interactive Dialogue (small-group format) - residential development pressures
IV. Report-back and Wrap up
Discussed the common language of Watertown’s neighborhoods, provided a perspective on key elements contributing to community character and identified effective tools to encourage, preserve, and support neighborhoods and the community’s shared vision for the future.
Listening Sessions Summary
- The three listening session provided many comments and ideas.