TELL US: What New Housing Does Watertown Need - Houses, Town Houses, Apartments?

The Watertown Planning Department hosts a workshop tonight to discuss people's vision for new housing in town.


Watertown has a number of old industrial properties either unused or underused, and one of the likely things to be put up on these parcels is housing, but what kind should be built?

Tonight, the Watertown Planning Department, along with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) hosts a public forum on Housing Planning for Watertown at the Watertown Public Free Library. Officials will gather input from residents about what kind of housing they think the town needs.

Recently, the town has had a number of apartment and condo buildings go up, particularly on Pleasant Street where Repton Place has been built as well as two smaller buildings closer to Watertown Square. Another apartment complex was approved this summer to go on Waltham Street across from Gore Place.

Those projects met stiff resistance from neighbors. 

Types of Housing

Apartments tend not to be people's first choice, and most would rather see single-family homes, instead. 

Unfortunately, the economics often don't work out for either developers or the town when single-family homes are built. Many fewer homes can be built on the land compared to the number of apartments or condos.

Also, the town ends up paying more in services if a single family home. In March, . Therefore, single-family homes would put more pressure on the town budget than apartments.

In addition, the town needs to meet its requirement of having 10 percent of units in town be available at affordable rates and more affordable units can be added with a multi-unit development. 

What do you think? What kind of housing would you like to see put up around Watertown, and where? Share in the comment section below.

K Coyne October 25, 2012 at 03:00 PM
One could argue that apartments bring more kids with a smaller footprint= lower tax amount pd/kid. Or you could argue that a larger home with kids pays much higher than the avg. Our town census should be able to get the data and actually find out what the facts are. That said, I wouldn't want to entirely base(though should be part of the decision) housing on cost of education/hometype. I think that the town should map out the district to see where some single families can be added(as there is a demand) along with good valued multi-families. I would not want to see large apartment(> 3fls) buildings in Watertown but possibly 2 or 3 story apt buildings with character and some open space. The apartment buildings should also have a small percentage sold for low income.
Charlie Breitrose (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM
You are right, Watertinfo. People could put kids in a two or even one bedroom apartment. Having sat through many planning board meetings, planners say it is very likely a family with school-age kids will move into a single family home. The rates of children in an apartment, especially old enough to go to school, is far lower. I don't know how many kids from Repton or the Archstone apartments go to town schools.


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