Watertown lawmakers offer compromise over Washington Street project

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 6:51 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown city officials say they are taking into account both the concerns of residents and developers when it comes to building a dentist office on Washington Street.

A handful of Watertown residents are against the dentist office and parking lot being built near the 1300 block of Washington Street.

“When you work so hard as hard as my husband to make our house the way it is,” Sherman Street resident Kim Dyke said. “We put every spare penny into it and now we have to worry about resale value if we have to sell it.”

“The thing I wasn’t expecting to have a parking lot in the backyard,” said Paula Trainham, who also lives on Sherman Street. “It’s kind of making a difference about how I feel about the neighborhood.”

City officials say they are listening to those concerns and concerns of the developers. The city planning board recommended that the council change the zoning in that area from Residence B to Neighborhood Business.

“That would allow retail stores, restaurants, hotel-motel, auto sales, garage storage, gas stations,” Mayor Jeff Smith said.

Instead, council members want to change the zoning to Residence C, which would still allow a dentist office, but limit other types of businesses. That change will have to go back to the planning board before the council can vote on it.

“I think that is a reasonable compromise,” Smith said. “Does it make everybody happy? Probably not, but it definitely protects the neighbors and moves forward.”

Meanwhile, the city’s planning board did shoot down the site plan approval for the project at the beginning of the month.

However, city officials say if the zoning is changed and the developers are making the changes asked of them, the site plan would have to be approved.

Meanwhile, the council was also given a financial report that shows sales tax revenue is down 14 percent from last August, but significantly higher than what was projected for August 2020.

Hydroelectric revenue was also down more than $11,000 compared to August 2019.

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