Washington Street zoning decision bounced back to Watertown city council

Washington Street zoning changes

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The ball is back in Watertown city council’s court as a project on Washington Street continues to bounce back and forth between lawmakers and the city planning board.

The planning board is split on zoning changes proposed for the Washington Street area where the project is proposed.

Tuesday night, they didn’t reject the changes, but they also didn’t formally recommend them.

So now it goes back to city council to decide what will happen with a dentist office proposed in the 1300 block.

“The zone change will be coming to city council and we will have to make a determination on that,” Mayor Jeff Smith said.

The space is currently a Residence B zone for residential use only.

There’s been debate over how to properly rezone the area. Tuesday, city planners suggested another plan that would allow for the dentist office but restrict what else could go there.

“Probably a better designation for this area is that limited business district,” city planner Michael Lumbis said.

That means that only a bank, an insurance company, a radio and television studio, or a business office could go there.

Dr. Sarah Latif’s dental practice would occupy the lot. The proposed two-story building would sit next to her father’s neurology practice, but also sit near city neighborhoods. Residents have continued to say they do not want this business.

Smith said he wants to see compromise.

“We have to be able to work with business owners,” he said. “That allows for business growth in the city while at the same time protecting neighborhoods and protecting neighborhood interests.”

Dr. Latif had no comment on Tuesday night.

The ball’s back in city council’s court for a public hearing and a vote on November 2.

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