Watertown city officials seek public’s help updating zoning laws

Updated: Apr. 18, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The City of Watertown’s zoning laws are 60 years old. And now, city officials are working to make those laws easier to use and more modern. The city has a short survey out to gauge what city residents want to see in Watertown.

“We’re asking for the public’s help in getting a, sort of like a baseline idea about what sorts of architectural styles people think are appropriate,” said council member Ryan Henry-Wilkinson.

Henry-Wilkinson says the city currently follows a Euclidean Zoning Ordinance, which separates residential areas from commercial strips and industrial zones. He says this time around, the city hopes to create a hybrid code instead.

“Depending on what the community is comfortable with, you know, you could bring back the corner store and that sort of thing. It just has to look a certain way in order to, kind of, blend into the neighborhood so it doesn’t disrupt the character,” said Henry-Wilkinson.

Henry-Wilkinson says modernizing and adopting a new zoning code is a part of one of the early phases of the city’s 2019 Comprehensive Plan, which gives city leaders a guide for the future. The survey can be found by going to and will be available through May 17.

And Henry-Wilkinson says that there will be more public participation in the future to make sure everyone who’d like to, can have a say in the city’s zoning laws.

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