Watertown, Mass., 2013 Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Plan Project

The Town of Watertown has started to prepare a new Comprehensive Plan for the first time since 1988. This planning process is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The following is a brief description of the plan and the process that will be undertaken to complete it.

What is a Comprehensive Plan?

Project News

Public Forum on October 19th

The Department of Community Development & Planning held its third public event for the 2013 Comprehensive Plan. View the Presentation (Adobe PDF) here »

Vision and Goals Documents Posted

View the Vision and Goals documents »

A Comprehensive Plan:

  • Documents and illustrates what a community looks like today and what direction it has decided it wants to go for the future; it includes assessments of existing resources and issues, projections of future conditions and needs, and consideration of collective goals and desires.
  • Is a policy guide and provides a framework for future land use decision-making and the physical development of the municipality. It will not only address buildings and infrastructure, it will also include the important social, natural resource and economic values of the community. The Comprehensive plan is a method of translating the community's values into specific actions.
  • Covers an approximate time frame of 20 years; it is assumed that shorter-term reviews will keep it current with the changing needs of the community.
  • Is closely integrated with other municipal documents and initiatives, for example in Watertown the recently completed Strategic Framework for Economic Development.

The Comprehensive Plan is NOT a zoning ordinance, a subdivision regulation, a budget, a capital improvement program or other regulatory document. It is meant to provide the framework for the development of these implementation tools.

What is involved in preparing a Comprehensive Plan?

  • The Planning Board and Town Council will be overseeing the Comprehensive planning process
  • Public outreach and meetings
  • Data collection and analysis that will ultimately be rolled into the Comprehensive Plan document
  • Preparation of the chapters of the plan (sometimes called plan elements)
  • New implementation plan.

Information and data are gathered from the prior planning studies, while current views and opinions are being collected through community events where residents are invited to provide inputs. Other sources include data provided from state census data, and mapping data provided by one of the consulting teams.

A public forum will be held on Thursday, March 7th at the Middle School. The presentation and summary report will be posted on this website after the meeting.

What are the major sections of the Comprehensive Plan document?

  • Vision, Goals and Policies
  • Land Use
  • Transportation, Circulation and Parking
  • Housing
  • Economic Development
  • Amenities
    • Open Space and Recreation
    • Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources
    • Facilities, Services and Partnerships
    • Energy
  • Implementation/Action Plan

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is also preparing a Housing Production Plan that will help inform the housing section.

Learn more about the 2013 Comprehensive Plan process »