City planners discuss rezoning Washington Street for new Stewart’s

A vacant lot on the southeast corner of Washington Street and Flower Avenue is slated to become a Stewart’s Shops convenience store and gas station. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The city Planning Board held a meeting on Tuesday about rezoning the corner of Washington Street and Flower Avenue East to a neighborhood business zone, which would allow for Stewart’s Shops to build a new convenience store and fueling station on the corner.

Chuck Marshall, Stewart’s Shops real estate representative, talked about the concerns of the outdoor lights being intrusive on the neighbors.

“The building will act as a screen, it’s proposed to be 24 square feet,” Mr. Marshall said. “The height of the gasoline canopy lights are 14 square feet.”

Marshall also said the lights will be “downlit LED fixtures” so they should not bother the neighbors.

The most concerning topic to the public, along with members of the Planning Board, is a potential increase in traffic in an area they feel already has too much.

Mr. Marshall said that Stewart’s Shops believes there will be less than an 8% increase in traffic in the area.

Planning Board member Neil Katzman said he believes adding a Stewart’s location to the area will also decrease property values. Lisa A. Ruggiero, broker and owner of Hefferon Real Estate and a member of the City Council, shared similar concerns.

“I think there is the potential ... I personally would have some concerns if I had a house there.” Mrs. Ruggiero said. “I personally would have some concerns in terms of the real estate value.”

The Planning Board recommended moving forward and bringing the rezone matter before the City Council at its Oct. 18 meeting. There will then be a public hearing on Nov. 1, before council votes.

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