Washington Street project tabled

A developer has proposed a commercial building at the above location on Washington Street. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The city’s Planning Board intends to consider site plans on Tuesday for a two-story commercial building project at 1348, 1352 and 1356 Washington St. that some neighbors have opposed.

The developers, Sundus and Sarah Latif, submitted site plans that include a two-story, 11,532-square-foot mixed-use building and a 28-space parking lot at the site of two houses and a previously demolished house at 1348, 1352 and 1356 Washington St. The building would be constructed at the back of the site.

The planning board meets at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the third-floor council chambers of City Hall, 245 Washington St.

Some neighbors have expressed concerns that the project will cause additional flooding issues and change the character of the neighborhood.

The developers are asking for a zoning change for the site from Residence B to Neighborhood Business.

While the Planning Board approved the zoning change three months ago, the City Council has tabled the action until the developers submitted site plans for the project. According to paperwork submitted to the city, the applicant for the project is their father, Dr. Abdul Latif.

The first floor of the building would be occupied by Dr. Sarah Latif’s dental practice, which would move from the family’s neurology practice at 1340 Washington St., and some business retail space. The second floor would be used for storage.

In June, a petition signed by 24 residents was submitted to the city in opposition to the project. All but one of the residents live in the 1300 block of Sherman Street, the next street over from the project.

Neighbors mostly have concerns about drainage and flooding problems that they believe will only get worse if the new building is constructed.

According to a report from the city’s Planning Department, staff is asking for more information about the future plans for the second-floor since if it’s used for anything else, more parking spaces would be needed and there is no room for additional parking.

According to the report, the project would not be compatible with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, citing concerns for the building’s setback to the neighborhood behind the project.

Instead, the Planning Board recommends inverting the site plans and constructing the building at the front of the site, averting the setback issues.

Initially the developer proposed including apartments, but decided not to move ahead with that component of the project.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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