PROJECT UPDATE - PLEASE READ!
September 7, 2021
The proposed Waterfield development is back in the town spotlight, and we are writing because it is critically important that supporters of affordable housing at Waterfield weigh in with the Town.
Call to Action: there is a public comment period regarding the next steps on Waterfield open until Sept 16, with a meeting for public comment on Sept 13 from 6-7pm to advise the Select Board on its next phase of negotiation with developer Civico.
Please email Town Manager Lisa Wong (LWong@winchester.us) and Select Board Chair Susan Verdicchio (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share your input—the time to stand up for the importance of affordable housing in the town center is NOW! There are those in town who are pushing hard for the Select Board to re-bid the entire proposal, a move that would set us back two years and further endanger our affordable housing progress and safe harbor from 40B developments.
Additional background is below. Your public comment can be short--even just a sentence or two on your ranking of the priorities below. If you prefer, The Network for Social Justice has leveraged the Action Network with a form letter you can start with. Please make your voice heard!
Residents for Waterfield Facts
The Select Board has appointed a five-member Waterfield Task Force, which is charged with considering and prioritizing community viewpoints to develop recommendations to the Select Board in relation to the Waterfield parcel. The Task Force is composed of Stephanie Zaremba (for Residents for Waterfield Facts), Paul Manganaro (for Citizens for a Better Waterfield), Soumya Ganapathy, Patrick Fortin, and Bill Cummings.
The Task Force is charged with reviewing and ranking 6 priorities:
Availability of public parking;
The design of the project including building height, public spaces, sustainability features, commercial spaces;
Length of the Ground Lease;
Providing for long-term town oversight;
Mix of affordable and market rate housing units; and
Revenue to the Town
The Waterfield Task Force will hold 3 open public meetings on zoom, designed to keep the Winchester community informed in anticipation of a vote on a revised Agreement with CIVICO at the Fall Town Meeting. All dates and zoom links are listed below.
WATERFIELD LOT PUBLIC COMMENT SESSION - MONDAY, SEPT. 13TH 6-7PMVIA ZOOM
Waterfield Task Force Meeting Schedule (Note all meetings are via Zoom):
Monday, Sept. 13th 4-6pm https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6GlqO_SXSwKVC2lMMXOZhg
Monday, Sept. 20th 5-7pm https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Edx1_hr3T52XxvwPl0B5Qw
Thursday, Sept. 30th 5-7pm https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iwNU6eh0RxylRC7bDEE-JQ
You can read more about the Task Force and Waterfield Lot here: https://www.winchester.us/736/Waterfield-Lot-Task-Force
WANT TO STAY INFORMED ABOUT WATERFIELD? GET ON THE LIST
Stay up to date on how the Waterfield affordable housing development is progressing by joining our contact list. We will provide updates to subscribers as the process continues.
"The Waterfield project will add a diverse mix of affordable housing units that can serve as a starting off point for singles and small families as well as downsizing options for seniors in our community. It is designed to be not only visually attractive but also environmentally innovative.
I appreciate the countless hours and hard work over many years invested by town officials and residents to bring this project to where it stands today, including its recent approval by Winchester Town Meeting. The Waterfield project along with the renovation of the MBTA commuter rail station that is now underway will jumpstart the town's efforts to revitalize the downtown and unlock long dormant economic potential.
I urge my fellow Winchester residents to support this project."
Jason Lewis, State Senator, 5th Middlesex District
WINCHESTER HOUSING PARTNERSHIP STATEMENT
At a Special Meeting of the Winchester Housing Partnership Board on June 2, 2021, the Board unanimously approved the following vote and statement in favor of the Waterfield project:
The Housing Partnership Board continues to support the development of the Waterfield parcel for mixed-income housing. Consistent with the Partnership Board's earlier vote and the two recent Spring Town Meeting votes, the Housing Partnership Board supports a "Yes" vote in the June 22 Special Election.
A "Yes” vote authorizes the Select Board to enter into a Land Development Agreement with Civico for the Waterfield parcel and to proceed with the negotiation of the full terms of the Ground Lease.
While the focus of the Housing Partnership Board is on increasing Winchester's supply of affordable housing, the Board members are all residents of Winchester and we care about the quality of life in our community. We are supportive of Civico's proposed development for many reasons including:
Development of the Waterfield property specifically for mixed income housing has been publicly discussed for more than 3 years and has been approved by a number of Town Boards. The selection of a developer was the subject of a competitive RFP process with the assistance of the Town’s development consultant and the state’s housing finance agency.
The mix of incomes and rental levels in the building will offer people with a range of incomes and abilities a place to call home and will help make our Town a more inclusive community.
New residents living downtown will support local shops and restaurants.
The building design is attractive, its scale is appropriate for downtown, and it provides an outdoor performance/gathering space for the community.
The development supports smart growth principles because of its location at the train station and numerous sustainable design features included by the developer in the building
The building will pay real estate taxes as assessed by the Town and will increase Winchester's tax base.
The Town will continue to own and control the Waterfield land. The LDA and Ground Lease terms negotiated by the Town give the Town oversight of the building and its management. The financial terms provide the Town an ongoing share of the building's profits.
RESIDENTS FOR WATERFIELD FACTS
Founded in 2021, Residents for Waterfield Facts is a group of Winchester residents who came together to ensure Winchester residents are presented with facts rather than fear about the affordable housing project at the Waterfield Street parking lot in Winchester Center. Through events and information sharing organized by our dedicated members, we work to ensure Winchester residents and decision-makers are making informed decisions that are best for the town.