Wondering what’s new downtown, I attended the Downtown Waltham Partnership luncheon last Thursday. Two things that were out of the ordinary were: the large number of elected officials who were present at the gathering and that with one exception they had nothing to say. I guess the best way to be sure you don’t offend anyone during election time is to not express an opinion on anything.
Local resident and engineer Bill Doyle made a great presentation on downtown development. He showed a plan for the downtown that would make everyone proud. Unfortunately, before the city had bothered to take the time to develop a comprehensive plan, the City Council voted to approve over a million dollars to replace the sidewalks and trees along Moody Street.
I kept thinking that this doesn’t make any sense. I must be missing something. I went home and dug out my copy of the Master Plan for guidance. You know the one passed just before the election in 2007 that was put together by a committee chaired by Ken Doucette. In the Economic Development section under “Recommended Actions”, which was all of about one page, there were twelve lines about the downtown. Based on what I found out, it looks like there really is no plan.
Another issue that came up numerous times was that the City Council and their Special Permitting process of micro-managing development is killing the downtown area. Combine that with a zoning ordinance that doesn’t allow bakeries, coffee shops or delicatessens and that explains why a young Brandeis student who was at the meeting stated, most students have money to spend but stay on campus and order takeout because there is no reason to walk downtown.
Candidate for Councillor in Ward 2