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MapLink™ | Procedures | Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD)

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Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD)
Affordable Housing: An application for a Master Plan Special Permit shall provide at least 15% of the total dwelling units as affordable housing and otherwise be consistent with the requirements of § 5.07: Affordable housing requirements.

Authority and Procedure:
Any project requiring relief per § 5.01: Table of Use Regulations of the Ordinance shall be subject to § 9.03: Site plan review of certain residential and non-residential developments and § 9.05: Special permit: conditions for approval. of the Watertown Zoning Ordinance, or a Petitioner/Project may seek, as an alternative approval process, a Master Plan Special Permit under § 155-5.18(g), if a project encompasses a minimum of two acres.

Master Plan Special Permit with Site Plan Review: The revitalization and redevelopment of property in the RMUD may involve new uses and buildings, additional structured parking, enhanced landscaping, and other significant changes. The projects may occur over time, and in phases.

In order to ensure that nearby and City-wide traffic, infrastructure, density, connectivity and visual impacts, etc., from such projects are identified and coherently planned to include appropriate mitigation, the Petitioner may seek conceptual Master Plan level approval of a large scale project. This approval shall be followed by detailed Final Site Plan Review Approvals of individual projects or buildings under § 9.03: Site plan review of certain residential and non-residential developments. that are to occur later, before issuance of any Building Permits.

A Master Plan-level review provides the Petitioner with the benefit of advance conceptual approval for multiple projects to be implemented over time. It also provides both the Petitioner and the City with the opportunity and mechanism to consider and address the cumulative impacts of all individual phases and for the holistic consideration and mitigation planning for the entire larger-scale project(s) that may be built in phases.
(1) Procedure: Notwithstanding anything to the contrary within the Watertown Zoning Ordinance or more specifically within Article IX: Enforcement and Application Procedures, in the RMUD, the Planning Board shall be the Special Permit Granting Authority (SPGA) for all Master Plan Special Permits and Amendments in accordance with § 9.03: Site plan review of certain residential and non-residential developments.

(2) Application: A Petitioner proposing to construct one or more buildings (which may include structured parking and may include alterations to one or more existing buildings) may seek approval of the overall project through a Master Plan Special Permit. An application for a Master Plan Special Permit shall include, at a minimum, for each proposed new building, structural alteration of an existing building, or principal use outside of a building:
(A) The proposed location, approximate footprint, height, and gross floor area.
(B) Building elevations showing principal building entrances, overall building massing, rooflines, and general fenestration patterns and will require multiple three-dimensional elevations; Applications for one or more buildings greater than 79' in height shall include design details for such building(s) sufficient to enable a decision whether height above 79' is appropriate given the massing of the proposed building(s) and the location in relation to other buildings, streets and open spaces, including public open spaces adjacent to the site.
(C) Cross section drawings indicating the relationship of the building or buildings to nearby buildings, buildings on adjoining properties, streets open spaces, and parklands. Both aerial and pedestrian level 3D views shall be included to fully depict the visual impact of the design from both public ways and from several key view points within the project development area.
(D) Identification of all principal and accessory uses, other than parking and any alterations or demolition of existing structures, with care given toward protecting historic resources that help define and contribute to the character of the Arsenal Street Corridor.
(E) Vehicle and bicycle parking areas or facilities to be provided.
(F) Proposed design criteria establishing a palette of building materials, architectural elements, and landscaping elements to be finalized for each individual building during later, detailed Site Plan Reviews.
(G) Shadow Analysis depicting internal and external impacts of morning, mid-day and evening shadows at both solstices and equinoxes.
(H) Traffic Impact Assessment (TIAS) of traffic generation and on-site/off-site impacts including a Transportation Demand Management Plan with a reporting mechanism to the City;
(I) Verification that adequate sewer capacity is available or that the project will suitably increase capacity as required; and
(J) Complete, conceptual level stormwater management plan demonstrating the development's approach to on-site Stormwater Management and adequacy of connections to regional mains.
(K) Open Space Plan, including location, size, characteristics (pervious vs impervious), uses and public accessibility of all open space areas. Conceptual wayfinding signage for paths, access to parks, and transit, at a minimum, with detailed plans to be submitted within a signage packet as part of a Building Permit.
(L) List of required Federal, Massachusetts, or Watertown environmental licenses, permits, filings, or restrictions, currently in effect or anticipated.
(3) Review of Application:
The SPGA shall hold a public hearing in accordance with procedures outlined in § 9.04: Application and hearing procedures for special permits and variances. The SPGA shall not approve a Master Plan Special Permit unless it finds that the four conditions for Special Permit approval set forth in § 155-9.05(b) of this Zoning Ordinance have been met and that the proposed development will be in-keeping with the intent and purpose of the RMUD as set forth in § 155-5.18(a).
The Petitioner's submission of and the review of the conceptual level plan component of a Master Plan Special Permit shall include two public information meetings and shall otherwise follow the procedures set forth in § 9.03: Site plan review of certain residential and non-residential developments. The SPGA shall not approve such a Master Plan Special Permit unless it finds that the Petitioner has satisfactorily addressed, at a conceptual level, the ten criteria listed in § 155-9.03(c).

(4) Parking Reduction:
In granting a Master Plan Special Permit, the SPGA may reduce the number of required parking spaces, based on the availability of public transportation alternatives at or near the RMUD master-planned project, the transportation demand management programs implemented or to be implemented as part of the RMUD Master Plan, compatibility with any transportation policy adopted by the City, the ability of uses with peak user demands at different times to share parking spaces or other factors for which the Petitioner provides (i) a parking study or analysis prepared under the direction of a Professional Engineer or Architect with the requisite experience in conducting such analysis, using standards and methodologies promulgated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Urban Land Institute, or other appropriate source, and (or including) (ii) a transportation demand management plan prepared to best practices standards for such plans in Massachusetts.
In addition, the SPGA may allow the Petitioner to temporarily further reduce the amount of parking provided as part of a master-planned project during a phase(s) of an approved large-scale mixed-use project if existing parking spaces will be eliminated during a phase of implementation, to be replaced in that or a later phase of implementation, for example if a structured parking facility is to be built on the location of an existing surface parking lot. In determining whether to grant such a temporary further reduction of the amount of parking, the SPGA shall take into consideration the factors set forth above in this subsection and the applicant's proposals, if any, to provide substitute off-site parking or other interim measures to reduce the demand for parking within the master-planned project.

(5) Final Site Plan Review: Prior to the issuance of a Building Permit for any building approved under a Master Plan Special Permit, the Petitioner shall obtain Final Site Plan Review of the final design details of the proposed building(s) and any related landscaping or other improvements following the procedures set forth in § 9.03: Site plan review of certain residential and non-residential developments of this Zoning Ordinance.

(6) Amendments to an approved Master Plan Special Permit: Changes to an approved Master Plan Special Permit site plan that are Minor, as determined by the SPGA or Director of the Department of Community Development and Planning (Director), may be approved as part of the Final Site Plan Review for the associated building(s).

(7) Lapse of a Master Plan Special Permit: A Master Plan Special Permit will be required to include a phasing plan for implementing the Master Plan Special Permit.
(A) The Permit shall be deemed to have been exercised for purposes of § 9.13: Lapse of special permit of the Zoning Ordinance and Section 9 of the Massachusetts Zoning Act, M.G.L. c. 40A, if, within one year from the date of the grant of the SPGA's Master Plan Special Permit, the Petitioner has applied for Final Site Plan Approval of a building or outdoor use, and if within two years of such date, construction of an approved building or commencement of an approved principal use outside of a building has begun, in either case except for good cause. A Master Plan Special Permit will expire ten years from the grant of approval if construction of all phases have not commenced, as described above, except for good cause. A petitioner may request extensions of the phasing plan and/or implementation through a request to the SPGA prior to permit expiration, and if the SPGA does not grant a request for extension, a petitioner will be required to submit for an amendment or new permit. The time periods referenced above shall not include such time required to pursue or await the determination of any appeal under M.G.L. c. 40A, § 17.

See § 5.18: Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD) for complete information.
See Permits, Licensing, and Applications for detailed information.