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CITY OF Watertown

  Zoning Ordinance Update  

ZOning Update

What is the purpose of the Zoning Code?

Zoning regulations are an essential local tool to promote and guide community & economic development and the city's general welfare. They enable the community to shape development to fit their visions and needs. This is done through the regulation of both land uses (commercial, residential, industrial, etc.) and structures (building heights, setbacks, lot size, etc.) within specifically defined districts. 

Zoning can stimulate development by incentivizing the use of underutilized spaces, streamlining legal processes, enabling consistency in site planning, and improving how private and public spaces relate to each other (e.g. building facades and sidewalks).

Why is the code being updated? 

The City of Watertown is updating its 60 year old zoning laws to make them easier to use, to bring them in line with modern standards and practices, and to help implement the development objectives of the City's Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2019.

The City of Watertown is creating a 'hybrid code'. Under a hybrid code, the zoning incorporates both the land use regulations of the conventional code while adding specific design guidelines, typical of a form-based code (FBC). Such a zoning code emphasizes high quality design and an appropriate mix of uses in each district,  inspiring aesthetically pleasing construction throughout the community.

What is the Process?

The zoning update is an iterative process being led by the local steering committee and city planning officials with the support of zoning consultants. Input from the public and local stakeholders is being collected throughout the process. The update has a 1-year timeline, with the aim to release drafts for public comment by the fall and to adopt the new zoning ordinance by the end of 2021.


YOUR Community. Your Vision.

Want to get involved in the planning process?  Watch this space for opportunities to share your ideas and feedback on the zoning update.

Recent Events:

Watertown Zoning Survey

April 16th - May 17th (now closed)

This survey provided an opportunity for the public to visualize various development options for Watertown, and to share their thoughts on which building/structure types fit within various districts. The survey garnered 296 responses!! Thank you to everyone who responded, and please watch this space for future opportunities. 

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