Get Involved!

You may have heard the expression “All politics is local”, coined by none other than local Cambridge pol and former US Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. 2017 has ushered in big changes and lots of healthy debate on the national political scene, but there’s lots of ways to get involved on the local level, right here in Watertown! Want to have more of a say in how things get done in your backyard? The Watertown Town Council oversees a variety of boards, commissions, and committees that play critical roles in town operations and are meant to give the public a strong voice in the political process. Here are a few to get you thinking:

  • Planning Board: Do you have a background in city planning, engineering or architecture? The Watertown Planning Board presides over rezoning applications, site plan proposals, special permits and variances, and plays a significant role in the balance among residential, commercial, and green space in the community. Five members serve a 3-year term, with meetings the second Wednesday of each month.

  • Environment and Energy Efficiency Committee: This group of nine members researches energy use and green gas emissions in Watertown, and plays a key role in advising town officials and employees on policies, procedures, regulations, and activities pertaining to energy use and conservation.

  • Watertown Housing Partnership: Interested in making sure Watertown is a welcoming community for people from all economic backgrounds? The Watertown Housing Partnership is a committee appointed by the Town Manager, whose primary purpose is to oversee the development and preservation of affordable housing in the town. Members also assist in the administration of Watertown’s inclusionary zoning provisions, as well as engaging in various advocacy efforts on behalf of lower-income tenants. The WHP meets on the third Tuesday of each month, and includes a minimum of five members.

  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee: If your passion is finding green commuting alternatives, this could be the place for you! With members appointed by the Town Manager, the committee works to investigate new biking and walking options for residents, as well as improve the ones we already have. Ongoing projects include the Watertown Cambridge Greenway, a pedestrian and bike path meant to connect the Charles River Path System to the Minuteman Bikeway.

Want to learn more? Tune into Watertown Local Access Cable to catch a few meetings and get a better sense of how these committees operate, and how you might lend your experience and expertise. Go for it!