Winchester voters say no to lease on Waterfield property

Jesse A. Floyd [email protected]

On Tuesday, voters denied selected voters permission to enter into a land development agreement with Civico Development, putting the Waterfield project on hold.

32 percent of the city’s 16,179 registered voters – 5,295 – cast their votes. The measure failed with 2,614 votes in favor, 2,681 against, a lead of 67 votes.

More:Town Meeting Minute: How Winchester residents voted on Day 2

“This takes the project a step back,” said city director Lisa Wong.

According to Wong, the vote leaves several options. The selection committee could decide to stop the process altogether – not to sell the land; or it could choose to renegotiate with Civico Development. The scenarios are myriad, said Wong.

The residential units on Waterfield Lot in Winchester will be rental rather than condominiums, consisting of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

“The selected board will meet in the next few weeks to discuss options,” she said.

A bit of history

The Waterfield property has gone through several votes by the city council over time; first in 2018 to sell the land; then again last fall to authorize chosen ones to negotiate an agreement; finally in May, when the city assembly authorized the board to negotiate the deal.

This final approval of the city assembly resulted in Tuesday’s vote, which replaces the approval of the city assembly.

In its current form, a mixed-interest project was planned in which at least a quarter of the rental units are certified as affordable, plus commercial space at ground level.

Next Steps

As the city plans its next move, Wong hopes Tuesday’s vote can be turned into an opportunity. A chance, she said, to get more people around the table to discuss the project, a chance to identify concerns and weaknesses and what people think is important.

“I hope we can move forward,” she said.

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