Work has begun on demolishing the former drug house at 203 Clinton St. The property will become a parking lot for a nearby medical office.
The city Planning Board unanimously approved the site plans for the parking lot Tuesday afternoon. The parking lot will be used by the staff working at Howard Orthotics and Prosthetics two doors away.
The business and property are owned by Cheryl L. Howard and her husband, Roger R. Howard. She said Tuesday she hopes the parking lot project will be finished before the $1.5 million reconstruction of Clinton Street is completed early next spring.
Asbestos removal began inside the deteriorating structure last month, she said.
Plans for the parking lot were modified in recent weeks to increase the number of spaces from 19 to 25, moving its entrance so it does not infringe on the adjacent property and the traffic flow in the lot. The Planning Board also agreed to allow the couple to devise a landscaping plan for shrubbery and eight trees on the property.
On Monday night, the Watertown City Council agreed to rezone the property from Residence A to Limited Business. Council members must approve the site plans. They likely will vote on it Oct. 15.
In May, Mr. and Mrs. Howard purchased the property for $77,777 from Bayview Loan Servicing LLC, Coral Gables, Fla., the propertys mortgage holder.
Mr. Howard said in May that he and his wife bought the property because it was a neighborhood nuisance. Last October, a drug raid at the building resulted in three arrests and the seizure of 20 heroin packets.