Monthly Archives: October 2013

Preview: City Council meeting (Oct 29)

7pm, Worcester City Hall. Agenda. This week: a tremendous number of “streets and sidewalks” items, and a few others of note.

  • 8c. Meeting videos archiving: Last year, as part of Sunshine Week, I asked the Council to ask the administration to do a better job with archives of city meetings. They voted in favor. I don’t think anything has happened on this, so I have the identical petition before the Council this week.
  • 8g. Parking ticket procedures: “Michael Shippole request City Council review the parking ticket process policy for on-street parking in non-metered areas to establish burden of proof of violation.”
  • 8n. City Hall railings: “Scott Ricker et al request City Council request the City Manager have the new railings installed on the stairs behind City Hall inspected. The new railings are in violation of Chapter 27 Sec. 27.4.3 of the 521 CMR and are dangerous to many residents including individuals who have limited vision. The railings abruptly end but there are two steps remaining before an individual gets to the bottom of the stairs.”
  • 9a-g. Food trucks: Councilor Rushton continues to push for liberalized food truck regulations in Worcester.
  • 9i-j Shotspotter: A couple items recommending that the city set up audio surveillance in a couple areas of the city that will detect the time and location of gunshots.
  • 9m. Smart911: Another interesting public safety innovation. “Request City Manager report to City Council as to the feasibility of funding and implementing “Smart911” technology and report back in the next thirty (30) days.”

If you have an opinion about any of these items, this is the time to contact some Councilors or make plans to speak at the meeting.

Preview: City Council meeting (Oct 22)

7pm, Worcester City Hall. Agenda.

  • Head shops: Billy Breault has a couple citizen petitions asking the city to “enforce the existing ban” on products used to consume marijuana. Considering that we have moved quickly towards decriminalizing marijuana in recent years, I’m just waiting for some citizen petitions requesting that these ordinances be removed. (7z, 7aa)
  • Pleasant St parking/driving changes: Some small tweaks. Some are in favor, some are not.
  • Foreclosure: The City Law Department reports that we shouldn’t adopt new ordinances meant to force more foreclosures to mediation, because Springfield’s similar ordinances are still in legal limbo. (8.13.A)
  • Street vendors: Some Councilors are thinking of redoing our street vendor ordinances to encourage food trucks to return to the City. Most of them were forced out by ordinance changes a few years ago. This week’s related agenda item: The Parks Dept or Off-Street Parking Board could allow vendors to operate in areas they control. (8.32.C)
  • The bus: The WRTA continued to see service improvements in Sept. (8.32.B)
  • Midtown Mall: Some on the Council really want the City to seize and close the mall by eminent domain. This week, the Police Chief reports on recent crimes at the mall. He notes in closing that “no one address” on Front Street “has been identified as a chronic problem property.” (8.10.A)

Preview: City Council Meeting (October 8, 2013)

7pm, Tuesday, City Hall. Agenda. City Manager Agenda.

  • Soccer: The Mayor will be (off-agenda) honoring the Worcester World Cup. Soccer supporters are gathering behind City Hall at 6:15pm for a “Worcester Needs More Soccer Fields” event. (Organizers say we have more than 50 baseball fields, and fewer than 6 equipped soccer fields.) There are a number of parks-related items on the agenda, and this would not be a bad meeting to speak for a minute about what you’d like to see out of our parks.
  • Term limits: Citizen gadfly Jo Hart has an item requesting term limits. Due to the many items Ms. Hart has been speaking on each week at the Council meeting, at least one councilor plans to restrict the amount of time individuals can speak at a given meeting. Due to the efforts of Ron Madnick and Worcester’s Sunshine Week activists, the public is now guaranteed more time at meetings. It would be a shame if we took a step back.
  • More on Urban Renewal: Item 8.4.c provides a public update on the Citizen Advisory Committee to the Worcester Redevelopment Authority vis a vis their Urban Renewal Plan. Nicole has more.
  • New bus facility: 8.32.a has the latest details on the planned $60 million, 100K square foot WRTA maintenance and operations facility that will be near Crompton Park.
  • Food trucks: 8.32.b is an informational item about Worcester’s crazy food truck laws. In 2008, the Council voted in a whole new, controversial set of restrictions on food carts, which made most of them close up shop. Councilor Rushton, an opponent of these regulations at the time, has proposed revising the ordinances.
  • There are several items relating to the cleanup of properties in the City. I am not going to try to summarize them here.
  • Marijuana: “9f. Mayor Joseph M. Petty transmitting communication from John Glowik, Jr., CEO/President of Prime Wellness of Massachusetts notifying the city of their interest in placing an application for a Registered Marijuana Dispensary with in the City of Worcester.” Womag has a roundup of the current medical marijuana situation.