Monthly Archives: June 2016

Preview: City Council agenda (June 21)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: Airbnb, food trucks, eminent domain. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Airbnb: Last November, Councilor Rosen had an item raising concerns about Airbnb in the city. This week, he’s asking the Manager to present the Council with ordinances “to require those residential houses and buildings that are associated with Airbnb or similar companies and who offer short and long-term overnight lodging be permitted only in commercially-zoned areas and require such establishments obtain a business license from the city.” Personally, I am very pro-Airbnb, and I hope against hope that these ordinances will be well thought out and foster both nontraditional renting and quality of life in the city, rather than just hassling people with no upside.
  • Boards and Commissions: John Finlay and Elizabeth Proko have been reappoined to the Worcester Airport Advisory Committee; Edward Moynihan will be reappoined to the Community Development Advisory Committee; Robert Bilotta will be reappointed to the Commission on Disabilities.
  • Skate Park?: Bill Coleman has a citizen item asking about a previous request to establish a skateboard park and a Worcester Youth Commission.
  • Aquatic Events Regulation: Councilor Economou has an item asking the city to require any aquatic event in Worcester to be reviewed by the Fire Department and “and if need be a rescue dive team be assigned to such an event.” (Noting “this language would be similar to” language in both state and Lake Quinsig permits.)
    Attachments
  • Community Policing: Councilor Lukes has an item asking what changes are being made in our Community Policing Program and why.
  • Property Tax Appeals: Councilor Lukes has an item asking how many appeals have been filed in the past 2 years and how they’ve been decided.
  • Land Preservation: The Council will vote to amend the Greater Worcester Land Trust’s existing Donker Farm conservation restriction to include an additional 8.6 acres the GWLT is planning to buy out there. (This doesn’t involve city money.)
  • More Food Truck Zones: In recent years the Council has regulated many Worcester food trucks out of existence; lately they have experimented with “Food Truck Friendly Zones.” This week the city’s Chief Development Officer recommends two additional zones, one at Memorial Auditorium and one at the new Mercantile Plaza downtown.
  • Eminent Domain: In a report this week the city’s lawyer confirms that existing eminent domain laws allow the city to take and dispose of property for vague reasons like “the enhancement and economic well-being of a community” and so the city could use eminent domain to advance the Downtown Urban Revitilization Plan if need be.
  • Mt Carmel Church Historic District?: As part of the process of setting up a historic district to prevent the demolition of Mt Carmel Church (a demolition no longer planned), the Council asked the city’s lawyer for a report on this, a report which will be made to the Council this week, and which contains no surprising details.
  • Six-Figure Loan Orders:
    • $780,000.00 for capital equipment for the Sewer Department
    • $795,000.00 for Water Department Equipment
    • $550,000.00 for Capital Equipment Schools
    • $2,500,000.00 for various systems that are in need of improvements at the aging Water Filtration Plant
    • $300,000.00 for the acquisition and maintenance of water meters
    • $2,700,000.00 for rehabilitation of the Water Reservoirs
    • $400,000.00 for Newton Square improvements
    • $1,400,000.00 for Water Infrastructure
    • $12,025,000.00 for fixing parking garages and open-air lots
    • $200,000.00 for the development of a EAB & Forestry master Plan
    • $2,910,000.00 for the Blackstone Visitor’s Center
    • $2,000,000.00 for Blackstone Gateway Park
    • $6,000,000.00 for Water Mains & Gates
    • $1,000,000.00 for Water Transmission Mains
    • $100,000.00 for the Water Cross Connection Survey
    • $280,000.00 for improvements to traffic signals
    • $4,000,000.00 to fund rehabilitation at the Library
    • $300,000.00 to complete the construction of the Regional Emergency Communications Center
    • $200,000.00 for Water Building Rehab
    • $3,250,000.00 to fund school building rehabilitation
    • $100,000.00 for improvements to the Sewer building
    • $14,300,000.00 for Sewer Infrastructure
    • $550,000.00 for new street lights
    • $2,000,000.00 for rehabilitation and repair of dams
  • Seven-Figure Capital Transfers:
    • $1,680,000.00 from Building Rehab to RECC Center
    • $1,250,000.00 from one Sewer Reconstruction account to another
    • $1,500,000.00 from one Street Resurfacing account to another
    • $1,100,000.00 from Street Construction to Downtown Streets & Sidewalk Improvements
    • $4,078,385.00 from state funding to Street Resurfacing
  • Six-Figure Grants and Donations:
    • $400,000.00 from the FY17 Commonwealth of Massachusetts PARC Grant Program
    • $600,000.00 from the US Department of Education Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) Grant
    • $3,576,999 of state and private grant dollars for the FY17 program and operations of the Division of Public Health.

Preview: City Council agenda (June 7)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here. This week: Economic development, finance items. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Quarterly Economic Development Report: Items include 4 new restaurants (Lock 50 in the Canal District, Deadhorse Hill on Main Street, British Beer Company on Shrewsbury Street, and Antonio’s Pizza by the Slice on Chandler Street); $18 million hockey rink scheduled to open in August of 2017 in the Canal District; foundations are being poured for a 237 unit market-rate residential apartment complex at Front & Foster—a garage and 133 more united to come; UMass Memorial Healthcare will soon bring 500 jobs downtown; the city plans to permanently close Southbridge Street in front of the Hanover Theater for a new plaza; the New England School of Acupuncture is moving downtown from Newton (120 employees, 200 students).
  • Private Street: George Kiritsy requests Holly Terrace be made a public street.
  • Marijuana: Billy Breault has an item asking the city to create a policy regarding medical marijuana use by employees while on the job and using city vehicles.
  • Fieldstone Farm Conservation Restriction: The city will be pitching in $100k to buy, along with the state, a conservation of 124 acres in Princeton that drain into our drinking water supply.
  • Library Board Attendance: The Library Board has a new policy to try to remove board members who miss 3 meetings in a row or 3 of any 5 meetings. The Council is in charge of the final decision to kick someone off the board.
  • 2017 Capital Improvement Plan: Huge amounts of finance items.
  • Six-Figure Capital Transfers: $473,276 from Fire Capital Equipment to Worcester Fire Department Capital Equipment; $240,000 from Sewer Infiltration Control and Sewer Infiltration/Inflow to Infiltration/Inflow; $300,000 from Sewer Reconstruction to Sewer Reconstruction; $100,000 from Water Land Acquisition to Watershed Land Acquisition to fund the Fieldstone Farm Conservation Restriction; $275,496.90 from DCU Special District to DCU Enhancement Project “for costs associated with the Corner Melt & Metal Detectors.”
  • Six-Figure Donations: $100,000 from UMASS Memorial Healthcare to support the City’s 2016 Recreation Worcester Program.
  • Six-Figure Operational Transfers: $1,435,000 transferred between various Community Development Block Grant accounts to pay for various CDBG projects; $700,000 from Contingency to Court Judgments “to provide funding for the settlement of legal cases through the end of the fiscal year”; $350,000 from Police Personal Services to Police Overtime.
  • Six-Figure Loan Orders: $780,000 to Sewer Equipment; $3,581,460 to Citywide Capital Equipment; $795,000 to Water Capital Equipment; $550,000 to Capital Equipment Schools; $2,500,000 to Filtration Plant Modification; $300,000 to Water Meters; $2,700,000 to Reservoir Rehabilitation; $5,000,000 to Street Construction; $2,150,000 to Sidewalk Improvements, to fund the continued improvements to citywide sidewalks.; $1,500,000 to Private Street Conversions; $400,000 to Newton Square Improvements; $100,000 to Citywide Street Improvements; $1,400,000 to Water Mains & Gates; $12,025,000 to Off Street Building Rehabilitation; $250,000 to Building Rehabilitation-Parks; $6,100,000 to Parks Improvement; $200,000 to Parks Tree Planting; rescind previous loan orders for Blackstone Visitor’s Center and replace with $2,000,000 to Blackstone Gateway Park; $1,400,000 to Account #91C7847, Parks Improvements, for costs associated with Parks improvements; $6,000,000 to Water Mains & Gates; $1,000,000 to Water Transmission Mains; $100,000 to Cross Connection Survey; $280,000 to Traffic Signal Improvements, to fund costs associated with the improvements to traffic signals; $4,000,000 to Library Master Plan Rehab; $974,850 to Citywide Building Rehabilitation; $300,000 to Regional Emergency Communications Center Building Rehabilitation; $200,000 to Water Building Rehab; $300,000 to Water Land Shed Acquisition; $3,250,000 to Building Rehabilitation Schools; $100,000 to Sewer Building Rehabilitation; $140,000 to Building Rehabilitation Parks; $14,300,000 to Sewer Construction; $550,000 to Street Lights; $2,000,000 to Dam Improvements.