Preview: City Council agenda (December 6)

The Worcester City Council meets Tuesday at 7pm. The agenda is here.

This week: Tiny houses, marijuana regulation. If you care about these issues, it would be appropriate for you to show up and speak for a couple minutes at the beginning of the meeting. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

In other meeting news, at 5:30pm December 7 the Planning Board will meet to discuss Brady Sullivan’s site plan for redeveloping the old courthouse. The Worcester Community-Labor Coalition has been putting pressure on city government around this, wanting various concessions and noting many concerns other cities have had about them. If you are concerned with any of these issues, this would be an appropriate place to speak out.

  • Library Board: The Council will be choosing 2 new members of the Library Board of Directors.
  • Economic Development Report: The quarterly report highlights the WRTA vacating its Grove St location (making it available for other uses), improvements to Union Station, 365 anticipated “luxury housing rental units” at CitySquare, UMass Memorial Health Care expanding their downtown presence 25%, and the decades-vacant South Worcester Industrial Park finally getting sold off and built up.
  • Private and Public Streets: Hilltop Group Holdings has petitioned the Council to make Denmark St a public street (maintained by the city etc).
  • Tiny Houses: The Council’s Municipal Operations Committee is asking the Manager to recommend new regulations “to include the trending use of tiny houses, granny pods and home medical pods.”
  • Stop Parking on the Sidewalk: Municipal Operations also wants the city to start cracking down on people parking on sidewalks.
  • Mounted Police: The Public Safety Committee wants the Worcester Police Department to get some horses.
  • Dirt Bikes on Streets: The police have had a special unit cracking down on people using off-road vehicles on the street. Public Safety says they did a great job. I saw some people speeding down Piedmont Street Friday, before that I hadn’t seen any of this activity for a month or two.
  • Marijuana Regulations: Mayor Petty wants a report from the city’s lawyers on “all possible options” for regulating marijuana sales in the city. Councilor Lukes wants to know if we can prohibit marijuana sales completely.
  • Wind-Blown Recyclables: Councilor Rosen wants the Manager to come up with a plan to revise our recycling system. The latest plan I’ve noticed is to have people put out their recycling in transparent trash bags, rather than in open bins where paper and bottles blow around the streets, get soaked by rain, etc. This is like the third time in recent months I’ve seen an item like this, I don’t understand why this is dragging on.
  • Traffic Tech in Newton Square: Councilor Rosen wants us to “use new and innovative pedestrian safety technologies” to make it easier for pedestrians to transit the traffic circle at Newton Square.
  • City Bond Rating Improves: Councilor Lukes wants there to be discussion of the city’s bond rating, which determines how cheaply we can borrow money. Two of the agencies rating us have us stable, the third has given us the highest bond rating from them we’ve ever had. Good news! Councilor Lukes wants more information on the many ways this might impact city government in the coming year, even things like “the eminent domain powers available to the WRA.”
  • Simpler Leaf Disposal: Currently, you can rake your leaves into the gutter on a certain day, and city street sweepers will remove them that week. Currently you have to be on the ball and know which week is the week for your street; Councilor Bergman wants you to generally be able to ditch your leaves on November 1 and not have to worry about all the complications.
  • Mt. Carmel Historic District: Municipal Operations wants there to be a Historic District established around Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, which very recently the diocese wanted to demolish and sell, a plan put on hold after great outcry from politicians and the public. Currently the church is being repaired and a foundation is being established to maintain the building for the long term.

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