Preview: City Council agenda (September 13)

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

This week: Homeless encampments, the mural menace, drought. If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Nuisance Bus Stop: Daniel and Cindy Phan ask the city to relocate the bus stop in front of their home at 208 Pleasant St. There’s a whole litany of complaints here, but the bus stop one in particular is interesting—I haven’t noticed anyone complain about a public bus stop before.
  • Official Homeless Site: The Public Health Committee (Petty, Rivera, Economou, Mero-Carlson) wants the Manager to issue a report on what a Worcester “sanction site” might look like, a place homeless people could camp at legally and officially, with showers, medical clinic visits, etc. The City Manager has clarified that this is not going to happen, this is just part of the discussion of what to do about existing homeless camps. Currently, there are around 90 people in the summer (and 20 in the winter) living outside in the city behind houses, in the woods, and anywhere else they can find.
  • Maximum Lukes: Recently, an international group of artists came to the city and, with official support, created a bunch of huge, stunning murals downtown. Councilor Lukes, as is her wont, intends to spend the city’s time nitpicking this majestic achievement. Her agenda item, in full: “Request City Manager report on process for selection of murals in the city pursuant to the PowWow Worcester event, including the funding and funding sources, what type of juried process was followed, whether a further event with the same selection process will be held, how the participating artists were selected, the address of the artists, what payments were made for the benefit of artists, why more local artists did not participate, and what kind of outreach to the public, property owners and art community was followed, how long will the murals be shown and what kind and cost of maintenance is planned.”
  • Restricting Group Homes etc: Councilor Bergman has an item on “enacting legislation to regulate and restrict non-profit organizations in residentially zoned districts.” Currently state law allows non-profits to buy residential properties and use them in ways consistent with their missions. The Council has been trying to restrict these uses for a long time with no luck. Councilor Bergman knows zoning as well as anybody, so perhaps he has a new idea in mind here.
  • Stage 3 Drought: The Manager has a report on the drought. Usually our reservoirs are at 81.7% at this time of year; currently they are at 55%. Watering your yard, washing your driveway, etc are prohibited.
  • Wage Theft: Mayor Petty and Councilor King have an item asking the city to stop awarding contracts to employers guilty of wage theft.
  • Banning Leaving Free Stuff on the Curb: There’s a proposed ordinance that would clarify city law such that leaving stuff on the sidewalk with a “free” sign would be considered illegal dumping.
  • Dogs in Parks: This agenda item is back again this week.

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