Preview: City Council agenda (September 5)

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

This week: Boards and commissions, windows and conversion therapy, senior housing and group homes.

Next Tuesday, September 12, there’s a preliminary city election in 2 City Council Districts [PDF]. People in District 1 can choose among Edward Moynihan, Bill Coleman, Gerardo Schiano, and Sean Rose. People in District 5 can choose among Doug Arbetter, Matt Wally, Paul Franco, and Benjamin Champagne. The top vote-getters will face off on the final election ballot in November.

If you know of anyone else who’d like to get our weekly preview via email, the link is here.

  • Rethinking the PawSox: Councilor Lukes has an item asking the Council to reconsider its quick vote in favor of trying to get the PawSox baseball team to move to Worcester, and to let her speak on this issue.
  • Boards and Commissions: Janet Theerman will be appointed to the Historical Commission; and Amanda Kidd Schall will be appointed to the Worcester Arts Council. The Council will vote on whether or not to appointment Krystal Vanhorne to the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women; Danaah McCallum to the Community Development Advisory Committee; and John Gleason, Fitzroy Hall, Darya Kuruna and Stephen Stolberg to the Commission on Disabilities. The last time an item like this came up, Councilor Gaffney expressed his concerns about how this process happens by holding up the appointments before the Council. So it’s possible he’ll delay these as well. (This would not be the first time a Councilor did something like this, either.) Still to be appointed or reappointed are Donna Connolly and Benjamin Roberts to the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women; Suzanne Graham and Arline Rosario to the Community Development Advisory Committee; and Andrew Freilich to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Orders of Taking: The Council will either take (and pay for) or discontinue (so they are no longer city streets) parts of Washington Square, Southbrige St, and Foster St. These are small bits and pieces, having their status changed for things like installing a power transformer or speeding up redevelopment.
  • Encouraging Senior Housing: Councilor Bergman has an item asking the Council to approve tax exemptions for property improvements made to add housing for senior relatives of the property owner. This is an issue he’s been pushing on for a long time.
  • Dover Amendment: The “Dover Amendment” is a state law which prohibits the city from putting many restrictions on the ability of nonprofits to buy houses and turn them into group homes, and other things like that. For many years the Council has been voting on items opposing the Dover Amendment, with no results. Councilor Bergman has another such item on the agenda of this meeting.
  • Stopping the “Way Finding” Project: For more than 10 years now, the city has been slowly installing signs meant to help visitors orient themselves in the city. Councilor Lukes has an item asking if, in this age of smartphones and Google Maps, we should stop spending time and money on this.
  • War on Windows: Councilor Lukes has another amazing item opposing the “unwelcoming combination of unattractive walls of windows along Foster/Franklin Streets” and asking if we can have a design review process to avoid such things in the future.
  • No to “Conversion Therapy”: The state legislature is currently considering bills that would “prohibit state licensed mental health professionals from subjecting minors to conversion therapy practices to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity.” Mayor Petty has an item asking the Council to go on record as supporting these prohibitions.

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