CITY OF WORCESTER

JOURNAL OF THE CITY COUNCIL

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Virtual Meeting

Convened: 6:32 P.M.

Adjourned: 8:15 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

City Manager
Edward M. Augustus, Jr.

City Auditor
Robert V. Stearns

Councilors

Morris A. Bergman Donna M. Colorio
Etel Haxhiaj Khrystian E. King
Candy Mero-Carlson Thu Nguyen City Clerk
Nikolin Vangjeli
Sarai Rivera Sean M. Rose
George J. Russell Kathleen M. Toomey
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


1.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

2.

STAR SPANGLED BANNER

3.

ROLL CALL - All present with the Mayor as the Chair, except for Councilor King and Councilor Rose. Councilor King and Councilor Rose arrived at 7:15 P.M.

4.

PROCLAMATIONS, ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, MOMENTS OF SILENCE

5.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

5a.

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized the following speakers: 1. Ted Kostas, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 2. Nelly Medina, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #8d CC 3. Kathleen R., Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 4. Mike DeLuca, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 5. Jordana Greenman, Watertown resident, spoke in favor of item #8d CC 6. Margot Barnett, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #8d CC 7. No name given, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #8a CC 8. No name given, Worcester resident, spoke concerning City employeess’ effort during the COVID-19 Pandemic 9. David Slatkin, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #8a CC, #8c CC and #8d CC 10. Chris Horton, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #8d CC 11. John DiCicco, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed item #8d CC 12. John Rogers, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 13. Kim McCoy, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 14. Yenni Desroches, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #7e CC and #8d CC 15. Johanna Hampton-Dance, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #8d CC 16. Jenny Pacillo, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #11a CC 17. Maria Sanchez, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of item #7e CC 18. Paul Jenney, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 19. Shawn Bartone, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC 20. Jeff St. Laurent, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition to item #8d CC

 

6.

HEARINGS AND ORDERS

6a.

Hearing: CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: GROVE ST. Granting permission to CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: GROVE ST.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to take up items #6a CC through #6f CC collectively and open the hearings. Mayor Petty’s motion was approved on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays. Mayor Petty asked if any abutters wished to be heard on the items. Hearing no speakers, Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to close the hearing. Mayor Petty’s motion was approved on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to approve the items. Hearing held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

6b.

Hearing: CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: HIGHLAND ST. Granting permission to CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: HIGHLAND ST.

Attachments

Hearing Held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a CC)

 

6c.

Hearing: CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: TACOMA ST. Granting permission to CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: TACOMA ST.

Attachments

Hearing Held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a CC)

 

6d.

Hearing: CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: WEST BOYLSTON ST. Granting permission to CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS for a conduit location on: WEST BOYLSTON ST.

Attachments

Hearing Held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a CC)

 

6e.

Hearing: NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location on: EDGEWOOD ST. Granting permission to NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location on: EDGEWOOD ST.

Attachments

Hearing Held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a CC)

 

6f.

Hearing: NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location on: DEMARCO ST. Granting permission to NATIONAL GRID for a conduit location on: DEMARCO ST.

Attachments

Hearing Held and Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #6a CC)

 

7.

PETITIONS

7a.

Wilberto Maldonado request installation of a handicap parking space in front of 26 New Vista Ln.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to refer items #7a CC through #7d CC to Traffic and Parking Committee. Referred to Traffic and Parking Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays

 

7b.

David Pederson request the fluorescent yellow crossing signs at the intersection of Fruit St. and Elm St. be replaced with a traditional yellow sign.

Attachments

Referred to Traffic and Parking Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7a CC)

 

7c.

Damaris Acevedo request installation of a green left arrow on the traffic light at the intersection of Mill St. and Chandler St.

Attachments

Referred to Traffic and Parking Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7a CC)

 

7d.

Roberta Adams request installation of a handicap parking space in front of 197 Eastern Ave.

Attachments

Referred to Traffic and Parking Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7a CC)

 

7e.

Yenni Desroches request the dog license ordinance be changed to allow for residents to register up to four (4) dogs.

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Colorio, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized the City Manager, who responded to questions raised by Councilor Colorio. Councilor Colorio then moved to, “Request City Manager and City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning why the city’s ordinances currently allow for city residents to own two (2) dogs.” (See Item #14a CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Russell, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Bergman, who moved to, “Request City Manager and City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning how many dogs other cities of similar sizes allow their residents to own.” (See Item #14b CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor King, who moved to, “Request City Manager and City Clerk provide City Council with a report detailing the ordinances other cities and towns use relative to how many dogs residents are allowed to own.” (See Item #14c CC). Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to refer the item to the City Manager and the City Clerk. Referred to the City Manager and the City Clerk on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays

 

8.

ORDERS

8a.

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning how individuals in the city can report fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites. Further, request City Manager include in said report information concerning how the city’s residents can clarify the legitimacy of a COVID-19 testing site. (Haxhiaj)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays

 

8b.

Request City Manager review the draft of the new multi-family zoning law regarding Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) public transportation, which requires communities with rapid transit to have a minimum of 25% multi-family units as a percentage of total housing stock, while commuter rail communities need 15% multi-family units. Under the draft guidelines, communities must submit by the end of the year either a request to certify their existing infrastructure, or create an "action plan" to get in compliance over the next few years. (Toomey)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Toomey, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays

 

8c.

Request Standing Committee on Urban Technologies, Innovations, and Environment schedule a meeting that invites appropriate representatives from the city’s departments that oversee issues pertaining to said Standing Committee to discuss its goals for the next two (2) years, as well as review the previous successes and challenges of the various departments. The Standing Committee of Urban Technologies, Innovations and Environment considers matters pertaining to smart city solutions, process engineering, technology, telecommunications, strategic planning, green spaces, blue spaces, urban agricultural, urban trees, climate change and electric aggregation. (Haxhiaj)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and moved for a roll call vote to refer the item to Urban Technologies, Innovations and Environment Committee. Referred to Urban Technologies, Innovations and Environment Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

8d.

Request City Manager consider initiating an executive order and/or ordinance establishing a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions in the City of Worcester during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Attached is the proposed language for such legislation. (Haxhiaj)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Rivera, who moved to add her name as a sponsor of the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Nguyen, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Rose, who moved to add her name as a sponsor of the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Russell, who moved to, “Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a report concerning the differences between a potential moratorium on foreclosures and evictions in the city with the moratorium presented in Boston that was invalidated by the court system. Further, request City Manager request City Solicitor include in said report information concerning the various moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions currently in place in the State, the moratoriums that were not implemented, including the timing of each decision. (See Item #14d CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Bergman, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized the City Solicitor, who responded to questions raised by Councilor Bergman. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor King, who moved to, “Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning how American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding can be used to address issues concerning foreclosures and evictions.” (See Item #14e CC). Mayor Petty recognized the City Manager, who responded to questions raised by Councilor King. Councilor King then moved to, “Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning the work being done relative to the city’s Rental Assistance Program, as well as any funds still available in the program.” (See Item #14f CC). Councilor King then moved to add his name as a sponsor of the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Colorio, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Haxhiaj for a second time, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized the City Solicitor, who responded to questions raised by Councilor Haxhiaj. Councilor Haxhiaj then moved to, “Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a report concerning whether moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions currently in place in cities such as Cambridge, Somerville and Malden have been challenged in the court system.” (See Item #14g CC). Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Rivera for a second time, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Bergman for a second time, who moved to Table the Item Under Privilege. Mayor Petty recognized Councilor King, Councilor Russell and Councilor Rose for second times, who spoke concerning the item. Tabled Under Privilege – Bergman

 

9.

RECESS TO FINANCE COMMITTEE - No items pending

10.

COMMUNICATION OF THE CITY CLERK

10a.

Transmitting an informational communication concerning the district city council maps that are approved and finalized for the Five City Council districts by Local Election District Review Commission (LEDRC).

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor King, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to refer the item to Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee. Referred to Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

11.

TABLED UNDER PRIVILEGE

11a.

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL AND LEGISLATIVE OPERATIONS Upon the Petition of Jenny Pacillo request City Council vote to remove Rule 39 of its rules in its entirety and replace with a new Rule 39 as follows: "Consistent with the City's Charter, at any meeting of the City Council, the citizens and employees of the City shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard, both in person and remotely, regarding any matter presently under consideration by the City Council. The time for speaking shall not exceed two minutes. This privilege shall not apply to items "held under privilege." This privilege shall also not apply to items listed on the agenda as pending in the Committee on Finance and/or ordinances or to tabled items. At all times members of the public shall be accorded the same respect when making their comments as is required of members when addressing the chair: recommend adoption of the accompanying Order as amended (see pg. 2 of attachments for amended language from Municipal and Legislative Operations Committee). (Tabled Under Privilege - Petty January 11, 2022)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor King, who moved to include the phrase, “Any person who wishes to speak on more than one agenda item shall combine their testimony on all items to one appearance at the microphone,” in the proposed new Rule 39. Mayor Petty moved to amend the item to amend Rule 39 to read as follows: “Rule 39. Items of Public Interest. At every meeting of the city council, under the "public participation" portion of the agenda, the chair shall recognize any person seeking such recognition for the purpose of addressing the council on any eligible item on the agenda for that meeting both in person and remotely. Any person who wishes to speak on more than one agenda item shall combine their testimony on all items to one appearance at the microphone. The time for speaking shall not exceed two minutes for any one speaker or thirty (30) minutes for all speakers. This privilege shall not apply to items “held under privilege.” This privilege shall also not apply to items listed on the agenda as pending in the committee on finance and/or ordinances or to tabled items.” Mayor Petty recognized Councilor Bergman, who spoke concerning the item. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to accept and adopt the item as amended. Accepted and Adopted as amended on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays.

 

11b.

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Upon the Report of the Planning Board Upon the Petition of Donald O'Neil request to amend the Zoning Map by changing the zoning of the two parcels of land located at 1 Brattle St. and 7 Brattle St. from RS-7 to BL-1.0: recommend passage of the accompanying Ordinance. (Tabled Under Privilege - Rose December 21, 2021 and Tabled Under Privilege - Petty January 11, 2022)

Attachments

Mayor Petty read the item and recognized Councilor Russell, who moved to recuse himself from the item and did not participate in the discussion. Mayor Petty moved for a roll call vote to Table the Item. Tabled on a roll call vote of 10 Yeas and 0 Nays (Russell recused). Tabled – Petty

 

12.

TABLED ITEMS

12a.

ORDER of Councilor Konstantina B. Lukes - Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a legal opinion regarding the process of instituting a residential rent control program and the resulting impact of implementing such a program. (Tabled Under Privilege - Lukes September 17, 2019 and September 24, 2019 and Tabled - Lukes October 15, 2019)

Attachments

No action taken

 

12b.

RESOLUTION of Councilor Khrystian E. King - That the City Council of the City of Worcester does hereby support Representative Rebecca Rauch and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s SD 699 HD 1283, An Act effectuating equity in COVID-19 Vaccination Bill. (Tabled Under Privilege - Bergman February 9, 2021 and Tabled - Bergman February 23, 2021)

Attachments

No action taken

 

12c.

ORDER of Councilor Sarai Rivera - Request City Clerk research the feasibility of authorizing legal residents who have not been naturalized yet to vote in elections at the local level. (Tabled Under Privilege - Mero-Carlson October 26, 2021 and Tabled Under Privilege - Petty November 9, 2021 and Tabled - Rivera November 16, 2021)

Attachments

No action taken

 

12d.

ORDER of Councilor Sarai Rivera - Request City Manager consider prioritizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for REC Worcester’s capital project involving the development of the new REC Worcester headquarters and Center for Food Justice and Urban Agriculture (for Worcester and Central Massachusetts), in an effort to support community food security, as well as youth development and employment. (Tabled Under Privilege - Mero-Carlson October 26, 2021 and Tabled Under Privilege - Petty November 9, 2021 and Tabled - Rivera November 16, 2021)

Attachments

No action taken

 

13.

BUSINESS UNDER SUSPENSION OF RULES - Items brought forth under suspension at the January 11, 2022 City Council meeting.

13a.

ORDER of Councilor Morris A. Bergman – Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a legal opinion concerning the appropriate reasons for bringing forth an item under suspension. – Item #21a CC Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays

 

14.

NEW BUSINESS UNDER SUSPENSION OF RULES - Items brought forth under suspension at the January 18, 2022 City Council meeting.

14a.

Motion Colorio @ #7e CC – Request City Manager and City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning why the city’s ordinances currently allow for city residents to own two (2) dogs.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7e CC)

 

14b.

Motion Bergman @ #7e CC – Request City Manager and City Clerk provide City Council with a report concerning how many dogs other cities of similar sizes allow their residents to own.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7e CC)

 

14c.

Motion King @ #7e CC – Request City Manager and City Clerk provide City Council with a report detailing the ordinances other cities and towns use relative to how many dogs residents are allowed to own.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #7e CC)

 

14d.

Motion Bergman @ #8d CC – Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a report concerning the differences between a potential moratorium on foreclosures and evictions in the city with the moratorium presented in Boston that was invalidated by the court system. Further, request City Manager request City Solicitor include in said report information concerning the various moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions currently in place in the State, the moratoriums that were not implemented, including the timing of each decision.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #8d CC)

 

14e.

Motion King @ #8d CC – Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning how American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding can be used to address issues concerning foreclosures and evictions.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #8d CC)

 

14f.

Motion King @ #8d CC – Request City Manager provide City Council with an update concerning the work being done relative to the city’s Rental Assistance Program, as well as any funds still available in the program.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #8d CC)

 

14g.

Motion Haxhiaj @ #8d CC – Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with a report concerning whether moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions currently in place in cities such as Cambridge, Somerville and Malden have been challenged in the court system.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #8d CC)

 

14h.

Motion Rivera – Suspension of Rules – Request City Manager request Police Chief provide increased foot patrols in the Pleasant St., Newbury St. and Congress St. areas.

Attachments

Order adopted on a roll call vote of 11 Yeas and 0 Nays