CITY OF WORCESTER

Economic Development Committee Meeting

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:33 P.M.

Adjourned: 7:42 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Candy Mero-Carlson
Vice Chairperson Jenny Pacillo
Councilor Kathleen M Toomey
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson Councilor Jenny Pacillo Councilor Kathleen M. Toomey
 
Also:Councilor George J. Russell Councilor Morris A. Bergman, who arrived at 5:44 P.M. Inspectional Services Commissioner Christopher P. Spencer Deputy City Solicitor Alexandra Kalkounis Fire Chief Martin W. Dyer Building Commissioner David Horne Director of Housing and Health Inspections Lee R. Hall Deputy City Clerk Stephen AJ Pottle, clerk
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated.

Economic Development Committee Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/91026766826
Economic Development Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Economic Development Committee Zoom Access Code: 910 2676 6826

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee of Economic Development hereby approves the minutes of the Economic Development Committee meeting on April 23, 2024.

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays.

3.

Miscellaneous Items

3a.

Communication of the City Manager recommend adoption of an amendment to the Rental Property Registration Program and Residential Rental Unit Periodic Inspection Program ordinances. # 13f CC April 9, 2024

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson read the item, moved to take items #3a through #3d collectively, and recognized the following speaker:
1. Jane McGovern-Gaszdik, no residence given, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
2. Sal Mustika, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition of the item
3. Arthur Mooradian, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition of the item
4. Jim Gaszdik, Hudson resident, spoke in opposition of the item
5. Ed McKeel, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
6. Tim Evans, no residence given, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
7. Eric Appleton, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition of the item
8. Tony Bianco, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
9. Nalder Geoffrey, no residence given, spoke in opposition of the item
10. Erin Zamarro, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
11. Michael Madulka, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
12. Seth Welcome, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition of the item
13. Andy Serrato, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition of the item
14. Jeff Stiltner, Worcester resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
15. Greg Heitman, Florida resident, spoke neither in favor nor opposed of the item
16. Luis Garcia, Worcester resident, spoke in opposition of the item

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson recognized the Commissioner of Inspectional Services, who provided an overview of the item, including the Table 110 inspection process and both the Rental Property Registration Program and Residential Rental Unit Periodic Inspection Program with Speaker #6.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson spoke concerning other municipalities who have successfully implemented rental registration programs, as well as the constitutionality of the item with the Deputy City Solicitor.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson discussed property owners utilizing private certified inspectors, code compliance records for an inspection, incentives the city can use to reduce the number of inspections required at a given time, using analytics created from Building Blocks to create metrics for what is considered a problem or higher risk property and the inspectional process for new infrastructure with the Commissioner of Inspectional Services.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the potential for including language in the cityís ordinance relative to not holding landlords accountable when tenants deny access for inspections, allowing private inspection companies to conduct the inspections and having an exception where owner occupied properties under six (6) units are not part of the same inspection process.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson recognized Councilor Bergman, who spoke concerning the itemís constitutionality in comparison to other municipalities in the United States, as well research completed in Massachusetts due to specific sanitation laws for each state with the Deputy City Solicitor.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson recognized Councilor Toomey, who spoke concerning incentive programs for landlords, low or no interest loans for sprinkler installations for three-decker houses, collaborating with the Registry of Deeds, and insurance inspection reports.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson brought forth the following two (2) Chairmanís Orders: 1) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services provide City Council with a report concerning the current practices used in the city relative to dealing with problem properties; and 2) Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning incentive programs available to property owners of multiple dwelling units.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson recognized Councilor Pacillo, who spoke concerning outreach done for incentive programs available to landlords and tenants, the process for landlords scheduling inspections, and compliance after an inspection with the Commissioner of Inspectional Services.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson brought for the following five (5) Chairmanís Order: 1) Request City Manager review the feasibility of providing flexible schedules for individuals to have their housing properties inspected; 2) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services review the feasibility of allowing private companies the ability to complete inspections of rental properties in the city; 3) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services allow new infrastructure buildings up to one (1) year to register themselves in the Rental Registry Program and be reviewed; 4) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services consider exempting owner occupied units of three (3) or less from the Rental Registry program; and 5) Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning amending the Rental Registry Program to ensue property owners are not held responsible for tenants denying access to a rental property. Said language should also include guarantees that landlords cannot coerce tenants into denying access to said rental properties.

Chairperson Councilor Mero-Carlson recognized Councilor Toomey, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson Counselor Mero-Carlson moved to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services provide City Council with a report concerning the current practices used in the city relative to dealing with problem properties.

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning incentive programs available to property owners of multiple dwelling units.

Request City Manager review the feasibility of providing flexible schedules for individuals to have their housing properties inspected.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services review the feasibility of allowing private companies the ability to complete inspections of rental properties in the city.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services allow new infrastructure buildings up to one (1) year to register themselves in the Rental Registry Program and be reviewed.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Inspectional Services consider exempting owner occupied units of three (3) or less from the Rental Registry program.

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning amending the Rental Registry Program to ensue property owners are not held responsible for tenants denying access to a rental property. Said language should also include guarantees that landlords cannot coerce tenants into denying access to said rental properties.

3b.

Communication of the City Manager transmitting informational communication relative to an overview of the infrastructure and capacity building that was done to prepare for a launch of the Rental Registry. # 8.15B CM October 3, 2023

Attachments

Recommend Hold (See Item #3a)

3c.

Communication of the City Manager transmitting informational communication relative to a report concerning how short-term rentals such as Airbnb will be handled in the cityís rental registry program. # 8.15A CM October 3, 2023

Attachments

Recommend Hold (See Item #3a)

3d.

Petition of Arthur Mooradian and Michael Madulka request City Council request City Manager suspend the Rental Registry and Inspection Program and schedule public hearings relative to said programs. # 8j CC April 2, 2024

Attachments

Recommend Hold (See Item #3a)