City Council – 01/16/2007

DATE 01/16/2007
TIME 7:30 pm
ADA Yes
LOCATION Council Chamber, Woburn City Hall, Common Street, Woburn, MA, United States

Meeting Agenda

Below is the pasted journal for ADA Compliancy. See attachment to download the full version.

 

CITY OF WOBURN

JANUARY 16, 2007 – 7:30 P.M.

REGULAR MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL

 

Roll Call

Ciriello                        Gately

Denaro                       Galvin

Drapeau Gonsalves Doherty

Dwyer                         Mercer-Bruen

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VOTED to dispense with the reading of the previous meeting’s Journal and to APPROVE, all in favor, 9-0.

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Motion made and 2nd to suspend the rules for the purposes of taking a matter out of order, all in favor, 9-0.

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RESOLVED Whereas, through their efforts and demonstrated proficiency in their sport, the members of the 2006 Woburn PeeWee Football Trojan D1 Cheering Team participated in advanced competition including appearances in the Middlesex League Cheering Competition, Eastern Mass Cheerleading Competition and New England Regional Cheer and Dance Championship competitions; and

 

Whereas, the 2006 Woburn PeeWee Football Trojan D1 Cheering Team competed in the 2006 National Cheer and Dance Championship in

Orlando, Florida; and

 

Whereas, the 2006 Woburn PeeWee Football Trojan D1 Cheering Team were recognized as the National Champions in their division; and

 

Whereas, the members of the 2006 Woburn PeeWee Football Trojan D1 Cheering Team have exemplified true determination in competitive sport all season;

 

Now, therefore, the City Council of the City of Woburn recognizes the efforts and accomplishments of the members of the 2006 Woburn PeeWee Football Trojan D1 Cheering Team and bestows the best wishes of the community on their continued academic and athletic success.

 

s/President Doherty

Motion made and 2nd that the RESOLVE be ADOPTED, all in favor, 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007          s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

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Motion made and 2nd to return to the regular order of business, all in favor, 9-0.

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Pursuant to Title 2, Article III, Section 2-13 of the 1989 Woburn Municipal Code, as amended, His Honor the Mayor Thomas L. McLaughlin delivered the State of the City Address. In addition to the Members of the City Council, the following School Committee Members were seated in the legislative area of the Council Chambers for that portion of the meeting in which His Honor the Mayor made his address: Chairman Michael Mulrenan, Ms. Patricia Chisholm, Mr. Joseph Crowley, Mr. Christopher Kisiel, Ms. Margarette Masotta, Mr. Denis Russell and Dr. John Wells. The Mayor’s address was as follows:

 

Mr. President and Distinguished Members of the City Council and School Committee:

 

I am pleased to inform you that the state of our City is remarkable considering the increased financial pressures and other related municipal challenges that a number of communities face throughout the Commonwealth. I will have more to say on that subject later in my address.

 

In my address tonight, I will frequently refer to the phrase “working together” when I describe our accomplishments in 2006. Working together in Woburn means accomplishments we have attained by working cooperatively as a community.  This includes elected and appointed Officials (both local and state), department heads, boards, committees, authorities, city employees, local businesses, civic organizations, prior elected officials and the public at large. It is my opinion and conclusion, that Woburn is one of the Commonwealth’s most stable and well-managed communities.

 

Here are some of the highlights that we have attained in the past year:

 

Working together we have successfully opened the new Woburn Memorial High School. On a festive occasion in October 2006, the opening ceremonies took place before an audience that was impressed by the design, technology and energy efficiency of this new multi-million dollar facility.

 

Working together, and despite the recent financial difficulties of our general contractor, the remaining work on the new high school (Phases II & III) remain essentially on time and on budget. This should not be taken for granted, as this is not the case in four other greater Boston communities where allegations of poor performance, lax oversight, significant delays, cost overruns and bankruptcies that occurred resulted in inferior workmanship, cost overruns, costly litigation and subsequent delays in utilizing new facilities.

We are very fortunate that we are not experiencing these types of difficulties in our school building program. Please allow me to give credit to my Assistant to the Mayor for his diligence in insuring that daily operations remain on track, to our school building consultant, our legal team and to members of our School Building Committee and a number of other school and City officials.

 

I anticipate that in the very near future, the front parking lot of the new school adjacent to Montvale Avenue will be available. This will not only alleviate student parking in residential neighborhoods, but it will also reduce the need for police details and enhance overall school safety.

 

Working together, we have restored City Hall to its original prominence with cleaning, painting, landscaping and lighting features all completed primarily by DPW and our Parks and Recreation personnel along with donations of time and materials from local business people and many others who contributed to this worthy effort. The result was restoration of one of our most prominent buildings along with a timely 75th Anniversary Ceremony held on the steps of City Hall on a summer evening in August, 2006.

 

The movement to an outside legal firm of Kopelman and Paige, that specializes in all areas of municipal law, has not only provided us with a higher caliber of professional and expert legal services, but it has also happened at virtually no additional cost to our taxpayers.

 

Working together with our state delegation, the City Council, our City Engineering and Planning Departments, we have finally managed to secure approximately $350,000 in funding for the design of the New Boston Street Bridge.  I am now pleased to report to you that the additional 4 million dollars needed to actually build and complete the entire project looks very favorable and we are very optimistic that these funds may be forthcoming in the near future.

 

We have managed to provide our Police and Fire Departments with new updated technology that replaced a non-window based operating system that dates back to the early 1980s. We also saw delivery of a new piece of fire apparatus and three new police cruisers as a result to the City Council’s efforts in obtaining mitigation funds from one of our newer developments.

 

Working together, with the City Council, the WRA and our DPW, we managed to redesign and resurface and re-light the Walnut Street parking lot which has served to reenergize our downtown businesses.

 

Working together with the City Council, DPW, Engineering, consultant Camp Dresser McKee and closely with the public, we have significantly advanced the progress of resolving the long- standing water quality issues created by iron and manganese from our wells. Last fall, we managed to clean and reline water pipes and we successfully installed a new water loop in the South End of the City where the problem is most prevalent.

In late 2005 and 2006, we have seen the emergence of three new popular restaurants in downtown Woburn with a new Mexican and new casual Italian Dining establishments soon to follow. This progress will also allow us to finally provide our commitment to handicapped citizens the long awaited handicapped access elevator from the Walnut Street Parking area to downtown. We continue to make the revitalization of our downtown a top priority.

 

Common Cause has recently cited the City of Woburn’s Web site enhancements, that occurred in 2006, as one of 40 communities in the Commonwealth that were cited for its leadership in providing key public information that is not available in most communities. This is certainly a tribute to working together with an outside vendor, our Chief Assessor, our City Clerk, my Administrative Assistant and other key Department Heads. This effort also required funding provided by the City Council and the cooperation of every department in the City.

 

Working together with the City Council, the Engineering Department, the DPW and outside consultants we have finally installed traffic lights at Winn and Kilby Street, which despite some initial timing glitches, has received high marks for improving public safety at this previously dangerous intersection. On the same note, I feel confident in the year 2007 that, working together, we will complete the installation of the long-awaited traffic lights needed at the Salem and Wildwood intersection.

 

Working together with the City Council, the School Committee, the School Department and members of the Public, we created a School Building Task Force that provided us with a blueprint for our future elementary school building needs. This was accomplished so that the City may eventually reduce school building costs and expenses, while at the same time allowing us to achieve educational parity. On the same note, the City Council, the School Committee and the Mayor’s Office unanimously voted or signed off on our application to the MSBA for consideration of funds for future school building assistance.

 

We have the finest Senior Center in all of the surrounding communities and a commitment and dedication to our seniors that is without comparison. The senior appreciation dinner was a huge success this year in our new high school and was met with rave reviews and sincere appreciation. Working together with our DPW, the Council on Aging and our Senior Center director, we have replaced inadequate windows in the Senior Center with new windows that are energy efficient and which now keep out the drafty wind and the cold weather. We continue to support the Seniors tax work off program, the taxi program and other important senior services.

 

Working together with the Office of the Treasurer/Collector and our outside Attorneys, we have managed to collect $2,340,118.00 in delinquent taxes and tax title actions in calendar year 2006.

 

Working together, we have improved Customer Service to all of our residents, our elected officials and to the business community as a whole. We have become more responsive and timely to legitimate concerns, both big and small, that need to be addressed at the local level of government.

 

We have made significant progress on the South End Bike Loop and executed a written agreement on the Tri-Community Bikeway that will pass through areas of East Woburn.

 

We have updated ordinances on the Sealer of Weights and Measures and increased fees that will more than pay for the monies appropriated for this position.

 

I anticipate that the Council will approve a new and comprehensive rewrite of our Title 13 requirements that also serves to enhance the effective and efficient delivery of water and sewer services in the City. Additionally, a new Well D2 brought online in 2006 has increased our water supply to approx 4,000,000 gallons per day, reducing our water costs approximately one quarter million dollars.

 

Working together with City Council, the Planning Director and outside consultant, we have completed an analysis of our remaining land requirements under MGL Chapter 40B. In line with that, we still face two pending Chapter 40B petitions. Archstone, which is presently under appeal at the Appeals Court, and the newly-filed Kimball Court proposal, which is now before the Board of Appeals.

 

We have abundant recreation programs for our youngsters, we have well-maintained and highly-utilized parks and recreation areas, we have the Horn Pond reservation area which is very popular for fishing, walking (with or without your dog) jogging, canoeing and exploring nature trails.

 

Working with Fire, Police DPW, Board of Health and others, we have managed to improve and update our emergency preparedness plans and we have recently and successfully recruited a number of volunteers for our local Medical Reserve Corps in case of a health emergency.

 

FUTURE PLANS & CHALLENGES

 

Property Taxes – I think it is important tonight to talk about property taxes and why Woburn’s property taxes seemingly increase year after year despite our best efforts to contain costs and control spending. The short answer to this question is that the cost of conducting municipal business has gone up, and in some cases, significantly. This is true not only in the City of Woburn, but it is also the case in the vast majority of the other cities and towns of the Commonwealth.  In the last ten or so years, the uncontrollable cost increases of pensions, health care, special education, energy costs, and increased construction/demolition costs, to name a few, have spiraled beyond anyone’s previous estimates or imagination.

 

Some cities and towns in the Commonwealth are facing a property tax crisis. Reductions in local aid and Chapter 70 funds have not helped the problem in the communities. In a December 22, 2006, article in the Boston Globe’s Real Estate Section the headline reads “Prices Down, Bills Up”. This article points out the relationship between residential valuations and their impact on property taxes. It goes on to explain that even though residential values are falling, one should not expect a break on their real estate property taxes.

 

In another more recent front page article that appeared in the Boston Globe (January 2, 2007) the headline reads “Property Tax Bills Rising Across State”.  It points out that of 298 communities surveyed, 281 of them are increasing their 2007 property tax bills.

 

At the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s (MMA) annual meeting in Boston held on January 14, 2007, Governor Patrick acknowledged the implications of this problem and he promised a modest increase in local aid, promising the bulk of it to be funneled to schools. Even the state is projecting a one billion dollar budget gap. Patrick stated that he would support efforts of cities and towns to join the State’s Group Insurance Commission that he indicated would save millions. Further, Governor Patrick suggested that local cities and towns have the option to increase meal taxes in order to augment local revenues.

 

No longer do you hear the claim that someone will lower your taxes. The buzzword now used, to quote Governor Patrick, is that “we need to stabilize property taxes”, and stabilizing property taxes simply means preventing your property tax increases from getting completely out of control.

 

Now with that new standard put in place by our new Governor, I can assure you that Woburn’s 2007 tax classification more than meets the standard of stabilization and I anticipate that we are well-positioned to do even better in 2008 and beyond. Woburn is fortunate to have such sufficient reserves currently maintaining $4.9 million in free cash and $10.5 million in stabilization, a triple AAA bond rating, four new schools and a consistently high level of quality services.

 

Frankly, I suggest that we are the envy of some other communities, some that are geographically very close to us and who are in the midst of a property tax crisis that only successive tax overrides can resolve or they will be forced into facing severe and lasting impacts in their communities. You don’t have to look very far to really see how green the grass actually is in the City of Woburn.

 

In 2007, we will begin to negotiate new labor contracts with all our labor unions. Of course, negotiating collective bargaining agreements are always a challenge and we must find a healthy balance in providing for our employees, while at the same time meeting the legitimate needs of the community.

 

We are confident that the matching funding for the new Magazine Hill Parking Lot will become a reality and possibly be completed sometime in late 2007 or early 2008. Again, this will be a huge improvement to our downtown parking situation and will only serve to make downtown Woburn more attractive for business owners.

 

We expect that a purchase of equipment recently authorized by the Council will allow us to do stream maintenance in areas traditionally impacted by flooding. Residents in the vicinity of Hart Street, Wards 3 and 4 and other areas of the city will soon realize some degree of relief following periods of substantial rain and flooding such as occurred in May 2006.

 

Working together we expect to launch an energy-saving initiative that will look at ways to save on energy costs and possibly develop clean energy technologies. We will look for grants and other programs that are becoming more available for communities that take the lead and seek to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

 

Working together with the Council, the School Committee, School Administrators, the Recreation Department and our state partners we will continue to advance the plan to replace the outdated Goodyear Elementary School in East Woburn. This of course depends on financial assistance from the new MSBA. However, if that assistance is forthcoming, I think that our city is well-positioned to move forward on the first segment of our overall blueprint.

 

Another Initiative I plan to introduce to you in the FY2008 budget presentation will be an example of Program Based Budgeting. Having recently attended the MMA Annual Meeting in Boston, I was introduced to this award-winning budget concept. Program Based Budgeting provides much more information than traditional line item budgeting and is well-received in communities that have adopted this type of budget presentation. However, you will still receive a full line item budget, and working together with our Auditors, we intend to single out one city department in FY2008 for comparison. I will then solicit feedback from the Council to see if Program Based Budgeting is something that works for Woburn.

 

Sometime in March 2007, I expect that Woburn will host the final and most important public hearing on the I93/I95 task force recommendations. These recommendations are critical to Woburn in insuring that congested traffic areas in the vicinity of this major interchange finally get some needed relief and that all citizens of the Commonwealth will realize the benefits of these transportation improvements. I would like to acknowledge the diligence of our Planning Director, our City Engineer, our Ward 5 Alderman, and other members of the task force for looking out for Woburn’s interest over the last two years that this task force has been in place.

 

Working together, I think that we will finally find a suitable and responsible business that will occupy the W.R. Grace site in East Woburn. New and responsible growth continues in Woburn because of its strategic location, its sound financial position, its extensive services, its responsible government and its commitment to balance the needs of both our residents and our business community.

 

Woburn is a dynamic community with lots going on. However, the most dynamic part of Woburn is its citizens, its pride in itself, its healthy civic organizations and its civic activities, its recreation and resources, its abundant community spirit. Woburn does not want for people to come forward and step up to the plate. Woburn does not lack in persons willing to volunteer, participate, run for office, or willingly agree to serve on boards, commissions, authorities, PTOs or organizations such as WREN.

 

I frequently hear comments from people outside our city who happen to notice that we are a unique community that offers the best that municipal government has to offer. You can be proud to be from Woburn and I am certainly proud to be the mayor of such an outstanding and prosperous community. Thank You.

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Motion made and 2nd for a five minute recess, all in favor, 9-0.

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President Doherty called the meeting back to order.

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MAYOR’S COMMUNICATIONS: 

 

ORDERED     That the sum of $146,000.00 be and is hereby transferred as so stated from BLS Ambulance Receipts Acct #31359-595000 $146,000.00 to Fire Ambulance Salary Acct #0122051-511500 $146,000.00.

 

s/President Doherty (per request)

 

I hereby recommend that above: s/Paul Tortolano, Chief, Fire Department

I have reviewed the above: s/Gerald W. Surette, City Auditor

I hereby approve the above: s/Thomas L. McLaughlin, Mayor

 

Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, all in favor, 9-0.

 

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ORDERED     That the sum of $50,000.00 be and is hereby transferred as so stated from Fire Ambulance Salary Acct #0122051-511500 $50,000.00 to Fire Sick Leave Buy Back Acct #0122051-515400 $50,000.00.

 

s/President Doherty (per request)

 

I hereby recommend that above: s/Paul Tortolano, Chief, Fire Department

                        I have reviewed the above: s/Gerald W. Surette, City Auditor

I hereby approve the above: s/Thomas L. McLaughlin, Mayor

 

Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, all in favor, 9-0.

 

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ORDERED     That the sum of $30,000.00 be and is hereby transferred as so stated from BLS Ambulance Receipts Acct #31359-595000 $30,000.00 to Ambulance Maintenance Acct #0122054-544300 $30,000.00.

 

s/President Doherty (per request)

 

I hereby recommend that above: s/Paul Tortolano, Chief, Fire Department

                        I have reviewed the above: s/Gerald W. Surette, City Auditor

I hereby approve the above: s/Thomas L. McLaughlin, Mayor

 

Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON FINANCE, all in favor, 9-0.

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PUBLIC HEARINGS:  

 

On the petition by Keyspan Energy Delivery for a grant of right in a way to install approximately 125 feet of four (4) inch gas main in Cottage Street as shown on the plan filed therewith. PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. Appearing for the petitioner was Keith Small, KeySpan Energy Delivery. Alderman Ciriello stated that last year work was done by the petitioner on North Maple Street, that a pipe was fixed but a hole was left open for about a year without being paved, and that he understands that another entity does the paving work. Mr. Small stated that the company that performs the work is R.J. Devereaux, that they install the pipe and repave the roadway at the same time, that it should not take a year to complete this work, that this is for a new gas line to this new property, that there is no existing gas service on the street, that they will provide has lines to other houses on the street if the owners request the service, and that the project will involve digging the trench, laying the pipe, backfilling, adding a binder coat and then hot topping the surface. IN FAVOR: None. OPPOSED: None. Motion made and 2nd that the public hearing closed, all in favor, 9-0. PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED. Motion made and

2nd that the GRANT OF RIGHT IN A WAY be APPROVED, AS AMENDED, with the

condition that the grant is subject to any conditions of the Superintendent of Public Works, all in favor 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007          s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

 

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On the petition by Alderman Scott Galvin concerning the building or buildings located in the City of Woburn, County of Middlesex, Commonwealth of Massachusetts known and numbered as 434 Main Street, Woburn, Massachusetts for the purposes of determining whether said building or buildings are a public nuisance , a nuisance to the neighborhood, a dilapidated or dangerous building or other structure, as said terms are used in

Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 139, Sec. 1, and if so, enter an order adjudging it to be a nuisance to the neighborhood, or dangerous, and prescribing its disposition, alteration or regulation. PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. Alderman Galvin stated that he spoke to the landowner’s attorney, that the property is subject of a purchase and sale agreement, that the landowner requests a sixty day extension of this matter, that the landowner will not have to file a petition with the Architectural Access Board for a waiver, and that he is confident that this matter will move ahead. IN FAVOR: None. OPPOSED: None. Motion made and 2nd that the PUBLIC HEARING be CONTINUED TO THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL ON MARCH 20, 2007, all in favor 9-0.

 

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On the petition by Alderman Scott Galvin concerning the building or buildings located in the City of Woburn, County of Middlesex, Commonwealth of Massachusetts known and numbered as 21 Plympton Street, Woburn, Massachusetts for the purposes of determining whether said building or buildings are a public nuisance, a nuisance to the neighborhood, a dilapidated or dangerous building or other structure, as said terms are used in

Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 139, Sec. 1, and if so, enter an order adjudging it to be a nuisance to the neighborhood, or dangerous, and prescribing its disposition, alteration or regulation. PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. Alderman Galvin stated that he spoke to the owner, that he is comfortable with the proposal of the landowner, that the landowner owns some properties, that the petitioner will put siding on this property, that he requests that the porch be secured, and that he suggests a ninety day extension to re-side the building and secure the porch. Appearing was the petitioner John Russo, 353 Washington Street, Winchester, Massachusetts 01890 and he stated that he will secure the porch and that he agrees with the proposal. IN FAVOR: None. OPPOSED: None. Motion made and 2nd that the PUBLIC HEARING be CONTINUED TO THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL ON APRIL 17, 2007, all in favor 9-0.

 

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On the petition by Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen and President Charles Doherty for an amendment to the Zoning Map of the City of Woburn by changing the zoning district designation for the public portion of Tower Park Drive and 369 Washington Street as shown on the map dated January 1, 2006 and filed with the City Council on August 15, 2006 from B-I to O-P. PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. A communication dated January 16, 2007 was received from Edmund P. Tarallo, Planning Director, Woburn Planning Board as follows:

 

Re: Alderman Mercer-Bruen and Alderman Doherty – 369 Washington Street – Amend Zoning Map from B-I to OP

 

Dear Mr. Campbell and Members of the City Council:

 

At the Planning Board meeting held on January 9, 2007, the Board voted to forward a favorable recommendation to the City Council on the above-cited zoning  map change from B-I to OP to be consistent with Tower Drive and land on Washington St. that were not changed as originally recommended by the Planning Board.

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please feel free to contact me.

 

Sincerely, s/Edmund P. Tarallo, Planning Director

 

Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that with the Decathlon project off the table she would like to get the matter back to a level playing field and return the property to the O-P zoning district, that what concerns the residents is there is nothing on the table, that there was a good project but that is no longer there, that all parties have to get back to the table in a public forum, that this could perhaps be in the form of a task force, that they must find some way in which all proposals are vetted, that she supports the position to rezone the property to the O-P zoning district, that she appreciates the advice of the city solicitor as to potential problems with the proposal, that if the delay it for two weeks she is concerned about losing something that may be better for the city in not doing so, that she believed that the prior rezoning of the property would be beneficial for that area, that keeping the dialogue open is important, that if there is any possibility that there would be a low impact retailer, open space concessions and roadway concessions with negotiations then she does not want to lost this, that she was hopeful that Grace would want to get to a level playing ground, and that they have to keep the discussions open to address the concerns of all the residents. President Doherty stated that no matter when this petition was filed the ANR would have been filed and the zoning freeze would have occurred, that safeguards are in place as construction over 15,000 square feet will require a special permit, that the City Council would have the role of deciding the extent to which any conditions of the covenant would be expanded, that if the City Council believes that additional negotiations would be worthwhile he asks that the proceedings move quickly, that the city solicitor believes that a stronger covenant would be in the city’s best interests, that the prior proposal was a unique opportunity, that the proposal had a reverse traffic pattern, that there would have been recreational opportunities available on site, that the rezoning proposal returns the process to square one with the special permit process, that the city would not be losing anything by waiting two weeks to render a decision, that it would be worth additional discussion, and that if the decision is to move forward tonight that is also a worthy decision. Attorney Jonathan Silverstein, Kopelman & Paige stated that he is the city solicitor, that he spoke to Attorney Friedenberg and other members of the Grace team, that he has been involved in discussions with Grace since the Decathlon deal was withdrawn, that he has seen a renewed commitment by Grace to the covenant, that he would need additional time to see what safeguards the city and planning officials as well as residents may need, that he recommends that action be deferred while these discussions continue, that nothing would be lost except for some time, that he has had discussions with Alderman Mercer-Bruen, President Doherty and Mayor McLaughlin concerning this issue, that Grace is aware that the city is looking for strong protections for the city, that this could avoid any adverse consequences to the city, that any conclusions of negotiations would be brought before the City Council, that the special permit process does give the City Council control over the property with a great deal of discretion, that strengthening the covenant would prohibit Grace or a successor from coming before the City Council under conditions set forth in the covenant, that negotiations may be conducted in private but these are preliminary in the sense that it would have to be brought before the City Council at which time the discussions would be fully vetted in public, that he suggests that Grace be given the opportunity to satisfy the City Council, other city officials and the public that if they want the rezoning to remain in effect that there will have to be sufficient safeguards to ensure that the change contemplated by Grace would take place, that this will have to take place in a public forum, that there could be a task force to negotiate in public with Grace, that if at the end of the discussion the public and City Council cannot get behind the best deal that the city can negotiate then nothing is lost but time, that the current covenant is legal and enforceable, that if the zoning is changed then Grace has the opportunity to terminate the covenant, that the covenant will stay in place during the ANR period as that was in place at the time of filing the ANR plan, that once the zoning is not in place then the covenant would go away, that this zoning change will not take effect relative to the property for a period of three years, that this gives the landowner the option of preceding under the new O-P zoning district or under the B-I zoning district, that if the landowner proceeds under the B-I zoning district then it would be under the terms of the covenant, that Grace has filed a preliminary subdivision plan which would allow an eight year freeze of zoning at the site, that anything above 15,000 square feet would require a special permit, that the landowner could not seek a special permit for certain uses over a certain size, that whatever Grace would like to do on the site will require input by the City Council, that waiting two weeks will not affect the City Council’s ability to rezone the property nor would it extend the three year zoning freeze period, that the zoning freeze period dates from the filing of the ANR, and that rezoning to the O-P zoning district gives the landowner the B-I zoning district options under the ANR freeze as well as O-P zoning district options. Alderman Galvin stated that he wanted to know what could be negotiated as any development at the site is going to require a special permit, that he is concerned by the lack of transparency in which these negotiations would take place, that the city has nothing to gain by prolonging this, that Grace has stacked the deck in their favor, and that Grace has no reason to negotiate. Alderman Drapeau stated that the discussions indicate an expense to the city for legal costs whether there are negotiations or the matter is litigated, that Grace has not been fair to the city and he does not hold out hope of Grace doing anything now, that there is nothing to gain with negotiations, that Grace will not negotiate from a good faith position as they have not done so in the past, that the Decathlon proposal was unique, and that the mitigation package encouraged the City Council to look at the proposal more carefully. Alderman Gately stated that he would like to see more discussion on this matter, that he came into the meeting believing that negotiations may be possible however the refusal by Grace to withdraw the ANR plan indicates otherwise, and that he will support the rezoning. Alderman Dwyer stated that he was prepared to vote to rezone the property to the O-P zoning district, that the proposal by Grace is a surprise, that he wants guarantees that Grace will deal in good faith if they will not remove the ANR plan, that he requests that the proposal to remove the ANR plan be conveyed again to Grace, that he was going to request that the matter go to committee but that he cannot trust Grace, and that he suggests that the rezoning of the property to the O-P zoning district move forward. Alderman Gonsalves stated that having the property rezoned to the O-P zoning district but marketing it under the ANR protections would make the situation confusing for purchasers, that the City Council is not gaining or losing anything and a special permit is still needed for any development, that there may be greater control by moving forward with the rezoning, and that the City Council should seriously consider moving forward with the rezoning. Alderman Denaro stated that after hearing the positions of the parties he does not see what can be lost be waiting two weeks to vote on the matter, that there may be some benefit in having discussions, that the original rezoning was not a mistake, that he is willing to rezone the property to support the City Council, that the City Council should consider letting this go to committee for two weeks, that he does not agree that waiting two weeks with be fruitless, that if there is any benefit to negotiations then it will be lost, and that if nothing can be negotiated then only two weeks is lost. Alderman Ciriello stated that the city should take two weeks to review this matter in committee, that the property can be rezoned at the end of this period if there is no progress, and that he came to the meeting intending to vote for the rezoning proposal however he is willing to wait two weeks to see what benefit may be negotiated.

IN FAVOR: Paul Medeiros, 9 Marietta Street stated that five months ago he asked the City Council not to rezone this property in the interests of the quality of life of the residents, that he filed a ten taxpayer petition to rezone this property back to the O-P zoning district, that he is asking the City Council to rezone the property to the O-P zoning district and leave it that way, that the City Council should follow the Planning Board’s lead to adopt this, that under the O-P zoning district the property is limited to 35 feet in height so a mega-office park as has been suggested by the City Solicitor cannot be built on the site, that any retail business at the site will generate traffic, and that the Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of this zoning change. Kathy Bailey, 4 Utica Street stated that she was one of the ten taxpayers who petitioned to rezone this property to the O-P zoning district, that Grace submitted an ANR plan which freezes the zoning for three years at the locus, that Grace also asked for a supermajority vote of the City Council and has threatened to take back the prior covenant relative to development of the property, that the Planning Board recommended the rezoning, and that the City Council must rezone this property. Steven Spanos, 270 Washington Street stated that he is in favor of the petition, that the City Council was remiss in rezoning the property the first time, that the landowner can challenge the city’s action in court and this would not have occurred but for the rezoning, that the city was convinced to rezone the property based on a few dollars of mitigation, that the city will have to live with a three year zone freeze window at the locus, that when a special permit is brought before the City Council the City Council should not jump at the offer as in this case the last offer was said to be the best that would be made, that he wants to know where the city’s attorney was when the first covenant was drawn up and why these additional protections to be drafted were not negotiated into the covenant the first time, that he now has learned that a subdivision will be filed for the property which will extend the freeze of the zoning further, that this was the result of the city’s action in rezoning the property, and that he urges the City Council to vote on this proposal. Lori Medeiros, 9 Marietta Street stated that she was in favor of the petition, that if Grace is a good neighbor then the ANR should be taken back, that this would level the playing field, that the City Council should ask Grace to do this, that she came to this meeting with the expectation that the proposal would move forward, that she is disturbed with this new dialogue, that she wants to know if the City Council wanted the City Solicitor Kopelman and Paige to get involved with this matter or whether it was at the mayor’s request as the City Council members seemed surprised by this development in discussion, that any business that will locate at the site which can afford the mitigation will be the type of business that can generate significant revenue, that the first rezoning of the property was a three ring circus, and that she is disturbed that the City Solicitor appears to be representing the petitioner. Deborah Davis, 61 Richard Circle stated that id the property was rezoned to the O-P zoning district then the landowner would have the benefit of both the O-P zoning district and the B-I zoning district, and that there would be no harm in holding the vote over to see what negotiations can bring. OPPOSED: A communication dated January 4, 2007 was received from Vicki B. Finkelstein, Director of Real Estate and Senior Real Estate Counsel, W.R. Grace & Co.-Conn., 7500 Grace Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21044 as follows:

 

Re: Petition for Rezoning from Business-Interstate to Office Park District filed by

Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen and President Charles Doherty with respect to Land at

369 Washington Street, Woburn, Massachusetts, Comprising Assessors Mapr 26, Block 04, Lot 06 (the “Property”)

 

Petition for Rezoning from Business-Interstate to Office Park District filed by Paul A. Medeiros, Kathleen Bailey, et al. with respect to the Property

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

Pursuant to the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 5, W.R. Grace & Co.-Conn. (“Grace”), the owner of the above-referenced Property, hereby objects to and protests the two above-referenced Petitions for Rezoning (collectively, the “Rezoning Petitions”) and demand that a three-fourths vote of all members of the City Council be required for adoption of either of the Rezoning Petitions. The reasons for this protest include the following:

 

  • The proposed rezoning will encourage the future development of the Property as office use rather than as retail use, which will have a significantly more adverse effect on the existing traffic problems in the vicinity of the Property.
  • Any concerns on the part of the City government in general, and the City Councilors in particular, concerning the future development of the Property for retail use if it remains in the Business-Interstate District can be satisfactorily addressed through the special permit processes in place under the Woburn Zoning Ordinance and applicable to such a development.
  • The Property was rezoned from the Office Park District to the Business-Interstate District very recently and, following the withdrawal by Decathlon of its development proposal for the Property, Grace has not yet had an opportunity to explore the potential development of the Property by other parties, the impacts of such alternative development proposals on this portion of the City of Woburn, and the means by which such impacts can be mitigated.
  • At the request of the City Council at the time of the prior rezoning of the Property to the Business-Interstate District, Grace voluntarily agreed to restrict the future retail use of the Property while it is located in the Business-Interstate District by means of a written covenant to be recorded with the Middlesex South District Registry of Deeds, which covenant was approved by the City’s attorneys and members of the City Council at the time. This restrictive covenant would run with the Property and be binding upon future owners while the Property is located in the Business-Interstate district. Grace remains ready, willing and able to abide by the terms of that restrictive covenant as negotiated in good faith. However, the adoption of either of the Rezoning Petitions will effect the termination of this restrictive covenant.

 

Grace respectfully requests that the City Council not adopt either of the Rezoning Petitions. Thank you for your consideration of this information.

 

Sincerely, s/Vicki B. Finkelstein

 

Attorney Peter Friedenberg, Sherin & Lodgen, LLP, 101 Federal Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02110 stated that he represents Grace, that he was no involved with the prior efforts of Decathlon, that Grace worked for one year to find a project for the site and worked for two years with Decathlon on the project, that they were completely surprised when Decathlon approximately a week after approval withdrew from the project and from the United States market, that there was always the consideration that Decathlon might not locate at the site, that two days before the rezoning was approved the city’s attorney stated to him that the rezoning would not likely pass without some protection against a big-box type business in the future if Decathlon left the site, that Grace agreed to address these concerns with the covenant, that even the Decathlon project would have been in excess of the big box restriction, that the covenant binds future owners of the property, that Grace cannot take back the covenant, that if there is a rezoning then the covenant terminates, that if the property is rezoned to the O-P zoning district then the covenant would be terminated and there would be a level playing field, that Grace will try to find a less intrusive use, that Decathlon went through the MEPA process which also had mitigation approved in the process, that Grace wanted to continue the process even with the $2,000,000.00 mitigation package, that the city indicated it favored the fact that retail traffic would be opposite from the office park traffic in the area, that there are a lot of rumors about potential tenants for the locus, that this is a very visible site and there is much interest in the property, that he has heard rumors of supermarkets, homes stores and other looking at the property, that the city indicated that it wanted a large specialty shop, that Grace has not received any proposals for the property, that everything else is only marketing talk, that they have not even begun the marketing campaign, that it is difficult to market the property with this cloud of rezoning hanging over their head as it is not clear what can be marketed, that they want to market a proposal that will be productive for the city and for Grace, that the rezoning was filed without notice to Grace, that the ANR was filed after the rezoning petition was filed, that they are attempting to preserve the agreed status quo with the covenant in place, that the ANR would be filed regardless of when the rezoning petition was filed in order to preserve the status quo, that he has not talked with the people in the neighborhood, that their proposal is to determine whether there can be fruitful discussions, that Grace will not be the developer but is seeking to find certainty as to what can be done with the property, that they are looking to see what the community does not want on the property, that through negotiations it can be determined whether there is common ground, that Grace will not come forward with a particular proposal but will be put in a position to market the property to developers who are not something that the city does not want, that this process will likely take months, that he did take the proposal of removing the ANR back to Grace but Grace is not willing to do this, that the ANR plan is not part of the negotiations, that he does not believe removing the ANR plan is in the best interest of Grace, that he agrees that they can take a couple of weeks to see whether an agreement can be reached, that this will not be an open-ended process, that if there is no agreement then he assumes that the City Council will rezone the property and the parties would then have to decide how to proceed, and that he does not believe that Grace’s position on the ANR would change. Eric Eby stated that he was the traffic engineer with Greenman Pederson for the Decathlon project and that there would be a lot of mitigation and less traffic than an office park zoning district. Motion made and 2nd that the public hearing closed, 8 in favor, 1 opposed (Denaro opposed). PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED. Motion made and 2nd that ORDER be ADOPTED, all in favor 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007          s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

 

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On the petition by Arvind (Andy) Patel and Ramelabbe A. Patel, 19 Murray Road,

Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 for a special permit pursuant to Section 5.1.46b of the 1985 Woburn Zoning Ordinances, as amended, to convert the current full service gas station to a self-service gas station, and to the extent applicable, including a conversion of the existing structure to a food mart/convenience store at 529 Main Street. PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. A communication dated January 9, 2007 was received from Brett F. Gonsalves, Senior Engineer, Engineering Department as follows:

 

Subject: 529 Main Street – Self Service Gas Station & Convenience Store

Special Permit Dated 12/4/06

Site Plan Dated 5/22/02

Traffic Study Dated March 14, 2003

 

This office has reviewed the special permit application for the above referenced location and offers the following comments.

 

The traffic study conducted by Meridian Associated is dated March 14, 2003 which outlined traffic projections to 2007. This traffic study will need to be reanalyzed and updated to current traffic conditions.

 

It would appear that there is a fast food establishment proposed in the self serve gas station which would require the applicant to submit a development impact statement and is subject to mitigation as per section 18 of the Woburn Zoning Ordinance.

 

This office will complete its review of this project when the above mentioned information is submitted.

 

If you or the board have any questions concerning this information, do not hesitate to contact this office.

 

A communication dated January 16, 2007 was received from Edmund P. Tarallo, Planning Director, Woburn Planning Board as follows:

 

Re: Arvind (Andy) and Ramelabbe A. Patel – 529 Main Street – To convert full service gas station to self-service gas station and convenience store

 

Dear Mr. Campbell and Members of the City Council:

 

At the meeting held on January 9, 2007, the Planning Board voted to forward an unfavorable recommendation to the City Council on the Special Permit application of Arvind (Andy) and Ramelabbe A. Patel to convert full service gas station to self-service gas station and convenience store at 529 Main Street, Woburn, Ma. However, if the City Council does approve the Special Permit the Planning Board would offer its assistance to the City Council in reviewing the landscaping, facade design, and driveways for the proposal.

 

If members of the Council have any questions or concerns regarding the foregoing recommendation, please contact me.

 

Sincerely, s/Edmund P. Tarallo, Planning Director

 

Appearing for the petitioner was Attorney John D. McElhiney, McElhiney and Matson, 607 Main Street, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 and he stated that the petitioner has submitted a request to give this matter leave to withdraw without prejudice, that the petitioner learned through discussions with the neighbors, with the ward Alderman and at the Planning Board meeting that the petition does not fit the neighborhood, that the petitioner therefore decided to seek leave to withdraw the petition, that since the petitioner is not the landowner he requests that the withdrawal be without prejudice although this petitioner does not intend to come forward with another petition for a convenience store at this location, and that in view of this request he will not get into the merits of the petition. Alderman Dwyer stated that this has been a long process, that he expected ten to fifteen residents to appear in opposition of this petition was not withdrawn, that he asks that the landowner be brought into the process for any future development plans for the site, that the property is located in the B-D zoning district but it is surrounded by residences, and that this is a valuable piece of property but the interests of the neighbors are important. Attorney Katherine Farrell appeared and stated that she was counsel for Concord Oil and that she will speak to the Alderman before bringing any new proposals forward. IN FAVOR: None. OPPOSED: None. Motion made and 2nd that the public hearing closed, all in favor, 9-0. PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED. Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be GIVEN LEAVE TO WITHDRAW WITHOUT PREJUDICE, all in favor, 9-0.

 

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On the petition by Gerrior Realty LLC, 245 Salem Street, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 for a special permit pursuant to the 1985 Woburn Zoning Ordinances, as amended as follows:  Sections 5.1.43 to allow Open or outside storage of new or used building materials or equipment; 5.1.57A to allow Accessory Storage or Parking of Storage Container, Storage Trailer, Commercial Trailer or Semi Trailer, one or more; and 5.1.57B to allow Accessory storage or parking of commercial motor vehicles other than as provided for in line 58, trucks, buses or contractors’ equipment, all at 245 Salem Street PUBLIC HEARING OPENED. A communication dated January 8, 2007 was received from Brett F. Gonsalves, Senior Engineer, Engineering Department as follows:

 

Re: 245 Salem Street – Commercial Parking and Storage Special Permit

Special Permit Dated 12/14/06

Plan Dated May 18, 2006

 

This office has reviewed the special permit application for the above referenced location and offers the following comments.

 

The applicant has submitted a request for overnight parking and storage of construction equipment on the premises, which requires a special permit under Section 5.1 of the Zoning Ordinance.

 

The subject parcel and surrounding parcel lies within the I-G zoning. The submitted plan shows proposed parking configuration and storage locations to which we take no exception to.

 

There does not appear to be any proposed utility work being nor any improvements to the building. With all information provided to this office, we take no exception to the special permit as submitted.

 

If you or the board have any questions or concerning this information, do not hesitate to contact this office.

 

Appearing for the petitioner was Attorney Stephen Columbus, 272 Main Street, Stoneham, Massachusetts 02180 and he stated that Gerrior Realty LLC owns the land and the Gerrior Landscaping and Masonry operates from the location, that Joe Gerrior is the principal owner, that the company began operating in 1992, that Mr. Gerrior resides in Stoneham, that he rented for many years at different locations, that he purchased this location in 2006, that he intended to improve the property, that he has made many improvements, that 60% of his clients are in Woburn, that he performs landscaping work and masonry construction, that he tries to use Woburn vendors, that he tries to employ Woburn residents, that he also conducts snowplowing for many Woburn clients, that when he purchased the property his idea was to make the property more appealing by making cosmetic repairs, that the economy changed a bit and it took the petitioner six months to fully occupy the building, that he made repairs that did not require a building permit, that he is occupying the building currently, that there were pallets around the building that have been removed, that he had stone on site for his exterior improvements, that he has three storage bins on site in order to purchase items in quantity and provide services to his clients at a better price, that he concealed the bins with shrubbery, that he wanted to have more commercial vehicles stored outside initially however they will only have one vehicle stored outside, that the building is 36,000 square feet in area, that he striped the parking lot and included handicapped parking, that he will have one vehicle parked outside which will be consistent with other businesses in the area, that he will

have four trailers stored on site during construction season but in the winter there will only be two trailers stored on site, that they will be located to minimize seeing them from the street, that the Building Inspector issued a fine to the petitioner and the petitioner reacted immediately by seeking these special permits, that the appeal of the fine is pending in court, that having the situation brought to light was not the only reason that he came forward to seek special permits, that the petitioner is here in good faith, that if a special permit is granted allowing one truck on site they will not take advantage of this, that he will park a truck in an area that cannot be seen from Salem Street, and that he is providing screening for the bins. Attorney Columbus offered photographs to the City Council for review. Motion made and 2nd that the photographs be received and made part of the record, all in favor 9-0. Alderman Mercer-Bruen stated that she is on a mission to clean up Salem Street, that the property looks better than when it was purchased, that she has serious concerns about how this came about and as to how this matter came to the City Council, that the petitioner was using an excavator to do work on the site without a permit, that she called the Building Department to see what work was being done and found no permit had issued, that the petitioner was aware of what was required, that the petitioner was given several warnings before the fines were issued, that there was complete disregard by the petitioner of the process, that once the special permit is granted it is difficult to go back, that he does not see how the city can issue the special permit when for one year the petitioner disregarded the zoning code, that the petitioner is here doing the right thing because of the fines that were imposed, that he has concerns about recommending any special permit on the property, that the property looks great but she is concerned with the disregard for the process, disregard for the law and disregard for the right thing that needs to be done, that it is difficult to fence that site, that the petitioner did not follow the rules, that the only reason the petitioner is here is because fines were imposed, that she asks whether the petitioner could do business like this in Stoneham without permits or following the rules, that perhaps the petitioner can go back to the drawing board and come back with a better proposal, that the law was blatantly ignored, that if this is to be discussed it would be with tight reins, that she does not want to put the petitioner out of business, that the petitioner needs to go back to the drawing board, that she has consulted legal counsel to determine as to how tight restrictions can be put on the property, that the property needs screening but not with trees, that fines began to be imposed in March 2006, that perhaps common ground can be sought in committee, that she does not want to see the vehicles from the street line, that the petitioner is not being singled out, and that outside storage is not something that the city wants. Alderman Mercer-Bruen offered copies of communications from the Building Department for the City Council to review. Motion made and 2nd that the documents be received an made part of the record, all in favor, 9-0. Alderman Drapeau stated that he recalls the nearby Bonnano property and the number of conditions that were imposed on that property and what the City Council put that petitioner through, that it does not sound like the proposals will improve the property, that it will not be aesthetically pleasing, that the petitioner does good work, and that the petitioner should come forward and offer screening similar to the Bonanno property. Alderman Galvin understands the concerns of the ward Alderman however the building looks better, that the petitioner made improvements on his own initiative, that the petitioner is here to make amend, that the City Council can look at the matter in committee, and that the property is located in the I-G zoning district.

Alderman Ciriello stated that he understands the ward Alderman’s frustration, that the applicant is before the City Council, that the property looks much better, that both the building and grounds look much better, that to get control of the property the City Council can regulate through the special permit process, and that it is not fair to put the petitioner out of business. Alderman Gately stated that sometimes it is better to as for forgiveness than permission, that sometimes rules cannot be followed because of ignorance of the rules or someone gets in a bind, that this use is a good fit for the neighborhood and for the city, that he would like to see the petitioner locate at the site, that the petitioner invested a lot in the property, and that the City Council should help the petitioner get back on track. Alderman Gonsalves stated that Lawless had also blatantly encroached on neighbors of their property and the only reason that they were before the City Council was because they were in the wrong and that property has now been brought up to better conditions. Alderman Dwyer stated that he is in favor of rehabilitation, that the petitioner was fined and this can be rehabilitated, that the City Council can get more out of the petitioner in committee, and that he admires the works that the petition has done at the locus. IN FAVOR: Paul Meaney, Executive Director, Woburn Business Association, Ten Tower Office Park, Woburn stated that the petitioner got himself into a situation, that there were several businesses who wanted this building but the petitioner got it, that he could not get out of his lease on High Street, that there was an alarm company at this locus with several trucks parked on site, that the petitioner was trying to get the old use out of the locus while getting off of High Street, that the petitioner understood that since this was a service company and that the prior company was a service company then he could locate there without a special permit, that the building is the best building on that street for the work that he has done, that his equipment is superb, that the petitioner did not think that he was doing anything wrong, that the City Council should give the petitioner his special permits, and that the petitioner did not do this with any malice. OPPOSED: None. Motion made and 2nd that the public hearing closed, all in favor, 9-0. PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED. Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON SPECIAL PERMITS, all in favor 9-0.

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COMMITTEE REPORTS:

 

SPECIAL PERMITS:

 

On the petition by Krystal New England, LLC for a special permit to allow auto sales and for a First Class Motor Vehicle Sales License at 399 Washington Street, committee report was received as follows: “ought to pass with the conditions as follows: 1. limited to twenty (20) limousines, 2. that the special permit is issued to Krystal New England, LLC

and is not transferable, and 3. that there shall be no limousine rental business operated from this location.” Motion made and 2nd that the COMMITTEE REPORT be ADOPTED, all in favor, 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007          s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

 

************************* ORDINANCES:

 

On the Order to amend Title 3, Article VI, Section 3-26 of the 1989 Woburn Municipal Code, as amended, relative to the allocation of indirect costs of departments under the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund, committee report was received “ought to pass.”

Motion made and 2nd that the COMMITTEE REPORT be ADOPTED, all in favor, 9-0. Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007       s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

 

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On the Order to amend Title 13 of the 1989 Woburn Municipal Code, as amended, relative to Public Services, committee report was received as follows: “ought to pass with the following amendments: 1. That the language in Section 13.2.35.A.3 be stricken and in their place be inserted the words “Any increase in the rates in Subsection 1 herein shall require a majority vote of the City Council for approval.”; 2. That the language in Section 13.3.9.6 be stricken and in their place be inserted the words “Any change in the base rates specified herein shall require a majority vote of the City Council for approval.”; 3. That Section 13.2.5 shall be amended to read as follows: “Owners and occupants of any commercial, industrial or residential premises served by the City of Woburn water system shall upon presentation by the Department, authorize entry to their premises for the purpose of inspecting and surveying their water system for new installation, cross connections, or to remove, repair, or replace any water meter at any time the Department deems necessary. When such access is refused, the water shall be shut off and shall not be turned on until such access has been allowed and fees have been paid for shutting off and letting on of water. The city shall provide written notice to the owners and occupants of property at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to shutting off service to the property.” Motion made and 2nd the suspend the rules for the purposes of discussing this matter with His Honor the Mayor, all in favor, 9-0. Mayor McLaughlin stated that he tried to speak to all of the Aldermen individually concerning these amendments, that he asks that the City Council consider allowing the current rate plan to continue until it expires on its own and at that time it will revert to the City Council to control the changes, that the city is making improvements to the water system with regards to iron magnesium in the water and other improvements will be made, that these plans will be jeopardized if the rate structure is changed before the sunset provision expires, that the current plan works well, that the matter can be discussed again in a year, and that this has been portrayed as a power play with the mayor usurping the city council power however it required an action by the city council and gave no power to the mayor nor took any power from the city council. Alderman Denaro stated that the city had planned on water and sewer rates and that this would change that two year plan, that there were a lot of hopes that there will be a lot water improvement projects conducted with the current rate structure and that he does not believe this will be done if the current rate plan expires, and that if projects are jeopardized with the rate plan changed then the City Council needs to know that. President Doherty stated that the city cannot move forward with increased funding, that the current statute expires in two years but the work discussed will take five to six years, that this gives control to the City Council to ensure that work is being completed, and that the impact of the change will be negligible. Alderman Gonsalves stated that the water improvements will cost money, that these changes were adopted in June 2006 because necessary work could not be completed under the levy limit, that the plan was to determine what the cost would be in real dollars, that the City Council should be looking for data in May, and that she would not object to extending it for a year after reviewing the data. Alderman Galvin stated that the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund was set up to address the long term problems in the water and sewer system, that the City Council has committed to making water improvements, that he has voted to raise the water and sewer rates twice during his tenure when he believed that the increases were justified, that the City Council has turned away from making this decision, and that the City Council is not turning away from the water improvements. Alderman Drapeau stated that water projects seem to be going well, that the is committed to continuing the process, that he does not agree with removing powers from the branches of government, that the city does not lose anything with the City Council taking back the power, that the Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund was used as an end-around Proposition 2½ in the past, that there were bonds funds misappropriated to other uses, and that he understands the mayor’s position but the process needs transparency. Alderman Gately stated that this has nothing to do with power, that the city is re-investing in the infrastructure and this will cost money, that the City Council will see actual revenues rather than projected revenues, and that there have been questions about abatements. Alderman Dwyer stated that if the rates increase the City Council has to have the courage to be responsible to do that and to be accountable for doing so. President Doherty stepped down from the chair and Alderman Galvin assumed the chair. President Doherty stated that the City Council gave up its rights to set the rates, that the city is committed to fixing water issues in the city, that they city is still working off a bond that was approved years ago, that the long term costs of the proposed projects should be before the City Council now, that the water bill rate should follow the tax classification process, that if the rates are set in the fall there would be more information available to set the rate, that billing, budgeting and collection of water bills is coordinated by the Department of Public Works, City Auditor and Treasurer/Collector but each has a different figure as to what should be collected, that the City Council needs documented proof as to what the rates will be, and that the first step is to bring the change back to the city council. Motion made and 2nd to return to the regular order of business, all in favor, 9-0.Motion made and 2nd that the COMMITTEE REPORT be ADOPTED, AS FURTHER AMENDED with the amendments as follow: 1. That

Section 13.1.13 be amended to read “(1)  No gas pipe, sewer, conduit, street railway tract, pole, or any other structure, except wires, whether belonging to the city or to any individual or corporation, shall be placed upon, beneath or above any street, unless a plan showing the proposed location thereof shall have first been deposited with the city engineer, and such location approved the board of aldermen. Prior to approval as aforesaid a final plan shall be filed with the city engineer and the superintendent of public works, showing the accurate location and manner of construction. (2)  Any person violating the foregoing provision shall be subject to a penalty as provided herein and shall remove such structure if required so to do by the city council.”; 2. That Section 13.2.32 shall be deleted in its entirety; 3. That the fourth paragraph of Section 13.2.33.B.2 be amended  to read: “All administrative costs associated with the operation of the City of Woburn Cross Connection Control Program will be supported by a fee for submittals on survey results, plan approvals, testing results, and permitting of testable devices.  The Woburn City Council reserves the right to set ALL fees require for the implementation and operation of a successful cross connection control program.”; 4. That the word “eight” in Section 13.2.35.A.1 be stricken and in its place the word “eighty” be inserted; 5. That Section 13.2.35.B.12 be deleted in its entirety, 5. That Section 13.2.39 be deleted in its entirety, ROLL CALL: Ciriello – Yes, Denaro – No, Drapeau – Yes, Dwyer – Yes, Gately – Yes, Gonsalves – Yes, Mercer-Bruen – Yes, Doherty – Yes, Galvin – Yes, Motion Passes. Alderman Galvin stepped down from the chair and President Doherty assumed the chair.

Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007          s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

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CITIZEN’S PARTICIPATION:  None.

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NEW PETITIONS:

 

Petitions by Lawless Chrysler Jeep, Inc., 196 Lexington Street for renewal of First Class Motor Vehicle Sales License. Motion made and 2nd that the MATTERS be REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON POLICE AND LICENSES, all in favor, 9-0.

 

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Petition by Thomas J. Flanagan, 344 Lexington Street, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 for a special permit pursuant to Section 5.1.11bo f the 1985 Woburn Zoning Ordinances, as amended, to allow teaching, training students, adults in basic trade and craft business skills. Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be REFERRED TO PUBLIC HEARING, all in favor, 9-0.

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COMMUNICATIONS AND REPORTS:

 

A copy communication dated December 29, 2006 with attachments was to the Appeals Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from Attorney Michael B. Cabral of Kopleman and Paige, P.C. was received relative to Gibbs Oil Company Limited v. Members of the City Council of the City of Woburn. Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be RECEIVED AND PLACED ON FILE, all in favor, 9-0.

 

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A communication dated January 16, 2007 was received from Edmund P. Tarallo, Planning Director, Woburn Planning Board as follows:

 

Re: Fast Food Restaurant/Convenience Store

 

 

Dear Mr. Campbell and Members of the City Council:

 

At the meeting held on January 9, 2007, the Planning Board voted to request that the City Council consider the definition of fast food restaurant as it currently appears in the zoning ordinance, and decide whether or not to apply such definition to a convenience store wishing to serve coffee, slurpees or other food or beverages. Presently, convenience store is undefined in the zoning ordinance.

 

If members of the Council have any questions or concerns regarding the foregoing, please contact me.

 

Sincerely, s/Edmund P. Tarallo, Planning Director

 

Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be RECEIVED AND PLACED ON FILE, all in favor, 9-0.

 

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A communication dated January 14, 2007 was received from Paul A. Medeiros, 9 0Marietta Street requesting that the Municipal Code be amended to add the fees to be charged for disposal of appliances and Freon bearing waste items, information on how to dispose of the items and where to obtain additional information on disposing of these items. Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be RECEIVED AND PLACED ON FILE, all in favor, 9-0.

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UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF PRECEDING MEETING:  None.

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APPOINTMENTS AND ELECTIONS: 

 

A communication dated January 11, 2007 was received from His Honor the Mayor as follows:

 

Re: William J. Mulrenan – Golf & Ski Authority

 

Dear Mr. Campbell:

 

By the power vested in me as Mayor of the City of Woburn, I hereby appoint William J. Mulrenan of 4 Field Terrace as a member of the Golf & Ski Authority.

 

Mr. Mulrenan will replace Charles O’Reilly, whose term expired 12/31/06.

 

The effective date of this appointment will be the date of confirmation by the City Council. This appointment will be for a term of six years.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

 

Sincerely, s/Thomas L. McLaughlin

 

Motion made and 2nd that the MATTER be REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON PERSONNEL, all in favor, 9-0.

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MOTIONS, ORDERS AND RESOLUTIONS:

 

RESOLVED That the Building Commissioner investigate and prepare a report detailing

the “uses” allowed at 167 Winn Street, 169 Winn Street, 171 Winn Street and 173 Winn Street and provide a copy of such report to the City Council.

 

s/Alderman Galvin

 

Motion made and 2nd that the RESOLVE be ADOPTED, all in favor, 9-0.

Presented to the Mayor: Jan. 19, 2007       s/Thomas L. McLaughlin Jan. 22, 2007

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Motion made and 2nd to ADJOURN, all in favor, 9-0. Meeting adjourned at 11:11 p.m.

 

A TRUE RECORD ATTEST:

 

 

 

William C. Campbell

City Clerk and Clerk of the City Council

 

 

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