City Council Preview: December 12, 2017

Mimi Parseghian looks at the agenda for this coming Tuesday’s Lowell City Council meeting, which begins at 6:30 pm and will be televised live on LTC channel 99 and streamed live on LTC’s website. And if you can’t attend the meeting in person, or watch it live, check back here tomorrow night right after the meeting when I’ll post my City Council meeting notes. From Mimi . . .

The agenda for this Tuesday’s City Council meeting is rather light.   This will be the last meeting for this 2-year Council term.  It is tradition to have the out-going Councilors address their colleagues and the City residents.  It will also be Mayor Ed Kennedy’s last meeting as Mayor, so he may want to make some public comments about this tenure.

As for the business aspect of the meeting, there is one item under the Unfinished Business heading: “To Vacate, Discontinue and Abandon Certain Public Interests, Rights and Easements in a portion of Montreal Street in the City of Lowell.”  The City is abandoning a certain portion of Montreal Street to the VFW located on Plain Street.

Continued from last week is a Public Hearing on the 10-page Document of Zoning Ordinance Amendments.  Eric Slagle, Director of Development Services writes in his cover letter, “The attached Vote would submit to the Planning Board the attached amendments to the Lowell Zoning Ordinance, which would cover several new use definitions, as well as other various changes to aid in economic development, provide thoughtful parking alternatives, and protect the large-scale residential tax base. These amendments have been extensively reviewed, by both the Zoning Subcommittee and the Citywide Neighborhood Council.”

There are only 5 MOTION RESPONSES this week:

1. Motion (September 26, 2017) from City Councilor Rodney Elliott Request City Manager have the Superintendent of Police provide a report on efforts to increase enforcement to address drug dealing.

Response: … There are currently seven officers dedicated to the Special Investigations Section (SIS). SIS is primarily responsible for all drug investigations in the City… The Lowell Police Department (LPD) cannot supply specific information regarding all current investigations due to the sensitive nature of these investigations. ..The LPD also has three detectives dedicated to taskforces in Greater Lowell.”  The arrest analysis for this year from January through October regarding “drug dealing.” According to the report analysis, from January 1, 2017 – October 31, 2017, the LPD has arrested 213 people on drug charges.  The largest number of arrests, 103, was for crimes related to heroin, OxyContin, morphine, etc.

2. Motion (March 28, 2017) from City Councilor Rodney Elliott Request City Manager provide a report regarding “change for change” initiative relative to panhandling.

Response: The awareness campaign includes signage at about 7 key intersections. The signs are the size of No Parking signs and they ask people not to support Panhandling but support a solution by contributing to programs that address homelessness. The City has developed a page on their website to “address the Change for Change program.  It also has a list of the programs and partnerships to help in this effort.”

3. Motion (November 14, 2017) from City Councilor Bill Samaras Request City Manager investigate and report on any problem activities in the vicinity of Kirk Street and Merrimack Street.

Response:  According to the reply from the Police Superintendent, there has been an increase in crime from last year but for the past 5 years, there is a decrease of 12%.  That area is where the Living Waters facility are located. The report  states “Living Waters would attract 50-60 homeless individuals for breakfast and lunch. As this number is significant, the perception from those in the area resulted in reports of this location becoming a problem with the homeless congregating. When the weather was warmer, those coming to the area for meals often stayed around in the Lucy Larcom Park area but as the temperature dropped the loitering issue has dissipated.”

4. Motion (September 26, 2017) from City Councilor Bill Samaras Request the City Manager have the Lowell Police Department set up speed radar display on Beacon, Mt. Pleasant and Reservoir Street.

Response:  Done! “As requested, members from the Lowell Police Departments Traffic Unit mounted a speed sign to a pole at Reservoir Street at the beginning of October. This sign was assigned to this area for approximately a month before needing to move to another part of the city. There have not been any complaints of speeding since assigning the speed sign to Reservoir Street. Sector Officers will continue to monitor.”

5. Motion (September 26, 2017) from City Councilor Rita Mercier Request the City Manager have proper department post (2) “No Parking Here to Corner” signs up at the corner of Bowers and Fletcher Street, on both sides of Bower Street. In Addition please address the speeding issue on Fletcher Street by placing radar speed display device on the street.

Response: Part 1, done!  Part 2, also done! LPD speed board was also placed on Fletcher Street for 2 weeks.

City Council Motions

City Councilor Bill Samaras Request City Manager Add Surrey Lane to Paving List.

City Councilor Cory Belanger Request City Manager Update City Council Regarding Relocation of the UTEC Mattress Recycling Facility.

City Councilor Cory Belanger Request City Manager Update City Council Regarding the City Needle Pick-Up Program.

Mayor Kennedy Request City Manager Work with Superintendent to Develop a School Facility Maintenance Master Plan and Designate Funds to Support it.