LIVEBLOGGING: Greenfield City Council, October 2019 regular meeting

I’m at the John Zon Community Center for tonight’s regular monthly meeting of the Greenfield City Council. The agenda for this meeting can be found on the city website.

And away we go! As usual, the most recent updates are at the top…

The liveblog has ended.

  • And now we are back to the Executive Session vote from earlier in the agenda. Motion carries.

    The Council is now in Executive Session, and will adjourn from there.

    That’s it for me, folks!

  • The only Report of Committees entry is Councilor Stempel from the Economic Development Committee. They are putting out a survey to businesses around the city to understand what’s working and what’s not. Also, Councilor Dolan is leading an initiative to evaluate how the processes of various municipal board and committees might be adjusted to help foster economic development.

  • Non binding resolution regarding the Individual Petition submitted, per Charter 7-6: Petitions French King Zoning

    • This is the motion that three Councilors objected to at the previous meeting, thus bumping it to this one.
    • Councilor Dolan withdraws his motion, this one is gone.

    And with that, we come to the end of Motions, Orders, and Resolutions, and there was much rejoicing.

  • Amendment to §56-18 of the City Code (Annual Stipend) to increase stipend for the City Council and School Committee

    • The committee did not take this motion up because they are waiting on the School Committee.
    • Motion to table, carries unanimously. Motion is tabled.
  • Ordinance to raise the salaries of the Mayor and City Councilors

    • Raise Mayor’s salary to $105k per year
    • $15k annual salary for City Councilors
    • Council Berson moves to table
    • Motion to table carries with two nays (Sund and Mass) and an abstention (Stempel).
  • Refer Just Roots Lease to Legislature for approval

    • Unanimous positive recommendation from committee
    • Councilor Sund says they voted in support of this process earlier, they should “go all the way.”
    • Councilor Allis recuses himself due to a conflict of interest.
    • Motion carries.
  • Adopt Greenfield Code Amendment (2017)

    • This is another super-lengthy reading. See my comments above.
    • Unanimous positive recommendation from committee.
    • Carries unanimously.
  • Initiate the proposed zoning amendments to the use schedule of the Zoning Ordinance

    • Ah, zoning amendments.
    • The reading of this motion is pretty lengthy, and I will take the opportunity to state that while I know this sort of technical reading is required, it feels like a letter-of-the-law/unintended-consequences sort of thing. No normal person can follow these detailed, extremely technical, and totally reference-free readings. At a minimum, there should be some provision for a summary explanation of what is actually being done via all the language changes.
    • Several Councilors, as well as the GCTV camera operators, are now looking at their phones.
    • The reading is finally done.
    • Councilor Mass says he thinks the changes are largely good, notes that initiating it “starts the clock.” He suggests what he characterizes as “a few minor changes.”
    • Councilor Wheeler notes that this motion is being made on the assumption that changes can’t be made once the process starts, this prohibition is only on “substantive changes.” He doesn’t think Councilor Mass’s changes are substantive.
    • Councilor Dolan says he wishes this motion had gone to the EDC. Council President Renaud says these changes usually go to committee only after they’ve been initiated.
    • Councilor Wheeler states that the Planning Board has put months of discussion into these changes, and the City Council shouldn’t make changes here tonight “on a whim.” He does, however, agree with Councilor Mass’s changes.
    • Councilor Mass’s motion to amend the motion to allow “inns” in the General Industrial district fails
    • Zoning changes has been initiated, vote is unanimous.
  • Adopt new Ordinance Chapter 345: Property Tax Work-off Abatement Ordinance

    • This is the one that came up during public comment; needs to be tinkered with so as not to prohibit Senior Center volunteers from participating.
    • Councilor Mass moves to refer to committee.
    • Motion carries; this one is going back to committee.
  • Resolution to accept the Mass Development Site Readiness Grant for the expansion of the I-91 Industrial Park

    • Positive recommendation from the committee
    • Councilor Mass points out that “this is a motion that actually does something.”
    • Motion carries.