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Development and Governmental Relations Committee Meeting September 27, 2021

Sep 27 2021

6:00 pm City Hall Holyoke

536 Dwight St, Holyoke 01040

City Council

Holyoke Massachusetts

 

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §§ 18-25,

and Section 20 of Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021,

notice is hereby given of a meeting of the committee on

Development and Governmental Relations Committee (DGR)

Monday, September 27th, 2021

6:00 PM

Meeting to take place at

Holyoke City Hall, 536 Dwight St

and can be accessed remotely on Zoom Meetings

Per order of the Chair: David Bartley

Remote access via www.zoom.us

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84088909865?pwd=ZXBXMElPTTVZZ0czQVJEMXFCS1Ridz09

Meeting ID: 840 8890 9865 Meeting Passcode: 090999 or by call in at 1 (646) 558-8656 with the same Meeting ID and Passcode.

 

Agenda:

 

Item 1: Minutes from the previous meeting

Item 2: PUBLIC HEARING 6-15-21 Special Permit Application of Gary Gladu for a driveway in front yard at 139 Huron Ave (154-00-065) off of the Downing Ave side of the property per section 6.1.8.1 of the Holyoke Zoning Ordinance.

Item 3: PUBLIC HEARING 8-3-21 Special Permit Application for Home Occupation of Nicole Fontaine for a salon at 351 Jarvis Ave (146-00-005) per section 4.8.2 of the Holyoke Zoning Ordinance.

Item 4: PUBLIC HEARING 8-3-21 Special Permit Application of Auto Sales Center Inc at 1607 Northampton St (106-00-043) to expand the current licensed car lot to incorporate newly acquired land at 1611 and 1615 Northampton St per section 7.2.13 of the Holyoke Zoning Ordinance.

Item 5: 8-3-21 BARTLEY -- The city council invite Lynn Gray, General Manager, of the Holyoke Mall to a future DGR meeting.

Item 6: 9-7-21 Holyoke CPA Annual Budget Article 2022 - Request for the City Council to vote to appropriate and reserve from the Community Preservation Fund annual revenues, in the amounts recommended by the Community Preservation Committee, for committee administrative expenses and reserves in fiscal year 2022, with each item to be considered a separate appropriation.

Item 7: 9-7-21 License Agreement between City of Holyoke and Edward A. Owen

Item 8: 6-15-21 Separation Agreement between Mass Dept of Education and Dr Alberto Vasquez Matos

Item 9: Schedule next meeting

 

Administrative Assistant: Jeffery Anderson-Burgos

The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law. Also one or two items may require the committee to enter into executive session at this meeting. Agenda subject to change up to two business days (48 hours) prior to posted meeting time.

Development and Governmental Relations Committee

September 27, 2021

 

Members present: Chairman David Bartley, Vice Chairman Michael Sullivan, Peter Tallman, Howard Greaney, Jr.

 

Chairman Bartley called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM

 

Councilor Tallman made a motion to remove item 1 from the table. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 1: Minutes from the last meeting

--->      Approved 4-0

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley stated that the minutes were detailed and on point.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to accept the minutes. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

Councilor Greaney made a motion to remove item 2 from the table and open the public hearing. Councilor Tallman seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 2: PUBLIC HEARING 6-15-21 Special Permit Application of Gary Gladu for a driveway in front yard at 139 Huron Ave (154-00-065) off of the Downing Ave side of the property per section 6.1.8.1 of the Holyoke Zoning Ordinance.

--->      Approved 4-0.

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley recognized Mr. Gary Gladu in the Chambers. He noted that many similar matters had been taken up in the past. He then explained the steps of the public hearing process to Mr. Gladu.

G. Gladu stated that his house was on the corner of Huron and Downing, noting that his current driveway off of the Huron side was in disrepair and needed to be repaved, as well as on a steep slope going up to the hose creating safety concerns. He then stated that the Downing Ave side was more flat and safer for him and his wife. He noted that the street rarely has a great deal of traffic. He also noted that a house on the next street had the same setup as he was seeking. He also expressed his hope was to get the paving done before the winter season.

Councilor Tallman asked if the planned driveway would be smaller than the existing one.

G. Gladu stated it would be a little smaller, at 10 feet wide, to accommodate driving through the gate.

Councilor Tallman asked if they would go to a side door.

G. Gladu stated they would as it would be safer.

Councilor Tallman asked if the other driveway would remain.

G. Gladu reiterated that the other driveway would need to be repaved, adding that he sought an estimate of a new side driveway when he had an estimate done on the existing one. He then stated that was the beginning of the process of learning about the special permit.

Councilor Tallman asked if part of the lawn would be removed.

G. Gladu stated that the spot currently had crushed stone.

Councilor Greaney asked if he had spoken with his neighbors.

G. Gladu stated that he had and did not hear any objection.

Edward Owen, 120 Front St, stated that Mr. Gladu should get his driveway.

Chairman Bartley commended Mr. Gladu for speaking with his neighbors. He also noted that the committee could put conditions on the permit.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to close the public hearing. Councilor Sullivan seconded the motion.

Chairman Bartley then asked if there was any fencing or other obstructions that would create a sight concern.

G. Gladu stated that there would not be any fencing or other issues with being able to see traffic.

Chairman Bartley asked if the neighbors had any vegetation that would create obstructions.

G. Gladu stated that the neighboring properties had no sight obstructions.

Motion to close the public hearing passed.

Chairman Bartley stated that there did not appear to be any need for conditions.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to approve the special permit. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley stated that the full City Council would vote on the permit at the following meeting, which would be followed by a 20 day appeal period.

G. Gladu asked if the special permit would be valid for the next year.

Chairman Bartley stated that most special permits are generally one year, adding that as this was just for a driveway. He then suggested that the permit should be kept as a record for anyone that may take over ownership of the house in the future.

G. Gladu clarified that his concern was that the permit would still be valid if the work did not begin until the following spring.

Chairman Bartley stated that it should be good, adding that he should confirm with the Law Department.

 

(13:50)

Councilor Tallman made a motion to remove item 3 from the table and open the public hearing. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 3: PUBLIC HEARING 8-3-21 Special Permit Application for Home Occupation of Nicole Fontaine for a salon at 351 Jarvis Ave (146-00-005) per section 4.8.2 of the Holyoke Zoning Ordinance.

--->      Approved 4-0, with conditions

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley recognized Ms. Fontaine in the Chambers. He then asked that she explain the details of her proposal, noting that the application detailed hours of operation, as well as clarifying that there would be no deliveries or signage.

N. Fontaine stated that she was tired of working for corporate salons and choosing to open a business out of her home. She stated she had been a hairdresser for over 20 years.

Chairman Bartley asked how parking would be handled.

N. Fontaine stated that her driveway was steep. She then asked for guidance on making street parking available, noting that parking was not currently allowed on the street.

Chairman Bartley asked for clarification of the property location, if traveling north on Jarvis Ave.

N. Fontaine stated she was located on the left side almost directly across from Sullivan School.

Chairman Bartley asked to clarify there was no paring allowed on her side of the street.

Fontane stated there was no parking allowed on either side.

Chairman Bartley questioned why that would be. He also noted there had been a situation in which a no parking sign had been placed on another street without an ordinance. He then suggested there should be research to determine if the signs on Jarvis were proper. He suggested that her ward councilor could file an order to remove the no parking sign, potentially during her hours of operation.  He then asked how many clients she would have.

N. Fontaine stated that she would have one at a time.

Chairman Bartley asked if people would walk up the steep driveway if parking on the street.

N. Fontaine stated that they would, adding that they get nervous trying to back out if parking in the driveway.

Chairman Bartley stated that the permit would be up for renewal annually.

Councilor Tallman asked if “no parking” signs were posted.

N. Fontaine stated one was posted within a foot of her mailbox.

Councilor Tallman noted that people regularly park across the street. He then asked if there were signs there.

N. Fontaine confirmed there were.

Councilor Tallman asked if the shoulder lane was limited in space.

N. Fontaine stated that it was quite large, easily fitting a car.

Councilor Tallman asked if she would be out to assist anyone needing help, specifically an elderly client parking on the street.

N. Fontaine stated that she would.

Councilor Tallman noted that walks can be tricky in the winter.

N. Fontaine stated that she had a tree removed to take away shadowing that would prevent snow and ice from melting.

Councilor Tallman asked how clients would enter the house.

N. Fontaine stated they would enter through the front door, with an additional plan for a walkway to be added through her gate to a hatchway.

Councilor Tallman asked how people would enter through the hatchway.

N. Fontaine stated that they would step down with railing on the sides of the stairs. She then noted she would always greet her clients at the front.

Councilor Tallman asked if her neighbors were aware of her plans, other than receiving notice for the public hearing.

N. Fontaine stated that her immediate neighbors had not lived there long.

Councilor Greaney emphasized the importance of assuring neighbors had no concerns.

Chairman Bartley observed that the application had been clear. He suggested that there would be conditions to adhere to the hours in the application. He also suggested the parking situation would need to be addressed through outreach to another councilor. He then suggested a condition limiting the number of people to one person.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to close the public hearing. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley made a motion to add two conditions:
1. That the hours of operation be Wednesday 10 AM - 5 PM, Friday 12 PM - 9 PM, Saturday 9 AM - 4 PM, and Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM.
2. That there be allowed one client at a time and up to one additional person waiting.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to amend the previous motion to add an additional condition that there be no deliveries and no signs. Councilor Sullivan seconded the motion.

Motion was made and seconded to approve the special permit with the conditions. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley stated that the permit would appear on the full City Council agenda the following Tuesday for final approval, following by a 20 day appeal period.

Motion was made and seconded to suspend the necessary rules to allow the Administrative Assistant to address the committee.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos stated that an email had been sent to the public comment address, and initially missed before then being forwarded to his own email address.

Chairman Bartley stated that the email should be a part of the record.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos read the email into the record:
Sheila Rodriguez, 327 Jarvis Ave, stated
Good afternoon,
Follow up to my conversation this afternoon, I do have some concerns with this request and I hope these are considered when processing this application.
1. Would this special permit have any negative impact on the current zoning for Jarvis Ave? Is zoning will continue to stay as "residential"?
2. We currently have heavy traffic between Sullivan school and Jarvis Heights appts- is this application will cause heavier traffic flow?
3. In the subject of traffic- Currently people fly through Jarvis Ave with no respect to the speed limit, there is even times (mostly late at night) certain individuals have car racing on Jarvis Ave, would this permit bring in more volume of cars into the area? and with no speed limit being enforced- bring up the volume of cars/speeding into the area?
4. Jarvis Ave is currently a no parking zone but that law is not being followed, especially on the side of Jarvis Heights Appts- with this permit- where would people park and in return, would that increase more cars park on no parking area?
5. We also have the issue with garbage thrown on the streets, specially on the side of Jarvis Heights Appts (also ongoing issue with no solution, I guess the norm for certain parts in Holyoke) will this permit increase volume of people in the area and in return more garbage thrown on the streets?
Thank you again for your help, time and consideration with this matter.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to reconsider the previous action. Chairman Bartley seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley noted that issues had been raised in a timely manner within the public hearing guidelines and should be addressed. He then stated that the petition would not impact residential zoning. He also stated that the condition for one person at a time should not have an impact on traffic. He then noted that speeding is an issue in many places and suggested that speeding should be addressed as an enforcement matter. He also suggested that everyone should do more to address litter. He then stated that the no parking concern, as well as the concern about garbage being thrown onto the street, had been discussed.

Chairman Bartley renewed the motion to approve the permit with the conditions. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

(38:00)

Councilor Tallman made a motion to remove item 4 from the table and open the public hearing. Chairman Bartley seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 4: PUBLIC HEARING 8-3-21 Special Permit Application of Auto Sales Center Inc at 1607 Northampton St (106-00-043) to expand the current licensed car lot to incorporate newly acquired land at 1611 and 1615 Northampton St per section 7.2.13 of the Holyoke Zoning Ordinance.

--->      Approved 4-0 with condition.

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley recognized Ira Elfman in the Chambers. He then read a statement from the application into the record:
“The site plan being presented is a proposal to expand out current licensed car lot to incorporate the newly acquired contiguous land adjacent to our existing business at Auto Sales Center Inc. 1607 Northampton Street. The proposed addresses of the properties are 1611 and 1615 Northampton Street. The current business has been owned and operated by Ira Elfman for over thirty years in Holyoke and will continue operation under the same ownership.”
He then asked Mr. Elfman to provide a description of the location, how the properties were zones, and the plan for the properties.

I. Elfman stated that the adjacent properties had recently been purchased, noting that one property had been known as Cooper’s Cottage. He then stated he was seeking to expand his current license and place cars on the recently acquired properties.

Chairman Bartley asked how the properties were zoned.

I. Elfman stated they were zoned as business.

Chairman Bartley asked to clarify that Cooper’s Cottage and Cray Package Store were zoned as Mr. Elfman needed them to be.

I. Elfman confirmed that was correct.

Chairman Bartley asked to clarify that his plan was to invest in and expand his business.

I. Elfman confirmed that was correct.

Chairman Bartley asked how the business would expand.

I. Elfman stated that he would continue doing what he had been, but with more room and more frontage on Northampton Street.

Chairman Bartley asked what his plan was for the existing structures.

I. Elfman stated he would refurbish and maintain the building at the 1615 address.

Chairman Bartley suggested that could mean something to look forward to in the future.

I. Elfman noted he had been interested in the property for a while and looked forward to developing it.

Councilor Greaney asked if it was his intention to maintain the buildings over a long period rather than raze them.

I. Elfman stated he would seek to maintain them. He noted that a portion of Cray’s package store was in disrepair and may have to come down, but largely planned to preserve the buildings.

Councilor Greaney asked if he spoke to the owner of the house behind the package store.

I. Elfman stated he had purchased that house.

Councilor Greaney asked if Cooper’s Cottage would be maintained as a business or be incorporated into the auto sales business.

I. Elfman stated that he had not had a definite plan as of that time other than intending to utilize the property in some way. He added that he would plan to have something that would be complementary to his business.

Councilor Tallman asked if the house at 1611 was a two family house.

I. Elfman confirmed that it was, adding that it was zoned business.

Councilor Tallman noted the front of that property used to be a barber shop.

I. Elfman confirmed that was correct, noting that it had been damaged by a vehicle driving into it.

Councilor Tallman asked to clarify the types of vehicles that would be sold.

I. Elfman stated that they sold cars and trucks.

Councilor Tallman asked how many cars would fit on the property.

I. Elfman stated they would have approximately 10 cars.

Councilor Tallman asked if the property beyond the package was residential.

I. Elfman confirmed that the property down Cray Avenue beyond the store was residential.

Councilor Tallman asked if the cars would be set back away from the sidewalk.

I. Elfman stated there would be a 5 foot buffer.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos noted that he received a communication relative to the application:
Patti Devine, 58 Magnolia Ave, stated “I would like to speak in favor of Auto Sales expansion. When Auto Sales first became a business in the 1990’s when I was the Ward 6 councilor, they promised to keep a clean and respectful business and they’ve never faulted on their promise. One if the best businesses in Holyoke. Proud to speak in favor!”

Chairman Bartley asked to clarify the plan for the house on Cray Avenue.

I. Elfman stated that someone had lived in the house prior to the purchase, noting that there had not currently been someone there. He added that the plan was to renovate it.

Chairman Bartley asked for the current business hours.

I. Elfman stated they were Monday through Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM, and Saturday 9 AM - 12 PM.

Chairman Bartley asked what his plan was for the future.

I. Elfman stated the plan would be to have them remain the same.

Chairman Bartley asked if he would agree to a condition that the hours remain the same.

I. Elfman stated he would agree to that.

Chairman Bartley stated that if the hours were to change, he would need to file an amendment to the special permit. He then noted that the permit would need to be renewed in a year.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to close the public hearing. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley made a motion to grant the special permit, with the condition that the hours remain the same as the current business, Monday through Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM, and Saturday 9 AM - 12 PM. Councilor Tallman seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley stated that the permit would be on the agenda for the next full Council meeting, followed by a 20 day appeal period.

 

(53:05)

Councilor Tallman made a motion to remove item 5 from the table. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 5: 8-3-21 BARTLEY -- The city council invite Lynn Gray, General Manager, of the Holyoke Mall to a future DGR meeting.

--->      Complied with 4-0.

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley stated the intent of the order was to open a dialogue with the Ms. Gray to provide a background and offer insight into her plan for the mall’s future.

L. Gray stated that her career began at Holyoke Mall in the 1990’s working as a customer service representative, as well as serving in marketing roles between Holyoke and Hampshire Malls. She noted the roles provided a good foundation for learning to work with the community. She then stated she later worked with GGP in a marketing capacity. She then served as general manager of Hampshire Mall. She noted that the industry had been evolving, with the addition of entertainment and recreational experiences at many malls. She noted that the mall was privately held with engaged investors. She stated that the activity appeared to be increasing coming out of the pandemic, with increased interest from potential tenants of local, regional, and national companies. She also noted that data showed an increase in activity compared to 2019 prior to the pandemic.

Chairman Bartley commended Bill Rogowski for serving as the mall’s general manager for 19 years. He then asked what the mall’s occupancy was at that time.

L. Gray stated that while she did not that information, the available spaces were being actively marketed, noting that a few leases were close to receiving signatures and others were about to open. She also stated that some of the spaces made vacant by the pandemic were able to be replaced quickly. She also noted there was a misconception that malls only host national operators, adding that many local owners run businesses out of the mall.

Chairman Bartley observed that there had been a controversy related to Amazon’s use of a back lot at the mall, citing a concern with a poor presentation, and noting they had severely limited the permit. He also noted there was a concern with the location of a tractor trailer school, adding that they had been moved after the approval of the permit. He then noted that the mall was the city’s largest taxpayer, particularly after a recent expansion. He also stated that he understood the mall was working with the Board of Assessors to identify possible abatements, noting that they were an independent body that would be trusted to make appropriate decisions without potential inappropriate outreach to city councilors. He then suggested that developers such as Pyramid should do outreach to owners of vacant locations such as the former Kmart and the former ShopRite, noting the potential benefit to existing surrounding businesses. He then suggested that Ms. L. Gray and the people at Pyramid should be more involved in city discussion of economic developing, noting that the next mayoral administration will likely be heavily focused on that.

Councilor Sullivan commended the transition the mall had made to bring in new types of activities and venues. He noted that many residents drive to Connecticut for venues such as water parks and batting cages. He then asked if the mall was pursing those kinds of venues.

L. Gray noted that her attitude was that no idea was too crazy. She stated that gyms, or go-kart racing, or trampoline parks would not have been considered for malls 15 years ago. She stated that they were open to diversifying the use of the mall, noting that shoppers were using all types of venues when visiting.

Councilor Tallman asked about the progress of a potential theater at the former Sears location.

L. Gray stated that the progress has been stalled, noting the impact of the pandemic on the film industry all over the country. She then expressed her intent to provide updates on progress at the mall as they become available and can be shared.

Councilor Tallman observed that the mall had often been open to engaging with the community and allowing volunteer organizations to sell items and provide services to raise funds.

L. Gray emphasized the importance of community connections, noting her own involvement with charitable organizations. She noted that local organizations were at the top of their marketing lists.

Councilor Greaney suggested that a miniature golf venue could be a draw for the community. He also noted the mall is often used during the winter months to get away from home, often utilizing the recreational and food venues. He then expressed his support for the continued success of the mall.

L. Gray stated that she would continue to learn and expressed appreciation for the city’s support.

Councilor Tallman made a motion that the item had been complied with. Councilor Sullivan seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

(1:22:30)

Councilor Tallman made a motion to remove item 6 from the table. Chairman Bartley seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 6: 9-7-21 Holyoke CPA Annual Budget Article 2022 - Request for the City Council to vote to appropriate and reserve from the Community Preservation Fund annual revenues, in the amounts recommended by the Community Preservation Committee, for committee administrative expenses and reserves in fiscal year 2022, with each item to be considered a separate appropriation.

--->      Approved 4-0.

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley recognized that Councilor Sullivan was the CPA liaison to the City Council. He then noted a communication had been received detailing the appropriations and budget.

Councilor Sullivan stated that the approval by the City Council was a requirement of the CPA process according to state law. He added that a minimum amount had to be set aside for each category, including administrative expenses, historic resources, community housing, open space/recreation, as well as a budgeted reserve.

Chairman Bartley asked the Admin if CPA Administrator Amy Landau had been invited.

Admin Asst Anderson-Burgos stated she had been invited but had deferred to Councilor Sullivan to act as the committee’s voice.

Councilor Sullivan clarified that the item was to approve the budget, and how it would get divided between each category. He then stated the language should be corrected, noting that it should not be an appropriation of the budget items. He also stated that it appeared each category would need to be approved individually.

Chairman Bartley stated that the committee could vote on them as a package. He then asked for a clarification of any changes on the language.

Councilor Sullivan clarified that the language should be find, adding that the revenue amounts were appropriations.

Chairman Bartley made a motion to approve the estimated revenues for each of the categories, the administrative expenses, and the budgeted reserve. Councilor Tallman seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

(1:28:05)

Councilor Tallman made a motion to remove item 7 from the table. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Item 7: 9-7-21 License Agreement between City of Holyoke and Edward A. Owen

--->      Approved 4-0.

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley stated that many years ago, a previous City Solicitor granted permission for use and occupancy at the former Geriatric Authority building. He observed there had been questions as to how that could be allowed, noting that the former solicitor stated it had nothing to do with the Council. He then stated that the matter concerned real property, requiring a vote of the City Council. He added that an ordinance had subsequently been passed requiring a license to have City Council approval.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to suspend the necessary rules to allow the Law Department to address the committee. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Atty Degnan stated that the request had been due to planned construction on city property at 120 Front Street. She noted that with an easement request, if land is acquired by the city though any other means than purchase, such as with eminent domain, the city cannot give the title or other interest without City Council declaring the property was no longer in use by the public. She then stated that the license agreement appeared to be the best way to help Mr. Owen.  She noted there was language to assure there would be no city liability. She then noted that Mr. Owen had concerns over language that would allow the city to order him to remove any improvements.

Chairman Bartley asked if the license would need to be renewed every 2 years.

Degnan confirmed that was correct.

Chairman Bartley asked if the applicant would need to record it, or if it was just kept on record.

Atty Degnan noted that easements and deeds needed to be recorded, while licenses generally did not. She then suggested there should not be a reason they would not record it.

Chairman Bartley asked for a clarification of language stating that easements cannot be granted with property taken.

Atty Degnan stated that if a city gets the title to real property by any other way besides a direct purchase, the property becomes owned for a public purchase. She then stated that before an easement or sale can be granted, the City Council must declare that the property would no longer be used for a public purchase. She stated that as she did not believe the City Council would make that declaration, the license agreement seemed the appropriate way to handle the matter.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to suspend the necessary rules to allow Mr. Owen to address the committee.  Councilor Sullivan seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

Chairman Bartley recognized Edward Owen in the Chambers. He then clarified the rules for addressing the committee and answering questions.

Edward Owen 78, Hill St, West Springfield. He stated that he sought answers from the Law Department on what would be an emergency that would lead to the city asking him to remove his ramp, as well as what criteria would lead to a 90 day removal. He noted that the language suggested that he could be told to take his ramp down and that he would have no recourse. He clarified that this language was found in letter F of the license agreement.

Chairman Bartley read the language in section F:
“The Licensors reserves the right to rescind this License. In the event of an emergency, the Licensor may rescind this License effective immediately. Otherwise, the Licensor may rescind this License for other reasons, in which case, the Licensor shall give the Licensee ninety (90) days written notice, and upon the Licensee’s receipt of written notice, the Licensee shall remove any improvement that the Licensor wishes to be removed. The Licensor must identify for the Licensee, in its notice to rescind this License, the improvements which the Licensee must remove. The Licensee shall be responsible for all the costs in removing the improvements specified in the notice to rescind this License.”
He noted that the language was vague. He then asked Atty Degnan to clarify a potential example.

Atty Degnan stated that there should be a good faith understanding that the city would not just ask him to remove it immediately, noting it would nullify the purpose. She then stated that if his improvement caused a regular issue like impeding the Fire Department’s ability to get to a location, that would be an example of an emergency.

Chairman Bartley stated that it appeared they could not determine every possible emergency, adding that the example provided an example of a larger public issue. He noted that the city would not rescind the license arbitrarily.

Degnan confirmed that was accurate.

E. Owen asked what the criteria would be for a 90 day notice.

Atty Degnan stated that he would receive a letter indicating what would have to be removed. She reiterated that the city could foresee every situation but it would not be the city’s intention to stop him from adding the improvement.

E. Owen stated that he has had to fight to get his building off of a blighted and underused list one two occasions. He then expressed frustration over being asked to sign the document with unresolved questions. He then asked if he were to remove the existing ramp grandfathered in, replaced it, and then was asked to remove it, would he be restricted from building a new one.

Atty Degnan stated that it would depend on if the ramp was removable or permanent.

E. Owen stated that it would be permanent, noting that it would not go to the sidewalk. He also noted that he had been told that he could be granted an easement, and now was told he could not get an easement. He then asked if section F could be removed.

Atty Degnan stated that it could not be removed, but it could be made clearer to assure that he would not be asked to remove improvements without reasonable thought.

E. Owen stated that there would be no access to the front of the building without a ramp.

Chairman Bartley suggested that while the license would not be negotiated by the committee, they could recommended adoption with the intent that the Law Department would work out a solution by amending the language prior to the next City Council meeting. He then suggested there would likely not be a scenario requiring removal of the ramp. He then noted that a contract could not have an exhaustive list of potential emergencies.

E. Owen stated he would agree to that if he could meet with Atty Degnan.

Atty Degnan stated she could meet with him as long as he was not represented by counsel.

E. Owen stated he was representing himself on this matter. He then asked what the purchase price would be if was intended to buy the property.

Chairman Bartley stated that the solicitor did not determine that. He then suggested observing how the license works out before moving ahead. He also noted that the sale would go out to RFP if it was to be sold.

Councilor Tallman noted that OPED Director, Aaron Vega, was in attendance and may be able to offer guidance.

Aaron Vega stated that they believed installing the ramp would make the property more viable for tenancy. He then stated he did not have additional feedback at that time on a potential sale, adding that it was would an entirely different process.

Chairman Bartley stated that while he was not sure what advice may have been given in the past, legal advice would have been inappropriate.

E. Owen clarified that he did not believe it had been legal advice.

Councilor Tallman made a motion to accept the license agreement. Councilor Greaney seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

 

Chairman Bartley stated that item 8 would remain on the table without discussion.

(1:55:45)

Item 9: Schedule September meeting

--->      Next meeting scheduled for October 4th at 5:30 PM

DISCUSSION:

Chairman Bartley stated that there was a time crunch to act on four items prior to the October 5th City Council meeting. He suggested they could meet briefly on October 4th, based on feedback from the committee. He noted there were orders for a tax increment exemption, a tax increment financing, and two title transfers.

The rest of the committee stated they could be available.

 

Adjourned at 7:59 PM.


Jeffery Anderson-Burgos
Administrative Assistant to the City Council

Holyoke City Hall
536 Dwight St, Room 10
Holyoke, MA 01040
Regular hours 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Meeting days 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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