• June 22 2018,  Malden

    City Council invites the public to speak up

     By Barbara Taormina   Public comment, a 30-minute segment at the start of City Council meetings when the public can share their opinions and ideas about city business, has arrived. Councillors voted unanimously this week to update the City Council rule book, and as part of that overhaul they added public comment to the council’s agenda items. “(This) was a great win for Malden,” said Council President Debbie DeMaria. “I, and other councillors, look forward to another opportunity to hear from our constituents.” Public comment is not exactly a half hour of political open mic. The number of speakers will be capped at 15 for each meeting, and speakers, who…

  • June 1 2018,  Malden

    City Council considers format for public comment

    By Barbara Taormina   Public comment is coming to Malden’s City Council, but councillors want to make sure it’s done right. Councillors postponed voting to adopt a public comment segment at the start of their regular meetings in order to review the process individuals will use to sign up to speak on any item on the agenda. Up to 15 people will have two minutes to share their opinions and ideas on any piece of pending city business. But Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy wanted some assurances that people with different or opposing views would have a chance to speak. “When given the opportunity to speak, I want to make…

  • April 20 2018,  Malden

    City Council takes a new direction in hospital debate

    By Barbara Taormina   The City Council agreed this week to reach out to Hallmark Health with the hope of launching a discussion about the future of the former Malden Hospital site. Ward 3 Councillor John Matheson, who heads up the Malden Hospital Site Redevelopment Ad Hoc Committee, drafted a letter to Hallmark Health and Wellforce, Hallmark’s parent company, asking officials to meet with the council. Councillors want an opportunity to explain the community’s concerns about traffic and density associated with Fellsmere Housing Group’s proposal to build 214 condos, 18 town houses and 18 single-family homes at the former hospital site. Matheson said the ad hoc committee voted to send…

  • April 6 2018,  Malden

    City Council updates its rule book

     By Barbara Taormina   The City Council is reviewing the rules that govern how it operates and goes about the city’s business. “We are updating the City Council rulebook,” said City Council President Debbie DeMaria this week. DeMaria said she had been working with City Clerk Tom Brennan, the city clerk’s office staff and former City Clerk Karen Anderson on a comprehensive review of the council’s rules, which include everything from meeting schedules, motions, appointments and guidelines for debate to rules for decorum. “We have gone through each and every order, and we are ready to present it to you via the Ordinance Committee,” said DeMaria. “It’s a work in…

  • April 6 2018,  Malden

    Op-Ed: City Council must follow Growth Management Study recommendations

    By Neil Kinnon In March of 2017, independent planning consultant Community Opportunities Group Inc., which had been retained by the Malden City Council delivered its Growth Management Study. The first focus of the report assessed the fiscal impacts of different types of new development.  It also demonstrated clear indicators as to why Malden has and continues to struggle financially, dispelled the fairy tale that building more multi-unit apartments added few children to the school system, and provided a clear path to financial health if appropriate steps are taken. In short, Malden must halt multi-unit housing development outside of senior housing as the costs outweigh the taxes and must concentrate on…

  • Malden,  March 23 2018

    City Council proposes updates for city zoning

    By Barbara Taormina   City councillors are planning to push for zoning changes that could encourage economic growth and make streetscapes greener. Members of the Ordinance Committee met this week to review a proposal to ease regulations on the uses allowed in Malden’s business and industrial zones in the hope of drawing more commercial activity to the city. They also discussed new regulations that would require landscaping and bicycle racks for offsite parking lots. Both proposals are on the agenda for the next Planning Board and Ordinance Committee joint public hearing scheduled for April 11. “We’re looking at changing a significant number of uses,” said Ordinance Committee Chairman/Ward 4 Councillor…

  • Malden,  March 16 2018

    City Council rejects new height limits for downtown

    By Barbara Taormina   The City Council clashed recently over height restrictions for residential buildings in downtown Malden and brought the city’s divided views on development into sharper focus. Ward 5 Councillor Barbara Murphy asked fellow councillors to consider a six-story height limit for multifamily buildings in downtown Malden even though the height limit failed to win the Planning Board’s endorsement last December. Malden currently allows residential buildings up to 12 stories in the downtown business district with a special permit from the City Council. “My goal was to walk out of there with anything more than six stories excluded,” said Murphy. I did what I thought I had to…

  • Malden,  March 9 2018

    City Council to meet offsite

    On March 13th the City Council will host its first off-site Committee of the Whole Meeting in the “Great Room” of the former Masonic Building, located directly across the street from MATV at 126-150 Pleasant Street. This meeting will be sponsored by the Council’s newly re-established Citizen’s Engagement Committee. The Citizen’s Engagement Committee, chaired by Councillor Jadeanne Sica, chose this location so that the community could have a first-hand look at the work completed to preserve some of the historical elements of the structure. “It’s a beautiful restoration and I am very proud to sponsor our meeting here,” said Councillor Sica. Constructed in 1895 and known as the Browne-Masonic Building,…

  • February 23 2018,  Malden

    Committee delays vote on Demolition Delay Ordinance

    By Barbara Taormina   A revised version of the city’s proposed Demolition Delay Ordinance has raised questions and created confusion about the process meant to preserve Malden’s historical cityscapes. A few weeks ago, the Ordinance Committee voted to recommend that the City Council approve a Demolition Delay Ordinance proposed by the city’s Historical Commission. The new ordinance was aimed at preserving the city’s historically significant buildings by imposing a 12-month delay on demolition permits for buildings the Historical Commission determined should be preserved. Architectural features, building styles and ties to the city’s economic, political and social history are among the reasons the Historical Commission may delay a permit to tear…

  • February 23 2018,  Malden

    City Council to review home business rules

     By Barbara Taormina   With more people choosing to work from home, the City Council has decided to review and update the ordinance that regulates home occupations. Ward 3 Councillor John Matheson proposed the review in the hope of bringing Malden’s regulations in line with the needs and interests of today’s workers and entrepreneurs. “Our ordinance establishes which businesses you may or may not conduct from home, and has not been updated in quite some time,” said Matheson. He asked the Ordinance Committee to look at the current rules to see what might be added or deleted from the list of acceptable home-based businesses. The current ordinance defines a narrow…