Comments on: Council’s Meeting Dominated by Downtown it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Tom Whitaker Tom Whitaker Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:09:45 +0000 Tonight City Council will consider both the six-month moratorium on D1 site plans AND the 413 E. Huron site plan. I encourage all who support QUALITY development and good planning to contact their city council members and the mayor and ask them to support the moratorium, effectively delaying action on 413 E. Huron.

The current D1 zoning along the north side of E. Huron is not consistent with the master plan because it does not provide for any transition between the tall, dense D1 in the “core” and the residential neighborhood to the north, which happens to include three historic districts and at least one house that is on the National Register of Historic Places. One of our landmark burr oaks that made up the very arbor for which Ann Arbor was named will have its roots damaged and will be cast into shadow much of the year–as will several of these houses.

It’s time to re-evaluate the downtown zoning, as promised in the council resolution of November 16, 2009, and planning commission work plans going back to January 2011, before any more projects like the Varsity or the 413 E. Huron proposal are approved.

Ann Arbor is NOT “radioactive” to GOOD developments that respect the community and fit their context. But those who’ve lived here for some time know that out-of-scale projects like University Towers or Tower Plaza can be sore thumbs for decades that cannot be taken back once built. Now is the time to take a time out and look at where we are headed before it’s too late.

By: John Floyd John Floyd Fri, 15 Mar 2013 00:59:24 +0000 Sabra,

It’s good to know that there has been at least one closed session, anyway, in which the Open Meetings Act was not violated.

By: Sabra Briere Sabra Briere Thu, 14 Mar 2013 23:46:05 +0000 Re: #3. Many things could happen in closed session. One of the things that DIDN’T happen on March 4th was any discussion about postponing the resolution that I sponsored on D1/D2 zoning and a moratorium.
After leaving the closed session, I turned to a couple of members of Council and stated that I’d like to postpone the resolution. When the item appeared on the agenda, I made that motion. That no member of Council wanted to discuss whether that was the best possible action was – quite simply – a decision each member of Council made without any discussion – in closed session or prior to that vote.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Thu, 14 Mar 2013 16:31:41 +0000 I think the Council’s March 4 actions regarding the A2D2 moratorium raise important questions regarding what happens in closed session.

A closed session under the Open Meetings Act (OMA) is restricted to a few narrow exceptions. One exception is to discuss matters exempt from disclosure by state or federal law. Under this exception, Council may go into closed session regarding materials that are covered by the attorney-client privilege because the Michigan Freedom of Information Act exempts documents that are attorney-client privileged. The OMA closed session regarding the attorney-client privilege includes only those matters contained in a written opinion from the attorney. The Council cannot ask additional legal questions not within the scope of the written advice and the Council cannot engage in deliberations upon the agenda item based on the legal advice. The Council can only engage in the discussion necessary to understand the written advice given.

On March 4, the Council went into closed session regarding a written opinion from the City Attorney’s office about the A2D2 moratorium. When the open session of the meeting resumed, Council voted to delay consideration of the A2D2 moratorium, without any discussion. Apparently, the delay was sought to enable the City Attorney’s office to bring in outside counsel to add support for the advice it was giving Council about the A2D2 moratorium. That raises a question about whether a City attorney had discussed bringing in another attorney in his written advice. If there was no mention of consulting another attorney in the written advice, it would have been inappropriate for the attorney and Council members to discuss obtaining additional legal advice while in closed session.

A second issue regarding the OMA arises from the Council’s vote to delay consideration of the moratorium resolution without any discussion in open session. Did the Council engage in deliberations about what actions it would take on the moratorium resolution while still in closed session? Discussion in closed session about what action Council will take when the open session resumes is improper under the OMA.

With its attorney present in the closed session, one would hope that the attorney would supervise proper compliance with the OMA restrictions on the proper scope of discussion and the fact that it is improper to deliberate in closed session. Because the public cannot see the written advice and because the closed session is confidential, we will never know whether Council remained within the proper scope of a closed session.

I hope Council members will reflect on the limited scope of closed session discussions. The Open Meetings Act is meant to provide citizens with the opportunity to keep informed about the actions of their elected officials. Council should restrict closed sessions to discussions necessary to the understanding of written legal advice. The decisions about what action to take after understanding that legal advice must take place in open session.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Thu, 14 Mar 2013 14:39:00 +0000 @1: Electric vehicles are not beneficial to our environment. They’re not even clearly less harmful than ICE vehicles. What our city government could do to benefit our environment is reduce the usage of motorized vehicles (bikes being one alternative).

“The resolution included encouragement of city employees to turn off or dim all non-essential lighting in city buildings between 8:30-9:30 p.m. on March 23.”

Raises the question of why non-essential lighting would be left on (and allowed/tolerated) at other times.

By: Mark Koroi Mark Koroi Thu, 14 Mar 2013 01:07:34 +0000 I found it interesting none of the 44 vehicles purchased by the City of Ann Arbor was an electric vehicle.

Electric vehicles are the future of automotive transportation and are beneficial to our environment.

The Ann Arbor City Council should be doing everything to promote electrically-powered cars.