Jan. 6, 2014 Ann Arbor Council: Preview

Back again: formal termination of MOU on Fuller Road Station; cost of removing an on-street parking space. Also up for approval: Traverwood Apartments: Montgomery Ward building; Briarwood Mall restaurants

The Ann Arbor city council’s first regular meeting of the year, set for Jan. 6, 2014, features a relatively light agenda with only a half dozen substantive voting items.

Screenshot of Legistar – the city of Ann Arbor online agenda management system. Image links to the next meeting agenda.

Screenshot of Legistar – the city of Ann Arbor’s online agenda management system. Image links to the Jan. 6, 2014 meeting agenda.

Two of those items were postponed from the final meeting of 2013, on Dec. 16.

One of those postponed items was the official termination of a four-year-old memorandum of understanding with the University of Michigan for construction of the Fuller Road Station project.

That was a planned joint city/UM parking structure, bus depot and possible train station located at the city’s Fuller Park near the UM medical campus. The council had approved the MOU on the Fuller Road Station project at its Nov. 5, 2009 meeting on a unanimous vote. However, a withdrawal of UM from the project, which took place under the terms of the MOU, was announced on Feb. 10, 2012. So it’s been clear for nearly two years that the MOU was a dead letter. The vote to terminate the MOU has its origins in the politics of Stephen Kunselman’s Ward 3 re-election campaign, when he promised to bring forward such a resolution.

The council’s postponement of the MOU termination at its Dec. 16 meeting was not due to any particular controversy about the vote itself. Instead, the postponement resulted from the fact that the item had been added to the agenda on the same day as the meeting, and that’s a practice the council has agreed should be avoided.

The other item delayed from the Dec. 16 meeting was a resolution assigning a specific cost to the removal of an on-street parking space, in connection with future developments: $45,000. That item first appeared on the council’s Dec. 2 agenda, but the council postponed it, based on a desire to hold a public hearing on the matter before taking action. The Dec. 16 postponement came after questions were raised during council deliberations, about the accounting procedures that would be used by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to track any money that might be collected under the policy.

Apart from those previously delayed items, the rest of the council’s agenda is filled out primarily with items concerning future development.

Accounting for two of the council’s Jan. 6 voting items is Traverwood Apartments – a First Martin development on the west side of Traverwood Drive, north of Plymouth Road. The council will consider final approval of some rezoning necessary for the complex of 16 two-story buildings. And on a separate vote, the council will consider the site plan approval and a wetland use permit associated with the apartment complex.

A third development item on the Jan. 6 agenda is the site plan for the upward expansion of the Montgomery Ward building on Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor. The estimated $3.8 million project would expand the existing 17,273-square-foot building – a former Montgomery Ward’s department store – to 38,373 square feet, with housing on the second through fifth floors.

And a final development on the Jan. 6 agenda is a site plan and development agreement for two restaurants at Briarwood Mall. The restaurants – one at 6,470 square feet, the other at 7,068 square feet – would be constructed on the east side of the Macy’s building at Briarwood Mall, 700 Briarwood Circle. The restaurants would be operated by two chains: P.F. Chang’s and Bravo! Cucina Italiana.

The consent agenda features two items involving cellular phone antennas mounted on city facilities. One of the items relates to the specific contracts with Sprint for placing antennas at four facilities: the Plymouth Road water tower, the Manchester Road water tower, the Ann-Ashley parking structure, and the water treatment plant. The contracts are being revised upwards to $45,000 a year at each location, with 4% annual escalators.

The other consent agenda item that’s related to cellular phone antennas, if it’s approved, would make it unnecessary in the future for items like the agreements with Sprint to come before the city council for approval. Instead, it would give the city administrator the power to approve licensing agreements with cellular service providers – even though they exceed the $25,000 threshold for council approval set forth in a city-charter required ordinance.

This article includes a more detailed preview of many of these agenda items. More details on other agenda items are available on the city’s online Legistar system. The meeting proceedings can be followed Monday evening live on Channel 16, streamed online by Community Television Network starting at 7 p.m.

How Much Is a Parking Space Worth?

A resolution that was postponed for the second time at the council’s Dec. 16, 2013 meeting is now on the Jan. 6 agenda. It would define how much developers would need to pay the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority if a developer’s project requires removal of a metered on-street parking space. The proposed amount is $45,000 per space. The payment would go to the Ann Arbor DDA because the DDA manages the public parking system under a contract with the city.

The rationale for postponing the item on Dec. 2 – offered by Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), who sponsored the resolution – was that because it amounts to a fee, a public hearing should be held on the matter before the council voted.

After the public hearing held at the council’s Dec. 16 meeting, the council’s deliberations focused on the question of the accounting procedures to be used by the DDA in tracking any money that might be paid under the policy. Given that the rationale for the policy is that the money would be put toward the cost of construction for new parking spaces, councilmembers wanted to know how the money would be reserved for that purpose.

In this matter, the council would be acting on a four-year-old recommendation approved by the Ann Arbor DDA in 2009:

Thus it is recommended that when developments lead to the removal of on-street parking meter spaces, a cost of $45,000/parking meter space (with annual CPI increases) be assessed and provided to the DDA to set aside in a special fund that will be used to construct future parking spaces or other means to meet the goals above. [.pdf of meeting minutes with complete text of March 4, 2009 DDA resolution]

The contract under which the DDA manages the public parking system for the city was revised to restructure the financial arrangement (which now pays the city 17% of the gross revenues), but also included a clause meant to prompt the city to act on the on-street space cost recommendation. From the May 2011 parking agreement:

The City shall work collaboratively with the DDA to develop and present for adoption by City Council a City policy regarding the permanent removal of on-street metered parking spaces. The purpose of this policy will be to identify whether a community benefit to the elimination of one or more metered parking spaces specific area(s) of the City exists, and the basis for such a determination. If no community benefit can be identified, it is understood and agreed by the parties that a replacement cost allocation methodology will need to be adopted concurrent with the approval of the City policy; which shall be used to make improvements to the public parking or transportation system.

Subject to administrative approval by the city, the DDA has sole authority to determine the addition or removal of meters, loading zones, or other curbside parking uses.

The $45,000 figure is based on an average construction cost to build a new parking space in a structure, either above ground or below ground – as estimated in 2009. It’s not clear what the specific impetus is to act on the issue now, other than the fact that action is simply long overdue. [For more background, see: "Column: Ann Arbor's Monroe (Street) Doctrine."]

Taylor, the resolution’s sponsor, participated in meetings during the fall of 2013 of a joint council and DDA board committee that negotiated a resolution to the question about how the DDA’s TIF (tax increment finance) revenue is regulated. In that context, Taylor had argued adamantly that any cap on the DDA’s TIF should be escalated by a construction industry CPI, or roughly 5%. Taylor’s reasoning was that the DDA’s mission is to undertake capital projects and therefore should have revenue that escalates in accordance with increases in the costs to undertake capital projects.

Based on Taylor’s reasoning on the TIF question, and the explicit 2009 recommendation by the DDA to increase the estimated $45,000 figure in that year by an inflationary index, the recommended amount now, four years later, would be closer to $55,000, assuming a 5% figure for construction cost inflation. The city’s contribution in lieu (CIL) parking program allows a developer (as one option) to satisfy an on-site parking space requirement by paying $55,000. (The other option is to enter into a 15-year agreement to purchase monthly parking permits at a 20% premium.)

The actual cost of building an underground space in the recently completed (2012) underground Library Lane parking structure could be calculated by taking the actual costs and dividing by 738 – the number of spaces in the structure. Based on a recent memo from executive director Susan Pollay to city administrator Steve Powers, about 30% or $15 million of the cost of the project was spent on items “unneeded by the parking structure.” That included elements like oversized foundations to support future development, an extra-large transformer, a new alley between Library Lane and S. Fifth Avenue, new water mains, easements for a fire hydrant and pedestrian improvements.

The actual amount spent on the Library Lane structure, according to DDA records produced under a Freedom of Information Act request from The Chronicle, was $54,855,780.07, or about $1.5 million under the project’s $56.4 million budget. Adjusting for those elements not needed for the parking structure yields a per-space cost of about $52,000. [(54,855,780.07*.70)/738] [.pdf of Nov. 22, 2013 memo from Pollay to Powers][.pdf of budget versus actual expenses for the 738-space Library Lane structure]

By way of additional background, the Ann Arbor DDA’s most recent financial records show that last year, on-street parking spaces generated $2,000 in gross revenue per space or $1,347 in net income per space annually. The contract with the city under which the DDA operates the public parking system stipulates that the city receives 17% of the gross parking revenues. So the city’s revenue associated with an on-street parking space corresponds to $340 annually.

Killing Fuller Road Station MOU

An item postponed from the Dec. 16, 2013 meeting would officially terminate a four-year-old memorandum of understanding between the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan on Fuller Road Station.

Fuller Road Station was a planned joint city/UM parking structure, bus depot and possible train station located at the city’s Fuller Park near the UM medical campus. The council had approved the MOU on the Fuller Road Station project at its Nov. 5, 2009 meeting on a unanimous vote. [.pdf of Nov. 5, 2009 MOU text as approved by the city council] However, a withdrawal of UM from the project, which took place under terms of the MOU, was announced on Feb. 10, 2012. So it’s been clear for nearly two years that the MOU was a dead letter.

Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) sponsored the Dec. 16 resolution. The idea to terminate the MOU has its origins in election campaign rhetoric. He had stated at a June 8, 2013 Democratic primary candidate forum that he intended to bring forth such a resolution to “kill” the Fuller Road Station project. From The Chronicle’s report of that forum:

Kunselman also stated that he would be proposing that the city council rescind its memorandum of understanding with the University of Michigan to build a parking structure as part of the Fuller Road Station project. Although UM has withdrawn from participation in that project under the MOU, Kunselman said he wanted to “kill it.” That way, he said, the conversation could turn away from using the designated parkland at the Fuller Road Station site as a new train station, and could instead be focused on the site across the tracks from the existing Amtrak station.

The city continues to pursue the possibility of a newly built or reconstructed train station, but not necessarily with the University of Michigan’s participation, and without a pre-determined preferred alternative for the site of a new station. At its Oct. 21, 2013 meeting, the council approved a contract with URS Corp. Inc. to carry out an environmental review of a project called the Ann Arbor Station. That review should yield the determination of a locally-preferred alternative for a site.

Kunselman led off deliberations at the Dec. 16 meeting saying he would like to postpone the resolution. He indicated that he thought he’d managed to add the item to the agenda on the Friday before the Monday meeting, but it turned out he had not done so. In light of the council’s discussion at their Dec. 9 budget planning session – when councilmembers had said they’d strive to avoid adding resolutions at the last minute – Kunselman said he wanted it postponed.

Mayor John Hieftje and Sabra Briere (Ward 1) both indicated they’d vote for the resolution – but also said they didn’t think the resolution was necessary. They indicated they were willing to vote for the resolution without postponing. Kunselman nevertheless wanted to postpone it, because it was added late to the agenda.

Traverwood Apartments

Also on the council’s Jan. 6 agenda is a First Martin Corp. project, which would construct a residential complex on the west side of Traverwood Drive, north of Plymouth Road. The development is called Traverwood Apartments.

The project, estimated to cost $30 million, would include 16 two-story buildings for a total of 216 one- and two-bedroom units – or 280 total bedrooms. Eight of the buildings would each have 15 units and 11 single-car garages. An additional eight buildings would each have 12 units and 8 single-car garages.

Two separate items are on the council’s agenda – one for the rezoning required for the project, and the other for the site plan and wetland use permit.

At the council’s Dec. 2, 2013 meeting, the initial approval of the required rezoning was given. Also approved at that meeting was a donation of 2.2 acres, just north of the project site – by Bill Martin to the city. The donated acreage is next to the Stapp Nature Area and the Leslie Park golf course.

Traverwood Apartments, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of proposed Traverwood Apartments at 2225 Traverwood Drive, north of Plymouth Road.

The city’s planning commission recommended approval of the site plan and the required rezoning at its Nov. 6, 2013 meeting. The site is made up of two parcels: a nearly 16-acre lot that’s zoned R4D (multi-family residential), and an adjacent 3.88-acre lot to the south that’s currently zoned ORL (office, research and light industrial). It’s the smaller lot that needs to be rezoned R4D.

Land to be donated by Bill Martin to the city of Ann Arbor indicated in red outline.

Land donated by Bill Martin to the city of Ann Arbor indicated in red outline.

Montgomery Ward Building

Another item on the city council’s Jan. 6 agenda is the site plan for a four-story addition to the existing two-story building (the old Montgomery Ward building) at 210-216 S. Fourth Ave., between East Liberty and East Washington in downtown Ann Arbor. The plan calls for creating 32 new housing units, including four studios, 14 one-bedroom, and 14 two-bedroom units. Planning commissioners took action to recommend approval of the project’s site plan at their Nov. 19, 2013 meeting.

Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of the Montgomery building (indicated with crosshatches) at 210 S. Fourth Ave. in downtown Ann Arbor.

The estimated $3.8 million project would expand the existing 17,273-square-foot building – a former Montgomery Ward’s department store – to 38,373 square feet, with housing on the second through fifth floors. The ground floor would remain commercial space. Current tenants include Salon Vertigo and Bandito’s Mexican Restaurant. The top floor will include a stair/elevator lobby, restroom, wet bar, and access to several roof decks. Part of the fifth-floor roof will be covered in vegetation as a green roof.

Because the building is located in a historic district, it required a certificate of appropriateness from the city’s historic district commission. The HDC granted that certificate at its Sept. 12, 2013 meeting.

The site is zoned D1, which allows for the highest level of density. According to a staff memo, eight footing drain disconnects will be required.

According to a report from the July 10, 2013 citizen participation meeting, the units will be marketed to “anyone who wants to live downtown.” If approvals are received, construction is expected to begin next summer. The project’s architect is Brad Moore.

Moore is also the architect for an expansion project on the adjacent property – a three-floor addition to the Running Fit building at East Liberty and South Fourth, which will create six residential units. That project received a recommendation of approval from planning commissioners at their Oct. 15, 2013 meeting and was subsequently approved by the city council on Dec. 2, 2013.

Briarwood Mall Restaurant Expansions

A site plan for construction of two free-standing restaurants at Briarwood Mall is also on the council’s Jan. 6 agenda.

Briarwood Mall, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of Briarwood Mall. The cross-hatched section indicates the parcel where two new restaurants are proposed, adjacent to Macy’s.

The proposal calls for building two new freestanding restaurants – one at 6,470 square feet, the other at 7,068 square feet – on the east side of the Macy’s building at Briarwood Mall, 700 Briarwood Circle. The restaurants would be two chains: P.F. Chang’s and Bravo! Cucina Italiana.

The parking lot north and east of the new restaurants would be reconfigured, reducing the total amount of parking by 188 spaces. The estimated cost of the project is $1,577,094. The site is located in Ward 4.

Ann Arbor planning commissioners recommended approval of the site plan and development in action at their Nov. 19, 2013 meeting. The project was originally considered at the commission’s Oct. 15, 2013 meeting, but postponed because of outstanding issues.

Originally, the planning staff had indicated that the project would require rezoning a portion of the parking lot from P (parking) to C2B (business service. However, according to a memo accompanying the commission’s Nov. 19 meeting packet, planning staff subsequently determined that because the original 1973 Briarwood Mall zoning anticipated the expansion of Hudson’s (now Macy’s ) to the east, no rezoning was needed.

Cellular Antenna Licensing

The consent agenda for Jan. 6 features two items involving cellular phone antennas mounted on city facilities. By council rule, contracts for less than $100,000 can be placed on the consent agenda.


Antennas from left: Plymouth Road water tower, Ann-Ashley parking structure, Manchester Road water tower.

One of the consent agenda items relates to the specific contracts with Sprint for placing antennas at four facilities: the Plymouth Road water tower, the Manchester Road water tower, the Ann-Ashley parking structure, and the water treatment plant. The contracts are being revised upwards to $45,000 a year at each location with 4% annual escalators. The previous agreements ranged from $25,920 to $39,283, according to the staff memo accompanying the resolution.

The staff memo also indicates that Sprint has been given initial administrative approval to undertake replacement of some of its equipment related to its 4G deployment.

The other consent agenda item related to cellular phone antennas, if it’s approved, would make it unnecessary in the future for items like the agreements with Sprint to come before the city council for approval. Instead, it would give the city administrator the power to approve licensing agreements with cellular service providers – even though they exceed the $25,000 threshold for council approval set forth in a city-charter required ordinance.

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  1. January 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm | permalink

    Thanks for the one-click link to the proper Legistar page for this agenda. Very convenient for me to read the actual resolution regarding the cellular phone antennas.

    The language in the resolution also refers to the “water treatment plant”, with no location information. I surmise that it refers to the Sunset drinking water treatment plant, not the wastewater treatment plant out on Dixboro.

    That is interesting to me because I would expect that the antenna is affixed to the old transmission tower on the plant. I made some effort back in the 1990s to learn when that tower would come down. It is something of an eyesore, with a blinking red light. At the time, the Fire Department was still using the tower (other uses had been discontinued) but the 800 MHz system was expected to supercede that use. My letter to Councilman Chris Kolb stated, “I was…concerned that commercial interests may try to secure leases on tower use”. He was able to learn that most uses were being phased out, but there was never a resolution. I had been told by someone at the water department that the tower compromised the foundation at the plant, but I never had documentation of that.

    I’d hate to have Council lose the ability to oversee these leases.

  2. January 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm | permalink

    Re: [1] Vivienne, the “water treatment plant” does refer to the Sunset Road facility. Here’s the extracted page from the Sprint agreement on that facility, which lays out the facility location: [link] And here’s a link to the Google Maps satellite imagery: [link]

  3. By Mark Koroi
    January 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm | permalink

    For a nice summary of the opposition arguments to the Fuller Road project see [link]

    Steve Kunselman is correctly cited as a force on City Council who opposed this plan, but Mike Anglin also has been a vocal opponent of the envisioned Fuller Road project.

  4. January 3, 2014 at 9:48 am | permalink

    With regard to Traverwood Apartments, the donated acreage would also provide a small buffer between the project and the Traverwood branch of the AA District Library.

  5. By Libby Hunter
    January 4, 2014 at 10:09 am | permalink

    An obvious issue right now is the need for an emergency shelter for homeless people. A bit of searching shows that other municipalities do this in severe weather situtations. It should be on the agenda as a resolution (or something.) Better yet, the city opens something in the next hour!

  6. January 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm | permalink

    The Delonis Shelter does offer daytime and overnight emergency shelter, and the city contributes funds for the operation of the Delonis Shelter. [link]

  7. January 5, 2014 at 7:11 pm | permalink

    Despite many on the council and in city administration stating otherwise, there is a demonstrable need for additional, emergency temporary resources for our city’s larger-than-reported homeless population. Yes, the city contributes funds for operation of the shelter, but there are other ways the city could help in this time of need.

  8. January 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm | permalink

    There is quite a lengthy, and I think, useful discussion in the comments on this Mark Maynard post. [link]

    My personal impression is that Ann Arbor and perhaps Washtenaw County should have an emergency plan for weather emergencies that includes some shelter for the homeless. I wonder if we have one for times when power is out for part of the population. I’ve never heard of anything but I hope that is going on quietly in the background.

  9. By Lou Glorie
    January 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm | permalink

    Chuck you’re saying that Delonis is not full and that the city, having contributed to Delonis, has discharged all moral responsibility to prevent someone from freezing to death tonight?

  10. January 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm | permalink

    Lou, please don’t put words in my mouth.

    Comment 5 made it sound like there is no emergency shelter. There is. Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but to me there’s a difference between “you aren’t doing anything for emergency shelter and you should” and “what you’re doing for emergency shelter isn’t adequate, how do we close the gap?”

    There are 3 issues we do face:

    1. While I haven’t heard that the overnight warming shelter has turned anyone away, it is currently “very full to overflowing,” and this creates poor conditions;

    2. For daytime hours, the 10 degree weather amnesty is too cold;

    3. There are people excluded from the shelter due to intoxication of accusations of bad past behavior;

    A few notes on this.

    * There immediate-term questions and long-term questions, both need to be addressed. For example, there is an immediate need for warming space, but that won’t end with spring. What do we want to deal with this emergency and what do we want as a long-term policy?

    * If we change the weather amnesty level from the current 10 degrees to 25, it means we essentially operate a warming center from Nov-Feb or March. That will cost $160-$180k, or about the equivalent of 2 police officers or firefighters. Which should we choose? Or is there another tradeoff we should make?

    * I think the people at the greatest risk are those who arrive at the shelter intoxicated or who have past behavioral issues such as fighting. Finding a way to serve this population can be very challenging. There are models to deal with folks who are intoxicated, and some of the results are promising: [link] [link]

    Still, the experience of First Baptist shows that it isn’t as easy as creating a sheltered space: [link]

  11. By Tom Whitaker
    January 6, 2014 at 9:14 am | permalink

    The underground parking structure and the Division and Fifth Ave. traffic-calming projects were both rolled into the same bond issue. The bids for the Fifth and Division project came in $1 million under budget and now it appears (thanks to the Chronicle filing a FOIA request!) that the underground parking structure came in $1.5 million under budget. Why are we not using the $2.5 million bond issue surplus to complete the Fifth and Division project, which was scaled back to save money (and was originally going to be paid for by the DDA out of TIF funds)? Incomplete areas include the Kerrytown/farmer’s market blocks of Fifth Ave., which are in deplorable condition, and the blocks of Fifth and Division south of William.

  12. January 6, 2014 at 9:18 am | permalink

    I’ve received some information that Washtenaw County is mobilizing some resources to address this emergency. The Emergency Response Plan describes a Snow Emergency Council and part of that operation is emergency shelter. I hope that more information will be available on the County web page today.

    We should all remember that the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County is a nonprofit organization that depends on private charitable donations, not just city and county support. I just recently sent in my first check of the year. For information on how to donate, visit their web page [link] where you will also see a “wish list”. Last summer I took advantage of this to have a shopping spree at Costco just before I ended my membership. I dumped a lot of cheap toilet paper and washcloths at their front desk. I encourage you all to do something similar – just add a few items to a shopping list. They also request bus passes and tokens.

    Unfortunately, when the Shelter was constructed, there was a conscious decision to limit its size. The idea was that we would “end homelessness” so there would never be a need for so many beds. Obviously that didn’t work out.

    Aside from their space limitations, the Shelter has to employ people in order to offer these services. How does a charitable organization staff up to meet new demands without funds? If this situation alarms you, send in a donation today.

    In my opinion, Ellen Schulmeister and her staff do a heroic job in addressing a problem that most of us would rather ignore.

  13. By Libby Hunter
    January 6, 2014 at 9:47 am | permalink

    @10 Chuck, please do whatever it takes to work with others to open an EMERGENCY shelter NOW. This is simply not the time for analysis.

  14. By lou glorie
    January 6, 2014 at 10:15 am | permalink

    @ Chuck W. Was I putting words in your mouth or asking a question that would logically flow from your first post?

    And now regarding your second post: all I can say is that we do not have an accurate census of the unsheltered as it would be impossible to do one. Delonis, being a physical structure with four brick walls does not have infinite capacity. And as you said above, some people are not allowed inside–some of the mentally ill are combative, others are afraid of places like Delonis (this comes from conversations with unsheltered people on the street).

    Too bad we succumbed to the fad of closing down mental hospitals rather than fixing the problems with them. Too bad the state and counties have dumped asylum inmates on our streets.

    Today we are faced with long term and emergency situations. Right now due to extreme weather, we have an emergency that calls for immediate action rather than the sophistry of “official speak”. Whatever the accommodations already provided we will always have a need for extra emergency space. I’d like to see our city offer temporary space for this eventuality. Also, we need our own emergency plan for extreme weather rather than relying on the county’s, which may not always serve our city’s needs.

  15. January 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm | permalink

    An email from Mary Jo Callan, Washtenaw County’s director of the office of economic and community development, sent today to city administrator Steve Powers, among others, outlines the county’s response with respect to the homeless during the snowstorm. The email indicates she’ll be at tonight’s city council meeting to provide additional information.

    From the email:

    Shelter Options

    All community shelters are open, including: the Delonis Center, IHN/Alpha House, Salvation Army’s Staples Center, and Ozone House. Housing Access is also open, and able to connect those in need with shelter options. Thus far today, Housing Access has received thirty-six calls from residents in need of housing and/or shelter. This is described as an extremely low call volume for a Monday.

    In addition to the seventy-five people at its main site, twenty-five males in its rotating shelter, and sixty-five people in the overnight warming center, the Delonis Center has opened up during the day for those needing a warm place to be. They have loosened restrictions on substance use upon entry during this extreme weather. As of 1pm, they had eighty people utilizing their daytime warming center. They can accomodate up to 200, if needed. If someone arrives who is intoxicated to the point of being dangerous or severely disruptive to other guests, they are provided transportation to the Home of New Vision’s Engagement Center.

    Washtenaw County Community Support & Treatment Services – Project Outreach Team (PORT)

    CSTS and PORT started providing intensive outreach several days ago to prepare homeless and other vulnerable consumers for this weather emergency. They have teams out today, and will continue to outreach throughout today and tomorrow. They report that they have placed several homeless individuals who cannot go to the Delonis Center in hotels. They are also outreaching to all at-risk CSTS consumers to ensure they have needed medication and resources to get through the weather emergency.

    Warm Places

    The following nonprofits and institutions are open for those seeking warmth:

    Ann Arbor Locations -
    Delonis Center (312 W Huron St) 24 hours
    Ann Arbor City Hall (301 E Huron) until 5pm
    All Ann Arbor District Library Locations (various – See http://www.aadl.org) until 9pm
    Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (on Industrial) until 5pm
    Homeward Bound (3501 Stone School Road) until 8pm
    University of Michigan Medical Center (1500 E Medical Center Drive) 24 hours
    IHN Alpha House (4290 Jackson Road) 24 hours

    Ypsilanti Locations -
    Department of Human Services (Towner St) until 5pm
    SOS Community Services (114 N River Street) until 5pm
    Hope Clinic (518 Harriet St) until 5pm
    Engagement Center (512 N Hamilton – for intoxicated individuals; must have referral) 24 hours
    St. Joe’s Hospital (5301 McAuley Drive) 24 hours

    [Callan's Jan. 6, 2014 email]

  16. By Odile Hugonot Haber
    January 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm | permalink

    I am surprised that Chuck thinks that putting 64 people on the ground
    on top of a yoga mat for the night to sleep is an adequate response to
    serve homeless people, it is a very minimal response. Very uncomfortable
    at that, many are older, overweight and disabled. This is a bare minimal
    solution not a humane one for a town that is quite well to do.
    Again we could do so much better!

  17. By Steve Bean
    January 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm | permalink

    It’s no wonder we get representatives who ignore us. It’s just so much easier than trying to counter the imaginings and misrepresentations of those who want a different reality and can’t (or at least don’t) express it without projecting, characterizing, or making stuff up about what someone said or thought. It’s like an epidemic.

    Thanks for the thoughts and info Chuck. You too, Vivienne and Dave.

  18. By John Floyd
    January 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm | permalink


    Citizens do have an obligation to offer fact-baseed, solution-oriented constructive comments, rather than mere rants and prejudices, if they want self-government to last. At the same time, to me, anyway, the proper response to representatives ignoring citizens is to express displeasure at the ballot box. If a council member does not respect the people he/she represents, they are probably in the wrong line of work.

  19. By Alan Goldsmith
    January 7, 2014 at 10:43 am | permalink

    “All Ann Arbor District Library Locations (various – See http://www.aadl.org) until 9pm”

    Didn’t all the AADL locations close because of the weather?

  20. By Mary Morgan
    January 7, 2014 at 11:34 am | permalink

    Re. “Didn’t all the AADL locations close because of the weather?”

    All AADL locations were closed on Sunday, but reopened Monday. The intent was to remain open regular hours, but staff shortages caused three branches (Traverwood, West, and Pittsfield) to close early on Monday, at 6 p.m.

    A post on the AADL website states that all locations are open regular hours today (Tuesday).

  21. By Francine Alexander
    January 7, 2014 at 11:38 am | permalink

    I value deeply the positive thoughts, feelings and actions of many people to secure shelter for our neighbors…especially in the face of this bitter cold. I would ask that we not let our focus stay on immediate warmth via emergency shelter. Municipalities who have made a serious and positive difference on chronic homelessness have done so through significant investment in permanent supportive housing (affordable housing combined with supportive services). This investment is ultimately less expensive, more sustainable, and more likely to allow our neighbors to have safe and dignified lives.

  22. January 9, 2014 at 10:56 pm | permalink

    re: 18, John, I hope my comments aren’t seen as ignoring citizen concerns.

    I’ve seen the shelter, the county, the broader nonprofit network, and the city do amazing work to bring people in from the cold or, if they won’t come in, to help provide them with resources to survive the cold.

    While the emergency provisions are not the most comfortable (emergency provisions rarely are), just a few years ago they were worse. Now people can sleep on a camping pad, it used to be you had to sit in a chair for overnight emergency shelter.

    Elected officials tend to try to claim credit for all good things that happen, but in all honest the city’s part in this has been small. We’ve provided some funding and some support like transportation to Home of New Vision for folks who were too intoxicated to stay at the Shelter. The Shelter Association staff, volunteers, and donors have done amazing work. Likewise with the the County PORT staff who went out in the bitter cold to reach out to folks at known campsites.

    Many entities came together to provide a comprehensive solution to the crisis. This strong response reflects a highly compassionate community, a plan for how to deal with emergencies, and collaboration infrastructure such as Barrier Busters to deal with the specific needs of this particular scenario.