Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s April 7, 2014 meeting includes all the material from an earlier preview article published last week. The intent is to facilitate easier navigation from the live updates section to background material already in this file.
The council’s April 7 agenda features two significant items of old business: a first reading of an ordinance that would regulate outdoor smoking in certain locations; and an allocation of funds for the work of a pedestrian safety and access task force.
The pedestrian safety task force funding resolution is now expected to be withdrawn. At the first meeting of the task force, held on Friday, April 4, Ward 1 councilmember Sabra Briere, speaking from the audience, told the group that it was her intent to withdraw the funding resolution when the council meets on April 7. Even if the resolution is withdrawn at the April 7 meeting, however, the task force will be able to continue its work.
Pedestrian issues form one of the themes of the meeting agenda – as the council will be approving annual contracts for the sidewalk repair program, as well as applying for a grant to renovate the pathway in Gallup Park – from the Geddes Dam at the east end of the Gallup Park pathway, to the parking lot east of Huron Parkway. Along with the sidewalk maintenance program contracts, the city council will also be asked to approve the annual street resurfacing program contracts.
Another main theme of the meeting is land use. Carried over as a topic from the council’s March 17 meeting is the surface of the city-owned Library Lane underground parking structure in downtown Ann Arbor. After voting on March 17 to hire a real estate broker, the council will consider a resolution on April 7 that would allocate to the city’s affordable housing trust fund half of the proceeds of any sale of the site’s development rights.
But on April 7, the council will also be considering an amendment to the March 17 resolution that directed the city administrator to list the surface of the Library Lane parking structure for sale. The amendment would require a public process to take place before brokerage services are obtained or the real estate is listed for sale. That public process is supposed to allow discussion of the possibility that the entire surface of the underground parking garage could be used as a park or plaza. The amendment is sponsored by Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Jack Eaton (Ward 4).
The council will also be considering some items that arrived on its agenda via the city’s planning commission: rezoning of a nature area to PL (public land); and a resolution calling on the University of Michigan to incorporate the city’s land use recommendations as it considers the future use of the Edwards Brothers property on South State Street. The April 7 agenda also includes, as an item of communication, a resolution passed by the city planning commission on March 18, 2014 that gives advice to the council about how to develop the Library Lane property.
In other business, the council will be considering a resolution to approve an expansion of the Main Street business improvement zone (BIZ). The geographic area of the self-assessment district – which handles sidewalk snow removal, sweeping and other upkeep for property owners – would more than double. The final decision rests with the property owners in the expanded area.
Also at its April 7 meeting, the council will consider a resolution asking that Michigan state officials stop opposing a recent court ruling that allows same-sex marriages.
The council’s agenda also includes several street-closing approvals for upcoming events: Taste of Ann Arbor on June 2; The Event on Main Street on June 19; the Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July Parade on July 4; and the Townie Street Party on July 14.
Among the reports and communications attached to the agenda is the final report of a council economic collaborative task force.
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.
The Chronicle will be filing live updates from city council chambers during the meeting, published in this article below the preview material. Click here to skip the preview section and go directly to the live updates. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
A new local law regulating smoking in some outdoor locations will be given a first reading by the council for the third time at its April 7 meeting. The law would regulate smoking outside of public buildings and also potentially in areas of some city parks.
The most recent action – to postpone the ordinance until April 7 – came at the council’s March 3, 2014 meeting. The new ordinance had also been postponed at the council’s Feb. 3 meeting.
Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), sponsor of the proposed new local law, had appeared before the city’s park advisory commission on Feb. 25, 2014 to brief commissioners on the proposal and solicit feedback.
Made punishable under the proposed ordinance through a $50 civil fine would be smoking within 20 feet of: (1) bus stops; (2) entrances, windows and ventilation systems of the Blake Transit Center; and (3) entrances, windows and ventilation systems any city-owned building.
The ordinance would also authorize the city administrator to have signs posted designating certain parks or portions of parks as off limits for outdoor smoking, and to increase the distance from entrances to city buildings where outdoor smoking is prohibited.
Where no signs are posted noting the smoking prohibition, a citation could be issued only if someone doesn’t stop smoking immediately when asked to stop.
An existing Washtenaw County ordinance already prohibits smoking near entrances, windows and ventilation systems, according to the staff memo accompanying the resolution – but the county’s ordinance can be enforced only by the county health department. The memo further notes that the Michigan Clean Indoor Air Act does not regulate outdoor smoking.
At the council’s March 3 meeting, other councilmembers expressed concern about the potential disparate impact of such a law on the homeless, and the challenge of enforcement.
Peds: Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force
At its April 7 meeting, the council will consider for the second time a resolution that would appropriate $197,250 to fund the work of a pedestrian safety and access task force. Action to postpone the resolution until April 7 came at the council’s March 3, 2014 meeting.
The total amount proposed to be appropriated for the task force project budget is $197,250. That amount includes an “estimated $122,500” as the approximate cost of the anticipated city staff effort for the project. The total project budget includes $77,400 for a professional services agreement with Project Innovations Inc.
The funds are to be sourced in part from an allocation made during the May 20, 2013 budget deliberations, which appropriated $75,000 for a study to prioritize sidewalk gap elimination. The connection between sidewalk gaps and the task force’s work is based in part on one of the other “resolved” clauses establishing the task force: “… the task force will also address sidewalk gaps and create a tool for setting priorities for funding and filling those gaps; …”
The pedestrian safety and access task force was established through a council resolution passed on Nov. 18, 2013. Confirmed as members of the task force on Jan. 21, 2014 were: Vivienne Armentrout, Neal Elyakin, Linda Diane Feldt, Jim Rees, Anthony Pinnell, Sarah Pressprich Gryniewicz, Kenneth Clark, Scott Campbell, and Owen Jansson.
Another key “resolved” clause establishing the group’s scope of work includes the following: “… the task force will explore strategies to improve pedestrian safety and access within a framework of shared responsibility through community outreach and data collection, and will recommend to council improvements in the development and application of the Complete Streets model, using best practices, sound data and objective analysis.”
The responsibilities of the task force include delivery of a report a year from now – in February 2015.
The funding for the task force is in part to be used to pay for a $77,400 contract with Project Innovations Inc. to provide facilitator support to the task force.
According to a staff memo written in response to councilmember questions, the facilitator would assist with an anticipated 18 task force meetings, 24 resource group (staff) meetings, five stakeholder meetings and three public meetings. The facilitator would be “preparing materials and agendas; facilitating the meetings; summarizing the meetings; facilitating communication and discussions between, and among, the task force members and the resource group; and, developing materials for community outreach in addition to the actual public meetings, including content for press releases and web page publishing, and a community survey.”
According to the staff memo, a “team of staff members has identified Project Innovations, Inc. as a firm in the region that has demonstrated skill in task force facilitation and robust community engagement efforts, and is uniquely qualified with the capacity to facilitate the pedestrian safety and access task force’s rigorous work approach within the specified timeframe.” Based on the phrasing in the memo, the work appears not to have been put out to bid and Project Innovations was identified as a “sole source” provider.
Project Innovations is the same firm currently providing facilitation support to a citizens advisory committee that is attached to a sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation study being conducted by the city.
The resolution establishing the task force does not explicitly charge the group with a review of the city’s crosswalk law. But the pedestrian safety task force was established in the same time frame as the council was considering an amendment to the city’s crosswalk law. The council ultimately voted to change the language of that law at its Dec. 2, 2013 meeting – so that motorists were required to concede the right-of-way only to pedestrians who had already entered the crosswalk.
That change was subsequently vetoed by mayor John Hieftje. Drawing on the phrasing used in Hieftje’s statement of veto, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) has indicated he intends to bring forward an amendment that would require motorists to stop at crosswalks for pedestrians only if “they can do so safely.” At the council’s Feb. 18, 2014 meeting, Kunselman announced he’d be pursuing such an amendment.
Peds: Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force – Recent Developments
The funding resolution is now expected to be withdrawn. At the first meeting of the task force, held on Friday, April 4, Ward 1 councilmember Sabra Briere, speaking from the audience, told the group that it was her intent to withdraw the funding resolution when the council meets on April 7.
Even if the resolution is withdrawn at the April 7 meeting, the task force would still be able to continue its work. Here’s why. In the resolution that’s expected to be withdrawn, the total amount proposed to be appropriated for the task force project budget is $197,250. That amount includes an “estimated $122,500” as the approximate cost of the anticipated city staff effort for the project. The total project budget includes $77,400 for a professional services agreement with Project Innovations Inc.
So the portion of the project budget that requires hard costs to be covered – other than city staff time – is the cost for the consultant to provide facilitation services. And according to a staff memo to the city administrator written after the council’s action to postpone, the bulk of the cost can already be covered in an existing budget allocation. From the March 27, 2014 staff memo to the city administrator: “The estimated amount for the facilitation work is $70,000 to $90,000. Of this amount, $75,000 is currently budgeted for pedestrian safety and sidewalk-gap planning. The remaining $15,000 will be included in the City Administrator’s recommended FY 14 budget amendment.”
In addition to authorizing the funding, the resolution would authorize a $77,400 contract with Project Innovations for the facilitation work. But now, it’s not clear that particular consultant will be selected for the work. Originally, Project Innovations had been identified by staff as a contractor uniquely qualified to do the facilitation work. Project Innovations is familiar to city staff as the facilitator for a sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation study the city is currently conducting. But now the city has decided to issue an RFP (request for proposals) for the facilitation work. [.pdf of RFP No. 893] Responses to the RFP are due by April 22, 2014.
At the April 4 task force meeting, Connie Pulcipher – a systems planner with the city of Ann Arbor – told members of the task force that they could be involved in the process of interviewing respondents to the RFP. The delay in selecting a facilitator means that the original timeline for the group’s work, which included a final report by February 2015, has shifted to around August 2015.
Peds: Belle Tire Easement
On the council’s agenda is approval of an easement related to the Belle Tire site plan at State and Ellsworth. The planning commission recommended approval at its March 18, 2014 meeting.
The site plan itself was recommend for approval by the commission at its Aug. 20, 2013 meeting, and the project subsequently received city council approval on Oct. 7, 2013. The site is located in Ward 4.
By way of background, a 50-foot-wide right-of-way easement on the front this site was recorded by the city as part of a previously approved land division for this parcel. That easement reduced the front setback of the Belle Tire building from 10 feet to roughly 3 feet. The minimum front setback for this site is 10 feet.
So the property owner, who also owns the adjacent site at 3975 S. State, has proposed that the city vacate the northern 7 feet of its right-of-way easement.
In exchange, the property owner has offered to convey a non-motorized use easement over the same 7 feet. Such an easement would allow for this strip to be used by the public for future non-motorized transportation facilities, according to a staff memo. And as a non-motorized use easement, the 7-foot strip would be considered part of the required 10-foot front building setback.
Peds: Gallup Park Path
On the council’s consent agenda – a group of items voted on all-in-one-go – is approval of a grant application to fund renovations to a pathway that runs through Gallup Park, which is part of the Border to Border Trail (B2B) connecting the eastern and western borders of Washtenaw County. Renovations would include repairs to the existing asphalt, as well as widening to 10 feet – in part to meet current American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards.
The grant application would be made to SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) and MDOT (Michigan Dept. of Transportation) for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The grant funds, if awarded, would fund renovation of the pathway from the Geddes Dam at the east end of the Gallup Park pathway, to the parking lot east of Huron Parkway. The work would include the loop that leads around that part of the park. Total length of the pathway to be renovated is about two miles.
The city would provide a grant match of $200,000, which would be paid out of the parks and recreation capital improvements millage.
Peds: Sidewalk Maintenance Program
Also related to pedestrian issues are two contracts related to the annual sidewalk maintenance and repair program, which is funded out of a five-year millage approved by voters in November 2011.
Some sidewalk slabs are in reasonably good shape but are out of alignment with adjacent slabs. The city takes the approach of shaving the portion that’s out of alignment so that it’s flush.
Cutting the concrete is more cost effective than replacing the entire slab. The contract for the cutting work for the upcoming 2014 program is to be awarded to Precision Concrete Cutting for $207,350.
The other part of the program involves outright replacement of sidewalk slabs.
That contract is to be awarded to Doan Construction Company for $1,707,037.
Asphalt: Street Resurfacing Program
In addition to an annual sidewalk repair program, the city manages an annual street resurfacing program. On the council’s April 7 agenda is the award of a construction contract to Barrett Paving Materials Inc. for $3.409 million for the 2014 program. Also on the agenda is a professional contract for materials testing – with CTI and Associates Inc. for $82,332.
Text descriptions of the streets to be resurfaced are as follows:
- Washington: First St to Fourth Ave (April – May)
- Fuller: Maiden Lane to Huron River Bridge (May – June)
- Newport: Sunset to south of Bird Rd (June – July)
- Linwood:, Doty to Wildwood (April – May)
- Northside Grill Alley: Broadway to End (April – May)
- Vinewood: Berkshire to Avon (May – June)
- Steeplechase: Whiltshire to Blaney (June – July)
- St. Aubin: Platt to Creek Dr (June – July)
- Woodbury: Astor to Stadium (July – July)
- Prairie: Plymouth to Aurora (July – August)
- Burlington Court: Burlington to End (July – August)
- Waldenwood & Adjacent Courts: Penberton to Earhart (north end) (July – September)
Asphalt: Windemere Tennis Courts
The council will consider a $134,297 contract with Nagle Paving Co. to relocate and rebuild the tennis courts at Windemere Park. The park advisory commission recommended approval of the contract at its Feb. 25, 2014 meeting.
PAC’s recommendation on the contract followed its approval on Jan. 28, 2014 of a revised new location for tennis courts at Windemere Park, on the city’s northeast side. The final location approved by PAC was one put forward at a public meeting earlier this year.
The new location for the tennis courts has been disputed among neighbors who live near Windemere Park, a nearly four-acre parcel north of Glazier Way between Green and Earhart roads. The tennis courts there have deteriorated, and the city has been looking at options for replacing them. Neighbors had originally advocated keeping the courts in the same location, but the soil there is unstable. Before the area was developed, the current location of the courts was a pond.
Nagle Paving was the lowest of five responsible bidders on the project, according to a staff memo. Including a 10% construction contingency, the entire project budget is $147,727. Funding will come from the FY 2014 park maintenance and capital improvement millage revenues. [.pdf of staff memo and resolution] [.pdf of cost comparison chart]
Land: Library Lot Proceeds to Affordable Housing
The city council will consider a resolution at its April 7 meeting that would direct the city administrator to allocate half the proceeds from a possible upcoming real estate sale to support affordable housing. The land in question is the surface of the Library Lane underground parking structure, which completed construction in the summer of 2012. [.pdf of draft resolution on Library Lane sale]
From the resolution: “Resolved, That City Council direct the City Administrator to allocate 50% of any and all proceeds, after fees and closing costs, from the sale of development rights at 319 S. Fifth Avenue [the Library Lane lot] to the affordable housing fund.” Use of money in the city’s affordable housing trust fund is subject to recommendations by the housing and human services advisory board (HHSAB).
Based on a ballpark estimated value for the property of $6-7 million dollars – given by Jim Chaconas of Colliers International at the council’s March 17, 2014 meeting – the resolution would translate to somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million to support affordable housing, depending on fees and closing costs.
No specific deal appears to be in the offing to develop the top of the structure. But the council voted at its March 17, 2014 meeting to hire a brokerage service to list the development rights to the top of the underground parking garage for sale. At the same meeting, the council passed a separate resolution that reserved 6,500-12,000 square feet on the Library Lane site for a publicly owned urban park.
The resolution allocating 50% of proceeds of a Library Lane sale to support affordable housing is now sponsored by four councilmembers: Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), and mayor John Hieftje.
The strategy of channeling at least some of the proceeds of land sales to support affordable housing efforts has been a consistent part of city policy dating back several years. However, the council has not always agreed on the portion of a sale that should be allocated to support affordable housing. At the March 16 Sunday night caucus, Briere indicated one reason she might be reluctant at the following evening’s council meeting to support the hiring of a broker to list the Library Lane development rights for sale: She did not at that time want to take on the fight with other councilmembers about what to do with the proceeds. But Briere voted with seven of her colleagues on the 8-1 vote that saw only Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) dissenting. Sally Petersen (Ward 2) and Margie Teall (Ward 4) were not present for that vote.
The sale of another city property – the former Y lot in downtown Ann Arbor, on William between Fourth and Fifth avenues, across the street from the Library Lane site – is expected to generate roughly $1.4 million in net proceeds from the $5.25 million purchase price. That sale to hotelier Dennis Dahlmann had a closing date of April 2, 2014. And the sale was, in fact, completed.
The council voted at its Dec. 16, 2013 meeting to allocate all of those net proceeds to the affordable housing trust fund. More recently, at its March 3, 2014 meeting, the council directed the city administrator to prepare a budget resolution that would – upon completion of the former Y lot sale – allocate $600,000 from the affordable housing trust fund to the Ann Arbor Housing Commission, to support major capital improvements to its properties.
More than a year ago, at its Oct. 15, 2012 meeting, the council adopted a general policy on proceeds of land sales that was based on a budget committee recommendation. Essentially the policy is to consider land sales on a case-by-case basis, considering all the needs of the city. A nod to affordable housing was included in an amendment added at the council meeting in the form of a statement that all needs of the city would be considered in deciding the use of land sale proceeds – but “especially the need for affordable housing.”
The draft resolution to be considered at the April 7 council meeting cites the budget committee’s recommendation, which was adopted in the Oct. 15, 2012 council resolution, that “no less than 10% of net proceeds of any sale will be allocated and distributed to the affordable housing trust fund …”
Land: Amendment to Library Lane Resolution to List for Sale
On April 7, the council will also be revisiting the March 17 resolution on listing the surface of the Library Lane structure for sale. Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Jack Eaton (Ward 4) have sponsored a resolution that would delay the hiring of a broker and listing the property for sale until a public process, to be structured by the city administrator, is completed.
That public process is supposed to allow discussion of the possibility that the entire surface of the underground parking garage could be used as a park or plaza. From the resolution:
Resolved, That Resolution R-14-098 Directing the City Administrator to List for Sale 319 South Fifth and Retain Estate Brokerage Services be amended to direct the City Administrator to require that retention of brokerage services be delayed and listing not occur until adequate public process has taken place to explore public uses for the entire property;
Resolved, That the City Administrator structure the public process to allow citizens an opportunity to bring forward and discuss any and all appropriate public uses for this City-owned property, including its use, in its entirety, as a park or plaza;
Resolved, That City Administrator schedule a public hearing as part of the public process for citizen input on public uses for the property
Resolved, That City Administrator provide City Council with report on the public process at its completion; and
Resolved, On completion of the required public process, the City Administrator is directed to seek further direction from City Council as to whether the property should be listed or to continue to develop a wholly public or mixed public/private plan for its use.
The vote on the council’s March 17 resolution was 8-1, with dissent only from Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1). Sally Petersen (Ward 2) was absent from the start of the meeting and Margie Teall (Ward 4) departed late in the meeting but before the vote was taken.
The April 7 council agenda also includes, as an item of communication, a resolution passed by the city planning commission on March 18, 2014 that gives advice to the council about how to develop the Library Lane property. The commission’s recommendations focused on conditions for developing the site that would garner economic benefits to the city, such as a mixed-use development that generates foot traffic, with an entry plaza or open space and a design that “creates an iconic addition to the skyline.” The recommendations drew on material in several existing documents, including the Connecting William Street report that was completed by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority about a year ago.
Also attached to the council agenda as an item of communication is a resolution passed by the Ann Arbor District Library board on March 17, 2014. The resolution asked the council to reject designating a portion of the city-owned Library Lane site – which is adjacent to the downtown library – as a public park or plaza at this time.
Land: Recommendation to UM on Edwards Brothers
An additional land-use item on the council’s April 7 agenda is a resolution recommending that the University of Michigan collaborate with the city of Ann Arbor on the future development of the former Edwards Brothers property at 2500-2550 South State Street, immediately adjacent to existing UM athletic facilities. The university is purchasing the 16.7-acre property, following the Ann Arbor city council’s decision on Feb. 24, 2014 not to exercise its right of first refusal to buy the site.
The city planning commission passed the same resolution at its March 18, 2014 meeting and forwarded it to the city council.
The resolution was drafted by planning manager Wendy Rampson based on previous discussions by the planning commission and city council. [.pdf of resolution as amended at March 18 planning commission meeting]
The one resolved clause states:
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council and Ann Arbor City Planning Commission request that The Regents of The University of Michigan and President authorize University staff to meet with City representatives to collaborate on issues related to future development of the South Athletic Campus area, including, but not limited to:
- Exploring the creation of one or more parcels fronting South State Street to be developed, preferably privately, for complementary uses adjacent to the South Athletic Campus that also follow the South State Street plan recommendations;
- Discussing options for the relocation of park-and-ride facilities as the South Athletic Campus develops; and
- Discussing the opportunities for a future pedestrian and vehicular connection between South Main Street and South State Street via the planned Oakbrook Drive extension through the South Athletic Campus site.
At the planning commission’s March 18 meeting, Rampson said she’s already shared a draft of the resolution with UM planner Sue Gott and Jim Kosteva, the university’s director of community relations.
Land: Stapp Nature Area Addition Rezoning
The council’s April 7 agenda includes a resolution giving initial approval to rezoning of land that’s been donated to the city by developer Bill Martin, founder of First Martin Corp. The 2.2-acre parcel at 3301 Traverwood Drive is being added to the adjacent Stapp Nature Area, near the Leslie Park golf course.
City staff recommended that the donated parcel be rezoned from R4D (multi-family dwelling) to PL (public land). The land reaches from Traverwood Drive to the Leslie Park golf course, south of Huron Parkway. Adding the land expands a corridor of natural areas and parkland. Stapp Nature Area, a 8.11-acre property with a mature native forest and small vernal pool, is adjacent to Tuebingen Park and has a connection to Leslie Woods.
The site is on the northern edge of a larger property that’s being developed by First Martin Corp. as Traverwood Apartments. That project received its final necessary approvals from the city council on Jan. 6, 2014.
First Martin has committed to creating a pedestrian access from the apartment complex to the nature area, which will be formalized with an access easement.
The city has a policy of rezoning city-owned land to PL (public land). This parcel will be differentiated as parkland by its inclusion in the city’s parks and recreation open space (PROS) plan, because it will become part of the Stapp Nature Area, which is already in the PROS plan.
The council would be giving the rezoning initial approval at its April 7 meeting. The final vote would come at a future meeting after a public hearing.
Land: Main Street BIZ Expansion
On the council’s April 7 agenda is approval of an expansion of the geographic area of the Main Street Business Improvement Zone. The business improvement zone was established in 2010 by a vote of property owners in the zone to provide a mechanism for taxing themselves to pay for items like sidewalk snow removal, sidewalk sweeping and landscaping. [For the state enabling legislation for a BIZ, see Public Act 120 of 1961]
The current geographic area of the Main Street BIZ extends north-to-south from William to Huron on both sides of Main Street, extending to the mid-block alleys. The expansion would extend the area westward by a half block from the alley to Ashley Street. The expansion would also extend the area eastward by a half block along the whole north-south dimension; and between William and Liberty, the zone would expand westward an additional block – to Fourth Avenue.
While the council must give its approval of the plan, the expansion is contingent on a vote among property owners in the area, which has to be set for no later than 49 days after the date of the council’s resolution. The council’s April 7 meeting agenda includes a public hearing on the issue.
At its April 7 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council will consider a resolution asking that Michigan state officials stop opposing a recent court ruling that allows same-sex marriages. [.pdf of draft resolution on same-sex marriage]
The ruling in question was issued by federal judge Bernard Friedman on Friday, March 21, 2014 in the case of Deboer v. Snyder. In that ruling, Friedman found that Article I, Section 25 of the Michigan Constitution – which limits the benefits of marriage to unions between one man and one woman – did not advance any legitimate state interest. So the ruling had the effect of making same-sex marriages legal in Michigan.
But the day following the decision, on March 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a temporary stay on Friedman’s ruling. Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette are appealing Friedman’s decision.
The council’s resolution reads in part:
RESOLVED, That the Ann Arbor City Council urges Governor Snyder and Attorney General Schuette to immediately suspend all efforts to appeal or otherwise contest Judge Friedman’s Ruling…
Before the stay on Friedman’s ruling took effect, Washtenaw County clerk Larry Kestenbaum opened his office for business on Saturday, March 22, and issued 74 marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Washtenaw County. The county board had already set the stage for those couples to receive what practically amounts to a fee waiver for the expedited processing of a license, which ordinarily takes three days. The “fee” approved by the board at its Feb. 19, 2014 meeting reduced the usual fee from $50 to 1 cent.
The resolution passed by the county board on Feb. 19 allows the county clerk, consulting with the county administrator, to establish a “fee holiday” on the day preceding a period during which the office’s vital records division would be closed for four or more days, or when an unusual number of marriage license applicants are expected to appear. During a “fee holiday,” the charge for immediately processing a marriage license is 1 cent.
The resolution to be considered by the Ann Arbor city council on April 7 currently initially had four sponsors: Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Margie Teall (Ward 4), Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). Later Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and mayor John Hieftje were added, for a total of six. So that resolution is almost sure to be approved – because it needs only a six-vote majority on the 11-member council.
Economic Collaborative Task Force
Among the many agenda attachments – reports and communications – is the final report of the economic collaborative task force, established by the council last year at its May 20, 2013 meeting. The idea to establish the task force had grown out of a desire to review the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority in the context of proposed changes to the city ordinance governing the DDA. The task force drew members from city of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor SPARK and the Ann Arbor DDA. [.pdf of March 28, 2014 economic collaborative task force report]
In more detail, the task force was supposed to do the following:
- Provide clarity, alignment and specificity on economic development policy and objectives for fiscal year 2014 toward accomplishing city council’s success statement for Economic Development.
- Provide for strategic alignment of priorities between the Task Force member entities.
- Highlight cost sharing and maximizing of resource utilization.
- Identify options for sustaining, modifying, or eliminating operations in a financially-responsible manner through efficiencies and/or partnerships as part of a cohesive economic development plan for the city.
The “success statement” mentioned in the resolution was crafted by the city council at a budget retreat held in late 2012.
Those initially appointed to represent the city on the task force were city administrator Steve Powers, Sally Petersen (Ward 2) and then councilmember Marcia Higgins (Ward 4).
According to the resolution establishing the task force, a report was supposed to be presented to the council in December 2013 and the task force was supposed to expire at the end of 2013.
The 4.5-page report in general calls on the city, the Ann Arbor DDA and Ann Arbor SPARK to continue existing initiatives.
Some highlights of the report include a recommendation that the city consider technology infrastructure that is “essential for companies to compete globally and for communities to attract the necessary talent.” In that category of infrastructure, the report indicates that the city and Ann Arbor SPARK should “continue their work to develop a proposal for high-speed fiber that would accelerate both commercial and residential internet speeds.”
Also recommended in the report is the preparation of a plan to market and sell surplus city-owned properties. Properties included on the list include the South Ashley/West William (Kline) lot, the South Main/East William (Palio) lot, Library Lane, and 415 W. Washington.
4:00 p.m. Staff written responses to councilmember questions about agenda items are now available. [.pdf of April 7, 2014 staff responses to councilmember questions]
6:24 p.m. Sally Petersen (Ward 2) has already arrived in council chambers. She was here earlier for a meeting of the council rules committee – along with Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), mayor John Hieftje and Sabra Briere (Ward 1). Dinner for Petersen tonight at the council table is salad.
6:37 p.m. Paul Fulton with the city’s IT department is here, available to comment on an agenda item involving the TRAKiT system.
6:58 p.m. Council chambers are starting to fill up. Councilmembers Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), Jack Eaton (Ward 4), Mike Anglin (Ward 5), Taylor, and Warpehoski have all arrived.
6:59 p.m. Councilmembers Margie Teall (Ward 4) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) have now arrived.
7:03 p.m. Pre-meeting activity. The scheduled meeting start is 7 p.m. Most evenings the actual starting time is between 7:10 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. We’re almost ready to start.
7:08 p.m. And we’re off.
7:08 p.m. Call to order, moment of silence, pledge of allegiance.
7:09 p.m. Approval of agenda. All councilmembers are present and correct.
7:11 p.m. Approval of agenda. Kunselman is bringing back the two resolutions from the last meeting on the Library Lane site for reconsideration. He was on the prevailing side for both of those resolutions – which were both approved.
7:13 p.m. The items will be placed under “unfinished business” which comes right after the outdoor smoking ordinance. And Eaton wants DC-4 to be heard before DC-3.
7:13 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved its agenda for tonight’s meeting, over dissent from Teall.
7:16 p.m. Communications from the city administrator. City administrator Steve Powers reports that the amount of funds available from the sale of the former Y lot is $1.42 million. Powers also notes that the homeless shelter had found housing for 107 people this season as of the end of February.
Powers now is alerting the council to the report of the collaborative economic task force, which is attached to tonight’s agenda.
7:16 p.m. INT-1 Veg Week Proclamation. The week of April 21-27, 2014, is being proclaimed as Ann Arbor Veg Week. The proclamation names several local organizations and businesses as supporting it: Nicola’s Books, The Lunch Room, Ann Arbor District Library, Humane Society of Huron Valley, Main Street Area Association, A2 Fitness Professionals, and Current Publications. More than 20 restaurants that will be offering vegan special menu items throughout the week, according to the resolution.
7:21 p.m. INT-2 Elizabeth Dean Day Proclamation. This proclamation honors Elizabeth Russell Dean, who died exactly 50 years ago today, on April 7, 1964. She bequeathed nearly $2 million for the benefit of public trees of Ann Arbor, which is held in a trust with the annual interest income to be used for the planting, care and maintenance of these trees. The proclamation of the anniversary of Dean’s death as Elizabeth R. Dean Day “serves as a reminder of the vast contributions Ms. Dean made to ensure that Ann Arbor will forever remain a ‘City of Trees.’”
7:22 p.m. Edith Fletcher and Jane Immonen are on hand to receive the proclamation.
7:22 p.m. Public commentary reserved time. This portion of the meeting offers 10 three-minute slots that can be reserved in advance. Preference is given to speakers who want to address the council on an agenda item. [Public commentary general time, with no sign-up required in advance, is offered at the end of the meeting.]
Eight people are signed up to speak during public commentary reserved time, half of them to address the topic of the Library Lane site: Alan Haber, Odile Hugonot-Haber, Ingrid Ault and Ali Ramlawi. Ault is chair of the park advisory commission. Ramlawi is owner of the Jerusalem Garden restaurant, which is currently located almost directly adjacent to the Library Lane property and will border the lot when it moves into the former Seva building.
Thomas Partridge is signed up to talk about affordable transportation. Frank Burdick is signed up to talk about the funding resolution for the pedestrian safety task force. Cliff Douglas is signed up to talk about the outdoor smoking ordinance. Douglas is director of UM’s Tobacco Research Network. And Kermit Schlansker is signed up to talk about “How to Sow the Earth.”
7:28 p.m. Thomas Partridge introduces himself as a recent candidate for the state legislature and for the city council. He calls attention to the fact that U.S. president Barack Obama visited Ann Arbor last week, to support an increase to the minimum wage. He wishes that Obama had also supported an expanded transit system in his remarks. Partridge calls for affordable housing and the elimination of homelessness. He advocates for affordable healthcare and lifetime education. He notes the needs of the most disadvantaged members of society, saying we must give more attention to the most vulnerable among us. He calls on people to support the transit millage [on the May 6 ballot].
7:29 p.m. Frank Burdick introduces himself as a Ward 4 resident. He asks that the council postpone consideration of funding a consultant for the pedestrian safety task force. He says that city staff are competent to serve the role of a facilitator. He calls on the council to fund concrete, not more consultants.
7:33 p.m. Cliff Douglas speaks in support of the outdoor smoking ordinance. He’s lived in Ann Arbor since 1997, he says, and is speaking as an individual. But he’s also director of UM’s Tobacco Research Network. He names a number of other individuals at the UM School of Public Health who support the ordinance. The key issue, he says, is that although smoking is devastating to its users, it also causes harm to the environment and results in avoidable cleanup costs. In the U.S. there are 921 municipalities with 100% smoke-free ordinances. He has an 11-year-old son and can’t count the number of times the boy has put cigarette butts in his mouth. Cigarette butts are the leading cause of litter, he says.
7:36 p.m. Alan Haber tells the councilmembers that he’s written to each of them asking them to postpone the idea of selling the Library Lane site. They should use the occasion to establish a public process to explore the full public use of the land. There’s a font of creativity in this town to which the council should open the door, he says. There are possibilities for good and the future and for the children of future generations, he says. He urges the council not to press to find out how much it’s worth in terms of monetary value. He urges beginning now with intermediate activities. He’s asking for support and encouragement for people to gather on the surface of the Library Lane underground garage on Earth Day, which falls on April 22.
7:39 p.m. Ingrid Ault introduces herself as a Ward 1 resident and chair of the city’s park advisory commission. She says she’s puzzled about the idea that the listing of the Library Lane site for sale should be delayed until a public process can take place. She cites the Connecting William Street study and the work of the PAC subcommittee on downtown public parks as public process that has already taken place. About public process she says, “This has already been done.” “When will the madness stop?” she wonders. She hopes it will stop tonight. How would the process be different? She says that a “special interest group” [the Library Green Conservancy] can’t take no for an answer. She asks the council to “end the hamster wheel ride tonight.” [Editor's note: Will Hathaway of the Library Green Conservancy has contacted The Chronicle, saying that while some members of the conservancy are certainly in favor of this resolution, the group has not taken a position on it.]
7:41 p.m. Odile Hugonot-Haber says it’s amusing to her to hear that there’s been a lot of public process and when the process has been done, so many people say they want a public space, a green space, a place where people can come together. There is no place for women with their children to go, she says. The people have clearly spoken, she says, but elected and appointed officials refuse to hear.
7:43 p.m. Kermit Schlansker says that the U.S. Senate had an all-night session recently on global warming. He says conservation is overlooked as a solution. We desperately need to reduce our energy consumption, he says. He calls for living configurations like an apartment house on farmland. Bigger buildings are easier to heat, he says.
7:48 p.m. Ali Ramlawi thanks mayor Hieftje for over 10 years of service. even if he’s disagreed with some of Hieftje’s policies. The future of the surface of the Library Lane site has been a hot button issue, he says. He says that the whole western half should be a plaza. It’s too small for just the southwest corner to be used as a plaza, he says. There’s a lot of fear that the next Liberty Plaza will be built. Liberty Plaza is haunted with a poor design, he says. A better design and a better police presence would lead to a successful plaza, he says.
7:48 p.m. Communications from the council. This is a slot on the agenda for council communications. It’s a time when councilmembers can report out from boards, commissions and task forces on which they serve. They can also alert their colleagues to proposals they might be bringing forward in the near future.
7:49 p.m. Margie Teall is thanking everyone who helped put on FestiFools this past weekend.
7:51 p.m. Jane Lumm announces that there’s a public meeting hosted by MDOT on the Jackson Avenue reconstruction project from Dexter to Maple. The road will be reconfigured to three lanes – one in each direction and a turn lane. She had not supported that configuration. The meeting will take place on April 10 from 4-6 p.m. at the downtown library. Chuck Warpehoski notes that the purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about the construction schedule. It’s being set up as a drop-in, drop-out situation.
7:54 p.m. Mike Anglin says that when city staff, who are extremely competent, are used in projects then it gets good results. When consultants are used, it creates a disconnect, he says. There’s a good dialogue going on between staff and residents along Seventh Street about traffic calming, he says.
7:55 p.m. Communications from the mayor. Hieftje is describing an energy conference and signing the Alliance to Save Energy.
8:00 p.m. Hieftje is saying that the weather at FoolMoon on Friday, April 4 was wet and cold. He’s recounting several other events of the weekend, including Hash Bash. Hieftje reports that Obama told him he likes coming to Ann Arbor.
Hieftje is now following up on the city administrator’s remarks on the homeless shelter. He says that he met with leaders of Washtenaw County on the topic of homelessness. The city administrator will be providing a report on the work of the shelter and costs that were incurred during the past season. Hieftje is reviewing the history of the homeless shelter. The proportion of county residents served there has decreased over the years, he says. The system is not designed to handle these kind of numbers: Is it a regional center for southeast Michigan? If so, then the city needs to work with the state legislature and other regional partners, he says.
8:02 p.m. Briere inquires about the implications of refusing service to anyone.
8:05 p.m. MC-1 Confirmation of appointments. This item will confirm nominations from the council’s previous meeting, on March 17. The appointments are:
- Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues: Westley Resendes, filling a vacancy left by Patti Smith, for a term ending May 31, 2015;
- Economic Development Corporation: Dale Leslie and Tim Marshall (re-appointments for terms ending May 31, 2019);
- Historic District Commission: Ellen Ramsburgh (re-appointment for a term ending May 31, 2017);
- Public Market Advisory Commission: Aimee Germain (re-appointment for a term ending May 31, 2017).
8:05 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve all the nominations made at its previous meeting.
8:05 p.m. MC-2 Nominations. A raft of nominations is being made tonight. The vote on the appointments will come at the next meeting of the council. The nominations are:
- Airport Advisory Committee: Mary Karen McClellan (filling a vacancy, for a term ending May 30, 2016);
- Ann Arbor Housing Commission: Gwenyth Hayes (serving out rest of term for Gloria Black as a resident’s representative, through May 4, 2015) and Daniel Lee (re-appointment, for a term ending May 6, 2019);
- Design Review Board: Shannan Gibb-Randall (serving out rest of term for Mary Jucari, through May 30, 2015);
- Employees Retirement Systems Board of Trustees: Mark Heusel (re-appointment for a term through May 2, 2017);
- Public Market Advisory Commission: David Santacroce (re-appointment for a term through May 30, 2017).
8:06 p.m. Public hearings. All the public hearings are grouped together during this section of the meeting. Action on the related items comes later in the meeting. Two public hearings appear on tonight’s agenda.
For the first one, the property owner has proposed that the city vacate the northern 7 feet of its right-of-way easement. In exchange, the property owner has offered to convey a non-motorized use easement over the same 7 feet. Such an easement would allow for this strip to be used by the public for future non-motorized transportation facilities, according to a staff memo. And as a non-motorized use easement, the 7-foot strip would be considered part of the required 10-foot front building setback. This resolution would approve that arrangement. [For more background, see Peds: Belle Tire Easement above.]
The second public hearing is on the expansion of the geographic area of the Main Street Business Improvement Zone. The business improvement zone was established in 2010 by a vote of property owners in the zone to provide a mechanism for taxing themselves to pay for items like sidewalk snow removal, sidewalk sweeping and landscaping. For the expansion to be finalized it will need to be approved by property owners in the expanded district. [For more background, see Land: Main Street BIZ Expansion above.]
8:07 p.m. PH-1 Belle Tire ROW Vacation. No one speaks at this public hearing.
8:07 p.m. PH-2 Amended Main Street BIZ plan.
8:09 p.m. Thomas Partridge says he thinks that this plan should give more attention and greater priority to seniors and those who need access to public transportation.
8:11 p.m. Jan Culbertson says she’s a property owner in the area. She supports the expansion. The consistency of the services is important, she says.
8:13 p.m. Bill Kinley speaks in favor of allowing property owners to make a decision about whether to participate in the expanded BIZ. He’s eager to see a consistent and attractive sidewalk experience. This is not an expense for general taxpayers, but rather of the property owners in the area, he points out.
8:14 p.m. Jim McDonald asks the council to allow property owners to vote on whether they want to participate in the expanded BIZ.
8:14 p.m. Ed Shaffran introduces himself as chair of the Main Street BIZ board. He thanks councilmembers for the conversations he’s had with them. He’s there in case they have any questions, he says.
8:15 p.m. Approval of previous meeting’s minutes.
8:15 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the minutes of its previous meeting.
8:15 p.m. Consent agenda. This is a group of items that are deemed to be routine and are voted on “all in one go.” Contracts for less than $100,000 can be placed on the consent agenda. This meeting’s consent agenda includes:
- CA-1 Approve contract for construction materials testing with CTI and Associates Inc. for the 2014 street resurfacing project ($82,332)
- CA-2 Approve purchase a TS15P R1000 Robotic Total Station and DNA10 Digital Level for Surveying ($33,671)
- CA-3 Approve purchase order for annual maintenance and support of TRAKiT System with CRW Systems Inc. for FY 2014 ($36,500)
- CA-4 Street Closing: Townie Street Party (Monday, July 14, 2014)
- CA-5 Street Closing: Ann Arbor Jaycees Fourth of July Parade (Friday, July 4, 2014)
- CA-6 Street Closing: Townie Party-Ann Arbor Mile (Monday, July 14, 2014)
- CA-7 Approve Transportation Alternatives Program Grant application to SEMCOG and MDOT to fund renovations of the Gallup Park pathway. [For more background, see Peds: Gallup Park Path above.]
- CA-8 Street Closing: Taste of Ann Arbor (Sunday, June 2, 2014)
- CA-9 Street Closing: The Event on Main Street (Thursday, June 19, 2014)
8:15 p.m. Councilmembers can pull out any item on the consent agenda for separate consideration. No one does tonight.
8:15 p.m. Outcome: The council has now approved all items on its consent agenda.
8:16 p.m. C-1 Outdoor Smoking Ordinance. This is still the first reading of a new local law regulating smoking in some outdoor locations. It was previously postponed at two different council meetings. The law would regulate smoking outside of public buildings and also potentially in areas of some city parks. Made punishable under the proposed ordinance through a $50 civil fine would be smoking within 20 feet of: (1) bus stops; (2) entrances, windows and ventilation systems of the Blake Transit Center; and (3) entrances, windows and ventilation systems any city-owned building. [For more background, see Outdoor Smoking above.]
8:18 p.m. Warpehoski first moves to replace a substitute resolution. It specifies that it’s a police officer who can enforce the ordinance, not a general employee.
Ellen Rabinowitz, interim health officer for Washtenaw County, is now at the podium sharing the county’s experience in enforcing the county’s ordinance on smoking outside entrances to buildings.
8:23 p.m. Rabinowitz is echoing the sentiments of Cliff Douglas during public commentary. Enforcement has been straightforward, she says. “Our experience in Washtenaw County has been quite good.” There’s been lots of compliance, she says.
Warpehoski is asking about Rabinowitz’s work with the Village of Dexter. Warpehoski invites her to explain why an enforcement mechanism is needed at all, if the idea is that it will be self-enforced.
8:24 p.m. Warpehoski asks Rabinowitz to comment on the benefit of such an ordinance as a public health professional. She ticks through the dangers of smoking. It harms users and innocent bystanders, she says. Anything we can do to limit smoking is a good thing, she says.
8:26 p.m. Eaton confirms that Rabinowitz works for Washtenaw County. He ventures that the county has not made efforts to ban smoking in its parks. She explains that the county parks commission has designated certain areas of county parks as non-smoking. Eaton confirms with Rabinowitz that she is the enforcement officer. He’s quizzing her about how the enforcement mechanism works.
8:28 p.m. Kunselman ventures that the county sheriff does not have a role in enforcement. Rabinowitz confirms that. Kunselman asks if she or her designee has the ability to issue a citation. It seems so. Kunselman says his concern is that he doesn’t want law enforcement officers to be writing tickets. He says it sounds like most people comply when they’re asked to stop.
8:30 p.m. Teall wants information about how other municipalities handle enforcement. Lumm notes that the county has had few complaints filed about violations. Lumm says that the council has received a letter from the People’s Food Co-op. Lumm asks if Rabinowitz has received a complaint from that business. Rabinowtz isn’t sure if People’s Food Co-op was one of the 400 complaints over the last 12 years.
8:31 p.m. Kailasapathy wonders how the city ordinance will add to the county ordinance. Rabinowitz says it will add teeth.
8:33 p.m. Kailasapathy asks for specifics about what Rabinowitz means by “teeth.” She means it in the sense of an additional tool, not in the sense that police officers will enforce it. Kailasapathy wonders if AAPD should be tackling heroin use at the public library or chasing down smokers.
8:34 p.m. Rabinowitz tells Kailasapathy that she’s right: They need to address the problem of heroin overdoses. But the smoking ordinance, she thinks, will be largely self-enforcing.
8:35 p.m. Briere asks if Warpehoski will accept a friendly amendment to the definition of “smoking.” She wants to add e-cigarettes to the definition. Warpehoski says he’d consider that friendly.
8:37 p.m. Warpehoski says he’s continued his outreach to various organizations: merchant area associations and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. He didn’t hear any objections. He recounts the origin of the ordinance – that he’d heard from constituents who felt trapped in situations where they could not get away from second-hand smoke. What drove it home for him was hearing from local businesses in the Sculpture Plaza area.
8:40 p.m. Warpehoski says the allocation of police officers is a red-herring argument. He cites a report out of Toronto that indicates outdoor smoking ordinances don’t cause an additional burden on police. He’s now going over arguments based on litter prevention. He calls it a humble effort. It’s narrow in scope, he says.
8:43 p.m. Warpehoski says it’s a way to make a healthier community. We should have smoke-free playgrounds and bus stops, he says. Taylor thanks Warpehoski for his work in amassing the information. It’s a deeply reasonable effort, he said. Smoking is a scourge, Taylor says, and smokers are accustomed to having a limited set of areas in which they can smoke. The facts are plainly stated, he says. It’s a reasonable ordinance. Concerns about allocation of police resources are not reasonable, Taylor says.
8:46 p.m. Kunselman reports the experience he had of walking behind a group of women who were walking down the sidewalk, three of whom were smoking. That would still be legal, he says. He ventures that receptacles for butts are provided. He brings up the issue of wood smoke, like that generated at Bill’s Beer Garden. He’s received complaints from constituents about wood burning in neighborhoods. He asks Warpehoski if he’d be willing to remove the penalty of a $50 ticket. If there’s a problem with compliance, then the council can revise the ordinance, Kunselman says.
8:48 p.m. Warpehoski ventures that Kunselman might be right that the new law would just move smokers to the sidewalk. But he sees that as an improvement. Warpehoski is now talking about the general issue of good and bad behavior in parks. If there’s a park where smoking is common, that would drive him and his kids out of that park.
8:49 p.m. On the wood smoke issue, Warpehoski says that he’d tried to keep his effort focused and targeted.
8:51 p.m. On the idea of removing the penalties, Warpehoski says we have a set of ordinances – not a book of suggestions. He invites Kunselman to move an amendment and see where it goes.
8:53 p.m. Hieftje says we’ve been talking about this for a while. He says that the information available now is typical of what the council has for a second reading. He says that he doesn’t understand why the council is overthinking the idea of banning smoking in city parks. Lumm says it’s not rational to pass ordinances at first reading just to get to second reading.
8:53 p.m. Lumm is talking about Satchel’s BBQ on Washtenaw Avenue and the wood smoke that comes from there.
8:56 p.m. Lumm says the ordinance is a solution in search of a problem. She appreciates that the ordinance has been amended. She calls it a pretty big step to regulate smoking in city parks. Many of the issues have not been addressed to her satisfaction, she says.
8:58 p.m. Kailasapathy says that the ordinance is structured to be punitive and not educational. Lower socio-economic groups have higher smoking rates, she says. She worries about the disparate impact. She wishes that the police can be taken out of the equation.
8:59 p.m. Warpehoski reiterates his response to Kunselman – that an amendment removing the penalty could be made, but he wouldn’t support it.
9:01 p.m. Eaton asks why e-cigarettes were added through Briere’s amendment – because he thought they did not emit harmful fumes. Cliff Douglas is explaining that these devices are not regulated and that they do contain nicotine.
9:02 p.m. Eaton and Douglas are engaged in a back-and-forth on e-cigarettes.
9:05 p.m. Eaton and Douglas are now discussing enforcement issues.
9:07 p.m. Douglas tells Kunselman that smoking rates have dropped on the UM campus.
9:08 p.m. Kunselman ventures that there’s no enforcement on the UM campus of the no-smoking ordinance, but it still works. Douglas allows that the campus police don’t enforce it, but there is an enforcement mechanism – through an employee’s supervisor, for example.
9:10 p.m. Teall says, “I want to say something!” If there’s a sign you can point to, that allows an ordinary citizen to have something to back up a request made to someone to stop smoking, she notes.
9:12 p.m. Eaton is in a back-and-forth with Rabinowitz on how compliance works.
9:14 p.m. The chief health officer for UM is now at the podium. UM had wanted to be respectful of smokers, but also wanted to create a healthy campus. The medical campus had been smoke-free since 1998, he says. Only one person had been discharged from employment for repetitive smoking, he says.
9:16 p.m. People are not issued citations at UM for smoking anymore than people would be issued a citation for not eating their five vegetables. Warpehoski asks how smoking at UM stadium is handled.
9:18 p.m. Petersen calls the question, saying that the ordinance has a lot of common sense in it and is very practical. Hieftje says everyone needs to have had a chance to speak.
9:20 p.m. [The council isn't voting on calling the question.]
9:20 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to give initial approval of the ordinance regulating smoking in some outdoor locations, over dissent from Kailasapathy, Lumm and Eaton.
9:21 p.m. C-2 Stapp Rezoning. This item would give initial approval to rezoning of land that’s been donated to the city by developer Bill Martin, founder of First Martin Corp. The 2.2-acre parcel at 3301 Traverwood Drive is being added to the adjacent Stapp Nature Area, near the Leslie Park golf course. [For more background, see Land: Stapp Nature Area Addition Rezoning above.]
9:21 p.m. Briere gives some brief background.
9:21 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to give initial approval of the rezoning.
9:21 p.m. Recess. We’re now in recess.
9:35 p.m. We’re back.
9:36 p.m. Reconsideration: Library Lot – Designation of Area as Urban Park
9:37 p.m. The council has voted to reconsider the resolution. It was a voice vote, with some dissent, not clear who.
9:38 p.m. Kunselman calls the situation that has arisen – the “unpredictability of posturing politicians trying to please people.”
9:42 p.m. Kunselman is proposing that the previous resolution be amended so that the square footage for the urban plaza is approximately 12,000 square feet. [This is prompted by the fact that Briere proposed the amendment at the March 17 meeting that changed the square footage from 12,000 square feet to a range – from 6,500 to 12,000. And now Briere has co-sponsored the resolution by Eaton and Anglin, later on the agenda, that calls for a public process that could result in the entire surface of the parking structure being used as an urban plaza.]
9:44 p.m. Briere responds to Kunselman by drawing the distinction between a civic use and a greatest and highest use. Hieftje ventures that the council’s action is making it difficult to follow what is going on. He says that using the entire South Fifth Avenue frontage (12,000 square feet) would cost the city $2 million in terms of potential selling price. He’s hesitant to give that up – $1 million of which could go to support affordable housing.
9:45 p.m. Kunselman says he supports the idea of a cantilevered building. He cites the comments from Jerusalem Garden owner Ali Ramlawi during public commentary in support of the idea that a plaza of 6,500 would be too small.
9:47 p.m. Teall says she shares Hieftje’s concerns. She likes the flexibility of the range – 6,500 to 12,000 square feet. She says 6,500 is not too small. Petersen is glad to see these resolutions come back. She says that passing the resolutions “jumped the gun” a little bit. Petersen is pitching the idea of a postponement.
9:48 p.m. Petersen says she wants the time of the postponement to be used to put together a group of stakeholders: the Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, First Martin, Dennis Dahlmann, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and the Library Green Conservancy, among others.
9:49 p.m. Petersen says she wants to postpone until the first meeting in October. Hieftje points out that the question before the council right now is Kunselman’s amendment. So the council goes back to the amendment.
9:50 p.m. On the amendment, Taylor says that it’s inconsistent with the library’s view and with the park advisory commission’s view. It’s a blunt instrument that has been deployed for a delicate task, he says. If it’s passed as amended, it would be an impediment to the development of this important parcel.
9:51 p.m. Petersen gets confirmation that the amendment would be consistent with a cantilevered building over the northwest portion of the property.
9:53 p.m. Briere says she hopes that a public space is going to be built. The language change at the last meeting was recommended to her by those who supported the park, she says. Her interest was in making the northern boundary of a plaza flexible. She responds to the talk about a cantilevered building by saying she’s not interested in trying to design a building at tonight’s meeting.
9:56 p.m. Briere quips that it’s an interesting challenge to not posture politically on the council. She won’t support Kunselman’s amendment. Anglin says the question of when we will have a community space in this town has been discussed for a long time. Anglin says he’s not running for office; he’s speaking for the public. He wonders if the council’s action at the last meeting was really what the public wants. He can’t support 12,000 square feet because he’s thinking about something much larger.
9:59 p.m. Warpehoski said at the last meeting there had been a dual narrative that we’d done a lot of process and that we’d not done enough process. He seeks a solution that 1. works for park advocates; 2. works for the city; 3. works for the AADL. He won’t support the amendment. Lumm says she will support it, saying the difference between 6,500 and 12,000 is small.
10:00 p.m. Taylor stresses that the PAC recommendation had not been 12,000 but rather more than the 5,000 that had been indicated in the Connecting William Street study.
10:01 p.m. Part of Warpehoski’s comments included the sentiment that he wanted to see a park on the Library Lane site in time for his kids to be able to play on it.
10:02 p.m. Eaton reminds the council that a sale of this property would require an eight-vote majority on the 11-member council. He said that there wouldn’t be eight votes without 12,000 square feet of parkland. He’ll support the amendment.
10:03 p.m. Kunselman says that the surface has been a surface parking lot for a very long time and he thought it would stay that way.
10:04 p.m. Outcome: The amendment passes over dissent from Briere, Taylor, Teall, Warpehoski, and Hieftje.
10:06 p.m. Petersen moves for postponement. Powers asks an opportunity to provide the council with better than just a guess about how long the stakeholder work would take. So the postponement would be to the next meeting, on April 21.
10:07 p.m. Kailsapathy says the resolution should be voted on tonight, and that the stakeholder meetings can be a separate resolution. She doesn’t want to drag it out. Hieftje also won’t support the postponement. There’ve been over 40 public meetings and it’s been going on for years, he says.
10:09 p.m. Taylor says he’ll support the postponement. The reconsideration was appropriate from a parliamentary perspective. But the AADL would probably have a hard time swallowing that as a proper process, he says. The notion that it was amended and passed at the previous meeting, then at this meeting restored to its original form, would be seen as borderline contemptuous of the library’s position, Taylor says.
10:11 p.m. Lumm says that the council is well informed of the AADL’s position. She says she’s going to oppose postponement.
10:13 p.m. Warpehoski says that once upon a time, a pig and a chicken decided to go into business that would serve ham and eggs. Then they said they weren’t sure if they should do that because one of them was bringing the ham and the other was bringing the eggs. Different stakeholders on the Library Lane site would be bringing ham and others would be bringing eggs. He would support the postponement because he was optimistic that the stakeholders could work something out.
10:15 p.m. Petersen explains to Kailaspathy that the postponement for two weeks would allow the city administrator to provide an update on the progress of hiring a broker, which would also include information on programming and maintenance of the public space on top of the Library Lane site.
10:16 p.m. Hieftje wants to move toward a vote on the postponement. Anglin asks a procedural question about reconsideration.
10:17 p.m. Kunselman says he won’t support the postponement. He appreciates Petersen’s effort to coordinate everyone, but he thinks that will create additional unneeded complexity. He ventures that Powers has not yet hired a broker, so there wouldn’t be much of an update.
10:19 p.m. Kunselman says that it’s important for the broker to have a clear understanding of what the council’s intent is. He cautions against postponing to get more information, when there is not going to be any additional information.
10:21 p.m. Outcome: The postponement fails on a 5-6 vote. Voting against were Kailasapathy, Lumm, Kunselman, Eaton, Anglin and Hieftje.
10:21 p.m. Taylor says this resolution is borderline contemptuous of the library. It’s also unwise – because predetermining the size of the public space without the full context of the site is inconsistent with that open space being successful.
10:22 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the resolution as amended to stipulate the 12,000 square footage – over dissent from Taylor, Teall, Warpehoski, and Hieftje.
10:23 p.m. Reconsideration: Direct Library Lot Listing for Sale
10:23 p.m. The council has voted to reconsider the resolution from last meeting.
10:24 p.m. Kunselman reports that he met with the outside bond counsel last Friday – on the private and public use questions related to the Build America Bond financing. The post-construction analysis had not been done, Kunselman says.
10:27 p.m. Kunselman says there wouldn’t be a post-construction analysis until the property was listed for sale. He says the number of private use spaces available will affect the value of the property. He’s going through the actual costs paid for construction and asks how much of the debt was actually applied. What if the number of spaces is significantly less than the 29% that were calculated pre-construction? He brought it back for reconsideration to let his colleagues know why it was important to list it for sale.
10:28 p.m. Anglin asks why the council can’t get the post-construction analysis just by asking for it.
10:31 p.m. Hieftje tells Anglin that he can just send the city attorney an email asking for it. Kunselman says that he wants the outside bond counsel to put in writing that it agrees with the analysis – because he wants the outside bond counsel’s insurance to cover any errors and omissions. City attorney Stephen Postema says it would be a normal process to get that information as part of putting the property on the market. Kailasapathy says the council should be able to get the information directly. She wants the outside bond counsel to analyze the post-construction numbers.
10:32 p.m. Kailasapathy says we should not rush into selling the land, just in order to get this post-construction analysis. Postema reiterates that it would be a normal part of selling the property.
10:33 p.m. Briere says that now that she understands Kunselman’s motivation for wanting to list the land – and given that it’s clear he didn’t necessarily expect the land to be sold, she thinks it would be easy to vote it down.
10:36 p.m. Kunselman now adds that he brought up the issue because nobody else had brought it up. When he put it forward, community outcry had been heard and some of his colleagues had gotten cold feet. Instead of delaying the listing (as Anglin and Eaton’s resolution later in the meeting would do), he invited his colleagues to vote down the resolution. He’d still vote to list the property, however. Kunselman ventures that the Library Lane site has been an uncomfortable topic – and had caused people to lose elections. It doesn’t hurt to get the information and it doesn’t hurt to list the property for sale, Kunselman says.
10:38 p.m. Anglin wonders why they can’t just ask for the information. Kunselman says he’s not about to put millions of dollars to construct a park on the Library Lane site. There are other park needs – a tunnel to complete the Border to Border Trail, for example – that he would vote to spend money on before he’d spend money on a park on top of the Library Lane parking structure.
10:40 p.m. Kunselman says that through all this discussion, no one has talked about where the money is coming from to build a park on the Library Lot. By listing it for sale, it at least starts a conversation with someone who has some money, he says.
10:41 p.m. Kunselman is reviewing the DDA’s proposed budget and concludes that the DDA would not have money to put into it.
10:44 p.m. Taylor says he wants to provide some context. To look at the Library Lane site on its own is misleading, he says. The parking system as a whole generates revenues that are used to pay the debt, he says. The Library Lane parking structure had allowed tech companies to locate in the downtown and was a success by any rational measure, he says. Hieftje agrees with Taylor. Lumm says she voted for the resolution last time. She seems inclined to support it this time around.
10:45 p.m. Lumm is now talking about the resolution later on the agenda that would delay the listing. She says that’s also important.
10:47 p.m. Heiftje says he’ll vote for the resolution because he doesn’t see any other way to fund a plaza. Briere says she’ll vote for it because there’s an opportunity to amend it later on the agenda.
10:48 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to affirm its vote from the last meeting over dissent from Kailasapathy, Lumm, Eaton, Anglin.
10:48 p.m. DC-1 Same-sex Marriage. This resolution asks that Michigan state officials stop opposing a recent court ruling that allows same-sex marriages. The ruling in question was issued by federal judge Bernard Friedman on Friday, March 21, 2014 in the case of Deboer v. Snyder. In that ruling, Friedman found that Article I, Section 25 of the Michigan Constitution – which limits the benefits of marriage to unions between one man and one woman – did not advance any legitimate state interest. So the ruling had the effect of making same-sex marriages legal in Michigan.
But the day following the decision, on March 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a temporary stay on Friedman’s ruling. Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette are appealing Friedman’s decision. [For more background, see Same-Sex Marriage above.]
10:49 p.m. Taylor is reviewing the content and background of the resolution.
10:51 p.m. Warpehoski echoes the thanks Taylor gave to Washtenaw County clerk Kestenbaum. He didn’t remember crying at his own wedding, but he’d cried at the weddings of some same-sex couples immediately after the Friedman ruling.
10:52 p.m. Lumm was pleased that it had been brought forward and was pleased to add her name as a co-sponsor.
10:52 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted unanimosuly to approve the resolution calling for state officials to stop opposing the Friedman ruling on same-sex marriage.
10:53 p.m. DC-2 Amended Main Street BIZ plan. This resolution would approve expansion of the geographic area of the Main Street Business Improvement Zone. The business improvement zone was established in 2010 by a vote of property owners in the zone to provide a mechanism for taxing themselves to pay for items like sidewalk snow removal, sidewalk sweeping and landscaping. For the expansion to be finalized it will need to be approved by property owners in the expanded district. [For more background, see Land: Main Street BIZ Expansion above.]
10:54 p.m. Taylor is reviewing the background. He encourages the council’s support.
10:56 p.m. Kailasapathy asks Ed Shaffran to the podium. She’s comparing the situation to Russia and Crimea. Shaffran explains that they’re following the state statute.
10:57 p.m. Kailsapathy says that the sidewalks on Main Street are wider than on Fourth Avenue. Shaffran ventures that the square footage of sidewalks might differ, but he alludes to 13 iterations to come up with an equitable approach.
10:58 p.m. Shaffran tells Kailasapathy that as a property owner on Main Street and on Fourth Avenue, he’s not hearing snow removal contractors say that they’d charge less to remove snow on Fourth Avenue.
11:02 p.m. Kailsapathy tells Shaffran that she’s weighing in on behalf of property owners who could not attend the meeting. Shaffran notes that the vote needs a 60% majority. Eaton asks what would happen if everyone in the existing BIZ voted for it and in the expanded zone voted against it – and Shaffran tells him it would fail. The new area is larger than the existing area.
11:02 p.m. Hieftje says he’ll vote for it. Warpehoski says he’ll vote for it because it’s an accessibility issue.
11:02 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted unanimously to approve the amended Main Street BIZ plan.
11:03 p.m. Recess. We’re now in recess.
11:12 p.m. We’re back.
11:12 p.m. DC-4 Amend March 17, 2014 resolution directing Library Lot to be listed for sale. This item revisits a March 17, 2014 resolution on listing the surface of the Library Lane structure for sale. Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Jack Eaton (Ward 4) sponsored the item which delays the hiring of a broker and listing the property for sale until a public process, to be structured by the city administrator, is completed. That public process is supposed to allow discussion of the possibility that the entire surface of the underground parking garage could be used as a park or plaza. [For more background, see Land: Amendment to Library Lane Resolution to List for Sale above.]
11:15 p.m. The reconsidered resolution – to list the Library Lane development rights for sale – from the last meeting was approved (again) earlier tonight. This resolution would amend that resolution to delay the listing until after additional public process.
11:16 p.m. Anglin is giving the background on this proposal to amend the council’s previous resolution. This is to create something the entire city can be proud of, Anglin says.
11:20 p.m. Briere says that more than four years ago, she and Anglin and Kunselman were among those who’d requested that the task force reviewing the responses to the Library Lot RFP also consider those proposals that proposed public space. This resolution would allow the city administrator to structure a public process. She says if she had her way – which she ventured she would not – the city would bring in someone from the outside, because we as a community have become polarized, she says.
11:21 p.m. Briere will support this because having the community discussion is vital to having that public space work. If we don’t have community buy-in, it won’t be a successful space, whether there are eight votes or not, she says.
11:22 p.m. Hieftje is inviting Ault to the podium. He’s asking her to review the outreach that the downtown parks subcommittee had done. Ault, who is chair of the park advisory commission, also chaired that subcommittee.
11:25 p.m. Hieftje says it’s been going on for years. He calls it kicking the can down the road. He says there’s no way to build something on the Library Lane site without selling something. Hieftje highlights the part of the resolution that contemplates the use “in its entirety” of the surface as a public plaza. He calculates that this would entail throwing away $16 million. He says he’d prefer to spend a half million redeveloping Liberty Plaza. “I don’t understand it,” he says about the resolution.
11:27 p.m. Hieftje says that when a pretty narrow interest group wins, then maybe people will say that there’s been enough public process. Kunselman says he also won’t support the resolution. He says the public process described in the resolution could be done in parallel with listing the property for sale.
11:29 p.m. Kunselman says he’d support the resolution if the part about delaying the hiring of a broker were deleted. He says, “I’m not sellin’ without getting a 12,000 square foot plaza or public use space.” He also won’t support considering the entire parcel as a “commons.” Kunselman says that he’s had a conversation with a member of the Library Green Conservancy and that group is not behind this proposal, he says. That group had done its homework and worked to figure out what was possible.
11:30 p.m. Kunselman points out that a planter can get really heavy when it fills up with water.
11:32 p.m. Eaton notes that at the March 17 meeting, the library had asked the council to delay the resolution. And since that meeting, the planning commission had passed a resolution asking the council to use an RFP process. He felt there was still an interest among stakeholders in a continued conversation.
11:34 p.m. Petersen is asking Anglin and Eaton what they intend to happen.
11:35 p.m. She wants to know if the intent is to have a conversation with the stakeholders about keeping the entire site green. Yes, says Anglin.
11:38 p.m. Warpehoski says he can’t vote for this resolution at the same time he voted to accept the PAC recommendations that called for some kind of mixed use. This evening the council had thumbed its nose at the library but now is saying they need to be a partner. Warpehoski says Kunselman has this one right. He thinks that a sales agreement can have a rider agreement just like the former Y lot did. He thinks that the public process can unfold in a parallel way. Warpehoski ventures that there will be a “hot mess” discount when a developer thinks about trying to do business with the city.
11:39 p.m. Lumm says that Warpehoski is right about the conversation being a little bit weird. But she says that if you step back and think about it, it’s about making sure that the public has a chance to provide input.
11:42 p.m. Lumm says more discussion is not a terrible thing. Taylor agrees with Warpehoski’s point about voting for the PAC recommendations and voting for this resolution – that they’re inconsistent. Taylor says that Kunselman has it right – that we’ll see what a developer has to propose, quipping “whoever dares” to bid on the property.
11:44 p.m. Hieftje is suggesting some sort of compromise.
11:44 p.m. Recess. We’re now in recess so that councilmembers can figure out some compromise.
11:46 p.m. We’re back.
11:48 p.m. The council has essentially agreed to vote this down and possibly bring it back at a future meeting.
11:49 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted unanimously to reject the resolution that would have halted the listing of the Library Lane surface development rights for sale, until a public process has been completed.
11:49 p.m. DC-3 Library Lot sale proceeds. This resolution would direct the city administrator to allocate half the proceeds from a possible upcoming real estate sale to support affordable housing. The land in question is the surface of the Library Lane underground parking structure, which completed construction in the summer of 2012. [For more background, see Land: Library Lot Proceeds to Affordable Housing above.]
11:51 p.m. Briere is explaining the background of the resolution. She didn’t think the minimum 10% recommendation of the council’s budget committee over a year ago would be enough. She calls this as modest as possible – and made it 50%.
11:55 p.m. Eaton says that because we have no idea how much the property might sell for, he asks Briere if she would accept an amendment to say “up to 50%” – in case the property generated a greater-than-expected amount of money. Briere says if the property hypothetically generated a sale price of $15 million, she wouldn’t hesitate to put $7.5 million into the affordable housing trust fund.
11:56 p.m. Hieftje says that it would be a “game changer” to be able to work with Washtenaw County on the Platt Road property to develop affordable housing. There would be no harm done in passing this tonight. Taylor concurs with Hieftje that Ann Arbor needs more affordable housing and that’s a capital-intensive endeavor.
11:58 p.m. Taylor says that using the proceeds for affordable housing is consistent with a deeply held community value. Lumm says she supports the concept. She points out that this is what the council had done with the former Y lot. Earmarking half for affordable housing is not unreasonable, she says. But she questions why this decision needs to happen now. It makes more sense to not make this decision now. We should think this through in the context of all city council priorities, she says.
12:02 a.m. Kunselman echoes Lumm, saying that it’s counting our chickens before they hatch. This is not a binding resolution, he says. He ventures that the council won’t see a sale until at least next year, and many councilmembers here tonight won’t be here then. It would make a great statement, he says, but wouldn’t do much for what the council needs to focus on – working on the budget process. He wonders why some of this money would not go toward downtown beat cops.
12:03 a.m. Kailasapathy is focusing on the part of the resolution that puts the other half of the proceeds into the general fund. She wants to see the part of the proceeds not going to affordable housing to go toward capital investments.
12:04 a.m. City administrator Steve Powers ventures that it could be restricted as capital investments. Kailasapathy says she’s not sure if she wants to put in the energy to amend the resolution now, given that a sale is so far away.
12:05 a.m. Petersen says that even if it’s premature, that doesn’t mean it should be voted down. She wants to postpone it until after the budget is approved.
12:06 a.m. The postponement being discussed is until the first meeting in June. [The council ratifies the FY 2015 budget at its second meeting in May.]
12:07 a.m. Briere is arguing against the postponement by drawing a distinction between policy and budgeting.
12:08 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted to postpone the resolution allocating 50% of the net proceeds of a future Library Lot sale to the affordable housing trust fund. Dissenting were Briere, Taylor, Teall, Warpehoski, and Hieftje.
12:08 a.m. DB-1 Belle Tire ROW Vacation. The property owner has proposed that the city vacate the northern 7 feet of its right-of-way easement. In exchange, the property owner has offered to convey a non-motorized use easement over the same 7 feet. Such an easement would allow for this strip to be used by the public for future non-motorized transportation facilities, according to a staff memo. And as a non-motorized use easement, the 7-foot strip would be considered part of the required 10-foot front building setback. This resolution would approve that arrangement. [For more background, see Peds: Belle Tire Easement above.]
12:08 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted to accept the Belle Tire non-motorized easement.
12:09 a.m. DB-2 Request UM regents consider city land use recs. This resolution, which originated with the planning commission, recommends that the University of Michigan collaborate with the city of Ann Arbor on the future development of the former Edwards Brothers property at 2500-2550 South State Street, immediately adjacent to existing UM athletic facilities. The university is purchasing the 16.7-acre property, following the Ann Arbor city council’s decision on Feb. 24, 2014 not to exercise its right of first refusal to buy the site. [For more background, see Land: Recommendation to UM on Edwards Brothers above.]
12:10 a.m. Petersen said that when she heard the resolution was coming forward, she was eager to support it. She wished that the city had more leverage, which could have resulted from exercising the city’s right of first refusal on the property. The dialogue has been a long time coming.
12:11 a.m. Lumm said she also wished that the city had exercised its right of first refusal on the Edwards Brothers property. “Let the talks begin,” she says.
12:11 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted unanimously to approve the resolution asking UM regents to consider city planning documents as it plans the future of the former Edwards Brothers property on South State Street.
12:11 a.m. DS-1 Pedestrian safety task force funding resolution. This would appropriate $197,250 to fund the work of a pedestrian safety and access task force. It was postponed to tonight from the council’s March 3, 2014 meeting.That amount includes an “estimated $122,500” as the approximate cost of the anticipated city staff effort for the project. The total project budget includes $77,400 for a professional services agreement with Project Innovations Inc. to provide facilitation services. This item is expected to be withdrawn, and the city is putting the facilitator contract out for bid. [For more background, see Peds: Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force above.]
12:12 a.m. Briere says she’d like to withdraw the resolution, saying that the staff memo makes it clear that no allocation needs to be made at this time. She gives an update on the first task force’s meeting.
12:13 a.m. Outcome: The resolution has been withdrawn.
12:14 a.m. Eaton raises the question of whether Briere can withdraw the resolution, given that it was placed on the agenda by staff.
12:15 a.m. Hieftje says he’s uncomfortable not voting on it.
12:16 a.m. So the council is now discussing the resolution. Lumm moves to table it. Warpehoski notes that a motion to table is not subject to debate.
12:19 a.m. Briere explains that her intent was not to prevent people from talking, but rather to save time, given that it was a null point. If the staff doesn’t need an allocation of funds, there’s no reason to allocate funds. Briere points to the memo from staff. Powers concurs that the resolution is no longer needed. Lumm withdraws her motion to table.
12:20 a.m. Kailasapathy questions why there’s an RFP being issued for the consultant.
12:22 a.m. Eaton says he’s troubled that the city is considering spending this much money on a consultant to support a task force.
12:24 a.m. Warpehoski is arguing for the need for the labor of a consultant.
12:28 a.m. Powers reminds the council that the $75,000 for sidewalk gaps was to prioritize gaps, not to install concrete. Lumm appreciates the fact that now an RFP is being issued.
12:39 a.m. Lumm is arguing against the resolution. Hieftje points out that those who moved the resolution also want to see it voted down. Kailasapathy asks why the city is hiring a consultant when it’s not clear what kind of consultant is needed. Teall doesn’t understand why Briere and Warpehoski – as the mover and seconder – want to see the resolution voted down. She thinks a task force should be supported. Warpehoski reviews the background. Teall ventures that it’s really all about Project Innovations. Many of the sanitary sewer wet weather citizens advisory committee members were satisfied with Project Innovations work on that project. When there were some complaints, they got a lot of traction, Teall said, and she wasn’t sure that was fair. Briere raises the point that many people objected to the fact that Project Innovations would have been given a no-bid contract.
12:40 a.m. Briere tells Teall that the task force doesn’t need an allocation of funds right now.
12:40 a.m. Outcome: The council votes unanimously to reject the resolution.
12:41 a.m. DS-2 Windemere Tennis Court contract with Nagle Paving Company. The council will consider a $134,297 contract with Nagle Paving Co. to relocate and rebuild the tennis courts at Windemere Park. [For more background, see Asphalt: Windemere Tennis Courts above.]
12:41 a.m. Lumm thanks staff and the neighbors who worked hard on it.
12:43 a.m. Taylor piles on with thanks to PAC, who listened and worked with the neighbors.
12:43 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted to to approve the Windemere tennis courts paving contract.
12:43 a.m. DS-3 Annual street resurfacing contract with Barrett Paving This resolution approves a construction contract to Barrett Paving Materials Inc. for $3.409 million for the 2014 street resurfacing program. [For more background, see Asphalt: Street Resurfacing Program above.]
12:43 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the annual street resurfacing contract.
12:44 a.m. DS-4 Annual sidewalk repair contract with Doan Construction Company. Part of the city’s sidewalk repair program involves outright replacement of sidewalk slabs. This resolution approves that contract with Doan Construction Company for $1,707,037. [For more background, see Peds: Sidewalk Maintenance Program above.]
12:45 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the annual sidewalk repair contract.
12:45 a.m. DS-5 Annual sidewalk cutting contract with Precision Concrete Cutting. Some sidewalk slabs are in reasonably good shape but are out of alignment with adjacent slabs. The city takes the approach of shaving the portion that’s out of alignment so that it’s flush. This resolution approves the contract for the cutting work for the upcoming 2014 program is to be awarded to Precision Concrete Cutting for $207,350.
12:45 a.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the annual sidewalk cutting contract.
12:46 a.m. Communications from the council. Warpehoski thanks the Veg Week sponsors for bringing food. He mentions that the rules committee is looking at an ethics policy that might also include a gift acceptance policy.
12:48 a.m. Kunselman is quoting out a correction made in The Ann Arbor Observer, that vindicates statements by him and Kailsasapathy in a December 2013 article and apologizes to him. “Apology accepted,” Kunselman says.
12:53 a.m. Kunselman is quoting out incident reports from the AADL that documented heroin overdoses at the downtown location. Kunselman says he’d asked the city administrator to find out what exactly is going on. He says he hasn’t seen anything about arrests being made. He wonders why someone who ODs and survives is not prosecuted and why the dealers are not tracked down and prosecuted. Hieftje ventures that the police might be pursuing this matter “quietly.” Kunselman doesn’t agree with that approach. Warpehoski says that he’s inquired with Jim Balmer of Dawn Farms and the indication was that treatment is an appropriate response to addiction. Kailasapathy says that this doesn’t apply to those who are peddling the drugs.
12:54 a.m. Briere says that Kailasapathy is right, but that it can take time to develop a case against a drug dealer.
12:55 a.m. Clerk’s report of communications, petitions and referrals. Outcome: The council has accepted the clerk’s report.
12:55 a.m. Public comment general time. There’s no requirement to sign up in advance for this slot for public commentary.
12:56 a.m. Stefan Trendov says that in all the time he’s watched the council, he thinks that the councilmembers are finally talking to each other. They’re going in a good direction and he wishes them a good night.
12:58 a.m. Kai Petainen says that he wants the Ann Arbor station study process to be transparent. He says that a label on one of the maps covers up green dots that show areas of environmental concerns near the Fuller Road site. He wants maps that don’t look like marketing materials, he says.
1:02 a.m. Alan Haber says he’s sat through the deliberations and gives them great honor for persevering through all the detail. He’s always considered the whole surface of the Library Lot parking structure as a community space. He objects to the characterization of his group as a narrow interest group.
1:04 a.m. Odile Hugonot-Haber expresses disappointment at the council’s decisions on the Library Lot. She reports that she’s heard about a greenbelt property that sold its development rights for mineral extraction through fracking.
1:07 a.m. Caleb Poirer says that he was impressed with the patience that councilmembers had shown each other tonight. He thanks the attendees of the March 17 meeting on homelessness. He was moved by Briere’s point that affordable housing is a priority, but not a funded one. He tells the story of “Million-Dollar Murray.” Sometimes affordable housing reduces the need for policing.
1:08 a.m. Hieftje asks Powers if new mics can be purchased – as they generate a fair amount of static.
1:09 a.m. Closed session. The council is going into closed session to discuss pending litigation.
1:25 a.m. We’re back.
1:25 a.m. Adjournment. We are now adjourned. That’s all from the hard benches.
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