Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s May 5, 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 Ann Arbor city council’s voting agenda for its May 5, 2014 meeting is relatively light, but features some significant public hearings and a potentially controversial contract related to footing drain disconnections.
One public hearing will be held on the FY 2015 budget. The 2015 fiscal year starts on July 1, 2014. City administrator Steve Powers presented his proposed budget to the council at its previous meeting, on April 21. The council will take up possible amendments and vote on the adoption of the budget at its following meeting, on May 19.
Separate budget-related public hearings on May 5 will be held on fee increases in the community services area and the public services area. Notable is the proposed increase in the fees for stalls at the farmers market. The annual fee for one stall will increase from $300 to $450.
A significant voting item on the agenda is a roughly $750,000 contract with CDM Smith Inc. for continued work in connection with the city’s footing drain disconnection (FDD) program. In 2012, the city’s program to disconnect footing drains from the sanitary sewer system was suspended by the council in some areas of the city. It has continued in other geographic areas and as part of the city’s developer offset mitigation program, which requires owners of new developments to complete a certain number of FDDs. The purpose is to offset the additional flow in the sanitary system caused by new construction.
The CDM contract could draw scrutiny, because the city is currently undertaking a sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation (SSWWE) study. It’s supposed to yield a recommendation about whether to continue with the FDD program, and if so, in what form. In addition, the city’s ordinance, which requires property owners to undertake FDDs, was challenged in a lawsuit filed earlier this year. That case is pending as the city has removed the case from state to federal court and the plaintiffs are seeking to remand it back to state court. A hearing is scheduled for May 28 on the question of remand.
Also on the agenda are two contracts for general construction inspection work, each for $100,000, with Stantec Inc. and Perimeter Inc.
Three parks will be getting upgrades to play equipment if the council approves a contract with Game Time c/o Sinclair Recreation for $132,000. Arbor Oaks Park and Scheffler Park will have their play structures replaced, and North Main Park will be getting a tire swing and chess table.
Mowing and snow clearance in city parks in the future be handled with two mower/snow-broom combination units, if the council approves the purchase from Spartan Distributors for $101,000.
Three land-use items that were recommended for action by the city planning commission appear on the council’s May 5 agenda.
First, the council will consider giving initial approval to a change in the city’s zoning ordinance related to drive-thrus. In addition to providing a definition, the ordinance revision would require drive-thrus to obtain special exception use permits, which would be allowed only in the O (office), C2B (business service) and C3 (fringe commercial) zoning districts. Drive-thrus would not be allowed in the C1, D1, D2, and other commercial districts. Currently, drive-thrus are allowed in C3 districts without a special exception use. They are allowed as special exception uses in the C2B district.
Second, the council will consider giving initial approval to a rezoning request and area plan for 515 Oxford, to convert a house for use as an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority. The main sorority house is located nearby at 626 Oxford. The request, supported by the city’s planning staff, is to rezone the parcel from R4A (multi-family dwelling) to R2B (two-family dwelling and student housing). The building is notable because it was originally designed in 1940 by architect George Brigham, who used it as his home and architectural studio.
And third, the council will consider final approval for the 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.
Sidewalks are again on the agenda in the form of a public hearing on the proposed Newport Road special assessment, which is supposed to help fund a stretch of sidewalk north of Wines Elementary School. And the council will consider the acceptance of an easement for a sidewalk at 2300 Traverwood Drive.
The council will also consider a routine item this time of year – transferring delinquent water utility, board-up, clean-up, vacant property inspection, housing inspection fees, and fire inspection invoices to the city tax roll for July 2014. The council will also be asked to approve the denial of claims against the city by the board of insurance administration.
Management of the deer population will receive some attention in the form a resolution on the May 5 agenda that directs the city administrator to partner with other organizations to develop strategies for deer management. The administrator will be asked to report back to the city council by July 31, 2014 on the status of the partnership, including budget and timelines. The resolution, put forward by Jane Lumm (Ward 2), states that the desired outcome is a community-endorsed deer management plan.
Appointments to the city’s environmental commission (EC) are on the May 5 agenda, having been postponed at the council’s April 21 meeting. All three that appeared on the April 21 agenda were reappointments for currently serving members of the EC: Kirk Westphal, David Stead, and Susan Hutton. However, the intention at the May 5 meeting is to substitute the original resolution with one that does not include Stead. In addition, a separate item has been added, after initial publication of the agenda, to nominate and appoint Katherine Hollins to the EC.
Street closings on the agenda include: East Washington for the Ann Arbor Book Festival on June 21; East Liberty for Sonic Lunch on Aug. 21; and several neighborhood streets for the 2014 Glacier Area Homeowners Association Annual Memorial Day Parade on May 26.
An item added to the agenda on May 2 is a resolution that would remove any reference to felony convictions on city job applications.
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.
On the May 5 agenda are two public hearings related to the upcoming 2015 fiscal year, which starts July 1, 2014: the proposed FY 2015 budget; and proposed fee changes in the community services area – for the farmers market.
Public Hearing: FY 2015 Budget
Though the budget’s public hearing is on May 5, council action to adopt that budget, with any amendments, will come at the council’s second meeting of the month, on May 19. Ann Arbor city administrator Steve Powers’ proposed general fund budget for fiscal year 2015, which starts on July 1, 2014, approaches $100 million. [.pdf of FY 2015 budget detailed breakdown]
Funded as part of the proposed FY 2015 budget are five new full-time employees, four of them in public safety: one additional firefighter; three additional police officers; and an additional rental housing inspection position. The additional police positions will bring the total number of sworn officers in the city of Ann Arbor to 122.
The proposed budget also includes a one-time expense of $1 million to address a backlog in critical pruning and removal of trees that are in the public right of way. The allocation comes in the context of the development of an urban forestry management plan.
The $1 million one-time expense for street trees brings the total of non-recurring expenses in the FY 2015 general fund budget to about $2.8 million. Other one-time expenses budgeted for FY 2015 are: $80,000 to cover transitional costs for art administration; $606,000 for repairs and maintenance of the city’s hydroelectric dams; $100,000 for consultants to assist with completing the downtown zoning amendments and sign inventory; $300,000 for demolition of city-owned buildings at 415 W. Washington; $200,000 for corridor studies; and $209,000 in operational support for the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s (AAHC) transition to a rental assistance demonstration program.
The housing commission also accounts for the bulk of a $13.8 million (17%) increase in general fund recurring expenditures compared to last year. That’s due to an accounting change that recognizes 22 AAHC employees as city employees. By recognizing revenue and expenses for AAHC employee compensation through the general fund, the AAHC can avoid the negative impact of a new accounting rule. The GASB 68 rule requires unfunded pension fund liabilities to be recorded in the financial statements for proprietary funds (like the AAHC) but not for governmental funds like the general fund.
Also included in the FY 2015 budget proposal is about $3,000 for a pilot program for closed captioning of public meeting broadcasts on the Community Television Network. According to city of Ann Arbor communications manager Lisa Wondrash, the cable commission recommended approval of the money at its Feb. 25 meeting, and she notified the commission on disability issues about the pilot on April 16. The pilot will begin with meetings of the city’s commission on disability issues, with a goal of testing out a closed captioning system this July.
The $98.1 million of general fund expenditures in FY 2015 will include $95.3 million in recurring expenditures and $2.8 million in one-time expenses.
When the general fund is added in with the rest of the city’s budget – the street fund, water fund, sewer fund, parking fund, and the like – the total expenses proposed for FY 2015 come to $334,434,101.
Powers presented the proposed budget to the city council at its April 21 meeting.
Public Hearing: FY 2015 Community Service Fees
At the May 5 council meeting, increases are being proposed for stall fees at the Ann Arbor public market (farmers market). Currently, the basic annual fee for rental of a stall is $300. It’s proposed to be increased to $450 – a 50% increase.
If approved by the council, the fee increase would be projected to generate $26,000 in additional revenue. However, this additional revenue has not been assumed in the proposed FY 2015 budget.
According to the staff memo accompanying the agenda item, “market fees were last increased in 2009 and have not kept pace with the overall increase of annual operating costs during this same time period.” A comparative analysis of Ann Arbor’s fees also showed that Ann Arbor’s fees are well below those of comparable markets.
A significant voting item on the agenda is a roughly $750,000 contract with CDM Smith Inc. for continued work in connection with the city’s footing drain disconnection (FDD) program. In 2012, the city’s program to disconnect footing drains from the sanitary sewer system was suspended by the council in some areas of the city. Specifically, it was suspended in the Glen Leven and Morehead (Lansdowne neighborhood) areas. It was allowed to continue in other geographic areas and as part of the city’s developer offset mitigation (DOM) program. The DOM requires owners of new developments to complete a certain number of FDDs to offset the additional flow in the sanitary system caused by new construction.
The CDM contract could draw scrutiny, because the city is currently undertaking a sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation (SSWWE) study. It’s supposed to yield a recommendation about whether to continue with the FDD program, and if so, in what form. In addition, the city’s ordinance, which requires property owners to undertake FDDs, was challenged in a lawsuit filed earlier this year. That case is pending as the city has removed the case from state to federal court and the plaintiffs are seeking to remand it back to state court. A hearing is scheduled for May 28 on the question of remand.
One indication that the item is expected to be scrutinized is the fact that in the last week of April, city administrator Steve Powers offered to set up meetings between staff and councilmembers to discuss the resolution. The resolution is perceived by some as an indicator that the sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation (SSWWE) would have a forgone conclusion that the FDD should continue. However, at more than one meeting of the advisory committee that’s working on the study, staff and consultants have indicated that if the FDD were to continue at all, it would almost certainly not continue in its current form.
And the staff memo seems to anticipate possible questions by stressing that until the SSWWE is completed and a determination is made on the city’s approach to wet weather sanitary sewer flows, the services of CDM will be required in order to continue the existing FDD and DOM programs. It’s expected that this contract will cover services that are needed through January 2015.
This item on the agenda would approve the fourth contract extension of an original contract with CDM dating back to 2006. This amendment to the CDM contract includes: citizen support ($36,928); FDD citizens advisory committee meetings ($24,180); information management for sump pump monitors ($93,707); developer offset mitigation program support; ($95,213); and multi-family FDD implementation ($498,005).
The previous three iterations of the CDM contract totaled about $3.6 million.
Since the FDD program’s start in 2001, about 1,834 footing drains have been disconnected through the city program and 848 footing drains have been disconnected through the developer offset mitigation program.
Three land-use items that were recommended for action by the city planning commission appear on the council’s May 5 agenda: a revision to the drive-thru ordinance; a rezoning request and area plan for 515 Oxford, to convert a house for use as an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority; and rezoning of land that’s been donated to the city by developer Bill Martin, founder of First Martin Corp.
Land Use: Initial Approval – Drive-Thrus
The council will consider giving initial approval of amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance related to drive-thrus. The amendments would add a definition of a “drive-thru facility” to Chapter 55 of the city code. Currently, the term used throughout the code is “drive-in,” which is not explicitly defined in the code.
The proposed revisions define a drive-thru in this way: “Any building or structure, or portion thereof, that is constructed or operated for the purpose of providing goods or services to customers who remain in their vehicle during the course of the transaction.” The revisions also clarify that a drive-thru is an accessory use, not the principle use of the building. A project in which a drive-thru would be the principle use would not be allowed. Basic layout requirements would also be added to the ordinance.
In addition, the changes would require drive-thrus to obtain special exception use permits, which would be allowed only in the O (office), C2B (business service) and C3 (fringe commercial) zoning districts. Drive-thrus would not be allowed in the C1, D1, D2, and other commercial districts.
Currently, drive-thrus are allowed in C3 districts without a special exception use. They are allowed as special exception uses in the C2B district.
When considering whether to grant a special exception use – which does not require additional city council approval – the planning commission considers these issues:
1. Is the location, size and character of the proposed use compatible with the principal uses of the district and adjacent districts? Is it consistent with the Master Plan? Is it consistent with the surrounding area? Will it have any detrimental effects to the use or value of surrounding area, or the natural environment?
2. Is the location, size, character, layout, access and traffic generated by the use hazardous or inconvenient or conflicting with the normal traffic of the neighborhood? Is off-street parking safe for pedestrians? Do the necessary vehicular turning movements block normal traffic flow? Are any additional public services or facilities needed by the use, and will they be detrimental to the community?
3. Is the maximum density and minimum required open space at least equal to the standards normally required by the Zoning Ordinance for the district?
The planning commission recommended the changes at its April 1, 2014 meeting. The proposed amendments were first reviewed by the commission’s ordinance revisions committee in 2007, but never moved forward to the full commission for consideration. The ORC most recently reviewed these changes in March of 2014. [.pdf of staff memo and proposed amendments]
This item would require a second vote by the council at a future meeting for final approval.
Land Use: Initial Approval – 515 Oxford (Delta Gamma)
The council will be asked to consider a rezoning request for 515 Oxford, to convert a house for use as an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority. The main sorority house is located nearby at 626 Oxford.
The request, recommended by the planning commission at its Jan. 23, 2014 meeting, is to rezone the parcel from R4A (multi-family dwelling) to R2B (two-family dwelling and student housing). Most of the surrounding parcels are zoned R2B, although the site immediately to the north is also zoned R4A. Also nearby is public land (PL) where the University of Michigan’s Oxford Houses complex is located.
The two-story house at 515 Oxford includes two one-story wings. It is currently a rental property with three units – a studio apartment, one-bedroom apartment, and four-bedroom apartment – and a maximum occupancy of 8 people. One of the units is in a former garage.
The proposal for a renovation would accommodate a maximum of 20 residents, including a required resident manager.
The building is notable because it was originally designed in 1940 by architect George Brigham, who used it as his home and architectural studio. He designed over 40 houses in Ann Arbor, including many in Arbor Hills and Barton Hills between 1936 and 1958.
To be given final approval, this item would require a second and final vote at a future meeting of the council. According to city planning staff, the timeline for this project is coordinated so that a site plan will be on the same council agenda as the second reading of the rezoning request. The site plan was approved by planning commissioners on April 15, 2014.
Land Use: Stapp Nature Area
The council’s May 5 agenda includes a resolution giving final 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.
This item was given initial approval at the council’s April 7, 2014 meeting.
Two items related to parks appear on the agenda: a contract for upgrades to play equipment in three parks; and approval of the purchase of two combination mower/snow-brooms.
Parks: Play Equipment
On the council’s agenda is a contract with Game Time c/o Sinclair Recreation for $132,000 to improve facilities at three parks. Arbor Oaks Park and Scheffler Park will have their play structures replaced, and North Main Park will be getting a tire swing and chess table.
The council will be asked to approve the purchase of two 2014 Toro model 7210 commercial six-foot wide mower/snow broom combination units at $50,426 each for a total of $100,853.
The units have a mower deck that can be used in the summer months and can be converted in the winter into a tank-tread type unit with enclosed cab that accepts a rotating snow broom, a snow blower, or a plow blade.
The two Toros will replace two walk-behind mowers and three riding mowers.
At the council’s May 5 meeting, a public hearing is being held on the proposed special assessment for sidewalk construction on Newport Road north of Wines Elementary School. The council voted at its previous meeting, on April 21, to direct the preparation of the roll and to set the public hearing.
The total amount to be special assessed for the Newport Road project is $49,746 – the entire cost of the project. But residents of the Newport Creek Site Condominium – who would not ordinarily be assessed, as their property isn’t adjacent to the sidewalk – have volunteered to contribute $10,228 to the project to help offset their neighbors’ assessments. Details of that arrangement are being finalized. The work is planned to be coordinated with a road resurfacing project for Newport Road, from Sunset to just south of Bird Road.
Environmental Commission Appointments
Appointments to the city’s environmental commission (EC) are on the May 5 agenda, having been postponed at the council’s April 21 meeting. All three that appeared on the April 21 agenda were reappointments for currently serving members of the EC: Kirk Westphal, David Stead, and Susan Hutton.
However, the council will be considering a substitute resolution that will not include Stead. In an email to other councilmembers from Sabra Briere (Ward 1) on May 2, she indicated that she’d be offering the substitute resolution, saying, “David Stead has decided that his life is busy enough he cannot do justice to serving on the commission.” In addition, a separate item has been added to the agenda, to nominate and appoint Katherine Hollins to the EC. Hollins is a staffer with the Great Lakes Commission.
Postponement after initial appearance on the agenda is not unusual for appointments to the EC, because it allows the appointment to mimic the two-step nominate-confirm process for mayoral appointments. EC positions are nominated by the council as a whole. However, in the case of these appointments, Stead’s four previous terms on the commission would likely have been a point of friction for some councilmembers.
Stead was among the first members to be appointed, on Sept. 18, 2000 – after the council established the commission in a resolution approved on April 3, 2000. And he has served continuously since that initial appointment. Stead also served on the city council representing Ward 5 from April 1993 through November 1994.
There are no term limits for Ann Arbor city boards and commissions, except those highlighted in the city charter as having a six-year maximum. But several councilmembers have expressed concerns about the length of service by some members of some boards and commissions preventing a broader range of participation in local governance. Most recently, the issue arose in connection with the reappointment of Wayne Appleyard to the energy commission on Oct. 23, 2013. Also a factor in the 8-3 confirmation vote for Appleyard was his non-city residency.
Stead is vice president of Resource Recycling Systems. City council minutes show that the council has approved roughly $300,000 in contracts for consulting work by RRS for the city of Ann Arbor between 2007 and 2009.
Westphal is being put forward as the planning commission’s representative to the environmental commission. He currently serves as chair of the planning commission, which voted at its Jan. 23, 2014 meeting to recommend Westphal’s reappointment. Westphal did not participate in the vote on that recommendation.
Westphal, a Democrat, is contesting the Ward 2 seat to which Sally Petersen is not seeking re-election – because she is running for mayor. Nancy Kaplan, who’s currently a member of the Ann Arbor District Library board, is running for that same Ward 2 seat.
In 2013, mayor John Hieftje declined to nominate Jeff Hayner to serve on the public art commission, citing a policy against nominating candidates for city council to serve on city boards and commissions. Hayner ran for Ward 1 council against Sabra Briere that year – a race in which Briere prevailed.
Hutton was first appointed to the environmental commission in 2011 and is concluding her first three-year term.
Deer Herd Management
On the May 5 meeting agenda is a resolution that would direct the city administrator to partner with other organizations to develop strategies for deer management. The resolution also directs the administrator to report back to the city council by July 31, 2014 on the status of the partnership, including budget and timelines. The resolution, put forward by Jane Lumm (Ward 2), states that the desired outcome is a community-endorsed deer management plan.
Other organizations named in the resolution as potential partners include the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, the University of Michigan, the Humane Society of Huron Valley, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. A recent meeting of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission included a discussion of deer herd management.
Washtenaw County commissioner Andy LaBarre, who represents District 7 in Ann Arbor, has sent an email to the city council expressing his support for the resolution, and an indication that he will be putting forward a similar resolution for the county board of commissioners to consider. [.pdf of LaBarre's email]
One metric for deer as a nuisance is traffic accidents they cause. While the number of traffic crashes involving deer has shown a slight downward trend in Washtenaw County, the number of vehicle-deer crashes in the city of Ann Arbor has shown a slight upward trend.
4:11 p.m. Staff responses to city councilmember questions on agenda items are now available. [May 5, 2014 staff responses to councilmember questions on agenda items.]
6:22 p.m. Council chambers are empty. Yellow agendas are printed out, stacked on the public speaking podium.
6:30 p.m. Thomas Partridge is first to arrive. He’s signed up to speak during public commentary reserved time – on the topic of affordable transportation. Based on his previous commentary, he’ll likely support tomorrow’s May 6 transit millage. Also signed up to speak is LuAnne Bullington, who will likely balance out the viewpoints expressed on the transit millage.
6:33 p.m. Alison arrives, who is taking photos for Sally Petersen’s mayoral campaign.
6:33 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.
6:37 p.m. Council chambers population is now at 4: The Chronicle, Thomas Partridge, Alison the photog, and a Huron High School student, who’s attending the meeting to satisfy a course requirement.
6:39 p.m. LuAnne Bullington has now arrived.
6:42 p.m. Jack Eaton (Ward 4) is the first councilmember to arrive.
6:53 p.m. Sally Petersen (Ward 2) and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) have now arrived. City administrator Steve Powers is also now here. City attorney Stephen Postema and assistant city attorney Mary Fales are in council chambers.
6:54 p.m. Eaton is chatting with a constituent about the AAATA millage. Eaton is explaining that he’s neutral on the question, but he can see the arguments on both sides. He does wish that the AAATA would be run more efficiently, but also wants to see more service and hopes some middle ground can be found.
7:01 p.m. Remaining councilmembers are starting to filter in. Margie Teall (Ward 4), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) are still not here. Mayor John Hieftje has now arrived.
7:02 p.m. Ward 5 council candidate Leon Bryson has arrived.
7:06 p.m. Sally Petersen (Ward 2) is quizzing high school students here for class assignments about what ward they live in.
7:08 p.m. Call to order, moment of silence, pledge of allegiance.
7:09 p.m. Roll call of council. All councilmembers are present and correct.
7:09 p.m. Approval of agenda.
7:09 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved the agenda.
7:09 p.m. Communications from the city administrator.
7:11 p.m. Steve Powers reminds people that polls are open tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the AAATA transit millage proposal. He says there could be some noise tonight from the asbestos abatement one floor above the chambers. He notes that the Ann Arbor fire department is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
7:11 p.m. Public commentary. 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.]
Tonight’s lineup for reserved time speaking is: Thomas Partridge (affordable transportation), Kermit Schlansker (bio mass energy), LuAnne Bullington (transportation), Frank Burdick (CDM Smith Michigan Inc. contract for FDD), and Ali Ajrouch (construction at Ann Arbor Saline Road and Eisenhower).
7:14 p.m. Thomas Partridge introduces himself as a Ward 5 resident and a recent candidate for various public offices. He’s endorsing the AAATA millage that will be voted on tomorrow, which will expand affordable transportation services and give greater opportunities for everyone in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. We need to save the planet starting here at home, he says. Unnecessary transportation burdens need to be taken off the road network and rush-hour gridlock needs to be relieved. It’s an economical and necessary millage, he says. When communities vote to expand transit services locally and tie into countywide and regionwide services, they expand economic opportunities for everyone.
7:17 p.m. Kermit Schlansker says that none of the criticism of biomass technology are valid – and it’s more important than solar or wind power. He’s talking about sequential biodigestion and extraction of fuel gas. The liquid output is pure enough to be piped into ponds, he says. The solids can be transported to fields where they can be spread on fields.
7:21 p.m. LuAnne Bullington is talking about the southeast Michigan regional transit authority (RTA), which was established in December 2012 in a lame duck session. She’s describing the four-county region – Macomb, Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw counties, plus the city of Detroit. She’s describing the possibility that an RTA millage could be placed on the ballot as soon as 18 months from now. She says that 85% of the funds raised in an RTA jurisdiction must be spent within the jurisdiction. She describes how the total transit millage for Ann Arbor taxpayers will be about 2.7 mills if the millage tomorrow passes. Any RTA millage would be added to that, she notes.
7:24 p.m. Frank Burdick introduces himself as a Ward 4 resident. He’s asking the council to vote no on the CDM Smith contract on footing drain disconnects. He says that CDM’s performance has not been acceptable. He notes that before this current extension of the contract, the previous contract has totaled about $3.6 million, so the $750,000 comes in addition to that. He’s discussing the history of how FDDs were chosen as an option for dealing with excessive flows in the sanitary sewer system. Stop studying and start funding real infrastructure improvements, he says.
7:25 p.m. Ali Ajrouch is not here.
7:25 p.m. Communications from council.
7:26 p.m. Sabra Briere (Ward 1) says there is information about an environmental commission appointee and her resume. She hopes that councilmembers will look over it, before the discussion is held on the matter at the next meeting.
7:27 p.m. Jane Lumm (Ward 2) announces that the housing and human services advisory board now has five vacancies. She invites interested people to contact the mayor’s office. [.pdf of application form]
7:29 p.m. Margie Teall (Ward 4) is talking about the State Street detour near Stimson. It’s not well-received by the neighbors, she says. It’s been difficult to get around today. She also has a question about the status of the Georgetown Mall site. It sure would be nice to know how that’s going to move forward, she says. She also announces that the final meeting on coordinated funding for human services has taken place. She’s thanking the volunteers who sifted through all the applications. It will be on the council’s next meeting agenda, she says.
7:33 p.m. Mike Anglin (Ward 5) is talking about the millage vote tomorrow. Increased ridership generates more federal funding, he notes. He’s thanking various people for the discussion that’s been going on for the last few years. He notes that after the countywide initiative, the city council had given direction to focus on a smaller area, just east of the city. He says he’s leaning more in the direction of supporting the millage, but notes that this will be added to the other tax that Ann Arbor is paying. He’s disappointed that Pittsfield Township did not pass a millage. He says the opponents of the millage had limited resources and it was difficult to take an adverse position when the tide is so strong in the other direction. Even those who are saying no to the millage do support the transportation system, he says.
7:35 p.m. Anglin says that in contrast with the city park system, the AAATA is not a lean organization. Ridership is what transportation is all about, he says. Tomorrow taxpayers will be asked to accept an increase for the next five years, he says. Trains are really expensive, he notes, and there are not partners who will pay for that. It’s something that we’ll always strive for but never reach, he says.
7:39 p.m. Kunselman alerts his colleagues to the entry of Uber into the Ann Arbor market. Uber uses a smart phone app to pair drivers with passengers, he says. The state of Michigan and the city of Detroit have sent a cease-and-desist order to Uber, he says, and if a council resolution is required for the city of Ann Arbor to issue a similar order, he’ll bring forward that resolution at the next council meeting. He’s reviewing the need for regulatory action, in the context of insurance issues. He notes that the taxicab board, on which he sits, at its last meeting asked the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance that would regulate all drivers for hire. He’s reading aloud some quotes form newspapers articles. [See Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Taxi Board Reacts to Uber."]
7:40 p.m. Kunselman said Uber has not registered with MDOT as a limo carrier, which they’re required to do, he says. Uber ignores the law, he says, and the city should stand up to a company that ignores the law. He characterizes Uber’s “surge pricing” as gouging. He also mentions Lyft, with their moustache logos. He describes the situation as the Wild West when it comes to drivers for hire in Ann Arbor.
7:41 p.m. Lumm is alerting people to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation’s promotion tomorrow – called Give Local – which will be matching contributions made that day to various nonprofits.
7:41 p.m. MC-1 Nominations. Robert White is being nominated for reappointment to the historic district commission. The vote on that appointment will take place at the next council meeting.
7:43 p.m. Hieftje is now responding to Anglin’s comments, saying that AAATA is efficient in terms of the cost per rider. He says that in Lansing, AAATA is held up as the best and most efficient transit agency in the state.
7:43 p.m. Hieftje is reviewing the broad range of support in the community for the millage.
7:43 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. Tonight’s agenda features five public hearings.
- PH-1 Stapp rezoning. [For background, see Land Use: Stapp Nature Area above.]
- PH-2 Newport Road sidewalk special assessment notice. [For background, see Sidewalks above.]
- PH-3 FY 2015 public services fee adjustments.
- PH-4 FY 2015 community services fee adjustments. [For background, see Public Hearing: FY 2015 Community Service Fees above.]
- PH-5 FY 2015 city budget. [For background, see Public Hearing: FY 2015 Budget above.]
7:47 p.m. PH-1 Stapp rezoning. Thomas Partridge is supporting this rezoning, but asks that the ordinance be rewritten to require access to public transportation.
7:47 p.m. PH-2 Newport Road sidewalk special assessment notice. This hearing will remain open after today’s meeting, but speakers who speak today won’t be able to speak at the next meeting. [.pdf of assessment list]
7:49 p.m. An adjoining property owner is questioning how the assessment is being applied to parcels of different sizes.
7:52 p.m. Pete Warburton says he’s opposed to this special assessment. He questions whether the current sidewalk over the bridge meets ADA requirements. He says he’s surveyed some case law on special assessments. Through the 1900s and through the 1950s, the tax tribunals came up with a way to determine if it was fair. A special assessment must afford a special benefit, he says. He says that something that he sees as a benefit might not be seen as a benefit to someone else. Then in the 1980s, the Michigan Supreme Court had determined that the only benefit of any relevance is an increase in the property’s value. He doubts that his property will increase in value as a result of the sidewalk.
7:54 p.m. A representative of the Free Methodist Church is now addressing the council. The church had been told at the time that the church would not be assessed but the sidewalk would need to go through the property. They had agreed, she says, but it turns out that the church is going to be assessed. The church’s yearly budget is $3,200 and it has only about 10 member households, she says. She asks that the city assessor review the assessment for the church’s property.
7:55 p.m. Frank Burdick says that the city is special assessing residents when the city is paying for contracts with consultants like CDM. Money in the capital budget for the FDD contract should be spent on constructing sidewalks, he says.
7:56 p.m. A resident who lives on Springwood Court says the city should be repairing the roads and he was very much opposed to the special assessment.
7:58 p.m. Paul Conway says he’s president of the Riverwood Homeowners Association. He’s speaking in support of the assessment, but not necessarily of the amount. Among his group, those who were opposed cited the cost and the fear that Ann Arbor Public Schools would cease bus service to the area if a sidewalk is built.
7:59 p.m. PH-3 FY 2015 public services fee adjustments.
8:00 p.m. Thomas Partridge calls for additional scrutiny so that businesses are assessed fees on an equitable basis. The fees structure should be progressive, he says.
8:01 p.m. PH-4 FY 2015 community services fee adjustments.
8:02 p.m. No one speaks on this hearing.
8:02 p.m. PH-5 FY 2015 city budget.
8:04 p.m. Larry Deck is thanking the council for giving direction to the city administrator to develop a plan for implementing the city’s non-motorized transportation plan. He identifies three discontinuities in the Border-to-Border Trail that the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition would like to see prioritized. He’s looking forward to the June 2014 memo that the city administrator is due to present, he says.
8:06 p.m. Thomas Partridge is criticizing the council for passing along this budget without ameliorating the undue burdens that are placed on the least wealthy members of the community. He says that while the city takes pride in its parks, not enough is done for disabled people and senior citizens.
8:08 p.m. That’s it for this public hearing.
8:08 p.m. Approval of minutes.
8:08 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved the minutes from its previous meeting.
8:08 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 Street Closing: East Washington for the Ann Arbor Book Festival on June 21.
- CA-2 Street Closing: East Liberty for Sonic Lunch on Aug. 21.
- CA-3 Street Closing: Several neighborhood streets for the 2014 Glacier Area Homeowners Association Annual Memorial Day Parade on May 26.
- CA-4 Approve March 27, 2014 recommendations of the Board of Insurance Administration.
- CA-5 Transfer delinquent fees to the July 2014 city tax roll.
8:08 p.m. Councilmembers can opt to select out any items for separate consideration. No one does.
8:08 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved all items on the consent agenda.
8:08 p.m. B-1 Stapp rezoning This item gives final 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 background, see Land Use: Stapp Nature Area above.]
8:10 p.m. Briere is responding to the accessibility issues that Partridge raised during the public hearing. Route #1 runs by the parcel, she says.
8:10 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to give final approval to the Stapp rezoning.
8:10 p.m. C-1 515 Oxford Rezoning. The council is being asked to consider a rezoning request for 515 Oxford, to convert a house for use as an annex to the Delta Gamma sorority. The main sorority house is located nearby at 626 Oxford. [For background, see Land Use: Initial Approval – 515 Oxford (Delta Gamma) above.]
8:12 p.m. Lumm notes that this item rezones the parcel to allow conversion of the house for use as an annex for the Delta Gamma sorority. There have been some concerns expressed by neighbors and preservationists, but most are in support, she says.
8:12 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to give initial approval to the 515 Oxford rezoning.
8:12 p.m. C-2 Drive-thru amendments The council is being asked to consider giving initial approval of amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance related to drive-thrus. The amendments would add a definition of a “drive-thru facility” to Chapter 55 of the city code. Currently, the term used throughout the code is “drive-in,” which is not explicitly defined in the code. [For background, see Land Use: Initial Approval – Drive-Thrus above.]
8:12 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to give initial approval to the changes to the drive-thru regulations in the zoning ordinance.
8:13 p.m. DC-1 Environmental Commission appointments. The council is being asked to confirm the reappointments of Kirk Westphal and Susan Hutton, but not David Stead, to the environmental commission. [For background, see Environmental Commission Appointments above.]
8:15 p.m. Stead has withdrawn his name from consideration, Briere says, because he’s found it increasingly difficult to find time to attend the meetings. So the resolution includes just Kirk Westphal and Susan Hutton. This means that there are three vacancies on the EC. So Briere invites people with a background in environmental sciences, chemistry, biology and the like to apply.
8:16 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to confirm the appointments of Kirk Westphal and Susan Hutton to the environmental commission over the dissent of Kunselman, Eaton, Anglin and Kailasapathy.
8:16 p.m. DC-2 Deer management options. This resolution would direct the city administrator to partner with other organizations to develop strategies for deer management. The resolution also directs the administrator report to back to the city council by July 31, 2014 on the status of the partnership, including budget and timelines. The resolution, put forward by Jane Lumm (Ward 2), states that the desired outcome is a community-endorsed deer management plan. [For background, see Deer Herd Management above.]
8:18 p.m. Lumm says an aerial survey had shown 76 deer per square mile – five times the optimal level. Lumm has received a large volume of communication in support of this resolution, she says. The time has come to address the problem. It’s just the first step and does not presuppose any particular solution, she says.
8:19 p.m. Lumm says she’s heard from Bob Grese, director of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, who’s interested in being involved. Lumm allows that any recommendation is likely to be met with an emotional response.
8:21 p.m. Petersen reiterates her support and thanks Lumm for doing the heavy lifting on this resolution. It’s an issue that Ward 2 residents have been dealing with for several years, she says. Culling and deer birth control are two options mentioned by Petersen.
8:23 p.m. Briere also thanks Lumm for her work. When she first was elected to council, she’d asked questions about records of deer-car accidents. She describes the increase in deer in her own yard. If there are places in the city where there are not deer now, “They’re coming!” she warns.
8:25 p.m. Kailasapathy says she’s definitely received a lot of email about this. The problem needs to be addressed, but she says, “We’re not Bambi killers.” Taylor says he hasn’t seen any deer in Ward 3, but will support the resolution. He highlights the fact that many partners are mentioned in the resolution, which is good because the problem likely exceeds city resources.
8:27 p.m. Kunselman is assuring everyone that there are deer in Ward 3. He says that birth control can’t be used, because the state of Michigan doesn’t allow it – because those drugs are not legal for human consumption. What we’ll be talking about, he says, is culling the herd, with archers in tree stands to avoid wayward arrows. Kunselman said that it would be a matter of hiring hunters to take action during hunting season and he’d be ready for that vote.
8:29 p.m. Warpehoski is attesting to deer in Ward 5. He says that his concern is the degradation of the natural habitat due to the overpopulation. He’s grateful that Lumm is leading the council into what will be a hard decision, and she’s not allowing the council to duck the issue. He ventures that Kunselman is probably right about the solution.
8:30 p.m. Eaton says he’s had a large buck with a big rack in his backyard. So there are also deer in Ward 4. He doesn’t know that they’re a nuisance, but says that there are just too many of them. Allowing deer to starve is not preferable to shooting them, he says. He’d learned a lot about urban deer from the emails, he says.
8:32 p.m. Lumm is adding more commentary and thanks her colleagues for their support.
8:32 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to direct the city administrator to develop a deer herd management program.
8:32 p.m. DC-3 Remove reference to felony convictions on city job applications. The intent of this resolution is to make sure that city job applicants who have past felony conviction will not be barred from employment by the city of Ann Arbor – unless the exclusion is “job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” The resolution directs the revision of the city’s employment application to eliminate a requirement that applicants disclose past criminal records – except for police and fire department applicants. Criminal background checks will not be conducted until after an applicant is determined to be otherwise qualified for the position and has received a conditional offer of employment. This resolution is co-sponsored by Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), Jack Eaton (Ward 4) and Margie Teall (Ward 4).
8:36 p.m. Briere says that she’d attended county board of commissioner meetings on this topic and apologizes for not bringing it forward to the city council sooner. [The county board voted in August 2010 to eliminate the "felony box" from county job applications.] The idea is not to prevent staff from doing criminal background checks, but to constrain them from doing those checks until after an applicant is first considered for employment. She says she collaborated with Warpehoski and Eaton on the draft language as well as assistant city attorney Nancy Niemela on the issue.
8:37 p.m. The most difficult thing for a felon who has just been released from prison is to get that first job, she says. She asks her colleagues to support the change in policy. Warpehoski thanks Briere for doing the heavy lifting and Eaton for making valuable revisions to the resolution.
8:40 p.m. Warpehoski says that sometimes people check the box on felony convictions incorrectly because they do not understand that their conviction was a misdemeanor. WeROC and the city’s human rights commission and other organizations have worked on this issue, he says. The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, for which he serves as executive director, has also worked on it, he says.
8:42 p.m. Eaton says that his involvement in the resolution was inadvertent, as he’d happened on a conversation between Warpehoski and Teall and was allowed to join it. He points out that the first resolution goes beyond removing the box to state that it’s the city’s policy not to bar felons from employment. For certain jobs, the policy would still allow the city to take criminal past into consideration, he notes. “The best anti-crime program is a good job,” Eaton says.
8:42 p.m. Kailasapathy gives credit to the city’s human rights commission for working on the issue.
8:43 p.m. Petersen says by removing the felony box, the city could also be alleviating the homelessness problem.
8:43 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to remove any reference to felony convictions on city job applications.
8:43 p.m. DS-1 Approve contract extension with CDM for FDD program. The council is being asked to approve a roughly $750,000 contract with CDM Smith Inc. for continued work in connection with the city’s footing drain disconnection (FDD) program. [For background, see FDD Contract above.]
8:46 p.m. Eaton says that he doesn’t think the council should approve the contract. It’s a lot of money for short time, he says. The city’s FDD program has been haunted by quality problems, he says. He says that the collection lines from the output at the house out to the curb drains have been installed at too shallow a depth, which causes them to freeze during cold weather. Eaton says the council should wait until the sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation study recommendation is made, before going ahead with this resolution.
8:48 p.m. Eaton says there’s $24,000 for support of a citizens advisory committee that rarely meets. The greatest concern to Eaton is the funding of the developer offset mitigation program in the contract, which he says should be paid for solely by developers. If the council does not pass this resolution, the city staff would pick up the slack in overtime, he says, so he’s asking his colleagues to support him in voting no.
8:49 p.m. Kunselman asks Craig Hupy, public services area administrator, to the podium.
8:50 p.m. Hupy confirms for Kunselman that there’s no longer a consent order from the MDEQ requiring footing drain disconnections. Kunselman now wants a breakdown of how many of the FDDs were done under the consent order. “We’ve been still going at it, because of our city ordinance?” asks Kunselman. Yes, and the fact that there’s a wet weather issue in the sanitary system, Hupy says.
8:52 p.m. Kunselman ventures that it would make sense to wait for the outcome of the sanitary sewer wet weather evaluation study. Hupy says that the work in the contract does not include any new single-family disconnections. There is some multi-family work that is included, Hupy says.
8:53 p.m. Kunselman says he’ll support at least a postponement, at least until the study is done. It’s a little gung-ho of the city to proceed when there’s no longer a consent order in effect, he says. The developer offset program should be funded by developers, he says. There’s a lot of unknowns, it’s a big chunk of money, and he’s not ready to spend it yet.
8:55 p.m. Briere says that one of her concerns about the Walden Hills multi-family development is that she’s not sure there are actually any connected footing drains. City staffer Ann Warrow, who has joined Hupy at the podium, says that three of the buildings are confirmed as connected and the city is pretty sure there are eight others that are connected. Briere asks why the city has not already done these disconnections.
8:59 p.m. Hupy says that multi-family units can be fairly complex, explaining that it can be a building-by-building process.
8:59 p.m. Briere says that because the dollar amount is large and CDM is being asked to do so many different things, she’s not sure what CDM will reasonably be able to accomplish. Hupy says that the contract would let the work go forward as the work is identified. A lot of the cost is due to construction, he says. CDM would only be paid for construction work that is completed, Hupy says. Briere ventures that we’re talking about a contract for eight months, during which time not all the deliverables might be actually delivered.
9:05 p.m. Hupy and Briere are engaging in a back-and-forth on the options that developers have besides FDDs. Briere says she doesn’t understand why this contractor is needed for the information management aspect of the contract. Briere wonders if this were delayed, if the staff could bring back a contract that is divided up among the tasks so that the citizen support component could be extended but not the other elements.
9:07 p.m. Hupy tells Briere that a different resolution could be crafted after two weeks. Petersen moves to postpone until May 19, to give staff time to respond to the concerns about the quality of work. Hieftje asks if there’s a negative impact to postponing for two weeks. Hupy says the only potential problem would be on the developer offset mitigation program. Hieftje doesn’t want to consider this on the same night as the budget, so he wants to postpone for a month. That’s the motion currently on the floor.
9:09 p.m. Teall says that she doesn’t want to see the resolution changed that much when it comes back. She questions whether contentions about the quality of work done by CDM are valid. She describes a lot of “angry” emails she’s received, but she has heard alternate viewpoints. Hupy returns to the podium to say that there are currently developments that need developer offset mitigation.
9:10 p.m. Hupy is describing how the developer offset mitigation program works. The first step is to make sure that a candidate building has confirmed connected footing drains that need to be disconnected.
9:13 p.m. Hupy, in response to a question from Eaton, says he’s not sure why the developers are not required to pay for all the certifications and inspections. He’s not sure why it was set up that way. To change it now would be changing the rules of the game on the developers in the middle of the game. Petersen says she wants to hear the two sides of the story during the one-month postponement. Hupy has indicated that some work will continue using staff discretion to approve expenditures under $25,000.
9:14 p.m. Kunselman comes back to the consent order. He confirms that since the consent order has been lifted, the ordinance has not been substantially modified.
9:17 p.m. Kunselman wants to see the ordinance revised to be practical. That’s the point of the current sanitary sewer wet weather project recommendation, Hupy says. Hupy says that he’s working currently under the council direction in 2012 to “go forth” and continue DOM. This contract is the vehicle to do that, Hupy says.
9:20 p.m. Anglin is asking about the Walden Hills multi-family unit.
9:20 p.m. Warpehoski checks to see if there have been sanitary sewage backups in the affected areas downstream of Walden Hills. No, says Hupy. Warpehoski is content to see it postponed for a month. Eaton says that he’ll support postponement, but if it comes back in the neighborhood of the same amount, he thinks it should be bid out new.
9:21 p.m. Lumm supports postponement, saying that she has the same concerns about re-upping with the same vendor that Eaton expressed.
9:25 p.m. Taylor says he’ll support postponement. But he stresses that his understanding is that much of the amount is contingent upon completion of construction work. He wants to know how much has been passed through the contractor and how much has been retained by the contractor in the history of this contract.
9:25 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to postpone the contract with CDM for footing drain disconnection work until the council’s first meeting in June.
9:25 p.m. DS-2 Approve contract with Perimeter Engineering LLC ($100,000.00) and Stantec Consulting Michigan Inc. ($100,000). These contracts are for general construction inspection related services.
9:26 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to approve the contracts with Perimeter and Stantec for construction inspection services.
9:26 p.m. DS-3 Approve purchase of 2 mowers/snow brooms ($100,853). The council is being asked to approve the purchase of two 2014 Toro model 7210 commercial six-foot wide mower/snow broom combination units at $50,426 each for a total of $100,853.
9:26 p.m. Briere says no one wants to think about winter but these units will help the city clear the pathways in parks.
9:27 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the mower/snow broom purchases.
9:27 p.m. DS-4 Approve contract with Game Time for playground improvements at Arbor Oaks, Scheffler and North Main Parks ($131,700) Arbor Oaks Park and Scheffler Park will have their play structures replaced, and North Main Park will be getting a tire swing and chess table. [For background, see Parks: Play Equipment above.]
9:28 p.m. Taylor says that the park advisory commission is excited about the improvements to Arbor Oaks. Taylor serves on PAC as one of two council representatives.
9:28 p.m. Briere says that neighbors of North Main Park will be happy.
9:29 p.m. Kunselman says that he’s going to talk about the park he used to play in as a kid – Scheffler Park. At that time, their play equipment was simply a big culvert, he says.
9:29 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the contract that will result in park improvements at North Main, Scheffler and Arbor Oaks parks.
9:29 p.m. DS-5 Accept a sidewalk easement at 2300 Traverwood Drive. This is a standard easement.
9:29 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to accept the sidewalk easement at 2300 Traverwood.
9:34 p.m. Communications from council. Kailasapathy is making clear that her no vote on the EC appointments was against Westphal, not Hutton. She had also talked to Westphal at the Democratic chili cook-off last weekend about the fact that she was going to vote against his appointment. She recounts the reason that Jeff Hayner was not appointed to the public art commission last year – because Hayner was running for Ward 1 council at that time. Kailasapathy feels the same principle should be applied to Westphal’s appointment. She characterized her conversation with Westphal as pleasant. Hieftje reads aloud the email that he sent to Hayner, which he stresses did not mention any concern about political advantage.
9:36 p.m. Briere says that in the future, appointments can be divided so that people can vote for or against individual appointments. Lumm now wants to reconsider the resolution so that Kailasapathy’s vote can be clarified.
9:37 p.m. The council has now reconsidered the EC appointments. Briere moves to divide the question. Now the council is considering Hutton’s nomination.
9:37 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted unanimously to confirm Hutton’s reappointment to the EC.
9:39 p.m. Now the council is considering Westphal’s appointment. Briere is explaining that the appointment is actually the planning commission’s appointment. It’s a pro forma step for the council to ratify the appointment from the planning commission. Briere says she would find it difficult to tell the planning commission who should represent it on the environmental commission. Eaton says for the sake of consistency on appointing council candidates to boards and commissions, he’ll vote no.
9:41 p.m. Teall says she’s not clear about why the council needs to ratify the appointment. She says it’s confusing to have a double process. There’s also a difference between a mayoral appointment [like Hayner's appointment to the public art commission] and a council appointment. Taylor is agreeing with Teall.
9:45 p.m. Taylor says that voting no is disrespectful to the planning commission to reject its choice of who the commission wants to represent it. Westphal will without a doubt do an excellent job, Taylor.
9:45 p.m. Kunselman wants to know why the council is even considering this. He puts the question to Briere. Briere says she’d asked Powers. Powers looks puzzled. Warpehoski reads aloud the EC bylaws, saying that they indicate this “Ann Arbor two step.” Kunselman makes the argument based on continuity: If Westphal is successful, then the EC will need a replacement.
9:47 p.m. Petersen says that this appointment is wrapped up in a general concern that appointments to boards and commissions are not as transparent as they should be. Voting against this doesn’t solve that problem, she says.
9:50 p.m. Briere is arguing for the appointment based on the fact that it’s the planning commission’s representative.
9:50 p.m. Teall points out that earlier in the meeting, the issue of vacancies on the EC was raised: “Beggars can’t be choosers,” she says.
9:52 p.m. Anglin says that this is an opportunity for the council to make a decision and those who want to vote against it can do so.
9:53 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to confirm Westphal’s appointment to the EC over dissent from Kunselman, Eaton, Anglin and Kailasapathy.
9:55 p.m. Warpehoski thanks the Water Hill neighborhood for its hospitality over the weekend for the Water Hill Music Fest. He asks for input on a statement by the city on the topic of potential future drilling west of town. He’ll be bringing forward a resolution on that.
9:57 p.m. Kunselman is alerting the council to the property at 3045 Springbrook, which caught on fire a year ago. He wants to know why the property has not come before the building board of appeals. He also notes that the property is still claiming the homestead exemption, even though no one lives there.
9:57 p.m. Clerk’s report. Outcome: The council has voted to receive the clerk’s report.
9:57 p.m. Public Comment. There’s no requirement to sign up in advance for this slot for public commentary.
9:59 p.m. Thomas Partridge is complaining about noise caused by landscape contractors in the evenings.
10:01 p.m. Closed session. The council has voted to go into closed session to discuss pending litigation and written attorney-client privileged communications.
10:21 p.m. We’re back.
10:21 p.m. Adjournment. We are now adjourned. That’s all from the hard benches.
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