The council’s election-week meeting will be held on Thursday instead of Monday.
The agenda is relatively light, with many of the items dealing with land-use and zoning matters – each of which have an associated public hearing. The consent agenda is packed with renewals of contracts for various software packages and computer maintenance.
In the category of land development and use, the council will consider a site plan that proposes to tear down the existing Delta Chi fraternity house at 1705 Hill Street and build a much larger structure in its place. Another site plan on the agenda is The Mark condominiums. That’s a proposal from developer Alex de Parry to demolish an existing car wash at 318 W. Liberty and build an 11,910-square-foot structure with seven residential condominiums – five two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units.
Also on the agenda is the initial approval of rezoning – from O (office district) and RE (research district) to ORL (office/research/limited industrial district) – that will be necessary for an expansion of the Gift of Life Michigan facility in Research Park. The proposal calls for building a three-story, 40,786-square-foot addition to connect two existing buildings at 3161 and 3169 Research Park Drive, which are owned and occupied by the nonprofit.
Also on Research Park Drive, a trio of items on the agenda relate to a future project that would construct six new buildings on six parcels, each with associated surface parking and storm water detention. One of the proposed buildings would be a tennis facility. The tennis facility would require an amendment to the ORL district, which currently does not allow outdoor recreation uses. The three associated items are: (1) an area plan; (2) rezoning of 16.6 acres from RE (research district) to ORL (office/research/limited industrial district); and (3) an amendment to the ORL zoning classification to allow the planning commission to grant special exception uses for recreational facilities.
The council will also consider a $200,000 contract with Reiser & Frushour P.L.L.C. to provide legal representation for indigent defendants. The city is required to provide such representation for those indigent defendants who might face incarceration if convicted.
A second large contract on the agenda is one with Carrier & Gable Inc. for the purchase of $480,000 worth of traffic signals. A third large contract is a three-year $727,545 agreement with Du All Cleaning Inc. for janitorial service at city hall, the Wheeler Service Center, the water treatment plant, senior center and other city-owned facilities.
Also to be considered by the council at its Aug. 7 meeting are a raft of items on the consent agenda covering various pieces of software used by the city in its regular operations. None of the contracts exceed $100,000, which means they can be voted on “all in one go” as part of the consent agenda.
Returning to the agenda on Aug. 7 is the Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment roll. That item had been postponed at the council’s July 21 meeting to allow additional time for residents to protest the assessment.
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.
Site Plan: Delta Chi
On the council’s Aug. 7 agenda is a plan to tear down the existing Delta Chi fraternity house at 1705 Hill Street and build a much larger structure in its place. The planning commission voted to recommend approval of the site plan at its July 1, 2014 meeting.
The fraternity plans to demolish the existing 4,990-square-foot house at 1705 Hill St. – at the northwest corner of Hill and Oxford – and replace it with a 12,760-square-foot structure on three levels, including a basement. The current occupancy of 23 residents would increase to 34 people, including a resident manager.
The house is now on the northwest corner of the site, and a curbcut for the driveway is located at the intersection of Hill and Oxford. The proposal calls for building the new house closer to the southeast corner of the lot, with a parking lot on the west side and a new curbcut onto Hill – away from the intersection. [.pdf of staff report]
The minimum parking requirement is for seven spaces, but the plan calls for 16 spaces on the parking lot. There will be a shed with spaces for 20 bikes, and another four bike spaces in the back yard.
The project is expected to cost $2.2 million.
The fraternity declined to make a recommended voluntary parks contribution of $3,100 to the city. A statement from the fraternity gives their rationale for that decision: “While we can see the merit of such a donation for a large, new development that may bring additional residents to the city, we feel that this is not fitting in our situation. The Delta Chi Building Association has owned this property continuously since 1947, and during that time has consistently paid our property taxes and special millage assessments designated for Parks and Recreation. During our 67 years of ownership, we believe that we have contributed much more than the contribution suggested to support the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation system.”
In two separate votes at its July 1 meeting, the planning commission unanimously recommended approval of a site plan and granted a special exception use for the project. A special exception use is required because the property is zoned R2B (two-family dwelling district and student dwelling district). Fraternities are only allowed in R2B districts if granted special exception use by the planning commission. No additional city council approval is required for that.
The site plan does require city council approval, which is why it appears on the Aug. 7 agenda.
Site Plan: The Mark
On the council’s agenda is the site plan for The Mark condominiums just west of the railroad tracks on West Liberty Street.
The proposal from developer Alex de Parry is to demolish an existing car wash at 318 W. Liberty and build an 11,910-square-foot structure with seven residential condominiums – five two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units. Each condo would have its own two-car tandem garage for a total of 14 parking spaces, although no parking is required. The plan received a unanimous recommendation of approval from planning commissioners at their July 1, 2014 meeting.
The lot, on the north side of Liberty, is east of the historic Peter Brehme house at 326 W. Liberty and located in the Old West Side historic district. The historic district commission issued a certificate of appropriateness for the project on March 13, 2014. It’s located in Ward 5 and is zoned D2 (downtown interface).
The project would require two footing drain disconnects or the equivalent mitigation, according to a planning staff report. [.pdf of staff report]
In May, De Parry was told that the existing six-inch water main in West Liberty Street would need to be upsized to a 12-inch water main. The city staff told him that the six-inch main wouldn’t have the capacity to handle the additional development, in particular the building’s fire-suppression system. That was the reason for postponement at the planning commission’s May 20, 2014 meeting.
At that time, De Parry told commissioners that the development team had just been informed about the issue, and they were analyzing the budget impact and alternatives that they might pursue.
The current agreement, recommended by commissioners on July 1, is for De Parry to pay for installation of an eight-inch water main, rather than the 12-inch water main.
Rezoning: Gift of Life
The council will give initial consideration to the rezoning of property necessary for an expansion of the Gift of Life Michigan facility on Research Park Drive. The rezoning would change 6.55 acres from O (office district) and RE (research district) to ORL (office/research/limited Industrial district).
The proposal calls for building a three-story, 40,786-square-foot addition to connect two existing buildings at 3161 and 3169 Research Park Drive, which are owned and occupied by the nonprofit. According to a staff report, the additional space will accommodate offices, a special events auditorium and “organ procurement suites.” The nonprofit’s website states that the Gift of Life is Michigan’s only federally designated organ and tissue recovery program. Cost of the expansion project will be $10.5 million
The city planning commission recommended approval of the rezoning at its July 1, 2014 meeting. Only the initial consideration of the rezoning is on the Aug. 7 city council agenda. Rezoning requires two council votes taken at separate meetings.
The changes would rezone the properties from office (O) and research (RE) to office/research/limited industrial (ORL). The parcel at 3161 Research Park Drive is currently zoned O. The parcel at 3169 Research Park is zoned RE. The plan is to combine those lots before the city issues building permits.
The project would reduce the four existing curb cuts to Research Park Drive to three, connecting one of the loop driveways to an existing driveway at the east end of the site. A parking lot at the back of the site will be expanded by 38 parking spaces. Two alternate vehicle fueling stations are proposed in parking spaces near the main entry, with the driveway at the center of the site providing access for ambulances. A new shipping and receiving facility will be located on the northeast corner of the site.
Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park
A trio of items on the agenda relate to a future project at Research Park Drive that would construct six new buildings on six parcels, each with associated surface parking and storm water detention. One of the proposed buildings would be a tennis facility. The tennis facility would require an amendment to the ORL district, which currently does not allow outdoor recreation uses. The three associated items are: (1) an area plan; (2) rezoning of 16.6 acres comprising six parcels from RE (research district) to ORL (office/research/limited industrial district); and (3) an amendment to the ORL zoning classification to allow the planning commission to grant special exception uses for recreational facilities.
Recommendations of approval for these items came at the planning commission’s June 3, 2014 meeting. Initial approval was given by the city council for the rezoning items at its July 7, 2014 meeting. So a vote for approval at the council’s Aug. 7 meeting would be the final vote needed for enactment.
The six lots are undeveloped and total 16.6 acres. Four of the lots, on the southern end of the site, are owned by Qubit Corp. LLC; BMS Holdings LLC owns the northern two sites.
The proposed area plan – which is less detailed than a site plan – includes an indoor-outdoor tennis facility on one of the lots. It also includes five two-story buildings that could accommodate office, research, and limited industrial uses on the remaining lots, each with their own parking lot and access point to Research Park Drive.
Prior to construction, the project must go through the city’s site plan approval process, which might require a traffic impact study.
On the council’s agenda are three large contracts – one for indigent legal services, one for janitorial services and one for traffic signals.
Contracts: Legal Services
The council will consider a $200,000 contract with Reiser & Frushour P.L.L.C. to provide legal representation as court-appointed counsel to indigent defendants in the 15th District Court.
The court is required by law to appoint attorneys to represent indigent defendants when potential punishment if convicted includes the possibility of incarceration. According to the staff memo accompanying the item, Reiser & Frushour was selected from a pool of three firms that responded to a request for proposals (RFP). Besides Reiser & Frushour, the two other firms submitting proposals were: Washington, Friese & Graney; and Huron Valley Law Association. A selection committee consisting of the three 15th District Court judges reviewed the proposals and ranked the respondents. The contract covers the term of Sept. 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.
Contracts: Traffic Signals
A second large contract on the agenda is one with Carrier & Gable Inc. for the purchase of $480,000 worth of traffic signals.
The list of signals covered in the contract includes:
- Varsity and Ellsworth pedestrian signal upgrade ($25,000)
- King George and Eisenhower pedestrian signal upgrades ($35,000)
- Maintenance operations, including wear-out and accident damage, and support of other city projects ($300,000)
- Addition of flashing yellow arrows for left turn movement at the following locations ($55,000): Fuller & Glenn; Barton & Plymouth; Plymouth & Broadway; Eisenhower & Stone School; Cedar Bend & Fuller; Fuller & Glazier Way; Fuller & Fuller Ct.; Fuller & Huron High
- Division and Catherine ($65,000)
The council is being asked to approve the contract with Carrier & Gable as a sole-source contract, because they are the only area distributor in Michigan and Indiana for the Eagle Signal Company. All of the city’s signalized intersections use equipment manufactured by Eagle. According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, the advantages of sole-source supply for these materials include: reduced inventory requirements, as well as the need to train technicians in the repair of only one type of product.
Contracts: Janitorial Services
A third large contract on the agenda is a three-year $727,545 contract with Du All Cleaning Inc. for janitorial service at city hall, the Wheeler Service Center, the water treatment plant, senior center and other city-owned facilities.
The item had originally been scheduled to appear on the council’s July 21 meeting agenda. Responding to an emailed query from The Chronicle, city administrator Steve Powers explained that the item was delayed until the Aug. 7 meeting “to allow more time to evaluate the services of Du All during their probationary period.”
The locations and the cleaning schedule to be covered by the contract include:
- 911 Dispatch Center [Cleaned 7 days per week]
- Municipal Center [Cleaned 5 days per week]
- Wheeler Service Center [Cleaned 5 days per week]
- Water Treatment Plant [Cleaned 5 days per week]
- Veterans Memorial Park [Cleaned 5 days per week]
- Senior Center [Cleaned 4 days per week]
- Farmers Market [Cleaned 1-3 days per week depending on the season]
Sidewalk Special Assessment: Pontiac Trail
Appearing on the Aug. 7 agenda is the final vote on the special assessment for sidewalk construction on Pontiac Trail. It was postponed from the council’s July 21, 2014 meeting to allow additional time for one of the property owners to protest. The total cost that would be assessed to adjoining property owners is $72,218.
According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, sidewalk construction would be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14. The project will also be adding on-street bike lanes and constructing a new sidewalk along the east side of Pontiac Trail to fill in existing sidewalk gaps and to provide pedestrian access to Olson Park and Dhu Varren Road. That’s part of the city’s Complete Streets program.
In addition to the sidewalk, approximately 1,960 feet of curb and gutter is being added north of Skydale along Pontiac Trail to protect existing wetland areas. [.pdf of Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment area]
The consent agenda is a collection of items grouped together on the agenda that are considered routine and may include contracts up to $100,000. The council votes on those items as a group, unless a councilmember asks that an item be pulled out of the consent agenda for separate consideration.
The Aug. 7 consent agenda is dominated with computer software items:
- Purchase order to Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office for Judicial Information System (JIS) in FY 2015 ($45,000). This covers the annual software licensing and hosting costs for the JIS case management software. JIS is provided by the State of Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office for the 15th District Court use in its day-to-day operations.
- Purchase order with Oakland County for CLEMIS (Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System) Information Services for FY 2015 ($87,000). This gives the Ann Arbor police department access to shared information across multiple jurisdictions related to: computer aided dispatch (CAD), CAD Mobile, report management systems, fingerprinting and mug shots.
- Purchase order for annual maintenance and support of TRAKiT system and e-Markup annual license with CRW Systems Inc. for FY 2015 ($36,500). This system is used to track site plans and permits involved in land development – from initial concept through post occupancy compliance
- Purchase order with Azteca Systems for CityWorks enterprise license and annual maintenance and support agreement for FY 2015 ($60,000). This is a GIS-based asset management system used for maintenance activities. Service requests and work orders are based upon a customer request or an asset’s preventative maintenance schedule, and its location – which means that work can be managed by geographic location in addition to task type. If workers are already being sent to some area, they can do work that is due that is nearby as well.
- Purchase order to New World Systems for financial system annual software support and maintenance agreement for FY 2015 (not to exceed $70,000). The software provides monthly reporting and workflow routing for approvals of accounts payable invoices, accounts receivable, purchases, etc. The software allows city staff across departments to track the budget from the beginning of the budget planning process through the approval of the new budget.
- Purchase order with SEHI Computers for FY 2015 PC replacement program ($55,765). The staff memo accompanying this item notes that SEHI was selected as the lowest responsible bidder for pricing, technology, use of green technologies, power management technologies and ability to meet required bid specifications. But there’s not an indication of how many PCs are to be replaced under the program.
- Purchase order to BS&A Software for annual software maintenance and support agreement for FY 2015 ($26,000). This system is used for tax and assessment as well as the online hosting of tax and assessing data.
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