Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s Aug. 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 election-week meeting is held on Thursday instead of Monday.
The agenda is relatively light, with many of the items dealing with land-development 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 Thursday 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.
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.
4:38 p.m. Staff responses to councilmember questions about items on the agenda are now available: [.pdf of Aug. 7, 2014 staff responses to agenda items]
4:40 p.m. Nine of 10 speakers signed up to speak during public commentary reserved time will address the topic of a boycott against Israel: Kamal Aggour, Mahamoud Habeel, Mohammad Aggour, Ayah Nimer, Mustafa Aggour, Aleddin Arukaff, Mozghan Savabieasfahani, Blaine Coleman and Jennifer Lewis. Thomas Partridge is signed up to talk about electing Mark Schauer as governor and improved access to public transportation. Two alternates are also signed up: Ossama Elayan, to talk about boycotting Israel; and Alan Haber to talk about World Peace Day.
6:25 p.m. Two stacks of yellow paper have been stacked at the public speaking podium – copies of tonight’s agenda. The sound of vacuuming is audible from elsewhere on the second floor of city hall. That kind of janitorial work is actually the subject of one of the items on tonight’s agenda – a 35-month contract with Du All Cleaning. [For additional background, see Contracts: Janitorial Services above.]
6:26 p.m. Thomas Partridge is first to arrive in the council chambers. He’ll be addressing the city council tonight on the topics of electing Mark Schauer as governor of Michigan and the need to increase public transportation services.
6:30 p.m. Partridge is listening to NPR on the radio. “After the break we’ll have the latest update from events in Gaza.” That will be the topic for nine of 10 speakers who have signed up for public commentary reserved time.
6:48 p.m. About a dozen people with white T-shirts with “Boycott Israel” printed on them are now here. Another dozen people have now joined them.
6:52 p.m. The back of the T-shirts read: “The people united, will never be defeated.”
6:54 p.m. The contingent of anti-Israel activists now numbers about 35 people or more.
6:59 p.m. Contingent of anti-Israel activists is now upwards of 50 people. They’re all moving to the center section of seating for maximum impact for the CTN cameras when members of their group address the council.
7:02 p.m. Only seven councilmembers are here so far. Missing are Margie Teall, Mike Anglin, Sabra Briere and Chuck Warpehoski.
7:02 p.m. AAPD has an officer standing in the rear off to the side.
7:04 p.m. Jane Lumm is congratulating Christopher Taylor on his primary election victory. Briere, Teall and Warpehoski have now arrived.
7:05 p.m. Anti-Israel contingent continues to add to their number.
7:06 p.m. AAPD actually has two officers here. One of them retrieves a agenda.
7:06 p.m. Call to order, moment of silence, pledge of allegiance.
7:07 p.m. Roll call of council. Anglin is not here.
7:07 p.m. Approval of agenda.
7:08 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve tonight’s meeting agenda.
7:08 p.m. Communications from the city administrator. Steve Powers has no communications tonight.
7:08 p.m. Introductions. A proclamation is being given to Ann Arbor Teens for Kids to honor their volunteer contributions in the Ann Arbor parks – specifically for their efforts related to the skatepark grand opening and Huron River Day.
7:11 p.m. A representative of the group is introducing the roughly dozen students, most of them Pioneer High School students.
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.]
Nine of 10 speakers signed up to speak during public commentary reserved time will address the topic of a boycott against Israel: Kamal Aggour, Mahamoud Habeel, Mohammad Aggour, Ayah Nimer, Mustafa Aggour, Aleddin Arukaff, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, Blaine Coleman and Jennifer Lewis. Thomas Partridge is signed up to talk about electing Mark Schauer as Governor and improved access to public transportation. Two alternates are also signed up: Ossama Elayan, to talk about boycotting Israel; and Alan Haber to talk about World Peace Day.
At the July 7 and July 21 meetings of the council, speakers have addressed the council renewing their request – made at council meetings dating back more than a decade – that the council enact a policy boycotting city purchase of products from Israel. Speakers have asked that the council establish a public hearing on the topic. Most recently, mayor John Hieftje and Ward 4 councilmember Jack Eaton, in separate emails, have conveyed to anti-Israel activists that they would not support such a boycott or a move to establish a public hearing on the topic. [.pdf of Aug. 3, 2014 email from Hieftje to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani] [.pdf of July 30, 2014 email from Eaton to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani]
7:12 p.m. Hieftje stresses that only one person can speak at a time. He’s ticking through the set of rules – and says that signs need to be held toward the sides of the chambers so as not to block anyone’s view.
7:15 p.m. Thomas Partridge says he’s here to re-affirm the need to elect Democrat Mark Schauer as governor and Gary Peters as U.S. senator. They will bring about a more progressive environment. He calls for more public transportation, saying that the current system is too limited in scope. He calls for door-to-door service to all principle residential and government buildings. He calls for an expansion of the AAATA to a true countywide transportation system.
7:20 p.m. Kamal Aggour takes the podium to applause, with Blaine Coleman and Mozghan Savabieasfahani standing behind him. Aggour says that people don’t know what is going on the Middle East. He describes how one person he spoke to thought that the pyramids were in Israel. He’s showing the council a map of the area in 1948. He’s reviewing the Balfour Declaration of 1917. He describes how people’s houses have been taken from them. His remarks end with applause. Chants of “Boycott Israel” erupt. Hieftje gavels them down. He says that the next time that happens it will be taken off the speaker’s time. He says the council will move in a progressive fashion to conduct the meeting.
7:23 p.m. Mahamoud Habeel is reciting grim statistics about the deaths and injuries over the last several weeks in the violence in Gaza. One of them was his nephew. There were 20,000 buildings destroyed, he says, including his own family’s house. He’s paying taxes that are being used to destroy his own property and people, he says. Ten schools have been bombed, he says. A representative from the UN stood in front of the ruins of one of the schools and broke into tears, he says. He asks the council to divest from Israel. More chants of “Boycott Israel.”
7:26 p.m. Mohammad Aggour tells the council that the death toll in Gaza has doubled to 1,900 since the last time he addressed the council. He tells the mayor that he is not supporting the cause. He says that it’s time for Ann Arbor to become a leader. If someone were kidnapped here in Ann Arbor, people would go crazy, but there are thousands of people are dying and nobody is doing anything. He asks for a boycott of Israel – that’s something that is easy to do. He tells the council that they have the ability to call a public hearing, but they won’t do it. “We elected you guys to help us.” More chants of “Boycott Israel.”
7:29 p.m. Ayah Nimer is standing before the council as a voice for Palestinians. Americans have played a role in helping Israel, she says. The way to help our brothers and sisters in Gaza, she says, is to boycott Israel. There’s an app that will tell you which products to avoid, she says. She asks the council to imagine a resident of Gaza, who can’t get drinkable water. She describes how she keeps in touch with a 16-year-old girl in Gaza using Twitter. The girl is one of the thousands of people who have been silenced by Israel, she says, and that’s why she is speaking for her. Gaza is like an open-air prison, she says. More chants.
7:33 p.m. Mustafa Aggour says that hundreds and thousands of kids are being killed – with guns and tanks that we are paying for. Innocent women and children are being killed every day, he says, and we are supporting that. Israel has no right to take the Palestinian’s homeland and the U.S. has no right to support that. Americans stood up for Jews in Germany, he says, and they should stand up against this new Holocaust. They would come to attend council meetings in the future to call for a boycott. He says the council has the power to stop this, but they won’t. All they’re asking is for a boycott of Israel, he says. “Boycott Israel, that’s it,” he concludes. More chanting. Hieftje admonishes that only one person can speak at a time. The speaker invites the audience to recite in turn, which they attempt to do. Then the timer’s beep ends his speaking turn.
7:35 p.m. Aleddin Arukaff says he’s come to address the council not as a Muslim but as a human being. He’s just a kid, he says, who doesn’t want to see another kid die as a result of bullets and guns that they had helped pay for. More chants. He asks the council to imagine that someone comes to their house and just takes it. “I beg you guys, boycott Israel.” More chants.
7:39 p.m. Mozghan Savabieasfahani thanks the audience for coming. She’s turned away from the council to address the audience. She now turns back to the council. She asks Hieftje: “Is the life of an Arab child worth anything to you?” She tells the council that genocide is being funded by the U.S. She wants that to end. The way to do that is to schedule a public hearing on the boycott of Israel. “Who wants a public hearing?” “We do!” they reply. Thomas Partridge interjects a complaint that they are too loud. Savabieasfahani continues. Another woman interjects. Hieftje advises that only one person can talk at a time. Members of the audience point out that only one person is talking. The woman finishes her thought. More calls for a public hearing and applause finish out Savabieasfahani’s turn.
7:43 p.m. Blaine Coleman leads the audience in a chant of “Boycott Israel.” Coleman says that a resolution from the city council would have stopped Israel in its tracks. Hieftje reacts with a smile. The audience reacts negatively. Coleman shouts: “You racist dog!” The woman from the audience who spoke before tries again. This time Hieftje enforces the rule against ceding your time to another speaker. This provokes the audience to stand and chant. The council retreats to the work room.
7:46 p.m. AAPD officer advises the audience that they need to calm down. The council will come back, but when they do, the crowd needs to stay calm. If there’s another outburst like that, the council will go back to the work room and the officers will clear the room.
7:49 p.m. The AAPD officers have approached Coleman. They’re clearing the room. It’s not clear what specifically led to the decision to clear the room.
7:50 p.m. They’re now leaving. Lots of chanting, “Boycott Israel” as they leave. Chants have become quite loud.
7:51 p.m. Statements made include: “We are coming back with a thousand people.” “Cowards!”
7:53 p.m. Most of the activists are outside of the chambers, but still on the second floor. Chants of “Boycott Israel” are still audible from the hall. “People are angry. Their relatives are dead.”
7:54 p.m. It’s now quieted down. Councilmembers are returning to the table.
7:54 p.m. Hieftje has called the council to order again.
7:57 p.m. Jennifer Lewis is addressing the council about an experience she had at the zoning board of appeals (ZBA). She asks that the composition of the ZBA reflect the source of most of the appeals. She says that the people who spoke tonight don’t necessarily reflect the views of all the residents of Ann Arbor. She notes that the word “Hamas” had not been spoken tonight. When her family visited Israel, they had to sit in bomb shelters.
7:57 p.m. Communications from council. This is the first of two slots 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.
8:03 p.m. Eaton relays regrets from Anglin.
8:03 p.m. Lumm notes that the campaigns had concluded on Tuesday [the day of the primary elections]. She says that the campaigns were positive and classy.
Briere is questioning whether one of the speaker’s statements was true – that the U.S. had supported Jews during the Holocaust. She says that the U.S. had not opened its doors. That doesn’t mean that any violence is justified – she wants only to correct the error of historical fact.
8:03 p.m. Kailasapathy says: “Every child’s life matters.” When human rights are violated, it affects all of us. In Sri Lanka on July 25, 1983, her house was burned along with those of others. She describes her experience in the civil war there: “I am the poster child of a civil war …They were killing all my friends,” she says. She’d seen people dying like those in the pictures that protesters were holding. Her voice is shaking, but she’s continuing to speak. She tells those remaining in the audience: “We do care, okay. Just because we go into that room [the council work room] doesn’t mean we’re running way.”
8:05 p.m. Warpehoski gives an update on the chicken ordinance. He’s also giving an update on greenway planning. His third update is on the Michigan Dept. of Transportation proposed widening of US-23. On Aug. 14 there will be a public meeting to discuss that proposal at the Northfield Township Hall, he says.
8:07 p.m. Warpehoski now questions the assertion of one of the speakers that the council had the power to stop the violence in Gaza. He is talking about the legal ability of local units of government to enact boycotts of foreign governments, citing a court decision. “The premise that we are somehow the locus of control is wrong,” he says.
8:09 p.m. Petersen reports that before the meeting she’d spoken with Ayah Nimer, who’d address the council. Petersen had completed a “Hands are not for hitting” program and had known her for several years. Petersen said that Nimer’s comments were balanced and had approached the council in peaceful manner; she could be a leader for others, she says.
8:09 p.m. Nominations. On tonight’s agenda are three nominations to city boards and commissions: Bob Guenzel as a reappointment to the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority; Stephen Raiman to the energy commission to replace Dina Kurz; and Nora Lee Wright to a vacancy on the housing and human services advisory board.
8:10 p.m. Hieftje says that he wants the activists to reflect on the image they are creating, of a raucous crowd shutting down a city council meeting. Some of the statements that Coleman had made were absurd, Hieftje says. There are limits to what the council and cannot do.
8:11 p.m. PH-1 Confirm Pontiac Trail sidewalk assessment roll. [For additional background, see Sidewalk Special Assessment: Pontiac Trail above.] No one speaks on this hearing.
8:12 p.m. PH-2 Rezoning of 16.6 Acres from RE (Research Dwelling District) to ORL (Office/Research/Limited Industrial Dwelling District). [For additional background, see Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park above.] Thomas Partridge asks that this parcel be required to have accessible transportation.
8:12 p.m. PH-3 Approve the area plan for Research Park Lots 26-31. [For additional background, see Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park above.] No one speaks on this public hearing.
8:13 p.m. PH-4 Amend zoning ordinance to allow outdoor places of recreation in the Office/Research/Limited Industrial (ORL) zoning district as a special exception use. [For additional background, see Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park above.] No one speaks on this public hearing.
8:14 p.m. PH-5 The Mark Condominiums site plan. [For additional background, see Site Plan: The Mark above.] Thomas Partridge calls for a requirement of all site plans to have accessible transportation.
8:15 p.m. A representative from Perimeter Engineering is addressing the council. She’s reviewing flow capacity testing for the water main and she believes that the water main is already adequate to meet the needs of the project.
8:18 p.m. PH-6 Delta Chi site plan. [For additional background, see Site Plan: Delta Chi above.] Allen Lutes is representing the owner of the property, and providing background on their intent.
8:20 p.m. Thomas Partridge calls for a requirement that public transportation be made available at this site.
8:22 p.m. PH-7 Issuance of Bonds by the EDC for Glacier Hills Inc. The attorney for the Economic Development Corp. is addressing the council. He stresses that there are no new bricks-and-mortar projects associated with this bond issuance. It’s a refinancing of bonds issued in 1989, 2000 and 2010. There’s no risk to tax money, he says.
8:22 p.m. Approval of minutes.
8:22 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the minutes of its previous meeting.
8:22 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. Tonight’s consent agenda contains 11 items. [Some background on consent agenda items is included above.]
8:23 p.m. Councilmembers can opt to select out any items for separate consideration. No one does.
8:23 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved the consent agenda.
8:23 p.m. B-1 Rezoning of 16.6 Acres from RE (Research Dwelling District) to ORL (Office/Research/Limited Industrial Dwelling District). 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. [For additional background, see Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park above.]
8:23 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to give final approval to the rezoning of the 16.6 acres in Research Park.
8:23 p.m. B-2 Amend zoning ordinance to allow outdoor places of recreation in the Office/Research/Limited Industrial (ORL) zoning district as a special exception use. This item is related to the previous one. [For additional background, see Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park above.]
8:23 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to give final approval of the amendment to the zoning code to allow outdoor recreation as a special exception use in the ORL district.
8:24 p.m. C-1 Gift of Life rezoning. This 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.[For additional background, see Rezoning: Gift of Life above.]
8:24 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to give initial approval of the rezoning for the Gift of Life property.
8:24 p.m. DC-1 Issuance of Bonds by the EDC for Glacier Hills Inc. This resolution approves issuance of bonds by the Economic Development Corporation for refinancing of existing bonds. According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, this does not encumber the city in any way – because Glacier Hills will be solely and exclusively responsible for the repayment of the EDC bonds.
8:25 p.m. Lumm is reading aloud a description of the issuance. She recites how the council had previously voted to set the public hearing that was held tonight. Refinancing will save substantially on the bond repayment, she says. She reiterates that there is no risk to the city involved here.
8:26 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the issuance of bonds by the EDC for Glacier Hills Inc.
8:26 p.m. DC-2 Great Lakes Climate Assessment grant application. This resolution would support the city of Ann Arbor’s application for a 2014 GLISA Great Lakes Climate Assessment grant, sponsored by the University of Michigan Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center (GLISA). According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, city staff are proposing a project to develop a set of training tools for city engineers that will: (1) highlight adaptive projects and designs that are known to be effective in the Great Lakes Region (e.g., white roofs, green streets); and (2) identify key research questions for infrastructure assets where adaptive measures are not well developed (e.g., heat island effects of asphalt vs. concrete for street reconstruction).
8:27 p.m. Briere says that this “is one of those relatively easy things.” It’s a grant competition that the University of Michigan has entered, and they need a civic sponsor. That’s the role the city will play.
8:27 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved the resolution of support for the grant application.
8:27 p.m. DB-1 Approve the area plan for Research Park Lots 26-31. This is related to two items above. [For additional background, see Rezoning, Area Plan, Special Exception: Research Park above.]
8:27 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to approve the area plan for the lots on Research Park Drive.
8:27 p.m. DB-2 Site plan: The Mark. This is 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. [For additional background, see Site Plan: The Mark above.]
8:32 p.m. Kunselman says that what caught his attention was the information about the water main that was mentioned during the public hearing. Planning manager Wendy Rampson approaches the podium. The proposal requires more water service than the current use as a car wash, she explains. Kunselman says there is a different project at Ashley and Huron that is having some of the utilities work paid for through a rebate of TIF. Alex de Parry responds to Kunselman’s question about whether he has pursued that option with the DDA. De Parry indicates that there have been some discussions but it sounds like they didn’t result in interest in applying.
The conversation is now about the flow testing – measured at 3,400 gallons per minute. The contention is that 3,000 is the minimum requirement. Eaton asks the representative from Perimeter what she would like the council to do. She says that they’d prefer not to have to build the water main.
8:35 p.m. She estimates the cost of building the new water main at $250,000, which is significant for a small project. She says she’d like to be able to construct the building before constructing the water main. Eaton asks Rampson if that’s possible. Rampson says that typically the water main needs to be completed before construction of the building. Petersen asks about the age of the water main. Rampson says that size is the issue, not age. She ventures that if the development agreement was not acceptable to the developer, the issue could be postponed. Public services administrator Craig Hupy is asked to the podium by Hieftje to confirm that city staff believes the pipe needs to be bigger.
8:37 p.m. Briere is reviewing the history of the planning commission’s treatment of this application. Rampson says that if there is additional information about water, that could be incorporated – but she didn’t want to try to alter the development agreement tonight. Kunselman says that if de Parry wants to go forward, he’ll vote for it.
8:37 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the site plan for The Mark condominiums.
8:37 p.m. DB-3 Site plan: Delta Chi. This site plan proposes to tear down the existing Delta Chi fraternity house at 1705 Hill Street and build a much larger structure in its place. [For additional background, see Site Plan: Delta Chi above.]
8:40 p.m. Lumm is reviewing the public participation meeting. Briere is asking about placement of dumpsters.
8:40 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the Delta Chi site plan.
8:40 p.m. DS-1 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. [For additional background, see Sidewalk Special Assessment: Pontiac Trail above.]
8:40 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to confirm the assessment roll for the Pontiac Trail sidewalk construction.
8:40 p.m. DS-2 Contract with Du All Cleaning, Inc. for janitorial services ($727,545). This is a roughly three-year (35 months) $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.[For additional background, see Contracts: Janitorial Services above.]
8:41 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the janitorial contract with Du All Cleaning Inc.
8:41 p.m. DS-3 Contract with Carrier & Gable for traffic signal materials ($480,000). The contract includes pedestrian signals and left-turn arrows for several locations. [For additional background, see Contracts: Traffic Signals above.]
8:43 p.m. Briere asks for public services area administrator Craig Hupy. She says that when the council established the pedestrian safety task force, the council wanted work on pedestrian safety to continue. She asks about the blinking left-turn area. She wonders if that creates a more hostile environment for pedestrians. How busy are these particular crosswalks, she asks.
8:44 p.m. Hupy asks Briere which intersections she’s talking about. She gives Fuller and Maiden Lane as an example. It’s a busy pedestrian intersection and a lot of cars go through there. This is the first he’s heard about a concern about left turn arrows with respect to pedestrians, he says. He will ask staff to look into it, he says.
8:45 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the contract with Carrier and Gable for the traffic signal materials.
8:45 p.m. DS-4 Contract with Reiser & Frushour P.L.L.C. to provide legal representation for indigent defendants. ($200,000) Reiser & Frushour was awarded the contract over two other respondents to the city’s RFP. The 15th District Court is required to provide representation for indigent persons if their punishment could include incarceration upon conviction. [For additional background, see Contracts: Legal Services above.]
8:46 p.m. Taylor reports that the contracting party is a client of his, so he asks for authorization to sit out the vote. The council votes to allow that.
8:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the contract with Reiser & Frushour P.L.L.C.
8:46 p.m. Communications from council.
8:50 p.m. Warpehoski says that “with all the fun at the beginning the meeting” he’d forgotten to mention some discussion about increased transparency and oversight of reporting for Ann Arbor SPARK – a discussion that’s been happening with the Washtenaw County board. When the council takes up the SPARK contract off the table to consider it, he would be adding two points: (1) a reporting requirement for metrics, and (2) a direction to work with the county board’s Act 88 committee. Petersen reports that she’s working with the LDFA (local development finance authority) on a similar effort. Warpehoski reminds everyone that those are separate efforts – general fund compared to LDFA. Still he appears in agreement with Petersen that there should be coordination between the city and other contracting agencies on this type of issue. Updated: After the meeting, the city clerk forwarded the media the text of the amendment at Warpehoski’s request: [.pdf of Warpehoski's amendment to the SPARK resolution]
8:51 p.m. Kailasapathy is confirming with Petersen the distinction between the general fund support that the city provides to SPARK compared to the LDFA, which is based on tax capture. Petersen says that job-creation reporting is to some extent self-reported. She wants to keep it clear, streamlined and simple.
8:52 p.m. Eaton says that the state treasurer’s department did an audit of MEDC job creation numbers. He suggests that the methodology used by the city could be similar to that used by the state treasurer.
8:54 p.m. Lumm says that the current contract with SPARK doesn’t require reporting. Councilmembers are now having a conversation on the topic of required reporting from SPARK.
8:56 p.m. Clerk’s report of communications, petitions and referrals.
Outcome: The council has accepted the clerk’s report.
8:56 p.m. Public comment.
8:58 p.m. Laurie Barnett is addressing the council as the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor. She’s reading aloud a letter to the council. It expresses support for the council’s position that a public hearing on a boycott of Israel should not be held.
8:59 p.m. She responds to Petersen’s remarks earlier in the meeting by saying that even personal boycotts are not justified.
9:03 p.m. Another woman is addressing the council supporting their position on Israel. She says it’s a slippery slope to anti-Semitic and hate speech.
9:03 p.m. David Shtulman, executive director of the Jewish Federation, is thanking Hieftje for 14 years of service. He admires the council for what they have to sit through and what they will have to sit through in the coming weeks. He says that he does not hold the council responsible for deaths of children in Gaza. In a poll in Gaza, 72% don’t want hostilities, he says. Those who were here tonight saying, “Boycott Israel” would save more lives if they shouted, “Boycott Hamas,” he says.
9:05 p.m. Thomas Partridge calls on the council to maintain order at meetings. He was concerned for his personal safety tonight, he says. He was almost hit in the face with a placard, and had been told he should leave if he didn’t want his hearing harmed. He warns that things could evolve toward violence. He calls on the council to prioritize protection of the most vulnerable residents. He calls for advancement of the cause of public transportation.
9:08 p.m. Alan Haber had been an alternate during reserved time. He says that he’s been in France, “the land without a pothole.” He doesn’t know how they do it, but says the engineers for the city should go and see how they do it. He complains that he was on the phone at three minutes after 8 a.m. and there were already people signed up ahead of him. He proposes that a World Peace Day celebration be held on Sept. 21 on top of the Library Lane underground parking structure.
9:10 p.m. Closed session under the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The council has voted to go into closed session to discuss pending litigation.
9:20 p.m. Before going into closed session, Hieftje told The Chronicle that it was his decision to clear the room earlier, and it was not triggered by anything specific, but rather a general sense that the council was not going to be able to conduct its business.
9:28 p.m. Before going into closed session, assistant city attorney Abigail Elias said she hoped the closed session would be very brief. It appears that hope might not be realized.
9:37 p.m. The council has emerged from the council work room.
9:37 p.m. Adjournment. We are now adjourned. That’s all from the hard benches.
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