Author: Dave Askins

Recent Posts

Sept. 2, 2014: City Council Meeting Preview |

The Ann Arbor city council’s Sept. 2 agenda is relatively light and is dominated by land use and development issues, many of them related to the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s extensive plan to renovate many of its existing projects. Separate from site plan and zoning issues, the council will also be considering transferring $729,879 from the  affordable housing trust fund to the Ann Arbor housing commission to support the “West Arbor” portion of the renovation plan. [Full Story]

Decision on Sanctions Shifts from Shelton |

At an Aug. 27, 2014 hearing, judge Donald Shelton refused to grant two of three motions by plaintiffs in the footing drain disconnection lawsuit that was filed in February of this year. On his last motion day before retirement, Shelton chose to deny a motion to disqualify the city attorney’s office in its representation of the city. Shelton also declined to rule on a motion to reassign the case away from judge Timothy Connors – who will be taking over all of Shelton’s civil cases after Shelton’s last day as judge on Aug. 29. Shelton indicated agreement with plaintiffs’ contention that the city has misrepresented their position to the court, but adjourned the motion on sanctions until Sept. 18. [Full Story]

AAATA Preps to Shift Gears |

Much of the AAATA board’s Aug. 21 meeting, preparations began for the departure of CEO Michael Ford. He’s taking the job as CEO of the RTA in mid-October. The board approved a resolution to establish an ad hoc committee to conduct a search. In other business, the board approved a procurement contract for up to 60 new buses over the next five years, some of which will eventually support the expanded services, which started Aug. 24. A decision on the choice of drivetrain – clean diesel versus hybrid electric technology – for 27 buses the AAATA is ordering was left until as late as the board’s November meeting. [Full Story]

Shelton to Hear Motions in FDD Case |

The footing drain disconnection lawsuit filed against the city of Ann Arbor in late February 2014 has taken several procedural turns over the last six months, with virtually no issues on the merits of the case yet decided. The latest procedural issues now appear set to be decided on Aug. 27, 2014 – judge Donald Shelton’s final motion day before his retirement. The procedural issues include: (1) a motion to disqualify the city attorney’s office from representing the city due to conflicts; (2) a motion to sanction the city attorneys for filing documents with statements that have no factual foundation; and (3) a motion to reassign the case to a judge other than Timothy Connors. [Full Story]

Column: On Taking Time to Hear |

From Chronicle editor Dave Askins’ column: “So the real contrast on display at the Aug. 18 Ann Arbor city council meeting was not deer versus people. It was corporations versus people. What I observed on Monday was a council that was – at least on that occasion – more interested in hearing from a corporation than it was from a person who lives here.” [Full Story]

Aug. 18, 2014: Council Live Updates |

Land use and development is set up to be a dominant theme of the Aug. 18, 2014 meeting, as it frequently is for many of the council’s meetings. An additional highlight will be initial consideration of a change to the city’s taxicab ordinance – in response to the entry of services like Uber and Lyft into Ann Arbor’s market. Projects to be considered by the council include the State Street Village project, the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s North Maple Estates proposal and the 121 Kingsley West project. [Full Story]

Aug. 18, 2014: City Council Meeting Preview |

Land use and development is set up to be a dominant theme of the Aug. 18, 2014 meeting, as it frequently is for many of the council’s meetings. An additional highlight will be initial consideration of a change to the city’s taxicab ordinance – in response to the entry of services like Uber and Lyft into Ann Arbor’s market. Projects to be considered by the council include the State Street Village project, the Ann Arbor Housing Commission’s North Maple Estates proposal and the 121 Kingsley West project. [Full Story]

Column: Parking Oversight, Please |

What if on-street metered rates were raised a dime, and rates across other parts of the parking system were also raised by an equivalent percentage? In this column, Chronicle editor Dave Askins encourages the Ann Arbor city council to use its Sept. 8 joint work session with the Downtown Development Authority to ask The contractually stipulated work session would be a good opportunity for councilmembers to ask for metrics on Ann Arbor’s public parking system. Requested information should include stats that indicate how well Ann Arbor’s public parking system supports three different key user groups: (1) downtown employees; (2) retail/transactional customers and visitors; and (3) downtown residents. [Full Story]

Platt Road Housing Project Partially Delayed |

Ann Arbor city planning commissioners took mixed action on a proposed Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC) property.They sent the rezoning request for the 3451 Platt Rd. property – R1C (single-family dwelling district) and R2A (two-family dwelling district) to R4B (multi-family dwelling district) – to the city council with a recommendation of approval. However, commissioners postponed consideration of the site plan for the five-building, 32-unit project, amid concerns about the site’s location in the floodplain and stormwater management.The commission approved a change to its bylaws that would stipulate that speakers who have already spoken at a public hearing can speak at a continuation of that public hearing only at the discretion of the planning commission chair [Full Story]

Ending It: 6 of 1, Half-Dozen of The Chronicle |

On Sept. 2, 2014, The Ann Arbor Chronicle will observe the sixth anniversary of its launch. That’s also the last day on which we’ll publish regular new reports.The website will remain live, with its archives freely accessible at least until the end of 2014, possibly longer. There may be a special project or two that we will wrap up and eventually insert into the archives.The event listings will remain live, and it’s our intent to maintain them into the future. [Full Story]