Stories indexed with the term ‘Ann Arbor Municipal Airport’

Ann Arbor Airport to Get New Fencing

New fencing at the Ann Arbor municipal airport will be installed, as a result of two separate votes by the Ann Arbor city council at its Feb. 19, 2013 meeting. The first vote consisted of the grant approval, which totaled $157,895. Of that amount, $150,000 is federal money, $3,947 comes from the state of Michigan, and $3,948 comes from the city airport’s operating budget.

The fencing is meant to improve safety. According to the staff memo accompanying the council’s resolution, three incursions (someone getting in a restricted area of the airfield) took place in 2012. Before those three incursions, none had taken place since 2009.

The second vote was on a $32,000 contract with URS Corp. for engineering services related … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Golf Courses Back in General Fund

Because a deficit elimination plan approved by the Ann Arbor city council in 2008 has not erased the unrestricted deficit in the golf enterprise fund, the Ann Arbor city council has now moved the accounting for the city golf courses back into the general fund. The vote was taken at the council’s Dec. 3, 2012 meeting, with only Mike Anglin (Ward 5) dissenting.

The move is effective July 1, 2013, which is the start of the 2014 fiscal year, and will satisfy the need to have a deficit reduction plan for the golf enterprise fund. The condition of the separate golf enterprise fund had caught the attention of the state treasurer’s office in 2008, which had led the council to … [Full Story]

Council Puts Art on Ballot; Lets Land Leaven

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Aug. 20, 2012): City council actions finalized the set of ballot questions for Ann Arbor voters on Nov. 6: A public art millage will join the Ann Arbor District Library’s bond proposal and the city of Ann Arbor’s parks maintenance and capital improvements millage on the ballot.

Mural at Allmendinger Park

A section of a partially complete mural at Allmendinger Park, funded through Ann Arbor’s existing Percent for Art program. (Photos by the writer.)

The public art millage would be levied at a rate of 0.1 mill, which would raise around $450,000 from Ann Arbor taxpayers annually. Passage of the public art millage would, according to the corresponding charter amendment, suspend the city’s public art funding mechanism embedded in the Percent for Art ordinance – but only for the duration of the four-year millage.

A selling point of the millage, compared to the current Percent for Art program, is that millage money could be used more flexibly than money set aside under the Percent for Art program. The Percent for Art ordinance requires that 1% of all city capital projects be set aside for art. But this funding mechanism carries with it a legal requirement that art paid for through the program be in some sense “monumental” art that is permanent. Performance art or temporary installations would not qualify under the current program.

Even though a millage offers more flexibility, leaders in the arts community are concerned about a possible perception that it would be completely flexible – which led the council to change the ballot language and charter amendment from “public art” to “art in public places.”

A proposal from Jane Lumm (Ward 2) to begin the process of revising the Percent for Art ordinance in advance of the millage vote got little traction from the council. Lumm indicated that she wanted to offer voters a clear choice – that unless the millage were approved, public funding for art would disappear. But her resolution was voted down, with additional support only from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5).

The majority of councilmembers felt that such a move was “premature.” Mayor John Hieftje indicated that he was open to a scenario in which the millage passed, the tax was levied for four years (which would generate roughly $1.8 million in money that could be spent flexibly), but then was not offered to voters for renewal after four years, which would mean an automatic reversion to the current Percent for Art program.

In other business, the council declined to take action on two pieces of land at opposite ends of the downtown – 414 N. Main St. (site of the old St. Nicholas Church), and 350 S. Fifth Ave. (the former YMCA lot). The council rejected a proposal to begin the rezoning process for the St. Nicholas Church property – in advance of a public auction of the land starting Sept. 6. The council also declined to support a directive to the city administrator to prepare for disposition of the old Y lot, citing an ongoing planning process for the area of downtown Ann Arbor that includes the city-owned parcel. That process – Connecting William Street – is being led by the Ann Arbor DDA under direction from the city council.

The council transacted a mixed bag of other business, including approval of a collaborative effort with Washtenaw County to handle towing. The council also approved the final grant contract necessary for completing an environmental study in connection with a runway extension at the Ann Arbor municipal airport.

The council rejected a proposal from Comcast for a new franchise agreement, opting instead to allow the current arrangement to stay in place at least through the end of its term in 2017.

The meeting ended around midnight with jostling among councilmembers on the issue of mayoral appointments. Prompting the discussion was the reappointment of Sandi Smith (Ward 1) to the board of the Ann Arbor DDA. Kunselman and Lumm voted against the reappointment, objecting to Smith’s dual service on the city council and the DDA board. Smith was originally appointed to the board before her election to the council in 2008 and is not seeking re-election this term. Other councilmembers defended Smith’s selection.

Less controversial was the appointment of Michael Benson to the taxicab board. That body had been unable to meet because it had only two voting members out of five, and could not achieve a quorum. If all three members show up now, that body can hold its meeting. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Airport Study OK’d by Council

Ann Arbor’s municipal airport was back on the city council’s Aug. 20, 2012 agenda, possibly the last time for a long while to come. That was expected, based on action taken earlier this year in April. The first of two agenda items on Aug. 20 was the fifth of five different grant contracts for the completion of an environmental assessment (EA) related to a possible 800-foot extension of the runway. The $42,500 in the grant consists of $40,375 in federal funds, $1,062 in state funds and a local match of $1,063.

That item was approved by the council with dissent from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1).

A second airport-related item on the council’s agenda involved … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Airport Hanger Project Resolved

At its May 7, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved two change orders totaling $46,238 to resolve all remaining issues related to a lawsuit that CMA Design/Build Inc. had filed against the city in connection with the construction of hangars at the Ann Arbor municipal airport.

The original contract was approved by the city council on May 5, 2008 for $2.390 million, of which $1.101 million was for the local share. Because CMA failed to complete the project, Ann Arbor terminated the contract and CMA’s bonding company, North American Specialty Insurance Co., finished up the work. CMA filed suit against the city; and one of CMA’s subcontractors filed suit against CMA. Claims by CMA involved costs it incurred due to stop work orders … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Approves Capital Plan

At its Feb. 7, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved its capital improvements plan (CIP).  The plan covers the fiscal years 2012-2017, and includes a list of major capital projects – for projects that have identified funding sources as well as those that do not. The city code requires that the CIP be developed and updated each year, looking ahead at a six-year period, to help with financial planning. It’s intended to reflect the city’s priorities and needs, and serves as a guide to discern what projects are on the horizon.

Included in this year’s proposed CIP was a plan for a runway extension at the city’s municipal airport, an item that the council had voted to remove last year before last year’s CIP was finally adopted. This year, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) raised the same objection about the runway that he had voiced the previous year, and the council again removed the item by a narrow 6-5 vote.

The city’s planning commission recommended adoption of the CIP at its Jan. 4, 2011 meeting, when commissioners discussed in detail how the plan was developed and how public input was sought. [Previous Chronicle coverage of the possible airport runway extension: "Ann Arbor Airport Study Gets Public Hearing"]

This brief was filed from the boardroom in the Washtenaw County administration building, where the council is meeting due to renovations in the city hall building. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Transportation Talk at City Council Caucus

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday night caucus (May 2, 2010): Transportation was one of the main focuses of conversation at last night’s city council caucus, which is held on the Sunday before the council’s regular meeting.

Hieftje Briere Kunselman

Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) listen to a presentation from the Committee for the Preservation of Community Quality at the city council's Sunday night caucus. (Photo by the writer.)

The Committee for the Preservation of Community Quality gave a presentation of their response to the recently conducted environmental assessment of a possible runway extension at the Ann Arbor municipal airport. And residents expressed concerns about the proposed Fuller Road Station and its location on city-owned land designated as a park in the city’s PROS (Parks and Recreation Open Space) Plan.

By the time questions about the possible upcoming budget amendments were raised, the number of councilmembers attending the caucus had dwindled from four to two. Mayor John Hieftje, Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) were there through most of the meeting, but it concluded with just Briere and Anglin.

And at the tail end of the gathering, the residents who attended weighed in on the nature of caucus itself. They offered their perceptions of the value of discussions among councilmembers at the caucus versus their own remarks. They’d prefer to see councilmembers in action and would be willing to trade some of their own time for watching the work of council. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Airport Study Gets Public Hearing

At its Feb. 2, 2009 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council authorized funding for an environmental assessment of a proposed 800-foot lengthening of the runway at Ann Arbor’s municipal airport. The assessment began on May 4, 2009.

Run up area on airport extension

Jon Von Duinen, of the consulting firm URS, points to the "run up" area which would be located at the spot where the existing runway ends. Under the recommended option in the environmental assessment, this would put the "run up" area 950 feet from the end of the extended runway. The "run up" area is where aircraft bring their engines up to full power to test that everything is in working order. (Photos by the writer.)

And on Wednesday evening, from 4-7 p.m. at Cobblestone Farm, a combination of a dozen government officials and consultants held an open-house style public hearing on the draft report of that environmental assessment.

At any given time, during the hour The Chronicle spent at the public hearing, the hosts outnumbered visitors. In a phone interview the following day, Molly Lamrouex – with the aeronautics division of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) – told The Chronicle that around 20 people had filtered through Cobblestone Farm over the three-hour period.

The time for submission of written comments on the environmental assessment has been extended from April 12 to April 19 at 5 p.m. Emails can be sent to

In the context of the controversy about the runway extension – which has played out at Ann Arbor city council meetings over the course of the last year – the public hearing was somewhat subdued. [Full Story]

Council Talks Transportation, Budget

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Feb. 1, 2010) Part I: Transportation was a major theme woven throughout Monday’s city council meeting – in part due to a presentation the council heard from SEMCOG’s Carmine Polombo about the Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail project. Trains are supposed to begin rolling toward the end of 2010, but Polombo’s presentation made clear that early service would be very limited – day trips and special events – and there are a huge number of unknowns.

Ann Arbor municipal airport

Sol Castell was asked to the podium by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) to give an alternate view on the need for a runway extension at the Ann Arbor municipal airport. The topic came up during discussion of the city's capital improvements plan, which wound up being postponed. (Photos by the writer.)

But trains weren’t the only transit-related thread. The city’s bicycle ordinances were updated after having been postponed for a couple of meetings, and a revision to the city’s bicycle registration procedure was tabled and now appears to be on indefinite hold.

The council also approved on first reading a revision to its taxicab ordinance, designed to enforce expectations of larger cab companies.

Also related to transportation was discussion of an item in the capital improvements plan (CIP) for a runway extension at the Ann Arbor municipal airport. After Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) got his colleagues’ support to amend the CIP to delete the item, the council then voted, with some grumbles of dissent, to postpone consideration of the CIP.

Times and dates for upcoming meetings on the budget were also reviewed, with city administrator Roger Fraser telling councilmembers that the list of possible areas for cuts that city staff had generated were not the only items that could be considered. He challenged councilmembers to come up with their own ideas as well. The council received specific recommendations for budget strategies for the senior center and Mack Pool.

In Part I of the report, we restrict our focus to transportation and budget issues. In Part II, we’ll cover land use issues – including the resolution on 415 W. Washington, which we previewed in our report on the Sunday night caucus, plus a postponement on a greenbelt acquisition. [Full Story]

Council OKs Recycling, Transit, Shelter

people standing in a semi-circle

Left to right: Brian Nord and Caleb Poirier (back to camera), who are both advocates for Camp Take Notice, a self-governed encampment of homeless people. Also Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Mayor John Hieftje. (Photo by the writer.)

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Nov. 5, 2009): Meeting on Thursday due to the elections, instead of in its usual Monday slot, Ann Arbor’s city council moved ahead on two major initiatives that will eventually have a significant impact on Ann Arbor residents.

The council approved a memorandum of understanding with the University of Michigan to move forward on joint development of the Fuller Road Station, which offers the university an alternative to construction of a parking deck on Wall Street. The first phase of the project is anticipated to be completed in mid-June 2012.

Also given a green light was a conversion to single-stream recycling – a single cart will be distributed to residents to replace the twin totes currently used for curbside pickup. The new carts will be rolled out in June 2010.

A more immediate impact will be made by a council decision to allocate a combined $159,500 to the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County and the Interfaith Hospitality Network – the funds will increase the sheltering capacity by 50 spots for individuals through the winter, starting Dec. 1, and provide housing vouchers for eight families for a year. [Full Story]