Ann Arbor City Council meeting (July 6, 2010) Part 1: At its Tuesday night meeting, the city council rejected a recommendation to establish a historic district on Fourth and Fifth avenues south of William Street and north of Packard. The absence at the meeting of Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who was expected to support the district, did not have an impact on the outcome of the 4-6 vote.
Rejection of the district then set off a series of parliamentary procedures by the council. The actions were prompted by concern that without the protection afforded by the historic district, seven houses would be demolished through construction of an already-approved matter-of-right project (MOR), City Place.
So the council brought back for reconsideration a different project on the same site – Heritage Row, which the council had rejected at its previous meeting. A key feature of the Heritage Row project, which includes three new apartment buildings, is that it would also retain the seven houses.
The vote on the reconsideration of Heritage Row failed. That resulted in an attempt by Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) to have the council reconsider the historic district, which the council had just rejected. Hohnke’s council colleagues weren’t interested in revisiting the issue.
So Hohnke then began the parliamentary procedure to reconsider the Heritage Row project – for the second time that evening and for the third time total. The move required another rule suspension – this one concerning the number of times a question could be considered.
After a brief recess, however – during which Hohnke was apparently persuaded that developer Alex de Parry would not actually follow through and build the City Place MOR project – Hohnke withdrew his motion. A comment from Ann Arbor resident Ethel Potts, who attended the council meeting and who has witnessed more than four decades of city politics, summarized the sentiments of many in the audience: “As weird goes, this was pretty weird.”
A moratorium on demolition, which covers the area considered by the historic district study committee, will remain in place through Aug. 6. The council meets on Aug. 5, after the primary elections on Aug. 3.
In other business, the city council approved a resolution opposing legislation recently enacted by the state of Arizona that requires local law enforcement officials to investigate a person’s immigration status, when there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the U.S. unlawfully.
The council transacted a range of other business and communications as well. Those issues are covered in Part 2 of the July 6 meeting report. Part 1 focuses on the Arizona immigration law and the historic district.