Stories indexed with the term ‘code enforcement’

Ann Arbor DDA: Let’s Do Development

Friday morning before the Memorial Day weekend marked the first public meeting of the city council’s so-called “mutually beneficial” committee – first created and appointed back in July 2009.

wiping-off-code-enforcement Ann Arbor DDA

Susan Pollay, executive director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, erases "code enforcement" from the list of term sheet items the DDA wants to see discussed further. (Photos by the writer.)

And later in the afternoon, the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority met for a retreat to give direction to its own “mutually beneficial” committee.

The two committees are charged with the task of redefining the agreement between the city and the DDA that allows the DDA to manage the city’s parking system.

From the city councilmembers’ perspective, the ball was in the DDA’s court. They were hoping that the DDA’s retreat later in the day would reduce the items on the term sheet that is supposed to underpin the city-DDA conversation.

At their retreat, the DDA board did eliminate an item on the term sheet – code enforcement, other than parking regulations, was not something for which they wanted to assume responsibility. The remaining three term sheet items – parking enforcement, provision of services, and development of city-owned property – stayed on the white board. The clearest consensus among board members seemed to be around the idea that the DDA should focus on development.

But a couple of additional items were added into the mix – issues related to Village Green’s City Apartments project. That project, located at First and Washington, has previously seen its site plan approval option to purchase extended through June 30, 2010. City council action would be required in the next month, if it’s to be extended again.

Downtown police beat patrols were also left on the board as an additional item of discussion.

At Friday’s retreat, the board heard the same message from Susan Pollay, the DDA’s executive director, that she’d conveyed at a partnerships committee meeting two weeks earlier – the reason for the DDA’s existence was to spur private investment in the downtown.

But as a group, there was an uneven embrace of that message. Some board members preferred to identify “development” as meaning something broader than building new infrastructure, suggesting that a more general “economic development” approach might also be appropriate for the DDA.

And one other idea was thrown up on the white board, but did not stick: altering the DDA district boundaries. [Full Story]

Column: Communications to the Clerk

Correspondence sent to the Ann Arbor City Clerk gets stamped and filed as a official communication on the city's website.

Correspondence sent to the Ann Arbor City Clerk gets stamped and filed as a official communication on the city's website.

As we’ve reported previously here at The Chronicle, one of the cost-saving measures that’s been proposed in connection with the city’s budget for fiscal year 2010 is to eliminate publication of the city council agenda in the local newspaper. The move would save $15,000 per year. I imagine there are some citizens who rely on the newspaper publication of the council agenda to stay informed on civic matters, but would speculate that it’s not many – probably not enough to lobby successfully for its continued publication in the twice-weekly print edition of, which is to replace The Ann Arbor News.

One advantage of the city’s online publication of the council agenda is that it includes as attachments all the communications to the city clerk, whether they’re from boards and commission within the city, neighborhood associations, private citizens, or even anonymous sources.

Part of  my preparation to cover council meetings is to skim through those communications. For the May 4 meeting next Monday, the following item caught my eye: Illegal Restaurant & Chickens. [Full Story]

AAPD: Please Move Your Bicycle

Bike hoops at the 4th & Washington parking garage sporting fucia tickets warning of impoundment on Feb. 5, 2009.

Bikes at the 4th & Washington parking garage sport fuchsia notices warning of possible impoundment on Feb. 5, 2009.

Bright fuchsia cards printed with the Ann Arbor Police Department seal have been threaded through the spokes of the wheels on nine bicycles locked to the hoops at the 4th & Washington parking structure. The cards weren’t placed there as decoration, but as a warning: these bicycles face possible impoundment starting Feb. 5.

What’s the problem with people locking their bikes to the hoops provided for exactly that purpose? As the notices say, “Your bicycle may be impounded as provided by city ordinance when it has remained unattended on public property for a period of more than 48 hours after a written notice has been affixed to the bicycle.” The notices reflected that they were written on Feb. 3 and indicated a possible impoundment date of Feb. 5. [Full Story]