Stories indexed with the term ‘Fiat’

Council Sails Through Flooded Agenda

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Oct. 1, 2012): The council worked through its densely packed agenda in well under two hours, even though six separate public hearings were held.

Some of the votes, all of which were unanimous, reflected non-action.

Left to right: Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and mayor John Hieftje

Left to right: Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and mayor John Hieftje.

The council voted to table a revision to its medical marijuana licensing ordinance, having postponed it twice previously. Tabling is unlike a postponement to a date certain, and leaves open the possibility that the council might not ever take the question up again. However, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) indicated she intended to take up the medical marijuana ordinance again within six months.

The council has yet to act on recommendations from the city’s medical marijuana licensing board, made at the start of the year, to award licenses to 10 dispensaries. In the meantime, those dispensaries continue to operate. At the council’s Oct. 1 meeting, city attorney Stephen Postema indicated he would be creating a public document for the licensing board that would include a summary of pending legislation and court cases.

The council tabled a resolution on establishing a citizens committee to study the question of how to use proceeds from city-owned land sales. That tabling came at the request of the resolution’s sponsor, Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who had originally brought it forward at the council’s previous meeting.

The council also voted to extend by another 180 days a moratorium on digital billboards in the city – which the council first enacted back in April.

Three of the items on which the council took final action were at least indirectly related to stormwater. The council confirmed the appointment of the top area administrator whose department is responsible for stormwater management – Craig Hupy. Hupy’s appointment as public services area administrator comes after 26 years of service with the city.

The council also approved a $300,000 stormwater improvements component of a much larger $6.5 million street reconstruction project for Miller Avenue. The council authorized $50,000 to study the feasibility of opening up the railroad berm near Depot Street, which might allow floodwater to flow unimpeded to the Huron River on the other side. The study is also meant to cover the possibility of a non-motorized transportation connection under the berm, for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Related to water only in name was a tax abatement granted by the council to Barracuda Networks, which is relocating from Depot Street to downtown Ann Arbor and expecting to add 144 jobs.

The council also approved a raft of proposals related to land use. Winning approval were site plans for a Fiat dealership on West Stadium Boulevard and an expansion of the Food Gatherers facility on Carrot Way. The rezoning of a strip around the perimeter of a parcel at Miller and Maple, where a Speedway gas station will be constructed, got final approval.

A proposed townhouse project on Catherine Street got its rezoning as well as site plan approved. At the public hearing neighbors praised the project and developer Tom Fitzsimmons for what he had done to work with them.

The Plymouth Green Crossings project, which has already been built, got initial approval for revisions to its planned unit development (PUD) supplemental regulations.

The council also added 73 acres to the land protected under the city’s greenbelt program by approving the purchase of development rights on the Hornback farm in Salem Township.

The council weighed in on a state ballot question – which would require electric utility companies in Michigan to provide 25% of their power with renewable sources by the year 2025 – by passing a resolution in support of it.

One of the more significant pieces of news to come out of the meeting was an announcement from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) that he could not attend the council’s Oct. 15 meeting. That’s when the council is due again to take up the question of putting $60,000 towards a $300,000 local match for a $1.2 million federal grant that would fund a transportation connector study. It needs eight votes to pass. [Full Story]

Fiat Site Plan Gets Council OK

A plan to build a new Fiat showroom next to the post office on West Stadium Boulevard received approval from the Ann Arbor city council at its Oct. 1, 2012 meeting. The property is owned by the Suburban Collection of Troy. The site plan was recommended to the council for approval by the planning commission at its Aug. 21, 2012 meeting.

The property had originally been developed in the late 1950s as a gas station, but underground tanks have been removed.  It had been purchased by the Naylor Chrysler dealership in the mid-1990s, and most recently was acquired by the Suburban Collection of Troy, which operates a Chrysler Jeep dealership across the street at 2060 W. Stadium. Suburban also owns local Cadillac … [Full Story]

Food Gatherers, Fiat Projects Move Forward

Ann Arbor planning commission meeting (Aug. 21, 2012): Projects related to food, Fiats and housing all won recommendations for approval at the most recent planning commission meeting.

Wendy Rampson, Wendy Woods

Ann Arbor’s planning manager, Wendy Rampson stands next to planning commissioner Wendy Woods before the start of the commission’s Aug. 21, 2012 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

Food Gatherers hopes to expand its large warehouse, adding cooler and freezer space to accommodate its focus on fruits, vegetables and other fresh food. The Carrot Way site, on Ann Arbor’s far north side, is a hub for the nonprofit’s food distribution – staff and volunteers distributed about 5.75 million pounds tons of food in the last fiscal year to those in need. Several commissioners praised the work. They had only a few questions or comments about the project, including a suggestion to use graywater for irrigating gardens on the site.

Also winning approval was a plan to build a new Fiat showroom next to the post office on West Stadium Boulevard, now owned by the Suburban Collection of Troy. The color scheme for Fiat is scarlet and gray, which elicited some ribbing from commissioners that the building’s designer had heard before. And no, he said, there’s no maize-and-blue dealership being planned for Columbus, Ohio.

The third project on the commission’s Aug. 21 agenda was also competitively colored: Changes in the site plan for Plymouth Green Crossings. The owner is asking for several alterations to a 2006 plan – adding parking spaces, eliminating a proposed freestanding restaurant, and more than doubling the permitted amount of space that can be used for restaurants on the site. Currently, the complex includes a bank and two mixed-use buildings with housing and retail/commercial businesses.

All three projects will move on to the Ann Arbor city council for consideration. [Full Story]

Planning Commission OKs Fiat Site Plan

The site plan for a new Fiat showroom at 2095 W. Stadium Boulevard was recommended for approval by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its Aug. 21, 2012 meeting.

The plan calls for demolishing a 2,505-square-foot automotive service building and constructing a 3,408-square-foot showroom. The 30,010-square-foot site is zoned C3 (fringe commercial) and is located next to the post office on the west side of Stadium between Federal Drive and East Liberty. It was recently acquired by the Suburban Collection of Troy, which operates a Chrysler Jeep dealership across the street at 2060 W. Stadium. Suburban also owns Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships located on Jackson Avenue.

The planning staff had recommended this project for approval. It will now be forwarded to the city council for … [Full Story]

Column: On the Road

Rob Cleveland

Rob Cleveland

In the continuing saga that is the U.S. automobile industry, we got introduced to a new character in the Chrysler soap opera. Just 15 months after Chrysler’s bitter divorce from Teutonic spouse Daimler AG, it has taken on a new partner: the tall, dark and very Italian automaker Fiat SpA.

Fresh with $4 billion in federal loans and in line to receive another $3 billion, Chrysler has the critics wagging their fingers at this new union like a group of English church ladies passing judgment on the town widow dating just after her spouse expired and her life insurance kicked in. (For a picture of what an English church lady looks like, Google U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.) [Full Story]