Stories indexed with the term ‘liquor license’

Downtown Items OK’d, Public Art Delayed

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Jan. 21, 2014): Council communications at the start of the meeting highlighted an already-established pedestrian safety task force – and signaled that the evening could be contentious. It proved to be a night featuring some political friction, with the meeting extending past 1 a.m.

From left: Sumi Kailasapathy and Sabra Briere (Ward 1); Sally Petersen and Jane Lumm (Ward 2); Christopher Taylor and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). In color are the only two councilmembers on that side of the table who are not running for mayor. In addition to running for mayor, the four in black and white all served on a council committee last year that developed a proposal to end the Percent for Art program and replace it with a "baked-in" approach to art. (Photo art by The Chronicle.)

From left: Sumi Kailasapathy and Sabra Briere (Ward 1); Sally Petersen and Jane Lumm (Ward 2); Christopher Taylor and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). In color are the only two councilmembers on that side of the table who are not running for mayor. (Photo art by The Chronicle.)

The pedestrian safety and access task force appeared on the agenda because confirmation of its nine members was a question before the council. As part of that vote, as well as during council communications, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) revived the recent controversy over an attempted repeal of the city’s crosswalk ordinance – an effort that mayor John Hieftje ultimately vetoed. The task force was appointed at Tuesday’s meeting, after Kunselman established that he was still interested in revising the city’s crosswalk ordinance so that motorists would be required to stop for pedestrians only if they could “do so safely.”

In other business, the council approved the site plan for a revised, expanded version of the 624 Church St. project, located in the block just south of South University Avenue. The revised plan is for a 14-story, 116,167-square-foot building with 123 units and about 230 bedrooms. The approval came after an hour and a half of debate on the site plan, focusing on the way the project is satisfying a zoning requirement to provide parking spaces – through the city’s contribution-in-lieu (CIL) program. The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority had approved three five-year extensions for the CIL monthly permits – beyond the standard CIL term of 15 years. When Kunselman’s bid to eliminate the extended term failed – a move that would have jeopardized the project’s financing – he told Sean Spellman, representing the developer: “I’m sorry if I scared you …”

Also related to downtown development, the council moved along a process to revise downtown zoning regulations. The council accepted the planning commission’s recommendations, and in turn tasked the planning commission to develop ordinance language to implement the recommendations. In general, the planning commission’s recommendations were intended to create more of a buffer between downtown development and adjacent or nearby residential neighborhoods. Several other recommendations focused on the issue of “premiums” – certain features that a developer can provide in exchange for additional by-right floor area ratio (FAR).

During its Tuesday meeting, the council added some direction of its own: (1) consider rezoning Huron Street from Division to Fourth Avenue to conform with the East Huron 1 character district, and consider incorporating 25-foot minimum side setbacks and 10-foot front setbacks where feasible in the East Huron 1 character district; and (2) consider whether other D1-zoned areas that do not have buffering from adjacent residential neighborhoods, including some areas of South University and Thayer Street, should be rezoned to D2. A date certain was also added by which the planning commission is to report to the council on all its work on this issue – Oct. 20, 2014.

In other zoning action at its Jan. 21 meeting, the council gave initial approval for the zoning of two unzoned properties on South State Street – 1643 and 1645 S. State. They are proposed to be zoned C1 (local business district). One of those properties houses Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky.

In another item related to South State Street property, the council approved with no discussion a $25,550 contract with Atwell LLC for environmental site assessment services to evaluate 2500 S. State St. That’s the Edwards Brothers Malloy property for which the council is currently exploring options to purchase. The item was added to the agenda on Friday, Jan. 17, after the initial publication of the agenda.

Delayed by the council was a six-month extension of the contract with the city’s public art administrator, Aaron Seagraves, and a proposal to add $18,500 to his compensation to cover the added term. The postponement was made amid concern about the remaining $839,507 unallocated balance in the now-defunct Percent for Art fund. The political horse-trade made at the council table was to postpone the contract extension, with the expectation that it would be supported at the council’s next meeting – but at the same time, a process would start to return the better part of the $839,507 to the various funds from which that money was drawn.

The city’s new public art program relies on the idea of integrated or “baked-in” art for capital projects. It was developed by a five-member council committee, which included all four of the councilmembers who have announced that they’re running for mayor in 2014 – Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). The fifth member of that committee was Margie Teall (Ward 4), who cast the only vote against postponing the contract extension for Seagraves – as she wanted to approve it at Tuesday’s meeting.

Also at its Jan. 21 meeting, the council approved $6,818 of general fund money to build a sidewalk from the northeast corner of Penberton Court and Waldenwood northward – to connect to a path leading the rest of the way to King Elementary School. The item, which has a history of at least four years, drew about 15 minutes of discussion.

Taking a half hour of council deliberations was another sidewalk-related item. The council approved the first of four steps in the process to impose a special assessment on property owners for a sidewalk on the east side of Pontiac Trail, between Skydale and Dhu Varren Road. Debate centered on a proposal from Kunselman to ask the city administrator to consider city funding for 80% of the project.

The council dispatched quickly two liquor-license related items: recommendation of a special downtown development liquor license for The Lunch Room at 407 N. Fifth Avenue, and a change in the classification of Silvio’s Organic Pizza license from a Tavern License to a Class C License.

Public commentary was highlighted by concerns about fracking. [Full Story]

Liquor for The Lunch Room, Silvio’s

Liquor licenses for two downtown Ann Arbor businesses have received a positive response from the Ann Arbor city council. The Lunch Room was recommended by the council for a special downtown development liquor license. And Silvio’s Organic Pizza was recommended for a change in classification for its existing license from a Tavern license to a Class C license.

The council’s actions came at its Jan. 21, 2014 meeting.

In more detail, the council voted to recommend that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission approve a special downtown development liquor license for The Lunch Room at 407 N. Fifth Avenue. That category of license was made available by the Michigan legislature in 2006 for cities that established districts where such licenses would be granted. The requirements … [Full Story]

Jan. 21, 2014 Council Meeting: Live Updates

Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s Jan. 21, 2014 meeting includes all the material from an earlier preview article published last week. We think that will facilitate easier navigation from live-update material to background material already in the file.

The Ann Arbor city council’s second regular meeting in January is shifted to the Tuesday following the national holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. Highlights of the Jan. 21 meeting agenda include three items related to development in the city – one for a specific project downtown and two others related to zoning regulations.

The sign on the door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber, installed in the summer of 2013, includes Braille.

The sign on the door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber, installed in the summer of 2013, includes Braille.

The council will be asked to approve the site plan for a revised, expanded version of the 624 Church St. project, located in the block just south of South University Avenue. An earlier version of the project went through the planning review process about a year ago, with city council approval coming on March 4, 2013.

The revised plan is for a 14-story, 116,167-square-foot building with 123 units and about 230 bedrooms. The apartment building would stand adjacent to and over the existing two-story restaurant at 618 Church, and would extend to the southeast corner of Willard and Church, where the building’s entrance will be located. Existing buildings at 624 Church Street and 1117 Willard would be torn down. The city planning commission recommended approval of the revised plan at its Dec. 17, 2013 meeting.

Also on the Jan. 21 agenda are possible future changes to the city’s downtown zoning regulations. A public hearing on the matter will be held at the Jan. 21 meeting. Three of the recommendations relate to specific parcels: (1) Rezone the parcel located at 336 E. Ann from D1 (downtown core) to D2 (downtown interface); (2) Reduce the maximum height in the East Huron 1 Character District (on the north side of Huron, between Division and State) to 120 feet. Include a tower diagonal maximum and consider a step-back requirement to reduce the shading of residential properties to the north; (3) Rezone the parcel at 425 S. Main, at the southeast corner of Main and William, from D1 (downtown core) to D2 (downtown interface) and establish a maximum height of 60 feet for D2 zoning in the Main Street Character District. Several other recommendations focus on the issue of “premiums” – certain features that a developer can provide in exchange for additional square footage.

It’s likely that amendments will be brought forward during the Jan. 21 meeting that would alter the original resolution.

But the decision on the 624 Church St. project will come long before the zoning revisions could be enacted. And the changes – recommended by the city’s planning commission at its Dec. 3, 2013 meeting – are focused on parts of downtown Ann Arbor other than the South University area. The council’s Jan. 21 resolution, if approved, would direct the planning commission to translate its recommendations into proposed ordinance language, which would require review and a public hearing. The specific ordinance language would then be recommended by the planning commission to the city council, which would make the ultimate decision. In general, the planning commission’s downtown zoning recommendations aim to create more of a buffer between downtown development and adjacent or nearby residential neighborhoods.

Also its Jan. 21 meeting, the council will be asked to give initial approval for the zoning of two unzoned properties on South State Street – 1643 and 1645 S. State. They are proposed to be zoned C1 (local business district). One of those properties houses Biercamp Artisan Sausage and Jerky. The currently unzoned parcels – located in Ward 4 just south of Stimson and the Produce Station – are owned by Stefan Hofmann. The zoning for these parcels, which were annexed into the city from Ann Arbor township in 2011, has previously been considered by the planning commission.

In another item related to South State Street property, the council will be asked to approve a $25,550 contract with Atwell LLC for environmental site assessment services to evaluate 2500 S. State St. That’s the Edwards Brothers Malloy property for which the council is currently exploring options to purchase. The item was added to the agenda last Friday, after the initial publication of the agenda.

Also on the Jan. 21 agenda are two items related to construction of sidewalks. One resolution involves a sidewalk gap from the northeast corner of Penberton Court and Waldenwood northward – to connect to a path leading the rest of the way to King Elementary School. The council had already authorized $10,000 for the design and public process budget at its Aug. 8, 2013 meeting. A small amount of that was spent. To cover the $16,000 construction cost, an additional $6,818 of general fund money is being requested at the Jan. 21 meeting. The other sidewalk item is the first of four steps in the process to impose a special assessment on property owners for a sidewalk on the east side of Pontiac Trail, between Skydale and Dhu Varren Road.

The council will also be asked to extend the contract with the city’s public art administrator, Aaron Seagraves, by six months – through June 30, 2014 – and to add $18,500 to his compensation to cover the added term. It’s a part-time position.

Another agenda item is for a recommendation that the Michigan Liquor Control Commission approve a special downtown development liquor license for the Lunch Room at 407 N. Fifth Avenue. The council also will be asked to approve a change in the classification of Silvio’s Organic Pizza license from a Tavern License to a Class C License, to allow for the sale of liquor in addition to beer and wine. Silvio’s is located at 715 N. University Ave.

The council’s consent agenda includes two contracts related to the sobriety court, one of the 15th District Court’s specialty courts. The consent agenda also includes street closures in connection with three events: Winter Warriors, Shamrocks & Shenanigans, and the University of Michigan Big House 5K.

This article includes a more detailed preview of many of these agenda items. More details on other agenda items are available on the city’s online Legistar system. The meeting proceedings can be followed Tuesday evening live on Channel 16, streamed online by Community Television Network starting at 7 p.m.

The Chronicle will be filing live updates from city council chambers during the meeting, published in this article below the preview material. Click here to skip the preview section and go directly to the live updates. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. [Full Story]

Liquor, Land Items Added to Council Agenda

A total of three items have been added on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 to the Ann Arbor city council’s Jan. 21, 2014 agenda since its initial publication earlier in the week.

One of the items is the approval of a $25,550 contract with Atwell LLC for environmental site assessment services to evaluate 2500 S. State St.  That’s the Edwards Brothers Malloy property for which the council is currently exploring options to purchase. The University of Michigan has made an offer to Edwards Brothers to purchase the property for $12.8 million, but the city has a right of first refusal. At its Jan. 6, 2014 meeting, the council directed the city administrator and the city attorney to explore options and … [Full Story]

The Arena to Keep Liquor License

The Ann Arbor city council has withdrawn its formal objection to the renewal of a liquor license for The Arena – a bar located on the northeast corner of Washington and Fourth in downtown Ann Arbor. The action to withdraw the city’s objection came at the council’s May 6, 2013 meeting.

The council withdrew objection when The Arena paid all outstanding obligations to the city on April 30, 2013.

The basis of the council’s objection to the renewal, which was made at its March 18, 2013 meeting, had been The Arena’s failure to pay a combined $8,755 of 2011 taxes and an additional default judgment. The default judgment was made in the 15th District Court by then-judge Julie Creal in favor … [Full Story]

Council Objects to Arena Liquor License

The Ann Arbor city council has formally objected to the renewal of the liquor license for The Arena – a bar located on the northeast corner of Washington and Fourth in downtown Ann Arbor. The action came at the council’s March 18, 2013 meeting.

Jane Lumm at the March 6, 2013 hearing on the non-renewal recommendation of The Arenas liquor license.

Jane Lumm at the March 6, 2013 hearing on the non-renewal recommendation of The Arena’s liquor license. She served as hearing officer.

The basis of the objection to the renewal, which will now … [Full Story]

Micro Brewer License for Biercamp OK’d

Biercamp Artisan Sausage & Jerky, a retail shop located at 1643 S. State Street, has been recommended for a micro brewer liquor license by the Ann Arbor city council. The council’s unanimous vote came at its Dec. 17, 2012 meeting.

According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, Biercamp intends to brew small batches of beer in growlers for off-site consumption to complement their artisan meats. Sally Petersen (Ward 2) asked if anyone knew what a growler was. Some of her council colleagues explained that it’s a common container – typically a half-gallon jug – for holding draft beer.

A micro brewer license limits the amount of beer produced to no more than 30,000 barrels per year. A barrel is 31 gallons.

The … [Full Story]

Council Votes on Liquor, Delays on Marijuana

Ann Arbor city council meeting (March 19, 2012): With only eight out of 11 city councilmembers in attendance, the council found some of its business a challenge to complete.

Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3)

From left: Ann Arbor city councilmembers Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) as they arrive to the March 19 meeting. Lumm was clearly feeling ill and was encouraged by her colleagues to head home, advice she heeded. (Photos by the writer.)

The council postponed for a second time (without deliberation) a resolution that would direct Ann Arbor’s city attorney to delay enforcement activities against medical marijuana dispensaries, except in limited circumstances. The only reason offered for postponing was to allow the absent councilmembers to participate in that vote. The same resolution had been postponed previously, at the council’s March 5 meeting. On that occasion, other deliberations had pushed the council’s meeting past midnight, and councilmembers had wanted to deal with the issue while they were fully awake.

And the council found itself unable to muster a six-vote majority for any intermediate action on a proposed change to the landscape and screening ordinance – and thus wound up simply defeating it. The changes would have restricted additional landscaping requirements just to those site plans requiring planning commission or city council approval, and would have exempted R4C (multi-family residential) districts from certain buffering requirements. Attempts to amend, postpone and table the resolution all failed on 5-3 votes, one vote short of the majority needed.

Several agenda items highlighted the Ann Arbor police department in some fashion. The council authorized the purchase of four new police vehicles, along with a street sweeper. And a new contract with the command officers union was one of two labor contracts ratified by the council at its meeting – the other was with the firefighters union. Deputy chief John Seto, who’ll be interim police chief when Barnett Jones retires at the end of the month, briefed the council on police activity on St. Patrick’s Day as well as during a severe storm the week before. Seto also was criticized during public commentary for a traffic stop he’s alleged to have made as a patrol officer in the mid-1990s.

The police department was also a key actor in the city council’s action to recommend to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission that the liquor license not be renewed for Dream Nite Club, located on Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor. At an administrative hearing earlier in the day on that issue, much of the evidence presented by the city was based on police reports or police officer testimony.

In other business, the council approved an upgrade to control room equipment for Community Television Network. The city also added a total of around 160 acres to its greenbelt program, while selling a tiny wedge of property on Summit Street that had a murky history. Also related to land and its use, the city gave final approval to a rezoning request for the Les Voyageurs Society property located near Argo Dam.

The council passed a resolution expressing opposition to pending state legislation, which has already won approval from the Michigan house of representatives, that would allow grass clippings to be dumped in landfills under certain conditions.

The topic of Fuller Road Station emerged during public commentary as well as during remarks at the council table.

And councilmember Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) alerted his council colleagues that he’d be pressing two issues in the near future: (1) getting a written, public legal opinion from the city attorney regarding the city’s Percent for Art program; and (2) getting a calculation by the city treasurer of the tax capture to which the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is entitled. [Full Story]

Two Hearings Set on Liquor Non-Renewals

At its March 5, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council passed a resolution with a recommendation that liquor licenses for two businesses – Dream Nite Club and Rush Street – not be renewed this year. The vote was based on the recommendation of the council’s liquor license review committee. For Dream Nite Club, the non-renewal recommendation is based on maintenance of a nuisance and patron conduct. For Rush Street, the issue relates to non-payment of $8,040.42 in taxes.

The council’s resolution and subsequent notification of the two business meets the requirement of Chapter 109, Section 9:79 of the city code – that a business be notified of the council’s intent to object to the renewal of its liquor license by … [Full Story]

Liquor Committee: Two Hearings on Licenses

At a meeting on Feb. 23, 2012, the Ann Arbor city council’s liquor license review committee continued deliberations on the annual review of roughly 120 liquor licenses in the city. The three-member committee consists of city councilmembers Tony Derezinski, Mike Anglin and Jane Lumm.

Dream Nite Club Sign

Dream Nite Club door sign. Reflected in the glass is the AATA bus stop next to the Blake Transit Center, across Fourth Avenue from the bar. (Photos by the writer.)

At their meeting, also attended by several city staff, the trio set in motion a process by which the licenses of Dream Nite Club (314 S. Fourth Ave.) and Rush Street (312 S. Main St.) might not be renewed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC).

The committee had begun the work at its previous meeting, on Feb. 7. City staff from various departments – building inspection, police, city attorney’s office and treasurer’s office – identified around a dozen establishments with problems ranging from delinquent taxes to building permit issues. Those businesses were sent letters notifying them of the problems. The majority of those businesses took steps before the Feb. 23 meeting to rectify their situation.

Left unresolved were licenses for two businesses. So the committee voted to recommend to the city council that licenses for those businesses not be renewed – Dream Nite Club (for maintaining a nuisance) and Rush Street (for delinquent taxes) – with a hearing on the matter to be set for March 19. That recommendation will appear on the city council’s March 5 agenda.

After the council authorizes notification of the licensee, and is followed by the hearing, the recommendation of the hearing officer will be forwarded to the council for its meeting that same day, on March 19. The hearing officer, previously appointed by the council, is chair of the liquor license review committee, councilmember Tony Derezinski.

The council will then need to confirm Derezinski’s recommendation at its March 19 meeting. The timeline is determined by the MLCC’s March 31 deadline for the city council to submit an objection to the renewal of a liquor license. The Ann Arbor city council’s last regular meeting before then is March 19.

Also discussed at the committee meeting was the Elks Lodge on Sunset Road, which holds a club liquor license. The regular entertainment that takes place at the lodge is a violation of the residential zoning of the parcel, according to city planning staff. The city has sent a letter to the Elks Lodge in an effort to bring the Elks into compliance with zoning regulations. Added on March 5, 2012 after initial publication of this article: [.pdf of letter from city of Ann Arbor to the Elks Lodge] [Full Story]

Action on Countywide Transit Still Paused

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Feb. 6, 2012): As expected, the council postponed consideration of a four-party agreement that would establish a framework for transitioning the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to a countywide system. The agreement would be between the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.

Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3)

Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) sign agendas for students who attended the Feb. 6 meeting to complete a class assignment. (Photos by the writer.)

The AATA had requested the postponement until March 5. The council ultimately agreed to do that, but not before thoroughly debating the merits of March 5 versus March 19, or even some unspecified date in the future. In the end, the resolution to postpone included a stipulation that the mayor or city administrator could take the item off the March 5 agenda, if a funding recommendation and 5-year service plan are not provided to the council by the AATA in a timely way for the March 5 meeting. A meeting of a financial advisory group, co-chaired by McKinley Inc. CEO Albert Berriz and retired Washtenaw County administrator Bob Guenzel, is scheduled to take place on Feb. 29.

In other business, the council approved the tentative award of a $92,929,000 contract with Walsh Construction Company II to undertake a major renovation project at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. During public commentary, the council heard from Glenn Granger, whose company was one of two that had submitted lower bids than Walsh. City staff evaluating the bids did not agree with Granger’s contention that his company had comparable previous experience with a project of similar complexity.

The council gave final approval to a revision to the Arlington Square planned unit development, which grants the developer additional types of uses, without imposing additional parking requirements. The council also appointed a hearing officer for the coming year’s liquor license review process – councilmember Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), who also served last year in that capacity.

Highlights of public participation included commentary from a group that has been advocating for a warming center for the homeless. [Full Story]

Beyond Pot: Development, Liquor, Parks

Ann Arbor city council meeting (March 7, 2011) Part 1: The city council’s Monday meeting lasted nearly until midnight, with most of the five hours devoted to discussion of a proposed medical marijuana ordinance, which the council ultimately elected to postpone. The meeting included other significant business as well, and Part 1 of this meeting report is devoted to just those non-marijuana-related business items.

Tony Derezinski Ann Arbor city council

At the March 7, 2011 city council meeting, Tony Derezinski (Ward 2) was appointed as a hearing officer to consider appeals of recommendations to revoke liquor licenses. To Derezinski's right are Margie Teall (Ward 4), Sandi Smith (Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). (Photos by the writer.)

Also postponed – until the council’s first meeting in April – was a resolution that would outline a way for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to lead the process of transforming surface parking lots currently owned by the city of Ann Arbor to alternate uses.

The resolution, which articulates the so-called “parcel-by-parcel plan,” had already been postponed once before. In explaining the rationale for the postponement, Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) cited the desire of the DDA to ensconce the parcel-by-parcel plan in a contractually binding agreement, which he said had not been previously indicated.

Not postponed was a vote on appointing a hearing officer for appeals of recommendations that liquor licenses not be renewed. The original resolution was to appoint the members of the council’s liquor license review committee to a hearing board, but it was amended at the table – to the surprise of some councilmembers – to allow for appointment of just one hearing officer: Tony Derezinski (Ward 2). Derezinski also serves on the liquor license review committee. Voting against the amendment, as well as the final appointment, were three councilmembers, including Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2). Rapundalo chairs the council’s liquor license committee and has served on it since it became a permanent council committee in 2008, as well as before that, when it was an ad-hoc committee.

The council also approved the city’s Parks and Recreation Open Space (PROS) plan – an inventory, needs assessment and action plan for the city’s parks system, which is required by the state for certain grant applications. The deadline faced by the council to renew the five-year plan was April 1, 2011.

In other non-marijuana business, the council approved a “complete streets” policy, authorized a stormwater study in the Swift Run drain system, established a loan loss fund for the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, and authorized the purchase of LED streetlight fixtures.

The council also heard its usual range of public commentary and communications from its own members. A public hearing was held on the establishment of a Washtenaw Avenue corridor improvement authority (CIA), during which Ypsilanti mayor Paul Schreiber spoke. The Chronicle will cover the mayor’s comments as part of a future report on a CIA public meeting conducted by city planning staff. [Full Story]

City to Mull Liquor License Non-Renewal

At its March 7, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved the appointment of Tony Derezinski (Ward 2) as a hearing officer to make recommendations to the city council on decisions not to renew liquor licenses. The original resolution, as a general principle, appointed all members of the city’s liquor license review committee to a hearing board to make those recommendations to the council. The three-member committee consists of Derezinski, Mike Anglin (Ward 5), and Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2).

The resolution was amended at the meeting over the objection of Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) – who chairs the liquor license review committee.

The city code provides that before any final decision is made not to renew a license, a business must be provided with a chance to present arguments on its behalf, confront witnesses, and possibly be represented by an attorney.

The establishment of a hearing officer is prompted by a Feb. 25, 2011 meeting of the council’s liquor license review committee meeting, when the members recommended non-renewal of annual licenses for some on-premise liquor-licensed businesses.

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]

Zingerman’s Moves on to HDC

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (July 19, 2010): On Monday night, Zingerman’s Deli partners enjoyed complete support with no dissent from the city council, or the community at large, for their plans to expand the Detroit Street location. The council approved the site plan for the 10,000-square-foot addition, as well as a brownfield application.

stephen-rapundalo-pointing-july-19-2010

Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) and Ann Arbor chief of police Barnett Jones chat during a break in the July 19 council meeting just after passage of a new pedestrian ordinance. During deliberations on that ordinance, Jones had cited the Canadian cultural practice of pedestrians standing on the curb and simply pointing to the crosswalk, which prompts motorists to stop for them. The remark had earned a thumbs-up from Rapundalo, who is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen.

Intended as an extra measure of support for Zingerman’s was a third resolution communicating to the city’s historic district commission (HDC) the council’s view that the project represents a substantial benefit to the community. The proposal includes demolition of one house and the integration of another house into the architecture of the proposed new construction. Because the site is located in the Old Fourth Ward, the HDC will need to give its approval, in order for the project to be built. The message sent by the council to the HDC was clear: We want this project approved.

The council also sent a clear message to its firefighter and police unions, which the city hopes will soon ratify contracts that will save the city money. At the meeting, the council approved labor agreements with two other groups – the Teamsters civilian supervisors and the Teamsters police professional assistants. That added to bargained changes with the police deputy chiefs union that were approved at the council’s previous meeting on July 6. All three agreements reflected cost savings to the city through greater contributions by union members to health and retirement benefits and no increase in wages.

The implicit message to the firefighter and police unions was given explicit form through a position statement from the council’s labor committee and read aloud by Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), the chair of that committee. The statement calls on those unions to follow the example of the three who have already ratified contracts.

The council also gave final approval to a new pedestrian safety ordinance, which requires motorists to stop for pedestrians who are in, or even approaching, crosswalks that lack any traffic control device. During deliberations, the council swapped in “stop” to make the ordinance stronger than the originally proposed “yield.”

In other business, the council authorized the specific allocation of over $1 million in already-budgeted funds to nonprofits providing human services, approved liquor licenses for two downtown businesses, authorized the hire of a community energy coordinator using federal funds, got an update on the future of the Library Lot, and heard public commentary on a range of issues. [Full Story]

City’s Budget Takes Backseat to DDA Issues

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (May 17, 2010): By its second meeting in May, the city of Ann Arbor’s charter stipulates that the city council must adopt a budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts on July 1.

City treasurer Matt Horning. Chief financial officer Tom Crawford in background.

City treasurer Matt Horning. Chief financial officer Tom Crawford in background.

On Monday night, the council unanimously adopted its roughly $78 million general fund budget – as amended to reflect new revenue items. Those new revenue items allowed the council to eliminate five firefighter positions and no police jobs. As originally proposed, the budget would have eliminated 35 fire and police positions combined.

Next year’s work will not be any easier. CFO Tom Crawford said at the meeting that he’s projecting a $5 million deficit in FY 2012.

Deliberations on the budget did not begin until late in the evening. Occupying more of the council’s time than the city’s FY 2011 budget were two issues related to the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. One of those issues was a sidewalk occupancy ordinance applicable only within the DDA district. The ordinance, which legalizes the use of sandwich board signs, passed after a failed attempt by Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) to get it postponed.

The second DDA issue on the agenda involved a $2 million payment from the DDA to the city, which helped the council to amend its budget to reduce layoffs of fire and police. In approving the $2 million payment, the DDA board had included in its resolution a requirement to have a future public process for continued conversations between the city and the DDA about renegotiating a parking agreement between the two entities. From January through April of this year, conversations on that topic between the city and the DDA took place out of public view.

On Monday, the council considered a resolution thanking the DDA for the money and providing a commitment to public process for conversations about the parking agreement – parallel to the public process explicated in the DDA’s resolution. The council resolution passed – stripped of its language about open and transparent process on the grounds that it was redundant – after a brief attempt by Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) to get the resolution tabled.

In other significant business, mayor John Hieftje nominated a replacement for Ted Annis on the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board: Roger Kerson, who in 2008 contemplated a run for a Ward 5 council seat, but decided against it.

Anya Dale had been nominated by the mayor to replace Paul Ajegba on the AATA board at the council’s previous meeting. On Monday, confirmation of her appointment included one hitch – Sabra Briere (Ward 1) cast a vote against it. [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: Pre-Council Caucus (5 Oct 2008)

Councilmembers listened to concerns from citizens related to the 601 S. Forest project, an alley off Fourth Avenue downtown, odd easement conditions put forth by the University of Michigan, the city’s long-term financial health, and ballot language limiting sale of park land. [Full Story]