On March 15, the Ann Arbor city council voted to direct its city attorney to settle a lawsuit filed in August 2009 over the construction of an underground parking garage on the city-owned Library Lot site along Fifth Avenue. The lawsuit addressed environmental concerns, open meetings and freedom of information issues, as well as nuisance allegations by neighboring property owners.
Now the city of Ann Arbor has settled that lawsuit, accepting a range of requirements under the agreement.
Under terms of the settlement signed on Monday, the city has agreed to comply substantively with a request that one of the plaintiffs – The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center – had originally made over two months before the lawsuit was filed. That request was to conduct a study of environmental impacts associated with construction of the new underground parking structure, which is being built by the Downtown Development Authority.
The lawsuit settlement does not resolve the question of whether city councilmembers committed violations of the Open Meetings Act, when they communicated during their meetings via email about an agenda item related to approval of bonds for the parking structure.
However, the Ann Arbor city council is required by the settlement terms to discuss publicly, at one of their April 2010 meetings, the possibility of establishing a council rule that addresses which email accounts they use to conduct city business.