Ann Arbor city council meeting (April 2, 2012) Part 2: At a long meeting that stretched until midnight, the council handled multiple items involving direction to city staff – one of which was related to enforcement of medical marijuana laws. All medical marijuana issues from the meeting are covered in Part 1 of The Chronicle’s meeting report.
Neither of the other two resolutions involving direction to staff got much support on the council. Failing on a 3-7 vote was a resolution that would have directed the city attorney to provide a written opinion on the transfer of funds from the city’s street millage fund to the public art fund. The resolution got support only from its sponsors, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1), who were joined by Mike Anglin (Ward 5). The council postponed a separate item that would have authorized $150,000 for a piece of art that the public art commission has recommended for the lobby of the new Justice Center.
Failing on a 4-6 vote was a resolution related to the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. It directed city staff to “to review, analyze, and report on the compliance of the DDA provided TIF calculation and capture amount” – an issue that relates to excess capture of taxes identified last year. The three who supported the resolution requesting an opinion on public art were joined by Jane Lumm (Ward 2) in supporting the TIF resolution. Only 10 councilmembers attended the meeting – Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) was absent. But even if Higgins had voted for the two resolutions, they still would have failed.
Generating some controversy were two items involving automobiles. The council gave final approval to changes in parking regulations that include a provision allowing the developer of a downtown project to meet minimum parking requirements without building parking spaces on site. The alternative is to make a payment in lieu of building parking spaces, or to sign a long-term contract to purchase monthly parking permits in the public parking system. Anglin voted against the ordinance change as well as the specific policy governing the payments in lieu of parking.
On another automobile-related item, Anglin was joined by Lumm in opposing a resolution that made a formal request to the Michigan Dept. of Transportation to convert a segment of Jackson Road between Maple Road and South Revena from four traffic lanes to three. That request will move forward. In another road-related item, the council unanimously approved a $3,647,344 construction contract for the first set of streets to be repaired in the 2012 program. That will be followed at the council’s next meeting, on April 16, by a second contract for an additional set of streets.
The council also gave approval to three different site plans – for Arbor Hills Crossing on Washtenaw Avenue, Les Voyageurs near Argo Pond, and Noodles & Co. on West Stadium Boulevard.
Public commentary at the end of the meeting featured several speakers who called the council’s attention to April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.