Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s Feb. 3, 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 most significant item on the council’s Feb. 3, 2014 agenda is listed last – a resolution that would authorize the city administrator to exercise the city’s right of first refusal to purchase the 16.7-acre Edwards Brothers property on South State Street. The council could adjust the order of the items at the start of the meeting.
The sign on the door to the Ann Arbor city council chamber, installed in the summer of 2013, includes Braille.
Two new ordinances will also be given initial consideration at the Ann Arbor city council’s Feb. 3 meeting. One involves public art – which relates to leftover business from the council’s previous meeting. The second proposed new local law involves prohibitions against smoking in some public places.
Background on the possible acquisition of the Edwards Brothers property includes the fact that 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 on the property as a condition of a tax abatement granted by the city council three years ago, on Jan. 18, 2011.
The resolution on tonight’s agenda approves the exercise of the city’s right of first refusal, appropriates necessary funds, and directs the city administrator to notify Edward Brothers Malloy about the exercise of the city’s right.
This effort began at the council’s Jan. 6, 2014 meeting, when councilmembers had directed the city administrator and the city attorney to explore options and gather information about the Edwards Brothers land. The due date for that gathering of information was specified in the council’s resolution as Jan. 30.
Public art is actually the topic of two separate items on the council’s agenda. One is a contract extension for the city’s part-time public art administrator, which had been on the council’s Jan. 21, 2014 agenda, but was postponed at that meeting.
The postponement took place in the context of a political horse trade offered by Jack Eaton (Ward 4) at the council table on Jan. 21. Eaton indicated he’d support the public art administrator’s contract extension at the council’s subsequent meeting – but only if the council would move toward returning as-yet-unallocated money set aside during the now defunct Percent for Art program to its funds of origin (e.g., sanitary sewer fund, street millage fund etc.).
Both elements of the horse trade are scheduled for the Feb. 3 meeting. The move toward returning money out of the public art fund takes the form of initial consideration of an amendment to the city’s public art ordinance. The ordinance amendment, sponsored by Jane Lumm (Ward 2), would allow the council to return money accumulated under the city’s former Percent for Art program to the funds from which that money was drawn. The ordinance change would need a second and final council vote at a subsequent meeting to be enacted. Any transfer of public art money would require separate council action after the potential ordinance change.
Also getting initial consideration on Feb. 3 will be a new ordinance that would prohibit smoking in specific outdoor public areas. Made punishable through a $50 civil fine would be smoking within 20 feet of: (1) bus stops; (2) entrances, windows and ventilation systems of the Blake Transit Center; and (3) entrances, windows and ventilation systems of any city-owned building. The ordinance amendment would also authorize the city administrator to have signs posted designating certain parks or portions of parks as off limits for outdoor smoking.
In another item on its Feb. 3 agenda, the council will consider approval of a $398,703 contract plus a $40,000 contingency with Hubbell Roth & Clark Inc. to reconstruct Geddes Avenue from Huntington to Huron Parkway. The project, which includes five components, is scheduled to start in the spring of 2015 and may continue through 2016. The five components of the project are: reconstruction of Geddes, sanitary sewer on Geddes, sanitary sewer on Dover Place and Riverview, storm sewer on Geddes, and water main on Dover Place and Riverview.
Also on the council’s Feb. 3 agenda is a proposed expansion for Germain Motors – an auto dealership on South State Street, formerly Howard Cooper Imports.
The council will also consider setting a hearing date for one establishments that could potentially be recommended for non-renewal of its liquor licenses for non-payment of taxes: Banfield’s Bar & Grill. Also originally on the list were The Arena, and Café Zola, but as of Monday morning, Feb. 3 they’d been removed. Those three businesses were also subject to the same scrutiny last year, and all eventually paid their taxes without having their licenses revoked.
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 Monday 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]