Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Jan. 18, 2011): At its most recent meeting, scheduled a day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the council was due to consider, for a second time, a first-reading of a licensing scheme for medical marijuana businesses that has been put forward by city attorney Stephen Postema.
In deliberations on a resolution that would have authorized the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to start designing a plan to develop city-owned surface parking lots, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), who's speaking here, said he did not want to tie the city administrator's hands. The hands in question are visible in the right of the frame, clearly still untied. (Photos by the writer.)
After amending the licensing proposal heavily at its Jan. 3, 2011 meeting, the council had decided to postpone the measure until Tuesday’s meeting. After a relatively brief attempt to undertake further amendments, the council decided to postpone consideration again – until its Feb. 7, 2011 meeting. They also voted to extend the moratorium on opening additional marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities through March 31, 2011.
Not relatively brief were Christopher Taylor’s (Ward 3) opening remarks about a resolution that would have authorized the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to design a plan to develop city-owned downtown parking lots.
In the end, the council decided to postpone consideration of the DDA parcel-by-parcel proposal – on a 6-4 vote, with some of those voting against postponement looking to vote it down. The effect of the postponement was likely similar to what outright rejection would have been. The clear message was this: Substantial revision to the proposal would be required to gain the kind of overwhelming support the measure will likely need to persuade DDA board members that the council is in agreement with the proposal.
Another piece of major business, which passed quietly, was approval of an overhaul of the ordinance language defining the city’s retirement system. An additional tax abatement for Edwards Brothers received a lot of discussion, but was ultimately approved.
The city also accepted a grant from the Home Depot Foundation for sustainability work, that earned praise for the city’s environmental coordinator, Matt Naud. In other city environmental action, David Stead was reappointed to the city’s environmental commission, and Steve Bean’s decision was announced that he had not sought reappointment to that commission, after a long tenure.
Th site plan for Lake Trust Credit Union at the southeast corner of West Liberty and West Stadium Boulevard was approved. And two additional parcels were added to the land that is protected by the city’s greenbelt program.
As budget season looms, Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), who serves on both the city council’s budget committee and the labor and administration committee, gave a status update on the city’s negotiations with its unions. [Full Story]