Ann Arbor Finalizes Ward Boundary Changes

At its Aug. 15, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave final approval to minor changes in the apportionment of its five city wards. The changes will not take effect until after the Nov. 8 general election. According to the city charter, city wards must have the general shape of a pie-shaped wedge, with centers of the tips lying at the center of the city. The council had given the boundary changes initial approval at its Aug. 4 meeting.

The council had postponed the issue at its July 5 meeting, but not before unanimously agreeing to alter the timing of the boundary changes, which had originally been recommended by the city attorney’s office to come between the primary elections for city council, which were held Aug. 2, and the general election to be held Nov. 8.

While the minor changes to the boundaries themselves had not been met with strong objections, the timing had been controversial. So at their July 5 meeting, councilmembers agreed to change the effective date of the boundary changes to Dec. 1, 2011.

The staff-recommended tweaks approved at the Aug. 4 agenda showed minor differences from the changes recommended on July 5. All changes involve the way the tips of the pie-shaped wedges come together.

In the July 5 version, Ward 5 was bounded by Huron Street to the north and Madison Street to the south as it came towards the city center. In the Aug. 4 version, the Ward 5 northern boundary was dropped to Liberty Street, and to compensate the Ward 5 pie tip extended farther to the east.

In the July 5 version, the boundary between Wards 3 and 4 was aligned to Packard Street. But in the Aug. 4 version, the existing protrusion of Ward 4 across Packard, between Arch and Wells streets, was preserved. And to compensate, Ward 4 was pushed back from South University, with the result that Monroe Street, east of State Street, is a part of Ward 3. [.pdf of staff-recommended tweaks from Aug. 4] [.pdf of staff-recommended tweaks from July 5.]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]