Environmental, Planning, Greenbelt Appts. OK’d

Four nominations to three different commissions were confirmed by the Ann Arbor city council at its July 2, 2012 meeting. Ken Clein and Kirk Westphal were confirmed for the city planning commission. John German was confirmed for the city’s environmental commission. And Archer Christian was confirmed for the greenbelt advisory commission. All appointments were made on unanimous votes by the council, which is typical.

The nominations for all four appointments were made at the council’s previous meeting, on June 21, 2012. The city planning commission nominations are made by the mayor, which is the case for the vast majority of board and commission appointments. Nominations to the environmental commission and the greenbelt advisory commission are made by the council as a body.

On the city planning commission, Clein, a principal with Quinn Evans Architects, replaces Erica Briggs, who did not seek re-appointment. Among the architectural projects Clein has worked on locally are the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium renovation, the new Ann Arbor municipal center, and the Zingerman’s Deli expansion.

Westphal’s appointment was a re-appointment. Westphal is principal at Westphal Associates, a firm that produces video documentaries. He holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan. City planning commissioners serve three-year terms.

German’s term on the environmental commission expired in August 2011, but he has continued to serve. His nomination and confirmation amounted to formalizing what was already the case. German’s background includes work with Chrysler, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Honda, and the International Council for Clean Transportation.

Ann Arbor’s environmental commission was established 12 years ago through a city ordinance, with the charge to “advise and make recommendations to the city council and city administrator on environmental policy, environmental issues and environmental implications of all city programs and proposals on the air, water, land and public health.”

On the greenbelt advisory commission, Christian is replacing Mike Garfield. Garfield is director of the Ecology Center, a nonprofit based in Ann Arbor, and Ms. Christian is the center’s development director. Garfield was term-limited as a GAC member, having served two consecutive three-year terms. The spot vacated by Garfield is not designated for a representative of the Ecology Center. However, the nine-member commission includes two slots for representatives of environmental and/or conservation groups. The greenbelt advisory commission oversees the proceeds generated by two-thirds of the city’s open space and parkland preservation millage, which is levied at a rate of 0.5 mills.

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]