The Ann Arbor city council debated a total of four resolutions at its April 7, 2014 meeting related to land located in central downtown Ann Arbor. The land in question is the surface of the Library Lane underground parking structure, which completed construction in the summer of 2012.
The result of council action is that a significant portion of the surface is still reserved as an urban park, and the property will be listed for sale without any delay for a public process. A decision on how to use the net proceeds of a potential sale of the land will be put off at least until June.
Originally on the agenda were just two resolutions related to the Library Lane parking structure: (1) a resolution directing the city administrator to allocate half the net proceeds from a possible upcoming sale of development rights to support affordable housing; and (2) a delay in hiring a broker to list the property for sale, until an additional public process could be completed. The council had voted at its March 17, 2014 meeting to direct the city administrator to list the property for sale.
But the council wound up re-debating that March 17 resolution on listing the property for sale, as well as a resolution from March 17 that designated a 6,500-12,000 square foot area on the western portion of the Library Lane site as an urban park. At the start of the meeting, Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) added the reconsideration of those two March 17 resolutions to the agenda.
First up for the council was the March 17 resolution on reserving a portion of the surface for an urban park. Kunselman moved to amend that resolution to restore the original wording of the March 17 resolution, which had called for a 12,000 square foot portion of the surface to be reserved as an urban park. That amendment passed over dissent from councilmembers Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Margie Teall (Ward 4), Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), and mayor John Hieftje. An attempt to postpone the resolution then failed on a 5-6 vote, with Kunselman, Hieftje, Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1), Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Jack Eaton (Ward 4), and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) voting no. The vote on the question – which specified the portion of the Library Lane site to be reserved for an urban park as 12,000 feet – passed on a 7-4 vote, with dissent from Taylor, Teall, Warpehoski, and Hieftje.
Next up was reconsideration of the March 17 resolution directing the city administrator to list the Library Lane property for sale. Kunselman made it clear that he was bringing back the resolution for reconsideration to highlight why he had wanted the property listed for sale: He wanted definitive answers on the question of how many of the Library Lane structure parking spaces could be dedicated for private use – while still meeting the restrictions of the Build America Bonds used to finance the structure. The vote on that reconsidered resolution was 7-4 with dissent from Kailasapathy, Lumm, Eaton, Anglin.
When the council arrived at the resolution that would have delayed the listing of the property for sale until a public process could be completed, a roughly 40-minute debate ensued. After a brief recess to sort out some kind of compromise, the general consensus – shared even by the resolution’s sponsors (Eaton, Anglin and Briere) – was that it should be voted down and possibly brought back sometime in the future. The vote to reject the delaying resolution was 11-0.
On the item allocating 50% of the net proceeds from a potential sale of the Library Lane development rights, the council wound up postponing the question until the first meeting in June, which comes after the council approves the FY 2015 budget. The vote was 6-5 to postpone, with dissent from Briere, Taylor, Teall, Warpehoski, and Hieftje.
More details on the debate to increase the square footage of a park is provided in The Chronicle’s live updates from the April 7 meeting. The live updates also cover deliberations on reconsidering the resolution about listing the Library Lane site for sale, and on a move to delay hiring a broker. The discussion about allocating net proceeds from a potential sale is also part of The Chronicle’s live updates.
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall located at 301 E. Huron after the meeting concluded at around 1:30 a.m.