Editor’s note: This “Live Updates” coverage of the Ann Arbor city council’s July 21, 2014 meeting includes all the material from an earlier preview article published last week. The intent is to facilitate easier navigation from the live updates section to background material already in this file.
Outcomes from the meeting are also reported in the Civic News Ticker.
A common theme among several items on the Ann Arbor city council’s July 21, 2014 agenda is infrastructure. That includes physical infrastructure – like roads, sidewalks, bridges and buildings. But it also includes legal infrastructure. The council will be considering a resolution that would put a charter amendment in front of voters for the Nov. 4 election. The amendment would establish eligibility requirements for elected officials, after a federal court ruled earlier this year that the existing charter requirements are not legally enforceable.
Another significant item that was initially placed on the July 21 agenda – but is expected to be withdrawn by its sponsor, Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) – is a resolution that would direct the city administrator to list the 415 W. Washington property for sale.
Two other land acquisition items on the agenda would put the city on the purchasing end. A resolution sponsored by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) would inquire with the owner of 2805 Burton Road, located just west of US-23, about whether it is available for purchase by the city. It’s the site of a long-in-the-works affordable housing project that has never started construction.
And a resolution sponsored by Margie Teall (Ward 4) would authorize the purchase of the property at 3401 Platt Road on behalf of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC). Cost of the purchase would be $195,000, to be reimbursed to the city by AAHC. The AAHC is undertaking reconstruction of its properties adjoining this parcel, and this acquisition would facilitate that.
The July 21 meeting is the council’s last one before the Tuesday, Aug. 5 primary elections. The meeting that week is shifted from Monday to Thursday, and will fall on Aug. 7.
Physical infrastructure on the agenda includes a $1,537,608 construction contract with Bailey Excavating Inc. for the Springwater subdivision improvements project. That work will cover the reconstruction of streets and some utilities – on Butternut Street from Cardinal Avenue to Springbrook Avenue, and Nordman Avenue from Packard Road to Redwood Avenue.
Another road reconstruction project on the agenda is a $3,445,200 agreement with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) for the Stone School Road improvements project – between I-94 and Ellsworth Road. The planned work consists of reconstructing Stone School Road as a two-lane road with on-street bike lanes and concrete curb and gutter.
A second agreement with MDOT, which will require about $250,000 of local funding, will establish the city as construction manager for the construction of sidewalks on the south side of Scio Church Road between Delaware Drive and Maple Road, and on the south side of Barton Drive from about 250 feet west of Chandler Road to Longshore Drive. A portion of the funding for both projects will be derived from a special assessment of adjoining property owners.
Final approval of a special assessment for an additional sidewalk construction project also appears on the agenda. The sidewalk construction will be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14.
On July 21 the council will also be asked to approve a $104,107 contract with DLZ Michigan Inc. for the regular bridge inspection program. That includes the section of the Library Lane parking structure that is located under Fifth Avenue.
Six new pumps for the wastewater treatment plant to be purchased from Premier Pump Inc. for $425,682 is another agenda item.
With respect to legal infrastructure, a federal judge ruled earlier this year that eligibility requirements for elected officers in the city of Ann Arbor’s charter are not legally enforceable. On the council’s July 21 agenda is a resolution that would place new charter requirements on the ballot for voters to decide in the Nov. 4, 2014 election. The current charter language imposes one-year durational requirements on voter registration in the city and residency in the ward that a potential councilmember would like to represent. For mayor, the current requirement is simply a one-year durational requirement for voter registration in the city. That one year is calculated from the time an elected official takes office. The new requirements would impose a voter registration requirement at the time paperwork is submitted to qualify for the ballot.
Several items related to development also appear on the council’s July 21 agenda. The council will consider a site plan for 2625 Jackson, on the southeast corner of Jackson and I-94, and just north of the Westgate Shopping Center. The plan calls for demolishing the existing one-story service station and auto repair shop and constructing a single building with a 1,820-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and 3,220-square-foot retail center.
The council will also consider a site plan for Dusty’s Collision at 2310 South Industrial Highway, south of Jewett. The proposal calls for building a 30,537-square-foot, one-story auto collision repair facility on a parcel that’s currently vacant. The new building would include 5,285 square feet for office use, a waiting area of 5,227 square feet, and 20,025 square feet for the repair area and garage.
For State Street Village – a proposed 78-unit apartment project that will eventually appear on the council’s agenda – the council will consider giving initial approval at its July 21 meeting to the rezoning of the land. The 4.5-acre parcel would be rezoned from M1 (limited industrial district) to O (office district).
Not tied to any particular project on the July 21 agenda is final consideration by the council of a change to downtown zoning. The item is confined to a 1.1-acre parcel at 425 S. Main St. at the southeast corner of William and Main. The council gave initial approval of the rezoning – from D1 (downtown core) to D2 (downtown interface) – at its June 16 meeting that followed a complex series of votes. At the same meeting, the council also gave initial approval to a change to the overlay character district for the parcel, after amending the height limit – from 100 feet to 60 feet. Zoning changes require two votes by the council, taken at separate meetings, because they are changes to the city’s ordinances.
Another ordinance change on the July 21 agenda – which is getting final consideration by the council – is one that clarifies the composition and appointment process for the city’s environmental commission. Related thematically to that item is a resolution that clarifies the composition of the city’s commission on disability issues.
The consent agenda for July 21 includes an item that indicates the approach of fall – approval of the change to traffic patterns for the Aug. 27-29 University of Michigan student move-in.
This article includes more details for many of these agenda items. Information on other agenda items is 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.
The council’s July 21 agenda includes several items related to the city’s physical infrastructure.
Physical Infrastructure: Springwater Street Reconstruction
The council will consider a $1,537,608 construction contract with Bailey Excavating Inc. for the Springwater subdivision improvements project. That work will cover the reconstruction of streets and some utilities – on Butternut Street from Cardinal Avenue to Springbrook Avenue, and Nordman Avenue from Packard Road to Redwood Avenue.
Funding for the project will be drawn from the street millage fund ($883,316), stormwater fund ($903,065), and drinking water funds ($489,574) for a total project cost of $2,275,955.
Funding from the drinking water and stormwater funds is based on the fact that the project includes replacing the existing water main and performing stormwater system improvements – including construction of sand filters within the Butternut Street and Nordman Avenue right-of-way. Construction is expected to start in August 2014 with completion expected this fall.
Physical Infrastructure: Stone School Road
The council will consider a $3,445,200 agreement with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) for the Stone School Road improvements project – between I-94 and Ellsworth Road. The planned work consists of reconstructing Stone School Road as a two-lane road with on-street bike lanes and concrete curb and gutter
A new 5-foot wide, concrete sidewalk will be constructed on the west side of the roadway from Pheasant Run Circle to Ellsworth Road. Included in the project is the replacement of the existing 16-inch water main in Stone School Road. The water main has broken several times. A short segment of 8-inch sanitary sewer is included in the project. Bioswales and “in-line” stormwater detention will be included. An existing jack-arch culvert under Old Stone School Road along Malletts Creek will be removed, in order to improve creek hydraulics, habitat and stormwater quality. New street lights along Stone School Road will also be installed.
Physical Infrastructure: Sidewalks – Scio Church, Barton
The council will consider an agreement with MDOT, which will require about $250,000 of local funding. It will establish the city as construction manager for the construction of sidewalks on the south side of Scio Church Road between Delaware Drive and Maple Road, and on the south side of Barton Drive from about 250 feet west of Chandler Road to Longshore Drive. A portion of the funding for both projects will be derived from a special assessment of adjoining property owners.
Here’s how the funding breaks down:
Project Funding Scio Church Barton TOTAL Federal Share $164,000 $36,000 $200,000 Local Share 199,474 42,626 242,100 Spcl Assess 1,626 1,980 3,606 TOTAL $365,100 $80,606 $445,706
Infrastructure: Pontiac Trail Sidewalk
The council will consider giving final approval of the assessment roll for the construction of a new sidewalk on Pontiac Trail, after a public hearing. The council voted to set the public hearing for the July 21 meeting on June 6, 2014. The cost that will be assessed to adjoining property owners is $72,218.
According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, sidewalk construction would be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14. The project will also be adding on-street bike lanes and constructing a new sidewalk along the east side of Pontiac Trail to fill in existing sidewalk gaps and to provide pedestrian access to Olson Park and Dhu Varren Road. That’s part of the city’s Complete Streets program.
In addition to the sidewalk, approximately 1,960 feet of curb and gutter is being added north of Skydale along Pontiac Trail to protect existing wetland areas. [.pdf of Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment area]
Infrastructure: Bridge Inspections
The council will consider approval of a $104,107 contract with DLZ Michigan Inc. for the regular bridge inspection program.
The city is required by federal law to inspect its bridges every two years. The city’s approach is to inspect about half of its bridges each year in order to even out the cost.
Bridges to be inspected include the section of the Library Lane parking structure that is located under Fifth Avenue, which is considered a bridge.
According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, the following bridges will be inspected in 2014: Island Drive over the Traver Creek; Maiden Lane over the Huron River; Fuller Road (eastbound and westbound) over the Huron River; Huron Parkway over the Huron River, Norfolk Southern Railroad and Geddes Avenue; and Wastewater Treatment Plant Drive over the Huron River.
And in 2015, the following bridges will be inspected: Broadway over the Huron River; Broadway over Depot Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad; E. Stadium Boulevard bridge over S. State Street; E. Stadium Boulevard bridge over the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks; Fuller Road over the Norfolk Southern Railroad; East Medical Center Drive over the Norfolk Southern Railroad; Eisenhower Parkway over the Ann Arbor Railroad; the portion of the Fifth Avenue parking structure under South Fifth Avenue; and the University of Michigan tunnel under Huron Parkway.
Funding will come from the major street fund ($133,500) and the sewage disposal fund ($2,500). The University of Michigan and the DDA will reimburse the city for about $6,600 for inspections related to facilities they maintain.
Infrastructure: Wastewater Pumps
An item to purchase six new pumps for the wastewater treatment plant is on the July 21 agenda. The pumps would be bought from Premier Pump Inc. for $425,682.
According to the staff memo accompanying the agenda item, the city’s wastewater treatment plant has six 150-horsepower secondary effluent pumps that are about 35 years old. When the plant is operating in typical mode, two of the six pumps are in continuous operation. Occasionally, when the Huron River is at high levels, additional pumps are used to pump secondary effluent simultaneously to the sand filters and the river.
Over the past three years, three of the pumps have failed. One of the pumps was irreparable, and the other two pumps were repaired but are not reliable for long-term use. The remaining three pumps are fully functional, but in a worn condition.
Failure of the secondary effluent pumps was unforeseen, according to the staff memo, so the cost of their replacement was not included in the design of the Facilities Renovations Project (FRP) currently under construction at the wastewater treatment plant. The city’s attempt to include replacement of the pumps in the FRP and to receive funding through the state’s revolving fund loan program was rejected by the Michigan Depart. of Environmental Quality, according to the staff memo.
A federal judge ruled earlier this year that eligibility requirements for elected officers in the city of Ann Arbor’s charter are not legally enforceable. That ruling was based on early 1970s decisions that struck down Ann Arbor’s city charter eligibility requirements as unconstitutional. On the council’s July 21 agenda is a resolution that would place new charter requirements on the ballot for voters to decide in the Nov. 4, 2014 election.
The current charter language imposes one-year durational requirements on voter registration in the city and residency in the ward that a potential councilmember would like to represent. For mayor, the current requirement is simply a one-year durational requirement for voter registration in the city. That one year is calculated from the time an elected official takes office. The new requirements would impose a voter registration requirement at the time paperwork is submitted to qualify for the ballot.
For example, a potential candidate for the city council would need to be a registered voter in the ward they seek to represent at the time they submit their qualifying signatures to the city clerk. And a potential candidate for mayor would need to be a registered voter in the city at the time they submit their qualifying signatures to the city clerk. With paperwork for partisan primaries due in April – for November elections – the new requirements would translate practically speaking to something similar to a six-and-a-half-month durational requirement. For independent candidates, that timeframe would be closer to three and a half months. Jane Lumm (Ward 2) provided a text of the correct draft to media outlets: [.pdf of July 18, 2014 charter amendment resolution text]
On the afternoon of Friday, July 18, the city attorney’s office was working with the state attorney general’s office on the wording of the charter amendment and the ballot proposal. The proposal has been divided into two questions – one focused on elective officers, and the other dealing with appointive officers.
According to information provided on the Michigan Secretary of State’s website, confirmed by the Washtenaw County clerk’s office, the council would have until Aug. 12, 2014 to meet the deadline for placing a question on the ballot. Before the deadline, the council has one additional meeting after July 21 – on Aug. 7.
So it would be an option for the council to postpone consideration of this amendment at their July 21 meeting.
Appearing initially on the July 21 agenda was an item sponsored by Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) and mayor John Hieftje with the title “Resolution to List for Sale 415 W. Washington and Appropriate Funds for Allen Creek Greenway Master Plan.” As of mid-day Friday, July 18, no text or memo was included in the resolution.
Warpehoski responded to an emailed query from The Chronicle by saying that the resolution might be pulled, depending on the outcome of a meeting of the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy on July 18. [The item was then updated with text. The amount to be allocated for the master planning effort was $250,000.]
On July 19, however, Warpehoski announced that he’d be withdrawing the resolution. An excerpt from the comment he left on The Chronicle’s meeting preview article reads as follows:
At the request of the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy Board, I am withdrawing the resolution from the Council agenda.
The resolution to fund the creation of a greenway master plan and development of the greenway through the sale of the non-floodway portion of 415 W. Washington was developed in partnership with Bob Galardi, chair of the Greenway Conservancy, and Jonathan Bulkley, chair of the Greenway Roundtable.
Bob and Jonathan had discussed the potential resolution with the Conservancy board. They found some initial support from the board. At their meeting on July 18, the Conservancy Board reviewed the final resolution, but were not able to come to agreement to support the resolution at this time. As the conservancy does not have clarity in supporting the resolution, I am withdrawing it. From the beginning, the my approach to this was that if the Conservancy was supportive then we could bring it forward. If the conservancy was not in support then we would not move forward in this way.
Warpehoski indicated to The Chronicle that one reason a master plan for the greenway is important is that the lack of such a plan hurt the city’s application for funding from the state of Michigan to support renovations to the 721 N. Main property. The city did not receive the state grant after applying for it in early 2013.
In addition, Warpehoski wrote, there’s an opportunity to partner with the University of Michigan and a class taught by Larissa Larsen, a professor of urban and regional planning and natural resources. Such a partnership would reduce costs of the planning effort.
The idea of funding work on a master plan for the Allen Creek greenway was discussed most recently at the June 16, 2014 council meeting, in the context of a resolution that Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) had brought forward that would have jump-started an effort to redesign Liberty Plaza at the corner of Division and Liberty streets. Taylor’s resolution would have appropriated $23,577 for the work, which was to have included input from a variety of stakeholders, including adjacent property owners.
That resolution was ultimately referred by the council to the park advisory commission (PAC). At PAC’s July 15 meeting, two people spoke during public commentary to advocate for an integrated approach to the “library block,” which includes Liberty Plaza. But PAC postponed discussion related to Liberty Plaza and the council resolution, as only five of nine voting members were present. Taylor is an ex officio non-voting member of PAC, but had not discussed the resolution at previous PAC meetings. He attended PAC’s July 15 meeting.
The June 16 council meeting discussion featured the following exchange between Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) and Hieftje, recorded in The Chronicle’s live updates from the meeting:
10:15 p.m. Kunselman asks if this means that Liberty Plaza would jump ahead of developing a master plan for the Allen Creek Greenway. Hieftje says that if Kunselman can be a bit patient, there will be a master plan proposed soon.
10:18 p.m. Hieftje says that an Allen Creek Greenway master plan might be prepared before the end of the budget year. Kunselman asks if there’d been any council direction to start any of the activity that Hieftje has described. Yes, Hieftje says, there was a resolution involving 415 W. Washington. Kunselman reiterates the fact that staff has not been directed specifically to develop a greenway master plan. He’s reiterating the lack of resources for park planning. There are 157 parks in the city and he wonders why Liberty Plaza has become the most important one. Kunselman will support the referral to PAC.
If the council had directed the 415 W. Washington property to be listed for sale, it would have been the third downtown city-owned property to be listed for sale in the last year and a half. The council directed the city administrator to move toward hiring a broker for the old Y lot at Fifth and William at its March 4, 2013 meeting. And on Nov. 18, 2013, the council authorized the sale of the lot to Dennis Dahlmann for $5.25 million.
And the council voted at its April 7, 2014 meeting to confirm its earlier decision to direct the city administrator to list the development rights for the top of the Library Lane parking structure for sale. On July 1, city administrator Steve Powers notified the council that he’d selected CBRE to market and broker the sale of the development rights.
The 415 W. Washington parcel is currently used as a surface parking lot in the city’s public parking system, which has averaged about $18,000 in revenue per month, or about $216,000 a year over the last two years. The parcel also includes several buildings that previously served as the road commission facility and the city maintenance yard. A study commissioned by the city of the property concluded that the cost of stabilizing and renovating all of the buildings could be as high as $6 million. [.pdf of Aug. 29, 2013 report] That study came after the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios had stepped forward with an interest in the possible renovation and reuse of the building as artist studio space. For additional background on that, see “City Council Parcels Out Tasks: Open Space.”
Ultimately the city moved toward demolishing the buildings. The city administrator’s proposed FY 2015 budget included $300,000 for the demolition of the buildings, but the council amended out that allocation during its deliberations on May 19, 2014:
1:40 a.m. Budget amendment: 415 W. Washington demolition. This proposal will simply eliminate general fund support for demolition of the city-owned buildings at 415 W. Washington. [Kailasapathy, Lumm, Eaton, Anglin]
1:54 a.m. Outcome: The council approved this amendment over the dissent of Kunselman, Taylor and Warpehoski.
Two pieces of land immediately adjacent to 415 W. Washington have been in the news recently. At their July 1, 2014 meeting, city planning commissioners approved The Mark condo project for the parcel on Liberty Street where a car wash is currently located. The proposal from developer Alex de Parry is to demolish an existing car wash at 318 W. Liberty and build an 11,910-square-foot structure with seven residential condominiums – five two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units.
And at the July 2, 2014 meeting of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, it was announced that the final site recommendation for a downtown stop for the WALLY rail line is for the east side of the railroad tracks between Liberty and Washington streets – opposite of where the former city maintenance yard was located at 415 W. Washington. It was reported at that meeting that it would not be a full station. Rather, it would be a platform with canopies and a ramp to Washington Street to the north and a sidewalk connection to the south onto Liberty. The stop would be built entirely within the railroad right-of-way – and there would be no taking of public or private property. The site would be contingent on the WALLY project moving forward.
Land Purchase: Burton Commons
Appearing on the July 21 agenda is a resolution for the city to inquire with the owner of 2805 Burton Road, located just west of US-23, about whether the land is available for purchase by the city. It’s the site of a long-in-the-works affordable housing project that has never started construction.
The land is immediately adjacent to US-23 to the east and Sylvan Park to the north. A residential neighborhood lies to the west of the land.
The resolution is sponsored by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), who had told his council colleagues at their June 2, 2014 meeting that he’d be bringing forward such a resolution. The idea would be to use open space millage money to purchase the land. The resolution states that the estimated fair market value, according to the city assessor, is $628,800.
One-third of the open space millage proceeds are supposed to be allocated to acquisition of land within the city limits. At the June 2 meeting, Kunselman argued for the purchase based on the positive impact on climate change and the adjacency of Sylvan Park to the north.
The purchase of the land would also be consistent with a sentiment Kunselman expressed at a recent mayoral candidate forum – that there was resistance in Ward 3, which he represents, to “dumping and piling on” affordable housing in that ward.
Kunselman is a candidate for mayor in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary, along with three other councilmembers Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Sally Petersen (Ward 2) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3).
The July 21 council meeting is the last one before the Aug. 5 election. That week the meeting is shifted to Thursday from Monday, due to the Tuesday election.
Land Purchase: 3401 Platt Road
On the July 21 agenda is an item that would authorize the city to purchase the parcel at 3401 Platt Road.
The parcel is adjacent to Ann Arbor Housing Commission (AAHC) properties that AAHC is planning to reconstruct.
Four units currently stand at the location, but AAHC has previously announced plans to demolish those structures and replace them with 32 units of housing – a net gain of 28 units.
Now, however, the AAHC is interested in expanding that project, using the additional adjacent property. At the planning commission’s July 15, 2014 meeting, planning manager Wendy Rampson reported that because the AAHC has decided to expand its development on Platt Road, they’ll be holding another citizen participation meeting about that on Monday, July 28 at 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Malletts Creek branch, 3090 E. Eisenhower. This is not the same site as a county-owned property on Platt Road, which is also being considered for affordable housing.
Earlier this year, at its April 21, 2014 meeting, council gave several approvals in connection with the AAHC renovations. The acquisition of the additional parcel will help the AAHC with its plans for the property.
Three of the existing four houses are in the floodway, and the water table is higher than the basements. When it rains, the properties flood. So the plan is to tear down the existing buildings, and construct new housing further north on the same site, on land that’s currently vacant.
The AAHC will be reimbursing the city for the $195,00 cost of the 1.17-acre property.
But it is the city that must execute the transaction, under Ann Arbor City Code, Chapter 8, Section 1:209(3):
All deeds, mortgages, contracts, leases, purchases, or other agreements regarding real property which is or may be put under the control of the housing commission, including agreements to acquire or dispose of real property, shall be approved and executed in the name of the City of Ann Arbor. The Ann Arbor City Council may, by resolution, decide to convey or assign to the housing commission any rights of the city to a particular property owned by the City of Ann Arbor which is under the control of the housing commission and such resolution shall authorize the City Administrator, Mayor and Clerk to take all action necessary to effect such conveyance or assignment.
On the council’s July 21 agenda are several items related to development.
Development: Jackson Drive-Thru
The council will consider approval of a site plan for a new drive-thru restaurant on Jackson Avenue – near the I-94 interchange. The planning commission recommended approval at its June 17, 2014 meeting.
The site is located at 2625 Jackson, on the southeast corner of Jackson and I-94, and just north of the Westgate Shopping Center. The plan calls for demolishing the existing one-story service station and auto repair shop and constructing a single building with a 1,820-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and 3,220-square-foot retail center. The gas pump islands and canopy will be removed. The total project would cost an estimated $400,000. [.pdf of staff memo]
The restaurant’s single lane drive-thru would primarily be accessed from a proposed curbcut on Jackson Ave., with an exit through the Westgate Shopping Center Jackson Ave. entrance. An existing curbcut off Jackson to the east would be closed. The new curbcut has been approved by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, and would prevent left turns onto Jackson. The drive-thru lane provides stacking for up to four vehicles and would be screened to the north by the proposed building.
In a separate vote at their June 17 meeting, commissioners granted a special exception use for this project, which does not require additional city council approval. This was the first drive-thru proposal that has come through the city’s approval process since the city council approved changes to the Chapter 55 zoning ordinance that regulates drive-thrus. That approval came at the council’s June 2, 2014 meeting.
Development: Dusty’s Collision
The council will consider a site plan for Dusty’s Collision at 2310 South Industrial Highway, south of Jewett.
The proposal calls for building a 30,537-square-foot, one-story auto collision repair facility on a parcel that’s currently vacant. A previous building at that location was torn down in 2013. The new building would include 5,285 square feet for office use, a waiting area of 5,227 square feet, and 20,025 square feet for the repair area and garage. The project is estimated to cost $2 million.
The site will include 106 spaces of exterior parking, including 24 spaces that will be deferred until needed, according to the staff memo. One bicycle hoop – for 2 bike parking spaces – will be located near the front of the building.
The planning commission’s recommendation for approval, made at its June 3, 2014 meeting, was contingent on the owner – Whitney’s Collision West of Ann Arbor – providing one footing drain disconnect before the city issues a certificate of occupancy. [.pdf of staff memo]
Development: State Street Village
For State Street Village – a proposed 78-unit apartment project that will eventually appear on the council’s agenda – the council will consider giving initial approval at its July 21 meeting to the rezoning of the land. The 4.5-acre parcel would be rezoned from M1 (limited industrial district) to O (office district).
A recommendation for the rezoning was given at the June 17, 2014 meeting of the Ann Arbor planning commission.
At that meeting, commissioners recommended approval of a site plan, development agreement and rezoning for the project. It’s a $10 million project put forward by Ann Arbor-based McKinley Inc. at 2221-2223 S. State St. The plan calls for constructing two 4-story apartment buildings at the rear of the site, totaling 112,262 square feet, with 38 units each. Another 2,027 square foot building – for a leasing office with two apartments above it – would be built on the front of the parcel, on South State.
The front part of the site is currently a surface parking lot, and is zoned O (office). The rear parcel – 4.5 acres – is vacant, and zoned M1 (limited industrial). Residential developments are permitted in office-zoned areas. [.pdf of staff report]
The development will include 114 parking spaces in the rear of the site and 13 spaces for the front. Another 22 spaces in the surface parking lot will be shared by the existing office building just south of the site.
In addition, 44 covered bicycle spaces and 8 enclosed bicycle spaces will be provided near the entrances of the apartment buildings and 2 hoops will be placed near the entrance of the rental office building.
Instead of making a $48,360 requested donation to the city for parks, McKinley has proposed two 8×10-foot grilling patios with picnic tables and grills.
According to the staff memo, the footing drains of 18 homes, or flow equivalent to 71.91 gallons per minute, will need to be disconnected from the city’s sanitary sewer system to mitigate flow from this proposed development.
Only the initial consideration of the rezoning issue will be before the council on July 21. The site plan approval will be considered at a future meeting, likely at the same meeting when the council gives final consideration to the rezoning.
Development: Downtown Zoning
The council will consider giving final approval to changes in two parts of the zoning code affecting the parcel at 425 S. Main, on the southeast corner of Main and William streets. Initial approval was given to rezoning from D1 to D2, with an amended height limit – of 60 feet. The original height limit in the ordinance revision considered by the council was 100 feet.
Initial approval by the council came at its June 16, 2014 meeting.
The council’s initial approval came only after two votes on each of the parts of the zoning, as councilmembers had first decided to refer the height limit issue back to the planning commission, but ultimately decided to amend the height limit to 60 feet. A summary of the deliberations is provided in The Chronicle’s live updates from the meeting.
By way of background, currently a two-story 63,150-square-foot office building – where DTE offices are located – stands on the southern part of that site, with a surface parking lot on the north portion. [.pdf of staff memo on 425 S. Main rezoning]
Considered separately by the council on July 21 will be final votes that would: (1) change the zoning of the parcel from D1 (downtown core base district) to D2 (downtown interface base district); and (2) change the character overlay district, of which the parcel is a part, to specify the height limit at 60 feet, not the 100 feet that the planning commission had recommended. [.pdf of staff memo on overlay district]
Upper-story setbacks, specified in the character district overlay along with the height limits, were specified based on the 100-foot limit. So the planning staff will likely present the council with some revised language on the setbacks, in order to be consistent with the amended 60-foot limit.
The planning commission recommended both the zoning changes at its May 6, 2014 meeting. The planning commission’s vote on the basic zoning change was unanimous – 9-0. But the vote on the 100-foot height limit was only 6-3, with dissent coming from Sabra Briere, Ken Clein and Jeremy Peters. Briere also serves on city council, representing Ward 1. Both recommendations had been brought forward by the commission’s ordinance revisions committee (ORC). Members are Bonnie Bona, Diane Giannola, Kirk Westphal and Wendy Woods.
The planning commission’s recommendations came in response to a city council directive given at its Jan. 21, 2014 meeting, which had been based on previous work the planning commission had done. The commission had studied and developed a broader set of eight recommendations for zoning changes in specific parts of the downtown. The overall intent was in large part to buffer near-downtown residential neighborhoods. The commission had unanimously approved those original recommendations at its Dec. 3, 2013 meeting.
Those initial Dec. 3, 2013 recommendations from the planning commission had come in response to a previous direction from the city council, given at the council’s April 1, 2013 meeting. The council’s action in early 2013 came in response to the controversial 413 E. Huron development.
The item affecting 425 S. Main is just the first of what are expected to be several other changes recommended by the planning commission.
The current D1 zoning for 425 S. Main allows for a maximum height of 180 feet. The previous zoning, prior to 2009, set no limits on height. At this time, no new development has been proposed for this site.
Board and Commissions
Two commissions are the topic of separate council agenda items: the environmental commission; and the commission on disability issues.
Boards and Commission: Environmental
The council will give final consideration to an amendment to the city ordinance establishing the environmental commission (EC). Initial approval was given at the council’s July 7, 2014 meeting.
The ordinance change relates in part to the way that nominations to the EC are made. The EC is one of the few boards or commissions in the city for which the mayor does not make nominations. The more familiar procedure – for most boards and commissions – includes a mayoral nomination at one council meeting, followed by the confirmation vote of the council at a subsequent meeting.
In the past, the council has mimicked this procedure for the EC by having some councilmember put a resolution on the agenda appointing a member to the EC, and then postponing the resolution until the next meeting. The ordinance revisions include clarification that the nominations put forward by the council as a body to the EC are to be made by the two councilmembers who serve as the council’s representatives to the EC.
Besides two slots for council representatives, the EC includes positions for members of the planning commission, park advisory commission, and energy commission. The ordinance revision to be given final consideration on July 21 makes clear that those groups make their appointments to the EC without further city council approval. This specific revision comes after the planning commission had selected Kirk Westphal from its membership to serve on the EC earlier this year. Some councilmembers voted against his confirmation, when the council was asked to confirm his selection two months ago. For background on that vote, see “Hutton, Westphal Reappointed to EC.”
The staff memo summarizes the changes to the ordinance regulating appointments to boards and commissions as follows:
- clarifies that the councilmembers currently serving on the environmental commission nominate persons for “at-large” appointments, which are then approved by council resolution;
- clarifies that the planning commission, park advisory commission, and energy commission each designate a representative to the environmental commission without council approval and for a one-year term;
- clarifies that the 3-year terms should be equally staggered;
- removes references to the Leslie Science Center Advisory Board, which no longer exists;
- requires the city administrator or the designated support staff of the environmental commission to notify council of vacancies – previously this was delegated to the clerk’s office, which does not always have immediate knowledge of vacancies;
- contains a few minor, non-substantive corrections and clarifications.
Mark Clevey’s name had been scheduled to be put before the council on July 7 to be confirmed as a member of the EC, but was withdrawn – because he is the selection by the energy commission to represent the energy commission on the EC. Once enacted, the energy commission appointment to EC (like that of other boards and commissions to the EC) will be for one year and will not need city council approval.
Boards and Commission: Disabilities
The council will consider a resolution that clarifies the membership on the city’s commission on disabilities. The clarification concerns the city council representative, who will be appointed for a one-year term annually. Currently the council’s representative to the commission on disability issues is Sally Petersen (Ward 2).
3:38 p.m. Names of speakers who have signed up for public commentary reserved time at the start of the meeting are now available. A total of eight people are signed up for public commentary reserved time. Three people will be speaking in support of boycotting Israel and stopping the current assault on Gaza: Blaine Coleman, Mohammad Aggour, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani. Three people will be speaking about the recent eviction of a homeless encampment in Broadway Park. Thomas Partridge will be speaking in support of electing Democrat Mark Schauer as governor, affordable housing and accommodations for those with disabilities. And Kermit Schlansker will be addressing the council on the topic of “crime of city government.”
4:27 p.m. Responses from staff to councilmember questions are now available: [.pdf of July 21, 2014 staff responses]
4:44 p.m. There’s a large .pdf with a map in the agenda responses. Here’s just the map: [.pdf of parks map for underserved areas]. Here’s the rest of the agenda responses: [.pdf of just text from July 21, 2014 staff agenda responses]
6:19 p.m. Pre-meeting activity. The scheduled meeting start is 7 p.m. Most evenings the actual starting time is between 7:10 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Right now the council chambers are empty except for The Chronicle.
6:25 p.m. Most recent version of the charter amendment ballot proposal has now been sent around to councilmembers: [.pdf of latest version]
6:49 p.m. Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and Jack Eaton (Ward 4) have arrived. About a dozen folks in the audience. Eaton quizzes a student here for a class assignment who wants her agenda signed: “Do you know what ward you live in?” “Yes, Two.” “I’m impressed!”
6:52 p.m. City administrator Steve Powers and city attorney Stephen Postema have arrived.
6:55 p.m. Still only two councilmembers in chambers. Now Jane Lumm (Ward 2) has arrived.
6:57 p.m. Mayor John Hieftje has arrived.
7:05 p.m. Still not here are Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1).
7:10 p.m. Now the only missing councilmember is Kailasapathy.
7:11 p.m. Call to order, moment of silence, pledge of allegiance.
7:12 p.m. Roll call of council. Petersen and Kailasapathy are not here.
7:12 p.m. Approval of agenda.
7:12 p.m. Outcome: The council has approved its agenda for tonight.
7:13 p.m. Communications from the city administrator.
7:14 p.m. City administrator Steve Powers notes that there’s a letter to HUD attached to the agenda, which indicates that Ann Arbor will continue to participate in the Urban County, as opposed to receiving CDBG funds on its own. Powers had told the council at its last meeting that this was the decision he’d be making, unless he received different direction. [.pdf of letter to HUD]. He also notes the Aug. 2, soccer game that will be taking place. Game start will be 4:06 p.m. Usual football game day regulations will apply. Powers will be a member of the county board’s road funding subcommittee. He’ll keep the council updated on the committee’s work, he says.
7:14 p.m. Public commentary. This portion of the meeting offers 10 three-minute slots that can be reserved in advance. Preference is given to speakers who want to address the council on an agenda item. [Public commentary general time, with no sign-up required in advance, is offered at the end of the meeting.]
A total of eight people are signed up for public commentary reserved time. Three people will be speaking in support of boycotting Israel and stopping the current assault on Gaza: Blaine Coleman, Mohammad Aggour, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani. Three people will be speaking about the recent eviction of a homeless encampment in Broadway Park. Thomas Partridge will be speaking in support of electing Democrat Mark Schauer as governor, affordable housing and accommodations for those with disabilities. And Kermit Schlansker will be addressing the council on the topic of “crime of city government.” Hieftje has reviewed the rules on signs – that they must be held at the sides of the room.
7:18 p.m. Thomas Partridge introduces himself as a former candidate for the state legislature. He calls on the public to support Mark Schauer for governor of Michigan. Local municipalities need to be fully funded, he says. Funding for additional affordable housing must be planned, he says. The Ann Arbor city council should be taking a statewide leadership role in providing access to people with disabilities. He calls on people to “put down their placards” and their calls for what to do about the Middle East.
7:22 p.m. Blaine Coleman begins to speak. Hieftje tells Mozhgan Savabieasfahani to move to the side with her sign. Coleman ticks through some grim statistics from the violence in Gaza. He calls for a public hearing on a boycott of Israel. Chants of “Boycott Israel, Stop Bombing Gaza!” Hieftje admonishes those who are joining the chant that only one person can speak at a time. Coleman is calling councilmembers by name, asking them to be the conscience of Ann Arbor. He tells them that the deaths of those in Gaza is partially on their hands. Background on recent Middle East events: [link to July 20, 2014 NYT article]
7:24 p.m. Sheri Wander tells the council she’s just returned from the Middle East. What the hell is wrong with humanity, she asks. She returned home to see people in Detroit hauled off to jail for protesting the shut-off of water. Then she got a call from friends of hers who were living in tents (Broadway Park in Ann Arbor) and were having their belongings bulldozed. Briere had said: “I can’t tell you what to do because you have no legal options.” That makes her sick, Wander says. Wander says she had heard candidates at the homelessness forum say that the law is the most important thing. It’s their job to change the law, she says.
7:27 p.m. Tracy Williams says he’s a resident of Mercy House and a member of Camp Misfit. He thanks those who have spoken out against what has been happening in Gaza. Here in Ann Arbor, campers were led to believe that if they stayed 50 feet away from the tracks they would be allowed to stay – and they’d abided by that. In response to the idea that the law is the most important thing, he ventures that the most important thing is to keep human beings live. He asks the council to meet a challenge: If they provide the councilmembers with a sleeping bag and a tarp, will they live outside for a week?
7:29 p.m. Timothy Green introduces himself as a MISSION board member. He thanks Briere for coming out in person to the eviction in process at Broadway Park. Homelessness has become illegal in Ann Arbor, he says. “You’re making them criminals,” he says. “You go to jail, that’s you guys’ answer! … It’s not right how the homeless are treated in this place,” he says.
7:32 p.m. Mohammad Aggour says that 13 days ago the Israeli government began its assault on Gaza. He’s 18 years old and attends Washtenaw Technical Middle College, he says. The casualties in Gaza are 70% women and children, he says. He says that he doesn’t want his tax dollars going to support this. He describes four children who were killed as they were playing soccer on the beach. “Forget about me being Arab,” he says. We have to focus on the fact that we are human. He calls for a boycott of Israel. He asks for a public hearing on a boycott of Israel.
7:37 p.m. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani takes the podium to rhythmic clapping. She says they are all ready to come to many more meetings in the future. Israel has been murdering the people of Palestine since the beginning, she says. She’s come to the council for the last 12 years, she says, asking them to do something. She says they will come back again and again to ask for a public hearing on a boycott of Israel. Without U.S. support, Israel could not undertake this military action, she says. It’s clear to the entire world that Israel is an “outlaw state,” she says. She holds the council responsible. “We are planning to come over and over and over again,” she says. The anger that they hear in her voice is nothing compared to the anger of a mother who has lost her child. Chants ensue: “Boycott Israel, Stop Bombing Gaza!” Hieftje says that he understands they’ll be coming back, but if they intend to disrupt city government, they should give some thought to whether that’s the image they want to present.
7:39 p.m. Kermit Schlansker is addressing climate change. Methane is a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, he says. The city has concentrated on removing factories from inside the city, he says, but we need to manufacture things, or else go broke. He says that the Platt Road property where the juvenile court stood previously should become a factory.
7:40 p.m. Sally Petersen (Ward 2) has arrived in the interim.
7:40 p.m. Communications from council.
7:40 p.m. Jack Eaton (Ward 4) reports that Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1) is ill and can’t make it. She sends her regrets.
7:42 p.m. Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) is explaining that the greenway master plan funding resolution will be withdrawn. The lack of a master plan hinders the ability to secure outside funding, he says. This resolution wasn’t the right approach at the right time, but he’s ok with that. There might be a different resolution next meeting, he says.
7:43 p.m. Warpehoski says that the issue that he’d talked about at the last meeting – a change to the way elections are conducted – is not ripe for this election cycle. But he’ll continue to work on it.
7:44 p.m. Mike Anglin (Ward 5) is talking about the proposed Glendale condo development. He says that the city should think about acquiring land using the open space and parkland acquisition millage. He thanks those for coming to speak on Gaza. Coleman asks from the audience, “So where’s the public hearing.”
7:46 p.m. Sabra Briere (Ward 1) is talking about the public participation meeting last week on the proposed Toll Brothers development north of Nixon Road. The 900 units proposed in that general area will be a conflict point for the community, she says. She’s committed to holding another meeting about planning for the intersection of Dhu Varren and Nixon roads.
7:46 p.m. MC-1 Confirmations The council is being asked to confirm nominations to city boards and commissions that were made at the council’s July 7, 2014 meeting: Theresa Whiting, replacing John Sullivan on the airport advisory commission; and Shoshannah Lenski as a re-appointment to the energy commission.
7:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted confirm the appointments.
7:47 p.m. Public Hearings. All the public hearings are grouped together during this section of the meeting. Action on the related items comes later in the meeting. Tonight there are six public hearings. The first two involve the rezoning of the parcel on the southeast corner of Main and William streets. Also receiving a hearing is the special assessment for the Pontiac Trail sidewalk project. Two site plans are the subject of public hearings – for Dusty’s Collision and for a drive-thru retail establishment on Jackson Road. Finally, a public hearing is being held on a change to the city’s ordinance on boards and commissions – which will clarify appointments to the environmental commission.
- PH-1 Downtown Character Overlay Zoning Districts. [For additional background, see Development: Downtown Zoning above.]
- PH-2 Rezoning of 1.1 Acres from D1 (Downtown Core Base District) to D2 (Downtown Interface Base District), 425 South Main Street.
- PH-3 Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment roll. [For additional background, see Infrastructure: Pontiac Trail Sidewalk above.]
- PH-4 Dusty’s Collision site plan. [For additional background, see Development: Dusty's Collision above.]
- PH-5 2625 Jackson retail & drive-thru site plan. [For additional background, see Development: Jackson Drive-Thru above.]
- PH-6 Amend ordinance on boards and commissions. [For additional background, see Boards and Commission: Environmental above.]
7:47 p.m. PH-1 Downtown Character Overlay Zoning Districts.
7:48 p.m. Edward Vielmetti says that he’s commenting about the way that the public has been informed about this proposed change. The packet does not include a map, he points out.
7:49 p.m. Blaine Coleman asks Mike Anglin when there will be a public hearing on the boycott of Israel. That draws a sharp rebuke from mayor John Hieftje to the effect that remarks during the public hearing must be confined to the topic of the public hearing.
7:51 p.m. Eppie Potts is addressing the council. She’s supporting the 60-foot height limit.
7:52 p.m. Ted Annis rises to speak on PH-2. Hieftje tells him that will be in a few minutes.
7:52 p.m. Thomas Partridge is now addressing the council. He says that new zoning should be integrated with requirements on accessibility.
7:55 p.m. A woman is now addressing the council telling them that she’s glad the property is being rezoned from D-1 to D-2. She wonders if the effect will be to allow sunlight to fall on adjoining properties. There’s also a problem with building right on the alleyway, she says.
7:56 p.m. PH-2 Rezoning of 1.1 Acres from D1 (Downtown Core Base District) to D2 (Downtown Interface Base District), 425 South Main Street.
7:56 p.m. Ted Annis says he supports the item. He expresses thanks for all the work that has been done to get things straightened out.
7:58 p.m. Edward Vielmetti points out an error in the map that is in the planning staff report: Baker Commons has not been updated to show that it is no longer zoned PL (public land). He encourages the council to delay their vote, until accurate maps can be provided.
8:00 p.m. Andy Klein, an owner of the property, is speaking against this zoning change. This is against the recommendation of the city’s hired consultant as well as the city planning commission, he says. He reviews the history of the parcel. The report from the consultant calls the parcel a key gateway site, he notes. The planning commission had recommended D-2 with a height of 100 feet – which would give flexibility to avoid less appealing massive structures.
8:02 p.m. Joel Smith is addressing the council, saying that it’s a gateway parcel. He’s been the architectural team for the new Y site as well as the Zaragon building, he says. Good design can always be debated, he allows. D-2 with 60 feet would result in a 60-foot wall against someone’s backyard, he says.
8:04 p.m. Thomas Partridge says the council should allow for a building that is large enough to have accessibility for lower-income residents of the city. There should be office space that is affordable for lower-income residents and businesses in the city, he says. The council should give priority to the human elements of the zoning requirements, he says.
8:05 p.m. PH-3 Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment roll.
8:07 p.m. This hearing will be kept open through the next meeting at Margie Teall’s request, Hieftje says. Edward Vielmetti again addresses the council on the issue of maps. Several parcels are marked for future recovery instead of current recovery. He’s concerned that someone who might purchase a parcel that will be annexed won’t realize that they could be assessed these costs. He again encourages the council to delay consideration until an accurate map can be provided.
8:08 p.m. A resident who will be assessed is protesting the special assessment. She says they’re being forced and bullied into paying for a development. Her husband is a senior, she says. They already are in the city of Ann Arbor. She calls the assessment unfair.
8:09 p.m. Hieftje says that this public hearing will remain open in the event that the item, which comes later on the agenda, is postponed.
8:09 p.m. PH-4 Dusty’s Collision site plan.
8:10 p.m. Thomas Partridge says that the property should be accessible to seniors and the handicapped. There should be a universal requirement that all businesses be accessible, Partridge says.
8:11 p.m. Edward Vielmetti is complaining that the map does not have a scale bar.
8:11 p.m. PH-5 2625 Jackson retail & drive-thru site plan.
8:12 p.m. No one speaks on this public hearing.
8:12 p.m. PH-6 Amend ordinance on boards and commissions.
8:13 p.m. Edward Vielmetti says he was at city hall on Friday to pick up the agenda. At that time there was not a clean copy of the resolution. Hieftje points out to Vielmetti that this is not the item on the city charter amendment. “You should still do what I said!” he quips.
8:14 p.m. A-1 Approval of minutes.
8:14 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve its minutes from the last meeting.
8:14 p.m. Consent Agenda. This is a group of items that are deemed to be routine and are voted on “all in one go.” Contracts for less than $100,000 can be placed on the consent agenda. This meeting’s consent agenda includes:
- CA-1 Emergency PO with Barrett Paving Materials ($12,815).
- CA-2 Emergency PO with E.T. MacKenzie for storm culvert repair on Dhu Varren ($76,882).
- CA-3 Approve contract with Industrial Organizational Solutions, Inc. (I/O) to Conduct AAPD Promotional Assessment in FY15 ($32,755).
- CA-4 Approve changes to traffic patterns and parking for the 2014 University of Michigan student move-in program from Aug. 27-29, 2014.
- CA-5 Recognize the Skyline Friends of the Arts as a civic nonprofit organization operating in Ann Arbor for the purpose of obtaining a charitable gaming license.
8:14 p.m. Councilmembers can opt to select out any items for separate consideration. No one does.
8:14 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve its consent agenda.
8:14 p.m. B-1 Main Street overlay text amendments. These next two items relate to the 1.1-acre parcel at 425 S. Main St. at the southeast corner of William and Main. The council gave initial approval of the rezoning – from D1 (downtown core) to D2 (downtown interface) – at its June 16 meeting, following a complex series of votes. At the same meeting, the council also gave initial approval to a change to the overlay character district for the parcel, after amending the height limit – from 100 feet to 60 feet. [For additional background, see Development: Downtown Zoning above.] This first item includes the height limit.
8:17 p.m. Briere notes it’s the second reading of an ordinance change. The language is slightly changed, she says. One of the issues is solar impact, she says. The original version called for a 100-foot building and a stepback after the fourth story. Establishing the 60-foot limit would put a 60-foot wall against someone’s property, she said.
8:19 p.m. Teall asks what the impact would be of amending the height to 100 feet. “I am not … the true god of planning,” Briere says, but attempts to explain. Building a four-story wall at the edge of the alleyway would be a possibility, whether the height limit is 100 feet or 60 feet. Planning manager Wendy Rampson comes to the podium at Anglin’s request.
8:22 p.m. Rampson reviews how the council amended the height from 100 feet down to 60 feet at its last meeting. Anglin says that he and other councilmembers are trying to protect delicate areas of transitions. When a proposal can change a neighborhood radically, that’s a concern, he says. He questions whether there should be a solid wall right on the alley.
8:25 p.m. Anglin wants to know how tall Baker Commons is. Rampson says she doesn’t know but can look it up. Anglin says he won’t approve anything until the council knows what could be built there. He doesn’t want a Stalinist building to be possible that can be used as a threat.
8:26 p.m. Anglin wants to send this back to the planning commission so that the planning commission can provide some examples of what could be built – before the battles start.
8:28 p.m. Lumm says she supports the 60-foot limit. She knows that the planning commission recommended 100 feet. She’s concerned about building up to the property line. Rampson clarifies that the east edge of the property is 16 feet away from the adjoining residential properties – because of the alleyway.
8:30 p.m. Rampson is reviewing the planning commission’s rationale for the stepbacks in the upper floors in conjunction with the 100-foot height limit. She notes that there is not currently a proposal to develop the property.
8:34 p.m. Hieftje says that he thinks there are some issues that might not be resolved tonight, and hints that a postponement might be in order. Petersen invites the property owner to the podium. The property owner and the architect are explaining how a 60-foot height would constrain design. Petersen asks about development fees. [She asked a question about fees in advance of the meeting that drew a staff written response that include the following: "The Varsity building, at 425 East Washington Street, paid approximately $20,000 in site plan fees, $23,000 in civil plan review fees, $319,000 in building permit fees; and $311,000 in utility connection charges. Inspection fees are not included in these figures. The Varsity is a 13-story, 177,000-square foot apartment building having a 695% FAR."]
8:35 p.m. Kunselman says he’d like to see an idea of what the property owner would propose and then the council could define the zoning around that.
8:37 p.m. Kunselman asks what the minimum height they could live with. Klein says that the bifurcated zoning – half the parcel D-1 and half of it D-2 – was something they could live with. The original conversation was not 60 feet versus 100 feet, but rather 60 feet versus 180 feet. It was well thought out and well debated by the planning commission, Klein says.
8:39 p.m. Kunselman says the council is struggling, but the council has to get it right. He’s open to what the owner can offer, being more flexible on the corner. There’s more back-and-forth between Kunselman and the owners.
8:41 p.m. Teall asks when the owners can develop some drawings. Hieftje invites the owners to sit back down. Rampson is asked for advice on how long it would take for planning staff to work with the owners. Rampson indicates that it would likely go back only to the ordinance revisions committee of the planning commission – so about a month. Hieftje stresses that the feedback from the council is about a four-story wall facing the residential side and a four-story blocky building.
8:43 p.m. Eaton says that four-story blocky buildings are typical of Main Street. Petersen asks that a more robust analysis of the upfront fees for development be provided during the period of postponement. Hieftje quips that the matter should be postponed until the second meeting in November. The second meeting in September is now the date certain to which a postponement is proposed.
8:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to postpone consideration of the character district overlay for 425 S. Main with a specified height limit of 60 feet – until the second meeting in September.
8:46 p.m. B-2 425 South Main St. city-initiated rezoning. This is the zoning part of the question related to 425 S. Main.
8:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to postpone consideration of the downzoning of 425 Main from D-1 to D-2 – until the council’s second meeting in September.
8:46 p.m. B-3 Environmental Commission ordinance amendment. This ordinance change clarifies the composition and appointment process for the city’s environmental commission. [For additional background, see Boards and Commission: Environmental above.]
8:47 p.m. Briere is reviewing what the ordinance amendment will do. She asks for the support of other councilmembers.
8:48 p.m. Anglin asks if PAC could appoint someone for a year to the EC and then appoint that same person the following year. That would depend on PAC, Briere says.
8:48 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to give final approval to the change to the city’s ordinance on boards and commissions to clarify how appointments to the EC work.
8:49 p.m. We’re in recess.
9:05 p.m. We’re back.
9:05 p.m. C-1 State Street Village Rezoning. For State Street Village – a proposed 78-unit apartment project that will eventually appear on the council’s agenda – the council is considering tonight giving initial approval to the rezoning of the land. The 4.5-acre parcel would be rezoned from M1 (limited industrial district) to O (office district). [For additional background, see Development: State Street Village above.]
9:06 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted without discussion to give initial approval to the State Street Village rezoning. Final approval will come at a future meeting.
9:06 p.m. DC-1 Membership composition of the commission on disability issues. This resolution would clarify the way that a council appointment was made to the commission on disability issues last year. [For additional background, see Boards and Commission: Disabilities above.]
9:07 p.m. Petersen is reviewing the appointment a year ago and what this resolution does.
9:07 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to amend the resolution appointing a councilmember to the commission on disability issues.
9:07 p.m. DC-2 Gun Safety Week participation. From a staff memo accompanying the resolution: “During the week of July 20, 2014 through July 26, 2014 the Ann Arbor Police Department will be providing free gun locks and gun safety information to members of the public and collaborating with other Washtenaw County law enforcement agencies to enhance public knowledge and promote gun safety.” Stats cited in the resolution include the fact that Michigan’s overall firearm deaths from 2001-2010 were 10,825 (10.83 per 100,000 residents), Michigan’s firearm suicides in 2010 were 601 (6.08 per 100,000 residents), and Michigan’s firearm deaths for children ages 0-17 from 2001-2010 were 555 (2.23 per 100,000 residents). The information is from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Fatal Injury Data.”
9:10 p.m. Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) is explaining the background. The issue of preventing gun violence and unintentional gun deaths tends to get emotional, he says. One thing that could have prevented the tragedy at Sandy Hook would have been a gun safe – if the guns that the shooter had used had been locked away by his mother, that wouldn’t have been possible. One of the things the Ann Arbor police department is doing is passing out gun locks. If your child is going on a play date, then you can ask: Will there be an unlocked firearm in the house?
9:11 p.m. Margie Teall (Ward 4) is thanking Warpehoski. This is an issue that got her involved in politics, she says. We can do something, she says, and this resolution will help.
9:11 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the resolution on gun safety week participation.
9:11 p.m. DC-3 Charter amendment: Eligibility for elective office. A federal judge ruled earlier this year that eligibility requirements for elected officers in the city of Ann Arbor’s charter are not legally enforceable. That ruling was based on early 1970s decisions that struck down Ann Arbor’s city charter eligibility requirements as unconstitutional. On tonight’s agenda is a resolution that would place new charter requirements on the ballot for voters to decide in the Nov. 4, 2014 election.
The current charter language imposes one-year durational requirements on voter registration in the city and residency in the ward that a potential councilmember would like to represent. For mayor, the current requirement is simply a one-year durational requirement for voter registration in the city. That one year is calculated from the time an elected official takes office. The new requirements would impose a voter registration requirement at the time paperwork is submitted to qualify for the ballot. The question has been divided into two separate proposals – one focused on elective officers, and the other dealing with appointive officers – reportedly on the advice of the state attorney general’s office.
Jane Lumm (Ward 2) has provided a text of the correct draft to media outlets, after the Legistar version was not formatted correctly with strikethrough text: [.pdf of July 18, 2014 charter amendment resolution text]
9:12 p.m. The most recent version, as far as The Chronicle understands, is actually this one: [.pdf of most recent version]
9:13 p.m. Lumm is reviewing the three types of city officers: elected officials, paid appointed officials (city administrator, police chief, etc.) and volunteer appointed officials.
9:14 p.m. Lumm says that the city is in “no man’s land” because there are no legally enforceable requirements. Lumm says she’s not committed to a vote tonight, but wants the conversation to start tonight.
9:16 p.m. Briere thanks Lumm for bringing the proposal forward. She’s questioning Lumm’s contention, which Lumm made during her remarks, that the council has not adhered to the 7-vote majority requirement for non-city residents. Hieftje confirms the council has applied that requirement. Briere wonders if that is necessary to address in this proposal, but says it just restates what is already there, so she doesn’t have a problem with it.
9:19 p.m. Taylor says he thinks the conversation should start tonight, but thinks it should likely be postponed until the next meeting. Taylor then either misreads the proposal, or else doesn’t have the correct copy in front of him. Warpehoski says he is glad to see this coming forward. He thanks Lumm. He’s comfortable with voting on it tonight or also postponing.
9:21 p.m. City attorney Stephen Postema says that assistant city attorney Mary Fales has been working with the state attorney general on this. Fales is now reviewing the fact that the deadline is Aug. 12 for certification to the county clerk. Fales says that she anticipates that the language in the packet tonight would be approved by the AG’s office, based on the informal conversations she’s had with that office.
9:23 p.m. Petersen asks Fales to comment on the pros and cons of eliminating the one-year durational requirement. Postema corrects Petersen: There is no requirement there – even though you see it there in the charter. That’s what the federal court ruled, he says. Postema says that a one-year residency program is now considered constitutional. So the council could put the same language that is currently in the charter in front of voters for reenactment.
9:25 p.m. Warpehoski asks what the next chance would be to reenact eligibility requirements, if it failed? The same question can’t be asked for another two years, Fales explains. Kunselman asks that the new proposed language be read aloud – just the ballot questions. Fales is now reading aloud the ballot questions.
9:27 p.m. Fales is explaining Act 212 of 1999 – which says that city employees can’t be subject to residency requirements.
9:28 p.m. Briere says that the situation is at best confusing. She wants to know what the communications plan is so that citizens are in a position to make an educated decision. City administrator Steve Powers says that the city could use existing tools and devices in a way that educates but does not advocate.
9:30 p.m. Teall is asking about the appointive officers question. She says that it’s confusing to her. She wants two separate sentences.
9:32 p.m. Fales says that a single ballot question has to have a single statement. She ventures that it could be separated into three questions total. Teall doesn’t seem enthusiastic about that. Eaton says that it’s imperative to pass requirements for the elected officers. He wants just the one topic addressed. That’s what confused voters back in 2003, he says. We’re already complying with state law. He didn’t think it was worth the risk to confuse the voters. The first ballot question is necessary while the second one is not, Eaton says. Kunselman responds to Eaton: “I concur.”
9:34 p.m. Fales says that the phrase “a city officer” in the original charter language has the effect that it covers both kinds of officers – elected and appointed officers. So the AG’s office is requiring two ballot questions. Kunselman quips: “Then I don’t concur.”
9:35 p.m. Fales is reading aloud the ballot language to incorporate the final minor changes.
9:38 p.m. Briere is asking about the elimination of a reference to “or a party caucus.”
9:41 p.m. Fales says that the language was recommended to be struck by the AG’s office because Ann Arbor’s city charter doesn’t provide a mechanism for that nominating process, though it could do so under state law. Briere is describing a hypothetical scenario where a minority party determined a candidate by “bowling or knitting” – and wants to know how that candidate would be placed on the ballot. She wants to be confident that such a candidate would be eligible to run as representatives of that party.
9:41 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to place the two ballot questions on city charter eligibility requirements in front of voters in the Nov. 4, 2014 election.
9:41 p.m. DC-4 414 N. Main sidewalk easement. This is an easement in standard form, and is conveyed at no cost to the city.
9:42 p.m. Briere is explaining that this and the next item have councilmembers’ sponsorship, because the documentation was prepared too late to be placed on the agenda by staff.
9:42 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the 414 N. Main sidewalk easement.
9:42 p.m. DC-5 401 N. Fourth sidewalk easement. This is an easement in standard form conveyed at no cost to the city.
9:42 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the 401 N. Fourth sidewalk easement.
9:42 p.m. DC-6 List 415 W. Washington and appropriate funds for Allen Creek greenway master plan. This item has been withdrawn by its sponsor, Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5). [For additional background, see Land Sale above.]
9:43 p.m. Outcome: The council did not vote on this item, because it has been withdrawn.
9:43 p.m. DC-7 Purchase 3401 Platt Road. This parcel is located to the north of an existing AAHC property. Four units currently stand at the location, but AAHC has previously announced plans to demolish those structures and replace them with 32 units of housing – a net gain of 28 units. Now, however, the AAHC is interested in expanding that project, using the additional adjacent property.
At the planning commission’s July 15, 2014 meeting, planning manager Wendy Rampson reported that because the AAHC has decided to expand its development on Platt Road, they’ll be holding another citizen participation meeting about that on Monday, July 28 at 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Malletts Creek branch, 3090 E. Eisenhower. This is not the same site as a county-owned property on Platt Road, which is also being considered for affordable housing. [For additional background, see Land Purchase: 3401 Platt Road above.]
9:44 p.m. Lumm asks Jennifer Hall to come to the podium. She notes that the owner doesn’t want to accept the contingency that the AAHC gets financing. Lumm wants to know what happens if the AAHC doesn’t get financing for its project. Hall explains that the AAHC will re-apply until it gets the funding.
9:44 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to authorize the purchase of 3401 Platt Road on behalf of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission.
9:45 p.m. DC-8 Issuance of a downtown development district liquor license to RWB Group LLC dba Taste. This was recommended by the liquor license review committee.
9:45 p.m. Lumm, as chair of the liquor license review committee, is reading aloud a statement explaining the background.
9:45 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to recommend issuance of a downtown development district liquor license to RWB Group LLC dba Taste.
9:45 p.m. DC-9 Authorize city to inquire about Burton Road property for parkland acquisition. This is a resolution that would direct city to inquire with the owner of 2805 Burton Road, located just west of US-23, about whether the land is available for purchase by the city. It’s the site of a long-in-the-works affordable housing project that has never started construction, called Burton Commons. The parcel is located in Ward 3. The item was sponsored by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). [For additional background, see Land Purchase: Burton Commons above.]
9:48 p.m. Kunselman says he’s just emailed everyone on the council some information. He’s explaining the background of the affordable housing development, which dates back to 2006. The road is unimproved, he notes. It’s not even fair to call it a road, he says. It’s a two-track. The adjacent neighbors are on a roller coaster ride wondering about the future of the property, he says. If this resolution doesn’t pass, or if the owner has no interest in selling, he’d propose rezoning the property to be consistent with the other land in the area.
9:49 p.m. When the greenbelt advisory commission had recommended the acquisition of development rights north of Loch Alpine, outside the city, it was clear to Kunselman that we were forgetting about the importance of parkland here in the city. It wasn’t fair for him to whine about that without putting a proposal in front of the council, he says.
9:52 p.m. Kunselman says he met with the park advisory commission’s land acquisition committee in closed session, so he couldn’t talk about that. He characterizes the map that LAC provided – showing areas “underserved” with parks – as flexible. His own property is classified as “underserved,” he says. He’s pointing out various barriers to developing the parcel on Burton Road – construction of a sound wall and paving of the road. He portrays this move as eliminating a competitor of the AAHC.
9:53 p.m. Kunselman is asking for the council’s blessing for the simple inquiry. It’s adjacent to an existing park, he says. He asks for the council’s indulgence in supporting this.
9:55 p.m. Warpehoski is proposing four additional “whereas” clauses and a “resolved” clause. He’s adding 312 Glendale into the mix, which has an assessed value $345,200. An inquiry would be made with the 312 Glendale owner, according to Warpehoski’s amendment. A controversial condo development is proposed for that site. The project had been postponed by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its July 1, 2014 meeting, following lengthy public commentary by neighbors who oppose the development.
9:59 p.m. Warpehoski says he’s grateful to Kunselman’s inspiration.
9:59 p.m. Anglin says that public lands can be used to mitigate flooding. That increases land values, he says.
10:01 p.m. Petersen says that the city is the largest property owner in the city and it would take land off the tax rolls. A vote to inquire shouldn’t mean that the city will purchase the land, she says. The city always complains when the University of Michigan does that, she notes.
10:02 p.m. Hieftje is expressing caution that this is buying out developers. He wants these proposals to come from the park advisory commission.
10:03 p.m. Here’s Warpehoski’s amendment: [.pdf of Warpehoski's amendment to include Glendale]
10:05 p.m. Briere is talking about meetings she’s had with residents who’ve had a development proposed near them, who want the city to purchase the land so it can become a park. There’s a difference between making a proactive effort to add parks, as opposed to acquiring land to block a development, she notes.
10:06 p.m. Glendale has been before the planning commission twice, Briere points out, and the Burton Road property has been in front of the council in the past. She wonders why they’re not talking about those other parcels where no one is proposing to develop something there. It’s never a mistake to ask a question, but she’s fearful this will open a door and give us a real problem with acquisition of more undeveloped land that the city has no way to deal with.
10:08 p.m. Kunselman cites Bluffs Park and Dicken Woods as examples of properties in some phase of development, which the city decided to purchase. He also points out that the city also purchased two vacant properties to provide access to Bluffs Park. Back-and-forth between Kunselman and Hieftje ensues.
10:10 p.m. The resolution is just asking to talk, Kunselman says.
10:11 p.m. Lumm cites staff member responses to Warpehoski’s questions, pointing out that staff doesn’t recommend using the Glendale property for stormwater management.
10:12 p.m. Warpehoski is now making a pitch for his amendment. He mentions the location as a possible dog park. He asks that councilmembers not vote yes on this if they know now that they won’t vote yes on the actual land acquisition.
10:15 p.m. Anglin says: “There’s a tremendous amount of water out there.” The topography in Ward 5 is different, he says. It was good that Dicken Woods was acquired, Anglin says, through Eaton’s efforts. Anglin is reviewing the work of county water resources commissioner. The Glendale development has been downsized considerably, Anglin allows. If you have land, it can absorb water, he says.
10:16 p.m. Outcome: Outcome on amendment: The council has voted to approve Warpehoski’s Glendale amendment. Dissenting were Hieftje, Petersen, Lumm and Teall.
10:18 p.m. Taylor says that PAC has expertise not only on the quality of land but also the ability of the city to incorporate these properties into the park system. So he wants to amend the resolution so that it sends the issue to PAC, instead of the city administrator for recommendation.
10:19 p.m. PAC would review the properties to determine if they are suitable for acquisition – by Oct. 1. If PAC so determines, then the city administrator would inquire with the owners about the availability of the property.
10:20 p.m. Hieftje wants to change the word “suitable” to “desirable.” That’s accepted as friendly. Lumm wants staff input as well as input from PAC. That’s fine with Taylor.
10:22 p.m. Kunselman says he had wanted to avoid wasting time – if the owner was not even interested in selling. There’s no sense in investing time in PAC’s review, if the property owner is not even interested in selling, he says.
10:24 p.m. AAHC executive director Jennifer Hall is asked to the podium. She describes how the Burton Commons development is a “friendly competitor.” She says that the obstacles that Kunselman has identified are significant to the redevelopment of the Burton Road property – the sound barrier, and the road. She says the owner would be interested in selling, but points out that they’ve invested $2 million in it.
10:25 p.m. Briere says she would be much happier if the council were considering other parcels that are not currently under consideration for development. Hieftje asks Briere to focus on Taylor’s amendment.
10:27 p.m. Briere says she has no problem sending it to PAC and the land acquisition committee of PAC.
10:28 p.m. Eaton is echoing Kunselman’s sentiments that we should put this in the right order – first find out if the owners might be interested in selling. He’ll vote against Taylor’s amendment.
10:28 p.m. Warpehoski ventures that council could go into closed session to hear the LAC report. Hieftje says that the discussion is still on Taylor’s amendment.
10:32 p.m. Outcome: Taylor’s amendment has been accepted as friendly.
10:34 p.m. Petersen agrees with Warpehoski’s point that councilmembers should not vote yes on this if they would not support the actual purchase of the property. Lumm is expressing some caution. Teall says she’d like to see both parcels become parks. But she’s concerned that because the proposals are not coming from PAC, she wonders about maintenance and programming. So she doesn’t think she can support the purchase in the end.
10:38 p.m. Eaton says that the greenbelt and open space millage included a commitment to voters to spend 1/3 of the proceeds on acquisitions within the city. He says he doesn’t think the Burton Road property will be developed anyway. The Glendale neighbors would probably adopt a park there and the maintenance costs would not be that great. Hieftje picks up on Eaton’s point that the Burton Road property won’t be developed, saying that this would be helping out a developer. LAC was “keeping their powder dry” in case properties like AAPS Eberwhite Woods or Pioneer Woods needed to be purchased, Hieftje says.
10:40 p.m. Briere focuses on the statement that 1/3 of the open space and parkland acquisition millage is supposed to be spent inside the city. She wants a historical breakdown. Sumedh Bahl, community services area administrator, approaches the podium. Bahl doesn’t know off the top of his head. Briere says that information needs to be sent out to all councilmembers. Warpehoski calls the question.
10:42 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to authorize inquiry about the availability of the property on Burton Road and on Glendale for sale –
but only after and only if the land is available to seek input from PAC. Dissenting were Hieftje and Petersen.
Final wording on the key resolved clause was as follows:
RESOLVED, That Council authorizes City staff to inquire with the owner of 2805 Burton Road and 312 Glendale Road about the availability of the property for City purchase, in whole or in part, and if available, requests the Parks Advisory Commission and staff to review 2805 Burton Road and 312 Glendale Road and advise City Council prior to October 1, 2014 whether they are desirable for City purchase using parkland acquisition funds and private contributions
10:42 p.m. DB-1 Dusty’s Collision site plan. The proposal calls for building a 30,537-square-foot, one-story auto collision repair facility on a parcel that’s currently vacant. A previous building at that location was torn down in 2013. The new building would include 5,285 square feet for office use, a waiting area of 5,227 square feet, and 20,025 square feet for the repair area and garage. The project is estimated to cost $2 million. [For additional background, see Development: Dusty's Collision above.]
10:43 p.m. Taylor asks for permission to refrain from voting as it’s a client of his. Permission is granted by the council.
10:43 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the site plan for Dusty’s Collision.
10:43 p.m. DB-2 2625 Jackson retail & drive-thru site plan. This is a site plan for 2625 Jackson, on the southeast corner of Jackson and I-94, and just north of the Westgate Shopping Center. The plan calls for demolishing the existing one-story service station and auto repair shop and constructing a single building with a 1,820-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and 3,220-square-foot retail center. [For additional background, see Development: Jackson Drive-Thru above.]
10:43 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the site plan for the 2625 Jackson retail & drive-thru.
10:43 p.m. DS-1 Pontiac Trail sidewalk special assessment. The cost that will be assessed to adjoining property owners for this project is $72,218. According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, sidewalk construction would be done as part of the reconstruction of Pontiac Trail beginning just north of Skydale Drive to just south of the bridge over M-14. The project will also be adding on-street bike lanes and constructing a new sidewalk along the east side of Pontiac Trail to fill in existing sidewalk gaps and to provide pedestrian access to Olson Park and Dhu Varren Road. That’s part of the city’s Complete Streets program. [For additional background, see Infrastructure: Pontiac Trail Sidewalk above.]
10:45 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to postpone approval of the assessment roll for the Pontiac Trail sidewalk construction project.
10:45 p.m. DS-2 Contract with DLZ Michigan, Inc. ($104,107) for 2014-2015 bridge inspection project. The city is required by federal law to inspect its bridges every two years. The city’s approach is to inspect about half of its bridges each year in order to even out the cost. Bridges to be inspected include the section of the Library Lane parking structure that is located under Fifth Avenue, which is considered a bridge.[For additional background, see Infrastructure: Bridge Inspections above.]
10:45 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the contract with DLZ Michigan Inc. for the 2014-2015 bridge inspection project
10:45 p.m. DS-3 Construction contract with Bailey Excavating, Inc. ($1,537,608) for the Springwater subdivision improvements project. This contract will cover the reconstruction of streets and some utilities – on Butternut Street from Cardinal Avenue to Springbrook Avenue, and Nordman Avenue from Packard Road to Redwood Avenue. [For additional background, see Physical Infrastructure: Springwater Street Reconstruction above.]
10:45 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the construction contract with Bailey Excavating Inc. for the Springwater subdivision improvements project.
10:45 p.m. DS-4 MDOT agreement for the Scio Church and Barton Drive sidewalks project. This agreement with MDOT, which will require about $250,000 of local funding, will establish the city as construction manager for the construction of sidewalks on the south side of Scio Church Road between Delaware Drive and Maple Road, and on the south side of Barton Drive from about 250 feet west of Chandler Road to Longshore Drive. A portion of the funding for both projects will be derived from a special assessment of adjoining property owners. [For additional background, see Physical Infrastructure: Sidewalks – Scio Church, Barton above.]
10:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the MDOT agreement for the Scio Church and Barton Drive sidewalks project.
10:46 p.m. DS-5 MDOT agreement for the Stone School Road improvements project ($3,445,200). The affected portion of Stone School road is between I-94 and Ellsworth Road. The planned work consists of reconstructing Stone School Road as a two-lane road with on-street bike lanes and concrete curb and gutter. [For additional background, see Physical Infrastructure: Stone School Road above.]
10:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to MDOT agreement for the Stone School Road improvements project.
10:46 p.m. DS-6 Purchase of six pumps for the wastewater treatment plant from Premier Pump Inc. ($425,682). The six secondary effluent pumps for the wastewater treatment plant are all in poor condition. [For additional background, see Infrastructure: Wastewater Pumps above.]
10:46 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the purchase of six pumps for the wastewater treatment plant from Premier Pump Inc.
10:47 p.m. DS-7 Public utilities easement for 500 Huron Parkway. This is standard easement conveyed without cost to the city.
10:47 p.m. Outcome: The council has voted to approve the public utilities easement for 500 Huron Parkway.
10:47 p.m. Clerk’s report.
10:47 p.m.Outcome: The clerk’s report has been accepted.
10:48 p.m. Public comment. There’s no requirement to sign up in advance for this slot for public commentary.
10:49 p.m. Edward Vielmetti says that with the Glendale and the Burton Road issue, he appreciates the work that was done. But he says that the council should have availed itself of the option that Warpehoski had mentioned – to go into closed session to discussed the issue. That might have made for a shorter discussion, he says.
10:50 p.m. Hieftje offers the clarification that the action to remove the homeless encampment had been by MDOT, not the city. But there’s a longstanding city law against camping in the public parks, he notes. That would continue to be illegal, he says.
10:53 p.m. Briere says she hears routinely that some piece of vacant land has no owner, so that it’s somehow communal property. For those who decided that they wanted to live at Broadway Park, they knew they could not live in the park. But they believed that there was a piece of property near there that was not owned by anyone. “The days of pioneering are past in Ann Arbor,” Briere says. There’s no place that somebody doesn’t own, she says.
10:55 p.m. Kunselman says he appreciates Hieftje affirming that there are laws on the books against camping in public parks. He also addresses the possibility of rezoning Stone School Road to make tiny houses possible. He says it’s not as simple a matter as rezoning to PUD (planned unit development), and there’s a state law that has to be followed. Everyone took an oath to uphold the law, he says. To suggest that people can live in tents in PUD zoning is not accurate and that talk should stop, he says.
10:56 p.m. Lumm is thanking Paul Fulton, the IT staff member who assists councilmembers – as he is leaving the city to pursue a masters degree in Canada. He gets a round of applause.
10:56 p.m. Adjournment. We are now adjourned. That’s all from the hard benches.
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