Stories indexed with the term ‘Dream Nite Club’

Sustainability Permeates Council Meeting

Ann Arbor city council meeting (July 2, 2012): The council’s agenda was relatively light, consisting of several apparently unrelated items. But for some agenda items, “sustainability” was a common theme.

Eunice Burns, former city councilmember and DDA board member, introduces herself to city administrator Steve Powers before the council meeting started. Burns was on hand to receive a proclamation for Huron River Day, which falls on July 15 this year. Burns, along with Shirley Axon, is cofounder of the event.

Eunice Burns, former Ann Arbor city councilmember and Downtown Development Authority board member, introduces herself to city administrator Steve Powers before the July 2 council meeting started. Burns was on hand to receive a proclamation for Huron River Day, which falls on July 15 this year. Burns, along with Shirley Axon, is co-founder of the event. (Photos by the writer.)

Most obviously fitting that theme was a resolution passed by the council directing the city’s planning commission to incorporate 16 sustainability goals into the city’s master plan. The 16 goals, which were compiled from existing planning documents, had worked their way through a community engagement process and were adopted by several city commissions before arriving before the city council. The goals fall into four categories: climate and energy; community; land use and access; and resource management.

Clearly related to land use and access (the goal of “preserve our natural systems”), as well as resource management (“eliminate pollutants in our air and water systems”) was a resolution directing city staff to develop a “green streets” policy. The policy would formalize an approach to stormwater management that would allow city street projects to incorporate various technologies to mimic natural processes, to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that goes directly into the city’s stormwater pipes and on into the Huron River. Features like bioswales, for example, would filter stormwater through natural systems so that pollutants from street surfaces would not flow directly to the river.

The river itself was part of the meeting’s sustainability theme as it was highlighted with a mayoral proclamation in honor of Huron River Day, which falls on July 15 this year.

Among the specific sustainability goals in the category of “community” is one that addresses economic sustainability: “Develop a prosperous, resilient local economy that provides opportunity by … rewarding investment in our community …” In that spirit, the council took the first step toward awarding a tax abatement to Barracuda Networks, a company that recently announced it’s moving from its Depot Street location into downtown Ann Arbor as part of a planned expansion of its workforce.

Another agenda item could be analyzed as part of the “integrated land use” and “economic vitality” sustainability goals: final approval of a rezoning request for the Shell station on the northeast corner of Ann Arbor-Saline and West Eisenhower Parkway.

Fitting into the “community” sustainability category was a resolution that made Ann Arbor a member of the Washtenaw Health Initiative (WHI) by authorizing a $10,000 annual membership fee. The goal of the WHI is to help local health care providers handle an influx of an estimated 50,000 newly insured patients when federal health care reforms take effect in 2014. The specific sustainability goal is to “provide services that meet basic human needs of impoverished and disenfranchised residents to maximize the health and well-being of the community.”

The council also approved appointments to three city commissions that are connected thematically to the sustainability goals – environmental, greenbelt advisory, and planning.

Making the city of Ann Arbor more financially sustainable is not an explicit part of the sustainability goals adopted by the city council. Yet financial sustainability could be seen as an outcome of the council’s ratification of three different union contracts. All three contracts increase the retirement benefit vesting period for new hires from five to 10 years, and increase the period for the final average compensation calculation to five years from three. The three labor groups that had their contracts ratified were the police professional assistants, civilian supervisors, and the deputy police chiefs.

Some of the public commentary also featured a sustainability theme – as former Allied Bendix engineer Kermit Schlansker outlined the energy efficiency benefits of cisterns. Also weighing in during public commentary were opponents of the new “smart meters” that are being installed by DTE Energy in Ann Arbor and other Michigan communities.

In other business, the council approved a weapons screening contract with the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office – for the 15th District Court, located inside the new justice center along with the Ann Arbor police department.

During communications time, city attorney Stephen Postema updated the council on legal action related to the Dream Nite Club, which had its liquor license revoked earlier this year. He said four significant court rulings on lawsuits filed by the club’s owners against the city had gone the city’s way.

The council’s communications also included mention of two ballot questions that voters might have to decide in November. One is a renewal of the park maintenance and capital improvements millage. The council is almost certain to place that millage renewal on the Nov. 6 ballot. Another question is less certain – one that would change the city charter to require a voter referendum, if the city were to lease parkland. The charter already prohibits the sale of parkland without a referendum. [Full Story]

Council Votes on Liquor, Delays on Marijuana

Ann Arbor city council meeting (March 19, 2012): With only eight out of 11 city councilmembers in attendance, the council found some of its business a challenge to complete.

Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3)

From left: Ann Arbor city councilmembers Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) as they arrive to the March 19 meeting. Lumm was clearly feeling ill and was encouraged by her colleagues to head home, advice she heeded. (Photos by the writer.)

The council postponed for a second time (without deliberation) a resolution that would direct Ann Arbor’s city attorney to delay enforcement activities against medical marijuana dispensaries, except in limited circumstances. The only reason offered for postponing was to allow the absent councilmembers to participate in that vote. The same resolution had been postponed previously, at the council’s March 5 meeting. On that occasion, other deliberations had pushed the council’s meeting past midnight, and councilmembers had wanted to deal with the issue while they were fully awake.

And the council found itself unable to muster a six-vote majority for any intermediate action on a proposed change to the landscape and screening ordinance – and thus wound up simply defeating it. The changes would have restricted additional landscaping requirements just to those site plans requiring planning commission or city council approval, and would have exempted R4C (multi-family residential) districts from certain buffering requirements. Attempts to amend, postpone and table the resolution all failed on 5-3 votes, one vote short of the majority needed.

Several agenda items highlighted the Ann Arbor police department in some fashion. The council authorized the purchase of four new police vehicles, along with a street sweeper. And a new contract with the command officers union was one of two labor contracts ratified by the council at its meeting – the other was with the firefighters union. Deputy chief John Seto, who’ll be interim police chief when Barnett Jones retires at the end of the month, briefed the council on police activity on St. Patrick’s Day as well as during a severe storm the week before. Seto also was criticized during public commentary for a traffic stop he’s alleged to have made as a patrol officer in the mid-1990s.

The police department was also a key actor in the city council’s action to recommend to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission that the liquor license not be renewed for Dream Nite Club, located on Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor. At an administrative hearing earlier in the day on that issue, much of the evidence presented by the city was based on police reports or police officer testimony.

In other business, the council approved an upgrade to control room equipment for Community Television Network. The city also added a total of around 160 acres to its greenbelt program, while selling a tiny wedge of property on Summit Street that had a murky history. Also related to land and its use, the city gave final approval to a rezoning request for the Les Voyageurs Society property located near Argo Dam.

The council passed a resolution expressing opposition to pending state legislation, which has already won approval from the Michigan house of representatives, that would allow grass clippings to be dumped in landfills under certain conditions.

The topic of Fuller Road Station emerged during public commentary as well as during remarks at the council table.

And councilmember Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) alerted his council colleagues that he’d be pressing two issues in the near future: (1) getting a written, public legal opinion from the city attorney regarding the city’s Percent for Art program; and (2) getting a calculation by the city treasurer of the tax capture to which the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is entitled. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Opposes Dream Nite Liquor License

At its March 19, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council passed resolutions with recommendations concerning the renewal of annual liquor licenses for two downtown bars – Rush Street and Dream Nite Club.

For Rush Street the recommendation was for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to renew the license, because the bar had finally paid nearly $10,000 in back taxes.

But for Dream Nite Club, the recommendation approved by the city council was to object to the renewal of that bar’s license. The recommendation was consistent with the finding of hearing officer Tony Derezinski, a city councilmember representing Ward 2 who presided over a hearing earlier in the day on March 19. The hearing was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., and … [Full Story]

Liquor Committee: Two Hearings on Licenses

At a meeting on Feb. 23, 2012, the Ann Arbor city council’s liquor license review committee continued deliberations on the annual review of roughly 120 liquor licenses in the city. The three-member committee consists of city councilmembers Tony Derezinski, Mike Anglin and Jane Lumm.

Dream Nite Club Sign

Dream Nite Club door sign. Reflected in the glass is the AATA bus stop next to the Blake Transit Center, across Fourth Avenue from the bar. (Photos by the writer.)

At their meeting, also attended by several city staff, the trio set in motion a process by which the licenses of Dream Nite Club (314 S. Fourth Ave.) and Rush Street (312 S. Main St.) might not be renewed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC).

The committee had begun the work at its previous meeting, on Feb. 7. City staff from various departments – building inspection, police, city attorney’s office and treasurer’s office – identified around a dozen establishments with problems ranging from delinquent taxes to building permit issues. Those businesses were sent letters notifying them of the problems. The majority of those businesses took steps before the Feb. 23 meeting to rectify their situation.

Left unresolved were licenses for two businesses. So the committee voted to recommend to the city council that licenses for those businesses not be renewed – Dream Nite Club (for maintaining a nuisance) and Rush Street (for delinquent taxes) – with a hearing on the matter to be set for March 19. That recommendation will appear on the city council’s March 5 agenda.

After the council authorizes notification of the licensee, and is followed by the hearing, the recommendation of the hearing officer will be forwarded to the council for its meeting that same day, on March 19. The hearing officer, previously appointed by the council, is chair of the liquor license review committee, councilmember Tony Derezinski.

The council will then need to confirm Derezinski’s recommendation at its March 19 meeting. The timeline is determined by the MLCC’s March 31 deadline for the city council to submit an objection to the renewal of a liquor license. The Ann Arbor city council’s last regular meeting before then is March 19.

Also discussed at the committee meeting was the Elks Lodge on Sunset Road, which holds a club liquor license. The regular entertainment that takes place at the lodge is a violation of the residential zoning of the parcel, according to city planning staff. The city has sent a letter to the Elks Lodge in an effort to bring the Elks into compliance with zoning regulations. Added on March 5, 2012 after initial publication of this article: [.pdf of letter from city of Ann Arbor to the Elks Lodge] [Full Story]