Stories indexed with the term ‘HRIMP’

Planning Commission Reviews Master Plan

At its June 18, 2013 meeting, the Ann Arbor planning commission unanimously adopted a master plan resolution and list of resource documents used to support the master plan. This is part of an annual evaluation of the master plan that’s required by the commission’s bylaws.

Seven documents constitute the city’s master plan: (1) sustainability framework, adopted in 2013; (2) parks and recreation open space (PROS) plan, as adopted in 2011; (3) land use element, as adopted in 2013 to add the South State corridor plan; (4) downtown plan, as adopted in 2009; (5) transportation plan update, as adopted in 2009; (6) non-motorized transportation plan, adopted in 2007; and (7) natural features master plan, adopted in 2004.

There is also a list … [Full Story]

Planning Group Revisits Huron River Report

Ann Arbor master plan revisions committee meeting (March 8, 2012): At the request of planning commissioner Kirk Westphal, a committee charged with reviewing changes to the city’s master plan is looking at a recommendation related to land near the Huron River.

Ann Arbor master plan revisions committee

Members of the Ann Arbor planning commission, from left: Eleanore Adenekan, Kirk Westphal and Diane Giannola. At the right is Wendy Rampson, head of the city's planning staff. Commissioners were attending the March 8, 2012 meeting of the master plan revisions committee. (Photos by the writer.)

The Huron River and Impoundment Management Plan, known as HRIMP, was completed in 2009. But in large part because of controversy related to Argo Dam – centered on whether or not the dam should be removed – none of the 30 other recommendations were implemented.

Only one of the HRIMP recommendations relates to land use, and is therefore in the purview of the planning commission. That recommendation calls for limited commercial development – such as a restaurant or other publicly-used entity – in the Broadway bridge/Argo area.

Much of the discussion at the March 8 committee meeting centered on the property now owned by MichCon, a subsidiary of DTE Energy, located north of Broadway Street, between the Huron River and the railroad tracks that run past the Amtrak station. A state-supervised cleanup effort is underway at that site, but its future use – including the possibility that it could be acquired by the city and turned into a park – is unclear.

Remediation of the MichCon site was also a topic at the March 12, 2012 Ann Arbor city council work session, where the property’s potential future use was discussed. That presentation also included an update on a whitewater river feature that DTE Energy is paying for. The whitewater section to be built in the Huron River was originally part of the same project as the city’s Argo Dam bypass reconstruction. The bypass, which has been recently named the Argo Cascades, is nearly complete.

This article includes a summary of the council working session related to the MichCon cleanup, as well as a report on the master plan revisions committee meeting. Based on discussions at that committee meeting, it seems likely that a proposal will be forwarded to the full planning commission to add the HRIMP recommendation to the city’s master plan. Any changes to the master plan would also require city council approval. [Full Story]

Parking in the Parks, Art on the River

Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission meeting (Dec. 15, 2009): If projects discussed by the city’s park advisory commission move ahead, next year will bring a series of art installations to the Huron River, and turn two city parks into parking lots for University of Michigan home football games.

This image shows how wire sculptures on the Huron River might appear, if a project proposed by a University of Michigan visiting professor gets approval from the state and city. (Image courtesy of William Dennisuk.)

This image shows how wire sculptures on the Huron River might appear, if a public art project proposed by a University of Michigan visiting professor gets approval from the state and city. (Image courtesy of William Dennisuk.)

At its Dec. 15 meeting, park commissioners raised concerns but ultimately signed off on a city staff proposal to use parts of Allmendinger and Frisinger parks for football parking during the 2010 season. The plan could raise an estimated $34,000 in net revenues for the city.

In a separate move, the commission gave the go ahead for UM to apply for a state permit that’s needed to install a series of wire sculptures at four locations along the Huron River, from Argo to Gallup. It’s an ambitious project by UM visiting artist William Dennisuk, designed to bridge the town/gown communities – assuming that the project itself gets approval from the city and state.

Commissioners also got a budget update from Jayne Miller, the city’s community services director, who told them to anticipate additional cuts over the next two years, and described how that might affect parks and recreation. [Full Story]

River Report Remanded, Art Rate Reduced

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Dec. 7, 2009) Part I: Based on dialog at the city council’s budget retreat on Saturday, and the absence of any action at Monday’s council meeting to prevent it, layoff notices to 14 firefighters will be sent sometime this week.

Mayor John Hieftje also gave some additional detail on a proposal he’d mentioned at the council’s budget retreat on Saturday: an across-the-board wage cut of 3% for all city employees, which would include councilmembers.

Carsten Hohnke Ann Arbor City Council

Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) presents his case for having a plan for the Huron River. (Photos by the writer)

Though the topics of firefighters and wage cuts were mentioned during the council’s communications section of the meeting, what pushed the meeting to nearly midnight were deliberations on two resolutions: (i) a three-year reduction of the Percent for Art program to effectively a “Half-Percent for Art” program, and (ii) acceptance of the Huron River and Impoundment Management Plan (HRIMP).

Both resolutions passed, though the HRIMP resolution was heavily amended. The material effect of the amendment was that it was not technically “accepted” by the council, but rather remanded to the city’s park advisory commission and the environmental commission. [Full Story]

City Council Caucus Yields More Budget Talk

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (Dec. 6, 2009): At the Sunday night caucus of the Ann Arbor city council, looming budget decisions were front and center as topics, just as they’d been the previous day at the council’s day-long retreat. [Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor City Budget: Cuts Begin Now"]

Residents who attended the caucus expressed concerns about probable firefighter layoffs, possible threats to city parks, and a Monday meeting agenda item approving $895,000 for an accounting system overhaul. In responding to residents, councilmembers mentioned an idea that Mayor John Hieftje had briefly floated at the council’s budget retreat: an across-the-board wage cut of 3% for all city employees.

Besides the accounting system overhaul, the other Monday meeting agenda item residents spoke about was the council’s “acceptance” of the Huron River and Impoundment Management Plan. Representatives of the Huron River Watershed Council encouraged the council to accept the plan. That discussion led to the topic of the city’s Percent for Art program and its legal status. The council has an item on its Monday agenda to reduce the percentage reserved from 1% to a 0.5%.

On the council side, the caucus was attended by Hieftje, Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Mike Anglin (Ward 5), Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3). [Full Story]

More to Meeting than Downtown Planning

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting (Nov. 16, 2009) Part II: The length of Monday’s city council meeting, which did not adjourn until nearly 1 a.m., might be blamed on the lengthy public commentary and deliberations on downtown zoning and design guidelines.

people standing taking the oath of office

Left to right: Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) getting ceremonially sworn in at the start of council's Nov. 16, 2009 meeting. Standing to the left out of frame are Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5). (Photo by the writer.)

But it would have been a long meeting even without the downtown planning content, which we’ve summarized in a separate report: “Downtown Planning Process Forges Ahead.”

Before postponing the acceptance of the Huron River and Impoundment Management Plan (HRIMP), the council got a detailed update on how things stand on the city’s dispute with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) over Argo Dam.

An agenda item authorizing capital improvements in West Park prompted a lengthy discussion of how the Percent for Art program works.

Some public commentary calling abstractly for greater support for inventors and entrepreneurs was followed later in the meeting by an appropriation from the city’s LDFA to Ann Arbor SPARK to fund more business acceleration services.

A consent agenda item on the purchase of parking meters was pulled out and postponed.

The council also heard a detailed report from the city administrator, which covered emergency response time to a recent house fire, ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps, responses to the library lot Request for Proposals, updates on the task forces for Mack Pool and Ann Arbor’s senior center, staff reductions in planning and development, the East Stadium bridges, as well as the upcoming budget retreat on Dec. 5.

Stephen Kunselman’s (Ward 3) use of attachments to the agenda to document questions for city staff received some critique.

Also worth noting, the five winners of recent council elections were sworn in, and Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) was elected as mayor pro tem. Those topics in more detail below. [Full Story]