Stories indexed with the term ‘legal notices’

Another Draft of Downtown Design Guides

picture of a page of public notices in a newspaper, the Washtenaw Legal News

From the public notices published in the Oct. 1, 2009 edition of the Washtenaw Legal News: "Ann Arbor City Notice, Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed A2D2 Downtown Design Guidelines."

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday night caucus (Oct. 4, 2009): At its Sunday night meeting attended by only three councilmembers – Mayor John Hieftje, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) – downtown zoning was again center stage.

A dozen or so residents attended the caucus and many of them addressed the changes that can be traced in the draft documents for A2D2 downtown building design guidelines from Oct. 15, 2007 to April 30, 2008, to Aug. 28, 2009, and most recently in the Sept. 30, 2009 version of the document.

The council will open a public hearing on the proposed guidelines on Oct. 5, but is not scheduled to vote on the matter until at least Oct. 19. At caucus, Hieftje said that the public hearing might be left open until Oct. 19 and that it was possible that no vote would be taken then – there was “no rush,” he said.

The complaint of many of those who addressed caucus was this: A commitment to the design guidelines as a compulsory part of project review had been gradually written out of the various drafts.

The challenge in following the changes to the draft was made more difficult, some speakers contended, by the fact that the city had altered its strategy for publicizing public hearings. That’s a strategic necessity driven by the fact that the closing of The Ann Arbor News leaves The Washtenaw Legal News as the only local “newspaper of general circulation.” [Full Story]

Column: A Charter Change on Publishing?

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The word on the button is bigger than it appears.

At last Thursday night’s work session, city council members reached a consensus on a city income tax proposal. Their consensus was this: They did not want city staff to place on their Monday agenda an item that, if passed, would have put a city income tax question on November’s ballot.

So based on the agenda posted on the city of Ann Arbor website, and in light of the Sunday night caucus discussion among council members, it appeared there would not be any really substantive issues before that body at its Monday night meeting.

Yet council ended up voting on three substantive items – all introduced late in the day on Monday. One was a reconsideration of a historic district study committee resolution passed at the council’s previous meeting – it  amounts to a wording change. But it’s a wording change that has a material affect on what projects homeowners in the district can undertake on their properties during the study period. The original resolution at the previous council meeting had also been introduced late in the day, with no public discussion beforehand surrounding the resolution.

A second item introduced late Monday concerned a new transit center on Fuller Road. It entailed the authorization of around $200,000 – about half of that from the city’s economic development fund, which was originally established to pay for parking spaces that Google had demanded as a part of its decision to locate offices in downtown Ann Arbor.

And finally – even though councilmembers had decided at their work session they didn’t want to contemplate putting an income tax before the voters – they decided to put something else before the voters: a charter amendment that would give council the authority to decide how certain notifications are published.

The amendment would change current requirements that certain items are printed in a newspaper, instead allowing for a broader range of options, including online publications.

How could an online enthusiast like me, the editor of an online publication, be against this move? Easy. [Full Story]