Stories indexed with the term ‘public hearing’

Changes Floated for Planning Group’s Bylaws

In response to a debate at the Ann Arbor planning commission’s Oct. 15, 2013 meeting, commissioners are weighing a revision to their bylaws that clarifies the rules for speaking turns at public hearings. The revisions were brought up for review at the commission’s Nov. 6, 2013 meeting, but no vote was taken.

The idea would be to clarify the definition of a public hearing so that when a matter is postponed, its public hearing is continued – as opposed to starting a fresh public hearing. Applying a time limit of three minutes for each speaker would effectively rule out a situation where a person could speak multiple times in a public hearing on the same matter. But the bylaw revision … [Full Story]

Hearing Set for Hike to Veterans Support Tax

A public hearing has been set for Sept. 18 to get input on a proposed increase to the Washtenaw County tax that supports services for indigent veterans and their families. The county board of commissioners voted to schedule the hearing at its Sept. 4, 2013 meeting.

The current rate, approved by the board last year and levied in December 2012, is 0.0286 mills – or 1/35th of a mill. The new proposed rate of 1/30th of a mill would be levied in December 2013 to fund services in 2014. It’s expected to generate $463,160 in revenues.

The county is authorized to collect up to 1/10th of a mill without seeking voter approval. That’s because the state legislation that enables the county to … [Full Story]

Public Hearing Set for Urban County Plans

A public hearing is now set for April 17, 2013 to get input on the Washtenaw Urban County‘s five-year strategic plan through 2018 and its 2013-14 annual plan. The hearing will be held at the county board of commissioners meeting at 6:30 p.m., in the boardroom of the county administration building at 22o N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. Commissioners scheduled the meeting with a unanimous vote on April 3.

The Urban County is a consortium of Washtenaw County and 18 local municipalities that receive federal funding for low-income neighborhoods. Members include the cities of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline, and 15 townships. “Urban County” is a designation of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), identifying a … [Full Story]

Public Hearing Set for Urban County Plan

A public hearing to take commentary on the annual plan for the Washtenaw Urban County was set for the May 2, 2012 meeting of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners. The board’s vote to set the hearing came at its April 18 meeting.

The annual plan describes how the Urban County expects to spend the federal funding it receives from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) programs, operated by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). [.pdf of 2012-2013 draft annual plan] [.pdf of list of planned projects]

The Washtenaw Urban County is a consortium of 18 local municipalities that receive federal funding for low-income neighborhoods. Current members include the cities … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Sets Hearing on PACE Program

At its Sept. 19, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council formally expressed its intention to establish an Energy Financing District and a Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). The council also set a public hearing for its first meeting next month, on Oct. 3, 2011.

The resolution of intent refers to a report, which describes in detail the project and property eligibility for PACE, as well as project size, application process, and financing, among other elements.

At its March 7, 2011 meeting, the council had voted to set up a $432,800 loan loss reserve fund to support the city’s planned PACE program. The money for the fund comes from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) awarded to the city by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Through its PACE program, the city of Ann Arbor will help commercial property owners finance energy improvements through voluntary special assessments. By establishing a loan loss pool, the city can reduce interest rates for participating property owners by covering a portion of delinquent or defaulted payments. [Some previous Chronicle coverage of PACE: "Special District Might Fund Energy Program"]

After the public hearing, the city council would still need to pass a resolution establishing the program.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Public Hearing Set for Picometrix Tax Abatement

At its June 20, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council set the date for a public hearing on July 18, 2011 for a tax abatement for Picometrix LLC, located at 2925 Boardwalk in Ann Arbor. Picometrix is a supplier of high-speed optical receivers.

The 5-year abatement would apply to $2,434,882 of personal property that Picometrix is acquiring. From the application for abatement: “Due to the projected increase in production volume, the company will need to purchase assets to maximize production and support added staffing.”

The list of personal property included in the application ranges from garden-variety desks and cubicles to digital oscilloscopes and laser beam profilers. If the abatement were approved, it would reduce the company’s annual tax bill for the new equipment by about $16,500 annually. The new personal property would generate approximately $20,700 in property taxes for each year during the abatement period, according to the city staff memo accompanying the resolution.

The industrial development district in which the Picometrix tax abatement is sought was established in 2006.

At its June 6 meeting, the council held a public hearing on a proposed tax abatement for another company – Sakti3. No one spoke at that hearing, and the council did not take a vote on the abatement that evening. No council vote is currently scheduled for the Sakti3 abatement.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Heritage Row Likely to Need Super-Majority

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (June 7, 2010): Speculation that the vote on the Heritage Row project would be delayed was borne out on Monday night. Without discussion, the council postponed votes on the development’s rezoning and site plan until June 21.


Left in the frame, scanning through the protest petition documents, is Scott Munzel, legal counsel for Alex de Parry, developer of the Heritage Row project. De Parry is seated in the row behind with his arms resting on the bench back. In the foreground is Bradley Moore, architect for Heritage Row. (Photos by the writer.)

Councilmembers were also informed that a protest petition had been filed on Heritage Row Monday afternoon, which – once validated – would bump the requirement for approval from a simple six-vote majority to eight out of 11 council votes. Petition filers have calculated that they’ve collected signatures from 51% of adjoining property owners, weighted by land area. That exceeds the 20% required for a successful petition, but as of late Wednesday, the city had not completed its verification process for the signatures. [Update: Early Thursday afternoon, the city confirmed the 20% threshold had been met.]

In other business, the council approved increases in water and sewer rates and gave initial approval to changes in the city code language on the placement of recycling carts.

A wording change in the list of permissible uses for public land was also given initial approval, but not without discussion. Thematically related to land use was a presentation during the meeting’s concluding public commentary in response to a request for proposals (RFP) for the privatization of the city-owned Huron Hills golf course.

Also receiving discussion was an item pulled out of the consent agenda that authorized $75,000 for Ann Arbor SPARK, for economic development.

Criticism during public commentary on the appointment and nomination process used by the mayor to fill seats on boards and commissions stirred mayor John Hieftje to defend shielding individual members of those bodies from public demands.

Public commentary also elicited from Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 1) an update on the development of the Library Lot – he chairs the committee charged with overseeing the RFP process. [Full Story]

Heritage Row Vote Likely Delayed

On the published agenda for Monday’s June 7 council meeting are public hearings on two different site plans – Heritage Row and a planned project at Glacier Hills. Public hearings such as these are required to be published in a newspaper of general circulation one week before they take place.


From the June 3, 2010 edition of the Washtenaw Legal News, the published notice of the June 7, 2010 Glacier Hills and Heritage Row site plan public hearings. (Image links to wider view and higher resolution file.)

In a phone interview on Friday, city clerk Jackie Beaudry confirmed for The Chronicle that an email sent by the Ann Arbor city clerk’s office to the Detroit News – requesting publication of the notices for Sunday, May 30 – was not received by The News. Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the city clerk’s staff did not learn of the communication snafu until Tuesday. That was not in time to meet the publication requirement for the June 7 public hearings.

As a result, no vote is now expected on the site plans for those two projects at Monday’s June 7 city council meeting. The notice of public hearings for those projects, Beaudry said, was published in the June 3 edition of the Washtenaw Legal News. Those WLN notices in the June 3 edition still specify the site plan public hearings for June 7, but indications from inside city hall are that if when the hearings are opened on June  7, they’ll be left open and continued through the council’s June 21 meeting, when a vote will be taken on the site plans as well as the Heritage Row rezoning.

The zoning change for the Heritage Row project, which is considered separately from the site plan by the council and is given a separate public hearing, was properly noticed, Beaudry told The Chronicle. How can one of the public hearings receive proper notice, but the other one not, when they’re part of the same project? [Full Story]

County’s Budget Hearing Takes 10 Minutes

David Reynhout, Shannon Bater and Ashley Thomas were the only three people who spoke during Thursday evening's public hearing on the budget. They all supported funding for 4-H.

David Reynhout, Shannon Bater and Ashley Thomas were the only three people who spoke during Thursday evening's public hearing on the budget. They all supported funding for 4-H. (Photo by the writer.)

Commissioners and county staff outnumbered members of the public at Thursday evening’s  special public hearing on the budget, which started at 6:00 p.m. At first it seemed unclear whether anyone would actually speak. It was dramatically different from previous board meetings, when constituents packed the room to lobby for funding.

“Oh, come on – somebody say something,” commissioner Conan Smith cajoled.

So somebody did.

Three teens involved in the county’s 4-H program – Ashley Thomas of Ypsilanti, and Shannon Bater and David Reynhout of Chelsea – came up to the podium and thanked commissioners for supporting 4-H. Five other people attended the public hearing, but didn’t speak. [Full Story]

Finally a Dam Decision on Argo?

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday night caucus (Oct. 18, 2009): At its Sunday night caucus, Ann Arbor city council members heard from only a couple of residents who actually spoke in favor of keeping Argo Dam in place.

Piezometer installed in mid-September along the earthen berm separating the Argo Dam headrace from the river. (Photo by the writer)

But those speakers were supported by the presence of almost two dozen others who attended the regular Sunday evening affair, to make clear that they also supported a resolution on the dam – which was added to Monday’s Oct. 19 agenda on Friday, Oct. 16.

Monday’s resolution, which is sponsored by Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), Marcia Higgins (Ward 4), and Sandi Smith (Ward 1), expresses the intent of city council to keep the dam in place. [Text of the resolution]

At caucus, one of the voices of dissent on the resolution belonged to Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council. She told the three councilmembers present – Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2), Sabra Briere (Ward 1), and Mike Anglin (Ward 5) – that there’d been an expectation that the city council would follow the example of the city’s Park Advisory Commission and the Environmental Commission by holding a formal public hearing on the vote.

The resolution on Monday’s agenda does not include a public hearing.

After the caucus concluded, Rubin told The Chronicle that the expectation of a city council public hearing was based on a hearing that had been planned for July 6, 2009, but that was canceled when the council decided to ask the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for more time to decide. We had a look at The Chronicle archives to verify that contention.

Other caucus topics addressed by residents included a crosswalk to be installed at the intersection of Waldenwood and Penberton drives and a request for an update on the East Stadium bridges. Council will consider a resolution on Monday to follow the advice of an outside engineering consultant to proceed with removal of bridge beams supporting the southern lanes, which are currently closed to traffic. [Full Story]