Yard signs that say: “Drive like your kids live here.” New campaign?
Ann Arbor City Council meeting (Dec. 20, 2010): The city council’s last meeting of the year included a somber piece of news, delivered by Marcia Higgins (Ward 4): Peter Pollack, familiar to many in the community as a landscape architect and stalwart public servant in various capacities, had entered hospice care. Pollack passed away later that night.
In its main business of the evening, the council approved a resolution of intent to coordinate with Pittsfield Charter Township, Ypsilanti Charter Township and the city of Ypsilanti to explore the establishment of a corridor improvement authority (CIA) along Washtenaw Avenue.
The initiative would take advantage of Michigan’s Corridor Improvement Authority Act to create a tax increment finance (TIF) district. A possible timeline for establishing the CIA would include public hearings in early 2011, formation of the CIA and appointment of its members in mid-2011, with development and approval of the corridor development plan by late 2011.
The vote on the resolution of intent came after intense scrutiny of the resolution’s wording to ensure that it conformed with the requirements of the state enabling statute, while also addressing councilmembers’ concerns that the language not inappropriately suggest that the establishment of the CIA was further along than it actually is.
Several members of the public addressed the council at the public hearing on the adoption of the Michigan Vehicle Code and the Uniform Traffic Code. The adoption of the two codes is motivated by the city’s desire to make its speed limits legally enforceable. As the extensive public commentary and council deliberations reflected, the challenge is to set speed limits in a way that is legally enforceable but has adequate consideration for non-motorized users of roadways.
The council voted to adopt the two codes, after having given initial approval at its Dec. 6, 2010 meeting. However, amendments to the language used to adopt the two codes made at Monday’s meeting were substantial enough that the proposed ordinance revision was reset to its first reading stage. All ordinances must be approved at a first and second reading before the council.
Attached as a communication to the council’s agenda was an item that will likely receive a great deal of discussion early next year – a draft of a city council resolution that would specify how the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority will go about facilitating development of downtown Ann Arbor surface parking lots. A key resolved clause of the draft resolution, apparently meant to address a historical point of friction between the city and the DDA, would require the city to reimburse the DDA for some of its expenses under certain scenarios.
Also at the meeting, in response to a report from the Environmental Working Group that the carcinogen hexavalent chromium had been detected in Ann Arbor’s drinking water – along with that of several other communities – city administrator Roger Fraser gave the city’s take on the study. [Chronicle coverage of that issue: "Context for Chemical in Ann Arbor Water"]
Late August in Ann Arbor brings any number of signs by the curb announcing that the items set out there are free for the taking. Here’s an example of a such a sign that turns out to have been composed by Kevin Leeser. Whatever had been left out under the sign was already gone by the time The Chronicle noticed it, so we pounded on the door this morning to find out.