Stories indexed with the term ‘Speedway’

Council Sails Through Flooded Agenda

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Oct. 1, 2012): The council worked through its densely packed agenda in well under two hours, even though six separate public hearings were held.

Some of the votes, all of which were unanimous, reflected non-action.

Left to right: Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and mayor John Hieftje

Left to right: Mike Anglin (Ward 5) and mayor John Hieftje.

The council voted to table a revision to its medical marijuana licensing ordinance, having postponed it twice previously. Tabling is unlike a postponement to a date certain, and leaves open the possibility that the council might not ever take the question up again. However, Sabra Briere (Ward 1) indicated she intended to take up the medical marijuana ordinance again within six months.

The council has yet to act on recommendations from the city’s medical marijuana licensing board, made at the start of the year, to award licenses to 10 dispensaries. In the meantime, those dispensaries continue to operate. At the council’s Oct. 1 meeting, city attorney Stephen Postema indicated he would be creating a public document for the licensing board that would include a summary of pending legislation and court cases.

The council tabled a resolution on establishing a citizens committee to study the question of how to use proceeds from city-owned land sales. That tabling came at the request of the resolution’s sponsor, Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who had originally brought it forward at the council’s previous meeting.

The council also voted to extend by another 180 days a moratorium on digital billboards in the city – which the council first enacted back in April.

Three of the items on which the council took final action were at least indirectly related to stormwater. The council confirmed the appointment of the top area administrator whose department is responsible for stormwater management – Craig Hupy. Hupy’s appointment as public services area administrator comes after 26 years of service with the city.

The council also approved a $300,000 stormwater improvements component of a much larger $6.5 million street reconstruction project for Miller Avenue. The council authorized $50,000 to study the feasibility of opening up the railroad berm near Depot Street, which might allow floodwater to flow unimpeded to the Huron River on the other side. The study is also meant to cover the possibility of a non-motorized transportation connection under the berm, for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Related to water only in name was a tax abatement granted by the council to Barracuda Networks, which is relocating from Depot Street to downtown Ann Arbor and expecting to add 144 jobs.

The council also approved a raft of proposals related to land use. Winning approval were site plans for a Fiat dealership on West Stadium Boulevard and an expansion of the Food Gatherers facility on Carrot Way. The rezoning of a strip around the perimeter of a parcel at Miller and Maple, where a Speedway gas station will be constructed, got final approval.

A proposed townhouse project on Catherine Street got its rezoning as well as site plan approved. At the public hearing neighbors praised the project and developer Tom Fitzsimmons for what he had done to work with them.

The Plymouth Green Crossings project, which has already been built, got initial approval for revisions to its planned unit development (PUD) supplemental regulations.

The council also added 73 acres to the land protected under the city’s greenbelt program by approving the purchase of development rights on the Hornback farm in Salem Township.

The council weighed in on a state ballot question – which would require electric utility companies in Michigan to provide 25% of their power with renewable sources by the year 2025 – by passing a resolution in support of it.

One of the more significant pieces of news to come out of the meeting was an announcement from Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) that he could not attend the council’s Oct. 15 meeting. That’s when the council is due again to take up the question of putting $60,000 towards a $300,000 local match for a $1.2 million federal grant that would fund a transportation connector study. It needs eight votes to pass. [Full Story]

Speedway Rezoning Gets Final Approval

The final step to rezone a small portion of a parcel at North Maple and Miller – essentially a formality associated with development of a Speedway gas station at that location – has been given final approval. The final vote to change the zoning from PL (public land) to C3 (fringe commercial) came at the city council’s Oct. 1, 2012 meeting.

The portion of the parcel that’s subject to the rezoning has an easement requiring public access; that easement will remain. The project is located at 1300 N. Maple on a 1.39-acre site. The portion of the parcel that’s subject to the rezoning request is a path that circles the property along the east and north sides. [.jpg of drawing showing ... [Full Story]

Zoning, Transit Focus of Council Meeting

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Sept. 4, 2012): The council handled a mixed bag of items at its most recent meeting, ranging from land use to community events funding.

One item was apparently not handled the way that the majority of the council wanted, due to the absence of two councilmembers – Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5) and Marcia Higgins (Ward 4).

Left to right: Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3).

Left to right: Ann Arbor city councilmembers Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Jane Lumm (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3). (Photos by the writer.)

That item was a $60,000 appropriation – the city’s portion of a $300,000 local match for continued study of the Plymouth/State corridor, from US-23 and Plymouth southward along Plymouth to State Street, extending south to I-94. The local match is needed for a $1.2 million federal grant that has been awarded for the study. This alternatives analysis phase follows a basic feasibility study. The current study is supposed to result in a preferred choice of technology (e.g., bus rapid transit, light rail, etc.) as well as identifying stations and stops.

Because the $60,000 transfer from the general fund was a change to the city budget, it needed the votes of eight members on the 11-member city council. When Mike Anglin (Ward 5) led off the roll call by voting against it, it was clear that the council would have no more than seven votes in favor – because Jane Lumm (Ward 2) had already made plain during deliberations that she’d be voting against it. So some councilmembers voted against the resolution in order to be on the prevailing side. That gives them the right under parliamentary rules to bring back the item to the council’s next meeting for reconsideration. At that meeting it’s possible, but not certain, that supporters of the funding will have the necessary eight votes.

Several items on the agenda dealt with land use. The council gave final approval to a rezoning request for Knight’s Market, which will allow for expansion of the market at Spring and Miller streets. Winning initial approval was a rezoning requested by the developer of proposed townhouses on Catherine Street – from its current planned unit development (PUD) zoning to R4C (multi-family residential). Rezoning for part of a parcel in connection with a planned Speedway gas station at Maple and Miller also got the council’s initial approval. A related site plan for the station got its one and only required approval.

Also connected to land use was the council’s addition of two more properties to the greenbelt, using about $0.5 million in city funds from the open space and parkland preservation millage. The land from the two properties totals around 226 acres. Lumm cast a lone vote of dissent.

The council also authorized disbursements of community events funds to 13 organizations totaling $44,778, the bulk of which went to the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park.

And the council set a public hearing for Oct. 1 on a tax abatement for Barracuda Networks. The firm is relocating to downtown Ann Arbor from its current location on Depot Street, in part to accommodate an additional 144 employees it expects to hire by July 1, 2014. [Full Story]

Speedway Rezoning Gets Initial Okay

The rezoning for a Speedway gas station at the northeast corner of North Maple and Miller got initial approval from Ann Arbor city council at its Sept. 4, 2012 meeting. The site plan and the rezoning for the gas station had been recommended for approval by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its July 17, 2012 meeting.

The council gave its approval to the site plan on Sept. 4, but the rezoning issue will need to come back for a second and final approval, as all rezoning requests must. Rezoning of land is a change to the city’s ordinances, and because of that an initial vote of the council is required, followed by a public hearing and a second vote … [Full Story]