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Elizabeth Nelson's City Council Blog

I write a City Council newsletter with my summary of agenda items coming before City Council. Sign up to receive it first via email, or read it here later on this blog.

City Council Newsletter (August 13, 2022)

Hello neighbors!

Welcome to everyone who is new to this newsletter! Before every Council meeting, I write up my own summary of each agenda item and try to pull details that I think are most relevant to understanding them. My hope is that these summaries can help residents keep track of what City Council is doing. For issues that matter to you, I encourage you to follow links (next to each agenda item) to the City's Legistar website, where you can find all the background information.


This week is another short Council agenda with two public hearings: PH-1 for UDC ordinance amendments related to marijuana, trees and landscaping requirements for site plans, and PH-2 for parking requirements.


Renters Commission Update: Right To Renew

Agenda item DC-4 is a resolution from the Renters Commission with a draft ordinance attached for Right to Renew. The Renters Commission anticipated that the ordinance could appear on this week's agenda as “first reading”; it appears on this agenda as a resolution because the City’s legal department has requested additional time to provide a legal memo about the ordinance.


Five months ago (March 2022), the City’s legal department was sent a draft of the Right to Renew ordinance and asked to review it. This week - in advance of a special meeting of the Renters Commission meeting - two attorneys from the Commission met with City attorneys to discuss any potential problems with the ordinance. At a special meeting this Wednesday night, the Renters Commission unanimously approved the Right to Renew ordinance. The City Attorney’s office has asked that Council consideration of this ordinance be delayed— I am told that City Council will receive a legal memo no later than August 26.


I have asked that DC-4 remain on the agenda so that I can briefly introduce it and describe these circumstances. I expect the ordinance to appear on a future agenda (“first reading”) in September.


To learn more about local efforts to implement a Right to Renew for tenants, see a blog post that I shared four months ago:

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/right-to-renew-initiative



Update: Jasmine Hampton

Many of us are following the accomplishments of our local Olympic hopeful, Jasmine Hampton, and excited about her ongoing success! Since July 31, Jasmine has been boxing at the Olympic training camp in Colorado Springs. This week, Jasmine will participate in the National Golden Gloves Tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


For anyone who does not know Jasmine, I wrote about her in a previous newsletter.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/jasmine-hampton-ward-4-people-places-you-should-know-june-4-2022


Jasmine still needs our financial support to continue on her Olympic journey — if you would like to help, you can contribute to her GoFundMe here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/need-funding-for-olympic-training-camp

 

Coffee Hours

Sunday August 14th 3:00pm

I hold coffee hours Sunday afternoons before City Council meetings. This week my coffee hours are at Roos Roast at 1155 Rosewood, meeting outdoors on the lawn.


If you can, please bring a chair - RoosRoast has very limited outdoor seating for customers and they prefer that our meeting not occupy it.

City Council Regular Meeting

Monday August 15th 7:00pm

Council Meetings are in person at City Council chambers. Public commentary is available either in person or via phone/Zoom - see the Legistar link for details.

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=914278&GUID=3FEB680C-08E8-4E76-A1F6-5F13A3828049

 

Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know

If you live in Ann Arbor or pay any attention to politics at the state level, you already know our current State Representative Yousef Rabhi. He is finishing up his third term as a member of the State House; he was first elected to that office in 2016. Rabhi was previously a member of the Washtenaw County Commission for six years and famously won his first election to that office by a single vote. In the State House, Yousef serves as the Democratic Floor Leader and is known for being a consistent progressive champion leading on policies like universal single payer healthcare, holding polluters accountable, reforming our criminal justice system and tackling climate change.


I first met Representative Rabhi in 2018, when I decided to run for City Council and began attending various events and gatherings of "political people." Since first meeting him, I've come to know just how passionate and thoughtful he is in identifying problems in our community and advocating for solutions. There is very little intersection between the work of City Council and that of State government, but Yousef has always been generous with his time when I had questions about issues like food assistance BRIDGE benefits during the pandemic, short-term rental regulation, and state health insurance reform.

Due to term limits, Yousef Rabhi is not able to run for re-election to the State House. Instead, this November, residents in eastern Ward 4 will see Yousef Rabhi on the ballot as a candidate for the Washtenaw County Commission. He is excited to return to this role as he looks to build on past achievements at the county such as creating the first municipal ID program in Michigan, launching a dental clinic for families that lack access to care and initiating several policies to protect the environment.


Yousef was born in Ypsilanti and has lived in Ann Arbor for close to thirty years. He attended Northside, Bach, Clague and Huron High. He has a degree in Environmental Science from University of Michigan. He has lived in Ward 4 since 2013.


Yousef Rabhi is a role model for public service: someone who has spent the last 12 years listening to residents, problem solving, and advocating for policies that meet needs in our community. He is someone you should know!



To see previous "Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know", visit:

https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/categories/people-places

 

A2ELNEL.com Website Updates

In addition to writing this newsletter, I post updates to my website with my perspectives on how issues were resolved at City Council and details on how Council voted at each meeting. I also post information about meetings and issues that affect Ward 4 residents, along with news that affects all city residents.

City Council Voting Chart for August 4, 2022

The voting chart I made for our most recent Council meeting.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-august-4-2022


A2Council.com Update for August 4, 2022

My summary of agenda items of interest from our most recent Council meeting, along with articles I've written, articles published on MLive, links to Legistar, and CTN's YouTube video.

https://www.a2elnel.com/a2council-date/20220804


Public Hearing for West Stadium TC1 Rezoning (Aug 16 2022)

The Ann Arbor Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 7:00PM about proposed TC1 rezoning in the West Stadium Boulevard and North/South Maple Road area.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/public-hearing-for-west-stadium-tc1-rezoning-aug-16-2022

 

Council Meeting Agenda 8/15/22

Below is my summary of some issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. If you have comments about any of these issues, feel free to email me at my official City email: ENelson@A2gov.org

The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda) is on the A2Gov Legistar website:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=914278&GUID=3FEB680C-08E8-4E76-A1F6-5F13A3828049


City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99). They are also streamed live on YouTube and Viebit: https://www.youtube.com/user/ctnannarbor

 

Questions to the Agenda

In preparation for a Council meeting, Council members can ask questions of staff about scheduled agenda items. Questions must be submitted by noon on the Wednesday before a Council Meeting, and answers are returned the next day (Thursday) by 5pm.

AC-3 (22-1394) Agenda Response Memo and eComments - August 15, 2022

This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff.

 

Communications from the Mayor


MC-1 (22-1321) Appointment - Confirmation

This mayoral nomination was being presented at the last meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Simi Barr - Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority Board of Directors

 

Consent Agenda

Below is the list of items included on the Consent Agenda. If no one on Council specifically requests that an item be pulled for discussion, the whole of this list will be approved in a single vote. I encourage you to look at this list and offer suggestions to me about anything you would like to see pulled for discussion.

CA-1 (22-1347) Resolution to Close Streets for the Mayor’s Autumnal Green Fair, Friday, October 7, 2022


CA-2 (22-1265) Resolution to Amend the $5,350,000 City of Ann Arbor 2018 Capital Improvement Bonds, Series A dated August 29, 2018


CA-3 (22-1274) Resolution to Approve the Second Amendment and Extension to the Lease Agreement between the City and Avfuel Corporation for a Corporate Hangar Located at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport


CA-4 (22-1228) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Interpersonal Frequency LLC to Redesign the City’s Website (not to exceed $121,978)


CA-5 (22-1275) Resolution to Approve an Increase to the Fiscal Year 2022 Purchasing Authority with JCI Jones Chemical, Inc. for Sodium Hypochlorite ($15,211.22) for a Total Not-to-Exceed Amount of $122,611.22.


CA-6 (22-1266) Resolution to Approve a General Services Agreement with Du-All Cleaning, Inc. (“Du-All”) for Janitorial services at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, ITB No. 4722 ($94,175.88)


CA-7 (22-1045) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Info Tech, Inc. d/b/a Infotech for Appia Construction Management Software for FY23-25 ($150,000.00) (RFP 22-08)


CA-8 (22-1234) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Ecology Center, Inc. for Resource Recovery Education, Outreach, Engagement, and Marketing for $853,211.00 over Five (5) Years


CA-9 (22-1186) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Margolis Companies, Inc. for the Purchase, Delivery and Planting of Trees along City Street Rights-of-Way ($474,075.00; RFP 22-56)


CA-10 (22-1224) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract to Strawser Construction, Inc. for the Street Preventative Maintenance Project - FY2023 (RFP No. 22-37, $4,577,354.95)


CA-11 (22-1212) Resolution to Approve Change Order No. 1 with Z Contractors, Inc. for the Huron Parkway Bridge Capital Preventative Maintenance Project ($86,059.75 Increase, Total Contract Amount $743,506.26)


CA-12 (22-1285) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Doan Construction Co. for the Ellsworth Road Sidewalk Gap Elimination Project, RFP No. 22-49 ($639,726.00)


CA-13 (21-0766) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for the Scio Church Road Resurfacing Project, S. Maple Road to S. Seventh Street ($2,045,700.00) and to Appropriate $115,000.00 from the Water Supply Fund; $240,000.00 from the Stormwater Fund; $50,000.00 from the Sidewalk Construction Millage Fund; and $45,000.00 in Contributions (8 Votes Required)


CA-14 (22-1233) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with P.K. Contracting, LLC for Pavement Marking Maintenance & A2 Vision Zero Quick Build Project - FY2023 ($698,808.92, RFP No. 22-38)


CA-15 (22-1226) Resolution to Accept a Sanitary Sewer Easement at 2457 S. State Street from Stellar Hospitality A2 LLC (8 Votes Required)


CA-16 (22-1227) Resolution to Accept a Water Main Easement at 2457 S. State Street from Stellar Hospitality A2 LLC (8 Votes Required)


CA-17 (22-1331) Resolution to Authorize Settlement of Claim by Deborah Gordon-Gurfinkel and Elihau Gurfinkel


CA-18 (22-1324) Resolution to Approve the Letter of Understanding between the City and the Downtown Development Authority of Ann Arbor (DDA) to Cancel the Joint Working Session Required by the Parking Agreement between the City and the DDA, dated July 1, 2011, as Amended


CA-19 (22-1218) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Weiss Construction Co., LLC for WTP HVAC Improvements - Phase II ($2,065,800.00) (RFP 22-34)

 

Public Hearings

Anyone wanting to comment on these issues may speak for 3 minutes, without having specifically reserved time. Issues subject to public hearing will also be up for a vote by Council later in the meeting.

PH-1/B-1 (22-1145) An Ordinance to Amend Section 5.16.3.G, 5.20.10 and 5.30.1 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Marijuana Licenses, Trees in the Right-of-Way, Landscape Modifications) (ORD-22-12)

Three amendments to the Uniform Development Code (UDC) are proposed:

1) A limitation on the number of State marijuana licenses per lot would be removed, so that several licenses could be ‘stacked’ on the same parcel. Other restrictions - zoning district permitted use regulations, physical separation distances, and the maximum cap for provisioning center/retailers and designated consumption facilities - would remain in effect. Added at the 7/18/22 Council meeting: an amendment to the requirement that all activities occur indoors will allow curbside service at marijuana provisioning centers, retailers, and microbusinesses.

2) New site plans include requirements and procedures for installing street trees in the right-of-way. An amendment related to linear frontage calculation will prevent overcrowding of trees. Another amendment will eliminate escrow deposit and refund related to these tree plantings.

3) For site plans, modification to landscape requirements is permitted under certain conditions. This amendment adds an eligibility requirement and re-organizes modification conditions, standards of approval, and approval procedures.


PH-2/B-2 (22-1147) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.16.1.A, 5.16.2.A, 5.16.2.B, 5.16.3.J, 5.16.3.P, 5.16.4.B, 5.16.6.C, 5.16.6.G, and to repeal and replace Section 5.19 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of Code of the City of Ann Arbor - (Amend Parking Standards) (ORD-22-13)

Amendments to the UDC will change parking requirements. One amendment would eliminate parking requirements for residential dwellings, adult day care centers, child care centers, and outdoor residential recreation facilities. Current standards require off-street parking spaces for residential units located more than 300 feet from a bus stop and in areas with limited street parking. These requirements would be eliminated. Also eliminated: any requirements for a “Parking Plan” of proposed off-street parking and an analysis of public parking and transit facilities in the vicinity. The process for deferment of these requirements are rendered moot and also removed. A second amendment will change current standards for Electric Vehicle (EV) ready and installed parking requirements. Current requirements would only apply to newly constructed parking.

 

Ordinances - Second Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances were approved at a previous Council meeting, and are also subject to a public hearing as listed above.

B-1 (22-1145) is the same as PH-1 above

B-2 (22-1147) is the same as PH-2 above

 

Ordinances - First Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances are being introduced for "first reading". If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting ("second reading"), where it will also be subject to a public hearing.


C-1 (22-1148) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 0.15 Acres from C1B (Community Convenience Center District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), 340 Depot Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 340 Depot (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays)

A parcel of 0.15 acres at 340 Depot Street that is currently zoned C1B (Community Convenience Center District) would be rezoned as a PUD (Planned Unit Development). The PUD will allow a 7,830 square foot residential building with 6 vehicle parking spaces at ground level underneath part of the proposed building. The current site plan for the two-story building has four residential units and 2,530 square feet of office/retail use.

 

Motions and Resolutions

The following agenda items are motions and resolutions, which are approved or rejected in a single meeting. Agenda items marked "DC" are proposed by Council members, items marked "DB" are proposed by City boards and commissions, items marked "DS" are proposed by City staff.


DC-1 (22-1345) Resolution to Appoint Eric Farrell to the Public Market Advisory Commission (7 Votes Required)

This mayoral nomination was presented at the last meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. 7 votes are required because the nominee is not a registered elector of the City of Ann Arbor.

  • Eric Farrell - Public Market Advisory Commission

DC-2 (22-1378) Resolution to Authorize the City Administrator to Execute a Letter to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in Support of a Noise Abatement Program and Environmental Impact Study of Noise for M-14

The City Administrator would be authorized to execute a letter to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in support of noise abatement and an environmental impact study of noise on M-14 from Maple Road to Main Street.


DC-3 (22-1382) Resolution to Approve Grants of Easement for Gas Pipeline to DTE Gas Company at Virginia Park and Veterans Park (8 Votes Required)

For the purpose of running a gas line, the City will grant two easements to DTE Gas Company: 1) across the north end of Siller Terrace (south of Virginia Park) and 2) on the south side of Dexter Avenue near the intersection at N. Maple (northwest corner of Veterans Park).


DC-4 (22-1383) Resolution to Recommend Discussion of Right to Renew to City Council

This resolution from the Renters Commission urges City Council to adopt an ordinance creating a Right to Renew for renters in Ann Arbor. A draft ordinance (attached to the resolution) grants tenants a Right to Renew a lease, subject to specific exceptions (“just cause” for eviction). Landlords would adhere to a timeline for communicating terms of renewal (or explanation of non-renewal) consistent with the Early Leasing Ordinance: tenants will receive a good faith offer to renew (or notice of non-renewal with explanation) no later than 180 days before the end of the current lease period. A tenant will have thirty days (up to 150 days before the end of the current lease) to accept/reject terms of renewal. A landlord’s failure to comply will result in payment of relocation assistance to the tenant.


DS-1 (22-1348) Resolution Authorizing Summary Publication of Ordinance 22-12 - An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.16.3.G, 5.20.10 and 5.30.1 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of The Code of The City of Ann Arbor - Amendments to Marijuana Facilities, Trees in the Public Right-of-way, and Landscape Modifications

With Council approval, the ordinance amendments in B-1 will be summarized to spare expense while satisfying publication requirements.


DS-2 (22-1349) Resolution Authorizing Summary Publication of Ordinance 22-13 - An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.16.1.A, 5.16.2.A, 5.16.2.B, 5.16.3.J, 5.16.3.P, 5.16.4.B, 5.16.6.C, 5.16.6.G, and to Repeal and Replace Section 5.19 Of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of Code of the City of Ann Arbor - (Amend Parking Standards)

With Council approval, the ordinance amendments in B-2 will be summarized to spare expense while satisfying publication requirements.

 

Additional thoughts…


Public Hearing on TC-1 Rezoning of West Stadium Area

This week, the City Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing on proposed TC-1 re-zoning of the West Stadium area, which will have a significant impact on residents in both Ward 4 and Ward 5. Earlier this summer, City staff held public engagement meetings about TC-1 zoning for this corridor. I wrote about those meetings here:

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/meetings-on-proposed-tc1-rezoning-of-stadium-pauline-june-9-14-2022

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/proposed-tc1-rezoning-of-stadium-boulevard-area-first-public-meeting


After those meetings, staff wrote a report dated June 28, 2022 which included summaries of the public meetings, and staff recommendations. You can find that report here:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=11012165&GUID=899EC773-0B15-4745-8894-17FA47AB0FC6


From the report:

In staff’s opinion, there were four key points or themes heard at the public meetings: • The area will benefit from consolidated zoning and prioritizing pedestrian- and nonmotorized-oriented, more dense development, but • The area is not a single monolithic geography, • The scale of development is very important in this area, and • The TC1 district is currently not the right fit for the area.

In the report, City staff proposed four alternatives to TC-1 zoning that would achieve more density while addressing some of the concerns raised in the public engagement meetings. Among staff suggestions: a slightly different zoning (TC-2) as well as multiple districts, acknowledging that a single zoning category might not be appropriate for the whole of this lengthy corridor.


On June 28, the ideas of staff were considered by the Ordinance Revisions Committee (a subset of the Planning Commission). The four members of this committee have recommended re-zoning the whole of this corridor to TC-1. This is a Legistar link to that meeting, although no meeting minutes or meeting video recording are available:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=884195&GUID=6D958E84-ECBB-4D60-8146-CD58677D77CA


After the Ordinance Revisions Committee meeting, staff wrote an updated report on this issue dated Aug 16, 2022:

http://a2gov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=11124468&GUID=85EF5021-BED7-478D-B87E-5A04F36E4389


From the report:

“No convincing reasons were found to exclude any portion of the study area from contributing towards a cohesive zoning district that has many of the same permitted uses and similar development standards as the underlying districts.”

And

“Staff have not incorporated any requests or comments into the proposed rezoning petition, other than those made by the Ordinance Revisions Committee. However, staff are ready to assist in revising the proposed ordinance to amend the Zoning Map at the direction of Planning Commission prior to its recommendation to City Council.”

This Tuesday (August 16) at 7:00PM, the whole of the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing before they vote to approve TC-1 zoning for this corridor. If you would like to participate in that hearing, you can find information here:

https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=954618&GUID=EC1EBF1B-D1FD-479D-BD46-57E62E7CF663


Earlier this month, I wrote a post about the postcard sent to residents about this meeting:

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/public-hearing-for-west-stadium-tc1-rezoning-aug-16-2022


This rezoning is one of many important issues that are debated and considered outside of Council, among people who are not elected. This particular decision will eventually land on a City Council agenda, among the elected representatives who are accountable to you. I encourage everyone who has opinions or concerns about this topic to reach out to both the Planning Commission and your council members.


Email the Planning Commision: planning@a2gov.org

Email the Mayor and City Council: CityCouncil@a2gov.org



Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!

Elizabeth Nelson


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