City Council Newsletter (Feb 3, 2019)

Hello neighbors!

This week on City Council, we have another long consent agenda, two public hearings, one second-reading of an ordinance amendment, and some new business that includes a property annexation and a few resolutions for health and safety.

Before I jump into my summary of items on the agenda, I’d like to invite you to my coffee hours today (Sunday) from 3-4:30 p.m. at RoosRoast on Rosewood.  I hope this is a convenient opportunity for us to meet in person and hear perspectives.



A few more updates…

While not technically in Ward 4, for those interested, there is a public participation meeting on February 13th, for the property behind the Michigan Theater.


Citizen Participation Meeting February 13, 2019 (6 - 8 PM) The Graduate Hotel, Huron Room 615 East Huron Street Ann Arbor, MI 48105


Project: 616 E. Washington Street and 212 S. State Street Two companion projects are proposed, a 19 story mixed use project with basement, elevated parking, and a variety of residential units, including affordable units, (proposed at 514-616 E. Washington St.) along with a 6 story apartment building proposed for the vacant western portion of 212 S. State St. The projects will include a Brownfield Plan. https://www.a2gov.org/departments/planning/Documents/Zoning/600%20Washington%20Postcard_REDUCED.pdf




Important Ward 4 News…

Last week’s meeting for the Snyder/Edgewood Avenues Area Stormwater Improvement Project was cancelled due to the severe weather.  I will post the updated meeting time on my website when the city announces it. https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/jan-30th-meeting-about-snyder-edgewood-stormwater-improvement-project

There is one interesting Ward 4 item included in the consent agenda this week: Scio Church Road curb, gutter, and sidewalk assessments (between Main and 7th).  That stretch of road will eventually have continuous sidewalks on both sides of the street, which will be especially nice for joggers and walkers. In the plans, notice that the sidewalk isn’t perfectly straight— the sidewalk has a couple kinks in it to spare large trees (also nice!). https://a2gov.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3844749&GUID=D4AAFC19-305D-4AD5-A00B-18B4514997AF&Options=&Search=

Pioneer Theater Guild is performing A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Pioneer High School this week, starting February 7th.  There are shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, also Sunday at 2 PM.  (I am told that the actor playing Flute/Thisbe is particularly excellent.)  Tickets can be purchased at https://a2tix.com/organizations/pioneer-theater-guild





A reminder about a few city resources:

A2 Fix It  This is an online system for alerting the city to problems in your neighborhood (e.g. potholes, graffiti, garbage pickup). This is the city’s preferred method for hearing your complaint so they can direct appropriate staff to address it. I’m happy to hear from you, too, but city staff tell me that the online A2FixIt system is actually the quickest and fastest way to get a response to the problem. Information about A2FixIt  (and explanation of more urgent issues and appropriate numbers to call) is here: https://www.a2gov.org/services/pages/report-a-problem.aspx

City News and Announcements  This is a helpful link to updates on events and opportunities in Ann Arbor through City Hall: https://www.a2gov.org/news/pages/default.aspx

City Department Updates  If you have specific interests related to the city’s work, e.g. construction projects, deer management, recycling, you can subscribe to receive emailed updates on various topics found here: https://www.a2gov.org/services/Pages/E-mailAlertSubscription.aspx

Volunteer Boards and Commissions  Membership on these Boards and Commissions is constantly changing as terms end and appointees step down. We need you! You can find openings at the following link (or contact me directly) https://a2gov.granicus.com/boards/w/fe6c5e22e6f4a331/vacancies



HIGHLIGHTS Council Meeting Agenda 2/4/19

Below is my summary of some issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. 

The full agenda in PDF format (along with links to each proposed ordinance/resolution) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website here: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=655998&GUID=1B71B215-7F30-4C65-AD2F-4F26B08932D7&Options=info&Search=

If you have comments about any of these issues, feel free to email me at my official City email:  ENelson@A2gov.org

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 (190-0089) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 108 (Disorderly Conduct) of Title IX of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor to Add a New Section 9:69 (Trespass) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-03) Our city code would be expanded to include a new local trespass ordinance.  Currently, citations for trespass apply state law and are sent to the county prosecutor’s office.  By adding this ordinance to our city code, citations for trespass will be administered locally.  This ordinance is part of a larger effort (led by the Human Rights Commission) to improve notice to those cited for trespass, increase opportunity for hearing and appeal, and put the process under local control.

PH-2/DB-1 (19-0018) Resolution to Approve the Payne Annexation, 0.48 Acre, 245 Orchard Hills Drive (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 9 Yeas and 0 Nays) Property at 245 Orchard Hills Drive (a township island) will be annexed into the city as R1-B single family dwelling district.

Unfinished/New Business

DC-1 (19-0204) Resolution to Encourage Ann Arbor Community Members to Support Farm Workers Rights and to Boycott Wendy’s and Other Food Service Providers not Supportive of the Fair Food Program The City of Ann Arbor expresses support for farmworkers through the Fair Food Program, which verifies human rights protections for farmworkers. The City encourages community members (including the University of Michigan) to boycott Wendy’s and other companies that do not participate in the Fair Food Program. For more explanation, see "Additional Thoughts" below.

DC-2 (19-0207) Resolution Accepting Annual Renewal Recommendations of the Council Liquor License Review Committee and Setting Hearings for Non-Renewal of Liquor Licenses The liquor license review committee  recommends renewal for all on-premises liquor licenses except for two.  The committee requests hearings for liquor licenses held by Ashley’s restaurant and Banfield’s Bar and Grill (both due to outstanding personal property taxes due).

DC-3 (19-216) Resolution to Encourage Transportation Collaboration Before developing transportation-related contracts or requesting proposals from outside consultants, the city will reach out to community partners such as University of Michigan, Washtenaw County, other impacted municipalities, Washtenaw County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Transportation, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, the Transportation Commission, the Ann Arbor Public Schools System, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and SEMCOG.

DB-2 (19-0192) A Resolution to Strengthen Nuclear Emergency Planning for the Population of the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan The city will advocate to the state of Michigan and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to provide potassium iodide coverage, as recommended by the American Thyroid Association and consistent with Canadian standards re: distance-from an operating nuclear plant.  The city should have available supplies of potassium iodide to treat residents in the case of failures at the Fermi-2 plant in southeast Michigan (near Ontario).

DB-3 (19-0197) Resolution for Support for a Strong Clean Water Act and Strong Clean Water Rule The City of Ann Arbor expresses opposition to proposed revisions to the definition of “Waters of the United States” that would roll back protections for streams and wetlands without specified surface water connections to other waterways, certain ponds, and interstate waters.  Our support for broader categories of protection under the Clean Water Act would be communicated to Representative Dingell and Senators Stabenow and Peters.

Consent Agenda

Below is the list of items included on tomorrow’s 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.





Additional thoughts…

Since our last meeting, the city survived the polar vortex and I’ve received a lot more information about the proposed trespass ordinance.  In just the last two days, the University of Michigan announced that Wendy’s would not be returning to a newly renovated Michigan Student Union, which is relevant to a resolution currently on the agenda.

This winter season, I’m hearing from residents who find that even a combination of private snow removal service and city snow-plowing is sometimes not quite enough.  When city plows arrive on your street, they sometimes create a new obstacle: a fresh pile of snow at the base of your driveway that needs to be shoveled out of the way.  Some advice from our city public works: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/public-works/street-maintenance/Pages/Snow-Removal.aspx




When I hear about older residents struggling with relatively small (but unwieldy) physical challenges like that “second shovel,” I think about the two teenage boys who live in my house and regularly shovel snow for me.  Our city neighborhoods are full of young, able-bodied people (middle-school, high school and university students) who are motivated to work volunteer hours in the context of organized programs. I have now had several conversations with our city administrator about how the city might organize and better leverage volunteerism among our younger residents.  If you have ideas or suggestions about groups that might be interested in such a program, I welcome your input!

Two weeks ago (like many residents), I worried about the implications of a new local trespass ordinance.   Since sending my last newsletter, I’ve had a long conversation with our interim police chief and received a lot of written background from the chair of our Human Rights Commission.  Now that I know more, I plan to support the new trespass ordinance.  Adding this to our local code gives us more control over the process of citing people for trespass and I see that as an opportunity.  I am reassured that this new ordinance is one part of a larger effort from the Human Rights Commission to make sure citations for trespass are not abused or exercised in a discriminatory way.

Last December, a Ward 4 resident reached out to educate me about the Fair Food Program, which verifies safe working conditions for farm workers.  Before that contact, I knew nothing about Fair Food, I had no idea about the challenges faced by farm workers and the need for public pressure and verification to protect them against abuse.  Many large companies participate in the Fair Food Program, but Wendy’s does not.  This week’s resolution re: Wendy’s is the result of that Ward 4 resident contacting me back in December and it took this long for me to get it on the agenda.  Our city administrator helped me draft the resolution and I discussed it with a university liaison to the city.  At the January 7th council meeting, I announced that the resolution had been sent to the Human Rights Commission (which eventually chose not to take it on).  Coincidentally, the day after this resolution was finally added to the council agenda, the University of Michigan announced that it will not be contracting with Wendy’s as a vendor in the new student union (which removes at least some of the reason the resolution was drafted in the first place!).  I’m glad that the University has made the right decision on this issue; at this point, the resolution can show City support for that University decision. I encourage you to read about the work of the Fair Food Program at this link: http://www.fairfoodprogram.org


Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4! Elizabeth Nelson ENelson@A2gov.org

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Elizabeth NELSON

DEMOCRAT for Ann Arbor City Council Ward 4

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PO Box 2243. Ann Arbor. MI 48106-2243