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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 (July 2, 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, we have a very short Council agenda: two amendments to our zoning code, approval of a brownfield district, zoning for a recently annexed property, and the Council Policy Agenda for the coming year.


TC-1 Zoning Update

City staff have released a memo, summarizing and responding to the recent public engagement meetings about the proposed TC-1 Zoning of West Stadium Boulevard. Moving forward, staff propose several alternatives to TC-1 zoning that would achieve more density while addressing some of the concerns raised in the public engagement meetings. You can read the whole of that staff memo here, which was presented to the Ordinance Revisions Committee of the City Planning Commission on June 28th.

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


I attended the first public meeting about this proposed rezoning:

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


Swift Run Dog Park Update

In response to an inquiry I sent last week, staff directed me to a very helpful update about the conditions at Swift Run dog park. Anyone interested in knowing the latest plans (and challenges) for improving that park, you can find the staff report on the City webpage for the park (scroll to the bottom of the page):

https://www.a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation/parks-places/pages/swiftrundogpark.aspx


Hayden House Update

Residents of Lower Burns Park might be interested in attending a public hearing about a proposed Robert & Erma Hayden House Historic District at 1201 Gardner. This will be part of the Historic District Commission meeting scheduled for July 14th at 7pm (as of the publication of this newsletter, the agenda has not yet been posted to Legistar)

http://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=983647&GUID=C265F260-67AA-4D9A-BCB3-3693BDECC3FB


A Study Committee submitted a report about this house and the proposal to make it a historic district, which you can find here:

https://www.a2gov.org/departments/planning/historic-preservation/Documents/Hayden%20House%20Preliminary%20Report%202022-04-26.pdf


Join Me At The Parade!

If you are interested in walking with me at the July 4th parade this Monday, just reply to this email! We are meeting at 9 a.m. at the northeast corner of the Diag (N. University and Fletcher). For more information about the parade, visit

https://a2jaycees.org/fourth-of-july-parade

 

SUPPORT MY RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

I am running for re-election to Council in 2022 and would really appreciate your generous support! I need your help to promote transparency, accountability, and serious representation for Ward 4. Our local democracy matters!


Volunteer

Endorse, Host a Party, Walk Doors, Phone Calls

https://www.a2elnel.com/volunteer


Yard Sign

No donation necessary - let me know if you want a yard sign!

https://www.a2elnel.com/yardsign


Donate

Any amount helps and shows your support!

https://www.a2elnel.com/donate


Coffee Hours

Sunday July 3rd 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

Tuesday July 5th 7:00pm

Note that this week's meeting is on a Tuesday due to the Independence Day holiday on Monday. 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=914275&GUID=E59A44B8-C887-48A5-BEA6-9C7329439864

 

Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know

If you live in the Allmendinger neighborhood of Ward 4, you may have walked by the Lustron house on Seventh Street. I learned about this house very recently, when I was in the neighborhood and the owner invited me in to see it. I have never seen a house quite like it!


The Lustron house was an invention of industrial engineer Carl Strandlund, to house G.I.s after World War II. In 1947, the Lustron Corporation built a factory in Columbus, Ohio to produce these homes that were pre-fabricated and all metal, with steel framing and steel walls. Lustron homes are constructed out of interlocking, steel panels that were originally coated in porcelain enamel. All the interior walls, doors, ceilings and built-in furnishings are also enameled metal. Lustron homes were designed with two and three bedrooms (1025 square feet); new, they sold for $8500 - $9500.


These homes were built for only a short period of time, because the company went bankrupt in 1950. Fewer than 2,000 remain in the U.S. Local businessman Neil Staebler led the Ann Arbor franchise of Lustron, and he arranged the building of nine homes here, eight of which still exist. Another home on Longshore Drive burned down in the 1990’s, according to the Lustron home directory.


You can read a detailed history of Lustron homes in Ann Arbor here:

https://aadl.org/aaobserver/15631


Ward 4 residents Mike Pieronek and Chris Purcell own (and live next door to) the Lustron home at 1200 S. Seventh. I happened to meet Mike when the house was in-between tenants, and he showed me the inside. It is truly unique!


Mike told me about some of the restoration work they have done on their Lustron home. In the interior, parts of the enamel finish had been damaged over time, so Mike and Chris disassembled as much as they could and had 70 pieces powder coated by local Ward 4 business Bean’s Best LLC on Jewett near South Industrial. When they first bought it, the house had deteriorating vinyl baseboard moulding attached with adhesive. Chris did the hard work of removing both vinyl moulding and adhesive, while Mike crafted traditional wooden baseboards that attach with magnets! Mike and Chris’s goal with their Lustron is to keep it as original looking as possible while updating it with modern conveniences like air conditioning.

For anyone interested in living in this lovely historic home (conveniently located in Ward 4!): it is available to rent starting this fall. For more information (and to see more pictures), visit:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1200-S-7th-St-Ann-Arbor-MI-48103/24706610_zpid/



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 June 21, 2022

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

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-june-21-2022


A2Council.com Update for June 21, 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/20220621


Division Street Lane Closures (July 5-8, 2022)

Division Street (between Packard and Ann) will be reduced to one lane of northbound traffic.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/division-street-lane-closures-july-5-8-2022


Feet on the Street Recycle Cart Tagging Program (July & Aug 2022)

This is a City program to improve the quality of recycling in single-stream curbside recycling carts​ by providing residents personalized and real-time curbside recycling education and feedback.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/feet-on-the-street-recycle-cart-tagging-program-july-aug-2022


Community Conversations with the Ann Arbor City Administrator (July & Aug 2022)

City Administrator Milton Dohoney Jr will be hosting community meetings on July 26 (online), Aug 8 (in person at City Hall), Aug 9 (online). Preregistration for the online meetings is required.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/community-conversations-with-the-ann-arbor-city-administrator-july-aug-2022


New Precinct Numbers and Polling Place Updates for August 2022 Primary

Due to ongoing renovation and construction work by Ann Arbor Public Schools, eight polling places for the August 2, 2022 primary will be relocated. Additionally, Ward boundaries have slightly shifted (primarily in the downtown area), and precinct numbers have been renumbered (I include a map in this post). Updated Voter Id cards will be mailed to all registered voters with these changed.

https://www.a2elnel.com/post/new-precinct-numbers-and-polling-place-updates-for-august-2022-primary

 

Council Meeting Agenda 7/5/22

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=914275&GUID=E59A44B8-C887-48A5-BEA6-9C7329439864


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-1 (22-1146) Agenda Response Memo and eComments - July 5, 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 (22-1115) Appointments - Confirmations

This mayoral nomination was presented at the June 6th meeting, and will be voted on at this Council meeting

  • Knox Cameron - Energy Commission

MC-2 (22-1040) Appointment - Confirmations

These mayoral nominations were presented at the June 21st meeting, and will be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Sharif-Ahmed Krabti - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

  • Mary McMahon - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

  • Jean Leverich - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board

  • Teesha Montague - Park Advisory Commission

  • Michael Michelon - Downtown Development Authority

MC-3 (22-1118) Nominations and Appointments for July 5, 2022

These mayoral nominations are being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting.

  • Peter Houk - Transportation Commission

 

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 (22-1100) Resolution to Accept a Water Main Easement at 2679 Ann Arbor Saline Road from 2679 Ann Arbor Saline Road LLC (8 Votes Required)


CA-2 (22-1138) Resolution to Approve the Board of Insurance Administration’s Recommendation to Approve a Workers Compensation Settlement Not to Exceed $30,000


CA-3 (22-1055) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with Fiber Optic Management LLC d/b/a Turnkey Network Solutions for On-Demand Fiber Optic Network Maintenance. (NTE $675,000.00)


CA-4 (22-0997) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with Cogsdale Corporation for Annual Software Maintenance and Support for FY 2023 ($125,569.19)


CA-5 (22-1004) Resolution to Approve the Purchasing Agreement for Utility Infrastructure Materials from Core and Main LP, ITB-4715 ($923,083.71)


CA-6 (22-1027) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with RMD Holdings, Ltd. d/b/a Nationwide Construction Group for On-Call Guardrail and Fence Repairs (Not-to-Exceed $100,000.00 Over Two Years)


CA-7 (22-0996) Resolution to Accept Grant Funds from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy for Development of a Comprehensive, Regional Drop-Off Station and Approve a Related Grant Agreement ($850,000.00)


CA-8 (22-0998) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Resource Recycling Systems, Inc. for the Drop Off Station Project Design ($255,490.00)


CA-9 (22-1046) Resolution to Authorize the Purchase of Two Toro Groundsmaster 7210 Mowers and Accessories from Spartan Distributors Inc. (Omnia Partners - $137,804.43)

 

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 (22-0760) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code), Zoning of 1.49 Acres from TWP (Township District) to R1A (Single-Family Dwelling District), 3090 Geddes Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) (ORD-22-10)

A recently annexed parcel of 1.49 acres at 3090 Geddes Road will be zoned R1A (Single-family dwelling district). This zoning is consistent with the adjacent zoning, the surrounding land uses, and the City's Comprehensive Land Use Plan.


PH-2/DB-1 (22-1026) Resolution to Approve the 303 North Fifth and 312-314 Detroit Redevelopment Brownfield Plan (BRC Recommendation: Approval - 3 Yeas and 0 Nays)

If approved, the Redevelopment Brownfield Plan for 303 North Fifth and 312-314 Detroit will advance to the County for authorization. The plan will reimburse the developer for environmental-related activities totaling $2,674,011. The site is eligible for brownfield remediation due to the presence of Arsenic, barium, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc at levels greater than State-established criteria.

 

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 (22-0760) is the same as PH-1 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 (22-1051) An Ordinance to Amend Tables 5.15-1 (Primary Use Table) and 5.17-2 (Two-Family Residential Zoning District Dimensions) of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-22-xx)

An amendment to the Uniform Development Code (UDC) will add “religious assembly” as a primary use in the M1 (Limited Industrial) district. This amendment was requested by Oxford Properties. A second amendment to the UDC will reduce minimum lot sizes, areas, and setbacks in the R2A zoning district. The minimum lot size in the R2A zoning district is currently 8,500 square feet and would decrease to 5,000 square feet. The current minimum lot area per dwelling is 4,250 square feet and the proposed amendment would reduce it to 2,500 square feet. The rear setback requirement would also be reduced from 30 to 20 feet. These amendments to R2A were initiated by the Planning Commission.

 

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 (22-1111) Resolution to Appoint Kimmeka Pipkins to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission

This appointment is from CM Ramlawi and CM Song, who serve on the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission, and CM Nelson and CM Radina, who serve on the Human Rights Commission. This was presented at the June 21st meeting, and will be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Kimmeka Pipkins - Independent Community Police Oversight Commission

DC-2 (22-1123) Resolution to Adopt the FY2023 City Council Legislative Policy Agenda

The FY2023 City Council Legislative Policy Agenda includes “high” and “medium” priority policy goals as decided by the Council Policy Agenda Committee (CMs Briggs, Eyer, Griswold, Radina, Song).


“High” priority goals:

  • Elimination of racially restrictive property covenants

  • Restoration of state revenue sharing to a level commensurate with the needs of municipalities across the state

  • HB 4117, a change in state law that would give municipalities increased flexibility to set speed limits lower than the 85th percentile in corridors and also lower than 25 MPH

  • Inclusionary zoning practices and affordability incentives added to land development codes


“Medium” priority goals

  • Improved voter enfranchisement through the modification or elimination of term limits for state legislators

  • Federal and state funding for affordable housing

  • MDOT requirements to further define and consistently adhere to the Complete Streets and Vision Zero policies

  • Maximum funding level under the Michigan Fire Protection Grant Program and a similar program for Public Safety for the costs associated with police and emergency medical services

  • Funding to protect, develop, and upgrade water, wastewater, drainage, and natural area resources and systems

  • Federal, state, county, and private funds to advance infrastructure projects for transportation, transit, active transportation, and advanced mobility systems.

DB-1 (22-1026) is the same as PH-2 above.

 

Additional thoughts…


This week, much of our attention is drawn to national politics and our national government, but there is also community conversation about our campaigns for local office. I recently did an interview with James Trost, which you can watch here:

https://youtu.be/x7I3xYWhiIQ


I also participated in a Ward 4 debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters. That video can be viewed here:

https://youtu.be/c5KRryP-9z0


This week, city residents received the July issue of the Ann Arbor Observer, which includes an article about our local elections. That article confirmed: a slate of five candidates (those endorsed by the Mayor) are all using the same campaign management company; one candidate admitted that this is “expensive.” That article can be found here (currently only available to subscribers):

https://annarborobserver.com/election-2022


I hope that expensive, coordinated campaign management is not the new norm for elections at this local level, mostly because it sets an expectation that is very different from the actual job. At higher levels of government, elected leaders serve in offices that include hired staff. However, at this local level, your City Council Member is expected to do the work of engaging with constituents, communicating with constituents, and representing constituents without the benefit of hired help.


In 2020, the five winning candidates spent over $150,000 on their campaigns and of that sum, over $50,000 was spent on campaign management and consulting. Additionally, one 2020 candidate paid a design firm over $7000 for website development and management — since winning the election two years ago, no content has been added to that website for the benefit of constituents.


Our democracy is stronger when we elect leaders who are committed to doing (rather than hiring out) the work.


I have not spent money on expensive campaign management and my campaign is not coordinating with other candidates from other parts of the City. I am a Ward 4 representative dedicated to serving Ward 4.


Earlier this week, residents alerted me that they are now receiving unsolicited campaign-related texts on their phones promoting local candidates. (One Ward 4 resident received a political text on her phone as we were talking at her door!) This is not a strategy I’ve chosen for my campaign. It is worth noting that unsolicited political robocalls and robotexts are not permitted by the FCC:

https://www.fcc.gov/rules-political-campaign-calls-and-texts


From the FCC's website:

Report Unwanted Calls and Texts If you think you’ve received a political robocall or text that does not comply with the FCC’s rules, you can file an informal complaint with the FCC at fcc.gov/complaints. If you are receiving texts that you didn’t ask for, report the sender by forwarding the texts to 7726 (or "SPAM"). Campaigns should also honor opt-out requests if you reply "STOP."

My campaign this year is similar to my 2018 campaign: I am running with help from my family and neighborhood friends. All the online and printed communications for my campaign are written by me, with technical help from my husband. The videos on my YouTube channel are edited and produced by my son, Henry. I am grateful to all other local friends who have supported me with donations, written and filmed endorsements, evenings canvassing, and sign deliveries!


Please continue to reach out if you have any City concerns or questions I can answer. I believe in this work and I think it matters!





For more endorsement statements and videos:

https://www.a2elnel.com/endorsements



Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!

Elizabeth Nelson


If you would like to receive this newsletter via email before it is published on my website, please click here to signup: https://eepurl.com/dGDKXf