This week’s agenda includes four public hearings, amendments to two parking districts (Old West Side and Burns Park), brownfield funding for Leslie Science Center, and general obligation bonds on behalf of the DDA for expansion of the Ann Ashley parking structure.
Before I jump into my summary of items on the agenda, I’d like to invite you to my coffee hours tomorrow (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.
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Some of us on City Council have decided to resume a tradition of “Council Caucus” on Sunday nights. I am looking forward to this opportunity for additional open, public conversation around the issues that matter to you!
Council Caucus Sunday Oct 6 (7:00-9:00pm) City Hall 2nd Floor 301 E Huron St
Public comment general time. (Three minutes, no need to signup in advance and speakers will be assigned in the order of arrival.)
Discussion, primarily topics on the next day's Council agenda.
One or more council members will be present for each caucus.
Children are welcome. (Books and crayons provided)
For more information about Council Caucus, see the city website at: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-council/Pages/CityCouncilMeetings.aspx
Pioneer Theatre Guild - MATILDA!
In other important Ward 4 news: Pioneer Theater Guild is putting on Roald Dahl's "Matilda The Musical" in just a few weeks. The student cast and crew always put on an amazing show and this year is no exception!
Saturday, November 2nd @ 7:30pm
Sunday, November 3rd @ 2:00pm
Friday, November 8th @ 7:30pm
Saturday, November 9th @ 7:30pm
Sunday, November 10th @ 2:00pm
The performances are held in Schreiber Auditorium of Pioneer High School. You can buy tickets online at https://a2tix.com/organizations/pioneer-theater-guild
For more information about the show: https://a2ptguild.org https://www.clickondetroit.com/all-about-ann-arbor/events/pioneer-high-school-to-present-roald-dahls-matilda-the-musical-nov-2-10 https://www.weloveannarbor.com/2019/10/18/profile-pioneers-martha-laramore-josey-fulfills-a-dream-playing-matilda-for-ptg/
Center of the City Task Force public meeting November 6th
I’ve been asked to relay the following invitation from the Center of the City Task Force. I also posted this information on my website: https://www.a2elnel.com/post/center-of-the-city-task-force-public-meeting-nov-6th
We invite you to share ideas for the development of a “Center of the City Commons.” Your input is essential to determine how the future Commons will best serve the entire community.
Please join the Center of the City Task Force anytime between 6-8 pm on Wednesday, November 6, at the 4th Floor Meeting Room at the Downtown Library (343 S. 5th Ave).
Center of the City Task Force Public Meeting Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019 (6:00-8:00PM) Ann Arbor District Downtown Library - 4th Floor Meeting Room 343 South 5th Ave
At this gathering, you will have an opportunity to:Learn more about the work of the Task Force.Offer thoughts on what would make a successful Commons area.Sign-up to stay updated on the activities of the Center of the City Task Force.For more information about the Center of City Task Force, please see our website: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/systems-planning/programs/Pages/City-of-the-City-Task-Force.aspx
Please direct any questions about the work of the Task Force and/or this invitation to Heather Seyfarth (Community Engagement Specialist, City of Ann Arbor) at email@example.com.
Boards and Commissions Applications
Membership on Ann Arbor 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
Road Construction Updates
The season for road construction is (hopefully!) beginning to wind down, and I post regular updates on my website about projects that affect Ward 4 residents. My posts include links to the City's website, so that you can find more information and contact info.
For information about these and other projects, the City has a page of road and lane closures, and a page of scheduled construction projects: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/engineering/traffic/Pages/Road-and-Lane-Closure.aspx https://www.a2gov.org/departments/engineering/Pages/Construction-Projects.aspx
Hoover/Greene/Hill Project Update Oct 16th An update on the large Hoover/Greene/Hill road construction project. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/hoover-greene-hill-project-update-oct-16th
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.
You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/
City Council Voting Chart for Oct 7, 2019 https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-oct-7-2019
Independent Community Police Oversight Commission Community Outreach Oct 24th The Ann Arbor Independent Community Police Oversight Commission is holding a community outreach meeting on Thursday, Oct 24, 2019 at 6:00PM. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/independent-community-police-oversight-commission-community-outreach-oct-24th
Public Meeting Oct 28th to Present Monitoring Well Location Recommendations for the Gelman Plume Since July, City of Ann Arbor staff have been working with the city’s contractor Tetra Tech to evaluate locations to install monitoring wells between the north edge of the contaminant 1,4-dioxane plume prohibition zone and Barton Pond. The City will host a public meeting Oct 28th at City Hall to present findings and answer questions. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/public-meeting-oct-28th-to-present-monitoring-well-location-recommendations-for-the-gelman-plume
Center of the City Task Force public meeting Nov 6th As mentioned above, the Center of the City Task Force will hold a public meeting on Nov 6th. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/center-of-the-city-task-force-public-meeting-nov-6th
Nov 6th meeting about Snyder Edgewood Stormwater Improvement Project The City of Ann Arbor will hold the fourth public meeting for the Snyder/Edgewood Avenues Area Stormwater Improvement Project on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 at Pioneer High School. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/nov-6th-meeting-about-snyder-edgewood-stormwater-improvement-project
Apply Now for the 2020 Ann Arbor Citizens Academy (due Dec 14th) Apply now to be a part of the next Ann Arbor Citizens Academy. Applications are due Dec 14th, and the academy will be be run Jan-Mar 2020. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/apply-now-for-the-2020-ann-arbor-citizens-academy-due-dec-14th
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
HIGHLIGHTS Council Meeting Agenda 10/21/19
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) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=656015&GUID=99A25A9D-20ED-4C5E-840E-0127E63C9E6D&Options=info&Search=
Ann Arbor City Council Monday Oct 21 (7:00pm) City Hall 2nd Floor 301 E Huron St
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 https://a2ctn.viebit.com/
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-5 (19-2029) October 21, 2019 Agenda Responses and eComments 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 (19-1876) Appointments - Confirmations These Mayoral appointments were introduced at the previous Council meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.
Peggy Wier-Leonard - Ann Arbor Public Art Commission
Juliet Pressel - Local Officers’ Compensation Commission
Alexandra Dieck - Downtown Development Authority
Kathryn Fortener - Historic District Commission
Elizabeth (Beth) Collins - Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee
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.
CA-1 (19-1797) Resolution to Authorize Public Access to Historical City Code Books in the HathiTrust Digital Library
CA-2 (19-1829) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Allied Building Service Company of Detroit, Inc., for the Renovation of Fire Station #6 ($208,400.00, iTB 4599) and to Appropriate Funds (8 Votes Required)
CA-3 (19-1836) Resolution to Approve the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board Recommendations for Ann Arbor Affordable Housing Funds to Avalon Housing, Inc. and the Ann Arbor Housing Commission for Three Projects
CA-4 (19-1852) Resolution to Increase Community Services Authorized Staffing Level (FY20 $55,296.00) (8 Votes Required)
CA-5 (19-1935) Resolution to Accept a Sanitary Sewer Easement on John Street from Mary A. Hathaway (8 Votes Required)
CA-6 (19-1942) Resolution to Approve the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor and Teamsters Local 214 Assistant Fire Chiefs effective January 1, 2019 - December 31, 2021
CA-7 (19-1954) Resolution to Accept a Sidewalk Easement at Narrow Gauge Way Nature Area from Ann Arbor Forest Condominium Association (8 Votes Required)
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 (19-1812) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 7:400, 7:401, 7:402, 7:403, 7:404, 7:405, and 7:406 of Chapter 93 (Alarm Systems) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-19-33) The city’s billing process for response to false alarms would be updated. Our ordinance will be amended so that Police and Fire can bill independently, a third party vendor is eliminated, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide alarm systems are added to the ordinance, single family home owners (not connected to monitored alarm systems) are excluded, and police alarm registrations will happen by calendar year schedule.
PH-2/B-2 (19-1874) An Ordinance to Amend Section 1:239 of Chapter 8 of the Code of the City Of Ann Arbor to Add a Public Art Commission Liaison to the Design Review Board The city ordinance that establishes the Design Review Board will now include a non-voting member from the Public Art Commission, to provide input on incorporating private artwork into projects under review.
PH-3/DB-1 (19-1718) Resolution to Approve Shell Gas Station PUD Site Plan and Landscape Modification, 2679 Ann Arbor-Saline Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) A PUD site plan for the Shell Gas Station at 2679 Ann Arbor-Saline Road would allow for the construction of a 4,740 sq. ft. two-story addition on the south side of the existing building. Fifteen newly proposed parking spaces would front W. Eisenhower; the petitioner proposes a 10 foot wide landscape buffer, which is less than the standard 15 foot required buffer. A four-foot tall fence is proposed along the rear building addition.
PH-4/DB-2 (19-1927) Resolution to Approve the 1831 Traver Road, Leslie Science and Nature Center, Brownfield Plan (BRC Recommendation: Approval - 3 Yeas and 0 Nays) The City would be eligible for reimbursement from the Washtenaw County Local Brownfield Revolving Fund for cleanup of heavy metals at Leslie Science and Nature Center in the vicinity of the playscape and Nature House. A total of $535,438 in Eligible Activities would be reimbursed by the County under this Brownfield plan.
PH-5/DC-6 (19-2037) Resolution to Approve Fees for Medical Marijuana Facilities/Adult Use Marijuana Establishment Permits The City will issue local permits for a medical marijuana facility, an adult use marijuana establishment, or both at a single location. Applicants who already hold a state-issued license under Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) will pay $5000 for a City permit. This is the maximum allowable fee under the MMFLA and the MRTMA.
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 (19-1812) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 7:400, 7:401, 7:402, 7:403, 7:404, 7:405, and 7:406 of Chapter 93 (Alarm Systems) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Ordinance No. ORD-19-33) This is the same as PH-1 above.
B-2 (19-1874) An Ordinance to Amend Section 1:239 of Chapter 8 of the Code of the City Of Ann Arbor to Add a Public Art Commission Liaison to the Design Review Board This 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 approval. If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting, where it will also be subject to a public hearing.
C-1 (19-1687) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Zoning of 0.106 Acre from TWP (Township District) to R1C (Single-Family Dwelling District), 2625 Valley Drive (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 9 Yeas and 0 Nays) A recently annexed township island (2625 Valley Drive) will now be zoned R1C (Single-Family Dwelling District) to allow access to City utilities for the construction of a new single family home. This zoning is consistent with adjacent zoning, surrounding land uses, and the City’s Master Plan.
C-2 (19-1688) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Zoning of 0.6 Acre from TWP (Township District) to R1B (Single-Family Dwelling District), 595 Riverview Drive (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 9 Yeas and 0 Nays) A recently annexed township island (595 Riverview Drive) will now be zoned R1B (Single-Family Dwelling District) to allow access to City utilities. This zoning is consistent with adjacent zoning, surrounding land uses, and the City’s Master Plan.
C-3 (19-1811) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Zoning of 0.48 Acre from TWP (Township District) to R1B (Single-Family Dwelling District), 245 Orchard Hills Drive (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 9 Yeas and 0 Nays) A recently annexed township island (245 Orchard Hills Drive) will now be zoned R1B (Single-Family Dwelling District) to allow access to City utilities. This zoning is consistent with adjacent zoning, surrounding land uses, and the City’s Master Plan.
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 (19-1697) Resolution to Amend the Old West Side Residential Parking District - Third Street and Appropriate General Fund Unobligated Fund Balance ($2,000.00) (8 Votes Required) The Old West Side Parking Residential Parking District will be amended to include parcels on a portion of Third Street and West Madison Street. Residents fronting the addresses 602 through 631 Third and 421 West Madison will now be eligible to obtain a permit and park on other Residential Permit Parking streets. Cost of new signs is estimated at $2,000, with anticipated additional revenue of $800.
DC-2 (19-1875) Resolution to Amend the Burns Park Residential Parking District - Woodlawn Avenue and Appropriate General Fund Unobligated Fund Balance ($2,000.00) (8 Votes Required) The Burns Park Residential Parking District will be amended to include parcels on Woodlawn Avenue. Residents fronting the addresses 1109 through 1230 Woodland Avenue will now be eligible to obtain a permit and park on other Residential Permit Parking streets. Cost of new signs is estimated at $2,000, with anticipated additional revenue of $800.
DC-3 (19-1878) Resolution to Appoint Sophie Grillet to Ann Arbor Public Art Commission (7 Votes Required) This Mayoral appointment was introduced at the previous Council meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. 7 votes are required because the nominee is not a resident of Ann Arbor.
Sophie Grillet - Art Commission
DC-4 (19-1932) Resolution to appoint Micah Bartelme to the Downtown Development Authority (7 Votes Required) This Mayoral appointment was introduced at the previous Council meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. 7 votes are required because the nominee is not a resident of Ann Arbor.
Micah Bartelme - Downtown Development Authority
DC-5 (19-2003) Resolution to Provide Direction to the City Administrator on the Provision of Solid Waste Services The City Administrator is directed to cease any actions toward privatizing solid waste services, any part of which are currently performed by city staff. City Council affirms its opposition to privatization of solid waste services not currently performed by an outside contractor and its support for solid waste collection that utilizes City-employed solid waste employees.
DC-6 (19-2037) Resolution to Approve Fees for Medical Marijuana Facilities/Adult Use Marijuana Establishment Permits This is the same as PH-5 above.
DB-1 (19-1718) Resolution to Approve Shell Gas Station PUD Site Plan and Landscape Modification, 2679 Ann Arbor-Saline Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-3 above.
DB-2 (19-1927) Resolution to Approve the 1831 Traver Road, Leslie Science and Nature Center, Brownfield Plan (BRC Recommendation: Approval - 3 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-4 above.
DS-1 (19-1735) Resolution Authorizing Publication of Notice of Intent to Issue General Obligation Capital Improvement Bonds to Fund Downtown Development Authority Ann Ashley Parking Structure Expansion Project (Not to Exceed $ 23,000,000.00) (6 Votes Roll Call) A Notice of Intent would be published for the issuance of General Obligation Bonds for a maximum of $23,000,000. These bonds would fund the DDA expansion of the Ann Ashley parking structure: three new floors of parking spaces, a new elevator, improved pedestrian entrances, covered bike parking, and various electrical, lighting, stormwater infiltration, and solar charging improvements.
Since our last council meeting, I attended all three public engagement meetings on the topic of short term rentals. These meetings highlighted a lot of concerns and interests, some of which I already knew and some of which were news to me. I’ve also had a number of individual meetings with residents who wanted to share thoughts and ideas. We learn a lot from listening to each other, but there is still a lot that we do not know re: the impact of short term rentals on our community. I look forward to seeing the report from our consultants, as well as advice from our own city staff and legal department. Thank you to everyone who has reached out directly to Council with your perspectives on this issue. It is helpful!
In other news, The New York Times today published a very nice article about the Michigan Daily that includes quotes from me. The article can be found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/us/news-desert-ann-arbor-michigan.html
The Michigan Daily staff are diligent in the work that they do, covering our City politics. Our Council meetings run long when we debate back and forth, but the content of that debate is hardly the entirety of our reasoning and consideration of issues. This is particularly true now that we are trying to adhere to three-minute speaking limits at our Council meetings. That’s why I am truly grateful for the student journalists at the Daily, who regularly reach out to me (and all of my City Council colleagues) for explanation and background on various local topics.
When any journalists reach out to me with questions, I am eager to respond — local media have the power to enhance our conversations about issues and government, beyond the limits of brief remarks at public meetings. It is discouraging that the last time I was quoted in MLive (coincidentally, on the topic of short term rentals), I was not contacted; my remarks were transcribed from a public meeting that happened seven months ago.
I am passionate about the ability of our community to wrestle with issues in a thoughtful and serious way; thoughtful and serious debate can only happen when people are truly informed and understand what’s at stake. A lot of information is accessible through our local Legistar database — I include links in this newsletter so that you can find the documents and reports attached to the items on our agenda. Alternatively, you can simply reach out to your Council Member with questions or ask them when they hold coffee hours. We reach better decisions when we listen to (and understand) each other!
I appreciate everyone who reads this newsletter— it’s encouraging to me that so many in our community are interested in following the work of City Council!
Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson ENelson@A2gov.org
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Oct 22 2019: This newsletter was updated to reflect agenda changes made just before the Oct 21 Council meeting re: nominations in MC-1 and DC-4.