This week’s Council agenda is fairly long. Our consent agenda includes funding for our city’s legal department, the water treatment plant, traffic signals, and other utility work. We will be revisiting a few issues from past meetings: FOIA policies, Traverwood lane reconfiguration, and amendments to zoning (the Garnet and the Glen). In new business, perhaps the biggest item on our agenda is first reading of proposed amendment to our code regulating marijuana businesses.
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.
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
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 Sept 15 (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)
If there is public interest, then the caucus sessions will continue every Sunday before regular Council meetings.
For more information about Council Caucus, see the city website at: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-council/Pages/CityCouncilMeetings.aspx
City to Hold Public Meetings in October About Short-Term Rental Regulation
Potential regulation of short term rentals (i.e. AirBnB or VRBO) is not on our agenda this week, but there are upcoming events related to the resolution I brought to Council in March, asking staff to provide input and feedback on this issue (19-0528, passed Mar 18, 2019, enacted as R-19-112). I previously gave an update in the "Additional Thoughts" section of my Aug 3, 2019 newsletter: https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-newsletter-aug-3-2019
A consultant is working with the city to coordinate public engagement on the topic, so we have a clearer understanding of the problems we need to solve. I am hopeful that everyone who feels impacted by this issue and everyone who has opinions about it will participate in these scheduled meetings so that we have a good window into what our community needs. Earlier this week, the City released a schedule for public input meetings:
Sunday, Oct. 6 2019 (2:00-4:00 PM) AADL Westgate Branch, Westside Room 2503 Jackson Ave
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 (6:00-8:00 PM) AADL Traverwood Branch, Traverwood Program Room 3333 Traverwood Drive
Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 (9:30-11:30 AM) AADL Mallets Creek Branch, Mallets Creek Program Room 3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway
Please mark your calendars and note these dates. Encourage your friends and neighbors to attend! I also posted these meeting times on my website: https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-to-hold-public-meetings-in-october-about-short-term-rental-regulation
Additionally, I would like to alert you to a group that has formed around this issue. The flyer below was shared with me and I appreciate that the group is in active communication/collaboration with our city staff and elected officials. I believe in the value of organization and cooperation— we are always stronger when we work together! For more information, please see their website: https://www.legislateairbnb.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
It's the season for road construction, 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
Hoover/Greene/Hill Project Update Sept 8th An update on the large construction project involving Hoover/Greene/Hill. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/hoover-greene-hill-project-update-sept-8th
Green/Hill/Kipke Traffic Control Plan (Sept 9th to 20th) As part of the Hoover/Greene/Hill Improvement project, there are temporary traffic control plans on Hill Street, Green Street, and Kipke Drive. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/green-hill-kipke-traffic-control-plan-sept-9th-to-20th
Resurfacing on South Division (Sept 12th - 13th) Resurfacing work was scheduled this past week on South Division Street between East Hoover Avenue and East Madison Street. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/resurfacing-on-south-division-sept-12th-13th
Additional 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.
You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/
City Council Voting Chart for Sept 3, 2019 https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-sept-3-2019
City to Hold Public Meetings in October About Short-Term Rental Regulation The City is holding three public meetings to discuss possible regulation of short-term rental properties (i.e. AirBnB, VRBO). https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-to-hold-public-meetings-in-october-about-short-term-rental-regulation
Greenbelt Advisory Commission public engagement session Sept 24th The Greenbelt Advisory Commission (GAC) is leading the 2019 review of the program's strategic plan, with opportunities for the community to provide input. Six public engagement sessions have been scheduled between July and October 2019. The fourth meeting is scheduled for Sept 24th. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/greenbelt-advisory-commission-public-engagement-session-sept-24th
Greenbelt Advisory Commision Public Engagement Tuesday, Sept 24, 2019 (5:30–7:30 PM) Ann Arbor District Library - Westgate Branch 2503 Jackson Ave Ann Arbor
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 9/16/19
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=656013&GUID=3B03D96C-F103-4F89-B721-871ED8FF825F&Options=info&Search=
Ann Arbor City Council Monday Sept 16 (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-2 (19-1782) September 16, 2019 Council 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 (19-1669) Appointments - Confirmations These Mayoral appointments were introduced at the previous Council meeting, and will therefore be voted on this Council meeting.
Mary Casey - Recreation Advisory Commission
Stephanie Dooper - Recreation Advisory Commission
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 (19-1629) Resolution to Approve Street Closings for the Ann Arbor Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot - Thursday, November 28, 2019
CA-2 (19-1698) Resolution to Approve Street Closure for Washtenaw County Climate Strike on Friday, September 20, 2019 from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
CA-3 (19-1594) Resolution to Waive $75,000.00 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 1997 Mortgage for Ozone House’s Youth Shelter at 1705 Washtenaw Avenue
CA-4 (19-0723) Resolution Adopting the City of Ann Arbor Brownfield Policy
CA-5 (19-1635) Resolution to Approve August 22, 2019 Recommendations of the Board of Insurance Administration
CA-6 (19-1695) Resolution to Approve an Agreement Accepting a Water Main Easement at 2505 Hayward Street from the University of Michigan (8 Votes Required)
CA-7 (19-1692) Resolution to Approve the Extension of Temporary Employment Agreement between Abigail Elias and the City of Ann Arbor ($24,000.00)
CA-8 (19-1562) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for the Purchase of Replacement Body Worn Camera and Evidence Management System under the NPPGov Cooperative Contract #VH11629 for a Term of Five Years. ($372,885.72) (8 Votes Required)
CA-9 (19-1541) Resolution to Authorize the Purchase of a Bobcat Toolcat Utility Work Machine from Clark Equipment Company dba Bobcat Company (MIDeal Bid - $67,403.56)
CA-10 (19-1606) Resolution to Approve a General Services Agreement for Dive Inspection Services between the Water Treatment Service Unit and Sea-Side Diving; RFP #19-22 ($90,000.00)
CA-11 (19-1610) Resolution to Approve a General Services Agreement for Electrical and Instrumentation Support Services with Utilities Instrumentation Service, RFP #19-23 ($120,000.00)
CA-12 (19-1633) Resolution to Approve an Agreement between the City of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Charter Township, and the Washtenaw County Road Commission for the Swift Run Drain Culvert Replacement Project (Estimated $53,750.00)
CA-13 (19-1564) Resolution to Authorize a Sole Source Purchase Order to Gridsmart Technologies, Inc. in the amount of $43,452.00 for Traffic Signal Detection Devices'
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 (19-1186) An Ordinance to Amend the Zoning Map, Being a Part of Section 5:10.2 of Chapter 55 of Title V of the Code of Ann Arbor, Rezoning of 0.2 Acre from C1B (Community Convenience Center District) to C1A (Campus Business District) WITH CONDITIONS, The Garnet Rezoning, 325 East Summit Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-24) (8 Votes Required) A 0.2 acre property at 325 East Summit Street would be re-zoned from C1B (Community Convenience Center District) to C1A (Campus Business District) with conditions. The re-zoning will allow construction of a four-story, ten unit condominium building with eleven parking spaces. Conditional re-zoning will limit building height to four stories (65 feet) and limit the maximum floor area ratio to 199%.
PH-2/DB-1 (19-1185) Resolution to Approve The Garnet Site Plan and Development Agreement, 325 East Summit Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) The site plan for “The Garnet” at 325 East Summit Street (see PH-2/B-2) would be approved with conditions. The developer will include 23 bicycle parking places and a green roof. They will also make a $6,250 contribution to parks and, if needed, take action in response to sump pump water discharge testing results. Planning commission approved this site plan in a vote of 8-0.
PH-3/B-2 (19-1448) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 0.54 Acre from PUD (Planned Unit Development District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), The Glen Mixed Use Development PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-29) Changes are proposed for a previously approved PUD (Planned Unit Development District) at 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street. The PUD approved in 2017 allows for a 9-story, 162 room hotel with 24 apartments, restaurant, and 5,181 square feet of retail. Necessary foundation work and a change in heating/cooling systems has prompted this request. The overall height of the building would increase by six feet, but remain below the 109’/4” maximum. Other requested amendments include: reduction in FAR (floor area ratio) from 590.4% to 568%, change in the mix of bicycle parking spaces by class, and removal of eleven parking spaces for a total of 241. Planning commission approved this 7-0.
PH-4/DB-2 (19-1449) Resolution to Approve The Glen Mixed Use Development Modified PUD Site Plan, 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) This approves the site plan for the amended PUD at 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street. (See PH-3/B-2)
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 (19-1186) An Ordinance to Amend the Zoning Map, Being a Part of Section 5:10.2 of Chapter 55 of Title V of the Code of Ann Arbor, Rezoning of 0.2 Acre from C1B (Community Convenience Center District) to C1A (Campus Business District) WITH CONDITIONS, The Garnet Rezoning, 325 East Summit Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-24) (8 Votes Required) This is the same as PH-1 above.
B-2 (19-1448) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 0.54 Acre from PUD (Planned Unit Development District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), The Glen Mixed Use Development PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-29) This is the same as PH-3 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 (19-1783) An Ordinance to Amend the Title of all Sections of and to Add a New Section 7:613 to Chapter 96 (Medical Marijuana Facilities) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor City permits would be required for seven types of businesses, two of which are now licensed by the state under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. The ordinance amendment would combine two categories into one, for the purposes of obtaining a City permit: retailer/medical marijuana provisioning center. City permits would issued in the following categories:
Grower permits (no maximum number)Processor permits (no maximum number)Secure Transporter permits (no maximum)Provisional Center/retailer permits (28 permits)Safety compliance facility permits (no maximum)Marijuana microbusiness permits (no maximum)Designated consumption establishment permits (no maximum)
Medical marijuana home occupations do not require permits.
C-2 (19-1636) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.15, 5.16.3, 5.19.2, and 5.37.2 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Marijuana Retailers, Marijuana Microbusinesses, Designated Marijuana Consumption Facilities) The Unified Development Code would be amended to include definition, permits, and regulation for three new marijuana facilities: marijuana retailer, designated marijuana consumption facility, and marijuana microbusiness. A marijuana retailer must be 600 feet from another and microbusinesses. A designated marijuana consumption facility must provide a maximum of 1 vehicle parking place per 100 square feet of floor area. Both marijuana retailers and designated marijuana consumption facilities would be allowed with special exception approval in most mixed use zoning districts. A marijuana microbusiness must provide a maximum of 1 vehicle parking space per 2,000 square feet of cultivation area and 250 square feet of noncultivation area. A marijuana microbusiness is allowed with special exception approval in the C3 district and most special purpose districts; they must be at least 600 feet from another and provisional centers/retailers. All three facilities must be at least 1000 feet away from a K-12 school.
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 (19-1452) Resolution to Waive Fees Associated with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request 2147 This resolution would specifically waive the FOIA fees ($217) attached to a request by CM Hayner for all email correspondence to and from Mayor Taylor for the period from June 16, 2019 to July 8, 2019. The resolution states that the results of this specific FOIA are in the public interest and should be waived. (Postponed from the August 5 meeting)
DC-2 (19-1467) Resolution to Approve a Request from Balfour Ann Arbor Manager, LLC for a New Continuing Care Retirement Center Liquor License, new SDM liquor license, Sunday Sales Permits (AM & PM), Dance Entertainment Permit, Outdoor Service Permit and Specific Purpose Permit Issued Under MCL 436.1545(b)(ii) to be Located at 2830 S. Main Street, d/b/a Balfour Senior Living Balfour, the Continuing Care Retirement Center at 2830 S. Main Street, would be granted a liquor license to provide an additional amenity to their residents. Balfour provides three meals a day, seven days a week to their residents. A happy hour with low-key music would be offered throughout the week to residents and their guests.
DC-3 (19-1691) Resolution in Support of Legislation Reinstating State Historic Preservation Tax Credits: Senate Bill 54 and House Bill 4100 The City expresses it support of state legislation reinstating historic preservation tax credits, available for use on residential properties. These tax credits would help preserve Ann Arbor’s historic neighborhoods and assist in renovations of dormant commercial properties.
DC-4 (19-1728) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with Avalon Housing Inc. for Reimbursement of Services Related to the 1146 S. Maple Road Sanitary Sewer Extension (Estimated $115,000.00) By agreement, Avalon Housing will be reimbursed up to $126,500 in cost to extend public sanitary sewer main from an adjacent Avalon property (Hickory Way) to the property at 1146 S. Maple Road. At previous meetings, Council approved the exercise of the city’s right of first refusal, to purchase 1146 S. Maple Road for future acquisition and use by Avalon Housing. The lot at 1146 S. Maple Rd. is currently in Scio township, but will eventually be annexed into the city. Extension of the sanitary sewer main is appropriate work to done now, while contractors are already in the field constructing sanitary sewer for Hickory Way.
DC-5 (19-1745) Resolution to Support and Authorize Staff Participation in Washtenaw County Climate Strike on September 20, 2019 The City would show solidarity and support for the planned “Washtenaw County Climate Strike” and specifically authorize City staff to participate. The event has been organized by youth leaders across the region, who have coordinated participation and support from 33 organizations, including local, regional, and statewide nonprofits, businesses, professional societies and labor leaders. During the event, youth and adults will walk out of their respective schools and workplaces on Friday, September 20, from noon to 3 p.m., to bring attention to the climate crisis.
DC-6 (19-1754) Resolution to Waive a Right of First Refusal for a Pending Sale for $395,000.00 on the Botsford Property (3015 Miller Road) The City has a right of first refusal on a property (“Botsford Property”) at 3015 Miller Road, in Scio Township. A conservation easement (held by Scio township) allows for public access of the property; it is within the Greenbelt District. The appraised value of the property is $345,000 and there is a pending sale for the purchase price of $395,000. This City has previously declined opportunities to exercise a right of first refusal for $415,000 and $450,000, because those sale prices exceeded the appraised value. The Greenbelt Advisory Commission and Parks Advisory Commission have not reviewed this proposed sale.
DC-7 (19-1736) Resolution to Appropriate Funds and to Approve Amendment No. 1 to Professionals Services Agreement with Tetra Tech of Michigan, PC for Soil Borings, Testing, and Remediation at Leslie Science and Nature Center ($431,000.00) (8 Votes Required) A professional services agreement would be amended to add $431,000 for soil borings, testing, and remediation at Leslie Science Center. In the course of planning for a natural playscape, staff at LSC found history that indicated potential soil contamination; on site, elevated levels of heavy metals (arsenic and lead) were found in soil samples. Remediation is needed right away, to make use of grant moneys related to the playscape. After this appropriation, a total of $535,000 of City funds will have been allocated to this project. (An additional $250,000 has come from a Brownfield Revolving Loan assistance grant.)
DC-8 (19-1766) Resolution to Accept a $264,250.00 ACEP Grant and Approve an ACEP Grant Cooperative Agreement for a Conservation Easement on the Russell Property The City would accept a grant of $264,250 from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service), to purchase a conservation easement in Lodi Township (Russell property, east of the intersection at Zeeb/Textile). The City accepts this grant and will purchase the easement in accordance with the Ann Arbor Greenbelt: Saving Michigan Farm Regional Conservation Partnership Program (approved by City Council June 4, 2018).
DC-9 (19-1770) Resolution Directing Review of City Transportation Planning and Operations Management and Related Staffing Using the City’s governing documents, Council policies and requirements related to Vision Zero, Complete Streets, and carbon emission reductions, the City Administrator is directed to identify current standing requirements to promote non-motorized movements of people. Reporting requirements would be consolidated into a single quarterly report concerning design, construction, operation (including safety and crash data) and maintenance to Council. The City administrator will prepare a description of how the City uses resources to develop and operate the right of way to achieve safe and efficient movement of all modes of travel and the status of hiring an additional FTE to promote Vision Zero and Complete Streets, to be presented to the Transportation Commission in November 2019 and to City Council no later than the first meeting in December 2019.
DC-10 (19-1771) Resolution to Promote Effective Mitigation of Traffic Impacts Resulting from Site Re-engineering by Entities Exempt from City Jurisdiction Entities within the City of Ann Arbor (such as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Public Schools) that own and operate large facilities would directly collaborate and coordinate with City staff early in the planning stages of site re-engineering of on-site traffic flows. The City’s policy agenda would be amended to include a requirement that owners/operators of such large facilities would obtain City approval when changes to on-site traffic patterns can be anticipated to have impacts on the safe and effective movement of all users of the public right of way.
DC-11 (19-1773) Resolution Recognizing September 21, 2019 as the International Day of Peace The City of Ann Arbor would recognize the United Nations-sanctioned holiday, International Day of Peace. Ann Arbor residents are encouraged to participate in downtown weekend gatherings for Peace Days, seeking peace locally and globally, on the newly designated Center of the City Commons, Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22, 2019.
DB-1 (19-1185) Resolution to Approve The Garnet Site Plan and Development Agreement, 325 East Summit Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-2 above.
DB-2 (19-1449) Resolution to Approve The Glen Mixed Use Development Modified PUD Site Plan, 201, 213, 215, 217 Glen Avenue and 1025 East Ann Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-4 above.
DS-1 (19-0956) Resolution to Proceed with a Road Reconfiguration Pilot for Traverwood Drive, from Huron Parkway to Plymouth Road The original version of this plan (passed on 8/5/19) would have reconfigured Traverwood Drive (from Plymouth Rd. to Huron Parkway) to narrow lanes, create a bike lane, and add street parking. That plan would have narrowed vehicular lanes to 10’ and reduced the number of vehicular lanes from three to two. Parking and a northbound bike lane would have been added. This resolution was re-considered on 8/19/19 and postponed. The plan considered on September 5 was amended to remove the additional parking and make room for a southbound bike lane. The current plan has been amended to add parking which is time-limited, for the benefit of adjacent entities (e.g. public library, mosque).
This past week, City Council participated in a joint meeting with other local governments and intervenors in the state lawsuit against Gelman industries re: dioxane pollution in our groundwater. After public comments, we had a lengthy closed session with attorneys, discussing terms of settlement, issues of negotiation, and various options moving forward. Currently, I cannot share any details about this process or its terms because I am bound by confidentiality. However, for those of you who could not attend this meeting to hear the public comments, I am happy to share my own take on what we heard from residents and, generally, what those comments mean to me as an elected representative.
Overwhelmingly, public comment at our meeting was in support of a Superfund designation, asking the EPA to intervene in cleaning up the Dioxine plume. We heard from environmental advocates who have been engaged and involved in the issue for years, local experts who have been studying the data and progression of this plume for decades, and other residents who are simply fed up and want to see the best possible cleanup for the benefit of future generations. We heard from people who have earned the equivalent of a PhD specifically on the topic of the dioxine plume (people who have studied the topic a whole lot longer than it takes to earn the average PhD).
Our legal case gives us access to consultant experts but I also take seriously the input we get from local advocates. In any situation, I would take local advocate input seriously, but in this case particularly, their ongoing, informed commitment to this issue is worthy of our attention. Many local residents have been waiting a long time for our local government to aggressively pursue remedies. I understand their relief at seeing (finally), in the last six months, some coordinated discussion among elected officials. The concerns and goals of local residents are not unreasonable; they are not asking for unicorns and rainbows. Their advocacy is informed, meaningful and important.
City Council will be participating in another joint meeting on December 12, with interim deadlines and internal updates between now and then. I look forward to eventually sharing more details about this when I am legally permitted to do so.
Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
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