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Reflections on Feb 16th Council Meeting

He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. -Stephen Colbert, mocking President George W. Bush (2006) The results of our Council meeting on Feb 16, 2021 were not what I expected. I know I am not the only member of our community who was surprised. Three issues before us - snow removal, regulation of speech, and a street closure - led to Council discussion that mostly ignored context, relevant facts, and new information. SNOW REMOVAL An item on our 2/16/21 agenda contemplated a pilot program for more effective snow removal downtown, to improve pedestrian safety. The resolution asked our City Administrator to consider the “cost and feasibility” of better snow removal strategies to make our crosswalks, bus stops, and sidewalks safer. The resolution focused specifically on the area of our city that sees the largest concentration of pedestrians, the highest number of accidents involving pedestrians: downtown. The important context for this idea: it was brought to Council by Ali Ramlawi, who owns a business downtown. In the two years Ali has served on Council, he has collaborated with all the relevant downtown entities (both private and public), to address a range of problems facing that area. Though this resolution was not going to generate immediate results, it was going to prompt immediate analysis and problem-solving with a ready set of partners. The day of our meeting, I got a call from one of my peers on the Commission on Disability Issues. He was pleased about the snow removal resolution because of his own experiences downtown, using a van equipped with a wheelchair lift. He helped me understand a concern worth adding to the resolution: on-street parking that is identified as accessible (and reserved for the benefit of people who need it) is often made inaccessible by piles of plowed snow in the right-of-way between curbs and sidewalks. I talked to CM Ramlawi about adding specific reference to this in his resolution. I had an amendment drafted before our meeting. I was never able to offer my amendment because, inexplicably, CM Ramlawi’s resolution was set aside. On the same day that our pedestrian infrastructure was overwhelmed with snow, Council rejected the idea of even contemplating a better response to the problem. My colleagues explained that an immediate assessment of cost/feasibility was not-quite-right, that one of our commissions was already tackling this problem with an alternate plan. Since our Council meeting, the chair of that commission admitted on social media: “Just to clarify, there is no current plan. There is a draft of a proposed plan.” We need to do a better job of understanding - and accurately describing - the context of the decisions before us. REGULATION OF SPEECH Another item on our 2/16/21 agenda asked for reconsideration of Council Rules, approved at the previous meeting. I have already written about my own concerns regarding the stated goals of these Rules (less substantive discussion and debate), the vague wording of the Rules, and the highly discretionary process of enforcing them. I believe there is a public interest in thorough discussion of the issues before Council. I also believe that rules regulating behavior should be as clear as possible and objectively measurable, particularly where enforcement rests with a single person or just a small committee of people. A week after approving new Council Rules on 2/1/21, Council received a legal memo on First Amendment concerns re: public speech at our meetings. At an earlier meeting, I asked that a memo on this topic be prepared for public release, but that idea was rejected by a majority of Council and, ironically, framed as “pro-censorship.” That decision is unfortunate, because (predictably) the privileged legal memo received by Council offers excellent explanation of how and why regulations on speech must be content neutral, the value of debate on public issues that is uninhibited, robust, and wide open. As drafted (and approved 2/1/21), the newly amended Rules create an ethics violations for speech that is interpreted to “assail, question or impugn the integrity, character, or motives of another Member.” This rule applies to comments made during meeting as well as comments made in “any other public venue.” Insofar as any of us consider our policy choices and voting record a reflection of our values, virtually any critique of a political decision could be interpreted as a question of integrity or character. These rules are wildly imprecise in terms defining a violation; enforcement is very likely to present issues of viewpoint discrimination. Before the new Council was seated, I served on the Rules Committee for two years. During that time, I pushed for better regulation of Council behavior but found little support for it. In that time, it never occurred to me that we should create a tool for our Committee (or the chair of our meetings) to penalize duly-elected colleagues for criticism or dissent. When I served on the Rules committee, I wanted greater transparency and accountability for Council Members in situations where facts - rather than feelings - could drive enforcement. I urged the Mayor to enforce existing speaking time limits with the use of timers (there was little interest). I wanted Rules about absences, a requirement that Council Members provide some general explanation for missing a meeting. I asked how a Council Member could be subject to criminal prosecution and not have any obligation to report it to the body. Regarding these new Council rules, I had recent conversation with a local attorney, who pointed out the potential “chilling effect” of them. I was told that the local ACLU could review the Rules and offer an outside assessment of them. When we reconsidered the Council rules on 2/16/21, I hoped that my colleagues would be open to this, interested in a better understanding of First Amendment concerns. Unfortunately, the tallied vote rejecting the Council’s need for this information was the same as the vote rejecting public information about First Amendment rights at our meetings. As Council members, we need to do a better job of embracing relevant information as well as supporting public debate of relevant information. ST. PATRICKS DAY STREET CLOSURE Council’s consent agenda for 2/16/21 included an item that would have raised no concerns at all in 2019 or earlier: a local bar requested a street closure on St. Patrick’s Day, to facilitate an outdoor event. Our consent agenda is a list of decisions that are typically passed all at once in a single vote, unless and until a member of Council pulls an item for more discussion. The 2/16/21 Consent Agenda included 22 items. My colleague, CM Ramlawi, asked for discussion of this street closure. CM Ramlawi opposed this street closure because he felt it was too soon to facilitate such a public event at this stage of the pandemic. He offered his perspective with qualification: he felt conflicted about it, because he knows how much downtown businesses are suffering, he knows how much they need additional revenue. Ali has a downtown business and he sees himself as an advocate for policies that support our downtown businesses, generally. His explanation at the table prompted me to think more seriously about my own vote. I voted against this street closure. Staff description of this event included safety precautions, but CM Ramlawi urged Council to think about it differently. It’s true that last summer and fall, Council approved similar measures to support downtown businesses, most notably street closures to facilitate outdoor dining. However, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations scheduled to happen from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. are very very different from socially distanced outdoor dining. Anyone who has ever visited downtown on St. Patrick’s Day knows that this is true. I walked through downtown once on St. Patrick’s Day (taking my child to a birthday party at Pinball Pete’s). As a downtown business owner, I imagine that CM Ramlawi has seen it a dozen times, at least. I did not expect approval of this street closure to inspire such anger in the community. I’ve seen frustration among residents who believe it prioritizes parties and profits ahead of public health. Parents have connected this decision to school issues: anything we do that increases community infection rates will only further delay (or validate arguments that delay) the opening of our public schools for in-person instruction. In the last six weeks, Council has received many emails urging us to step in and assert whatever influence we can to re-open Ann Arbor Public Schools for in-person instruction. Many residents have probably gotten responses from Council Members, explaining that the School Board is an independent body, that they are elected to make decisions about the schools and that Council interference wouldn’t be appropriate. I have written this myself, with added explanation that I feel helpless, too. Several of us on Council have students in the public schools, so we are experiencing the challenge of virtual learning along with the rest of the community. However, for most of us, our lives reflect relative advantage. Most of us are not struggling financially, the age of our children is older, only a few of us work jobs that increase our risk of exposure outside of our homes. I might have a unique perspective on this issue because in addition to having a child enrolled in AAPS, I teach preschool in-person three days a week. I know how many safety protocols we have been put in place at my school, how much we adapted, and how much more work it has been. I previously taught in AAPS classrooms for a relatively short time (less than three years) but that experience has given me additional insight. I think about how my small preschool has adjusted and I recognize what an enormous task it would be, scaling that up in an organization as large as AAPS. I understand the frustration of families who feel like this task should have been done, that their children deserve that effort. I also respect the authority of our local school board as a duly elected body, just like Council. The street closure for St. Patrick’s day legitimately does highlight Council’s responsibility. Local infection rates are a significant argument against a return to in-person schooling and a St. Patrick’s day celebration is very likely to contribute to community spread of the virus. I voted against the street closure because I considered the general risk to public health. Considering community frustration about the lack of in-person learning at our schools, I believe approval of this street closure sends a terrible message about how we balance risk and benefit. The benefit of a St. Patricks Day gathering is far outweighed by the risk of increasing community spread of COVID-19 and delaying the re-opening of our public schools. This decision could be re-visited. Any one of my colleagues who voted in favor of it could bring it back for reconsideration and another vote. This is a regular part of our process, specifically because people sometimes make mistakes. Council should always be open to new information, especially when that comes from the constituents we represent.

City Council Voting Chart for Feb 16, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order, this Council meeting was held electronically via Zoom teleconferencing It takes a couple weeks for City Council meeting minutes to be officially approved, and I know some of you are curious to know how we vote on the issues that matter to you.  In case you are not able to invest over three hours in watching it live or online, below is a chart illustrating how members voted on each issue at our most recent meeting on Feb 16, 2021. To find more information about any of the ordinances/resolutions listed in this chart, you can refer to Legistar: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=836611&GUID=F1749420-FE46-42FE-9A9B-88D386F141F0 Draft meeting minutes will be posted at that same link, generally within several days of the meeting. The official meeting minutes will also eventually be found at that same link, once approved by Council. A video recording of the City Council meeting is posted to CTN's YouTube page at https://youtu.be/dm8lFzvyWFk

City Council Newsletter (Feb 13, 2021)

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, due to the Presidents Day holiday, our meeting is scheduled for Tuesday. The agenda is extremely short, so our meeting will almost certainly be much shorter than usual. The short agenda includes two developments (St. Francis Assisi parish addition and 907/913 S. Main), reconsideration of the Council Rules approved at our last meeting, and a resolution to achieve more effective snow removal downtown. I wrote more about these last two agenda items below in my "Additional Thoughts" section below. Earlier this week, Council had a work session on the topic of our budget. The City anticipates significant revenue shortfalls, so every City department was asked to contemplate cutting 5% from their annual budgets. At our work session, staff presentations specifically addressed potential cuts and what would be sacrificed. I plan to write more on this topic at some point, but in the meantime, I encourage everyone to look at Mlive reporting by Ryan Stanton about this work session: https://www.mlive.com/news/2021/02/ann-arbor-may-trim-police-and-fire-budgets-while-putting-millions-extra-toward-climate-change.html As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I am still waiting for my turn to get vaccinated and I am still teaching preschool in-person. I got tested this week, due to an indirect/possible exposure at my school. In retrospect, my actual risk was very low (due to many safety protocols) but it was also a relief to get a negative test result. We are living in strange times, for sure! Barrier Busters Residents in need of financial help during this crisis (e.g. to avoid eviction, pay utility bills, cover emergency medical expenses) can find resources at this link: https://www.washtenaw.org/2818/Barrier-Buster-Agency-Provider-List 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 Virtual Coffee Hours Sunday Feb 14th 3:00pm During the COVID-19 crisis I have been holding "virtual" coffee hours with Zoom on Sunday afternoons before scheduled City Council meetings. Please email me for a link: contact@a2elnel.com Council Caucus Sunday Feb 14th 6:00pm We have been holding Council Caucus on Sunday nights before Council meetings since March 2019. All Council Members are invited to participate. During the COVID-19 crisis, we are holding Caucus via Zoom. Please check the Legistar link below for the latest information https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=827986&GUID=D8879046-8BD1-4F5D-A118-3D7F6DC934BA City Council Tuesday Feb 16th 7:00pm (note date change because of holiday) Council is meeting again using the Zoom application. The video feed will be broadcast on CTN and YouTube. Public comment is audio only using dial-in numbers. Please check the Legistar link below for the latest information. https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=836611&GUID=F1749420-FE46-42FE-9A9B-88D386F141F0 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. You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/ City Council Voting Chart for Feb 1, 2020 https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-feb-1-2021 Ann Arbor Community Academy (A2CA) signup by Feb 19th Ann Arbor Community Academy (previously Ann Arbor Citizens Academy) will run this year from March 10th through April 28th. People interested in participating are asked to fill out an interest form by Feb 19th. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-community-academy-a2ca-signup-by-feb-19th Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin Zoom Meetings Mar 4th Two Zoom meetings will be held on Mar 4th about the stormwater basic project at Churchill Downs Park https://www.a2elnel.com/post/churchill-downs-park-stormwater-basin-zoom-meetings-mar-4th City Survey for Ordinance on Energy and Water Use of Commercial and Multifamily Bldgs closes Mar 5th The City of Ann Arbor wants public input on a Commercial and Multifamily Benchmarking and Transparency draft ordinance, an initiative of the City’s A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-survey-for-ordinance-on-energy-and-water-use-of-commercial-and-multifamily-bldgs-closes-mar-5th Ann Arbor City Hall building closure extended to Mar 31st To comply with new State orders, City Hall will be closed through Mar 31, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-mar-31st-2021 A2COUNCIL Updates (A2COUNCIL.com) For anyone interested in understanding and analyzing the recent work of Council, I have created a resource at A2COUNCIL.com with summaries of issues and direct links to City documents. For each City Council meeting since November 2018, you can find links to the City's Legistar website, CTN's YouTube video, and links to my newsletters and voting charts. I have listed agenda items of interest from each meeting, along with articles I've written and articles published on MLive. https://www.a2elnel.com/a2council http://a2council.com Council Meeting Agenda 2/16/21 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=836611&GUID=F1749420-FE46-42FE-9A9B-88D386F141F0 Ann Arbor City Council
Tuesday Feb 16 (7:00pm)
Electronic Meeting 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 (21-0308) Agenda Response Memo and eComments - February 16, 2021 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 (21-0220) Appointment - Confirmation This nomination from the Mayor were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. Note that this nomination was added to the previous meeting's Agenda on the day of the meeting, and was therefore was not announced in time for last week's newsletter. Zachary Damon - Cable Communications Commission MC-2 (21-0275) Nominations and appointments for February 16, 2021 These nominations from the Mayor are being introduced at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting. Lynn Nybell - Elizabeth Dean Fund Jason Talley - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board Skylar Woodman - Housing and Human Services Advisory Board Laurence O’Connell - Recreation Advisory 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 (20-1237) Resolution to Approve an Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with CalAmp, Inc. for Tracking Fees and Annual Maintenance and Support of the Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) Units ($55,080, Annually) CA-2 (21-0122) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with CenturyLink Communications, LLC to Purchase Wireless Networking Equipment, Software and Related Services to Replace Legacy Equipment and Upgrade the Water Treatment Plants Wireless Network ($99,001) CA-3 (21-0150) Resolution to Approve Schedule 37 to the Interagency Agreement for Collaborative Technology and Services for a Merit Networks Shared Internet Connection with Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) ($38,964 over a 3-year period) CA-4 (20-1649) Resolution to Approve Amendment #1 of the Sub-Contract with the University of Michigan for the Leadership Circle Membership with MCity Project ($52,952.00 increase, total contract value $105,155.00) (8 Votes Required) CA-5 (21-0121) Resolution to Approve the Installation of Traffic Calming Devices on Glenwood Road (Overridge to Washtenaw) in the amount of $83,085.00 CA-6 (21-0183) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with Toter LLC for Solid Waste Containers ($98,000.00) and appropriate $98,000.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-7 (21-0125) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with Stryker Medical for the Purchase of Mechanical CPR Devices - LUCAS Devices ($95,794) CA-8 (21-0148) Resolution to Approve A Distribution from the City’s Police and Firemen’s Relief Fund ($25,000) CA-9 (21-0149) Resolution to Appoint a New Emergency Management Coordinator and Establish the Line of Succession to the Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor CA-10 (21-0189) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Aquatic Source, LLC for the Outdoor Pool Ultraviolet Disinfection Improvements Project ($188,503, ITB No. 4652) CA-11 (21-0190) Resolution to Recommend Approval of a Three-Year Professional Services Agreement (PSA) for Playground Improvement Services for Parks & Recreation (Not to Exceed $250,000/Year) CA-12 (21-0224) Resolution to Approve a Street Closure for Conor O’Neill’s Main Street Dining on Main Street Between Liberty and William Streets on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 from 6:00 AM until 11:00 PM CA-13 (21-0095) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of One Front Loading Refuse Truck from Bell Equipment Company (Sourcewell - $364,568.00) CA-14 (21-0147) Resolution Adopting Energy Criterion and Principles to Guide Energy-Related Investments in A2ZERO CA-15 (21-0198) Resolution to Accept a Sanitary Sewer Easement at 1120 and 1130 Maple Road from Hickory Way Apartments Condominium Association (8 Votes Required) CA-16 (21-0199) Resolution to Accept a Water Main Easement at 1120 and 1130 Maple Road from Hickory Way Apartments Condominium Association (8 Votes Required) CA-17 (21-0154) Resolution to Approve the Board of Insurance Administration’s January 28, 2021 Recommendations for 2021 Property and Casualty Insurance Renewals CA-18 (21-0225) Resolution to Approve the January 28, 2021 Recommendation of the Board of Insurance Administration to Deny the Claim and Subsequent Appeal Filed by Claimant Lori Tschirhart for a Sewer Backup Claim (CC040-20) CA-19 (21-0226) Resolution to Approve the January 28, 2021 Recommendation of the Board of Insurance Administration to Deny the Claim and Subsequent Appeal Filed by Claimant Melanie Welch for a Contractor Dispute Claim in the Amount of $25,000 (CC038-20) CA-20 (21-0227) Resolution to Approve the January 28, 2021 Recommendation of the Board of Insurance Administration to Deny the Claim and Subsequent Appeal Filed by Claimant Sujata Purohit for a Sewer Backup Claim in the Amount of $13,100 (CC040-20) CA-21 (21-0243) Resolution to Amend the City Attorney Contract CA-22 (21-0253) Resolution Recognizing Building Up: Partnering in Health and Wholeness as a Civic Nonprofit Organization Operating in Ann Arbor for the Purpose of Obtaining a Charitable Gaming License 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/DB-1 (21-0038) Resolution to Approve St. Francis of Assisi Site Plan, 2150 Frieze Avenue (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) Approval of this site plan will permit a two story 14,570 square foot parish addition at 2150 Frieze Avenue (St Francis Assisi). It is a Special Exception Use for a residential district. PH-2/DB-2 (21-0046) Resolution to Approve 907 & 913 S. Main Street Site Plan and Development Agreement, (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 6 Yeas and 0 Nays) Approval of this site plan will permit the demolition of two existing houses and the combination of lots to construct a six-unit 36 bedroom rental complex at 907 & 913 South Main Street. New Business - Boards and Commissions The following agenda items had public hearings as listed above. DB-1 (21-0038) Resolution to Approve St. Francis of Assisi Site Plan, 2150 Frieze Avenue (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-1 above. DB-2 (21-0046) Resolution to Approve 907 & 913 S. Main Street Site Plan and Development Agreement, (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 6 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-2 above. 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. There are no ordinance second readings at this Council meeting. 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 (21-0096) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 1.3 Acres from TWP (Township District) to R1A (Single-Family District), Talpos-Knight Property, 2731 Newport (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) An annexed township island at 2731 Newport will be zoned R1A (Single Family District), consistent with adjacent zoning, the 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 (21-0221) Resolution to Appoint Aidan Sova to the Human Rights Commission (7 Votes Required) This nomination from the Mayor were introduced at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. Seven votes are required because the "appointee is not a registered elector of the City of Ann Arbor". Note that this nomination was added to the previous meeting's Agenda on the day of the meeting, and was therefore was not announced in time for last week's newsletter. Aidan Sova - Human Rights Commission DC-2 (21-0229) Motion to Reconsider the February 1, 2021 Vote that Approved the Resolution to Approve Amendments to the Council Rules Motion to reconsider Council Rules approved at 2/1/21 meeting. New Council Rules limit discussion and debate of agenda items with reduced speaking times for Council Members (second speaking time limit changed from 3 minutes to 2 minutes), with a goal to end Council meetings before 11 p.m. Requests for additional discussion and debate of agenda items require a 3/4 vote of approval (nine Council Members). Council members are directed not to “assail, question or impugn the integrity, character, or motives of another Member” in any context (inside or outside of the meeting). The Presiding Officer (Mayor) will have full discretion to determine whether this violation has occurred and either grant an offended Council Member two minutes of speaking time or call a Council Member out of order for making the complaint. I wrote more about this in my "Additional Thoughts" section below. DC-3 (21-0286) Resolution to Request that the City Administrator Determine the Cost and Feasibility of Supplemental Snow and Ice Removal of our Pedestrian Infrastructure to Improve Pedestrian Safety within the DDA Boundaries This resolution directs the City Administrator to determine the cost and feasibility of supplemental snow and ice removal of our pedestrian infrastructure to improve pedestrian safety in the downtown DDA district. Potential projects would remove the snow and ice that collects on sidewalks, bus stops and crosswalk ramps due to city plowing. I wrote more about this in my "Additional Thoughts" section below. Additional thoughts… Two especially interesting items on this week’s agenda are DC-2 and DC-3: a motion to reconsider recently approved Council Rules (DC-2) and a resolution to address more effective snow removal downtown in the DDA district (DC-3). At our meeting on February 1st, Council approved new Council Rules with significant changes, specifically regulating the speech of Council members both inside and outside of our meetings. In the context of meetings, the new rules aimed to limit substantive discussion and debate of agenda items with shorter speaking times for Council Members. The rules also define a new violation, if any Council member speaks to “assail, question or impugn the integrity, character, or motives of another Member.” At the full discretion of the Mayor, a Council Member will be given extra speaking time if they feel that this rule has been violated by speech during or outside of a meeting. At the discretion of the Administrative Committee, these terms can also define an ethics violation for speech outside of a meeting (“in another public venue”). In our Council debate, I supported three different amendments aimed at removing this vague and highly subjective rule, but all three amendments were rejected by a majority of Council. A few days after Council approved these new Rules, a local attorney (and active member of the ACLU) asked me about them and pointed out a potential “chilling effect” on free speech. The phrase “chilling effect” is a legal term that refers to how the mere threat of possible sanction discourages the legitimate expression of dissent. Our Council debate on these new rules during the Feb 1st meeting did make clear exactly what kind of speech would be targeted: criticism and dissent. At one point, the Mayor explained: It’s not particularly complicated to have this not be a problem, and that is we all simply avoid speaking about each other in a way that assails, questions, or impugns their integrity, character or motives. We don’t talk about suggestions of improper influence, we don’t talk about or declaim on hypocrisy. I look forward to re-visiting our Rules and I especially look forward to hearing an opinion from the ACLU about them. Agenda item DC-3 has been introduced by my colleague, Council Member Ali Ramlawi, who owns a downtown business and also serves on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Partners committee. This resolution asks our City Administrator to consider the cost and feasibility of improved snow removal for the safety of pedestrians in the downtown area. Though not specifically referenced in the resolution, this is a particularly sensible proposal because of potential collaboration with the DDA and the University. I appreciate the perspective and experience of CM Ramlawi on issues like this - he has a better understanding of our downtown needs than any other member of Council. At our last meeting, Council considered a similar resolution on the much larger (and more unwieldy) task of snow removal city-wide. One of my colleagues proposed that the City simply collaborate with and expand on the small neighborhood-based volunteer program, Snow Buddy. It happens that the Snow Buddy program was actively studied several years ago, so the City already knows how and why that model is not a viable strategy for city-wide snow removal. When Council discussed this idea, staff helpfully offered additional explanation: the City cannot rely on volunteers because we must comply with minimum wage ordinances. That overly-broad resolution was set aside by Council, postponed to an indefinite date. What’s contemplated in DC-3 is realistic and achievable. If DC-3 leads to some measure of success downtown, it is much closer to the exact model that could be expanded for better snow removal services city-wide. As a pilot program, it would make a lot of sense. Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4! Elizabeth Nelson ENelson@A2gov.org 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

Ann Arbor City Hall building closure extended to Mar 31st 2021

On Feb 12, 2021, the City announced that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Mar 31, 2021, in compliance with new State orders. State order issued Feb 4, 2021 https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98455-551407--,00.html City news post last updated Feb 12, 2021 (text copied below) https://www.a2gov.org/news/pages/article.aspx?i=747 Previous closure announcements: The City announced on Nov 17, 2020 that City Hall would be closed from Nov 18th through Dec 8th. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-to-close-nov-18th-to-dec-8th The City announced on Dec 7, 2020 that the closure would be extended through Dec 20th https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-dec-20th The City announced on Dec 18, 2020 that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Jan 15, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-jan-15th The City announced on Jan 15, 2021 that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Jan 15, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-jan-30th-2021 The City announced on Jan 27, 2021 that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Feb 21, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-feb-21st-2021 Ann Arbor City Hall Building Closed Nov 18, 2020 – Feb 21, 2021 The public is encouraged to use online city services. Continuing efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and remain in compliance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) extended order, Ann Arbor Larcom City Hall will be closed to the public Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 through Sunday, Feb 21, 2021. Per the MDHHS order, the city will conduct all non-essential operations remotely.​ City Se​rvices: These measures will not impact critical services such as drinking water, waste water, police, fire, emergency operations or waste and recycling pickup schedules. The public is encouraged to access city services via phone, email or online: To pay parking tickets, water bills, property taxes, apply for permits as well as other customer service options, residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of online services by visiting www.a2gov.org/services. Customer Service Center staff are available by calling 734.794.6320 Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Customer service questions and inquires can be emailed to the Customer Service Center at customerservice@a2gov.org. Issues reported via the report a problem website or the A2 Fix It app will continue to be addressed: https://www.a2gov.org/services/pages/report-a-problem.aspx. City building, trade and rental inspections can be scheduled via appointment by calling 734.794.6263 or emailing building@a2gov.org. Winter property taxes that are due in December can be paid online (http://www.a2gov.org/departments/finance-admin-services/treasury/Pages/TreasuryDivision.aspx), by mail, via a drop box on Ann Street or at several local banks: Level One Bank, Bank of Ann Arbor and TCF Bank. City of Ann Arbor Parks: Buhr and Veterans ice rinks are closed. The city will continue to evaluate the orders with the goal to reopen both rinks once permitted. Leslie Park Golf Course is closed. Huron Hills Golf Course is open until Thursday, Nov. 26, however, the clubhouse is closed. The Ann Arbor Farmers Market remains open. For the latest COVID-19 health information, please visit www.washtenaw.org/COVID19. In addition, the state offers a free COVID Alert tracking app for mobile phones, which can help to notify users and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-99891_102592---,00.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=alert. Individual safety reminders include: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Physical distance 6 feet apart from those outside your household. Wear a face covering over nose and mouth when in enclosed spaces. Stay home when you are sick.

City Survey for Ordinance on Energy and Water Use of Commercial and Multifamily Bldgs closes Mar 5th

The following was released by the City on Feb 11, 2021 https://www.a2gov.org/news/pages/article.aspx?i=762 City Seeks Public Comment on Commercial and Multifamily Energy and Water Use Reporting Ordinance The City of Ann Arbor wants public input on a Commercial and Multifamily Benchmarking and Transparency draft ordinance, an initiative of the City’s A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan. The draft ordinance was developed in partnership with the city’s office of sustainability and innovations (OSI) and a community task force to provide insight into the energy and water usage of commercial and multifamily buildings in the community, and now public comment is being sought. The survey gathering public comment on the ordinance, which can be found at www.a2gov.org/benchmarking, is open to all Ann Arbor building owners, residents and businesses, and will take an estimated 20–30 minutes to complete. Many of the questions are optional. The deadline to complete the survey is March 5, 2021. The draft benchmarking ordinance aims to help Ann Arbor building owners identify opportunities to increase the energy efficiency and water efficiency of their buildings, which currently account for 68% of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. The OSI hosted a public open house Feb. 4 to present the details of the policy. The open house included community speakers such as local building owners/property managers and the Ann Arbor 2030 District, a partner organization working to reduce existing building energy consumption, water use and transportation emissions. A recording of the open house, along with additional background information and a link to the public comment survey, is also available at www.a2gov.org/benchmarking. Benchmarking is a mechanism for buildings to measure and manage their energy and water use. It creates information that will enable more informed decision-making around building energy use and efficiency investments. The ordinance will help improve the energy and water efficiency particularly in large buildings across Ann Arbor. By providing reliable data to building owners and tenants, and consistent information to the market, benchmarking and transparency leads to average energy savings of 2–3% each year, and about 7% over 3 years. Benchmarking is one of the 44 actions named in the city’s A2ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan, a document created with input from thousands of Ann Arborites that charts a path toward achieving a just transition to community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. The A2ZERO plan was unanimously adopted by City Council in June 2020.

Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin Zoom Meetings Mar 4th

The following was emailed Feb 11, 2021 by Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy of Washtenaw County Water Resources, giving details of two Zoom meetings that will be held on Mar 4, 2021. This is the City page for Churchill Downs park: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation/parks-places/Pages/ChurchillDowns.aspx This is the Washtenaw County's website page with more information about the stormwater basin project : https://www.washtenaw.org/3237/Churchill-Downs-Park-Stormwater-Basin For questions, please contact Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner for Washtenaw County (sheehanh@washtenaw.org) I previously posted about this project: https://www.a2elnel.com/post/churchill-downs-park-stormwater-basin-zoom-meeting-aug-12th https://www.a2elnel.com/post/churchill-downs-park-stormwater-basin-project-walkthrough-sept-24th Neighbors of Churchill Downs Park: EGLE (formally known as the DEQ) has accepted our permit application. This was a necessary milestone prior to planning ahead. Now that the review clock is ticking, I’d like to gather for a virtual update on this project on March 4, 2021. We’ll be going over background, current design, plans for the playground and other park amenities, timeline and challenges ahead to bring this project to fruition. We will take advantage of virtual meeting technology to offer both a noon and 7PM option for you to attend. It will be informal to allow conversation, but screen sharing will be moderated to limit unwelcome intrusions. Please join us at either time. Both meetings will provide the same information. Please let me know if you have questions. I hope to see you in 2D! Harry Sheehan Chief Deputy of Washtenaw County Water Resources sheehanh@washtenaw.org Noon Meeting Thursday, March 4, 2021 12PM Noon Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87876224207?pwd=c2s1WlBtVXo4OE56Y29YMjIwWHJuUT09 Meeting ID: 878 7622 4207 Passcode: 661435 One tap mobile +13126266799,,87876224207#,,,,*661435# US (Chicago) +16465588656,,87876224207#,,,,*661435# US (New York) Dial by your location +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 878 7622 4207 Passcode: 661435 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcBmZkZdtD 7 PM Meeting Thursday, March 4, 2021 7PM Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85638501990?pwd=UktGOWRMZ29ZQVhaR3R1Nzk1ajBqZz09 Meeting ID: 856 3850 1990 Passcode: 499456 One tap mobile +13017158592,,85638501990#,,,,*499456# US (Washington DC) +13126266799,,85638501990#,,,,*499456# US (Chicago) Dial by your location +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose) Meeting ID: 856 3850 1990 Passcode: 499456 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kAtOQlEoz

Additional Thoughts (Feb 13, 2021) - Council Rules and Snow Removal

The following was originally published in my Feb 13, 2021 Newsletter in the "Additional Thoughts" section. Two especially interesting items on this week’s agenda are DC-2 and DC-3: a motion to reconsider recently approved Council Rules (DC-2) and a resolution to address more effective snow removal downtown in the DDA district (DC-3). DC-2 (21-0229) Motion to Reconsider the February 1, 2021 Vote that Approved the Resolution to Approve Amendments to the Council Rules At our meeting on February 1st, Council approved new Council Rules with significant changes, specifically regulating the speech of Council members both inside and outside of our meetings. In the context of meetings, the new rules aimed to limit substantive discussion and debate of agenda items with shorter speaking times for Council Members. The rules also define a new violation, if any Council member speaks to “assail, question or impugn the integrity, character, or motives of another Member.” At the full discretion of the Mayor, a Council Member will be given extra speaking time if they feel that this rule has been violated by speech during or outside of a meeting. At the discretion of the Administrative Committee, these terms can also define an ethics violation for speech outside of a meeting (“in another public venue”). In our Council debate, I supported three different amendments aimed at removing this vague and highly subjective rule, but all three amendments were rejected by a majority of Council. A few days after Council approved these new Rules, a local attorney (and active member of the ACLU) asked me about them and pointed out a potential “chilling effect” on free speech. The phrase “chilling effect” is a legal term that refers to how the mere threat of possible sanction discourages the legitimate expression of dissent. Our Council debate on these new rules during the Feb 1st meeting did make clear exactly what kind of speech would be targeted: criticism and dissent. At one point, the Mayor explained: It’s not particularly complicated to have this not be a problem, and that is we all simply avoid speaking about each other in a way that assails, questions, or impugns their integrity, character or motives. We don’t talk about suggestions of improper influence, we don’t talk about or declaim on hypocrisy. I look forward to re-visiting our Rules and I especially look forward to hearing an opinion from the ACLU about them. DC-3 (21-0286) Resolution to Request that the City Administrator Determine the Cost and Feasibility of Supplemental Snow and Ice Removal of our Pedestrian Infrastructure to Improve Pedestrian Safety within the DDA Boundaries Agenda item DC-3 has been introduced by my colleague, Council Member Ali Ramlawi, who owns a downtown business and also serves on the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Partners committee. This resolution asks our City Administrator to consider the cost and feasibility of improved snow removal for the safety of pedestrians in the downtown area. Though not specifically referenced in the resolution, this is a particularly sensible proposal because of potential collaboration with the DDA and the University. I appreciate the perspective and experience of CM Ramlawi on issues like this - he has a better understanding of our downtown needs than any other member of Council. At our last meeting, Council considered a similar resolution on the much larger (and more unwieldy) task of snow removal city-wide. One of my colleagues proposed that the City simply collaborate with and expand on the small neighborhood-based volunteer program, Snow Buddy. It happens that the Snow Buddy program was actively studied several years ago, so the City already knows how and why that model is not a viable strategy for city-wide snow removal. When Council discussed this idea, staff helpfully offered additional explanation: the City cannot rely on volunteers because we must comply with minimum wage ordinances. That overly-broad resolution was set aside by Council, postponed to an indefinite date. What’s contemplated in DC-3 is realistic and achievable. If DC-3 leads to some measure of success downtown, it is much closer to the exact model that could be expanded for better snow removal services city-wide. As a pilot program, it would make a lot of sense.

City Council Voting Chart for Feb 1, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order, this Council meeting was held electronically via Zoom teleconferencing It takes a couple weeks for City Council meeting minutes to be officially approved, and I know some of you are curious to know how we vote on the issues that matter to you.  In case you are not able to invest six and a half hours in watching it live or online, below is a chart illustrating how members voted on each issue at our most recent meeting on Feb 1, 2021. To find more information about any of the ordinances/resolutions listed in this chart, you can refer to Legistar: https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=829539&GUID=A46672B6-67B8-40DB-B73E-A59A7EB5A0C9 Draft meeting minutes will be posted at that same link, generally within several days of the meeting. The official meeting minutes will also eventually be found at that same link, once approved by Council. A video recording of the City Council meeting is posted to CTN's YouTube page at https://youtu.be/lXxWXTeQQUw

Council Newsletter (Jan 30, 2021)

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’s agenda includes a lot of unfinished business from previous meetings - membership in a regional waste management authority (WRRMA), appointments to the Council of the Commons - as well as public hearings and site plans for developments (2195 East Ellsworth, 2111 Packard). Our Consent Agenda includes several purchases of Greenbelt and Parks, which I wrote about in my "Additional Thoughts" section at the bottom of this newsletter. Like many of you, I am waiting my turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I know a number of people who have already received it, e.g. my elderly mother-in-law in Illinois, my niece in West Virginia, local friends who work in healthcare. Because I work in a preschool (which has met in-person since September), I am now technically eligible to receive the vaccine in "Phase 1b" — like many others, I am still waiting for access. I recently participated in a meeting where the Mayor of Ypsilanti asked about when grocery store and gas station workers would be prioritized to receive the COVID vaccine. That question certainly put my own level of risk/exposure into perspective. At my small in-person preschool (with adapted policies/procedures) we teach 21 students, but I am in relatively close contact with only seven children and three other adults. I have a lot of reasons to feel grateful about my own circumstances, even as I wait to get the vaccine. I will continue to post updates and information about the COVID vaccine as I become aware of them. In other news: since our last meeting, I was featured on an episode of Ward Talk on CTN with Bonnie Gabowitz! She is a great interviewer and I always enjoy a conversation with her. You can find the interview here: https://youtu.be/Ocowdkdg158 Barrier Busters Residents in need of financial help during this crisis (e.g. to avoid eviction, pay utility bills, cover emergency medical expenses) can find resources at this link: https://www.washtenaw.org/2818/Barrier-Buster-Agency-Provider-List 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 Virtual Coffee Hours Sunday Jan 31st 3:00pm During the COVID-19 crisis I have been holding "virtual" coffee hours with Zoom on Sunday afternoons before scheduled City Council meetings. Please email me for a link: contact@a2elnel.com Council Caucus Sunday Jan 31st 6:00pm We have been holding Council Caucus on Sunday nights before Council meetings since March 2019. All Council Members are invited to participate. During the COVID-19 crisis, we are holding Caucus via Zoom. Please check the Legistar link below for the latest information https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=827985&GUID=5627453A-D2B1-47A3-85A1-D57CB4FE55F3 City Council Monday Feb 1st 7:00pm Council is meeting again using the Zoom application. The video feed will be broadcast on CTN and YouTube. Public comment is audio only using dial-in numbers. Please check the Legistar link below for the latest information. https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=829539&GUID=A46672B6-67B8-40DB-B73E-A59A7EB5A0C9 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. You can see a listing of all my posts here: https://www.a2elnel.com/blog/ City Council Voting Chart for Jan 19, 2020 https://www.a2elnel.com/post/city-council-voting-chart-for-jan-19-2021 No-Cost COVID-19 Testing Jan 31st at Pioneer High School https://www.a2elnel.com/post/no-cost-covid-19-testing-jan-31st-at-pioneer-high-school Ann Arbor Community Academy (A2CA) signup by Feb 19th Ann Arbor Community Academy (previously Ann Arbor Citizens Academy) will run this year from March 10th through April 28th. People interested in participating are asked to fill out an interest form by Feb 19th. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-community-academy-a2ca-signup-by-feb-19th Ann Arbor City Hall building closure extended to Feb 21st To comply with new State orders, City Hall will be closed through Feb 21, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-feb-21st-2021 A2COUNCIL Updates (A2COUNCIL.com) For anyone interested in understanding and analyzing the recent work of Council, I have created a resource at A2COUNCIL.com with summaries of issues and direct links to City documents. For each City Council meeting since November 2018, you can find links to the City's Legistar website, CTN's YouTube video, and links to my newsletters and voting charts. I have listed agenda items of interest from each meeting, along with articles I've written and articles published on MLive. https://www.a2elnel.com/a2council http://a2council.com Council Meeting Agenda 2/1/21 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=829539&GUID=A46672B6-67B8-40DB-B73E-A59A7EB5A0C9 Ann Arbor City Council
Monday Feb 1 (7:00pm)
Electronic Meeting 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 (21-0204) Agenda Response Memo and eComments - February 1, 2021 This agenda item has a PDF attachment with all questions raised by Council Members, and the answers provided by staff. Communications from the Mayor There are no board or commision nominations from the Mayor on the agenda. 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 (21-0010) Resolution to Approve the City’s Contract with Delta Dental Plan of Michigan, Inc., for Claims Administration Services for the City’s Dental Plan through December 31, 2021 ($800,000 per year) CA-2 (21-0021) Resolution to Authorize Payments to Unum Life Insurance Company of America and to Renew Associated Group Term Life, Accident, and Disability Insurance Policies for City Employees and their Eligible Dependents, and to Authorize the City Administrator to Execute the Necessary Documentation ($629,657 annually). CA-3 (21-0033) Resolution to Approve the Renewal of the City’s Contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to Provide Administrative Claims Processing Services and Related Stop-Loss Insurance Coverage Through BCS Insurance Company for the City’s Health Care Plan on Behalf of Employees and Retirees and Their Dependents, and to Authorize the City Administrator to Execute the Necessary Documentation ($2,051,303) CA-4 (21-0037) Resolution to Approve Interagency Agreement for Collaborative Technology and Services - Schedule 36 with Downtown Development Authority (Revenue of $82,650.00 through 2025) CA-5 (21-0039) Resolution to Approve Participation in the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Frederick G. Andres Trust East Property in Scio Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Scio Township, and Appropriate $268,400.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-6 (21-0040) Resolution to Approve Participation in the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Frederick G. Andres Trust West Property in Scio Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Scio Township, and Appropriate $230,809.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-7 (21-0041) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Hamilton Family Living Trust Property in Salem Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $2,871,667.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-8 (21-0042) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Kennedy Property in Northfield Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $756,367.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-9 (21-0043) Resolution to Accept a Donation of Park Land and Access Easement at 2601 Pontiac Trail (The Cottages at Barton Green) (8 Votes Required) CA-10 (21-0044) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Park Land at Cardinal Avenue and Appropriate $1,507,500.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-11 (21-0045) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Park Land at 2570 Dexter Road and Appropriate $211,500.00 (8 Votes Required) CA-12 (21-0099) Resolution to Approve Revised Bylaws of the Environmental Commission CA-13 (21-0151) Resolution Authorizing Summary Publication of Ordinance 20-34 - An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.16.6.D, 5.17.4, 5.17.6.C, 5.26.2.A, and 5.28.8, and Tables 5.15-1, 5.15-2, and 5.15-3 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Marijuana Processor, ADU, Security, Building Materials, FAR Determination, Fence Graphic, Use Tables) CA-14 (21-0152) Resolution Authorizing Summary Publication of Ordinance No. 20-35 - An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.19.1, 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 (Parking Standard Applicability, Required Parking, Specific Terms) CA-15 (20-1996) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract Change Order No. 3 with Lang Constructors, Inc. for Galvanized Water Service Line Replacements - ITB No. 4593 ($1,194,560.00 increase, total contract $1,527,085.00) CA-16 (21-0160) Resolution to Approve Sixth Amendment to Professional Services Agreement with Bodman, PLC, for Legal Services Relative to 1,4-Dioxane from Gelman Sciences, Inc., dba Pall Life Sciences ($157,500.00) 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 (20-1777) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 7.23 Acres from R1C (Single-Family Residential District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), Lockwood of Ann Arbor PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 2195 East Ellsworth (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (8 Votes Required) A 7.92-acre vacant site at 2195 East Ellsworth would be re-zoned from R1C (Single-Family Residential District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development) to construct a three-story, 168,130 square foot residential building and a 154-space surface parking lot (“Lockwood”). The PUD will include 154 independent senior residential apartments - 89 one-bedroom units and 65 two-bedroom units - in a single building. The building will also contain a commercial kitchen and dining area, small barber shop, activity room, movie room, fitness room and small clinic. PH-2/DB-1 (21-0058) Resolution to Approve Lockwood of Ann Arbor PUD Site Plan and Development Agreement, 2195 East Ellsworth (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the site plan for 2195 East Ellsworth. See PH-1/B-1. PH-3/B-2 (20-1779) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code), Zoning of 0.9 Acre from P (Parking) to C3 (Fringe Commercial), 2111 Packard Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (ORD-20-37) A 0.9 acre portion of a 1.69 acre parcel at 2111 Packard would be re-zoned from P (Parking) to C3 (Fringe Commercial) to allow for development of a mixed use development: a 72 unit, 3-story apartment building. The project will include 118 bedrooms, 84 surface parking spaces, and 3,642 square feet of retail space at each corner of the building that fronts Packard Street. (This commercial location is currently a BGreen Restaurant Supply and Mathnasium.) The proposed zoning is consistent with the adjacent zoning, the surrounding land uses, and the City's Master Plan. PH-4/DB-2 (20-1796) Resolution to Approve 2111 Packard Site Plan and Development Agreement, at 2111 Packard Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the site plan for 2111 Packard. See PH-3/B-2. PH-5/DB-3 (20-1468) Resolution to Approve the Annexation of 1290 Dhu Varren Road, 2.52 Acres, 1290 Dhu Varren Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) A 2.52 acre parcel in Ann Arbor Township (1290 Dhu Varren Road) will be annexed into the City. Its current use is consistent with the adjacent zoning, land uses and master plan. Council vote on the proposed R1D zoning will be scheduled after annexation process is complete. 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 (20-1777) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 7.23 Acres from R1C (Single-Family Residential District) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), Lockwood of Ann Arbor PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 2195 East Ellsworth (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (8 Votes Required) This is the same as PH-1 above. B-2 (20-1779) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code), Zoning of 0.9 Acre from P (Parking) to C3 (Fringe Commercial), 2111 Packard Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (ORD-20-37) 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. There are no ordinance first readings at this Council meeting. 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. DB-1 (21-0058) Resolution to Approve Lockwood of Ann Arbor PUD Site Plan and Development Agreement, 2195 East Ellsworth (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-2 above. DB-2 (20-1796) Resolution to Approve 2111 Packard Site Plan and Development Agreement, at 2111 Packard Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays). This is the same as PH-4 above. DB-3 (20-1468) Resolution to Approve the Annexation of 1290 Dhu Varren Road, 2.52 Acres, 1290 Dhu Varren Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval - 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) This is the same as PH-5 above. DC-1 (20-1999) Resolution to Appoint 3 At-Large Members to the Council of the Commons, and Confirm the PAC Appointment to the Council of the Commons This resolution will appoint three at-large members and confirm appointment of a representative from the Parks Advisory Commission to the Council of the Commons. DC-2 (20-1841) Resolution to Approve the City of Ann Arbor Membership in the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA) (This was removed from both the 1/4/21 and 1/19/21 agendas) If approved, the City Administrator will take the necessary steps for Ann Arbor to join the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA). The current members of WRRMA are: Ann Arbor Township, the City of Dexter, Pittsfield Charter Township, the City of Saline, the Township of Scio, the City of Ypsilanti, and the Charter Township of Ypsilanti. DC-3 (21-0187) Resolution Requesting that the City Administrator Determine the Cost and Feasibility of Supplemental Snow and Ice Removal of our Pedestrian Infrastructure to Improve Pedestrian Safety This resolution directs the City Administrator to determine the cost and feasibility of supplemental snow and ice removal of our pedestrian infrastructure to improve pedestrian safety. Potential projects would remove the snow and ice that collects on sidewalks, driveway aprons, bus stops and crosswalk ramps due to city plowing and specifically maintain crosswalks. DC-4 (21-0188) Resolution in Support of an Equitable Community Engagement Policy The City Administrator is directed to develop an Equitable Community Engagement policy to build on existing community engagement practices and the ongoing work of boards, commissions and volunteers. This policy will represent best practices and be produced by March 1, 2021 DC-5 (21-0127) Resolution to Approve Amendments to the Council Rules New Council Rules would be adopted. Among other things, they will limit discussion and debate of agenda items with reduced speaking times for Council Members (second speaking time limit changed from 3 minutes to 2 minutes), with a goal to end Council meetings before 11 p.m. Requests for additional discussion and debate of agenda items would require a 3/4 vote of approval (nine Council Members). Council members are directed not to “assail, question or impugn the integrity, character, or motives of another Member” in any context (inside or outside of the meeting). The Presiding Officer (Mayor) will have full discretion to determine whether this violation has occurred and either grant an offended Council Member two minutes of speaking time or call a Council Member out of order for making the complaint. DC-6 (21-0203) Resolution to Approve Drive-Through COVID Testing Site at Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Circle, as a Special Event A Special Event would be approved for a drive-through COVID testing site at Briarwood Mall, 100 Briarwood Circle (south of the former Sears wing). This is intended and needed for more than 60 days, exceeding the current limitations for any temporary outdoor activity in this zoning district. Staff recommend designating this special event until the end of 2021. DC-7 (21-0214) Resolution to Restate the Purpose and Membership of the Council of the CommonsThis resolution re-states the purpose and membership of the Council of the Commons, adding one at-large member. The Council of the Commons will have eleven voting members affirmed by City Council and appointed to two-year terms unless otherwise stated. Additional thoughts… The Consent Agenda this week includes three significant purchases of park land for a total cost to the City of $2.8 million - one purchase outside of the city (CA-7) and two purchases within the City limits (CA-10 and CA-11). All purchases will use Open Space and Parkland Preservation Millage funds that are designated for this purpose. Agenda item CA-7 would purchase 375 acres in Salem Township, ultimately costing the City $1,122,367 (30% of the purchase price). This would be the largest Greenbelt purchase in the history of the program. Cost-sharing terms with the County and use of grant funds (to reimburse the City) make up a total purchase price of $3,570,000. The two proposed purchases within the City limits in agenda items CA-10 and CA-11 are remarkable in terms of context. In my written questions to the agenda (Legistar Link) I asked about recent parkland purchases within the last five years: how much money has been spent on such purchases within the City? Staff’s response include this chart on page 7 of "parkland acquisitions funded in whole or part by the Open Space & Parkland Preservation millage within the city limits since 2015." (note that "FMV Price" = Fair Market Value of the property, and "Total Parks cost" = amount the City actually paid) Summing the columns, the total Fair Market Value of the 8 properties purchased since 2015 is $1,246,172, but the City only paid a total of $562,661 (averaging 45% of market value). On this week's agenda, items CA-10 and CA-11 total over $1.7 million in spending on parkland within City limits. This will be paid to private developers who have offered no price discounts in their terms of sale. Agenda item CA-10 would spend $1,507,500 on a woodland parcel of 3.77 acres adjacent to Mary Beth Doyle Park, with frontage on Cardinal Avenue. This purchase would marginally extend a park that is already quite large (80+ acres), for the benefit of “improved access.” This parcel is currently zoned as a PUD, which would permit the construction of nineteen homes. In response to questions this week, Council received the following explanation: “The City has negotiated a discounted sale price on some parkland acquisitions, but in this particular case the applicant was unwilling to entertain a discount.” Presumably, the developer has abandoned a plan to build homes there and now asks the City to pay the full value of the investment. Map of the proposed park purchase in CA-10 (Legistar Link) Agenda item CA-11 would purchase 0.6 acres of land at 2570 Dexter Road for $211,500. The intended use of this property is very specific: park amenities that don’t exist at nearby Veterans Park (e.g. basketball courts) can be constructed there to serve the needs of residents at West Arbor affordable housing development. Like CA-10, this purchase fully compensates an individual developer with no negotiated discount on price. City staff explains that the developer “would not be interested in a discount on the sale price.” Map of the proposed park purchase in CA-11 (Legistar Link) I look forward to conversation at Council regarding these three purchases - they are a good example of how our Consent Agenda often contains issues worth discussing further. Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4! Elizabeth Nelson ENelson@A2gov.org 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

Ann Arbor Community Academy (A2CA) signup by Feb 19th

The following was released by the City on Jan 25, 2021 https://www.a2gov.org/news/pages/article.aspx?i=758 Ann Arbor Community Academy Launches Interest Signup Form Ahead of March 10 Kickoff The Ann Arbor Community Academy (A2CA) is returning for a fourth year to provide a broad view of local government for community members 18 years of age and older. During a series of weekly sessions, from Wednesday, March 10, to Wednesday, April 28, 6:30–8:30 p.m., participants will connect with city staff and officials and learn more about long-term city planning efforts, day-to-day operations and the importance of civic involvement. The program, formerly named Ann Arbor Citizens Academy, is free to participants. The academy will not meet March 31, to coincide with Ann Arbor Public Schools spring break. A form for those interested in participating in A2CA is currently online at:https://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/A2CA/Pages/Ann-Arbor-Community-Academy.aspx The deadline to submit the interest form is Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Those who submit the form will be contacted with more information about the program and next steps once planning is complete. After participating in A2CA tours, presentations and activities designed to deepen the understanding of governmental functions and services, city leadership hopes participants will be motivated to play a more active role in shaping the future of Ann Arbor. Graduates from past academies have served on the City Council, Planning Commission, Public Art Commission, Water System Advisory Board and have participated in other city projects and programs. A2CA is designed to give an overview of city government for adult residents of the city of Ann Arbor. Based on program capacity, preference will be given to residents of the city of Ann Arbor over nonresidents. For more information, visit www.a2gov.org/A2CA or contact the A2CA coordinator, Robert Mulcihy, at rmulcihy@a2gov.org

No-Cost COVID-19 Testing Jan 31st at Pioneer High School

Washtenaw County Health Department is working with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, HONU Management Group, and Ann Arbor Public Schools to offer no-cost COVID-19 testing Sunday, Jan 31, 2021. COVID-19 testing (PCR) Sunday, Jan 31, 2021 (12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM) *Please do not line up before the event start time Drive-thru format, Open to all Pioneer High School 601 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Use the Main St. entrance Pre-registration is preferred but not required. Link to registration form: https://honumg.info/PioneerHS

Ann Arbor City Hall building closure extended to Feb 21st 2021

On Jan 27, 2021, the City announced that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Feb 21, 2021, in compliance with new State orders. State order issued Jan 22, 2021 https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_98455-550215--,00.html City news post last updated Jan 27, 2021 (text copied below) https://www.a2gov.org/news/pages/article.aspx?i=747 Previous closure announcements: The City announced on Nov 17, 2020 that City Hall would be closed from Nov 18th through Dec 8th. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-to-close-nov-18th-to-dec-8th The City announced on Dec 7, 2020 that the closure would be extended through Dec 20th https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-dec-20th The City announced on Dec 18, 2020 that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Jan 15, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-jan-15th The City announced on Jan 15, 2021 that the closure of City Hall would be extended through Jan 30, 2021. https://www.a2elnel.com/post/ann-arbor-city-hall-building-closure-extended-to-jan-30th-2021 Ann Arbor City Hall Building Closed Nov 18, 2020 – Feb 21, 2021 The public is encouraged to use online city services. Continuing efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and remain in compliance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' (MDHHS) extended order, Ann Arbor Larcom City Hall will be closed to the public Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020 through Sunday, Feb 21, 2021. Per the MDHHS order, the city will conduct all non-essential operations remotely.​ City Se​rvices: These measures will not impact critical services such as drinking water, waste water, police, fire, emergency operations or waste and recycling pickup schedules. The public is encouraged to access city services via phone, email or online: To pay parking tickets, water bills, property taxes, apply for permits as well as other customer service options, residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of online services by visiting www.a2gov.org/services. Customer Service Center staff are available by calling 734.794.6320 Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Customer service questions and inquires can be emailed to the Customer Service Center at customerservice@a2gov.org. Issues reported via the report a problem website or the A2 Fix It app will continue to be addressed: https://www.a2gov.org/services/pages/report-a-problem.aspx. City building, trade and rental inspections can be scheduled via appointment by calling 734.794.6263 or emailing building@a2gov.org. Winter property taxes that are due in December can be paid online (http://www.a2gov.org/departments/finance-admin-services/treasury/Pages/TreasuryDivision.aspx), by mail, via a drop box on Ann Street or at several local banks: Level One Bank, Bank of Ann Arbor and TCF Bank. City of Ann Arbor Parks: Buhr and Veterans ice rinks are closed. The city will continue to evaluate the orders with the goal to reopen both rinks once permitted. Leslie Park Golf Course is closed. Huron Hills Golf Course is open until Thursday, Nov. 26, however, the clubhouse is closed. The Ann Arbor Farmers Market remains open. For the latest COVID-19 health information, please visit www.washtenaw.org/COVID19. In addition, the state offers a free COVID Alert tracking app for mobile phones, which can help to notify users and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan: https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-99891_102592---,00.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=alert. Individual safety reminders include: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Physical distance 6 feet apart from those outside your household. Wear a face covering over nose and mouth when in enclosed spaces. Stay home when you are sick.

Elizabeth NELSON

DEMOCRAT for Ann Arbor City Council Ward 4

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Paid for by the Committee to Elect Elizabeth Nelson 

PO Box 2243. Ann Arbor. MI 48106-2243