All Blog Posts

Since November 2018, I’ve shared Ann Arbor City Council agenda summaries, voting records, community announcements, and in-depth analysis of issues and policy.

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (June 16, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (June 16, 2024)

This week, Ann Arbor City Council considers a very short agenda, with public hearings for annexations of township islands at Algebe Way, Huron River Drive, and Huntington Place. Council will also vote on a developer’s request to amend zoning conditions, in order to allow gas hookups at the approved development of Southtown at State/Stimson. Finally, Council will consider a resolution directing the City Administrator to find funding for a study of reparations.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (June 2, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (June 2, 2024)

This week, the Ann Arbor City Council considers a long agenda, most of which is likely to be approved without discussion. The Consent Agenda includes 34 items which will be approved with a single vote unless Council Members intentionally ask that items be pulled for discussion. The regular agenda includes three public hearings: final approval of a rezoning and site plan (732 Packard) and amendments to the snow removal ordinance.

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415 W Washington: A “Unique Opportunity” for a Campaign Donor

415 W Washington: A “Unique Opportunity” for a Campaign Donor

This week, City Council will consider a resolution directing City staff to enter into negotiations to sell the City-owned property at 415 W. Washington to a campaign donor without any open bidding or RFP process, This property has a long history, but the last few years are key to understanding the significance of this particular decision.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (May 19, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (May 19, 2024)

This week, Ann Arbor City Council considers extensive amendments to Council rules, new amendments to the snow-removal ordinance, the issuance of capital improvement bonds for the Housing Commission, and final approval for a rezoning on Riverside Drive. The biggest item on the Council agenda is the annual budget for Fiscal Year 2025.

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Ann Arbor Budget: Council Cashing In

Ann Arbor Budget: Council Cashing In

This week, City Council will consider the annual budget for Fiscal Year 2025, which will allocate public funds of $55,000 to subsidize travel for Council Members. A budget amendment proposes that the City spend $100,000 on mailers to promote current Council Members to City residents.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (May 5, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (May 5, 2024)

This week’s agenda (both consent and regular) is extremely long and includes nine public hearings. There will be public hearings for increases to water/stormwater/sewer rates, a rezoning at 711 Church Street, and ordinance changes to how traffic impacts are measured for new developments. Three public hearings are related to the FY2025 Budget, but will not be voted on until the next Council meeting. A rezoning at 732 Packard (Five Corners) will be voted on at First Reading. Council will also approve a ballot question to facilitate a Sustainable Energy Utility. See also my “Additional Thoughts” section about recent filings for Democratic candidates in Washtenaw county.

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Insider Democracy in Washtenaw County

Insider Democracy in Washtenaw County

Last week was the deadline for filing to run as a partisan candidate for local offices in Washtenaw County. Our County is now overwhelmingly “blue,” so democratic party primaries have become the decisive election that chooses who will fill these elected positions. Some of last week’s filings were surprising and some were expected.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (April 14, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (April 14, 2024)

This week, the Council agenda is fairly short, including an annexation/rezoning on Riverside Drive, a conveyance/vacation of rights of way at State/Eisenhower, and increases to water/stormwater/sewer rates. Also note that at this week’s Council meeting the City Administrator will present his proposed FY25 budget.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 31, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 31, 2024)

The City Council agenda this week includes two ordinance amendments at first reading: a rezoning at Church Street and changes to how new developments are assessed regarding transportation access and traffic impacts. Additionally, there will be a public hearing and second reading (final approval) of ordinance amendments around Greenbelt conservation purchases.

On Friday, four resolutions were added to the agenda late, just ahead of this holiday weekend, that direct the establishment of a new office of “Economic Development” in order to accelerate and facilitate development in the City of Ann Arbor.

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April Fools Day Gift To Developers: Office of Economic Development

April Fools Day Gift To Developers: Office of Economic Development

Four resolutions on the April 1, 2024 agenda will direct the City Administrator to establish a “fully resourced and staffed” Office of Economic Development to accelerate and promote development in the City and adopt other policies to accelerate and promote development in the City. Lifting the “burden” of administrative process is framed as a time and cost savings to private developers that will eventually result in affordable housing. Open public meetings — including public hearings for the benefit of residents —are framed as “inefficiencies.”

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 16, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 16, 2024)

This week, City Council considers a very short regular agenda including one public hearing for ordinance amendments that will change policy for land acquisitions through the “Green Belt” program. Council will consider the issuance of capital bonds for the development of affordable housing at Catherine Street and two resolutions from Council: in support of options for the US-23 improvement project and directing implementation of new City hiring practices.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 3, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (March 3, 2024)

This week’s agenda is relatively short, with three public hearings: one for amendments to the Early Leasing Ordinance and two regarding fee structures for fire department ambulance and lift assist services. Significant procedural changes are proposed for use and administration of greenbelt millage funds. A budget amendment for the leasing of gasoline powered golf carts – defeated at the previous meeting – has been brought back for reconsideration.

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Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (February 18, 2024)

Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (February 18, 2024)

This week, City Council meets on Tuesday, due to the Presidents Day holiday. The regular agenda this week is very short. There will be one public hearing, on an ordinance amendment that removes setback requirements between zoning districts. Council will also consider amendments to the Early Leasing ordinance and a resolution about City hiring practices. This week’s Consent Agenda includes an expenditure toward improving the Runnymede path in Ward 4.

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Advocacy and Facts: Fixing the Runnymede Path

Advocacy and Facts: Fixing the Runnymede Path

At their meeting this week, City Council will consider an expenditure that will hopefully lead to the repair of a pedestrian and cycling path in Ward 4, connecting the end of Runnymede Boulevard to Pauline Boulevard. I proposed the same plan in 2022 and it met significant opposition from Ward 4 Council Member Jen Eyer.

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