Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (April 14, 2024)

Apr 14, 2024 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

Welcome to my Ann Arbor City Council newsletter, where you can connect with primary sources to understand the work of your local government. My goal is to provide clear explanations of all the issues your elected representatives will be discussing at their next meeting and alert you to local policy and decisions that have been assigned to unelected Mayoral appointees.

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 (April 15th) the City Administrator will present his proposed FY25 budget. A document/presentation will be attached to this Legistar item on this week’s agenda (as of the publication of this newsletter, the budget has not yet been posted).

INT-2 (24-0361) City Administrator’s Presentation of Proposed FY25 Budget

The FY25 budget will be adopted (along with any Council approved amendments) at the May 20 Council meeting.
https://www.a2gov.org/departments/finance-admin-services/financial-reporting/budget-guide/pages/budgetpublicprocess.aspx

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OPEN HOUSES

There are three upcoming opportunities to receive information about the City and offer your opinion about how it should change in the future. Each of these scheduled events will present the same material.

Tuesday, April 23 4:00-7:00PM
Traverwood Library
3333 Traverwood Dr.

Wednesday, April 24 4:00-7:00PM
Westgate Library
2503 Jackson Ave.

Friday, April 26 4:00-7:00PM
Malletts Creek Library
3090 E. Eisenhower Pkwy.


More information about these meetings are at this link:
https://a2compplan-a2-mi.hub.arcgis.com/pages/neighborhood-open-houses


Ann Arbor Democracy

In the 1970s, Democrats and Republicans were actively engaged in Ann Arbor City government. One of the leading Republicans of the era was Louis (Lou) Belcher. As chair of the Ann Arbor Republican Party, Lou ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 1971, then represented Ward 5 on City Council from 1974 to 1978, and served as Mayor from 1978 to 1985. 

In the Mayoral race of 1977, then-Council Member Lou Belcher challenged incumbent Democratic Mayor Al Wheeler. In that tight election, Wheeler won by a single vote. The discovery of invalid ballots – cast by people ineligible to vote in the City – resulted in court challenges. Wheeler’s term was extended by one year to allow for a “do-over” election in 1978, which Belcher won. Among other accomplishments as Mayor, Lou Belcher helped save affordable housing units at Arrowwood Housing Co-operative and committed funds to the Michigan Theater to preserve it as a community venue.

In Part 1, Lou talks to me about how he first got involved in politics, his unexpected run for Mayor in 1971, and how his activism in the Republican Party helped the City get federal money to benefit Arrowwood.


In Case You Missed It…

On my YouTube channel, you can find recordings of public meetings that are open to attend live (online or in-person) but are not made available by the City to view later. Please reach out if you have suggestions about public meetings that should be recorded. Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you would like to be alerted to new content as it gets added.
https://www.youtube.com/@a2elnel

Council Administration Committee: April 9, 2024

This is a recording I made of a Zoom audio meeting held on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 by the Ann Arbor Council Administration Committee. Video was not made available. Note that the Zoom audio quality is poor.
https://a2council.com/council-administration-committee-april-9-2024/


Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Agenda

Below is my summary of 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, you can email all of Council at CityCouncil@a2gov.org

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
Monday April 15, 2024 7:00PM

Ann Arbor City Hall (2nd Floor)
301 E Huron St, Ann Arbor 48104

The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda, and instructions for dialing into the meeting) is on the A2Gov Legistar website:
https://a2gov.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=1141236&GUID=45D6C613-7D4A-4BE7-9F06-667BDE2B91D2

City Council meetings are broadcast live by CTN on Comcast (channel 16) and AT&T (channel 99) and online at a2gov.org/watchCTN
Meetings are also streamed live on the CTN YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/ctnannarbor

How to reserve public comment

People that wish to comment at a City Council meeting must sign up with the City Clerk’s office in advance. Speakers are allotted 3 minutes, with the first 15 speakers allowed to speak in a 45 minute session near the beginning of the meeting. Remaining speakers will speak at the end of the Council meeting. Public comment can be made either in person or remotely via phone/Zoom audio.

To sign up for public comment, please go to or call the City Clerk’s Office at 734-794-6140 on the day of the meeting between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. At 4:00 PM, all speakers that have signed up are randomly ordered in “priority groups”. After 4:00 PM, speakers are added to the end of the applicable priority group in the order received. No new speakers will be added to the list after 5:00 PM. For more information, visit the City Clerk’s webpage about electronic meetings, section “City Council Public Commentary Time”
https://www.a2gov.org/departments/city-clerk/Pages/Virtual-Meetings-.aspx

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 (24-0686) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – April 15, 2024
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 (24-0449) Appointments – Confirmations
This appointment from the Mayor was presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.

  • Elisabeth Berry – Downtown Development Authority

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.

CA-1 (24-0542) Resolution to Approve the Closing of Streets for the 2024 Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association Annual Memorial Day Parade, Monday, May 27, 2024

CA-2 (24-0298) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Tetra Tech of Michigan, P.C. to Complete a Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan and SWMM Stormwater Model Migration, RFP No. 23-63 ($538,054.00)

CA-3 (24-0457) Resolution to Approve a Cooperative Agreement with the County of Washtenaw and Grant $200,000.00 to the County to Expand Weatherization Assistance Programs in the City

CA-4 (24-0358) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with GHD Services Inc. RFP No. 23-64 ($118,514.00)

CA-5 (24-0509) Resolution to Approve the Agreement to Purchase Parking Technology and Related Services with IPS Group, Inc. ($1,209,442.28)

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/DS-1 (24-0466) Resolution to Release Roadway Rights at 2845 South State Street (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (8 Votes Required)
Two lengths of roadway rights — 51-feet-long and 229-feet-long — across the western 50 feet of 2845 South State Street. These lengths of roadway rights have been requested by Oxford Properties on behalf of the property owner, for the purpose of facilitating redevelopment. In 1973, these roadway rights were acquired by the City for the potential expansion of State Street. Staff explains this week that “further widening of South State Street is no longer contemplated.”

PH-2/DS-2 (24-0467) Resolution to Approve Vacation of a Portion of East Eisenhower Parkway at 2845 South State Street and Conveyance to the Adjacent Property Owner Subject to Public Utility and Sidewalk Easements (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 7 Yeas and 0 Nays) (8 Votes Required)
A length of right-of-way — 310-feet-long — across the northern 50 feet of E. Eisenhower Parkway at 2845 South State Street will be vacated and conveyed to the property owner. This length of roadway rights has been requested by Oxford Properties on behalf of the property owner, for the purpose of facilitating redevelopment. In 1972, these roadway rights were acquired by the City for the potential expansion of East Eisenhower Parkway. Staff explains this week that “further widening of East Eisenhower Parkway is no longer contemplated.”

The vacation anticipates that variable widths of easement will eventually be conveyed back to the City for public sidewalks and public utilities.

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 on the agenda

Ordinances – First Reading

In order to amend the city code, Council must vote to approve the change, via ordinance, at two Council meetings. The following proposed ordinances are being introduced for “first reading”. If approved, the ordinance will be voted on at a subsequent Council meeting (“second reading”), where it will also be subject to a public hearing.

C-1 (24-0438) An Ordinance to Amend Section 2:63 of Chapter 29 (Water Rates) of Title II of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
Water rates will be increased. City staff estimate that the average residential customer will see an increase of 6%. Changes will take effect on July 1, 2024

C-2 (24-0439) An Ordinance to Amend Section 2:69 of Chapter 29 (Stormwater Rates) of Title II of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
Stormwater rates will be increased by3% of the stormwater discharge fee based on impervious surface and 2% for the customer charge. City staff estimate that the average residential customer will see an increase of 4%. Changes will take effect on July 1, 2024

C-3 (24-0442) An Ordinance to Amend Section 2:64 of Chapter 29 (Sewer Rates) of Title II of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
Sewer rates will be increased, City staff estimate that the average residential customer will see an increase of 3%. Changes will take effect on July 1, 2024

C-4 (24-0458) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 0.65 Acre from TWP (Township District) to R1D (Single-Family District), 3701-3713 Riverside Drive, (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 9 Yeas and 0 Nays)
Parcels totaling 0.74 acres at 3701 and 3713 Riverside Drive will be annexed and rezoned to R1D (Single Family Zoning District). The owner intends to sell them for “development opportunities”and requested R1A (Single Family Dwelling District) zoning. City staff recommended R1B (Single Family Dwelling District) zoning for consistency with surrounding land uses, and the opportunity to evaluate future zoning of the area comprehensively. The City’s Comprehensive Plan recommends single family residential and surrounding properties are zoned R1B and PL (Public Land).

The City Planning commission rejected both the property owner request (R1A) and City staff recommendation (R1B) and approved R1D (Single Family District) instead. Compared to staff-recommended R1B, a zoning of R1D has half the required lot area, reduced setback requirements, and may require a greater degree of services than the less dense Single-Family Zoning Districts. In answers to questions to the agenda this week, staff explained: “There is no water or storm sewer service provided to this area.”

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.

DS-1 (24-0466is the same as PH-1 above
DS-2 (24-0467is the same as PH-2 above

DC-1 (24-0428) Resolution to Recommend Approval of Issuance of a Downtown Development District Liquor License to Uplift Ann Arbor, LLC, Located at 210 S. First St.
The City will issue a Downtown Development District Liquor License (“Class C”) to Uplift Ann Arbor, LLC, at 210 S. First St. The liquor license will permit the sale of beer, wine, and liquor in partnering with Circ Bar as a food vendor.

DC-2 (24-0494) Resolution to Revise and Amend List of Approved Participating Establishments in the Main Street Ann Arbor Social District
The Main Street Social District will be amended. This Social District was first approved in October 2021.
https://a2gov.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5148129&GUID=A7B7E081-521B-436B-B9DA-649774EB57B7

The amended district removes businesses no longer operating:

  • Grange Kitchen and Bar (118 W. Liberty)
  • BD’s Mongolian Grill (200 S. Main)
  • Jim Brady’s Ann Arbor (209 S. Main)

New businesses added to the district:

  • Liberty Drinks (118 W. Liberty)
  • Echelon (200 S. Main)
  • The Hidden King (210 S. Main)
  • Jibarito! (309 S. Main)

DC-3 (24-0595) Resolution to Authorize Acquisition of Easements for the Nixon Corridor Improvement Project (8 Votes Required)
Council will authorize the acquisition of easements for planned improvements at Nixon Road, south of M-14 (not including the Dhu Varren Roundabout). The design was completed in 2020 but revised in 2024. It will incorporate roundabouts at at Sandalwood, Bluett/Meade Court and Traver, a new median, a buffered bicycle lane in both directions, lighting and landscape improvements, a new 16-inch watermain, and stormwater management improvements.

These amenities require the acquisition of easements from property owners at the following addresses:

  • 2301 Sandalwood Circle
  • VL Traver Blvd
  • 2600 Nixon Rd.
  • 2464 Nixon Rd.
  • 2600 Nadia Ct.
  • 2601 Nadia Ct.
  • 2616 Nixon Rd.
  • 2700 Nixon Rd.
  • VL Nixon Rd. (Northbury Condominium)
  • 2760 Nixon Rd.

The affected property owners will be offered compensation based on appraisals. The City attorney will authorized to acquire these easements either through agreement or legal condemnation process.


Thank you for taking the time to be informed about our local government!
Elizabeth Nelson