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, City Council considers an annexation (C-1), a rezoning (DB-1) two items related to elections in 2024 (DB-2, DB-3), two resolutions communicating concerns to the Michigan Department of Transportation (DC-4, DC-7), and two resolutions requesting reports on Home Energy Audits (DC-3, DC-6). The meeting includes two public hearings: one on the rezoning of parcels on Riverside Drive and another for opioid harm reduction funding.
ANN ARBOR DEMOCRACY
I have released the third and final part of my conversation with Jerry DeGrieck, who served on Ann Arbor City Council from 1972 to 1974, as a member of the Human Rights Party (HRP). In part three, Jerry talks more about the issues HRP fought for and how that work inspired his continued activism and professional career in Seattle.
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.
TC-1 Plymouth Road Rezoning Public Meeting of October 12, 2023
This is my recording of a public engagement meeting held by the City of Ann Arbor on October 12, 2023 at 6:00 PM to discuss TC-1 (Transit Corridor District) rezoning of Plymouth Road. The meeting was held in person at the Traverwood Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library.
Council Administration Committee: October 10, 2023
This is a recording I made of a Zoom audio meeting held on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 by the Ann Arbor Council Administration Committee. Video was not made available. Note that the Zoom audio quality is poor.
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 October 16, 2023 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:
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:
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”
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 (23-1730) Agenda Response Memo and eComments – October 16, 2023
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 (23-1611) Appointments – Confirmations
These appointments from the Mayor were presented at the previous meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting.
- Chip Smith – Historic District Commission
- Steve Kaplan – Historic District Commission
- Faith Redwine-Otieno – Housing and Human Services Advisory Board
- Angela Jackson – Downtown Development Authority
- Elena Chambers – Council on Disability Issues
MC-2 (23-1706) Resolution to Appoint Anya Ganger to the Health and Human Services Advisory Board (7 Votes Required)
This appointment from the Mayor is being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting. Seven votes are required because the nominee is not a registered elector of the City of Ann Arbor.
- Anya Ganger – Health and Human Services Advisory Board
MC-3 (23-1704) Nominations and Appointments for October 16, 2023
These appointments from the Mayor are being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting.
- Samuel Rosewig – Elizabeth Dean Fund Committee
- Praveena Ramaswami – Transportation Commission
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 (23-1629) Resolution to Approve Street Closures for the Ann Arbor Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot – Thursday, November 23, 2023
CA-2 (23-1522) Resolution to Approve the Platt Road Townhomes Development Agreement , 3680, 3696, 3746 & 3788 Platt (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 0 Nays)
CA-3 (23-1495) Resolution to Approve a General Services Agreement with ADS LLC d/b/a ADS Environmental Services for Sanitary Sewer Flow Metering Services ($350,000.00)
CA-4 (23-1554) Resolution to Approve Change Order No. 2 to the Construction Contract with A.F. Smith Electric Inc. for the Wheeler Center Lighting Improvements Project, RFP 22-83; ($54,651.00 Increase, Total Contract Amount $553,032.22)
CA-5 (23-1586) Resolution to Approve a Contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation for the 2023 SCOOT Expansion Project ($1,737,765.00)
CA-6 (23-1604) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with SAK Construction, LLC for the 2023 Sewer Lining Project ($2,989,659.00, RFP 23-41)
CA-7 (23-1619) Resolution to Approve the Installation of Traffic Calming Devices on Grandview Dr. (Jackson Rd to Dexter Rd) ($35,000)
CA-8 (23-1612) Resolution to Authorize the Purchase of Two Automated Side Load EV Refuse Trucks on Mack Chassis’ from Fredrickson Supply (Sourcewell – $1,483,601.78)
CA-9 (23-1625) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order with DTE Energy (DTE) to Conduct Updated Interconnection Studies Regarding a Solar Energy Facility at the Wheeler Center (not to exceed $90,000.00)
CA-10 (23-1644) Resolution to Accept District Geothermal Grant Funds from the US Department of Energy to Support a District Geothermal Design and Deployment to Equitably Decarbonize a Low-Income Neighborhood in Ann Arbor Project and Approve a Cooperative Agreement with the US Department of Energy ($642,286). (8 Votes Required)
CA-11 (23-1667) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with IMEG Consultants Corp. for Technical Leadership in the Bryant District Geothermal Project and Appropriate $246,250 from U.S. Department of Energy Grant for Their Work
CA-12 (23-1670) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Community Action Network to Lead Community Engagement as Part of the U.S. Department of Energy District Geothermal Grant in the Bryant Neighborhood ($94,000)
CA-13 (23-1671) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Midwest Geothermal, LLC for Technical Support and Design Guidelines as Part of the Bryant District Geothermal Project ($97,000)
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 (23-1665) Resolution to Approve Annexation of 3701 – 3713 Riverside Drive (0.74 acres) (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 9 Yeas and 0 Nays)
Two parcels at 3701 and 3713 Riverside Drive will be annexed into the City from Ann Arbor Charter Township. The 0.74 acres are already in the City’s utility service area and once annexed, the parcels will be re-zoned. City Staff recommended zoning of R1B for these parcels, that would be “consistent with nearby City zoning, surrounding land uses and the adopted Land Use Plan.” Mayoral appointees on the Planning Commission amended that recommendation in order to zone these parcels R1D, instead. At a future meeting, Council will not consider staff recommended zoning (R1B), but rather the amendment from Mayoral appointees (R1D).
Mayoral appointees on the Planning Commission recently amended staff recommendation for another annexation/rezoning. You can learn about that here: https://youtu.be/A6MBo-R9eLQ
PH-2/DS-1 (23-1476) Resolution to Accept and Appropriate Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Award of $25,086 for Opioid Harm Reduction Efforts and Sharps Disposal (8 Votes Required)
The City has been awarded and would accept a grant for $25,086 to fund Opioid Harm Reduction Efforts and Sharps Disposal. Fifteen Naloxone/Narcan dispensers will be purchased for installation in public park restrooms. Dispensers and disposal receptacles for “sharps” will be installed in public restrooms at the Larcom City Hall Building and the Justice Center. Additionally, 150 opioid abatement kits will be available to first responders, community agencies and others.
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 (23-1475) An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code), Zoning of 5.23 Acres from TWP (Township) to PL (Public Land District), Vacant Traver Road
Previously annexed parcels at 2282 and 2290 Traver Road will be rezoned PL (Public Land). The 5.23 acres were purchased by the City in 2020 for parkland purposes, to be maintained as a natural area adjacent to the Leslie Park Golf Course.
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 (23-1665) is the same as PH-1 above.
DB-2 (23-1669) Resolution to Approve the Locations for Early Voting Centers for the 2024 Election Cycle
Council will approve locations for Early Voting in the 2024 Election Cycle. Early voting will be open for a minimum of nine days prior to the Election Day. Additional locations at Traverwood, Mallett’s Creek, and Westgate are proposed. On-campus locations at UMMA and Duderstadt Center/Pierpont Commons will be utilized for November general elections and presidential primaries. Satellite voting offices on-campus will be not be used for the August primaries, due to “anticipated low voter demand.”
DB-3 (23-1657) Resolution to Permanently Relocate Precinct 4-32 from the Mary Street Polling Place to the University of Michigan Coliseum and Precincts 4-33 and 3-24 from the U-M Coliseum and Tappan Middle School to the Ann Arbor Senior Center Beginning with the 2024 Presidential Primary Election
The polling place at Mary Street (Ward 4, Precinct 32) will be closed and relocated to University of Michigan Coliseum. The polling place for Ward 4, Precinct 33 (currently U-M Colliseum) and Ward 3, Precinct 24 (currently Tappan Middle School) will change to the Ann Arbor Senior Center (1320 Baldwin), beginning with the 2024 Presidential Primary Election.
DS-1 (23-1476) is the same as PH-2 above.
DC-1 (23-1622) Resolution to Appoint Non-resident Electors to Council on Disability Issues and Airport Advisory Committee (7 Votes Required)
These appointments from the Mayor are being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting. Seven votes are required because the nominees are not registered electors of the City of Ann Arbor.
- Robert Packard – Council on Disability Issues
- Alexander Arts – Airport Advisory Committee
DC-2 (23-1627) Resolution to Appoint Jess Francis to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission
This appointment is from CM Ghazi Edwin (who serves on the Human Rights Commission), CM Harrison (who serves on the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission) and CM Song (who serves on both the Human Rights Commission and Independent Community Police Oversight Commission). This is being presented at this meeting, and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting.
- Jess Francis – Independent Community Police Oversight Commission
DC-3 (23-1637) Resolution to Measure the Impact of the Home Energy Rating Disclosure and Annually Report on Results to City Council
The City Administrator is directed to “create a strategy” for targeting low-income households to benefit from the Home Energy Rating Disclosure (HERD) ordinance approved on 9/5/23. That ordinance requires the disclosure of a home energy audit to potential buyers prior to home sales. The City’s Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI) anticipates the hiring of a home energy assessor and contracting with other home energy assessors to provide free Home Energy Scores. The City Administrator is directed to identify and generate data on the impact of the HERD ordinance and provide this data annually.
DC-4 (23-1663) Resolution to Restore Community Connections with Continuous, Comfortable Walking and Biking Facilities Across US-23
The Michigan Department of Transportation is conducting an Environmental Assessment study in anticipation of a plan to rebuild US 23. By resolution, Council would call on MDOT to address all modes of travel including safe, comfortable walking and biking facilities at all eight US-23 crossings.
DC-5 (23-1708) Resolution to Appoint Patrick Maguire as the City of Ann Arbor Interim Police Chief
Patrick Maguire will be appointed as interim City Police Chief, after the retirement of current interim City Police Chief Aimee Metzer.
DC-6 (23-1725) Resolution for Evaluation of Integration of Home Energy Score (HES) Assessments in Residential Inspection Process
The City Administrator is directed to collaborate with Building and Code Compliance officials to train City housing inspectors to be Home Energy Score Assessors. Within six months, the City Administrator will report to Council on the staffing and funding required to support a voluntary Home Energy Score program, integrated with the City’s permitting and inspection process.
DC-7 (23-1748) Resolution Against MDOT’s Proposal to Build a Wall through Ann Arbor
Council communicates its opposition to safety fencing and barricades along railroad tracks in Ann Arbor. This safety fencing is proposed by MDOT in anticipation of a high speed rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit. According to the resolution, MDOT plans to invest approximately $6.3 million in safety fencing and barricades to prevent trespass along the railroad tracks. Council proposes that this money be spent instead on underground pedestrian and nonmotorized crossings to support the Border to Border trail.
Thank you for taking the time to be informed about our local government!