At the December 5, 2022 meeting, City Council directed the City Planning Commission to evaluate and recommend amendments to the TC1 Zoning District or Unified Development Code (UDC) that:
- Incorporate limited automobile-related uses into the TC1 District, excluding drive throughs and gas stations
- Address constraints of existing narrow rights of way
On Wednesday, December 13, 2022, the Ann Arbor City Planning Commission met in a working session to discuss potential changes to the Transit Corridor (TC-1) zoning district recently applied to West Stadium and Maple. Working sessions like this one are open meetings, available for members of the public to attend. However, they are not recorded for anyone to view later. A member of City staff explained in an email to a resident:
“There are numerous committees and working groups across the City that do not record meetings, nor draft minutes as they are not decision making bodies.”
Though these committees and working groups do not make decisions, their recommendations are regularly accepted and approved by decision making bodies. Since 2020, such meetings are typically held via Zoom, a platform that does not require significant staff effort to record and upload to YouTube. In 2022, the Planning Commission and its various subcommittees held eighteen meetings via ZOOM that were not recorded. These meetings are not available for viewing by anyone who was not in attendance “live.”
Earlier this week, a resident alerted me to this week’s working session of the City Planning Commission and the fact that she contacted City staff to request that it be recorded. She received no response. I contacted City staff and asked about the availability of a recording but also got no response.
The Michigan Open Meetings Act explains that the right to attend a public meeting includes the right to record that public meeting.
15.263 Meetings, decisions, and deliberations of public body; requirements; attending or addressing meeting of public body; COVID-19 safety measures; tape-recording, videotaping, broadcasting, and telecasting proceedings; accommodation of absent members; remote attendance; rules; exclusion from meeting; exemptions.
Sec. 3. (1) All meetings of a public body must be open to the public and must be held in a place available to the general public. All persons must be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided in this act. The right of a person to attend a meeting of a public body includes the right to tape-record, to videotape, to broadcast live on radio, and to telecast live on television the proceedings of a public body at a public meeting. The exercise of this right does not depend on the prior approval of the public body. However, a public body may establish reasonable rules and regulations in order to minimize the possibility of disrupting the meeting.
Moving forward, I will be recording and producing video summaries of select meetings like this one. At the links below you can view a video summary of this meeting or the whole of the two hour meeting. The Legistar link for this meeting included staff slide presentations: