This week’s Ann Arbor City Council agenda includes a relatively long consent agenda, three public hearings, one planned project, a new “Historic Entertainment Sound District” on the west side, and the 2020 Council board/commission/committee appointments (see my “Additional Thoughts” section below).
A particularly important item is tucked into the Consent Agenda this week: the contract for Community Visioning and Master Land Use Plan Services. Many residents may not know that a group of citizen volunteers — one representative from each ward plus a mayoral pick— have been working for months with city staff and other appointees to review plans and proposals for revision/re-writing of our land use Master Plan. This past week, Council received a final report from this group of Ward representatives, explaining and outlining the values and priorities that they agreed were vital to any process moving forward. They helped choose the consultant— Interface Studios, LLC— and also contributed to project terms and goals.
I expect this contract to be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion. In the last week, it was the subject of over 30 written questions from Council. I am profoundly grateful for the work that’s already been done in identifying our city’s needs and matching them to the right consultant. It is now Council’s responsibility to be sure that this contract’s terms are consistent with the city values and priorities identified by our team of citizen volunteers. It is crucially important that we start this process on the right track, with confidence about how it will meet the needs of our community.
Lastly, for those of you who regularly visit my coffee hours (or anyone who might be considering it), due to scheduling conflicts it will be at a different location for the month of December: Argus Farm Stop on Packard. You will likely find me in the basement (head for the back and then downstairs). I hope this is a convenient opportunity for us to meet in person and hear perspectives.
Some of us on City Council have decided to resume a tradition of “Council Caucus” on Sunday nights. I am looking forward to this opportunity for additional open, public conversation around the issues that matter to you!
Sunday Dec 15 (7:00-9:00pm)
City Hall 2nd Floor
301 E Huron St
- Public comment general time. (Three minutes, no need to signup in advance and speakers will be assigned in the order of arrival.)
- Discussion, primarily topics on the next day’s Council agenda.
- One or more council members will be present for each caucus.
- Children are welcome. (Books and crayons provided)
For more information about Council Caucus, see the city website at:
Boards and Commissions Applications
Membership on Ann Arbor Boards and Commissions is constantly changing as terms end and appointees step down. We need you! You can find openings at the following link (or contact me directly)
Apply Now for the 2020 Ann Arbor Citizens Academy (due today, Dec 14th)
Apply now to be a part of the next Ann Arbor Citizens Academy. Applications are due Dec 14th, and the academy will be be run Jan-Mar 2020.
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 Dec 2, 2019
Last compost pickup was Friday Dec 13th
The last curbside compost pickup for the year was yesterday, Dec 13th, and will resume in Spring 2020. Also note that Wed, Dec 25th and Wed, Jan 1st are City holidays, and trash pickup will be delayed by one day.
A2Zero Climate Initiative Survey open until Jan 6th
The City’s new A2Zero initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 has a new website, with a survey that’s open until Jan 6th.
Dicken Drive Turnaround public meeting Jan 23rd
The City is holding a public meeting on the possible construction of a turnaround for solid waste trucks and snow plows at the north end of Dicken Drive by the entrance to Dicken Woods.
2020 Deer Management Program Details
The City announced deer management plans that will run from Jan 2-26, 2020.
A reminder about a few city resources:
A2 Fix It This is an online system for alerting the city to problems in your neighborhood (e.g. potholes, graffiti, garbage pickup). This is the city’s preferred method for hearing your complaint so they can direct appropriate staff to address it. I’m happy to hear from you, too, but city staff tell me that the online A2FixIt system is actually the quickest and fastest way to get a response to the problem. Information about A2FixIt (and explanation of more urgent issues and appropriate numbers to call) is here:
City News and Announcements This is a helpful link to updates on events and opportunities in Ann Arbor through City Hall:
City Department Updates If you have specific interests related to the city’s work, e.g. construction projects, deer management, recycling, you can subscribe to receive emailed updates on various topics found here:
Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Agenda
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.
The full agenda (including a link to the latest published PDF agenda) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website:
Ann Arbor City Council
Monday Dec 16, 2019 (7:00pm)
City Hall 2nd Floor
301 E Huron St
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:
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 (19-2401) December 16, 2019 Agenda Response Memo and eComments
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 Mayoral nominations to Boards and Commissions this meeting.
Below is the list of items included on tomorrow’s 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 (19-2320) Resolution to Permanently Relocate Precincts 1-1 and 1-12 from Rackham Graduate School to the Michigan Union at 530 S. Street beginning with the March 10, 2020 Presidential Primary
CA-2 (19-2321) Resolution to Permanently Relocate Precinct 1-4 from Second Baptist Church, 850 Red Oak Drive, to City Hall, 301 E. Huron Street, beginning with the Presidential Primary Election on March 10, 2020
CA-3 (19-2323) Resolution to Permanently Relocate Precinct 5-3 from Second Baptist Church, 850 Red Oak Drive, to Ann Arbor Open at Mack, 920 Miller Avenue Beginning with the March 10, 2020 Presidential Primary Election
CA-4 (19-2345) Resolution to Approve Fourth Amendment to Professional Services Agreement with Bodman, PLC, for Legal Services Relative to 1,4-Dioxane from Gelman Sciences, Inc., dba Pall Life Sciences ($55,000.00) and to Appropriate Funds ($55,000.00) (8 Votes Required)
CA-5 (19-2315) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order to Dell Marketing L.P. for Replacing Server Equipment ($97,036.12)
CA-6 (19-2254) Resolution to Approve a Contract with Anlaan Corporation to Rehabilitate Four Park Bridges and Replace One ($428,363.00)
CA-7 (19-2253) Resolution to Approve a Contract with DLZ Michigan, Inc. to Provide Professional Engineering Construction Administration Services for the Rehabilitation of Bridges in Barton Nature Area, Mitchell Field, Argo Nature Area and Gallup Park ($44,164.43)
CA-8 (19-2260) Resolution to Authorize a Professional Services Agreement with Interface Studio LLC for Community Visioning and Master Land Use Plan Services (RFP19-06) ($791,737.00) (8 Votes Required)
CA-9 (19-2348) Resolution to Approve the Local Brownfield Grant Agreement with the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority ($535,438.00)
CA-10 (19-2307) Resolution to Authorize a Grant Application to the USDA Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) for the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Kennedy Property in Northfield Township
CA-11 (19-2308) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the John Russell Property in Lodi Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $457,617.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-12 (19-2309) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Buesser Property in Northfield Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $133,367.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-13 (19-2310) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Stone Property in Lodi Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $115,367.00 (8 Votes Required)
CA-14 (19-2285) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with The Conservation Fund for Administration of the City’s Open Space and Parkland Preservation Program (up to $710,998.20 over 3.5 years)
CA-15 (19-2255) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to the Collaboration Agreement with Community Action Network for the Management of Bryant and Northside Community Centers to Increase Funding from $150,000.00 to $168,150.00 for Fiscal Year 2020 ($18,150.00)
CA-16 (19-2082) Resolution to Approve Change Order No. 2 with Doan Construction Company for the 2019 Annual Sidewalk Repair Project ($312,141.00)
CA-17 (19-2099) Resolution No. 1 – Prepare Plans and Specifications for the Proposed Jackson Avenue Sidewalk Gap Elimination Project – Westover Avenue to Parklake Avenue – Special Assessment (District #61) and Appropriate $56,000.00 from the General Fund Balance for the Design of the Project (8 Votes Required)
CA-18 (19-2107) Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 2 to the Professional Services Agreement with Stantec Consulting Michigan, Inc. for Construction Inspection Services ($1,000,000.00)
CA-19 (19-2112) Resolution to Approve Change Order No. 2 with M-K Construction Company, Inc. for additional construction costs for the Southside Interceptor Sanitary Diversion Project ($106,832.00)
CA-20 (19-2233) Resolution to Approve an Agreement with the Regents of the University of Michigan for the South University Pavement and Utility Improvements Project ($2,980,000.00)
CA-21 (19-2152) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with OHM Advisors to Design the Tertiary Filter Clear Well Improvement Project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, RFP No. 19-13 ($133,000.00)
CA-22 (19-2153) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. to Design the Headworks Improvement Project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, RFP No. 19-12 ($477,420.53)
CA-23 (19-2209) Resolution to Authorize a Sole Source Purchase Order to Universal Filtration & Pumping Solutions, Inc. ($51,240.00) for Two Filter Press Hydraulic Power Units
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 (19-2147) An Ordinance to Amend Section 1:207 of Chapter 8 (Transportation Commission) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-40)
The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) would be given the flexibility to appoint one or more alternates to represent the AAATA (and vote on behalf of AAATA) at Transportation Commission meetings.
PH-2/DB-1 (19-2110) Resolution to Approve Hideaway Lane Planned Project Site Plan and Development Agreement at 2000 Traver Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 6 Yeas and 0 Nays)
The Hideaway Lane Planned Project Site Plan (2000 Traver Road) was approved by the Planning Commission 6-0. If approved by Council, this site plan and development agreement will allow for construction of 34 new duplex units in 17 buildings and a single family home on a 4.57 acre site. Planned project modifications include a ten feet reduction— 30 feet to 20 feet— in rear yard setback (where it abuts adjacent railroad right-of-way) and a ten feet reduction— 20 feet to 10 feet— in building separation requirements. By agreement, petitioners will be making a $21,875 contribution to our Parks and Recreation Services unit prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
PH-3/DS-1 (19-2197) Resolution to Approve FY 2020 Fee Adjustments for the Assessor’s Office, Financial Services Area
The Assessor’s office would establish fees for customized reports from computer software maintained by the assessing department. The City’s website currently allows any person free access to search and print assessment data for individual parcels. Third party vendors and other persons frequently ask the assessment department to create customized reports on multiple parcels using computer software maintained by the department. The proposed fee schedule for these requests: $50 for initial setup, $.02 per parcel, and $10 to purchase and mail flash drive.
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 (19-2147) An Ordinance to Amend Section 1:207 of Chapter 8 (Transportation Commission) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-40)
This is the same as PH-1 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.
C-1 (19-2340) An Ordinance to Add a New Chapter 122 (Historic Entertainment Sound District) to Title IX of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
A Historic Entertainment Sound District would be established in an area bounded by Huron Street, the alley east of Main Street, William Street, and the railroad line west of First Street. This district is defined by mixed uses of properties in close proximity to one another, where people occupying premises must reasonably expect a greater likelihood of audible sounds than people residing in other districts. Within the district, allowable maximum sound levels would be prescribed specifically by decibel level and time of day. The proposed standards are deemed to be consistent with the sound levels that currently exist and have existed historically. (In answer to questions, I was told that this area registered 31 total noise complaints in 2019.)
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 (19-2281) Resolution to Support Center of the City Interim Use and Long Term Planning for the Center of the City/Library Lot Property
The City and the DDA will coordinate to use revenue from Library Lane surface parking to fund Center of the City improvements, establishing a dedicated fund to receive those revenues. This revenue will be used for initial planning costs, as recommended by the Center of the City Task Force. The city administrator will also obtain easements to create pedestrian pathways within the Library block to connect William Street and Liberty Street with Library Lane, an easement to connect Liberty Plaza with the Library Lane site. Funding for implementation of the Center of the City Charter Amendment will be included in the FY2021 budget proposal, evaluating the use of all funding sources to support pedestrian connectivity, landscaping, maintenance, security, and programming. The City administrator will collaborate with the DDA to plan and fund other improvements such as internet connectivity, on-site utilities, restrooms, temporary and fixed performance space, furniture, barrier free game areas, bicycle parking, and solar electricity.
Since it was last discussed (and postposed) at Council, this resolution was presented to the Center of the City Task Force, which raised no objections to it.
DC-2 (19-2342) Resolution Stating the City of Ann Arbor’s Consent to Refugee Settlement
This resolution is in response to a Presidential executive order requiring that State and locality both consent, in writing, to the resettlement of refugees within the State and locality, before refugees are resettled within that State and locality. The City of Ann Arbor would send written consent to Secretary Michael Pompeo of the U.S. Department of State and urge Governor Whitmer to do the same.
DC-3 (19-2370) Resolution to Endorse HB 4738 and the Creation of a Statewide Crosswalk Law
State House Bill 4738 creates a statewide standard for crosswalk safety that would be effective across the entire state and would replace competing versions of crosswalk laws that have adopted by local communities in Michigan. The City of Ann Arbor would endorse HB 4738 and directs the City Administrator to communicate this endorsement to Ann Arbor’s State Legislative Delegation and to otherwise direct the resources of the city to support this bill’s passage.
DC-4 (19-2386) Resolution to Appoint Councilmembers Bannister and Smith to the Environmental Commission
CM Bannister and CM Smith will be reappointed to the Environmental Commission.
DC-5 (19-2387) Resolution to Appoint Councilmember Grand to the Greenbelt Advisory Commission
CM Grand will be reappointed to Greenbelt Advisory Commission.
DC-6 (19-2136) Resolution in Support of Expanding the City’s Tree Protection to Include Heritage Trees
The Natural Features Working Group of the Environmental Commission prepared this resolution, to expand the City’s protections for larger, important, significant, and champion trees (our “Heritage Trees”) in our planning process. This resolution asks for needed support from City staff to draft code changes, shepherd them through City process at the Environmental Commission, the Planning Commission, the legal department, and the Council.
DC-7 (19-2388) Resolution to Approve 2020 Council Committee Appointments
This is a resolution with annual Council Member appointments to Boards and Commissions. Click on the link for the full list.
DC-8 (19-2402) Resolution to Appoint Sarah Burch to the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC)
This appointment fills a vacancy created when Commissioner Robin Stephens resigned from the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC) on September 9, 2019.
- Sarah Burch – Independent Community Police Oversight Commission
DB-1 (19-2110) Resolution to Approve Hideaway Lane Planned Project Site Plan and Development Agreement at 2000 Traver Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 6 Yeas and 0 Nays)
This is the same as PH-2 above.
DS-1 (19-2197) Resolution to Approve FY 2020 Fee Adjustments for the Assessor’s Office, Financial Services Area
This is the same as PH-3 above.
This week’s roster of 2020 Council Appointments includes a few changes. CM Ramlawi has asked me to take his position as one of the liaisons to the Human Rights Commission, due to workload concerns and his already significant role as liaison to our Independent Community Police Oversight Commission (ICPOC). I am happy to take on this responsibility and I look forward to working on the HRC.
CM Griswold has asked CM Eaton to take her current position as liaison to the Airport Advisory Commission, because the decisions made at that body have a greater impact on (and are most relevant) to Ward 4. Last year, I requested and was briefly assigned to Airport Advisory, but quickly realized it conflicted with another commitment. I am glad to see Ward 4 representation on Airport Advisory, this is appropriate. To equalize workload, CM Griswold will become council liaison to Cable Communications Commission (a position previously held by CM Eaton).
Among the long list of appointments on this week’s agenda, there is one significant omission: City Planning Commission. I wrote about this two months ago, after Council voted down re-appointment of CM Ackerman. What I wrote on October 3rd is still true, with some extension of timeline:
On June 30, 2019, CM Ackerman’s term as Council liaison to (and voting member of) the City Planning Commission expired. Starting in early June, city staff pointed out the need to anticipate this expired term and City Council began asking the Mayor to consider a different appointment. (According to state law, it is the mayor’s responsibility to present appointments for the planning commission, i.e. as Council members, we cannot present a candidate for appointment, we can only respond to the candidates proposed by the Mayor.) At our meeting on September 3rd— two months after CM Ackerman’s term had expired— the Mayor finally presented his planning commission appointment to City Council for discussion. He proposed that CM Ackerman be re-appointed. As the Mayor would/should have been able to predict, the majority of Council opposed CM Ackerman’s re-appointment.
CM Ackerman’s term is now over five months expired. Council has now met seven times since voting down his reappointment to the Planning Commission. During that time, a number of emails have been sent both within Council and from outside Council, asking the Mayor to please nominate an alternative. There is no response to requests for action. I continue to be astonished by this willingness to simply ignore process, the process at the foundation of representative democracy: VOTING. It is easy to accept the results of a vote when we are part of the majority that has “won.” It is harder to accept the results of a vote when the majority disagrees with us and an opposing view has prevailed. However, our system of government demands exactly that.
Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!