Ann Arbor City Council Newsletter (November 2, 2019)

Nov 2, 2019 | Newsletter

Hello neighbors!

This week Ann Arbor City Council has a fairly short agenda, including a public hearing on affordable housing premiums, declaration of a climate emergency, and general revenue bonds for investment in our water treatment facilities.

I’d like to draw your attention to two items on this agenda: DC-4 and DC-5.

Two months ago, I met with the owners of Argus Farm Stop, who expressed concerns about the availability of parking near their store on Packard. This particular corner of Lower Burns Park is a small pocket of commercial activity (e.g. Toarmina’s Pizza & Burritos, Arbor Vacuum) within a much larger residential area.

Businesses in locations like this can draw much of their customer base from residents within walking distance, which is ideal. However, locations like this – particularly on major transit lines like Packard – also depend on some “pass through” business: commuters who can stop by on their way in and out of the neighborhood. I am hopeful that the addition of 30-minute limited spots on Dewey will help this little commercial area flourish, primarily to meet the needs of people who can use non-motorized transportation to get there.

A very similar parking arrangement was previously implemented on Second Street, to support the Argus Farm Stop location on Liberty, in Ward 5. In the interest of transparency, I am bringing this proposal as a Council resolution to clarify the details of it for timely/accurate review and public discussion. I welcome feedback, as it will have a direct impact on neighbors in Ward 4. You can find details about DC-4 (including a map) here:

In “big picture” news: with agenda item DC-5, Ann Arbor declares a climate emergency and also sets in motion plans for our city to be carbon neutral by the year 2035. Municipal activities represent a very small portion of our city’s carbon emissions (about 2%), so an effort like this will take significant community buy-in. As part of the resolution, the City announces plans for public engagement opportunities, partnerships with local institutions, and a technical advisory committee.

Before I jump into my summary of items on the agenda, I’d like to invite you to my coffee hours tomorrow (Sunday) from 3-4:30 p.m. at RoosRoast on Rosewood. I hope this is a convenient opportunity for us to meet in person and hear perspectives.

A2ELNEL coffee hours Nov 3 2019

Council Caucus

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!

Council Caucus
Sunday Nov 3 (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.

More Information:

  • 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:

Pioneer Theatre Guild – MATILDA!

In other important Ward 4 news: Pioneer Theater Guild is putting on Roald Dahl’s “Matilda The Musical”. Opening night is TONIGHT and performances continue next weekend. The student cast and crew always put on an amazing show and this year is no exception! Please consider supporting this wonderful inclusive organization.

  • Saturday, November 2nd @ 7:30pm
  • Sunday, November 3rd @ 2:00pm
  • Friday, November 8th @ 7:30pm
  • Saturday, November 9th @ 7:30pm
  • Sunday, November 10th @ 2:00pm

The performances are held in Schreiber Auditorium of Pioneer High School.
You can buy tickets online at

For more information about the show:

Pioneer Theatre Guild Ann Arbor Matilda Nov 2019

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)

Website Updates

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:

City Council Voting Chart for Oct 21, 2019

Special Election for Ann Arbor Public Schools Nov 5th
The Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor has called a special election on Tuesday Nov. 5th. This post has important information from the City about election day.

Center of the City Task Force public meeting Nov 6th
The Center of the City Task Force will hold a public meeting on Nov 6th.

Nov 6th meeting about Snyder Edgewood Stormwater Improvement Project
The City of Ann Arbor will hold the fourth public meeting for the Snyder/Edgewood Avenues Area Stormwater Improvement Project on Wednesday, Nov. 6th at Pioneer High School.

Independent Community Police Oversight Commission Community Outreach Nov 7th
The Ann Arbor Independent Community Police Oversight Commission is holding a community outreach meeting at the Bryant Community Center on Nov 7th.

MDOT Public Meeting About I-94 Improvements Nov 7th
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be hosting a public meeting on Nov 7th to discuss upcoming improvements on I-94 in Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor Carbon Neutrality Town Hall Nov 13th
The City and its nearly 40 partner organizations are hosting a town hall on Nov 13th to discuss what it will take for Ann Arbor to become carbon neutral.

Ann Arbor Smart City planning meetings Nov 20/21
The City will host meetings at Cobblestone Farms (Nov 20) and A2 STEAM (Nov 21) to discuss Smart City initiatives.

Granger Ave resurfacing public meeting Nov 21st
The first public meeting to discuss the resurfacing of Granger Avenue between South State and Packard Street has been scheduled for Nov 21st.

Ready Ann Arbor Community Preparedness Training applications due Dec 6th
The Ann Arbor Police and Fire departments have scheduled the next Ready Ann Arbor Community Preparedness Training for early 2020. Applications are due Dec 6th.

Apply Now for the 2020 Ann Arbor Citizens Academy (due 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.

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 Nov 4, 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 (19-2108) November 4, 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.

Consent Agenda

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 (19-2062) Resolution to Approve Street Closure for the 2019 Kerrytown Kindlefest on Friday, December 6, 2019 from 6:00 AM until Midnight

CA-2 (19-2015) Resolution to Approve Participation in the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Moehrle Property in Ann Arbor Township, Approve a Participation Agreement with Ann Arbor Township and Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, and Appropriate $186,500.00 (8 Votes Required)

CA-3 (19-2017) Resolution to Approve Purchase of Park Land at 2260 Traver Road from the William F. Hosford and Margaret W. Hosford Trust, and Appropriate $180,500.00 from Open Space and Parkland Preservation Millage Proceeds (8 Votes Required)

CA-4 (19-1907) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order to CBTS and Appropriate the Necessary Funds to Upgrade the City’s Mitel VOIP Phone System. ($159,696.72) (8 Votes Required)

CA-5 (19-1963) Resolution to Approve a Purchase Order to Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) for the Annual Geographic Information System Software Maintenance and License Agreement ($51,600.00)

CA-6 (19-1834) Resolution Authorizing Water Capital Recovery Charges for 439 Riverview Dr. ($20,971.00)

CA-7 (19-1639) Resolution to Approve the Purchase of Pedestrian Litter and Recycling Containers from Landscape Forms, Inc. (not to exceed $83,000.00)

CA-8 (19-2060) Resolution to Award a Construction Contract for Galvanized Water Service Line Replacements to Lang Constructors, Inc. ($251,165.00, ITB No. 4593)

CA-9 (19-1763) Resolution to Approve Agreement with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner to Support and Fund the 2020 Rain Garden Program Partnership ($30,000.00)

CA-10 (19-1801) Resolution to Approve a Professional Services Agreement with International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) USA Great Lakes Chapter a/k/a International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) USA Midwest Chapter (IAP2 USA Midwest Chapter) for Community Engagement Training Services ($45,000.00)

CA-11 (19-2008) Resolution to Contract Green Infrastructure Maintenance Services for one year with the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner ($165,000.00)

CA-12 (19-2009) Resolution to Petition the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner to Create a new Drainage District and Undertake a Project to Design and Construct Stormwater Management Control Measures for the Huron Hills Golf Course Creek section of Huron Hills Creek (Total Project Cost: $1,220,000.00)

CA-13 (19-1889) Resolution to Authorize a Sole Source Purchase Order to Spring City Electrical Manufacturing Company in the amount of $34,685.00 for Street Light Poles and Associated Fixtures.

CA-14 (19-1966) Resolution to Approve Change Order No. 7 with E. T. Mackenzie Company for the Hoover, Greene, Hill Improvement Project ($750,000.00)

CA-15 (19-1979) Resolution to Approve an Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with Bergmann Associates for Updates to the FEMA Benefit Cost Analysis for the Allen Creek Railroad Berm Opening Project ($10,740.00)

CA-16 (19-1890) Resolution to Approve a Construction Contract with Lanzo Trenchless Technologies, Inc. – North for the High Level Trunkline Sanitary Sewer Rehab Project ($2,178,595.00)

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/B-1 (19-1565) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.13.9, 5.17.4, 5.18.6, 5.28.1, 5.28.6, 5.29.10, 5.30.1 and 5.37.2 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Premium Options, Affordable Housing Dwelling Units, Reimbursements) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-34)
Premium options would be changed to incentivize the funding and establishment of affordable housing. Currently, the city offers both a general “residential use” premium and an “affordable housing” premium for properties downtown; these premiums increase allowable floor area beyond the normal maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR). This amendment would eliminate the “residential use” premium, it would be replaced with an “affordable residential unit” premium. In the D1 and D2 districts, additional allowable floor area will be permitted, relative to the percentage of floor area designated as affordable dwelling units (up to 30%). Combined with designated affordable dwelling units, additional allowable floor area may also be earned via payments to the Affordable Housing Fund. Qualifying “affordable” floor area may be doubled via the “payment in lieu.” E.g. To achieve the 30% affordable housing dwelling units required to increase FAR to 500% in the D1 district, a development can include 15% affordable units on site and make payments in lieu for the remaining 15%.

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 (19-1565) An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.13.9, 5.17.4, 5.18.6, 5.28.1, 5.28.6, 5.29.10, 5.30.1 and 5.37.2 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Premium Options, Affordable Housing Dwelling Units, Reimbursements) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-34)
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.

There are no scheduled ordinance first readings.

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 (19-2003) Resolution to Provide Direction to the City Administrator on the Provision of Solid Waste Services
The City Administrator is directed to cease any actions toward privatizing solid waste services, any part of which are currently performed by city staff. City Council affirms its opposition to privatization of solid waste services not currently performed by an outside contractor and its support for solid waste collection that utilizes City-employed solid waste employees.

DC-2 (19-2052) Resolution to appoint Helen Chandler to the Public Market Advisory Commission (7 Votes Required)
This Mayoral appointment was introduced at the previous Council meeting, and will therefore be voted on at this Council meeting. 7 votes are required because the nominee is not a resident of Ann Arbor.

  • Helen Chandler – Public Market Advisory Commission

DC-3 (19-2090) Resolution to Approve an Amendment to the Council Rules Re: Special Meetings of Council Committees
An additional rule would be added to Council Rules. Rule 21 would provide an express process for calling special meetings of internal Council Committees. Special meetings could be called by written request of the Chair or three members of the committee.

DC-4 (19-2097) Resolution to Establish Six 30-Minute Limited Parking Spots at Dewey (West of Packard)
Six 30-minute limited parking spaces would be established on Dewey, on the first block west of Packard.

DC-5 (19-2103) Resolution in Support of Creating a Plan to Achieve Ann Arbor Community-Wide Climate Neutrality by 2035
A climate emergency is declared and the City Administrator is directed to develop a plan for achieving community-wide carbon neutrality by the year 2035. This plan is to be developed by March 31, 2020, and include a process for public engagement, collaboration with the University of Michigan, and consideration in the FY21 budget.

DS-1 (19-1956) Resolution Authorizing Summary Publication of Ordinance No. 19-34 – An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.13.9, 5.17.4, 5.18.6, 5.28.1, 5.28.6, 5.29.10, 5.30.1 and 5.37.2 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Premium Options, Affordable Housing Dwelling Units, Reimbursements) (Ordinance No. ORD-19-34)
With Council approval, the affordable housing premium ordinance (see B-1) will be summarized to spare expense while satisfying publication requirements.

DS-2 (19-1990) Resolution Authorizing Publication of Notice of Intent to Issue Revenue Bonds (Water Supply System Revenue Bonds) ($3,400,000.00) (Roll Call Vote)
A Notice of Intent would be published for $3,400,000.00 of general revenue bonds (Water Supply System Revenue Bonds). Investment in a UV Disinfection System Project was approved (4/15/19) to address levels of Cryptosporidium (a waterborne parasite) that was found in Ann Arbor water in June 2017. This is necessary in order to meet an MDEQ requirement that we have systems in place to comply with EPA drinking water regulations by June 2020.

Additional thoughts…

It has now been nearly one full year since I was sworn in as a City Council Member. In that time, I have attended all 23 City Council meetings, written 24 agenda newsletter summaries ahead of our meetings (including this one), posted 23 voting charts to illustrate the results of Council meetings, and generated about 120 additional posts on my website re: various public meetings, Ward 4 traffic and construction updates, and other city news I’ve been asked to help publicize. I have tried to share relevant information that can prompt feedback and community conversation. In a town like ours, I believe that democracy works better when more people are engaged and sharing perspectives.

In the last year, I have also hosted approximately 30 public coffee hours (2-3 a month), attended 15 Council Caucuses (optional public meetings, where residents discuss topics on upcoming agendas with participating CM’s), and observed many public engagement meetings for new developments, stormwater drainage solutions, traffic calming measures, short term rentals, and the Gelman Plume. In between, I had many more additional one-on-one conversations with residents, business owners, and other advocates, some of which led to meetings with city staff about how to craft solutions. I believe that the best communication is both direct and specific.

We live in a town where the values of mutual respect, intellectual honesty, and social equity are integral to who we are. In Ann Arbor, organized community groups and institutions remind us every day that these ideas aren’t just buzz words. In a town full of passionate citizens, committed advocates, professional experts, scholars, and other devoted community leaders, we are well equipped to both ask hard questions and engage in the thorough and comprehensive discussion required to find answers to them. When confronted with something that is confusing or troubling or shocking, we are an educated population that asks questions: “Is that true? Why did this happen? What else is going on? How can I understand this better? What can I do to help?”

I thank everyone who is working to make Ann Arbor an environment where we can problem-solve with wisdom and compassion!

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson