Fourth Ward Newsletter (December 16, 2018)

Dec 16, 2018 | Newsletter

Hello, Ward 4 neighbors!

This week on Ann Arbor City Council, we have one public hearing, two zoning amendments, some unfinished business related to the Northside school sidewalk gaps, and several new resolutions. Our commission and board appointments (approved at the last meeting) will also be reconsidered for amendment.

Before I jump into my summary of items on the agenda, I’d like to invite you to my coffee hours today (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 Dec 16 2018

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:

Volunteer Boards and Commissions  Membership on these 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)

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting Agenda 12/17/18

Below is my summary of some issues on the City Council Agenda this week, with links to more information about each of them. 

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting
December 17, 2018 7:00pm

The full agenda in PDF format (along with links to each proposed ordinance/resolution) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website here:

If you have comments about any of these issues, feel free to email me.

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  Resolution to Vacate the Alley in Block 7 of the Plat of Hamilton, Rose, and Sheehan’s Addition to the City of Ann Arbor (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 0 Nays) (8 Votes Required)
This is a city decision to abandon a public alley that previously existed from White Street to East Park Place, crossing Stadium Boulevard.  The public alley will cease to exist and property lines will be adjusted for neighbors whose property abuts the alley (i.e. neighbors on either side of the alley will each gain a half-width ownership of the alley).

New/Unfinished Business

C-1  An Ordinance to Amend Sections 2:63 and 2:64 of Chapter 29 (Change Water, Sewer, and Stormwater Rates) of Title II of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
This is an increase of water and sewer rates by 6%, across the board.  Our public works department tells us that this increase is necessary in order to cover the cost of service and necessary maintenance/improvements.

C-2  An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code), Rezoning of two adjacent lots totaling 1.6 Acres from R1C (Single-Family Dwelling District) to R2A (Two-Family District) 3786 & 3802 Platt Road Rezoning (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 0 Nays)
Two adjacent lots (1.6 acres at 3786 & 3802 Platt Road) will be re-zoned R2A to accommodate duplexes.  The previous zoning (R1C) only allowed for single family dwellings.

C-3  An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 0.76 Acre from TWP (Township District) to R1D (Single-Family Residential District), Flannery Property, 2883 Stone School Road (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 7 Yeas and 0 Nays)
This will zone a property on the east side of Stone School Road (between the Packard/Stone School split and Ticknor Court) as single-family residential district (R1D).  It is an amendment not because of a change in zoning but because this parcel was previously a township island and was recently annexed.

DC-1  Resolution Recognizing Stone School Cooperative Nursery Inc. as a Civic Nonprofit Organization Operating in Ann Arbor for the Purpose of Obtaining a Charitable Gaming License
Stone School cooperative preschool will be allowed to have a poker night event as a fundraiser.

DC-2  Resolution to Address Crosswalk Improvements and Maintenance
By January 31, 2019, the City Administrator will provide an update to Council about the city’s crosswalks.  The update will include the current crosswalk design standards, all improvements made to crosswalks in the last three years, and any plans for new crosswalks or substantial improvements to crosswalks.  The City Administrator is directed to inventory all crosswalks with respect to how they meet the design standards and also provide cost and schedule data for improvements with the upcoming budget Financial Plan.

DC-3  Resolution Providing Council Guidance on the Citizen Survey to Obtain Community Input on the Utilization of County Mental Health & Public Safety Millage Proceeds
This provides additional direction (as requested by staff) for how to conduct a community survey re: use of the unrestricted rebate funds from the Community Mental Health and Public Safety Millage.  The survey will include background information that clarifies the amount of rebate funds available ($2 million per year for eight years) and that these millage funds are unrestricted as to purpose.  The survey choices will be clearly defined and include, at a minimum: road re-surfacing and repair; affordable housing; safe drinking water initiatives; pedestrian safety improvements; climate action/energy efficiency programs; water and sewer infrastructure improvements; public safety; mental health/human service programs.  Survey respondents will be asked to allocate percentages, totaling 100%.

DC-4  Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Develop and Present to Council by February 28, 2019 a List of Feasible Alternatives to Revise the Recently-Adopted Water Rate Re-structuring Ordinance to Mitigate the Adverse Impacts of the Ordinance on Single-Family Residential Customers
The City Administrator is directed to analyze alternative structuring of water rates that would take into account the impact and burden on single-family residential customers.  By February 28, 2019, the City Administrator will present feasible alternatives that would be revenue neutral to the city.  Among alternatives to be considered include: eliminating the 4th Tier in single-family residential; adopting volume-based pricing tiers in the commercial customer class to reflect peaking impacts; establishing potential other customer classes, adopting a single-flat water rate city-wide.

DC-5  Resolution to Encourage Support to Fund the Fire Protection Grant Program – Michigan House Bill 6348 (Substitute S-1)
This is the city’s formal support for Michigan House Bill 6348 (Substitute S-1), which increases the amount of state money available for Fire Protection Grants.  These grants are available to municipalities with state facilities (e.g. for Ann Arbor, this is primarily University of Michigan) and the grants are meant to alleviate some of the local cost burden of providing fire protection services.

DC-6  A Motion to Reconsider Resolution R-18-475 – Resolution to Approve 2019 Council Committee Appointments
We are re-visiting appointments approved at the last meeting, for the City Council liaisons to boards and commissions.  Among other changes, I hope to eliminate a scheduling conflict— I was assigned to two commissions that meet at the same time!

DS-1  Resolution No. 2 – Northside STEAM Safe Routes to School Sidewalk Gap Project – Sidewalk Special Assessment
This re-visits a topic discussed (and postponed) at the last meeting: filling sidewalk gaps on Traver, consistent with the Safe Routes to School Program at STEAM/Northside school.  A new city staff proposal will narrow the street surface to make room for sidewalk construction; this places the sidewalks on more level ground, reducing the need to excavate/retain steeply sloped private property.  The new plan also spares many mature trees that would have been removed under the previous plan.

DS-3  Resolution to Direct the City Attorney Regarding the 319 S. Fifth Avenue a/k/a/ the “Library Lot”
This is a resolution from Mayor Taylor that will provide direction to our legal staff re: the Library Lot.  (As publicized and as far as I know, a specific direction has been left blank in this resolution.)  Before this Monday’s public meeting, City Council will be having a closed session with the city attorney to discuss the city’s options in response to pending litigation; I presume that our closed session discussion will offer some guidance as to Mayor Taylor’s intent for this resolution.

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.

Ann Arbor City Council consent agenda Dec 17 2018

Planning Commission Meeting 12/18/2018

This Tuesday night (Dec 18), the Planning Commission will be discussing two projects in Ward 4.  The full agenda in PDF format (along with links to each proposed ordinance/resolution) can be found on the A2Gov Legistar website here:

830 Henry Street
Four lots will be combined for a new three-story eleven unit apartment building, intended for student rental.  Staff reports and more detailed information can be found at:

830 Henry St Ann Arbor Planning Dec 2018

3935 Research Park Drive
A special exception use is recommended for a Medical Marijuana Growing and Processing Facility.  Staff reports and more detailed information can be found at:

3935 Research Park Ann Arbor planning Dec 2018

Additional thoughts…

Last week, City Council met at the Library for a “budget retreat.”  We were presented with reports from our chief financial officer, from public works about the maintenance of our sewer lines and the condition of our street pavements, and from the city administrator re: the results of a recent community survey.  Unfortunately, our meeting had a hard stop at 9 p.m. and we ran out of time for the whole of our agenda.  (There are plans for us to schedule another meeting soon.)

In the last two weeks, I’ve been busy with more orientation related to our various city departments.  I’ve also been following up on a few concerns that residents have shared with me.  I talked with Dr. Stults in our Sustainability and Innovations department to learn more about her plans for climate change action.  I talked to our transportation manager about the intersection changes at Seventh and Scio Church.  City staff are currently helping me figure out who is responsible for the crumbling path at the end of Runnymede.  We are also exploring the idea of a crosswalk that would be more convenient to the bus stops on Industrial Highway.

Please continue to reach out with your ideas and concerns.  

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson