Fourth Ward Newsletter (January 6, 2019)

Jan 6, 2019 | Newsletter

Hello, Ward 4 neighbors!

This week on Ann Arbor City Council, we have two public hearings, two ordinance amendments (first reading), and some new business including revised bylaws for a city commission.

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 Jan 6 2019

New Police Chief

The city has scheduled several public meetings to discuss community priorities and recommendations for a new police chief.  Please consider attending one of the meetings below to share your views about leadership for our city’s law enforcement.

Meeting #1: Tuesday, Jan. 8 (12 noon – 2pm)
Bryant Community Center, 3 W. Eden Court

Meeting #2: Tuesday, Jan. 8 (7-9pm)
Ann Arbor District Library, Downtown Branch, 343 S. 5th Ave., fourth floor

Meeting #3: Wednesday, Jan. 9 (6:30-8:30pm)
Arrowwood Hills, 2566 Arrowwood Trail

Complete an online survey to let us know what you want in a new city police chief:

Sustaining Ann Arbor Together Grants

The office of Sustainability and Innovations offers community grants to help neighborhood groups develop, resource, and complete small-scale improvement projects in the city’s rights-of-way or on publicly owned property, including Ann Arbor Public School property.  The targeted grant amount is less than $10,000 (excluding neighborhood contributions). To apply for a Sustaining Ann Arbor Together grant, fill out an application here:

Ward 4 Meetings

There are two meetings scheduled next week at City Hall about projects in Ward 4. Affected neighbors should have received postcards from the City. More information about these meetings is posted on this website ( as “Ward 4 News” blog posts.

Hoover, Greene & Hill Improvement Project

Thursday, January 17 (5:30-7pm)
Larcom City Hall (301 E. Huron Street)— 2nd floor, Council Chambers

Learn about water main and road resurfacing work that is happening on the following roads:

HOOVER— from State to Main

GREENE— from Hill to Kipke

HILL— from Adams to Fifth

Scio Church Road Improvement Projects

Thursday, January 17 (7pm)
Larcom City Hall (301 E. Huron Street)— basement conference room

Informal administrative meeting to discuss Road Improvement Projects on Scio Church (between S. Seventh and Main Street)

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 1/7/19

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
Monday January 7, 2019 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  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 (Ordinance No. ORD-18-33)
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 equipment updates. (This was approved at first reading, 12/17/18.)

PH-2  Resolution to Approve the 715 Heather Way Annexation, 0.52 Acres, (CPC Recommendation: Approval – 8 Yeas and 0 Nays)
A township island (single family home at 715 Heather Way) will be annexed into the city.

Ordinances (First Reading)

C-1  An Ordinance to Amend Sections 7:605 and 7:607 of Chapter 96 (Medical Marijuana Facilities) of Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
This amends our medical marijuana facilities ordinance to remove local licensing requirements. Since the passage of Prop 1, marijuana will be regulated at the state level and the state will issue operating licenses. (The city will continue to regulate the location of new businesses via permits.)

C-2  An Ordinance to Amend Sections 1:240D, 1:240E and 1:240F of Chapter 9 (City Seal and Flag) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor
This would amend an ordinance passed by City Council six months ago. The first version of the ordinance was approved on July 2, 2018, and banned non-official use of the city seal or flag by anyone without specific approval from the Mayor. (The Michigan ACLU challenged the 7/2/18 ordinance as overly broad and unconstitutional.) As amended, this version of the ordinance no longer requires specific approval from the Mayor for non-official use of the seal/flag. However, it prohibits non-official use of the city seal/flag for the purpose of obtaining anything of value; it also prohibits the sale of items that display the city seal/flag in a manner that implies city approval or endorsement.

New Business

DC-1  Resolution to Recommend Approval of Issuance of a Downtown Development District Liquor License to Argus Farm Stop L3C
Argus Farm Stop at 325 W. Liberty Street will be approved for a liquor license.

DC-2  Resolution to Direct the City Attorney to Settle Ann Arbor Central Park Ballot Committee v City of Ann Arbor, et al., Case No. 18-816-CZ by Stipulating to an Injunction
City attorneys have negotiated a settlement with the Ann Arbor Central Park Ballot Committee to resolve one of the outstanding lawsuits related to the Library Lot. The city stipulates that the passage of Prop A prevents the sale of the property to Core Spaces.

DB-2  Resolution to Approve Revised Bylaws of the Environmental Commission
The Bylaws of the Environmental Commission would be revised on topics of membership, ethics, and meetings. The revisions remove the current requirement that appointed members be Ann Arbor residents for at least one year. As revised, “[m]embers shall be respectful of other members, the public, petitioners, and City Staff.” Under the revised bylaws, special meetings may be called by only three voting members (current bylaws require written concurrence from a majority of voting members).

DB-3  Resolution to Approve the Purchase of a Conservation Easement on the Lepkowski Property in Northfield Township and to Appropriate $478,867.00 (8 Votes Required)
The city would purchase approximately 75 acres of farmland in Northfield Township using $478,867.00 of Open Space and Parkland Preservation millage funds. This purchase was recommended by the Greenbelt Advisory Commission.

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 Jan 7 2019

Additional thoughts…

It seems that the city is much closer to resolving issues related to the Library Lot. Since our last Council meeting, the city administrator has communicated to the appropriate parties: the contract for sale of that property is no longer valid and the city intends to uphold the will of the voters as expressed through Proposal A. As the new year dawns, I look ahead to both challenges and opportunities. Most importantly, I am optimistic that our community is capable of constructive and collaborative conversations that move us forward.

I hope everyone had a peaceful holiday this past month!

Please continue to reach out with your ideas and concerns.  

Thank you for helping me represent Ward 4!
Elizabeth Nelson