<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Second November 14 sec

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Caucus

The City Council holds a caucus meeting each Sunday prior to a Council meeting.  This meeting is an opportunity for members of Council to discuss agenda items -- and pending issues -- with each other in public view.  Members of the public are welcome to attend to bring issues to the attention of Council members. 

Caucus is relocated to the City Hall Basement Meeting Room while asbestos abatement continues in the Council Chambers

The Caucus starts at 7 pm.

foraging deer

November 16, 2014


Dear neighbors

So it begins.  The snow falling on the western side of Michigan, of course, is much more significant than our small dusting of snow over the past few days.  But that snow was just a taste of things to come.

My leaves – with help from others – are all cleaned up.  So are the leaves that fell into the street in front of my house.  The City swept my street a couple of weeks ago, but of course, leaves blow around and continue to fall.  Right now, the storm grate is clear of debris – I hope to keep it that way until it gets too cold.  I’ve learned that letting leaves sit on the storm grate causes some major complications for folks downhill from my house – as well as for the City and the Huron River.

Yesterday I watched a family of deer – the mother missing a hind foot – munching on what remains in my garden.  I’m one of those folks who changed my garden rather than fight the animals, but I understand the need to control the deer population, and sponsored the resolution to enable the City to move forward on this.  The City has established a Deer Management Project page; public meetings and other outreach should start next month.  As one of my neighbors wrote recently, the overpopulation of deer in Michigan (and the Midwest) is significant.  There is no simple solution and no solution that Ann Arbor can do alone.  I encourage you to help the City and the County to create – and adopt – a regional management plan.


On the calendar

Tuesday, November 18th
Planning Commission meets at 7 pm at the County building (220 N. Main Street)
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and may vote on whether to recommend approval of a zoning change and site plan for the proposed Plum Market at Plymouth and Green roads.

Wednesday, November 19th
On Wednesday, Nov. 19, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the downtown library the Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force will hold a community-wide meeting in which residents will be encouraged to share their input regarding pedestrian safety and access in the City of Ann Arbor.

Tuesday, November 25th
The Master Plan Review Committee of the Planning Commission will meet at 6 pm in the First Floor (south) conference room at City Hall.  Under discussion is the Washtenaw Corridor Plan.


Updates

Burr Oak Trees on Fuller

The City staff reviewed the health of the Burr Oaks adjacent to the VA hospital.  These oaks are on land owned by the VA hospital and by the University of Michigan.  The University of Michigan has written a cease and desist letter to the VA to address the VA’s use of UM land – with the oaks on it – as overflow parking.

A2 Fix-it

I heard back from folks that they were excited about A2-Fix-it as a mechanism for reporting non-emergency problems.  If you haven’t added this link to your smartphone and computer, I encourage you to.  It’s very useful for helping the City maintain a record of and respond to our concerns – whether it’s your neighbor’s trash containers sitting out all week, a poorly-installed pedestrian ramp, or a street light out.

Surveys

The City continues to request input from residents about possible changes to the design of Seventh Street.  The first part of the survey is really a set of alternative designs, followed by some questions about those designs.  This is your opportunity to offer your response to the ideas.  Please take the survey!  You have until November 25th. 

The Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force asks for your assistance in identifying areas in the City that need to have improved pedestrian design.  The survey and map (below) offer ideas on how to prioritize both problems and solutions – your engagement will help produce a plan that is proactive rather than reactive.  Please take the survey!  And I hope to see you at the public meeting on Wednesday, November 19th (6:30 pm at the downtown public library).
Web Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PSATF
Interactive Map: http://www.communityremarks.com/AnnArbor/

Development on Nixon and Pontiac

The Planning Commission agenda for Tuesday, November 18th does not include discussion or a vote on the Nixon Road or Pontiac Trail developments.  The Nixon Farms north and south developments and the North Sky development are not yet ready to come before Planning Commission.  And this means that it continues to be likely that aspects of these developments will change.  To follow the plans as they are submitted, go to eTrakit, select Properties, and search on the street name.

Road work

The good news is that road construction season is winding down.  Of course, the other side of that is that winter – and snow – stops that construction.

Pontiac Trail has had two preliminary layers of asphalt applied.  The road should be striped and open for traffic within a couple of days – work is scheduled to be complete by Wednesday, November 19, but weather can affect the actual date.  Final work on Pontiac Trail will be completed next spring.

Traverwood Drive will remain closed until November 24. 

The State of Michigan Department of Transportation continues to work on Huron (this street is under the control of MDOT).  Huron will be closed for construction between Dexter and Chapin from 8 am to 6 pm.  Yes, I know this hits rush hour timing.

Snow removal

Just a reminder:

Residents have 24 hours after the snowfall ends to remove snow from the public sidewalk in front of their home.  If they live on a corner or, in some neighborhoods, at a T-intersection, they are also responsible for removing snow from the curb cuts.  Some of us find this task a burden - due to age or infirmity.  Others don't think it is important.  But I hope you understand the value to the community - and the cost to all of us if we expect the City to perform this task.

The City is responsible for removing the snow on public land - including park paths, bridges and crosswalks.


On the Horizon

Meeting Relocations
City Council (Nov. 17, Dec. 1 and Dec. 15) and City Planning Commission meetings (Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and Dec. 16) will be held at the County Administration Building, 220 N. Main St., County Board of Commission public meeting room. Meetings will continue to be cablecast live on CTN Comcast Channel 16 and available live online and via video on demand. 

The following public meetings will be relocated to the basement conference room at Larcom City Hall. These meetings will not be cablecast live on CTN, but will be taped for later replay and available via video on demand. 

The Cable Communications Commission and Commission on Disability Issues will meet at CTN, 2805 S. Industrial, Suite 200.


Agenda highlights

City Council meets Monday, November 17.  Planning Commission meets Tuesday, November 18.  Both meetings will be held in the County Commission meeting room (220 N. Main, the old post office).  Council chambers are closed while the asbestos is being removed.

Various items

There are no public hearings at this Council meeting. 

Over the past few years, many people have offered ideas and recommendations for the ways in which the City should address emergency, temporary shelter for the homeless – especially in winter.  After last year’s horrible winter, the City and the County staff began meeting to devise a plan to address emergency shelter.  This plan does not solve issues of homelessness.  It does not provide permanent shelter and livelihoods to those experiencing homelessness.  And it does not address ongoing concerns that other communities, rather than provide services to those homeless living in their jurisdiction, are inclined to bring those in need here.  This last concern will be the subject of many continuing conversations with hospitals, police departments, church communities and the State of Michigan in the next few months.

But as a temporary measure, the City Council will consider whether to allocate up to $89,318 for the additional costs that will be incurred by the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (and the Delonis Center) as they keep their shelter open day and night this winter.  The County Commission will consider a sibling resolution on Wednesday. 

Transportation

Back on the agenda is a resolution to lease the use of the parking lots at Fuller Park to the University of Michigan during the work day.  The current resolution calls for a two-year lease with potential two-year administrative extension – a possible amendment would change that time period to a one-year lease with potential one-year extension. 

The health and sustainability of the Burr Oak trees on Fuller Road are not part of this resolution.  For many of us, though, these trees remain the reason the City leases park land for UM parking.  To read the latest report from the City forester on the condition of these trees, click here

A second related issue is proposed UM development in the Maiden Lane/Wall Street area.  The UM recently built a 700 car parking structure in this area; the Medical Campus Master Plan (2005) calls for building a transit center and additional parking structure.

Another item returning to the agenda is a resolution to permit a temporary use of the Old Y lot as a parking lot, with ½ of the net revenue to be allocated to the City’s Affordable Housing Fund.

Development

Back on the agenda is a proposed amendment to the Main Street Character District (downtown zoning).  The proposed change to the character district is for a single parcel (at Main/William/Packard), changing the zoning from D1 to D2 and defining the D2 zoning in this character district.

Because this ordinance change is at first reading, a public hearing will be scheduled for some later date.  But here are a few things to know: 

If you have questions about this proposed change – and I look forward to learning that you do – please email me

There are always other items on the agenda that I haven’t highlighted.  To learn more about what the Council will discuss on Monday, November 17, please look at the general agenda information.


I have been reading Beyond Red and Blue: How Twelve Political Philosophies Shape American Debates, by Peter Wenz.  .