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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 held in Council Chambers.

The Caucus starts at 7 pm.

At the Farmer's Market, 4/19/2014

April 19, 2014

Because the Council has moved forward with a goal of selling the development rights to the Library Lot, and has established a location and approximate size for a public space, I want to take the issue directly to you.
Would you please respond to this survey about a downtown park?  Please keep in mind that, while there has been a great amount of public discussion and several efforts to gauge community views, the City has not yet decided on the actual design of the public space, and has not determined how it will most effectively enhance the community.

Please take this survey and let me hear your ideas and concerns.

Dear Neighbors,

I spent several intense hours over the past couple of weeks looking at, reviewing and discussing applications for human services funding.  So many great ideas, so little money.  The City, as part of a coordinated funding effort (which doesn’t mingle funds, but does focus on community goals) will be allocated to various organizations working on aging, safety net health care, improving high school graduation rates, providing housing and homelessness prevention, hunger relief and early childhood interventions.

Which organizations participate?  The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, the United Way of Washtenaw County, Washtenaw Community Health Organization, the James A. and Faith Knight Foundation and the Office of Community and Economic Development (which includes the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the Washtenaw Urban County).

Want to learn more?  Here’s the official page.



The community continues to talk about how many deer are on our yards, eating our ornamentals and dashing across the street in front of us – sometimes with disastrous results.  My beloved confronted an unfamiliar sight this winter, and brought me some fewmets to examine (I had to explain what they were).  We never expected to be living so close to nature.

Next week I’ll continue the discussion with Council members Lumm and Petersen when we meet with County commissioner LaBarre.

But just so it’s clear – deer have been sighted in the Third and Fifth wards (so it’s no longer only a concern for those of us north of the river).

On the calendar

Ann Arbor Bridges Public Art Presentation

Public Meeting
Monday, April 21, 2014 7-9 pm
Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, multipurpose room

Nature Area Workdays

Saturday, April 26
9 am – Dolph Nature Area and Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area
1 pm – Barton Nature Area

Temporary Traffic Control Plan

Saturday, April 26, 8 am – 5 pm
South Main between Packard and Madison, for work on the railroad tracks.

Earth Day Festivities

Sunday, April 27, 12 noon – 4 pm
Leslie Science Center

Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force


Monday, April 28, 2014; 3-5 PM
Larcom City Hall (301 E. Huron Street), 6th floor conference room

Garlic Weed Out

Saturday, May 3, at a park near you
10 am – 1 pm

On the Horizon

Cobblestone Farm Market

Spring Festival and Market Opening
Tuesday, May 20, 4-7 pm

On the Agenda

I intend to highlight just a few of the issues on the agenda for April 21.  If you want more background on any item, you can read The Chronicle’s preview of the agenda.

Public Hearings

Public Hearings may be held on resolutions; they are required for all ordinances.  On the April 7th agenda, there are two public hearings on resolutions.

On the agenda is an ordinance that would designate certain spaces outdoors as ‘no smoking’ and allow the City Administrator to specify that certain areas in public parks – such as playgrounds – are also no smoking. 

There are also public hearings on three site plans: an addition to the Concordia University Gymnasium, an addition to an existing building to create additional office space on Collingwood, and a change to an existing gas station to accommodate a restaurant (the Shell station on S. State Street.


New and amended ordinances require two readings.  A public hearing is held at the time of the second reading.  Public hearings may be held over if the ordinance is postponed at second reading.

Ordinances, second reading

There are no other ordinances on the agenda – just the one that would establish smoke-free areas.  This ordinance has been brought to Council by Council member Warpehoski.

Ordinances, first reading                                                                                                         



Resolutions from Council

In some cases, Council members appointed to commissions are responsible for nominating new members and re-nominating existing members.  One such commission is the Environmental Commission, on which Council member Anglin and  I serve.  The current members of the Environmental Commission are willing to continue their service; these nominations will also establish a firm start and end date for each position in the future.

Resolutions from Boards and Commissions

Three site plans are on the agenda (see the public hearings, above).

Resolutions from Staff

The recent sale of the old Y lot will add over $1 million to the Affordable Housing Fund.  In turn, the Housing Commission is in the process of renovating all public housing properties.  The Council agreed to allocate $600,000 from the sale of the old Y toward this project; the Council will vote to approve that allocation.  This item requires 8 affirmative votes. 

The City will replace the watermain at Yellowstone this summer.  On the agenda is a contract for the work.

Sidewalks on Newport Rd. Scio Church and Barton are scheduled to be built this summer.  On the agenda are several resolutions that will result in new sidewalks:  Along Scio Church and Barton, there is an amendment to the City budget (requires 8 votes) for partial construction funding from the City’s General fund.  All of the Barton sidewalk (a very short piece) will be funded through this amendment.  The Scio sidewalk is longer and more expensive; although most of the sidewalk will be funded by the City, there is a short segment that will be funded using a special assessment district.  Along Newport, the City will also construct a sidewalk, and has established a mechanism for a special assessment district that is more extensive than common, as property owners in an adjacent subdivision have offered to help defray the construction costs.  There will be public hearings on the Scio Church and Newport special assessment districts on May 5 at City Council, if the resolutions are approved.

Consent Agenda

The streets are in rough shape.  On the consent agenda is a resolution to increase the purchase order for aggregate materials (asphalt) - $36,750 additional.

As part of the ongoing maintenance process for public housing, the Council will be asked to approve a resolution establishing a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for specific properties: North Maple Estates, North Maple Duplexes, Lower Platt, Broadway, and White/State/Henry Apartments.

Other items: Street closings for the NTI block party on Wednesday, July 30; the Top of the Park (Summer Festival) from June 9 – July 9, and the Rolling Sculpture Car Show on Friday, July 11.


As always, if any issue on the agenda is a specific concern, please let me hear from you.

What am I reading?

Life is a constant learning experience.  This past week, I offered to loan several of my electronic books on planning to a colleague on the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board.  I was dismayed to learn that only some books can be loaned.
I couldn’t loan City Bound, how states stifle urban innovation or City Rules, how regulations affect urban form.  But I did share The Undeserving Poor, America’s enduring confrontation with poverty

Members of the Planning Commission and the Housing and Human Services Advisory Board are talking about how to fit the goal for more affordable housing into the City’s zoning rules.