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Dharma's Council Newsletter, August 5, 2023

Neighbors, Just over a week ago, Ann Arbor experienced a severe storm, and many of us were left without power for multiple days. Attorney General, Dana Nessel, currently has a public survey open to gather feedback on power outages, their impact, and what residents want to see in terms of response. I encourage you to submit your feedback. On a related note, I'm introducing a resolution this week that directs the City Administrator to analyze Ann Arbor’s emergency response during the severe weather events and related widespread power outages we have experienced so far in 2023. We know these weather events are increasing. While we examine ways to improve the reliability of our electrical grid--including the feasibility of a municipal electric utility and a Sustainable Energy Utility--we also need to evaluate this issue from an emergency response perspective in order to be more resilient to future events. Our next City Council meeting takes place on Monday, August 7th. Before I get to a preview of our agenda, here are some updates about things going on around Ann Arbor.

Summer Parkside Constituent Hours I'm holding my monthly constituent hours at a variety of parks over the summer. Please bring a blanket or chair (I will try to secure whatever picnic table is available) and your choice of beverage and join me to talk about City Council and what matters to you (in case of rain, we will move to York on Packard)

  • Saturday, August 19th 10am-11am at Allmendinger Park

  • Sunday, September 17th 10am-11am at Esch Park

New City Website Launched The City of Ann Arbor launched a redesigned website to enhance online transparency, increase public access to important city information and create a more user-friendly site for all. The new site, now live, can be found at To learn more, visit: Second annual Home Electrification Expo Friday, Aug. 11th Ann Arbor’s second annual Home Electrification Expo is Friday, Aug. 11, 5–9 p.m., at 315 Detroit St. This is a free public event for homeowners, renters, and building professionals featuring live music, food trucks, and industry experts. Learn about ways to make your home cleaner, greener, and safer! Also, you could have a chance to win a free heat pump water heater from Richmond Water Heaters, and free electric lawn care services! For more information, visit If you have any questions, please contact 10-Bag Limit Coming to Curbside Compost Collection The City of Ann Arbor will soon be adjusting its seasonal curbside compost collection guidelines to a limit of 10 paper yard waste bags per week. This limit is an important safety measure to protect city public works staff from possible injuries that can result from lifting and loading bags. The 10-bag limit will be enforced after Monday, Sept. 4, 2023. Learn more. Here are some additional tips for dealing with leaves and yard trimmings (for example, mulching them as you mow your lawn):

City Council Meeting, Monday, August 7th at 7pm Please reach out if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts on any of the agenda items. Email: | Phone/text: 734-492-5866

There are a few ways to share your thoughts on the agenda:

  • eComment

  • Email City Council:

  • Comment at the meeting (remote or in person): Call the City Clerk's office at 734-794-6140 beginning at 8 a.m. on the day of the meeting to reserve a public speaking time. NOTE: you do not need to reserve time to speak during a "public hearing" item.

Agenda Highlights

  • INT-2 Proclamation To Recognize the Equitable Engagement Initiative and Final Report City Council will formally recognize the work of the Equitable Engagement Steering Committee for their commitment to advancing equity in the City of Ann Arbor’s public engagement strategy. My husband, Devon, served on this committee, and I'm so grateful for this committee's work to develop best practices, recommendations, and strategies for advancing equity throughout the public engagement process. Read the full report: Achieving Equitable Engagement in Ann Arbor.

  • C-1 Ordinance to Rezone 1601 S. State Street (South Town) from R4C to C1A/R with Conditions. This is the first reading of an ordinance to rezone the block bounded by South State Street on the west, Henry Street on the north, White Street on the east, and Stimson Street on the south, from R4C (Multiple-Family Residential) to C1A/R With Conditions (Campus Business Residential) and accept conditions to limit the maximum height, limit the maximum number of parking spaces, limit the principal uses, and limit power sources in this district. Rezoning will enable the block to be redeveloped with a building having two multi-story towers on top of a single-story podium, creating a development of over 200,000 square feet including ground floor commercial and resident amenity space, apartments on the upper floors, and a 54-space parking garage within the podium. This received unanimous support from the Planning Commission and Planning Staff has also recommended the rezoning.

  • C-3 Ordinance to Add Chapter 106 (Home Energy Rating Disclosure) to Title VIII (Building Regulations) of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor. This is the first reading of an ordinance to require sellers of certain residential dwellings to provide information to buyers about residential building energy performance. This information will enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating dwellings prior to purchase and to motivate investments in home improvements that increase the health, safety, and welfare of occupants and lower utility bills, reduce carbon emissions, and increase comfort. Staff answered several councilmember questions related to this item and learned that the City is dedicating Community Climate Action Millage dollars to hire a full-time home energy assessor to do free home energy assessments for residents. This person is expected to be hired in the coming weeks (the job is currently posted), so they’ll be ready by the time this ordinance would take effect.

  • DC-3 Resolution to Analyze Ann Arbor’s Emergency Response During Severe Weather Events and Related Widespread Power Outages. Ann Arbor has experienced at least three severe weather events in 2023 that resulted in widespread, multi-day power outages. City Council has taken the important steps of 1) Initiating a feasibility study of a fully municipal utility (aka "public power"); 2) Applying for grant funds to pilot a city-owned sustainable utility that deploys solar & battery-backed microgrids throughout the city; and 3) Passing a resolution calling on the Michigan Public Services Commission and the State Legislature to hold DTE accountable. Keeping in mind that our A2Zero Carbon Neutrality plan identifies enhancing the resilience of our people and our place as a core strategy for responding to climate change, it's also important that we examine our emergency response to such events so we can improve our resilience to them.

How Council Voted The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the July 17th, 2023 Voting Chart.


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