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Dharma's Council Newsletter, June 18th, 2023

Neighbors,

Happy Father's Day and Happy Juneteenth! The NYTimes featured an opinion piece on local celebrations of Juneteenth, mentioning Ann Arbor's annual tradition of celebrating this holiday. I'm grateful for our local NAACP chapter's work to organize this event, and enjoyed seeing all who attended yesterday.

Due to the Juneteenth Holiday, City offices are closed (though trash pickup will continue as normal), and our City Council meeting is on Tuesday, June 20th at 7pm. 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 going to hold 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, July 15th 10am-11am at Mushroom Park

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

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

Ann Arbor's Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program

Ann Arbor City Council voted June 5th to approve an agreement with the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions to pilot a guaranteed basic income program aimed at low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs in Ann Arbor. UM Poverty Solutions has opened a portal to sign up for additional information and to stay informed as the program progresses.

Public Engagement Meeting for S. Seventh and Greenview Improvements Project

The second in-person meeting for this project will be held on Tuesday, June 27th at 6pm at the Pittsfield Branch Library. At the meeting, City staff will present several proposed design options, and residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on them. More information on the project can be found on the project website.

A2ZERO Annual Report Highlights Three Years of Impact

Ann Arbor's aggressive climate and sustainability plan and framework just released an annual report looking at major activities and accomplishments achieved in the first three years of the plan. The third-year report highlights the work of the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations, collaborating city departments, and dozens of community collaborators. To read highlights, visit the press release for this item.


City Council Meeting, Tuesday, June 20th at 7pm

Please reach out if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts on any of the agenda items. Email: DAkmon@A2gov.org | Phone/text: 734-492-5866

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

  • Email City Council: CityCouncil@a2gov.org

  • 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.

We have a very full agenda this week. Here are a few items of note.

Public Hearings/Ordinance at Second Reading

  • PH-2 An Ordinance to Repeal Section 8:525(2) of Chapter 105 (Housing Code) of Title VIII (Building Regulations) of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-23-17). This proposed repeal would eliminate the requirement that local landlords provide tenants with voter registration information. Two Michigan cities (East Lansing and Ypsilanti) are currently defendants in lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of similar ordinances; and similar ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul were struck down on the same grounds. This ordinance is not actively enforced in Ann Arbor, and we have more effective methods of online voter outreach and increased access to voter registration and voting (e.g. same-day voter registration, extended voter registration deadlines to allow additional time to register by mail, online, or at the Secretary of State, early voting, and the City Clerk’s creation of multiple satellite offices at the University of Michigan).

  • PH-3 An Ordinance to Add Chapter 92 (Humane Pet Acquisition) to Title VII of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (ORD-23-18). Approval of this ordinance would ban stores from the sale of pets subject to large-scale commercial breeding operations (cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, long-lived birds, and reptiles). Large-scale breeding operations (aka "puppy mills") often have inhumane conditions, and requiring pet stores to source animals from shelters and rescue organizations is likely to decrease the demand for pets bred in pet mills. Currently, we do not know of any pet store selling such pets in Ann Arbor, so this ordinance is largely preventative. Further, this ordinance will not affect the ability to obtain these pets directly from a breed-specific rescue organization, a shelter, or from a breeder where the consumer can directly see the conditions in which the animals are bred.

  • PH-4 and PH-5 721 South Forest PUD Zoning and PUD Supplemental Regulations. Approval will rezone this property PUD (Planned Unit Development) to permit a 12-story, 166-foot-tall structure containing 228 residential units and 733 bedrooms. Ann Arbor's PUD regulations require a minimum of 15% of the total units be dedicated as affordable or a contribution in lieu of units. The petitioner has chosen to provide a cash in lieu payment of $4,700,000. The proposed building will be all electric. Staff recommends denial. The Planning Commission recommends approval.

Ordinances at First Reading

  • C-2 An Ordinance to Add Chapter 124 (Initiation of Traffic Stops) of Title IX (Police Regulations) of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (Harrison, Cornell, Eyer, Ghazi Edwin, Song). The purpose of this ordinance is to clarify and direct the appropriate methods and circumstances for the initiation of traffic stops and the enforcement of traffic violations in order to ensure the equitable, transparent, and non-discriminatory administration of traffic stops, eliminate biased stops, prevent racial profiling, protect public safety, and increase public trust in law enforcement. The ordinance would prohibit Ann Arbor Police from conducting traffic stops for the following infractions: Cracked or chipped windshield; loud exhaust; tinted windows; object hanging from rearview mirror, unless the officer has a good faith belief that the object creates an unsafe vision obstruction; cracked tail lamp; registration plate lighting violations; registration plate violations regarding plate height or attachment, location of registration sticker; location of temporary or paper registration plate, so long as it remains clearly visible from the rear of the vehicle; and registration expired less than 60 days prior to the date the officer observes the vehicle.

  • C-3 Amendment to ORD CH 26 to Allow Curbside Items (Cornell, Briggs, Disch, Akmon). This ordinance revision would decriminalize (with specific conditions regarding the length of time and types of items that can be left out) the act of curbside donation of household items. In doing so, it would support the sustainable act of extending the lifecycle of such items.

New Business - Council

  • DC-2 Resolution to Direct the City Administrator to Engage with the Federal Government on the Redevelopment of Federal Plaza at 200 East Liberty Street (Taylor, Akmon, Eyer, Disch, Briggs). This resolution directs the City Administration to engage with the federal government on the redevelopment of the plaza in front of the federal building at 200 East Liberty Street. This is an opportunity to build an expanded, much more highly activated federal plaza utilizing the 200 block of Liberty Street that affronts the northern edge of the federal building property and incorporating it into the plaza. This will include engagement with a variety of stakeholders, including local businesses and will also leverage info gathered from the DDA's yearlong downtown circulation study.

  • DC-6 Resolution in Support of RFP Issuance for Unarmed Response Program (Taylor, Ghazi Edwin, Harrison, Radina, Song). This resolution directs the City Administrator to issue an RFP aimed at procuring a third party to implement an Unarmed Response program. Following on recommendations made after extensive engagement with residents and the memo also attached to the agenda, the aim of the program is that it have no direct or indirect linkage to the Ann Arbor Police Department; that it use a separate phone number from 911; that it operate transparently; and that the contractor and the City work together to educate the public on the program and services it provides.

How Council Voted

The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the June 5th, 2023 Voting Chart.

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