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Dharma's Council Newsletter, Mar. 18, 2023

Neighbors, I'm looking out the window at snowflakes blowing around as I dream of spring and forecasted warmer temperatures next week. Tomorrow (Sunday, 3/19) I'm hosting my monthly constituent coffee hour from 1-2pm at York (1928 Packard) and hope to see some of you there. Before a preview of our City Council meeting Monday, here are some things going on in Ann Arbor. Tree Branch Pickup: UPDATE As many of you have likely noticed, a large number of branches placed on curbsides remains to be picked up. The City has contracted with Davey Tree Expert Company to augment staff efforts; however the damage is more extensive than we initially thought. I talked with the Assistant City Administrator yesterday, and staff are preparing a detailed plan for Council early next week so that we can ramp up our resources to deal with this. I would anticipate updates to be posted here: Scio Church Road Project Starting March 20! After a small delay caused by damage to the Liberty Bridge (part of the initially planned detour) from a semi-truck crashing into the overpass on I-94, I'm pleased to let you know that construction is expected to begin on Scio Church, Monday, March 20. Due to the damage to the Liberty Street overpass, there are some changes in the plans to traffic rerouting. Please see the road and lane closures page for more information about traffic routing and closures during construction. To learn more and sign up for email updates about the Scio Church Road Improvement Project, visit the project page. MPSC Town Hall Meetings on Power Outages The Michigan Public Services Commission is holding 3 town hall meetings this month to hear from Michiganders impacted by the recent power outages. While none are being held in Ann Arbor, a virtual town hall will take place on March 21 from 6-8pm. See the MSPC events page for the full listing and details.

City Council Meeting, Monday, March 20th 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 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.

A few items of note from the agenda:

  • CA-7 Resolution to Approve a $3,500,000 American Rescue Plan Act Subrecipient Grant for the Acquisition of 8 duplexes on Liberty, Virginia and Siller Terrace by the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation for Affordable Housing ($3,500,000.00). This resolution would allow the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation for Affordable Housing to purchase seven 2-bedroom duplexes and one 3-bedroom duplex, renovate them, and use them permanently for future new resident households making 60% of the Area Median Income.

  • CA-18 Resolution to Approve Amendment No. 1 to the Right-of-Way License Agreement with Spin, Inc., for the Operation of Electric Scooters and Electric Bicycles in the City of Ann Arbor. Spin, Inc. has operated a shared, dockless scooter business for Ann Arbor since 2019. This resolution seeks to amend the agreement to add shared dockless e-bikes to the agreement. I look forward to supporting this for several reasons. A shared bike service was a target identified in our Moving Together Toward Vision Zero Transportation Plan, Spin has proven responsive with few complaints about nuisance behavior, and Spin recently integrated equitable access into their deployment (namely, reduced cost rides for qualifying individuals, such as public housing residents; and offering a special cash card that makes the vehicles available to people without a bank or smartphone). Transportation Commission voted in support of the resolution this past week.

  • CA-20 Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Negotiate a New Natural Gas Franchise. The City's franchise with DTE for natural gas expires in 2027. This resolution directs our City Administrator to begin negotiating a new or amended gas franchise that aligns to the fullest extent possible with A2Zero goals without compromising the ability of community members to heat or cook in their homes or businesses. Residents have made it very clear that they want reliable energy that does not compromise health and safety. Furthermore, as evidenced by the strong support of our A2Zero Millage and frequent feedback we get regarding gas hookups in new developments, our residents expect us to lead the way in sustainability by phasing in renewables and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for energy. The opportunity to transition to cleaner, healthier, more reliable sources of energy is before us, and I look forward to our City leading the way.

  • C-1 An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Rezoning of 2.5 Acres from PL (Public Land) to PUD (Planned Unit Development District), 415 West Washington PUD Zoning and Supplemental Regulations, 415 West Washington (first reading). This ordinance would rezone 2.5 acres of city-owned public land to a PUD that would require the following: 15 designated affordable units (or a contribution to the affordable housing fund in lieu of units), an extension of the Treeline Trail, remediation of the existing environmentally contaminated site, and a reduction of impervious surface from the existing. 415 W. Washington sits near the YMCA and is currently occupied by a parking lot and some U-shaped buildings (read more about the property's site description and history). City Council has received many emails about the proposed PUD, primarily with concerns about putting a building in a flood plain and floodway. While I understand why these concerns are being raised, the PUD as concerns this issue conforms with our city ordinance for putting housing in a flood fringe (this is particularly notable as the City's ordinance goes above and beyond national floodplain standards) and confines the building to the flood fringe (no part of the building will be in the floodway). In short, from a flood management perspective it would be a vast improvement over what has sat there for decades, while building much needed housing and remediating toxic contamination of the site. A prior makeup of Council prioritized putting housing on this site; the creation of housing will also be a key priority for me as I consider this PUD.

  • DC-4 Resolution Directing the City Administrator to Provide City Council a Monthly Risk Fund Claims Review Report. With co-sponsors CM Briggs, CM Cornell, CM Eyer, and CM Song, I'm putting forth a resolution that relates to an ordinance change to eliminate the Board of Insurance Administration and make administration of the Risk Fund the responsibility of the City Administrator and designees. This resolution directs the City Administrator to provide City Council a monthly claims review report (similar to what we have received as Board minutes) summarizing claims reviewed and results. I welcome the City aligning its Risk Fund administration practices with other municipalities (our City Attorney's office could find no other municipality in Michigan that has elected officials determining risk settlements with residents), and also think it's important for Council to have regular insight into claims being paid.

How Council Voted The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the March 6, 2023 Voting Chart.


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