Neighbors, Over the last couple of weeks our region has experienced two extreme winter weather events that left many without power. As I write this, DTE reports that after last night's heavy snowstorm they have 200,000 power outages. I have heard from many of you, rightfully frustrated with both DTE's outages as well as their confusing and inaccurate new dashboard. As reported in MLive this morning, Councilmember Eyer and the City Administrator will meet with DTE to discuss these concerns. I also encourage you to share your experience with the Michigan Public Service Commission, which is the State's regulatory body over utility companies such as DTE: https://www.michigan.gov/mpsc/about/contact-us. I'm committed to reducing our dependence on DTE and increasing our resilience to the severe weather-related events that are occurring with greater frequency. The City is currently engaged in a feasibility study of full municipalization of our power; we're also exploring the establishment of a municipal Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU), powered by residential solar and delivered to residents via a system of microgrids. We're applying for federal funds for this exciting and innovative approach. Before details on our upcoming City Council meeting, Monday, March 6th, here are a few things going on in Ward 4 and Ann Arbor. Tree Branch Pickup The City will conduct a special pick-up of large and bundled small branches from curbsides, beginning Monday, Mar. 6th. Please have them out by 7 a.m. on Mar. 6 as there is no set route for this service. Learn more at: https://www.a2gov.org/departments/trash-recycling/Pages/Compost.aspx. Scio Church Road Project Starting March 15! Ward 4 residents have been waiting a very long time for the Scio Road Improvement Project. This project will run between S. Seventh and S. Maple and is set to begin Mar. 15th. It includes roadway payment replacement, water main improvements, sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, stormwater improvements, and road and bike lane pavement marking improvements. To learn more and sign up for email updates, visit the project page. Greenview Drive Improvements Public Meeting
The City is holding a public meeting on Mar. 16th from 6 to 7:30pm at Pittsfield Branch Library to share details of utility improvements and road resurfacing for Greenview Drive (planned for 2024) between Stadium and Scio Church. Residents will have an opportunity to provide input on safety improvements. To learn more, visit: www.a2gov.org/greenview.
Ward 4 Constituent Coffee Hour My next constituent coffee hour will be Sunday, March 19th at 1pm at York (1928 Packard St.). This is an opportunity to discuss Council work and for me to hear about the issues that matter to you.
City Council Meeting, Monday, March 6th 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.
A few items of note from the agenda:
CA-3 Resolution to Approve a Cost Sharing Agreement with the Downtown Development Authority for the Purchase of an Electric Street Sweeper and to Appropriate ($129,222.50 DDA share of $258,445.00 total). This resolution, along with CA-9, will allow the City to purchase a small, electric street sweeper that is necessary for maintaining single-lane bike lanes. This will allow the City to upgrade buffered bike lanes into protected bike lanes by installing the several hundred vertical delineators we already have in inventory. I'm excited about the removal of this obstacle to building out the All Ages All Abilities Network we committed to in our Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
PH-1 Ordinance to Amend Chapter 55 (Zoning), Zoning of 67.6 Acres from TWP (Township District) and R1C (Single-Family Dwelling District) to R4A (Multiple-Family Dwelling District), 1680 Dhu Varren Road, 1710 Dhu Varren Road, 2670 Pontiac Trail, 2672 Pontiac Trail, 2678 Pontiac Trail, and 2682 Pontiac Trail. This is the second public hearing on this item. If passed, it would rezone to allow the construction of a residential community called Village of Ann Arbor. I understand the concerns being voiced by residents that want this to be an all-electric development. Furthermore, I'm looking at how we can enact policies that halt the use of gas in our buildings. However, I do not think that should be the basis of making this zoning decision, which--if passed--will result in 484 units of housing (a mix of owner-occupied and rental) and the environmental cleanup of pollution associated with the old landfill site on which it will sit. The requested rezoning is consistent with the surrounding area and our comprehensive land use plan. For these reasons, I am planning to support it.
C-3 Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11 (Risk Fund) and Repeal Section 1:193 of Chapter 8 (Organization of Boards and Commissions) of Title I of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor. Staff is proposing amendments that make the the functions of the existing Insurance Board an administrative area overseen by our City Administrator. This suggested ordinance change highlights the distinction between policy and implementation or operations. As councilmembers, we are responsible for creating policy and law through resolutions and ordinances, while staff--overseen by our City Administrator--are responsible for enacting those policies operationally through a variety of procedures. I look forward to discussing this particular ordinance change Monday; from what I've learned so far, the day-to-day handling of insurance claims against the City falls well outside the realm of policy and can most effectively be managed by our City Administrator.
DC-5 Resolution Requesting the City Administrator to Engage with the Michigan Legislature and Michigan Public Service Commission to Advance Energy Equity and Resilience (Sponsors Ghazi Edwin, Song, Harrison). This resolution comes on the heels of widespread, sustained power outages throughout Ann Arbor. It calls on the Michigan Legislature and the Michigan Public Service Commission to take a number of actions related to outage credits and stronger regulation of utilities; directs the City Administrator to continue working on community resilience; and calls on DTE to attend Ann Arbor Energy Commission meetings to provide updates on what they are doing to improve the resilience of their infrastructure.