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Dharma's Council Newsletter, September 3rd , 2023

Neighbors,

I hope you're all enjoying the last bits of summer. Due to the Labor Day holiday, City Council meets on Tuesday this week, September 5th. City offices are also closed, and there will be no trash, recycling, or compost curbside collection services in the city on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4. Monday's curbside collections will occur on Tuesday, with the following collections to occur one day later throughout the week. The normal Friday routes will be serviced Saturday, Sept. 9. 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)

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

Allmendinger Park Playground Updates Complete! As of September 1st, the playground improvements are done at Allmendinger Park! Stop by to see the new natural playground features, such as a log jam and tower of boulders. Check out the photos on the Parks Facebook Page. S. Seventh and Greenview Improvement Project Open House, Sept. 21st at 6pm City staff will host an open house to share final designs and answer questions on the S. Seventh and Greenview Improvement project on Sept. 21st at 6pm at the Pittsfield branch library. Nearby residents will receive a postcard, and more information will be posted shortly to the project website. Police Chief Selection Process Update Our City Administrator, Milton Dohoney Jr., notified City Council members on August 25th that he will not be recommending a police chief from the pool of candidates recently interviewed. The City will continue to work with its search firm Baker Tilly to perform a more targeted search.


City Council Meeting, Tuesday, September 5th 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 the 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 (PH)" item.

Agenda Highlights

  • CA-11 Resolution to Appropriate Funds Received from the Sale of 350 S. Fifth to Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation ($6,200,000). At our last meeting (Aug. 5th, 2023), City Council approved the sale of the property at 350 S. Fifth (also known at the former Y lot) to the Ann Arbor Housing Development Corporation for $6,200,000 via resolution R-23-306. The proceeds from this sale will be used to pay off the existing debt service on the property ($5,125,000) and provide partial funding for an Election Center ($1,075,000) at 3120 Miller Road. (details on the latter included below in my summary of the agenda item for purchase of this property).

  • PH-1 An Ordinance to Amend Sections 5.15, 5.16 and 5.17 of Chapter 55 (Unified Development Code) of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor (TC1 Uses, Auto-related and TC1 Development Use Specific Standards, Transit Corridor Additional Standards). By City Council Resolution R-22-390, the Planning Commission evaluated and recommended amendments to the TC1 district to incorporate limited automobile-related uses and address constraints of existing narrow rights-of-way. The attached ordinance proposes to incorporate Automobiles, Motorcycles, Recreation Vehicles, Equipment (Sales and Rental) and Automobiles, Trucks and Construction Equipment Repair as special exception uses in the TC1 district. Addressing constraints of existing narrow rights-of-way will be provided separate when available. While I still support addressing the existing narrow rights-of-way, I will not be supporting the addition of auto sales and rental and repair in our TC1 district, where the primary aim is to increase mixed uses in high density, encourage alternative transportation (e.g. bus, walking, biking, etc.), and discourage auto-dependent or auto-oriented uses.

  • PH-4 An Ordinance to Amend the Zoning Map, Being a Part of Section 5.10.2 of Chapter 55 of Title V of the Code of the City of Ann Arbor, (1601 S. State Street - South Town Rezoning from R4C to C1A/R with Conditions). This ordinance concerns the rezoning of parcels in Ward 4. Approval of this ordinance will 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. It comes to Council recommended by staff and with unanimous support from the Planning Commission.

  • DC-2 Resolution to Adopt an Improved Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program (Sponsors: Akmon, Briggs, Ghazi Edwin, Harrison, Watson). A working group of the Transportation Commission--including me and CM Briggs--has been working on improvements to the neighborhood traffic calming program since Fall of 2022, recently winning the support of the commission. The City's list of traffic calming projects, frequent complaints about speeding and other dangerous driving behavior through neighborhoods, and community engagement around capital improvement roads projects all indicate high demand for slowing vehicle speeds and improving safety and comfort on local streets. Unfortunately, the process as it exists now does not allow staff to incorporate well-established tools for traffic calming in road construction projects where calming is needed unless and until residents engage in a separate petition-led process. Our goal with this resolution is to simplify approval of projects that are part of the petition process and to empower staff to include the full range of established calming elements in all capital improvements projects that disturb the road surface, particularly those that are a part of the All Ages All Abilities network identified in the transportation plan, in a school walk zone, where a record of crashes, speeding, and/or resident complaints exists, or otherwise suggest a need for calming to enhance comfort and safety for non-motorized uses, regardless of petition status.

  • DC-3 Resolution to Improve Data Transparency and Performance Management (Sponsors: Briggs, Akmon, Radina, Song, Taylor). City residents need clear, consistent, and easy to access data to track the City of Ann Arbor’s progress on community priorities; and City Council needs to be able to track progress on adopted plans and policy goals to make informed budgetary and policy decisions. This resolution directs the City Administrator to develop an exemplary, centralized dashboard that provides residents with easy access to key performance indicators, community indicators, and open data; and to develop an accessible and standardized approach to performance data reporting across all City departments to enhance the visibility, accessibility, and monitoring of policy goals and key performance metrics.

  • DC-6 Resolution to Approve a Purchase Agreement for 3021-3023 Miller Road for the Purposes of Establishing an Election Center and Building Studio Space for the Community Television Network $2,800,000 and to Appropriate $828,250.00 from the General Fund Unobligated Fund Balance (Sponsors: Taylor, Ghazi Edwin, Song). Recent changes in state law have improved voter access by allowing same day registration, no reason absentee balloting, and early voting, placing a much higher administrative burden on running elections than ever before. Staff asserts that the last two election cycles have made it clear that to properly administer our elections in the future the city must acquire additional space to store equipment, have workspace for election workers, securely store voted ballots, hold a receiving board, hold an absentee ballot count board, and provide a permanent home for sensitive ballot counting equipment. Staff has provided a memo that explains this need in more detail: Election Center Analysis for 3021 Miller. CM Briggs also asked questions about the need for the election center in advance of our meeting. You can read the staff response in our Agenda Response Memo.

How Council Voted The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the August 21st, 2023 Voting Chart.

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