Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Washtenaw Jewish News--False Witnesses

Posted by Patti Smith on 1. December 2009

This is one of the more interesting articles that I have read in awhile. I would also like to know what, if any, funding is flowing to these folks and from whom/where as well as an exploration of the other negative effects on our community. Otherwise, I thought it was a very well written article and thank WJN for publishing this! I am posting it here after hearing from the editor of WJN and because I would like to open up the dialogue. Of course, I am going to ask people to keep it civil. If this article makes you sit down and start typing not nice things, please just ask yourself why…why are you reacting this way? Can we discuss this civilly? Can your feelings be turned into positive action instead??

Comment [51]

City Council: A2D2 Continued

Posted by Juliew on 15. November 2009

City Council: Monday, November 16 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Public Hearing on A2D2 Downtown Design Guidelines (continued)
  • Ordinance to Amend to Chapter 55 (Zoning) and Chapter 59 (Off-Street Parking) and Rezone Downtown Properties for the Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown Project (A2D2)
  • Individual Hearing on the Rezoning of 1320 South University (next to the Bagel Factory) at the Request of the Property Owner
  • Resolution to Recommend Approval of Issuance of a Downtown Development District Liquor License to Silvio’s Organic Pizzeria

Comment [1]

Pfizer to leave property near land won in Kelo case

Posted by Matt Hampel on 13. November 2009

In 2005, the Supreme Court decided 5-4 that New London, Connecticut, could condemn and acquire 26 acres of a neighborhood to build hotels, and condos, near a Pfizer research center. The city spent nearly $80 million preparing the land.

On Thursday, Pfizer announced that 1,400 jobs would leave the city and no new development would occur. They will vacate a 750,000 square foot complex built in 2001. Their credits for 80% of the taxable value are set to expire in 2010 or 2011.

Michigan passed Proposition 4 in 2006:

A proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit government from taking private property by eminent domain for certain private purposes. The proposed constitutional amendment would:

  • Prohibit government from taking private property for transfer to another private individual or business for purposes of economic development or increasing tax revenue.
  • Provide that if an individual’s principal residence is taken by government for public use, the individual must be paid at least 125% of property’s fair market value.
  • Require government that takes a private property to demonstrate that the taking is for a public use; if taken to eliminate blight, require a higher standard of proof to demonstrate that the taking of that property is for a public use.
  • Preserve existing rights of property owners.

Comment [30]

Major cuts in Grand Rapids, Troy, and Kalamazoo.

Posted by Matt Hampel on 11. November 2009

Grand Rapids has announced a January layoff of 125 staff, including 44 police officers and 25 fire fighters. Mayor George Heartwell is calling for a tax increase.

Troy has announced deep cuts and possible layoff of 1/3 of city staff. City Manager John Szerlag has proposed a 2 mill tax increase, but more cuts are needed.

Kalamazoo: a total of 51 jobs eliminated in this round. City Manager Kenneth Collard may announce more deep cuts and more layoffs.

Comment [1]

City Council: Master Plan Consolidation

Posted by Juliew on 4. November 2009

City Council: Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Resolution to Approve Downtown CVS Pharmacy Site Plan, 209 South State Street (public hearing)
  • Resolution to Approve Consolidation of City of Ann Arbor Master Plan: Land Use Element (public hearing)
  • Resolution to Approve Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan for the Development of the Fuller Road Station and Approve Fuller Road Station Master Concept Plan

Candidates for November 3rd 2009

Posted by Matt Hampel on 2. November 2009

Five Ann Arbor City Council positions are open, but only two are contested. (see all candidates)

In the 1st Ward, Democratic incumbent Sabra Briere is challenged by independent Mitchell Ozog.

In the 4th Ward, Democratic incumbent Marcia Higgins faces independent challenger Hatim A. Elhady.

Comment [82]

Proposals for November 3rd 2009

Posted by Matt Hampel on 2. November 2009

There are two ballot proposals for the City of Ann Arbor and one for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. There are other proposals for other townships.

PROPOSAL A ANN ARBOR CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT

Shall Sections 7.4(a) (1) and (2) of the Ann Arbor City Charter be amended to permit the current requirement of newspaper publication of City ordinances to be satisfied also by posting to the City website, or by any media determined appropriate to inform the general public by City Council?

PROPOSAL B ANN ARBOR CITY CHARTER AMENDMENT

Shall Section 7.3(d) of the Ann Arbor City Charter which currently requires the newspaper publication of a proposed zoning ordinance or amendment be amended to permit this publication requirement to be satisfied by publication in any other media otherwise permitted by law?

PROPOSAL I REGIONAL ENHANCEMENT MILLAGE PROPOSAL

Pursuant to state law, the revenue raised by the proposed millage will be collected by the intermediate school district and distributed to local public school districts based on pupil membership count.

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Washtenaw Intermediate School District, Michigan, be increased by 2 mills ($2.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 5 years, 2009 to 2013, inclusive, to provide operating funds to enhance other state and local funding for local school district operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the intermediate school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2009 is approximately $30,000,000?

Comment [1]

Power outage on North Campus; drainage problems in Burns Park area?

Posted by Matt Hampel on 24. October 2009

Two possibly weather-related events:

A transformer went down on North Campus sometime around 6:45 today, taking out power to residence halls and other places; not sure if it’s back on yet. Got a texted report of continuing blackout at ~11pm (either the cell tower is out of the range, or has a generator)

The place to look for updates on this is the ITCS outages page, because they update 24/7; here’s their list. At 9:30, the time-to-fix was still 5-6 hours. (wish the City did the same)

In other news, none of the sinks in our Packard house (near Burns Park) are draining this evening; anyone else have a similar problem, or is this just us?

Posting both of these here because what local news organization is awake at 1:30AM?

Comment [14]

Interested in Local Journalism?

Posted by Juliew on 21. October 2009

The Poynter Institute and Online News Association are holding events at Campus Inn over the next two days geared toward local journalists and bloggers (however you may self-identify).

The Poynter Institute’s free Community Conversation begins tomorrow (Wednesday, October 21) at 4:30pm, followed by a reception at 6:00pm, and a community roundtable at 7:00pm to discuss how Ann Arbor is faring without the Ann Arbor News. Looks like there will be several people on the roundtable well-known to the Arbor Update community.

On Thursday, October 22, the Online News Association will have a full day of “intensive hands-on training to independent, community, nonprofit, displaced and currently employed journalists and bloggers in Ann Arbor, as part of our new Parachute Training Initiative, supported by a $50,000 seed grant from the Gannett Foundation. The training has been customized based on a survey of journalists in the area, and is offered in two tracks, beginner and intermediate, to cover multimedia, blogging, mobile, legal and business issues, marketing through social networks and finding your niche on the Web. There also will be two half-day video sessions, limited to 25 participants on a first-come, first-served basis (on-site), and a session on legal issues.” This will also be at the Campus Inn and has a $10 registration fee.

More information and online registration for both days is available here: http://journalists.org/events/event_details.asp?id=80487

Comment [5]

City Council: Argo Dam

Posted by Juliew on 19. October 2009

City Council: Monday, October 19 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Resolutions “pertaining to Argo Dam” (added late)
  • Resolution to authorize city to contract for repairs on E. Stadium Bridge
  • Resolution to approve Neighborhood Stabilization Funds
  • Resolution appointing Georgetown Mall Citizens Committee
  • Resolution approving Dominicks rezoning from R4C to PUD

Comment [18]

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