Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council: Post-election Edition

8. November 2006 • Juliew
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Thursday, November 9 at 7:00 pm.
(Moved to Thursday due to Election Eve)
Ann Arbor City HallCity Council Agenda

The agenda is long and varied. A few highlights:

  • Public Hearings on the Arlington Shops Planned Project Site on the corner of Washtenaw and Platt across from Whole Foods, parking and zoning changes in the C2 districts downtown, and a small change to a property on Ashley.
  • Resolution establishing a City Council Audit Committee
  • Budget appropriation for a professional services contract for a master plan schedule for the Broadway Village at Lower Town Project (paid by the developer)
  • Amendments to the Ann Arbor Housing Trust Fund which include the removal of the requirement that the housing be in Ann Arbor.
  • Condos at the State Theatre?



  1. Anyone know when the new City Council members start?


       —Juliew    Nov. 8 '06 - 10:15PM    #
  2. juliew asked: “Anyone know when the new City Council members start?”

    20 November


       —HD    Nov. 8 '06 - 10:38PM    #
  3. re: condos at the State Theater

    Let’s not trigger any mass hysteria here – looks like all they’re looking to do is a condo conversion of the existing retail spaces, which are presumably currently leased from the Theater? (Too lazy to look up the assessor’s records, me.)


       —Murph    Nov. 8 '06 - 11:19PM    #
  4. re: condos at the State Theater

    Murph, could you elaborate on what ‘condo conversion’ means? In looking at the scanned documents linked to in the original post, I was puzzled that the response to ‘state expected use’ was ‘commercial’ and ‘retail and movie theater’, which left to my own limited devices would lead me to think the conversion was somehow residential-to-commercial … ??


       —HD    Nov. 9 '06 - 12:12AM    #
  5. Well, the important thing to remember is that a condominium is not a form of housing – it’s a form of ownership. While this form of ownership is most familiarly found in residential property, it can also be applied to commercial property, as (I believe) in this case. A condominium just means that, for this here mass of property, there are some parts which are individually owned by various parties, and some parts which are owned by all those parties in common. Example: in your stereotypical housing condominium, everybody owns their own unit, but they jointly own the exterior of the structures and the grounds, and jointly (via the condominium association) maintain that part of the property.

    A condo conversion is a process by which rental property is turned into condominiumed property. If you own an apartment building, and rent out units, you own and maintain the entire building, inside and out. If you tire of that, say, and don’t think there’s a good rental market for selling the property as an apartment building, then you can do a condo conversion, and then sell each of the units to an individual owner, with all of those owners jointly owning the shell of the building and any grounds.

    In this case, the property in question is the State Theater building, which includes the retail space housing Urban Outfitters. (and others? memory fails me.) A condo conversion would allow Urban Outfitters (or some other party) to buy their space from the Theater, and stop renting it from the Theater. Pragmatically, the reason you’d want to do this as a condo, rather than trying to split the lot through the center of the building, is that, if you’re sharing the building with a separate owner, you want some sort of arrangement in place for replacing the roof or whatever.

    That this is what’s happening is speculation on my part based on the same terse documents you’re looking at, but it makes sense to me.

    (By contrast to the condo means of ownership, consider the co-op method. In co-operative real property ownership, all of the individual owners jointly own the entire property, but are assigned rights to use individual units within the property. The closest overlap between condo and co-op comes into play when you’re talking about NYC high-rises. ‘round here, I think the ICC student housing co-ops are clearer: you buy a share in the entire corporation, and, as a shareholder, are assigned the exclusive right (but for a roommate) to live in a particular room in a particular house.)

    p.s. isn’t property law fun?


       —Murph.    Nov. 9 '06 - 12:31AM    #
  6. That’s illuminating, Murph, thanks.


       —HD    Nov. 9 '06 - 01:06AM    #
  7. Chris Easthope has decided not to offer his resolution supporting a police/court facility on the Library Lot this Thursday. He says he’s not sure he has the votes.

    Will he have the votes when the new Council members take office on November 20? The world holds its breath…


       —David Cahill    Nov. 9 '06 - 03:10AM    #
  8. Councilman-elect Kunselman is not in favor of building the courts on the Library Lot site. He has a different site in mind.


       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 9 '06 - 04:13PM    #
  9. HD is not correct about when the new councilmembers start. Their terms begin on November 13, “the Monday next following the regular City election at which such officers are elected.” (City Charter Section 12.4.) Their first meeting may not be until November 20, but their terms actually start a week earlier.


       —Tom Wieder    Nov. 9 '06 - 07:26PM    #
  10. Since Kunselman replaces Carlberg, and both are Noes on this project, the change in the Third Ward seat won’t affect the vote.

    In the First Ward, though, John Roberts (the potted plant) who is a Yes, is being replaced with Ron Suarez. I have not talked with Ron, so I don’t know his position on this project. If he is a No, then there will probably be six Noes (Johnson, Suarez, Kunselman, Teall, Higgins, and Woods), and the project will die. I hope.


       —David Cahill    Nov. 9 '06 - 08:44PM    #
  11. I cc’d Ron Suarez on my letter to the editor of the Ann Arbor News suggesting that the library build a new library on the library lot, tear down the old library, and build a new civic building on the old site.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Nov. 10 '06 - 05:50AM    #
  12. Did you get any response from Ron, Ed?


       —David Cahill    Nov. 10 '06 - 02:38PM    #
  13. As Tom pointed out, Council members take office this Monday, November 13. Council has called a special working session about the two proposals for new city facilities.

    Unfortuately, the agenda for this meeting does not have an item called “swearing in of new Council members.” I hope this is just an omission, rather than an attempt to not have Kunselman and Suarez participate in the working session.

    I mentioned this to Council member emerita Jean Carlberg this morning. She suggested that both Kunselman and Suarez go to the Clerk’s office Monday morning and ask to be sworn in.


       —David Cahill    Nov. 11 '06 - 10:59PM    #
  14. Working session currently airing on CTN16 has a nice shot of one proposed ‘concept’ model with commentary and Council standing around it … Now another one.

    Easthope is managing people so that they’re not standing in the way of the camera shot of the concept model.

    Hard to say definitively, but haven’t seen Kunselman or Suarez or Hieftje from either camera angle yet.


       —HD    Nov. 14 '06 - 02:00AM    #
  15. They’ve retreated to their seats, Kunselman is there.

    I’ll stop now … unless someone throws a red challenge flag onto the field.


       —HD    Nov. 14 '06 - 02:40AM    #
  16. The Councilmembers were supposed to be sworn in today, per the City Charter. Kunselman got sworn in, and he’s at the meeting tonight. Suarez did not get sworn in, and he didn’t show up to the meeting either.


       —Bill T.    Nov. 14 '06 - 03:02AM    #
  17. The displays looked just like big white blobs to me, but maybe I just need a new TV. Easthope (and others) did ask that all information introduced at this meeting be put on the web and also displayed at City Hall prior to the public hearing on November 27.

    The pictures of the current police facilities were pretty impressively horrible. Certainly not on the tour of great things about Ann Arbor.

    I’m disappointed that Suarez was not at the meeting today. He seems to have disappeared since he was nominated in the primary. Good to see Kunselman on Monday nights now. I think he will be a good Council member.


       —Juliew    Nov. 14 '06 - 03:31AM    #
  18. Mayor Hieftje wasn’t there either.


       —David Cahill    Nov. 14 '06 - 06:22PM    #