Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Couch Ban Update

20. July 2004 • Rob Goodspeed
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“... my e-mails are 3-to-1 against it.”
—Bob Johnson, D-1st Ward

“If this was about aesthetics, I’m not for it … I don’t think aesthetics is a reason to enact an ordinance.”
—Marcia Higgins, R-4th Ward

In a sign internet-fueled advocacy is making an impact, Ann Arbor city council decided yesterday to delay voting on a controversial ban on couches on porches until August 16, as previously reported on this website. This from today’s Ann Arbor News:

Several Ann Arbor City Council members want the fire chief to show them that the college-town couch on the front porch is really a fire hazard.

Their questions, raised at Monday night’s meeting, ended up delaying a vote on a proposed ban on upholstered furniture outdoors until Aug. 16.

Many council members said couches being an eyesore will not be enough to get their vote. ...

The city proposes a $100 fine for upholstered or other furniture designed primarily for indoor use found on residential unenclosed, exterior porches or balconies.

Wood, metal or plastic furniture or outdoor patio furniture with weather resistant cushions are exceptions.

The ban, which was up for its first reading Monday, was proposed by the Fire Department, which says upholstered furniture outdoors is a fire hazard.

Jason Mironov, the president of the University of Michigan’s Student Assembly, attended Monday’s meeting and applauded the council for putting off any vote until after students had returned from summer break.

Mironov said he was against the ban, because couches create “a sense of community” and some students can’t afford to buy replacement furniture.

“We feared this would be railroaded through while the students were out of town,” Mironov said. The postponement “sends a clear signal that student opinion does matter.”

> AANews: Questions delay vote on outdoor couch ban



  1. What about this indicates that “internet-fueled advocacy is making an impact”? Couldn’t the couch ban have merely recieved greater-than-expected resistance from the couch-porch-enthusiast community?

    Sure, it’d be nice to credit this blog’s reporting, along with AAiO’s and company, with some positive effect, but what makes it that, rather than just City Council trying to pull some stupid Boulderizing crap?
       —Brian    Jul. 20 '04 - 05:58PM    #
  2. Also, when they say a vote will be delayed until Aug. 16, that doesn’t seem like enough delay for students to get back. I want to see September 16!
       —Murph    Jul. 20 '04 - 06:07PM    #
  3. Oh, wait. Upon reading Brandon’s post on the topic, I realized that they were delaying the “first reading” and vote to Aug 16; originally, I believe, the second reading and final vote were to be held at that meeting, with the first happening last night. Check.
       —Murph    Jul. 20 '04 - 06:09PM    #
  4. Yeah Murph, I was a bit confused as well. I just got my info from Arbor Update’s post last night, as the A2 News was less-clear.
       —Brandon    Jul. 20 '04 - 06:47PM    #
  5. It looks like they are going to delay them past that as well. August 16th is just the initial first reads. Afterwards there will be a public hearing (based on my understanding) in September.
       —Jason    Jul. 20 '04 - 07:30PM    #