Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Public Hearing on City Master Plan, May 3

27. April 2005 • Juliew
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The Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on the City Master Plan, Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00 pm in the Council Chamber, second floor of City Hall.

The Commission is looking for comments about elements of the City Master Plan as part of its annual review. The current elements are: Transportation Plan Update, Bicycle Plan, Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan, South Area Plan, Central Area Plan, Ann Arbor Downtown Plan, Northeast Area Plan, and the West Area Plan.

More information on the City Master Plan can be found on the Planning Website. The full set of adopted plan elements is available for review at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library. Copies can also be reviewed or purchased in the Planning Department (6th floor, City Hall).

Individuals may speak for three minutes during this public hearing. You may also submit written comments before the hearing to

  1. Because 3 minutes, of course, is not only enough time to make an intelligent comment on even one of those Plans, but enough time to make intelligent comments on all of them. Oh, wait, no, it’s not.
       —Murph    Apr. 28 '05 - 01:23PM    #
  2. If you want your comments considered intelligently, you should always put them in writing and submit them in advance. I know that everyone is enamored of the idea of public comments and public hearings and there are times that some information comes forward that is useful. But in most cases, it’s only useful for political theater and grandstanding, (which can have its uses for those who read that negatively). It’s almost never the place to make intelligent commentary because it’s never enough time.
       —John Q    Apr. 28 '05 - 05:13PM    #
  3. I have found that it helps to both present your case in person and submit written comments. At the Planning Commission meetings, they do allow you to present comments as you go up. Presenting in person is a good way to highlight your points and is harder for the Commission to ignore or dismiss than an e-mail, while the written document allows them to go over the points in-depth. I have seen several instances and have appeared before the Planning Commission on voting issues where it has been obvious that most of the members have not been able to read anything that was handed in prior to the meeting and that their positions (and votes) on the subject were changed because of what was said by people during the public hearing.
       —Juliew    Apr. 28 '05 - 09:52PM    #
  4. The Master Plan was the second to last item on the agenda and was introduced at 11:15 Tuesday night. At that point Hall wanted to close the meeting but several other commissioners pointed out that there were people in the audience who had been sitting there for four hours and they should get the opportunity to speak. Hall changed her mind and everyone voted to continue. So I got up and said that “neighbors” get a lot of heat for not wanting to participate in city planning unless it directly affects them and it is things like this that are reason why—because the city doesn’t want to hear it, they only give citizens three minutes to talk, they put it at the end of a big agenda, and they do it at 11:15 on a weekday night. Thusly chastised, they went on to hear the five people who remained (several people had already left, including at least two Friends of the Greenway members), apologized profusely to all of us, agreed that it was a bad way to conduct this sort of thing, and tabled the discussion so it could be more thoughtfully discussed at another time. At that point I asked if neighborhood groups would be notified again. There were a lot of murmurs and discussion and then finally they conceded that even though it wasn’t normal procedure, this was important and they should send out new notifications. So it will come up again, hopefully as an early agenda item, with another opportunity for public input.
       —Juliew    May. 6 '05 - 03:44PM    #