Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Greenway and Three Site Plan public meeting updates

10. May 2005 • Murph
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The Ann Arbor Planning Commission and City Council have both scheduled public hearings on the various greenway conceptions, but some conflict has emerged over which is the proper forum for these discussions.

Mayor Hieftje has apparently asked the Planning Commission to cancel its hearing to avoid duplication of effort on the part of staff presenters and public participants, and Planning Commissioner Braxton Blake has objected,

“I believe the public should have open access to city government,” Blake said. “The more meetings we have regarding the issues facing the city, this greenway idea, for example, the better.”

The Planning Commission will be discussing the issue of whether to hold a hearing at their work session tonight. If the Planning Commission does hold their hearing, it will take place on May 24. The City Council will be holding its hearing on June 13.

A related community meeting that Todd Leopold has been trying to organize to discuss greenway ideas has fallen through – Todd notes that he couldn’t find a date that enough of the speakers he wanted could agree to.

  1. Personally I think the Planning Commission should hold their hearing. It’s natural, as the planning authority of the city, that the Planning Commission would want to discuss and hear citizen opinion on the greenway, which could affect much of the development in and around here. That’s what they are supposed to do, right – plan for this sort of stuff?

    I don’t understand why the mayor would want to limit citizen participation in this way. It just doesn’t make sense.

    I’m also sorry to hear that Todd’s event has fallen through. I would have really liked to have heard it. Would a date later in the summer work, I wonder? it wouldn’t be before the city council meeting obviously, but this is such a big issue that I think even two measy meetings with the city gov’t won’t be enough.

    Off to pen a letter to the commission now…
       —KGS    May. 10 '05 - 04:24PM    #
  2. I’m also very sorry to hear that Todd’s event isn’t going to happen.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    May. 10 '05 - 04:37PM    #
  3. I imagine, if somebody asked, Todd would be happy to hand off his list of greenway/three-site relevant contacts and allow his place to be a venue for a later event. It sounded like he personally needed to do less phone tag and more brewing for a while, though.

    I think it’s reasonably appropriate for the CPC to have a hearing. What inappropriateness may exist (e.g. Chair Jennifer Hall’s claim that it’s not CPC’s turf) is only inherent to the way the Commission is defined, I think, and not to the issue. Commission may not have any authority to take any action (even so much as a recommendation), but it seems like it’s an appropriate thing for them to comment on, in the “what is in keeping with the relevant master plans?” sense.
       —Murph    May. 10 '05 - 05:21PM    #
  4. Well, I can’t say that I didn’t try. The problem (I think) is that my suggestion isn’t viewed as compulsory….so since everyone has their own lives to run, they have to focus on “offical” meetings/commission visits. I guess that I understand that. I am a busy fella too.

    I am happy to offer my site for a Sunday meeting if anyone has more pull to make this work than I do. One group (the Kiwanis) had a very interesting idea for a type of a greenway/park that hasn’t even been heard yet.

    Murph and I kindof envisioned having many of these types of meetings (for planning debates/discussions) at my place. Council was happy to hear about it, and so was the Planning Commission. The trouble comes when you have to get all the various groups to participate.

    Oh, well.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 10 '05 - 05:44PM    #
  5. Neither the City Council nor the Planning Commission wanted to have any meeting. The Planning Commission responded to Margaret Wong on April 5 after she requested a meeting and appointed a sub-group of Commissioners to propose an agenda. A few weeks later a meeting was approved/scheduled. Now that the Planning Commission has scheduled a meeting, City Council looks bad for not having one so they are trying to save face. This was only on the City Council agenda for the May 2 meeting—a month after the Planning Commission (and the rest of Ann Arbor) began talking about it.

    I think the more of these meetings, the better. As long as you have as many viewpoints as possible at any given meeting, it shouldn’t matter exactly who is there. Every meeting will have a slight slant to it, one way or the other which is why going to several is good.
       —Juliew    May. 10 '05 - 06:01PM    #