Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council: August Doldrums

Posted by Juliew on 16. August 2009

City Council: Monday, August 17 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Presentation of the E. Stadium Boulevard Bridges Replacement Project’s conceptual design
  • Rezoning of 11 park properties (Pittsview Park, Windemere Park, Waymarket Park, Turnberry Park, Stapp Nature Area, Redbud Nature Area, Maryfield Wildwood Park, Oakwoods Nature Area, Molin Nature Area, Foxfire West Park, and Crary Park) from residential to Public Land zoning
  • Rezoning of 12.90 acres of the South Side of Narrow Gage Way from Township District to Public Land zoning
  • Resolution to allow temporary outdoor sales and the display of goods and services as a special exception use in the C3 Zoning District
  • Resolutions to approve temporary liquor licenses to the Nash Bash Country Music Festival at the Farmer’s Market on August 20 and the HomeGrown Festival at the Farmer’s Market on September 12

Comment [5]

Lawsuit Filed Over E-Mails and Parking Structure

Posted by Matt Hampel on 12. August 2009

A lawsuit was filed yesterday against the City of Ann Arbor alleging that e-mail exchanges during the February 17, 2009 Council meeting violated the Open Meetings Act. It claims that the City did not provide all the e-mails on request, and made unauthorized deletions, violating the Freedom of Information Act. The focus of the suit is the proposed underground parking structure and City Council’s deliberations about it.

The plaintiffs are Herb David Guitar Studio; Kiki Properties, LLC; Jerusalem Garden; and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center. The defendant is the City of Ann Arbor. This is a Washtenaw County Circuit Court Suit. Case number is 09-945 CZ. It was assigned to Judge Archie Brown.

The suit alleges that the construction of the parking structure will be a nuisance, damaging the nearby business owners. It also alleges that the vibrations, noise and dust of construction will be a trespass on their properties. It is also claimed that the construction of the parking structure violates the Michigan Environmental Protection Act.

The suit asks the Court to declare that the City approved the project in violation of the Open Meetings Act and that the nondisclosure of documents violated the Open Meetings Act. It also asks the Court to enjoin Council members from engaging in any further private e-mail discussions during public meetings regarding the project or its funding.

The suit asks for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the City from constructing the project until a comprehensive study of its environmental impacts and possible alternatives is made.

Our thanks to Dave Cahill for contributing this synopsis.

The filing

Thanks to The Ann Arbor Chronicle and Vivienne Armentrout for sending us this document

MEPA suit filed against the City of Ann Arbor

Comment [59]

City Council: Near North, R4C and R2A Moratorium, and Gredening

Posted by Juliew on 6. August 2009

City Council: Thursday, August 6 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Revenue Projections
  • Rezoning of Near North Proposal area (626-724 North Main Street) to PUD
  • Resolution to impose a temporary moratorium on all new development that requires site plan approval, expansion of existing development that requires site plan approval, or zoning changes within the R4C and R2A zoning districts in conjunction with the study and revision of the zoning ordinance pertaining to these districts
  • Update on Public Art Plan

Comment [66]

Primary results coming in

Posted by Matt Hampel on 5. August 2009

Online at via the County Clerk

UPDATE

As of 10:11pm, Larry Kestenbaum reports the following complete results:

3rd Ward: Kunselman 511, Greden 505, Bullington 379.

5th Ward: Anglin 1301, Rosencrans 694.

-----------------------------

With 9 precincts of 18 counted as of 09:28:46:

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY - COUNCIL MEMBER BY WARD 5
   
  Mike Anglin91264.64%
  Scott Rosencrans49835.29%
  Write-In10.07%

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY - COUNCIL MEMBER BY WARD 3
   
  LuAnne Bullington14223.01%
  Leigh Greden23938.74%
  Stephen Kunselman23337.76%
  Write-In30.49%

Comment [73]

City Council: More Zoning

Posted by Juliew on 19. July 2009

City Council: Monday, July 20 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Appetizer:
Herbert Dreiseitl will present his proposed public art designs at a reception at City Hall Monday, July 20 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Highlights:

  • City Place Site Plan and Development Agreement Public Hearing (request for postponement has been entered by the developer).
  • A2D2 Zoning Changes
  • Resolution for a temporary stop on development within the R4C and R2A Zoning Districts
  • Public hearing and action on AATA Park and Ride Lot Site Plan (southwest of the intersection of Plymouth Road and US-23).

Comment [8]

Build the AU Candidate Questionnaire - August 2009 Primary

Posted by Murph on 6. July 2009

This year’s primary is coming up on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. The Washtenaw County Clerk’s website lists exactly two primary races on this ballot, in Ann Arbor’s 3rd and 5th Wards. As is traditional, ArborUpdate will be submitting a set of questions to the candidates and posting their answers.

  1. Submit questions in the comment section below.
    • Try to avoid yes/no questions in favor of more open-ended responses.
    • Pick questions that all candidates can speak to, not just one individual.
    • Comments like, “I second John Q’s question” are good, too, but please don’t diverge into long discussions – remember, these are questions for the candidates.
  2. On July 15, we’ll close the thread and select some questions to send to the candidates. 4-5 is typical, and we’ll be combining similar questions, de-polemicizing questions, and making similar edits in the process.
  3. We’ll ask for candidate responses by July 25, so that we can post them the week before the election.

The races and candidates (all links to ArborWiki) are:

3rd Ward City Council, City of Ann Arbor – Democratic Party Primary:

5th Ward City Council, City of Ann Arbor – Democratic Party Primary:

Comment [65]

City Council: A2D2 and R4C

Posted by Juliew on 5. July 2009

City Council: Monday, July 6 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City Hall
Agenda

Highlights:

  • A2D2 Zoning Changes
  • Resolution to appoint R4C and R2A Zoning District Study Advisory Committee
  • Resolution establishing a site development committee to initiate a search for a private development partner for the S. Fifth Avenue
    parking structure site
  • Resolution to approve Walgreens site plan for the corner of Jackson Road and Stadium Boulevard

Comment [4]

City Council Emails: "Childish," "Chit-Chatting," or Criminal?

Posted by Nancy Shore on 7. June 2009

A recent FOIA by the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center of City Council emails has revealed that many Council Members engage in back and forth email exchanges during Council meetings.

These exchanges were first reported in the Ann Arbor Chronicle and appeared in a recent Sunday issue of the Ann Arbor News.

The content of some of these emails has been called “Childish” by some and merely “Chit-Chatting” by some on the City Council. There are also concerns that some of the emails represent a violation of the Open-Meetings Act since some of them discuss items being voted on at Council Meetings.

So what’s your verdict?

Comment [194]

Suing about e-mailing about parking?

Posted by Murph on 16. May 2009

The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center may file suit against the City of Ann Arbor to stop construction of the proposed underground parking structure on South Fifth Ave. A letter from Prof. Noah Hall, Ann Arbor resident and executive director of the Center, identifies potential grounds for a challenge:

  1. The proposed parking structure may violate the Michigan Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) – “The construction and operation of the proposed new parking structure and the additional [vehicle miles traveled] that it will cause are “likely to pollute, impair, or destroy” the environment, and thus are not lawful under the MEPA unless “there is no feasible and prudent alternative.” The City of Ann Arbor has numerous feasible and prudent alternatives to the proposed new parking structure . . . detailed by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates in the Ann Arbor Downtown Parking Study [2007]”
  2. The City Council may have violated the Open Meetings Act by conducting private e-mail conversation during a meeting in parallel to the open discussion of the issue – “During the City Council meeting on February 17, 2009 at which the proposed new parking structure and bonding was approved, several City Council members exchanged numerous email messages discussing whether they supported postponement and why other City Council members supported or opposed postponement. . . . This electronic discussion was made during the public portion of the City Council’s meeting, potentially violating the Michigan Open Meetings Act.”
  3. These e-mails were not produced during a Freedom of Information Act request by the Center for, “all e-mail communications and other records made by City Council members before, during, and after” the Council meeting. “It was only through a subsequent Freedom of Information Act request for documents not related to the proposed parking structure that the City Council members’ email messages and discussion regarding postponement were discovered.”

Additional information is available via the Ann Arbor News and Ann Arbor Chronicle. The Chronicle additionally has the full text of Hall’s letter (pdf), from which I’ve excerpted above, and notes that Hall has loaned them ~1,000 pages of documents produced in the FOIA requests, which the Chronicle hopes to have scanned and posted soon.

Some discussion has been provided on AU already, on the 2009 City Council Elections thread. On the Chronicle article, AU reader (and attorney) David Cahill provides the opinion that Hall’s letter “is not marred by the citation of any legal cases supporting his claim,” as well as opining that such a suit would be “frivolous”, and lead to a slippery slope allowing any construction whatsoever to be blocked by similar arguments.

Comment [14]

2009 City Council Elections

Posted by Bruce Fields on 26. April 2009

The City Council has ten members, two representing each of the five wards (ward map), with two-year terms staggered so that each ward elects one member yearly.

The Ann Arbor News reports that all incumbents are running for re-election. The list of incumbents (with possible challengers from the News article in parentheses) is:

Ward 1: Sabra Briere
Ward 2: Stephen Rapundalo
Ward 3: Leigh Greden (Steve Kunselman, Marwan Issa)
Ward 4: Marcia Higgins (Hatim Elhady)
Ward 5: Mike Anglin (Scott Rosencrans)

The general elections are November 3rd, but in recent years the Democratic nominees have always won, so the August 4th primaries will probably decide.

Comment [552]

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