Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council: Greenbelt Expansion

20. August 2007 • Juliew
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Monday, August 20 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallCity Council Agenda


  • Greenbelt expansion resolution
  • Approval of A2D2 Zoning recommendations
  • Resolution to Order Election and to Determine Ballot Question for Charter Amendment on the Sale of City-Owned Land Acquired for or Used as Parkland
  • Resolution to Annually Update Formula Calculation Contribution Affordable Housing for PUDs
  • Resolution to temporarily allow public parking at 415 West Washington
  • Resolution to approve CTN’s move to Eisenhower Corporate Park

  1. Interesting tidbit: Council will be voting on the approval of the exchange of several liquor licenses tonight and it looks like Shalimar is going to become a Cuban restaurant called Habana and the Subway on Main is going to become a seafood and martini bar called The Black Pearl.

       —Juliew    Aug. 21 '07 - 01:32AM    #
  2. I’m sorry if this is bad netiquette, but I have a restaurant related question—does anyone know what happened to LuLu’s Cafe out on Zeeb Road in Scio? I went out there today, just drooling for one of their sandwiches and found a totally different cafe there. I honestly thought that I had wandered into some weird dimension (but I’m like that)...the name is still out front, but there were like two sandwiches and no soft drinks other than Coke products from the fountain (I’m a Diet Pepsi girl).

    Anyone know anything? Thanks!!

    Back to your regularly scheduled Arbor Update :)

       —TeacherPatti    Aug. 21 '07 - 02:49AM    #
  3. That would be the Shalimar site on Washington, not the one on Main Street.

       —Juliew    Aug. 21 '07 - 03:30AM    #
  4. Long live the green barrier!

       —Cooler Heads    Aug. 21 '07 - 04:40AM    #
  5. Council rejected the proposed charter amendment to protect parks this evening by a vote of 2-6, with only Johnson and Suarez in favor. Hmmm…

       —David Cahill    Aug. 21 '07 - 05:54AM    #
  6. That’s funny, because that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking Main Street needed — to get rid of that stupid inexpensive sandwich shop and open a seafood and martini bar.

       —Dale    Aug. 21 '07 - 06:00AM    #
  7. Maybe it’ll be a pirate lounge, with Jack Sparrow serving the drinks. Arrrrggh!

       —jcp2    Aug. 21 '07 - 06:06AM    #
  8. Oh, and “The Black Pearl” is also applying for a dance permit.

    In an ironic twist, the particular liquor license they are applying for is the one from the Del Rio—which was decidedly not a “seafood, dance, and martini bar.”

       —Juliew    Aug. 21 '07 - 06:53AM    #
  9. TeacherPatti

    I happened to be in that area 4 or 5 weeks ago looking for some food only to find that Lulu’s had closed the day before for the obvious reasons; not enough customers. After strolling around and thinking about the location I am not real surprised. You can’t see it from the road, there is no foot traffic, there is no other reason to be there to discover the place. Certainly the restaurant world can be difficult but that seems like an especially tough place to nurture a sandwich joint.

       —abc    Aug. 21 '07 - 05:17PM    #
  10. Also, Council directed the DDA to put together a comprehensive study for the possibility of a new parking structure constructed on the lot immediately east of the Larcom Building (currently Tios, surface parking, etc.)

    Lone dissent was Kunselman, who characterized such a structure as driven too much by speculation in support of private enterprise, when it would be more appropriate to speculate together with other entities who were currently potentially interested in parking expansion—AATA, with a new transit center, and the AA District Library, which is already engaged in a space needs assessment.

    Re: Parkland. The state already requires a voter referendum on the sale of any parkland, where ‘parkland’ means areas designated as such in the Master Plan. The proposal that was voted down 7-2 last night would have submitted a charter amendment to voters that—if passed by the voters—would, in the future, require a referendum on the sale of any parkland, where ‘parkland’ was given a broader definition than the already-existing state requirement. This broader definition was meant to prevent Council from using the same strategy Novi used, when they sold parkland in order to settle a major lawsuit—they redefined the parcel in question as not a park and sold it without a referendum.

    Objections by Councilmembers at the table were pretty specific. Lowenstein objected philosophically to amending the fundamental document of city governance absent a sufficiently compelling need, such as to address a grave injustice or to come into compliance with a state law; she also objected to governance by referendum on issues that should be decided at the level of Council. Kunselman objected to the tying of elected representatives hands, and suggested that in the Novi case, had voters not approved the sale by referendum, that they would have faced significant cuts in services as they found the 60 million dollars elsewhere. Greden objected that the amendment was attempting to respond to a problem that does not exist. Rapundalo ventured that that community values were stronger in Ann Arbor than in Novi; further, he cited the lack of clarity in the amendment language based on extensive communications with the City attorney. Higgins cited the variety of interpretations her constituents had ascribed to the language of the amendment; and when Johnson insisted that the State Attorney General had certified the language as clear, shot back, “I don’t believe he’s one of my constituents.” Easthope cited consistency and trust, noting that the Greenbelt boundary revision that Council had undertaken that very night was done without a public referendum and that this was done based on the public’s trust.

       —HD    Aug. 21 '07 - 08:27PM    #
  11. The intent of state law is pretty clear. Park and cemetery properties should not be sold off without getting voter approval to do so. Novi claimed in 2001 that they didn’t have time to get voter approval but then didn’t finalize the settlement to sell the land until 2003. The master plan loophole was added to allow Grand Rapids to sell off some parkland without getting voter approval. Why Ann Arbor city council members are so desperate to protect their perogative to do the same and cut city voters out of that process is a mystery to me.

       —John Q.    Aug. 21 '07 - 10:08PM    #
  12. I made the following statement during the Audience Participation period at the start of last night’s meeting:

    “The day after the August primary, The Ann Arbor News quoted Leigh Greden as saying, with reference to a campaign flyer put out by Progressives of Washtenaw, or POW, – “It’s disgusting and it must end.” I agree with Leigh’s sentiments, but I would apply it to his actions, not POW’s.

    I wrote the material in question, and every factual statement in it is true and verifiable. To this moment, neither Mr. Greden, nor any of his supporters, has disputed the validity of anything that was said there. It would be hard for him to do so, since most of the facts come from his own campaign finance statements, emails he wrote and other independent sources.

    The material detailed Mr. Greden’s receipt of thousands of dollars in contributions to his state representative campaign from a dozen individuals and a PAC with financial connections to the Broadway Village development project. It notes that the law firm for which he works has represented Broadway Village in its dealings with the City. It reports on his efforts to set up, and his attendance at, a meeting with County officials, which included city employees – who are ultimately responsible to this Council – to address concerns of his firm’s client.

    It tells the story of Mr. Greden persuading the Ann Arbor Democratic Party to use its name and resources to hold a political fundraiser for the Party, only to have Mr. Greden keep the money and start doling it out to candidates of his choosing, including himself, before being pressured to surrender it to the Party.

    In response, Mr. Greden distributed a letter which disputed none of these facts, but made baseless charges against POW. He said that POW was “cited and fined by the Michigan Secretary of State for failing to disclose its political fundraising to the public.” This is false. POW has disclosed every cent of its contributions and expenditures. It was assessed a late fee when one its post-election reports was five days late. Mr. Greden understands what that means, because he was assessed and paid a fee under the same section of the law.

    He claimed that “POW’s attacks against me and other Democrats are false,” but he doesn’t identify a single false word, phrase or sentence in anything we said.

    He said that POW is an “extremist…special interest group” engaged in “’swiftboat’ attacks against Democrats.” What a big lie. POW’s leadership includes Tim Colenback, who has been elected and re-elected as Vice Chair of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party. It includes Dave Devarti, a local business owner, an appointee of this Council’s to the DDA and a former Democratic member of this Council. And it includes me. Over 35 years, I have been a City Democratic Party volunteer, precinct captain, ward chair, City Party Vice Chair, campaign manager and regular contributor. I was appointed by two Democratic mayors to the ZBA and the Ward Boundary Commission. And in 2004, I was John Kerry’s single largest fundraiser in the State of Michigan, raising over $150,000 for his campaign. To see Greden suggest that we are Republicans “swift-boating” Democrats is an outrage.

    Greden’s unethical and dishonest behavior is disgusting, and it must end.”

       —Tom Wieder    Aug. 21 '07 - 10:26PM    #
  13. Thanks, abc. I am way overreacting to its demise :(
    While I am not a Subway fan, I am sad that it will be replaced by a martini bar. I still miss the Amer’s (I think it was) that was where the Starbucks is now (Main & Liberty). I need to get over things quicker! :)


       —TeacherPatti    Aug. 22 '07 - 01:12AM    #
  14. I think there is a relationship between the adoption of a green barrier and the proliferation of martini bars.

       —Cooler Heads    Aug. 22 '07 - 01:34AM    #
  15. I’ll bet the governing coalition on Council already has its eyes on some parkland it wants to remove from our master plan and then sell.

       —David Cahill    Aug. 22 '07 - 04:25PM    #
  16. Sounds conspiratorial but I wouldn’t be surprised. From what I know of the other instances of this, the cities had denied any plans to sell parkland right up until the announcement that they were going to do exactly that.

       —John Q.    Aug. 22 '07 - 05:28PM    #
  17. City Council August 20 Video posted here.

       —Juliew    Aug. 23 '07 - 12:45AM    #