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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ypsilanti City Council Preview: March 20th, 2018

A map of the Bell Kramer area showing the location of the old dump.

Happy first day of spring! The City of Ypsilanti will be celebrating with a regularly scheduled City Council Meeting. You can watch the meeting in person at Ypsilanti City Hall at 7pm or follow live on Ypsi Live's facebook page. You can find the agenda here and the meeting packet here.

There's one public hearing at tonight's meeting. It is on "Approving submission of Michigan Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant application for Rutherford Pool Renovations." Full disclosure, I am a member of the City of Ypsilanti Parks and Recreation Commission and voted in support of sending this to City Council. Essentially, this would authorize city staff to apply for a $300,000 LWCF grant for upcoming renovations at Ypsilanti's beloved Rutherford Pool. You can read more about it on page 4 of the meeting packet. I don't expect that this will be very controversial.

There are two first ordinance readings tonight concerning the rezoning of the Bell Kramer Neighborhood. By way of background, here's a the background from page 11 of the meeting packet:

The Bell-Kramer neighborhood is located north of I-94, east of Huron, and south of Spring/Factory Street. This neighborhood was part of the village of Clarkesville, and the core has been residential since the mid-1800s. In 2012-2013, testing was done on the former City landfill (599 S Huron) which indicated the presence of contaminants that had the potential to migrate to the north. At the time the City was undergoing the master plan update, and the future land use map was updated to exclude residential use, as further testing was not viable at the time. In 2014, when the zoning map was updated, the area was zoned a combination of GC (mixed commercial-industrial) and PMD (industrial), thus precluding development of anything without first having to perform environmental analysis, by permitting only commercial developments. This also had the effect of making existing residential uses in the neighborhood nonconforming. The residents and owners of the area requested a right-to-rebuild clause in the PMD zoning while additional testing was performed; this was executed in 2017, as well as additional testing. Test results support returning the area to a residential zoning classification for the existing residential properties. Staff has recommended a zoning to CN-Mid; under this classification all parcels and uses in the area are conforming, and new construction and additions are possible.
The two ordinances concerning Bell Kramer rezoning tonight, 1302 and 1303, would rezone occupied parcels from industrial (PMD) to mid-density residential (CN-Mid) and unoccupied parcels to Parkland.

The other two first ordinance readings, 1304 and 1305, concern Ypsilanti's decision to opt into the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA). You can read more on page 35 of the meeting packet. I haven't read much of this section of the meeting packet, but part of this would address in which zones dispensaries and provisioning centers would be allowed.

The is a second reading concerning the PILOT for Towne Centre (401 W. Michigan Avenue) and a light consent agenda with three items. Also, there is a resolution approving an application for a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ)Rehabilitation Certificate for Lillie Covington, 406 S. Hamilton. All in all it looks like it will be an pretty average length meeting.

If you're interested here is some more information about the Bell Kramer Neighborhood and the pollution issues there:

Ypsilanti City Council Report: Ypsilanti on track to forbid municipal solicitation of immigration status
The Danger (re)Zone… the unsellable houses of Bell Street
The unsellable houses of Bell Street, part two
The Toxic Problems of the Clarkesville Neighborhood, Ypsilanti

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