Monday, June 1, 2020

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: June 1, 2020

It's #a2council night gentle readers. Here's the agenda.

The evening kicks off with a moderate 14 item consent agenda. Of note, we have the Farmers Market getting a $35,000 grant (CA-2). Also, it looks like the city will continue their interem agreement with Spin Scooters (CA-7). There's also CA-8 which approves language for a street, sidewalk, and bridge millage. CA-9 is for filling a sidewalk gap on Boardwalk. It will be interesting to see if this gets pulled. CA-14 is probably the spiciest item on the consent agenda. This approves the new contract for Ann Arbor's police force. Given current events, I am hearing some calls to postpone this so that more people can read it. [ED: CM Nelson just tweeted that CA-14 is being removed from tonight's agenda.]

There are 2 public hearings at tonight's meeting. PH-1/B-1 is the second reading of the water rate increase. This squeaked by in the first reading. Some CMs are upset about the 4 tiered water rate structure and have been saying that because they don't like the rate structure, they don't want to increase rates. For an indepth look at Ann Arbor's water rates, check out Erich Z.'s article here. PH-2/DS-2 may be the evening's spiciest chili. This is the resolution to adopt the A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Plan. A2Zero outlines a plan to get to net zero emissions for Ann Arbor by 2030. Back in November, the council unanimously adopted a resolution declaring a climate emergency and calling for the creation of a plan to get to zero emissions by 2030. Now some CMs are balking because one component of the plan calls for allowing duplexes, triplexes, quads, and ADUs in residential zoned areas. Earlier today, I wrote about why allowing more people in Ann Arbor is good for equity and CO2 emissions. You can read that here. Gentle reader, I don't know what the outcome of this resolution will be, but I do feel confident that we will see a hear of public commentary and a lot of speechifying on this from the CMs.

Elsewhere we have C-2, a resolution introduced by CMs Hayner and Bannister that would increase the vegetation height allowed in yards from 12" to 18". This resolution would also exempt planned natural vegetation and garden beds from any height limit. I like this resolution and I am glad to see it come forward.

DC-1 is a resolution delaying the water rate increase to January. It also directs city staff to again look at the previous consultant reports on our water rate structure with an eye towards reducing the gap between the difference between what people in the top tier and bottom tier pay. I feel like we have been here before. Some CMs are unhappy that people who have very high water usage are having to pay more for that.

DS-2 is a resolution to approve downtown street closures to allow for safe walking and dining. This seems like a pretty low risk/low cost way of trying to help our downtown restaurants. DC-3 would allow the outdoor sale and consumption of alcohol during the pandemic. Seems pretty reasonable.

Gentle reader, what agenda items are you most looking forward to seeing. I am guessing that tonight will be another late night around the virtual council table. Hopefully we will see you there. The CTN stream starts at 7 pm. Make sure you follow the action on the #a2council hashtag.

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