Monday, April 19, 2021

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: April 19, 2021

 It's going to be a long meeting, so let's get right into it. Here's your #a2Council agenda. Here's the Ann Arbor AF episode about this meeting, which is definitely worth listening to. 

Before we even get to the consent agenda, we have the Administrator's presentation of the proposed budget for next year.  

There is a pretty small consent agenda with just 6 items. CA-2 is really great. My understanding is that it would allocate $100,000 from gas tax revenue to provide maintenance for the city's new protected bike lanes. Unfortunately, some CMs indicated that they don't support this at caucus. This needs 8 votes to pass so if it gets pulled, and nobody crosses faction lines, it will fail. CA-3, CA-4, and CA-5, are all rezonings to build affordable housing. CA-3 is for the old city fleet lot at 721 N Main. CA-4 is for the Pailo Lot, and CA-5 is for the old fire station at 1510 E Stadium. 

There are two public hearings on the docket tonight. PH-1/B-1 and PH-2/DB-1 are the rezoning and site plan for 700 N Main. This 1.2 acre parcel is going to be rezoned from PUD to R4C so that 22 townhouses can be built. This is coming with unanimous recommendation from planning commission. 

There are a couple of really exciting items in the ordinance first readings. C-1 is the updated ADU rules. These rules will get rid of a lot off the restrictions on the current ordinance including getting rid of minimum lot size and the owner occupancy requirement. I hope this passes. C-2 is the conditional rezoning for the Valhalla. This is a great project that provides much needed market rate housing in addition to 15 subsidized units. There is some talk that "neighbors" are opposed to this, but to that I say, "who, the golf course?" There is also talk that this development will cause too much traffic. Looking at this project, it looks like it will be about 500 units, and the stretch of Main Street has ~28,200 cars per day so I call shenanigans on that objection. 

The biggest source of conflict on tonight's agenda is DC-5. By way of background, last weekend, Ward 1 CM Jeff Hayner was disparaging journalism, and chose to do so using a quote with a homophobic slur. If you'd like to read more, check out the Daily's article. DC-5 would remove Hayner from his committee positions until they are assigned in December. As you can probably imagine, gentle reader, tensions around this one are pretty high. Hayner, and his allies on council, are citing (non-existant) process issues. Honestly, I am not sure why they are not just cutting their losses on this one. I normally joke about the "spicy chilies" on the agenda, but what Hayner said was super hurtful, and I don't want to make light of of that. 

As always, gentle reader, I am probably forgetting some very important items here. 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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