Monday, October 18, 2021

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: October 18, 2021


Gentle readers, tonight is the final, spooktacular #a2council meeting of October. Check out the agenda here. You should also listen to the latest episode of A2AF. They go into depth about some really important items on the agenda today. 

The evening kicks off with a 11 item consent agenda. CA-3 is really exciting. This is the resolution for professional services to to develop the Moving Together Towards Vision Zero plan and associated engineering services. Again, you should really listen to the A2AF episode for a deep dive into this agenda item. Council has previously voted to support vision zero unanimously, but tonight is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. For some reason this needs 8 votes, so there is a chance for shenanigans. 

There are three public hearings on the agenda tonight. PH-1/B-1 is a zoning change on permitted uses in the C2B district. PH-2/B-2 is the second reading on the energy benchmarking ordinance. PH-3/DB-1 is on the site plan, wetland use agreement, and development agreement for Concord Pines at 660 Earhart Road. Honestly, this development is a little two low density for me, and I'd love some sort of a walking path that would make it easier to cut out of this subdivision towards the bus stop on Geddes. 

There are three ordinance first readings on the agenda tonight. C-1 is on a township island rezoning. C-2 is on a new ordinance that would specify the types of sanitary products needed in all public restrooms. This would require menstrual products in all restrooms. C-3 is on ward reapportionment. With new census data comes new ward boundaries. It seems like most of the changes are minor and concentrated in or near downtown. 

Elsewhere on the agenda we have DC-1, the E. Medical Center Drive Bridge Design Contract. This is kind of a cluster. The bridge is in need of repair. Which, sure, let's fix that. But UM wants to add an additional lane. This is a bad idea. It makes this area, which already has a disproportionate number of drivers hitting pedestrians, even less safe. My understanding is that it's the city's policy to add non-motorized infrastructure when fixing roads. Strangely though, UM and the City's proposal to leave needed non-motorized infrastructure for a later date. This is just super frustrating. The council has voted unanimously to adopt vision zero practices and declared a climate emergency. It is unbelievable that the current version of DC-1 pretends like there is no vision zero plan and no climate emergency. Solutions that I would find acceptable are: fixing the bridge but not adding a new car lane; fixing the bridge, adding a new car lane, and pedestrian infrastructure; or fixing the bridge, NOT adding a car lane, and adding pedestrian infrastructure. The later is my preferred solution. 

Finally we have DC-2 a resolution to direct public engagement and final recommendation for the use of American Recovery Plan funds. There is some good stuff in here like adding a UBI pilot and an unarmed responders. 

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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