Saturday, April 23, 2022

Market report for 2022-04-23

[Editor's note: This Ann Arbor Farmer's Market report was submitted by Ed Vielmetti. Stay tuned for more market reports.]

The market report for 2022-04-23.

Bicycles in abundance on a beautiful Saturday morning. It will be hot (about 80F) this evening, and there's a chance of frost in low-lying areas later in the week. 

No asparagus at market yet, but the Argus Farm Stop folks say there may be asparagus in May, maybe. Drop off donations of food for Food Gatherers at their new grocery on Packard Street, three doors down from their cafe on Packard.

Kapnick Orchards has apple cider and is planting potatoes. 4245 Rogers Hwy, Britton MI 49229 off M-50 South of Tecumseh. "We Keep Good Things Growing"., 517-423-7419 or 877-450-6096 toll-free.

Wilson's Farm has dried hot peppers. 11559 Franklin Meadows, Tipton, MI 49287. 517-673-6406. Also at Royal Oak Farmer's Market. Fresh peppers start to appear mid-July.

John Harnois has chicken and ducks, but is now out of the egg business. Whitmore Lake MI (Webster Township).

Tantre Farm has a summer CSA. 18 weeks of fresh produce for $650. Full share only, feeds 2 generously, or 4 with small children. Pickups Wednesdays and Saturdays at various locations around town including 
Saturdays at Roos Roast on Rosewood Avenue., 734-475-4323.

Ann Arbor District Library patrons have a free subscription to Creativebug, which teaches online art and craft classes. Over 1000 video classes in painting, knitting, crafting, sewing and more are available.

John Roos and his staff brew coffee at their store on East Liberty Street and then haul it to market on a three-wheel coffee cargo trike. They are now selling cold brew coffee in take-home growlers. Dilute! Dilute! OK! OK!

Get your greens on with bok choi and spicy mix and baby kale from Goetz in Riga, MI, also available at Argus Farm Stop.

Fresh preztels.

The black radish is a "beer radish". Scrub well, slice very thin, serve with your favorite beer. Spicy! Available at Argus Farm Stop.


Monday, April 18, 2022

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: April 18, 2022


Gentle reader, it's #a2Council night in Ann Arbor. Here's the agenda. Here's the A2AF episode on tonight's meeting. 

The meeting kicks off with a moderate, 16-item consent agenda. Of note, CA-1, street closing for the Glacier Highlands Neighborhood Association Memorial Day Parade, and CA-2, street closing for Top of the Park. 

There is one public hearing on the agenda tonight. PH-1/B-1 is for a routine township island annexation. 

There are three ordinance first readings on the agenda. C-1 is an ordnance to amend water rates. This amendment increases water rates by just under 13%. If you want to know more about Ann Arbor's 4-tier water rate structure, check out Erich Z.'s 2019 article about the subject. C-2 is an amendment to increase stormwater fees by about 4%. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some disagreement about these ordinances. C-3 is an ordinance to amend the city's non-discrimination ordnance to include religious hair styles and head coverings. 

Further down the agenda we get to DC-1, a resolution to for the city to sponsor information sessions on the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) Mortgage program. This is a mortgage program aimed at lower-income and lower middle-income individuals. DC-2 is a resolution to extend the hours of the Main Street Social District. DS-1 is a resolution to issue a cool $15M in bonds to repair the roads. 

And that's all there is. What items are you most looking forward to seeing? Hopefully we will see you there. The CTN stream starts at 7 pm. Make sure you follow the action on the #a2Council hashtag.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: April 4, 2022

Gentle reader, tonight we have a big #a2Council meeting. Here's the agenda and here's the A2AF episode on the agenda. If I were you, I'd pause reading right here and listen to the A2AF episode. It's essential listening for the ARPA Funds agenda item. 

The evening kicks off with a modest, 11-item consent agenda.  CA-1 and CA-2 are street closings for a UMLaw School building naming, 25th Annual African American Downtown Festival, respectively. 

There are 5 public hearings on the agenda tonight. PH-1/B-1 is for the second reading of the PUD for the Y Lot. In short, this is an awesome project. It'll allow a 20 story building with a large portion of subsidized housing. PH-2/B-2 is the second reading for the TC1 rezoning for the State and Eisenhower area. This is also awesome. TC1 is a new zone that allows more density and less car dependence. For more on these, check out Greg's awesome article from last Friday

PH-3/C-1 is on an ordinance to issue Water Supply System Revenue Bonds. I'm assuming this is to fund water system improvements. PH-4 /DB-1 is on the brownfield plan for the Sartorius development at 3874 Research Park Drive. PH-5/DS-1 is on an Industrial Facilities Exemption Certificate for Sartorius. I think this is some sort of tax abatement. 

DC-1 is a resolution to support the No Mow Initiative. Personally, I love not maintaining my lawn, and I think the city should do more to legalize letting your lawn just go. 

DS-2 is a resolution to spend the ~$24 million Ann Arbor is getting in American Rescue Plan loot drops. The city put out a pretty good survey to gauge resident priorities and Administrator Dohoney put together a pretty good resolution on allocation. Though there may be some shenanigans in the form of amendments. If you haven't listened to A2AF yet, do so now please, because Molly and Jessica cover this is a lot more detail than I will. One amendment would take the money for the basic income pilot and put it towards fixing roads. This is regressive. It's taking money that would go to some of the poorest people and put it towards something that disproportionately benefits more wealthy people. People with higher incomes own more cars and drive more, on average. Also, the city is about to issue ~$15mil in bonds to fix the roads. So this would be a drop in the bucket compared to that. Another amendment would take money from the unarmed responder program and put it towards housing the homeless. Both of these are noble, but we shouldn't make it a zero sum game in terms of progressive programs. 

And that's it. What items are you most looking forward to seeing? Hopefully we will see you there. The CTN stream starts at 7 pm. Make sure you follow the action on the #a2Council hashtag.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Transit Corridor Development In Ann Arbor: Where Do We Go From Here?

The Ann Arbor City Council will hold a public hearing for the second ordinance reading of the City's first TC1 rezoning at the April 4th #a2Council meeting.

[Editor's update, 2022.04.07: Greg asked me to clarify that this would be more accurately classified as an opinion piece or essay. Editor's note: this guest article comes from Greg Pratt. If you'd like to check out more of his stuff, make sure to stop by his substack, #eastannarbor.] The dynamics of our local city council politics don’t always allow for clear communication about land use within our municipal boundaries. This essay is an
#eastannarbor attempt to clear the air a bit. We want you to make up your own mind whether or not you think it is a good idea to add mixed-use, mid-rise buildings along key transit routes in our city.

What is zoning? When was it implemented in Ann Arbor and how was it used?

Zoning is a form of urban planning in which municipal areas are divided into districts. Each district is assigned a zoning category, created in municipal code, to limit/specify the buildable environment. For example, in Ann Arbor we have a lot of R1 districts. These are exclusionary single family home districts that prohibit the construction of multifamily housing (R2, R3, R4). There are also C-districts noting different types of commercial uses, PL districts noting public or parkland. The city is empowered to implement these zoning laws through the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act (MZEA). Residents are empowered to contribute to the vision for our city’s future buildable environments through the Michigan Planning Enabling Act (MPEA). 

Here is the text of the MZEA. The law allows municipalities to create zoning districts that limit the types of buildings constructed, bulk and height etc. Worthy of note here is a mechanism by which adjacent neighbors near any proposed development can submit a protest petition signed by 20% of affected neighbors and bring a higher vote threshold for the rezoning ordinance to pass.

Michigan Zoning Enabling Act