Tuesday, May 17, 2022

In support of the 220 N Park development


The proposed development at 220 N Park in Ypsilanti is coming before the Ypsilanti Planning Commission tomorrow, May 18. The meeting is at 7 pm. Here is the zoom link for the meeting. I am in support of this development, for reasons I will go into below. If you support this development, I strongly urge you to call into the Planning Commission tonight and let them know. 

The project is proposed for a 4.5 acre, city-owned parcel near Depot Town sometimes called "the Boys and Girls Club parcel." The proposed project would have 20 1200 sqft duplexes and 36 450-900 sqft cottages for a total of 56 units. In a July 2021 meeting, the developers said they were working to have the houses cost between $120k and $200k. One of the reasons the cost of these homes is so low is that the city currently owns the land and so they can leverage that for lower cost homes. 

I think this is a great development because it helps our city become more sustainable and more equitable. 

220 N Park is just blocks from Depot Town. This is a very walkable area. There are numerous restaurants, cafes, a grocery stores, parks, and shops within a 0.5 mile walk. This will enable residents in this area to live a car free or car light life, reducing CO2 emissions. 

These houses are very reasonably priced. $220k for a 1200 sqft house comes out to ~$183 per sqft. This is a really good deal for new construction with most homes in Ypsi City going for well north of $200 per sqft in the current market. And while $120k for a 450 sq ft house is not as great price per square foot, it is a very low price to become a homeowner. 

If I had a critique of this project, it would be that the development adds too few units. This is such a great location, that I would love to see something with the density of Ann Arbor's upcoming Valhalla Development. Something more like 45 homes per acre, rather than just 12 per acre. This would allow even more new neighbors to live a car-light lifestyle and could allow for subsidized units. 

Nevertheless, I think this is a great development. It offers good housing at a reasonable price in an area that will allow people to live with a lower impact on our planet. I look forward to welcoming these new neighbors to our wonderful city. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Ann Arbor City Council Preview, May 16, 2022


It's #A2Council Night in Ann Arbor. Here's the agenda, and here's the episode of A2AF on tonight's agenda

The evening kicks off with a modest 11-item consent agenda. The first 5 items are street closures. CA-7 is the contract for the State Street Reconstruction. It's exciting to see this happening. 

There are no public hearings on the agenda tonight though there are two ordinance second readings. The public hearings for these items have already happened. B-1 is on the increase in water rates and B-2 is on the increase to stormwater rates. 

Further down the agenda, the first 5 resolutions are on appointments to various boards and commissions. DC-6 is a resolution to begin to discussing workforce housing with U of M. I'm a little dubious about this. There is a lot more the city could be doing to increase the amount of housing in Ann Arbor. Specifically, TC1 could be applied to more corridors (Maple/Stadium, Packard/Platt, Larrytown, Plymouth, Washtneaw), the city could end exclusionary zoning (reducing minimum lot sizes, reducing setbacks, allowing quadplexes to be built on all residential lots). I'm also a little wary about something that would tie housing to work. I also feel like #a2Council is in a uniquely important position to impact the housing supply in Ann Arbor, and asking UM is kind of passing the buck. 

DC-7 is a resolution supporting abortion access. DC-8 is an employment agreement with Milton Dohoney, Ann Arbor's new city administrator and former interim city administrator. DS-1, DS-2, and DS-3 are fee adjustments for community services, public services, and the fire department, respectively. 

And finally we get to DS-4, the resolution to adopt the FY23 budget. There is a lot of stuff in here. But one thing I want to talk about is are amendments 1 and 3, which both have to do with how to appropriate Marijuana Excise Tax revenue. These two resolutions have the bulk of the Marijuana Excise Tax Revenue going to a deflection program. Molly and Jess go into a lot more detail about this on A2AF, so please listen to their thoughts. Rather than seeing this money go to part of our criminal legal system, I'd much rather see this being spent on reparations for people who have had marijuana convictions in Ann Arbor or treatment options that do not involve the police or courts. 

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.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Market report for 2022-05-07


"Rheum rhabarbarum leaves and shafts" By Dieter Weber (User: Uellue) - own work, photo taken in a private garden in Kiel, CC BY-SA 3.0 

[Editor's note: this article is part of an ongoing series of Ann Arbor Farmers Market reports submitted by Ed Vielmetti.]

Market report: rhubarb (new crop), parsley (new crop), cilantro (new crop), green onions (new crop), cider (fall), frozen chicken from Harnois, chorizo tempeh crumbles, Betty's Best goat milk soap, a taste of hard cider, a taste of mead, a small bottle of sweet cider consumed on the spot, grape leaves.


Market report for 2022-04-23

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Ann Arbor City Council Preview: May 5, 2022


Gentle reader, tonight is a special, Thursday edition of #a2Council. Here's the agenda and here's the Ann Arbor AF episode for tonight's meeting. 

The evening kicks off with a moderate, 17-item consent agenda. 4 out of the first 5 items are street closures: Taste of Ann Arbor, Sonic Lunch, The Event on Main, and the Rolling Sculpture Car Show. CA-6 is purchasing land with the Washtewnaw County Parks & Rec. Commission for the Greenbelt. 

There are 8 public hearings on the agenda tonight. PH-1/B-1 is on an ordinance to amend the discrimination ordinance to update definitions of gender expression, identity, sexual orientation and add religious based hair and head coverings. PH-2/DC-1 is on the resolution to approve the industrial facilities exemption for Sartorius BioAnalytical Instruments. PH-3 is on increases to the water rates and PH-4 is on an increase to stormwater rates. PH-5, PH-6, and PH-7 are on various fee adjustments. PH-8 is on  the 2023 budget. 

On to the resolutions. DC-2 is a resolution for the city to sponsor information on NACA Mortgages. DC-3 is a resolution to support Michigan House Bill 5931 which aims to fix issues with end of Michigan's no fault insurance program. 

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.